"You are so creative!" I have heard that phrase constantly since I was little. DIY, Refashioning, Crafting, Sewing, Woodworking. I love it all! Now I have a place to keep my favorite projects or ideas organized and share them with you!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Literacy Week Costume Ideas

Funny how my kids tend to choose costumes that have to do with Books anyway. So here is a list of costumes I have made that have to do with a book theme.

Today my daughter headed to school in a

 Who Costume.
Who's are characters from Dr.Seuss books. The most well known Who is Cindy Loo Hoo who is a character in "The Grinch that Stole Christmas" But in "Horton Hears a Who" the Who's are discovered by an elephant named Horton them who finds them living on a speck that is located an a flower.
  Who costumes are really all about the hair. You can wear any bright colored and wacky clothes and it will look very much Whoish.

But the thing you have to get down is the hair. Who's are all about the hair.

We did a little sock bun with some hair then covered it with another outside layer of hair, secured with pony holders. Then we stuck a pipe cleaner into the center of the sock bun and wrapped around the bottom so that it would not poke her in the head. Then braided a braid around the pipe cleaner.

We couldn't resist adding a little friend up there.

Check out these links to my other "Book" related costumes.

C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia Costumes


     Prince Caspian



Keep Reading!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Women's shirt to Girl's Dress

I have not made much in the way of clothes for my daughter this year. She has become a bit more picky with what she chooses to wear, but Monday is PURPLE day at her school which means she needed to find a purple outfit to wear.

She doesn't really have much in the way of purple in her closet. This kind of surprised me since it is my favorite color. Anyway, off to the refashion pile I went. Looking though scraps and old clothes I save in my craft/sewing room closet.

We found a purple striped women's shirt that was donated to help make a hula hoop rug for my daughter's classroom. We had more than enough shirts donated and I know who donated this one. I told her that I might keep a few that might be reborn in the future, since she didn't care to see them back at her house.

Well Javay... here is your old shirt.

I took in the arm holes a bit and sewed a new seam to take out the buttoned section and make the v-neck not so large. First we thought we would turn it around and make the back the front, but I kind of botched that neckline when I tried taking the tag out.
Ready for Purple day!

When I gave her the choice she liked it with the V in the front.
Not a bad outfit for a random closet grab upcycle.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

St. Patrick's Ranbow Pasta Bracelets

I am getting ready for a Hood Magazine event this weekend where I needed to have a craft project ready to go for kids to do at our Hood Magazine booth for the Parks and Rec Activity Fair in our town. They are expecting around 1000 families so we had to think of something that would work for a large number of people.

We had some leftover yarn from another event so to use it up I figured we could dye some pasta rings to make beads to string onto the yarn. We choose the tiny rings so that they will go a long way for the cost.

I had seen pasta being dyed Here on Pinterest but they used rubbing alcohol. I was not too keen on that idea so I stuck by my old colored rice recipe and it worked fine for pasta rings as well.

For the bright colors they have on pasta on Pinterest you have to use food color gel. We used the regular food coloring in the primary colors to help keep our costs low. to see the colors with Neon food coloring you can peek at my colored rice post.

What you need:
Ziploc Bag we used a gallon to make 4 cups.
Freezer Paper or wax paper.
Plastic or rubber gloves optional, but you might want them.
Yarn and tape to make bracelts.

The ratio:
1 cup pasta
1 T vinegar
10 drops of food coloring.

When we did our pasta we put 4 cups of pasta in a gallon Ziploc bag. We mixed 4 T of vinegar with a few nice sized squirts of food coloring in a measuring cup. Add this mixture to the bag. Close the bag and shake well until color is distributed equally.

Then open the bag and spread out on freezer paper to dry. It dried in about 2 hours which is about the same as the rubbing alcohol recipe. I think this is a by far saver option if you are working with children on this project.

And... if for some reason you find yourself in the situation where you need to eat your colored pasta you don't have to worry about it at all. It is all non-toxic ingredients.

 Then we took our yarn and put two knots in the bottom so the pasta would not slide off. Then we put some tape on the end and cut it at an angle so that it makes a point like a needle. This made it easy enough for my 4 year old to string. The minimum age for this size of pasta I would say is 4 years old.
You could dye larger pastas for toddlers to string.
Fruit loops are also a good substute for those little fingers.

And although these small rings were too hard for him to string, my two year old was all about being the bracelet module today. Got to love those chubby little toddler hands.


