Thursday, May 31, 2012

Paper Plate Sunshine Project

I love making projects with paper plates! Sometimes Molly (5) just likes to color on them. Ben (2) likes to stack them. Here is a super fast and easy summer project to make with your kids using - what else - paper plates!

Color a paper plate yellow (or use a yellow party one, like we did). Cut out several 1 inch by 6 inch strips of yellow construction paper. This could be good practice for your child to use their scissors... or you could use those fun scissors that cut neat shapes like zig zags... or you could just use a paper cutter and bust 'em out real quick like I did.

Glue several strips to the back of the paper plate to make the rays and have your child draw a smiley face on the front. Molly drew a small face (pictured) for Ben's since he's too little draw his own smiley face. She said it was so little because he's the LITTLE BROTHER!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bottle Cap Sunshine Magnets

I had my birthday recently and got some great new craft stuff from my mom! One new thing I received was "Mod Podge Dimensional Magic" and I couldn't wait to use it! I came up with a new project to make with it, going along with our "Summer Sunshine" theme for the week: Bottle Cap Sunshine Magnets!

Here's what you'll need:

wooden craft sticks
clean bottle cap
yellow paint
yellow construction paper
magnetic strip
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic!

The first step for our magnets was to paint some craft sticks with yellow washable paint. You'll need three sticks per magnet.

While those are drying, trace around the bottle caps onto yellow construction paper and cut out those circles. I had Molly (5) draw a little smiley face on hers. Put a dab of glue in the bottle cap and press the yellow smiley faces down into them. Fill the bottle cap with the Mod Pod Dimensional Magic and allow everything to dry for several hours. At first the Mod Podge will look pretty solid but don't worry - you'll be able to see the design when it dries!

After it's dried, use glue or a hot glue gun (like me, the impatient one!); to create a start with your three yellow sticks. These will be the sun rays! Glue on your bottle cap right in the middle. Cut a magnetic strip to fit (if needed) and glue it to the back of the sunshine. Be sure you glue down the correct side of the magnet so it works! This little magnet looks so cute up on my fridge! I added Molly's name and "Summer 2012" to the back to make it a special keepsake!

Easy Sunshine Breakfast

A fun way to start the day is with a sunshine breakfast! I saw this idea in the November 2010 issue of Family Fun Magazine and have kept it in the back of my mind until now. Simply spoon a round pile of scrambled eggs in the middle of your child's plate (I used yellow food coloring and cheese in mine to make them super bright and yummy). Surround the eggs with toast cut into triangles.Voila! Sunshine Breakfast!

 I know it sounds even too easy to blog about but I have to share the following: Molly (5) has turned down scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast over and over these past several weeks. Finally I fixed this for breakfast and she loved it! My favorite part was when she actually asked for "more sunshine, please!" What a simple way to entice your kids to eat!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Themed Reading List

A special part of MOMS Camp is finding books and movies about our theme at the public library! Part of that is the visit to the library and the walk there. Part of it is having new books to read at bed time! Here's a few titles for this week's theme of Summer Sunshine!

 "Kitten's Summer" by Eugenie Fernandes is cute and fun to read. It's fun to find the kitten on each page; not to mention the beautiful artwork! It's so interesting - pictures made of clay and other mediums.

"One Summer Day" by Kim Lewis also has beautiful illustrations. The way she draws the little boy is so lifelike and true to the way a toddler moves! Anyway, this is a fun story to read my with son, Ben (2), because it's all about a little boy his age and what he does on one summer day.

"Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink" by Victoria Kann is a cute one to read with my daughter, Molly (5). It's especially meaningful since lemonade has become our official drink of the summer... considering Ben can say it perfectly and asks for it throughout the day!

Finally, "Bear Shadow" by Frank Asch is a great one to read when you start discussing how the sunshine makes shadows!

These are only a few of the books we've been reading and they're all great... "but you don't have to take my word for it!" (Please, someone tell me you know what that's from and that I'm not such a dork afterall! hahaha

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hand Print Sun Shine

School is out and summer vacation has officially started! That means it's time for MOMS Camp again! I came up with the idea for MOMS Camp last summer when Molly (5) was too young for most organized summer camps but I wanted her to have plenty of fun and not spend her summer sleeping in a being bored. (Yes, I believe kids of any age could sit around and be bored!!) I also wasn't sure how long my work schedule would last, keeping me home most of the day with my kids and I wanted to make the most of it! That's why MOMS Camp stands for Make Our Moments Special!!

MOMS Camp is broken down into weeks, each with its own theme. We do different crafts, games, outings, and have snacks based on that week's theme every day. I began planning this summer's MOMS Camp a couple months ago but I'm definitely not strict on how I run it! Basically I research several ideas, including books and movies, for each week and we just pick and choose which ones to do as the week goes on. There is no way we'll ever get through all the stuff I've come up with!

This past week  has been a "preview" to MOMS Camp. Our theme has been "Summer Sunshine!" I have had a blast finding new ideas for the summer on Pinterest and was dying to try out these hand print suns! We used washable finger paints on blue construction paper for ours. Cover your child's palm in orange paint, and their fingers in yellow, blending the two colors or a cool fading effect. Make five hand prints (reloading up with paint every one or two) in a full circle creating your sun! Molly and Ben (2) each made one. After they were dry, I wrote "You Are My Sunshine" just like the original one I found online from The Polka Dot Pavilion.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cardboard Tube Flowers

I love finding new crafts to make with toilet paper tubes! I found a really unique one in the March 2012 issue of Family Fun Magazine that we had to try because it was flowers and matched our theme! The original craft in the magazine was called "Cosmic Cosmos" and you're actually supposed to paint your toilet paper tubes first, but we skipped that step.  Instead we jumped right in with the scissors (actually there was no jumping involved - that would be very dangerous...)

