Happy Thanksgiving!

24 11 2011

Thanksgiving Place Cards

22 11 2011

After plenty of suggestions, the kids finally chose the place cards they wanted to make for Thanksgiving. Origami is simply irresistible to Seth. We didn’t use construction paper like the instructions suggest, but nifty origami paper that reminded me of wooden boards.

We now have an entire fleet, ready and waiting for Thanksgiving.

Here are some of the other options we considered:

April Fool’s Yellow

5 04 2011

Seth had been looking forward to April Fool’s Day for some time, dreaming of the day he cold play a prank on someone. Preferably this joke would be played on his father. So we quietly planned how best to get his papa.

A friend of mine had got me a subscription to Family Fun magazine, saying it made her think of me. And although it’s disney, I know what she means. It’s a fun magazine full of projects that are easily executable. When this mag comes I usually have to patiently wait for Seth to go through it and then I get my turn. When I saw this “sponge cake” prank in the last issue I knew it would be perfect.

Here I give you my yellow for Poppytalk’s Spring Colour Week:

Yep, that’s really a sponge under that chocolate icing! We made a real cake too. It would have been suspicious had we just given him a piece of cake only. We hid a real piece of cake for him and handed out the other plates – real cake for me and the kids, sponge cake for Papa. As Steve tried his best to cut a bite off with his fork you could see the wheels turning – what’s going on? they really messed up the cake, I wonder if this is one of Seth’s own recipes (those usually taste like play dough btw). All the while he was trying to be polite and not let the kids know his concern. And although Eleanor almost gave away the surprise earlier in the day, they had held it together until that moment. They both fell on the floor laughing so hard that I couldn’t keep a straight face.

It was perfect!

Valentine Pencils

21 02 2011

Thought I’d get through all the valentine posts last week but I ran out of juice. I realize you are all probably over Valentines Day and wanting to move on, but I’m going to bore you with 2 more posts and then swear to do my projects earlier next year (you know, like I do every year).

These are the valentines Seth gave out to his classmates this year. Totally inspired by Erin over at House on Hill Road who in turn was inspired by Alissa at 24*7*365.

And although I think the suckers they used were totally cute and I believe candy and valentines day go hand in hand, I know I can count on other parents to supply plenty of treats. Therefore, we opted for pencils.

These photographs do not do them justice. But they were hard to photograph with the limited sun we’ve had around here. We printed the pics on card stock to keep the cost down and simply wrote on each one with a sharpie. Seth was a trooper and signed them all himself on the backside the day before the big day. In fact all of these projects were finished on the very last possible day.  Such is the way we roll.

Valentine Shells

16 02 2011

When I realized I didn’t have enough rocks for both preschool classes I did some quick brainstorming. It didn’t take long as every day I walk by a couple bags of seashells that have been sitting on our back porch since last summer’s vacation.

So I brought the bags in and let them thaw out in the bathtub as they were completely encrusted with ice and snow. I washed a few handfuls up and then started affixing hearts. Still totally inspired by red bird crafts, but a nice twist.

I may not have had enough of either the rocks or the shells for the preschool classes but I did have more than enough combined. So I let the kids each choose ones for their teachers as a special valentine. Seth chose the rocks, Eleanor the shells. They were both well received.

You Rock!

15 02 2011

OK, talk about an easy, fun and unique valentine. I found this idea from red bird crafts on The Crafty Crow. I’m helping out at a preschool this month and wanted to give the children a little token for Valentines Day. These were super speedy to whip up and turned out fabulous. I loved watching the children feel the smooth rock with the rough heart on them next to Kristin’s warm soft hearts.

I didn’t have enough rocks for both classes I’ve been helping out with so I’ll show you my spin off project from these tomorrow.

Valentine Beanbags!

14 02 2011

Raise your hand if you know I tend to go overboard at Valentine’s Day.

Ah, I see more than half of you with your hands up. As you may have guessed, this year was certainly no exception. We’ll see how much time I can find this week to show you all of our projects.

First up, I made a pile of bean bags out of left over felt from Seth’s halloween costume, an old grey t-shirt and a large bag of rice. I had everything on hand except the rice, which I found on sale – bonus! I would have preferred to have found some old sweaters to felt down or some lovely new wool felt to use, but time and money were not on my side so I made do.

Eleanor helped fill them with the rice. She and her brother also helped sweep up the rice after one rather large spill that happened when my back was turned. I just kept repeating in my head – practical life lesson, it’s ok, breath, practical life lesson….

In this pile, you can see one with the tag hand sewn on. It was the only one that had a tag by the time the sun was going down yesterday.  I purposefully sewed the hearts a little wonky twice around, but I’ll admit by the time I was on my 22nd one they were REALLY wonky.  I somehow doubt the 3 to 5 year olds will care though.

I suggested to Eleanor that she might want to write an E on the back of each card, but she would have none of it. She wanted to trace her full name on each and every card. The crazy part is she did it! Half last night and the rest this morning. We were a little late for school, but I wasn’t going to stop that concentration and persistence.  Even last year Seth didn’t make it through signing all his valentine’s and his name is so much shorter than hers. It was very unexpected. She even added a little sticker to each one.