Lent Links and Ideas for Families, Activities and Crafts

So here is, the day before Ash Wednesday and I find myself searching for a way to make Lent more meaningful for my family this year.  I am not Catholic, I am actually ELCA Lutheran and in our church we are not asked to do anything specific for Lent. We don't have to give anything up. Lent is taught as the time to get ready for Easter but not much else was done that I can remember growing up other than attending extra Lenten Services on Wednesday nights and sharing a meal at church on those evenings.
I know all the facts about Lent, the color of Lent is Purple, it lasts 40 days, Ash Wednesday is the start and at the end is Holy Week and Easter. Yet I wanted the message of Lent to go beyond facts in my family this year and focus on God, and becoming closer to him as a family.
Upon reading a bit, I learned many people divide Lent into three actions so to speak. I guess kind of like a Lent checklist.

Fasting, Prayer and Alms giving. 

It is easy to make these empty actions if you don't put thought behind them.

Fasting: Now it most often pops into ones mind as giving something up, most times foods such as chocolate are given up for Lent. Yet when I talked to my 4 year old about giving something up he brought to my attention that is not what it is really about. Funny how you can learn from your children. Giving up chocolate or a video game to prove your devotion to God is not what it is really about. God will love you no more and no less depending on if you are able, or not able to keep your promise of not eating chocolate. Do I need to prove to God that I love him more than chocolate?? I hope not. That is not what fasting is about.

I found this nice article written about fasting and Lent. It helped get me in the right mindset about what fasting is all about. It is not about proving yourself to God like many I think strive to do in their fasting.

Do not give up something that you are going to purge on Easter morning. Your Lenten sacrifice of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups does not make you a better Christian if you eat a bag full of them before sundown on Easter day and forget all about Lent.
God doesn’t want your chocolate, He wants you.
When contemplating your sacrifice, make sure you are growing closer to Him. Maybe you don’t need to give up anything. Maybe you need to give something… namely, yourself.
If you must give up something, give up sin.

We will decide as a family what fasting will mean. Giving up sin to grow closer to God and to bring us closer in Love will have a lot to do with our family fasting.
I am unsure if my kids will be parting with things that are specific, but things that are more intangible are what I would like them to focus on. If they choose to give up something I will let them, but what I hope to work on with them is giving up  things such as selfishness, and rude behavior. These are things that can always be worked on but work really well in the context of Lent and I can add those to my list of things to give up as well. 

One way we will do this is by using a Crown of Thorns.  

I used a woven wreath from the dollar store and had my kids put toothpicks in it to make it into a crown of thorns. Starting tomorrow, when I catch them doing something unselfish like giving up being "first", something my kids fight over every time there is a "first" opportunity, they will get to take a thorn out of the crown of thorns. Hopefully by Easter they will have done enough nice, unselfish, polite things for each other, our family, and for others that the thorns will be gone from the wreath.
This also fits into another the next action of Lent, because by giving up being first they are learning about putting others before themselves.

Serving others or Alms for the Poor:
We can do things during Lent to remember the poor, and to be mindful off all the things we have been given.
One great way to do this is to shed your access. Yes it has an added benifit of a decluttered home, I admit a bit self-serving if you are not careful, I may try this idea, but fear I may end up giving more time to my home than time really spent with God, so we will see what happens at our house. But if you have your mind in the right place it can be a great Lent activity.
The idea is simple, make a list 1-40 of areas in your house that need to be decluttered and tackle one each day. Any items you do not need or want from these areas get donated to an organization who helps the poor.
Click the link to see an example 40 bags in 40 days list and links from somoene who has done it.
We curretly, as a family, collect children's clothes and toy items from friends and family for a foster care store they are trying to start in our community. It is a store where foster parents can shop at anytime for free for the children in their care. We will have an open house all Lent for anyone who wants to drop any children's items by so if you do decide to do the 40 bags in 40 days one of the places you are welcome to drop items off is my house if you are located in our area.

Many Churches have giving projects during Lent.
This is our giving container for Lent.
Through our church we plan on doing 40 quarters in 40 days. The 40 quarters will buy a mosquito net for a person living in Africa to prevent Malaria. 90% of the people who die of Malaria in this reagion of Africa are under the age of 6. The amount of poeple affected by malaria is unbelievable. It amounts to one death every 40 seconds. Our church is part of a campain to help provide mosquito nets for familes in this area.

This brings us to the third action of Lent..

   We pray at mealtimes and bedtimes in our home, but we will try to step it up a bit and pray more during lent. One easy way we plan on adding one prayer to the day is by adding a devotion each day during lent. This could not come at a more perfect time. My daughter just got her first Bible at Christmas. We got her the New International Readers Version. It is written in a way that is more simple for early readers. My daughter has a higher reading level than your average 6 year old so she was ready for a real Bible. She has enjoyed learning how to look things up and has requested to do some devotions this week. We have done about one a week since Christmas, but we hope to try to do one when she comes home from school each day during Lent. Each of these devotions has a prayer included.

