Saturday, 25 February 2012

Melted Crayon Art

I have seen this idea floating around on the blogosphere for a while now.  All you need to do is a google search for melted crayon art and you'll see tones of inspiring ideas.  It is a very simple craft which only cost about $2 using supplies from the dollar store.

Sorry for the half dressed boys in the photos.  It is a rare occasion to have them fully dressed these days.  They always come up with some excuse to get undressed.

First I let TJ choose the crayons he wanted while I glued them in order to the canvas.  I used a glue gun.
TJ concentrating on the order of his crayons
MJ coloured with his crayons as he wasn't interested in our craft
Next we places the canvas in a small tray to catch the drips and turned on the hair dryer. It took a bit of experimenting with the settings to get it to melt. Be patient and be sure to point the hair dryer down so as not to get big splatters.
Starting to melt
Once finished TJ confascated the dryer to experiemnt with.  He discovered he could shoot different objects down the hall.  Lots of fun for all!
MJ started to play dress-up

Monday, 20 February 2012

Quick Tip: using pureed veggies

Like most parents, I am always trying to encourage my boys to eat more vegetables.  TJ is often willing to at least try new food and enjoys cucumber, carrots, corn and bell peppers. I know that isn't to varied but he's expanding his variety as we go.  MJ on the other hand won't touch a vegetable even when he is hungry.  I have never been able to spoon feed him and he has refused veggies since he first started eating.

My solution is to include purees into as much as possible.  There are many great cookbooks about sneaking vegetables into food.  The most common veggies I use are carrots, sweet potato, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, cauliflower.  I also sneak ground flax into everything too.

Some uses for purees:
Smoothies - I've used spinach, sweet potato, or carrots depending on what I have on hand.
Popsicles - Whenever we make a smoothie I make extra to freeze for popsicles.
Muffins - again use what you have, we often freeze left over smoothies and use that too.
Cookies - same as muffins just add to the mix or replace some of the liquid ingredients.
Pizza sauce - my boys always pick off the toppings so I pureed everything into the sauce.
Pasta sauce - my sauce is packed with veggies, some finely chopped and some pureed.
Potatoes - I sometimes add cauliflower to mashed potato.
Loaves - we like zucchini or carrot.  I also add some in my bread machine loaves too.

To make my purees I most often steam my vegetables in a large steamer (a wedding gift from years ago).  I then use either my food processor or blender for large batches or my hand blender for smaller amounts. I try to store my purees in Baby Cubes for quick access and smaller amounts.  If I am planing a soup or loaf I'll use 1 cup servings in freezer bags.

These are the most common places I sneak in some extra veggies.
I'd love to hear your suggestions and recipes!!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Bird feeders

While on a recent trip to the Dollar store I picked up a bag of bird seed.  Our winter has been unusually mild and we have enjoyed a bit more time outside.  We have made some yummy treats for the animals before (see here), so I thought we could make something with the seeds.

We spread Sun Butter (MJ is allergic to peanut butter) on some pinecones and a toilet roll.  Then the boys rolled them in bird seeds.  We finished them off with some yarn.
TJ also wanted to make a bird feeder so we cut a hole in a box and filled it with seeds.
Within one day the pine cones and roll disappeared off the tree.  Only a small piece of yarn was left.  The feeder hasn't been touched after a week.  I know it was squirrels who enjoyed the seeds and they just can't get into our feeder.
A few days later I made a sensory bin with the left over seeds for the boys to play with outside.  I didn't mind at all when they scattered the bird seed on the yard because the squirrels came and cleaned up afterwards!

This activity allowed both boys to play.  TJ (almost 4) could spread the Sun Butter on his own, while MJ (19months) enjoyed rolling things in the seeds.  He needed more supervision with the sensory bin too.  It was so cute to see him excited about the squirrels (which he thinks are cats).

This post is linked up to Its Play Time over at The Imagination Tree

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines Day

I am so full of love today.
I love God
I love my family
I love my husband
I love my boys
Our yummy cooies
I also love these cookies we made for Valentines.  Check out this recipe from I am Momma Hear Me Roar. Both boys had fun scooping the ingredients.  TJ was out at the part store with daddy while MJ and I rolled out the cookies.  He had a great time with the dough for a while.  Once he started to eat the dough I got out our play dough things for him to enjoy.  We had a nice quiet time together.

