Friday, July 2, 2010

Fourth of July art

Are you enjoying your summer so far? Can you believe it's already July?! Yeah, me neither. But we are enjoying GORGEOUS weather, and are particularly appreciating it after having a lot of rain last month. The good news was that I didn't have to water the garden, right? :)

I love Independence Day. I love the picnics, the barbecues, the parades, the carnivals, the fireworks, the desserts, the colors... everything "Americana" to me. I wanted to stop in our seasonally neglected blog to briefly share an easy activity we did to celebrate! There's a couple of different ways to go about this project, so I'll share what I had planned out, and maybe one of them will appeal to you... or all of them!

Remember the red and blue paint I mixed up for Dr. Seuss' One Fish, Two Fish project a few months ago?

Check to see that the lid secure and give it a little shake if you haven't used it for a while (like we hadn't). It tends to separate a bit as it settles. Also, grab a paintbrush or two!

Option #1:

You will need:
  • Paper or cardstock
  • Star stickers
Option #2:

You will need:
  • Paper or cardstock
  • Masking tape
Option #3:

You will need:
  • Paper or cardstock
  • Star cookie cutter
  • Plastic (or even better, disposable) plate or tray

Give your child a sheet of star stickers (is it just me, or does everyone have these lying around somewhere?) and let them go to town on a big sheet of paper. We used cardstock because I have a mountain of it, and I like that it holds up during painting projects a little better.

Meanwhile, use the masking tape to make star shapes on another sheet of paper. One of these I did freehand, and I used the star cookie cutter as a guide for the next one. Both ways were pretty easy!

Use your red and blue paints (which inevitably become various shades of purple on some parts of the paper), and paint away! You can remove the star stickers when it dries, but we chose to leave ours on.

This was a great outside activity for this Step 2 easel I found at a garage sale a few weeks ago for... one dollar! Woohoo!

Let dry and remove the masking tape and/or star stickers... it's up to you! My two-and-a-half year old had a fabulous time with this, and I loved watching her and taking pictures! I also love when I can give her a project that she can do somewhat independently, because that allows me a few minutes to clean up dishes, start some laundry... or just enjoy a few minutes of quiet! :) I don't remember for sure, but I would guess she spent at least thirty minutes, just concentrating on her artwork. She ended up having no interest in the last option (using the star cookie cutter as a stamp), so we skipped that one. Maybe we'll do that another day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Signing off for the summer!

I really haven't intended to neglect blogging, but it's just sort of happened with all the other summer activities that are in full swing! We've been enjoying spending a lot of time outside just about every day, swinging, sliding, playing in the kiddie pool, riding bikes and driving Cozy Coupes, drawing with sidewalk chalk, playing in the sand and water table (we got a real one!), going on walks, planting a garden, visiting with family, making plans for a couple long weekend trips, going crazy with having a garage sale (and then getting rained out...), and all the things that this time of year brings. Quite honestly, I'd much rather be doing all those (mostly) fun activities with my family than be sitting at the computer! :)

I'm hoping to pop in once in a while over the summer, so hopefully you will check back for those at a later time. I've had an idea in my head for months for a MESSY project that will involve the $1 Step 2 easel I just bought for my daughter at a sale last weekend... one dollar! :)

I'm planning to be back on a more regular basis in the fall, especially as I'd like to start a bit of pre-preschool with my girl. :) We'll see!!!

Have a fabulous, fun, FAMILY summer, everyone! And make sure to close the laptop or switch off the television, and get outside!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Weekly Read Wednesday: Harry's Box

What's that? It's Wednesday already? I guess that's what happens when you have an extra weekend day... the rest of the week just sort of sneaks by you. Today is already starting out weird. My daughter is still asleep at 10:00 a.m. (?!?), and I turned the coffee maker on without adding any water. It's going to be that kind of day, isn't it?

Well, now that I've established that it is, in fact, Wednesday, let me share an adorable find from the library: Harry's Box by Angela McAllister.

The book begins when Harry and his mother return home from the store, and she gives him the empty box to play with. Kids and boxes, right?

Harry, like all children, has quite the imagination! He puts the box in the kitchen and it becomes a shop selling all kinds of treats and goodies.

His dog is his playmate throughout the book, and Harry finds a role for him to play in each new imaginary set-up.