Prayer Paper Chain
Our church also gave us purple paper to make a prayer chain. Each day we write a prayer on a strip of paper and make it into a link for a paper chain. By the end of Lent we will have 40 prayers.
The devotions I have been doing with the kids have been GREAT! They involve a physical activity, they may take a little bit of pre-planning as far as supplies for some of them, but it is so woth it.  The kids have LOVED them so far. These may not be Lent related specifically but if your goal is to grow closer to God as a family these are great, and the best part... They are FREE!!!

The other set of Devotionals I plan on using together with the activity devotions are these free Lent devotions. They are free also and touch a bit on the prayer, activity, and fasting. I may have to go though each one and make them work for our family, but they are a good way to get focused on the time of Lent and again they are free!

I also found a nice little morning prayer that I wrote on our sliding glass door that is in our dinning area. This way we can see it when we eat breakfast and pray it. We can also pray it anytime we see it. My daugther read it first thing this morning when she came down for breakfast. I never told her to read it. If there are letters someplace you tend to read them. She said she read them last night too. I never said anything about them, until she brought them up. A prayer added to our day without much thought. It will remain there though the Lent season to remind us about Christ and what he did for us and in return what we want to strive to do for him in return.

Sometimes my daughter is a little shy about praying together, I think I am a bit on the touchy feely side with prayers and I think it is too much of a personal thing for her, it can make her uncomfortable to say prayers with me, so I know this is one way I can give her the tools she needs to remember to pray and I am confident she will on her own without me incringing on her personal relationship with God. I am working on giving her a little personal prayer space, yet that doesn't mean I stop praying with her from time to time. Mom's just gotta keep doing those things anyway to let them know how much we love them. I have a feeling if I stopped she might be a bit worried about it. :)

Other Fun Activites We Plan to Do!
Now that we have the meaning behind Lent covered, we can add some fun stuff too!

One awesome craft project we plan on doing is found at this link.
It is a contact paper cross stained window. This is a great project for all three of my kids. Even my two year old can do this project with little help.  I will stick them to the window by the moring prayer when they are finished.

Click below to go to the blog link for a recipe.
We need a couple recipes too!! Did you know...
A Lenten treat Pretzels, originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. A monk was making unleavened bread for Lent with flour and water because eggs, milk and lard were not consumed as part of the Lenten fast. He twisted some of the dough into the shape of people praying with both arms folded across their chests. He decided it would be a perfect treat for children learning to say their prayers. He called the treats pretiola, the Latin word for “little reward.”

I printed out one of these for each of my kids and my 6 year old daughter is already planning a rainbow pattern a different color on each square each day.

Here is our Lent wall where we are going to keep our calendars. I was so proud of my 4 year old, he was able to sound out the word Lent and tell me what letters I needed. It was his first 4 letter word he tried to spell all on his own. He did it!!! He was pretty proud.

We made this set of resurrection eggs last year at Church.
They are numbered 1-12. Inside each is a little trinket that helps tell the story of Jesus death and resurrection. So my plan is to start using these 12 days before Easter for an extra little countdown and devotional. The kids do enjoy these.

Each egg has a little corrisponding piece of scripture to read with it that tells part of the story.

Last year we just used the eggs in the case, but this year I decided to hang our resurrection eggs on the tree in our living room. We just tied some fishing line in a knot and closed it in the egg. Now each day they will have to hunt on the tree for the right numbered egg.
Plus it makes a nice little decoration.

Well that is my plan we will see what happens!
Here is a link to a few more ideas if you need them. I got a lot of activities from this blog so I wanted to share the link to the little projects you can do during Lent with your kids.
This is my list down on here so I have it all in one place, and all my links. Hopping off Pinterst tomorrow so I need all my links someplace. I hope you all find something fun to use out of my rablings.

Happy Lent!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Monster Cookies!

We had some fun making monster cookies with some girls from church. The two high school girls had a half day of school on Wednesday so I talked them into coming over to our house afterwards. I put my youngest to bed, and then gave them each one kid, all the ingredients, recipe, and then had them compete to make the best cookies..

This worked great for me, yes I had a good amount of clean up to do but each teen learned a bit about baking with young children, I think the larger of the two lessons, and my kiddos got to each make their own batch of cookies instead of having to share the dumping jobs with their sibling.