Later in the afternoon TJ used edible food markers to decorate some of the cookies to make sandwiches.  We took some of these delicious treats to my parents for a Valentine party on Saturday.
TJ decorating cookies (yes he still has the pacifier)
This past week we also made our own valentine cards.  Just decorated simple heart shapes with stickers and stamps.  We used glitter paint to decorate more hearts to stick up around the house.
TJ carried around his Valentine from cousin Elodie all day
Next year I want to try this new tradition: Write a bible verse about love on a heart shape. Each night from February 1-14 pull out one heart, read it and post it somewhere special.

For breakfast today we are eating sweet potato pancakes.  The recipe is from Taste of Home magazine.  I cut them out with heart cookie cutters.  And I saved some special big heart cookies for dinner tonight.

How are you celebrating Valentines?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Petal Skirt

I was sorting through a box of material and came across a stack of organza like material.

I knew I wanted to make a dress-up skirt out of them.  I decided to make petal shapes so we could be flowers or something.
I simply cut out a lot of petals and overlapped them a little.  I made 2 strips of petals that were layered and sewn together.  Next I found some wide elastic and sewed the petals on.

I still have enough material to make a blue/white one.

What dress up clothes are your kids' favourites?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Ivory Soap Explosion!

I know that this idea has been floating around the blogosphere recently.  So of course I had to try it out!
If you have not heard about it PLEASE do give it a try.

Simply slice of a piece of an Ivory soap bar (only works with Ivory and here is why).  Place the soap on a ceramic plate and microwave for about 2min.  Watch the soap expand it is super neat.  The soap is a bit hot when you remove it but it does cool quickly.

Sorry no pictures we were having tooo much fun at the time.  My niece and my mom came for a visit.

It is fun to predict with kids what will happen and to talk about textures. Our boys loved the results and had the best bath ever!  TJ was fully describing the soap textures and what was happening in the bath that night.  The only down side is the large about of soap residue left in the bath later.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Fairy Houses

I know I am getting quite behind in my blog posts.  I just looked at the pictures I down loaded today and some are from a few weeks ago.  My only excuse is that I am busy being a mom and playing with my kids!
The weather this winter has been rather mild and the boys have loved being outside without freezing too much.  TJ has taken to exploring the property and is also into digging (we are going to have to seed the lawn in the spring!).  In an effort to head him off before he grabbed his shovel again, I suggested he play with the large pile of river rocks across the lane.

MJ wanted to help carry rock too.  He took his pile to the sand box.
I came back to see him carrying the stones one at a time back to the front lawn.  Being the helpful mommy that I am, I handed him a bucket so he could carry more.  When I asked what he was doing, we noticed that his pile looked like a Pountie house (fairies) from a story he had heard. Okay forgive me here because I have no idea how to spell.
TJ's fairy house
TJ got all excited and began to gather some fir boughs because Pounties like needles not bark for their roof.  He set to work for a long time talking about his fairy house and the Martin and Sylvia story he likes to listen to.

So what is the story?  We first heard of Sparkle Stories from another blog.  I discovered there was a free story you could download called "The Goose Pond".  We must have listened to this story dozens of times now.  They are subscription stories that you can download and keep and are about different topics. I would love to get the boys a subscription to At home with Martain and Sylvia so TJ can hear more, (Hint Hint), but it is not in my budget at the moment.

After a while we all went over the the wood pile to play.  MJ couldn't get enough of climbing and jumping.  He obviously needed my full attention and help for that so I couldn't get a picture of him playing.  TJ on the other hand found a nice cozy spot to sit and fish.  He caught many fish for me with that skipping rope he found in the shed.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Treasured Moments

Last night as I drifted off to sleep I was thinking about all the small things I cherish about my family.  There are small moments in the days that I try to treasure in my heart.
I was reminded of Luke 2:19 
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

I can honestly say that at 4am as I write this I am not treasuring this!  MJ has always had trouble staying asleep but it is not every night.  Every so often he'll wake in the night and just decide to be awake.  He must be the most unconsolable child alive because we have never been able to sooth him back to sleep.  When he was really little we'd use the swing.  As he got a bit earlier he'd come an share my bed.  It would take over an hour and more than one bottle but I could get him to sleep.  Since he started walking it's been impossible to get him back to sleep in the night.  We now have to be up for about 4hours and then try again.  Needless to say it is getting really frustrating especially since we never know which night he'll decide to wake up at random.  Tonight Jon went to bed at 2am and MJ woke at 3am, Jon has to go to work really early too.  At the moment he is emptying my craft drawers onto the floor as I write because we've decided not to let him watch any movies at night as we have in the past (4hours is a long time to be up and quiet). I'm going to try the 90min sleep cycle idea (not too hopeful at this point).

