Friday, November 2, 2012

A Few of My Halloween Favorites

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We had a great Halloween that was packed full of lots of spooky fun!  Here are a few of my favorite things we made and did this October!  

For my Bunco group and for our neighborhood Halloween party I made this delicious "Mummy's Night Out" dip and veggies.  It was a definite hit for both events, even the kids loved it!  It was really easy to make, so cute, and delicious!  

For the kids for our neighborhood Halloween party, we made these adorable monster pudding cups.  Instead of sprinkles on top though, we put crushed Oreos.  The kids (and parents) loved them!

For Avery's school Halloween party I was given the task of bringing the juice boxes.  Well, I couldn't bring in plain, old, boring juice boxes so I had to dress them up a little by turning them into Monster Juice Boxes!  The kids and teachers loved them!  A couple of kids even asked if they could take their monsters home!

They were easy to make but were a bit time consuming.  I used colored printer paper to wrap the juice boxes and then cut the mouths and teeth out of black card stock and white printer paper.  I used glue dots to glue down the eyes and  regular white glue for everything else.  I think the time and effort was worth the result!

For our neighborhood Halloween party each family made one game or activity for the kids to do, we decided to make a bat piƱata.  Avery and I had so much fun making it!  I didn't follow the directions perfectly but it still turned out well and the kids had so much fun breaking it!

Photo from The Pioneer Woman
Another favorite this fall has been homemade Pumpkin Muffins from The Pioneer Woman.  Both girls love them!  We've had then with and without the frosting and both ways are delicious.  We've made 3 batches so far and I have all the ingredients ready to make a 4th!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Autumn Scavenger Hunt For Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers

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Last year with our mom group we went on an Autumn Walk.  I made a scavenger hunt with pictures for the kids to make it a little more fun for them.  It was geared towards 2 and 3 year olds but I'm sure kids older and younger could use it, too.  Everyone brought a little bag for collecting items and I took a bunch of clipboards and crayons for marking items off the list. Everyone loved it!

The day after the Autumn walk Avery and I used the items she collected to make an Autumn Window Hanging like this one.  I don't have any pictures of it (the walk was during the time that I wasn't blogging a whole lot since Parker was so little and we were still adjusting) but it turned out really cute and we loved looking at it all Autumn long!  We have another Autumn Walk on the calendar for this year and I am planning on taking the scavenger hunt again!  Hope it's a hit!  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School

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Avery had her first day of preschool today!  She started at a new school and it's actually the same one that Eric went to when he was little!  

She had a great time!  One of her friends from our mom group is in her class and she has 2 other friends in the 4 year old class.  Just like last year, it didn't faze her at all.  She gave me a quick hug and kiss and off she went!

I decided to do a Back To School gift for her teachers this year, I thought it would be a fun way to start the school year!  I got plain white gift bags and found a sequin apple sticker that I put on the front of the bag.  Inside I included a little apple notebook that I found in the dollar section at Target, a Toblerone bar because who doesn't love a little chocolate, a bottle of lotion from Bath and Body Works, and inside the white bag with the apple clip (found at Michael's) is an apple scented candle from Bath and Body Works.  I saw the lotion idea here and thought it was so cute (printables are available, too).  Plus, with how much teachers wash their hands they can never have too much lotion!  Hope everyone else had a great first day back to school!

Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party

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Parker had her 1st birthday a couple weeks ago and to celebrate we had a Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party! We kept it a pretty small party, just family and 1 friend for each of the girls.  

The Food
Most of the food was based on the book but not all.  The food labels I got from Polkadots and Puppies (they are a free printable and even include a blank one).  I made the cupcake toppers using digital scrapbook papers and images I purchased from here.  

I didn't notice this before I purchased the digital images but Polkadots and Puppies actually uploaded a free downloadable zip file of the same images (includes papers, some of the foods, caterpillars, butterflies, and more).  You can find the link for it in the comments on her blog post but it's kind of hard to find since it has over 130 comments!  So here is the link to the comment that has the link.

 The food table minus the brats and hamburgers.  

Instead of putting out each individual fruit from the book we made a "Caterpillar Fruit Salad"

 Cheese, sausage, crackers, and pickles

For the "One Green Leaf" we served belgium endive with guacamole, it was delicious! 

Instead of serving traditional ice cream cones we served the ice cream in waffle bowls, the kids LOVED it!

I saw the Very Hungry Caterpillar Jack-In-The-Box on Amazon and thought it would be a fun decoration. I ordered the fun rainbow striped straws from Shop Sweet Lulu, Avery LOVED them!

The smash cake, which Parker had no interest in!  We couldn't even get her to eat one bite!

The Decorations

We had several photo banners strung up around the house, including one with each of her monthly photos (done in the same chair, next to the same stuffed animal to help see her growth). 

We made the lantern caterpillar based on directions from Pottery Barn and got the lanterns from Just Artifacts.

The high chair banner I made but I purchased the hat and bib on Etsy.   

 I also made the happy birthday banner.

I got this idea from Polkadots and Puppies.  She had guests sign a copy of the book (which we also had for people to write little notes to Parker in) but we added the stuffed animal for everyone to autograph, it turned out really cute!

 The kids all got a lollipop in their party favor bucket but we put the extras out for adults to take if they wanted (plus I thought it looked cute and added to the decorations).  I ordered the lollipops from Oriental Trading.

 For the Kids

We set up our ball pit and tunnel in Avery's room, the kids had a great time with them!

The older kids did a couple VHC crafts.  For the first one, I cut out circles for the body and head as well as the eyes and mouth.  The girls glued them down to make their caterpillar and then decorated their pictures with VHC stickers.  They also did a VHC coloring sheet.