My favorite part of the book is seeing how imaginative Harry's creations are in his mind...

...and then seeing a picture of what was really taking place. I love it!

The book ends as Harry and his dog dream up all the box creations they can come up with next. I love the pictures in this book and the emphasis on using your imagination! It's such a cute, simple story, and I'm glad we picked it up at the library this week!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Imaginary play

Last week, I got out an old Little Tikes train set for my daughter to play with. It used to belong to my husband when he was little, and we came across it in my in-laws' attic recently. Now, certainly we have PLENTY of toys around these parts, but there's just something fun about bringing out something NEW (or new to her!) to play with for a while. This gives me a great chance to do some rotating of toys and put away things that she hasn't touched for a while. I can store the items in a Rubbermaid box that I think she'll likely come back to at some point, and box up the things she's grown out of to send to the attic (until we decide what the heck we're doing -- or IF we're doing -- about #2 :).

After a little washing, the train set was good as new and ready for another child... only 25 or so years after the last one. :) She played with it ALL afternoon, taking a break only for lunch and naptime. Woohoo!

Don't you just love to watch and listen to your children playing independently? Their imaginations are just hysterical! These two fellas in the train car were put there by my girl, facing each other, because "they're just talkin'." LOVE IT! :)

What are your child's favorite play activities? What funny things have you overheard your little ones saying as they make-believe?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weekly Read Wednesday: Every Year On Your Birthday

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis holds special meaning for me. It's on a high shelf in my daughter's room, only pulled down once in a while. So when I saw Every Year On Your Birthday by the same author in a bookstore a few months ago, I knew I had to read it.

For those who are not aware, I'm an adoptive mother. My daughter was not adopted internationally, as the author's daughter was, but there are still so many of the same themes in her books of the thoughts and feelings you might have as an adoptive family.

In Every Year On Your Birthday, the author remembers each of her daughter's first five birthdays, and recalls the special events that happened on each of those days.

In between, she mixes in "flashbacks" almost of where her daughter came from, what her heritage is, and the hopes she has for her daughter's first family.

As in Crazy Cakes, the last page could easily make me cry. Mom and daughter think about her first family. As a mommy through adoption, I so want my daughter to know that it's okay and good and normal to wonder about her heritage, and that it's a "safe" topic in this house. I don't ever want her to feel like she can't ask a question she has, and while hers is an open adoption, there will still be questions someday as she makes sense of everything in her own mind. I hope that reading books such as these, and just making the topic available to her, will help set the tone for future conversations, and let her know that we as her parents love her exactly the way she is, no matter what.

Monday, May 24, 2010

DIY Bible storybook

My husband had to be out of the house one evening last week, and at the end of a long day, I was a little tired and running out of ideas to entertain our daughter for the hour or so before bedtime. About three seconds after Daddy left, she was asking me to paint. And, I should mention -- she'd already had her bath, so MESSY painting was not an option. :) I tried to coax her into doing some coloring, even with stickers, but nope! It had to be painting! Here's what we came up with on the fly:

You will need:

I gave her one picture at a time, in order, and let her paint away.

What was really neat about choosing a meaningful topic (i.e., a Biblical account of creation, in this instance) was that we could discuss what each page was about. We talked about all the things that God made, and she (being the parrot of a two-year-old that she is) repeated everything. I love these little opportunities to sow seeds of truth into her mind!

I realize this picture has nothing to do with her craft, but I couldn't help adding this cuteness in! This is her little security blanket that she's long been attached to, and she kept it right next to her the whole time. So sweet... and I'm pretty sure I might cry one day to look back on the little details like this.

When your child's pictures are dry, staple them all together to make a "book." You could also punch holes in the side and thread yarn through. I considered cutting out the picture and text to glue them all onto colorful pieces of construction paper, but realistically, I know this isn't the most durable of "books," so we went for the option of conserving our resources. :) If your child creates something that you really want to save, it might not be a bad idea to have the pages laminated, or seal them onto some cardstock with clear contact paper.

The last step... read the story with your child! :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Okay, obviously there's no "weekly read" posted today... sorry about that! Just a few "extras" on this list this week (and coming up) that are keeping me busy! If my daughter is "too busy for TV," then Mommy has been/needs to be "too busy for the computer." :)

I'm hoping to get back into posting again next week, so thanks for checking back soon! :)