Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Christmas Sneak Peek - Gifts For the Boys part 2

Oh how I love looking at the inspirational ideas from different blogs.  Unfortunately the more I look the more ideas I get.  My list keeps getting longer and longer.
Who couldn't want some of these incredible treats by Dana from Made


I began to look around for more felt food  and made a huge shopping list.  I only made a few things on the list, but I'll keep making more if the boys enjoy playing with these fun treats for Christmas.

Here is MJ's Christmas present
Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, pancakes
Bologna sandwich and hotdogs
Mushrooms, carrot, pear, banana, fish
Treats: cookies, lollipop, popsicle chocolate bar
Adorable small tote from Value Village on sale.
 I think I'll work on more food for Easter or Valentines.  I have this super cute material from Ikea that I want to make a shopping bag.

If you are interested in making some felt food here are some great blogs to get you started
Playing with your food
Free Play Food Patterns
Helping Little Hands

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Christmas Sneak Peek - Gifts For the Boys part 1

Warning!  If you do not want to see what I am giving the boys for Christmas then read no further. 
Mom this is for you!!

For a long time now TJ has been using our fabric roads but gets frustrated because they wrinkle.  This year I made TJ a car mat!  I am so excited to give TJ this gift.  There are many different blogs who have inspired this idea and unfortunately I didn't write them all down.  I do encourage you to do a quick search for car mats to give you some ideas.  I have even found some cute ones for girls.
Rolls up for easy travel.
Pockets for "parking" cars

Farm, construction site, places that TJ loves to go

Down town

Love this idea from Soule Mama for gift bags.  I'd like to have ours all coordinated too so I'm waiting until after Christmas this year in hopes of a good sale.

I'm very pleased at how this turned out.  I got the green material from Value Village as an old blanket that I cut in two pieces.  The rest was made of felt and material from my stash.  I'm a little annoyed that the velcro ribbon is not centred at all.  I'm tempted to move it, but I know TJ won't mind.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks coming soon.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Going Wild with Jello

These pictures are a bit old because I forgot to publish this post.

I aquired a large amount of Jello packages.  Although I do enjoy eatting Jello my boys aren't really into it.  So I decided it might be fun for them to play with their food....

These photos were taken before the boys undressed, used the tarp as a Jello slip n' slide, and flung Jello onto the walls and such.

I have decided to keep these super fun messy activities for outdoors in the summer.  Although I'm all about sensory activities, I don't think I can handle the stress of making such a huge mess again.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Advent Ideas

I can hardly believe it is almost December.  I know many people have started to decorate.  We are still quite busy and the boys have colds so I'll probably decorate in a week or so.  I did want to share an idea that does take a bit more planing so you'll have time to get ready.
My boys last year at Christmas
Several years ago I gathered up all my scrap material and made 24 simple little stockings.  Ours don't have a theme but are all fun little stockings that we can fill with our own treats. I'll post better photos once I get decorating.
Our stocking advent calendar in the background
Last year I came across a great idea but I'm not sure what blog it was on.  We have now added activities to our Advent Calendar.  Basically each day there is a piece of paper tuck into the stocking, that has a special activity on it for the day.  If you go to Code Name Mama, she has a great list of ideas for activities.
Our hand knit Nativity
We have included crafts, giving, parties and local events, winter activities. Here is our list to get you started.
1. Snowman craft
2. Gather our Christmas books, puzzles etc.
3. Main Street Christmas (event at a local Church)
4. Donate (to be determined)
5. Make Rice Krispies trees
6. Game night
7. Reindeer craft
8. Christmas movie
9. Decorate Christmas tree
10. Bake loaves
11. Cousin's birthday party
12. Decorate house/ make paper chain
13. Service project (not sure yet)
14. Make cards for extended family
15. Act out Christmas story with toys
16. Bake ginger bread cookies
17. Make gifts for extended family
18. See the lights around town
19. Christmas movie
20. Angel craft
21. Wrap gifts
22. make ice candles
23. Bake birthday cake for Jesus
24. Family party (bring cake)

I like these ideas for advent calendars too.
Names of Jesus ornaments - I just added this after my original post.  I think I'll try to do this too on a wreath
Activity Advent Calendars
Book advent
10 simple advent ideas 

Friday, 18 November 2011

Nature Crafts Revisited

The other day I wrote about how I had wanted to do some crafts with my kids but our nature supplies kept being tossed out.  Well I finally got to it and had a great time.
Our collection
The boys and I were going to go to the quarry (converted into a natural parkland) for a walk but decided to go to the playground instead.  While we were there having a wonderful time TJ suggested that we go on a pinecone Easter egg hunt.  We collected all sorts of interesting things from the park, including some brown flat banana seed pods.  My mom told me the name of the tree but I forget now.

When we got home we went around our yard and had a great time collecting more things to bring in for a craft.  We also talked a little about how different seeds travel.

My niece and mom came over so all the kids were able to do our sticky nature craft.  This was another idea from the 30 Days of Hands on Play from the Imagination Tree and Hands on: as we grow.  I bought some shelving paper from the dollar store and taped it to the table.  Peel off the backing and have fun. We got out all our nature treasures and the kids stuck them all over the place.  They discovered that some objects stick better than others.  My mom and I had fun too making a little face and getting the kids involved.  Our wonderful pictures are now on the front and back doors!