Okay it is now 8am and we did get to sleep finally.  I tried MJ around 4:30am and he tried but then poped up and actually climbed out of the playpen I had him in.  I tried again and he freaked out and screamed a lot.  Then I put him in my bed and he fell asleep on me (I couldn't move but we did get some rest). But I wasn't planing to write about MJ so please forgive me for complaining.  Any suggestions or encouragement would be nice. I was going to delete the first part of this post but then I decided to keep it.

Think positive.....

*I am blessed that I can help my little one sleep.

*I the feeling of a sleeping child next to me and listening to their peaceful breathing.

*Observing the boys as they play is always a treasure.  They are both at different stages and it is neat to see what they are thinking.  MJ loves to connect trains and tracks together.  He is so intentional about it too.  MJ is also really into pouring liquids into different containers.  TJ is mixed between reality and imagination.  His toys can talk if you squeeze them and make them talk, but at the same time his car mat is just roads and glued on flat buildings.

*The other day we had a tone of snow. Jon got out the snowblower which was thrilling for the kids. I wish I had a camera to remember Daddy pushing the snowblower down the lane, TJ following close behind with a paint roller on a pole and little MJ chasing after them with a kids snow shovel.
TJ loves to eat snow
* TJ just got a new bike from Nanny.  He is so proud of himself for riding all the way to the park.  He is determined to to it all himself, hills and all.

*My boys and I bake every week.  I love to remember how they have progressed from watching, to holding a spoon, to scooping and now measuring.  TJ is interested in trying to actually measure while MJ is into digging and scooping the flour.  We managed to make muffins, icing and dinner all while having fun (usually mommy stresses about the mess).  I'm relaxing more each time and remembering that it is the process not the product that is important.
Boys made a concoction with bread crumbs
*Snow.  It is peaceful to look at and so much fun for the boys.
* smiles!  need I say more

*Random hugs (TJ runs up singing hug-a-bug-a-bug).  I love my snuggly guys
MJ's smiles are particularly mischievous
*Quiet mornings with TJ.  Often MJ is the first up but for a few times last week TJ woke up earlier and came into my bed with me to snuggle.

* Lighting a candle and having to sing "Happy Birthday" to each boy every time we eat a cupcake at home.
Our healthy muffins with icing
*Watching the boys help each other without prompting.  This is so special because I feel like finally something we are trying to demonstrate and teach them is sinking in. It isn't too often at this point because of their ages, personality and such but it is nice when they do try to play together.

So although I am very tired today I am also extremely blessed.  My boys are teaching me so much.  I have changed since becoming a mother and I want to thank them a million times over for that!

This post is linked to the MOB Society.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Fabric Snack Bags

As many of you know we have slowly become a more eco-friendly family. I while back I wrote about our cloth napkins and diaper wipes.
material is from Ikea kids collection
I came across the idea for fabric snack bags on Etsy.  Since we often take dry cereals and cookies for snacks it is perfect for us.

fabric for outside (could be almost anything)
fabric for inside (ideally unbleached muslin, but I used a white bed sheet)
sewing notions

How to
Measure a sandwich baggie
Cut your main fabric and lining slightly bigger than the sandwich bag to account for seams.
Sew the velcro to the top side of your lining.  Don't put the velcro right at the top, space it down a little.
Sew around 3 sides of the lining and main fabric.  Be sure to leave a small opening in the bottom of the lining!
With right sides together, sew the lining to the main fabric.
Turn right side out
Sew around the top edge of the bag for a finished look
Hand sew the opening in the lining.

I want to get some unbleached muslin to make our bags safer for food.  I also want to try making a bag without the velcro (you know like the older style of sandwich bags).