Big kid party favor bucket: lollipop, bug house, magnifying glass, VHC stickers, caterpillar, and some water beads.

 Little kid party favor bucket: lollipop, stickers, caterpillar, and a sensory ball that lights up.

The Birthday Girl

Can't believe my baby girl is already 1!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dinosaur Tracks Painting

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For Father's Day our mom group went to a local kids' art studio where they came up with a bunch of fun crafts for the kids to do.  One of them was a toy truck painting on a shirt or apron to give to the dads for Father's Day.  It was similar to this project.  As a spin off of that, Avery did a dinosaur track painting (she is very into dinosaurs right now so I knew she would love it).  It was really simple to do, we gathered all of her plastic dinosaurs and put out paper plates with paint on them.  She them had a great time walking her dinosaurs across the paper and seeing the tracks they left behind.  It turned out really cute and she had a great time!

Go here to see where I am linking up!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Olympic Poster Inspired Art

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Source: Mirror

Have you seen this Olympic Poster yet?  I ran across the image on Pinterest and as soon as I saw it I knew it was something Avery and I could use for inspiration for some Olympic artwork.  

I set out some paper plates with cups on them and let her go to work stamping some Olympic circles onto the paper (I only had 4 cups so we went back after we were done with green, red, yellow, and blue and added the black).  

I love how the picture turned out and she is so proud of it.  She showed it off to her daddy as soon as he got home from work!  

Go here to see where I am linking up!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Another Messy Play Date

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Although messy play can be a lot of work and stressful for parents, there are so many benefits for children.  It helps children develop hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.  It allows children to learn through their senses and explore a variety of new and different materials.  It gives children the opportunity to explore and manipulate materials on their own.  It is process driven and gives children the opportunity to use their creativity and imagination.  

We had our 2nd Messy Play Date this week and once again we had so much fun!  Here is what we had out for the kids to explore:

Avery loves water beads so we went all out with them.  I bought a 1 pound bag of clear water beads plus 3 half ounce bags of colored water beads (I got them in purple, green, and blue). I put the clear water beads in the swimming pool the night before and added 5 red Crayloa Color Bath Dropz.  We threw in some varying clear containers (coffee creamer bottle, tennis ball container, clear bowls, and baby food container).  

We loved making mud cupcakes in our mud pit and I had an extra bag of top soil from our first messy play date so I decided to make a mud kitchen.  We had some spoons, measuring cups, measuring spoons, bowls, muffin tin, pie pans, and cake pans.  I also added a container of flowers to use to decorate their creations (picture is from before I put the flowers out).  

Another favorite taken to a larger dough. The kids used ice cream scoops, a muffin pan, ice cream bowls, spoons, and little silicon bowls to play with the cloud dough.

I found a fun recipe for rainbow slime and thought the kids would love it!  It turned out different than I thought it would but it was great.  

I thought our garden sensory tub would go along nicely with the mud kitchen.  

I saw this fun Barnyard Sensory Station and thought it would be a good one for our group.  I bought a 50 pound bag of clean whole corn from Orscheln and added in some of our farm themed toys plus a couple bowls.  

Avery is really into bubbles lately so I thought we could do a couple of different stations that involved bubbles.  The first was a basic bubble blowing station.  We used my mom's tried and true bubble recipe (1 part Joy Dish Soap, 15 parts Distilled Water, .25 parts White Karo Syrup) and then couple bubble wands.

Bubble Painting was the next bubble related station.  We had a bunch of Crayola Outdoor Colored Bubbles that were the focus of this station.  I also added some spray bottles with water and liquid watercolor since the kids loved them so much as our first messy play date.  The canvas was a full size white sheet that I safety pinned over our monkey bars.

This was the bubble mixing station.  I filled one of our water tables with water and added in some baby shampoo.  The kids used a bunch of whisks and an egg beater to make bubbles.  

 Once again we had our kid wash for clean up...

...and a water table.

Since it was so hot out I also added a swimming pool full of sponges as an additional clean up station and as a way to stay cool.  I made a bunch of blue and yellow ice cubes in a variety of shapes and put them in a cooler right next to the pool.  We used the blue ones first and when we were done with those I got out the yellow ones.  The kids loved playing with the ice and they thought it was really cool when the water turned from blue to green when the yellow ice was added.  

We had quite a few more stations this time around than the first but we also had a lot more kids, the first one we had six and this time we had 12 kids.  

I didn't do as good a job taking pictures of the kids exploring as I did last time but it was a lot busier!!  Hopefully you get the basic idea!  The two favorites were by far the water bead and the mud kitchen.  The least favorite was the bubble painting.  The bubbles didn't work to well, they just kind of bounced off the sheet and didn't really pop the way I had hoped.  Overall though, another successful messy play date.  I'm hoping to get one more in before summer is over!

Go here to see where I am linking up!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fizzing Sidewalk Paint

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I came across a post on Kids Activities Blog about Fizzing Sidewalk Paint and I knew we just had to try it.  We put ours in squeeze bottles since Avery loves using them.  It was a little thick so we had to go back and add some water to thin it out a little.  

Here's the recipe:

1 small box of baking soda
1/2 cup of cornstarch
Hot Water until desired consistency is reached
Food coloring

Eventually she decided to take the top off the bottle and just pour it.  She loved watching it run down the driveway!  Then it was time to get out the spray bottle of vinegar.  

She had so much fun making the paint fizz!  And like with the paint, the lid came off and she just started pouring it.  One of her favorite things was standing on the paint and having me spray her feet so she could feel it fizz and bubble.  She kept saying it tickled!  

Linked up to:

For the Kids Friday

I Can Teach My Child

Best toys for toddlers