I am so excited about an idea I have for the brown seedpods.  I hope to make a beautiful wreath with them.  I imagine a sun burst made of the pods with some pine cones or thistles in the middle.  I'll have to get more glue for my glue gun first.

Some other ideas would be to find clear shelving paper and sandwich some treasures in between.  You could also use other craft supplies for a sticky picture like this.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

30 Days of Hands on Play: Concoctions

I am following the 30 Days of Hands on Play from The Imagination Tree and Hands on: As We Grow.  The other day the challenge was concoctions.

I had planed to do that challenge the day it was originally posted but we played with trucks instead.  Of course I'm slow with getting my posts out on time because I'm using my phone as a camera for the moment and it takes me longer to get around to getting my photos off.

I just loved how the Chocolate Muffin Tree set up their experiments in muffin tins so we did the same.  The boys were so excited when I told them we were going to make explosions.  MJ said WOW after each one (there were many).  They both got right into it.

First TJ filled a pan with baking soda while I put food colouring into the muffin tins with vinegar.  I demonstrated how to use the medicine dropper and let TJ have a go at it.  After a while MJ wanted a turn so I hunted down another dropper.

Once the initial excitement wore down I ask TJ what would happen if we scooped some baking soda into the muffin tins.  That got them going all over again.

We had a great time and I know we'll be doing this again soon (after I go buy more baking soda).

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Happy Ending

Today ended so wonderfully that I just had to write about it.  My boys played mostly by themselves today, nicely, without needing me too much, for over half an hour!!!!!!! I still can't believe it happened.

It all started this morning...

TJ and his incredible memory remembered a toy that he wanted to use.  He tried to describe it to us but both mommy and daddy were thinking of something else and mistakenly told TJ that we no longer had it.  So after a melt down and slightly stressful pancake breakfast, TJ tried again to describe what he wanted.  Once we clued in it began an early morning hunt all over the house for a Playmobile tractor.

As soon as MJ saw the tractor, he wanted it too so they started to fight.  I had a revelation and remembered that we had a tone of Playmobile in storage, so Jon dug out the ladder and went looking.  We found another large tractor and a helicopter.

It was like Christmas came early for those two.  All day they played with these toys without stopping.  MJ would twirl around in circles to make the helicopter fly.  TJ loaded the tractors with millions of different loads. One load included my Blackberry which ended up outside in a compartment of the Skidoo (thanks Jon for finding that one!)
TJ pulling a toy pot full of random things
MJ driving a tractor on the couch
In the evening they chose to play with these toys instead of our sensory bins!  MJ is learning to play and copy how TJ drives the tractor around to pick up loads.  He tried many times throughout the day to join in our imaginative play.  TJ attached the helicopter to many different containers and made deliveries.  He even helped MJ fix his tractor when the trailer came off.
TJ with the helicopter pulling a flatbed truck

MJ and the tractor with his Taggie blanket
On a side note it was also a very productive day.  I got more leaves cleared, finished TJ's christmas present (will post on that soon), did some house work and Jon and I put some company labels on his truck! Oh and MJ has been trying to sing to me.  He is copying a song from Baby Signing Time called sunny day.  It comes out more like "sun sun sun a guy", he is trying to say "sun sun sun in the sky".

Friday, 11 November 2011

What to do with all the leaves?!

I feel like I have been raking and mowing leaves forever.  Every time I clear the yard it is full again by the next day.  Although I am tired from all the hard work, I have been enjoying this time of year immensely because...

* a few years ago our trees suffered from bugs and now they are thriving
* I get to ride on a tractor with my two boys
* physical activity is good for me
* playing in the leaf pile is great fun
* I love to see the joy on my boys faces when I ask if they want to help with the leaves
* we have been doing some fun leaf crafts

Leaf prints

Ironing leaves (didn't work I need help)

Leaf painting

Leaf crown

What are you doing with all your leaves?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

30 Days to Hands on PLay: Sensory Play

My boys and I have been playing a lot with the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge.  Some days the boys aren't into the particular activity that I set up but we go with the flow and spend some quality time together.  Each day there is a new prompts to challenge parents to get involved for at leas 15min of un-inturrupted play with their kids.  I do encourage everyone to check it out the Imagination Tree and Hands On: As we grow.  You can also follow discussions on the Play Network.

The little dump truck and an excavator joined the fun.

TJ made me "many delicious treats"

Our sensory bin

I made 2 bins so that each boy could play without fighting.  They traded bins part way through by moving around on their own.  I basically opened my craft drawers an emptied out all the containers.

* cotton balls
* pom poms
* buttons
* pipe cleaners
* pasta
* rice
* jingle bells
* milk caps (we have a set with the alphabet an numbers)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Fun random crafts

On days when we aren't sure what to do, I open up our craft draw and get everything out.
MJ filling the tape roll with pompoms

TJ enjoying the stamp markers

MJ emptying all the pompoms out!

Robot TJ (that is what he calls it when he has marker lids on his fingers)

Egg carton googles

coffee filter flowers
Robot waving good-bye