I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Find someone to hug and slowly enjoy a good chocolate treat.

Valentine Garland

11 02 2011

Although I really wanted to make Jackie’s Valentine Bunting, I just didn’t have the type of string in my stash that I was envisioning in my head. When that happens, I’m just never satisfied with any other options.

Since I still wanted a garland to hang up and the kids were asking for a valentine’s day craft project I went a different route.

Turning toilet paper tube rolls into hearts is certainly not new, but it did fit my demands of the day. In fact, it turned out better than expected. The kids got to paint pink hearts, Eleanor got to do a bit of lacing with sparkly yarn and not a single person that has walked into my house could tell that we used toilet paper tubes until I told them.

Love these action shots of Eleanor concentrating so hard on her lacing. I think the close up makes it look like the needle was magically sewing by itself but it was jut a fluke that I caught it mid-air after she dropped the needle.

And while we were waiting for the paint to dry we made super yummy banana chocolate chip muffins. Seth thoroughly enjoyed mashing the bananas. We only made a half batch though and they were gone FAST. I plan on making another full batch for Monday morning.

Advent Calendar!

8 12 2010

Every year I become enchanted with all the beautiful – and often complex – advent calendars out on the net. In fact, I become rather obsessed. The closer christmas comes, the more disappointed I become with myself for not pulling it off. Logically, I know that’s silly. One simply CANNOT do everything. But this year I found myself once again dreaming of little envelopes or bags filled with activities and the occasional sweet. I figured I’m no longer employed outside the home, so why can’t I pull this off? And then boom! December was upon us and I decided to have a good old fashion sit down with myself on what is important and what I have time to do while still enjoying the season. Enjoyment being key as all the hard work in the world isn’t worth it if you’re not enjoying  yourself. So I came to terms with an advent calendar not being in our cards this year.

That very same day, Seth came home with a strong desire to make an advent calendar. Did he sense I had just tossed that possibility out the window? All I can tell you is that he was NOT going to take no for an answer. He started digging through the recycling bin and the basement, emphatically saying no to any of my suggestions that involved leaving the house to buy supplies, and he came up with a plan. His own plan. The best kind.

He found the base materials:

  • a flattened cardboard box
  • green construction paper
  • a flattened paperboard box (from a large box of crackers)
  • a box cutter (actually he asked for this one)
  • a self healing cut mat (I kid you not – his idea)

I filled in the gaps:

  • white duct tape
  • markers and colored pencils
  • a bone folder


  1. We cut the cardboard and paper board to the same rectangular size, roughly 11X24″
  2. Then we covered the cardboard with a few pieces of construction paper
  3. These 3 pieces would form our layers but before attaching them we had a little work to do. Although Seth didn’t think it necessary I wanted a little picture on the front. You know, something to gussy it up. I was thinking along the lines that Seth or myself could draw. A snowman or a christmas tree perhaps. But Seth, with his infinite wisdom, chose a cabin. After sketching out a few ideas on scratch paper I looked up at him and said “maybe we should wait until your dad gets home”. To which he replied “because he designs houses at work”. “Yeah.” “Good idea.” And so we did.

    And boy am I glad we did.
  4. Next I used a stencil to trace out 24 uniform window openings and cut out the 3 sides with a box cutter. I also scored the 4th side of the window using a bone folder to make the window open more easily.
  5. Steve numbered the boxes and filled in the image with snow and sky coloring
  6. Despite my worry that duct tape was no longer classy enough for this masterpiece I went ahead and used it to edge the piece and hold the top paperboard layer to the paper covered cardboard.

I’m adding messages only a day or two prior to the window being opened to prevent peaking as well as to give me the flexibility I need around the holidays. I’ve got a whole list to draw from so that if I don’t feel like making cookies with the kids the next day I can replace it with something like give someone a compliment instead. Gently as I can, I pull back the window being careful not to truly crease the board. Then I write a little suggested activity for the day. Here’s a sampling of my list:

  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Sing a christmas carol
  • Buy a christmas tree
  • Decorate the tree
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Go sledding
  • Give someone a hug
  • Make orange pomanders
  • Go for a drive in our pjs to see christmas lights
  • Watch Rudolf
  • Make someone smile today
  • Dance to christmas music
  • Drink hot cocoa

Granted, you can see the Cheese It box front when you open the windows. If we do it again maybe I’d glue down a backing paper or paint it. But really, it doesn’t hurt the overall effect and the kids don’t seem to notice once bit. The best part of this project? That it was a collaborative effort. In my opinion, the best holiday projects, are ones you do with someone else. The fact that it was based off my son’s idea and initiative only makes it that much better, giving him confidence and pride in the outcome.

Happy Thanksgiving!

23 11 2010

Seth has been keenly interested in assigned seating ever since starting kindergarten. Eleanor loves the ritual of setting out place cards at dinner daily. When I saw these by Alphamom on The Crafty Crow I couldn’t resist replacing the old dirty strips of paper the kids had been using. It was the perfect project for Seth’s last day home when he was sick last week. Too sick to go to school, not sick enough to just lay on the couch.We found all the materials in the recycle bin and the kids love them.


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