First, cut strips all around both edges of the toilet paper tube, leaving about an inch long strip in the middle.  To help us measure and to give Molly (5) a line to guide off of, I drew two lines around the middle so we knew how far to cut.  I was worried the cardboard tube would be too hard for Molly to cut through, but she did just fine with her little scissors!

After all the slits are cut, fold them all up at 90 degree angles and color them with markers to make your petals.  To make leaves, squish a second toilet paper tube so it creates two creases, then cut it into six or so pieces.  Color these green... or paint them green ahead of time.

Fill the center hole with wadded up tissue paper in a fun color of your choice. Wadding up the tissue paper was a particularly fun step for Molly! Poke a small hole in one side of your flower (in the middle section, between slits) to insert a wooden dowel for the stem. You might want to dab a little glue (or even hot glue like I did) on the top inch or so of the dowel so it doesn't slide around. Finally, glue the leaves on your "stem". I used hot glue to make the job faster and easier.

These make a great decoration to display in a flower pot filled with glass stones or colored sand. I am using them to decorate our holiday tree by just sticking them in the branches and also in a basket filled with a plastic leaf garland. I had so many more ideas of flower crafts to make but now that summer is upon us, I'll be moving on to different weekly themes in my 2nd annual MOMS Camp!! Can't wait!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Apple Slice Flowers

I discovered a quick and easy way to serve apples - as flowers! What a fun new way for my kids to eat a healthy snack!

First I cut off  four large sections, avoiding the core. Then I cut each piece into several skinny slices.  You might have to flatten out the edges of some pieces so they'll fit nicely together with another piece. Arrange your slices to create petals and add a round piece of apple in the middle! You could also put a dab of fruit dip or peanut butter in the middle to complete your flower, too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Decoupage Stepping Stool

If you know me, you know I love garage sales! I'm always looking for something... and finding plenty of items I didn't know I was looking for in the first place!! Once such find a couple weeks ago was a great stepping stool for my son, Ben (2)! It's got two steps on it so it's higher than the one we already have in our bathroom AND it has a drawer for storage!! I checked it for sturdiness and luckily it passed the test! Unluckily, it wasn't in the prettiest of shape: splattered pink spots and some old stickers!

Right away I knew I wanted to redecorate it so it would look nicer and be more appropriate for my little boy. It took me a few days to decide how exactly I wanted to do it though! Stencils? Paint? Tape? The answer I decided on was decoupage!! After spending some time cutting out pictures of things Ben likes from magazines, I decided that was too much work... that, and I didn't have enough magazines!! So I settled on using scrapbook paper instead!

First I collected 10 sheets of coordinating scrapbook paper. You can often have good luck finding great deals on scrapbook paper at the Target dollar section! I used colors that were boy-appropriate and also matched my kitchen and/or bathroom decor. Basically that means for me it has to have green and gold in it because that's my color scheme throughout the whole house, aside from the kids' rooms!

Rip all of your paper into manageable sizes, with rough edges all around.  Molly (5) helped me with this part! We made our pieces an average of 3"x3".  Use decoupage glue to adhere them to your project.  First, paint on a layer of glue, then place on the paper. Cover it with another layer of the decoupage glue.  I worked in small sections so my glue wouldn't dry, and placed paper from all sides so it would overlap in different directions. The decoupage glue will create a water-barrier on top of the paper so when it's dry, your new step stool is ready to use! Ben has actually played in the sink every day since I finished his new stool - he loves it!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Foot Print Butterflies for Mothers Day

I guess I can't really help my own kids make a gift for Mother's Day, but I can help the babies I nanny make one or their mom! They are only 6 months old, after all...

I love making things with little hand prints and foot prints... especially with babies so I found a really cute idea on Pinterest to try! Use foot prints to make butterfly wings! I used Crayola washable finger paint to coat their feet so it washed off really easily.  Be sure to make the prints close to each other and ON OPPOSITE SIDES! Also make two dots using their thumbs above the foot prints; these will be the antenna. Once the paint is dry, draw in the butterfly's body and antenna with a marker.

This is such a cute project and such a good keepsake of their little foot prints! Not to mention, foot prints are much easier to make than a baby's hand print since they always ball them into fists!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kid Of The Day

This past week we started naming a "Kid Of The Day" and it's been a big hit! I came across this idea in the May 2012 issue of Family Fun Magazine, in an article by Becky Hayes.  I have tweaked the original idea a bit to better fit my kids' ages and our family's needs.  Here's how it works:

Every other day, one of my kids gets to be the Kid Of The Day! This means they get to pick what we watch on tv; whether we play inside or outside; what we eat for a snack; and other little decisions throughout the day.  They get to be my helper, like getting the mail with me and helping to prepare meals.  It's also a great way to solve simple arguments: like the Kid Of The Day might get the last red popsicle, or they might be the one to sit on my lap when we read books! Most importantly, the Kid Of The Day gets special one-on-one time with me!

To help us remember who is the Kid Of The Day, I made a little sign for our refrigerator.  Molly (5) loves being in charge of switching it each day.  She's really into the whole thing! She even wakes up in the morning and the first thing she talks about is who is the Kid Of The Day!

Anyway... I made the sign out of two mattes from some frames I got. Of course you can just cut your own but I happened to have some so it was easy! I used scrapbook paper and photos to complete each side and taped a loop of ribbon on the back of one for hanging. Finally I glued the two signs together to create a double-sided Kid Of The Day fridge frame!

Molly (5) loves being the Kid Of The Day. Her little brother, Ben (2), may not quite understand the concept yet, but he loves the extra attention on his days! I love the fairness of giving each of my kids a special chance to make decisions and have individual time with me and I don't have to keep mental notes of who got what every time because the answer's on the fridge!