We used the double oven so even the baking worked well for two teams. Each girl went home with a plate full of cookies. I had enough to deliver to neighbors and to bring on our trip to visit my husband's grandfather who turned 90 last week. He LOVES cookies. 

The photos are from the fun they had, and.. the cookies of course.

For the recipe I used, click over here to this recipe I saw pinned on Pinterest

The recipe is a keeper! This is my second time using it.


Chewy Peanut Butter Balls

My family has been making these things for years. My grandma made a batch for almost every holiday for the last 5 years, and when I was a little squirt even my daycare lady used to make these. So when I saw something similar pop up on pinteret I figured I better put our version up on my blog.

They are so simple, and so delicious, chewy, and just the perfect combo of sweet and crunch. They work great for road trips and camping. you can even dip one side in almond back and use them for holiday gift exchanges.

They are all around yummo!

I don't think there is much difference in how we make them except we shape ours into balls instead of leaving them in clump form. This makes them store much easier and makes them a bit more portable.

What you need:
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups corn flakes

1. Place some wax paper down on your counter top. 
2. Put six cups of cornflakes in a large mixing bowl.
3. Mix sugar and corn syrup in a medium sauce pan.
4. Stir constantly on medium high heat until it comes to a slow boil.
5. Right away remove from heat and mix in your crunchy peanut butter until incorporated and then dump warm mixture into your mixing bowl of corn flakes.
6. Mix until all the cornflakes are covered with the mixture.
7. Drop large spoonfulls onto the wax paper about an inch apart.
8. Once all the mixture is spooned onto the wax paper get your hands wet with water so that they do not stick to the cookies, and form them into balls. Let cool to room temperature and enjoy.

I reccomend storeing in a ziploc baggie, or sealed container, at room temperature. They will begin to get harder each day, and they are the best the first few days, but they should not spoil, so you can keep eating them for much longer, they are just a little harder to bite after that..

Yields around 36 cookies.

Corn flakes and peanut butter give you some good protien and are good for a filling factor.
Great for an on the go energy bite.

You can expect to hear...
"Can I have another one mom?!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Friendship Bracelet Valentines

This year we went with the friendship bracelet route after seeing the idea on pinterest.
To see the original pin click here.

We ended up doing my daughter's very similar, but yet a bit different than the original.

We went with Hearts instead of circles and the favorite color of bright green for the heart outline.
It was my daughter's job to cut them all out herself and punched holes in each side with a paper punch.

She ended up making about 5 of the bracelets. It turns out braiding was a bit more difficult for my  year old than the other style of bracelet she has made in the past. But still way faster than knot bracelets she has made. Mom helped out of course and finished off the rest for her, she was in charge of color selection.

She was super excited to bring them to school today.

She spent some extra time on a special rainbow knot bracelet she promised her BFF. It took way longer than my braiding took. :) This is the kind of bracelet she enjoys making, but it would take way too long to make as many as she would need for her whole class.
The Valentines didn't cost much to make since we already had the materials.

Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

What To Do With All Of Those Valentine Cards

My son is 4 and had his first Valentines party at preschool.
He came home with lots of Valentines... but not much interest in them.
So I wanted a way to get him to take some time to look at them.
Here is what we did.

First we bagged the candy up and saved that loot for later. Took off any tattoos and choose one to put on, and checked out the cool new pencil collection he scored.

We got out a small paper punch. This worked on his fine motor skills. I would read the card and he would punch a hole in it once I read it. He made the rule after I read the first card that I had to read them first before the hole could be punched.

I got out a pipe cleaner, it just happened to be red and white candy cane stripe so it worked well with Valentine's Day colors.

Again for some good fine motor skill practice she strung all of his (manly boy type) Valentines cards onto the pipe cleaner.

Once all the cards were strung onto the pipe cleaner we looped it back onto itself to create a ring.

Now he can flip through and read his valentines cards whenever he wants to and they won't end up all over the house.

Next he went to work on the "girly" cards. He doesn't much care for Barbie, Hello Kitty or puppies wearing fairy wings. But he knew of someone who does. His 4 year old girl cousin who he thinks is great. So he went to work cutting up the girly valentines... (more fine motor)

 And glued them onto a larger card to give to her. She didn't have a preschool Valentines party so she was super excited about all the cool valentine images that decorated the card made for her. Especially the Barbie ones.

Now big sister has her Valentines Party tomorrow. I already have plans for her Valentines... That little reader of mine is always needing a bookmark and is constantly loosing track of them. Now she will have a whole pile of 30 ready to go by her bedside.