Friday, December 20, 2013

Ann's Play Dough Recipe

I mentioned Ann's great play dough recipe on Facebook today, and several people asked for it.

Here Everett is playing with the pink I made yesterday and the blue I made today. Slowly turning purple.

Image above should enlarge if you click on it.

The best thing about this recipe is her notes, tips for making the process quicker and easier (with fewer dishes).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Everett's 3rd Birthday: Bug Party!

It took a bit longer to post about Everett's bug party than I expected. But that's what happens when you add an infant to the mix, I guess. Moving on . . .

For Everett's 3rd birthday, we had a bug party!

Favors were a bug jar, net with a name tag, and a paper bag to hold everything. One of the activities was hunting for plastic bugs outside, and these tools were to aid the kids in their search.

I stenciled the bags and made the tags with scrapbooking items.

I was so amused by the food made by my mother, mother-in-law, and myself.

Butterfly pasta salad (made with farfalle pasta), Honeycomb . . .

Pupa peas, tortilla roll snails . . .

Beetle crackers (halved tomato and olive on a cracker with cream cheese), ants on a log . . .

Spider crackers (stick pretzels sticking out of crackers with cream cheese in between and pomegranate eyes), and spiced pecan cockroaches! So awesome.

Our decorations were balloon flowers and origami bugs (made by Brian).

Brian also had the idea to play the movie Microcosmos in the background. It was a great idea, although the bug sex was a bit awkward.

Everett helped by drawing on bunting triangles.

The kids hunted for bugs around our yard.

Better than a basket full of Easter eggs!

Everett asked for a chocolate cake with pink frosting. Perfect! I had wanted to make homemade strawberry frosting, and I decorated it with strawberry butterflies.

I also made butterfly cupcakes.

And you can't have a bug party without DIRT CAKE!!

Kids covered in dirt cake.

Our other genius activity was releasing lady bugs. I'll save you the sight of lady bugs all over the sidewalk, my father hurrying around to save them all.

John and Brian stunned by the number of bugs.

 Jerad and Miller release a lady bug. Action shot!

Our wonderful friend Anna was kind enough to lead the kids in spider web parachuting. I was ready to crash by this time.

One last shot. The birthday boy with his baby lady bug sister.

It was such a great time.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Christmas Shrinky Dinks

For Christmas this (last?) year, I looked and looked for an idea for a homemade gift project Everett could help me with but, when finished, would be something very nice and useful.

And I came across Shrinky Dinks!

Getting him to color on the plastic was sometimes easy and fun, sometimes super frustrating (I had to stop quick if we had a rough start). He's not drawn to art very much yet (sorry for the pun). So getting him to do this project was harder than it would be for parents of kids who love to draw. As you can see, you have to use Sharpie markers. He had my complete attention while using those things.

I tried drawing the shapes on first and having him color in the lines, but I actually preferred having him draw more free-form, spotting passages I liked in the drawing, and cutting the shapes from there. This might not fly with an older kid who has a vision, but it didn't bother Everett at all (he was 2.5 at the time).

He liked seeing the plastic shrink, but I think an older kid might get a much bigger kick out of it. I still think it's SO COOL!!

To finish them, I sanded the edges and the side that wasn't drawn on, if it had imperfections. Then, on the side with the color, I brushed on a layer of matte Mod Podge and finally sprayed two layers of DecoArt Triple Thick. I liked the way they looked after the spray, but they never dried as hard as I would have liked. I was imagining some sort of epoxy-like finish, but that didn't happen. You could see finger prints and nail marks. Very disappointing. If we do this again, I might try this product called Gel Du Soleil.

Finally, I added a ring, a bead, and whatever finding was required.

For my parents-in-law and my sister-in-law, we made wine glass charms.

All the grandparents (Brian's parents and my parents) got key chains.

Each set of grandparents got a Christmas tree ornament.

My mom got earrings and a necklace pendant (she wears more jewelry than anyone else in the family).

Another picture of my mom's gift.

And my sister-in-law got a pendant (below).

Overall, it was a really fun project. Everything turned out beautifully. And Everett was so proud of his work (and still is when he sees them at his grandparents' houses). I was pretty ambitious with the number of objects we made, but this was our main gift for all our immediate family. The sanding and wire twisting took longer than I imagined. But that's usually the case with my projects. If you're thinking about doing this, I'd suggest trying it with older children and only aiming for a few finished pieces.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shower Flowers

My wonderful mother-in-law and best friend Rachel planned and orchestrated our lovely shower for Lydia. But they did ask me to do one thing. Rachel had seen tissue paper flowers at another party and thought they would be a nice addition to the shower, and something I'd be excited to make. She was right! 

This was the invitation (this isn't ours, obviously, it's taken from the Tiny Prints website). I tried to match the colors. I thought it was interesting to have some punches of black at a baby shower, especially for a girl!

This is the blog I got the most inspiration from. She made her flowers to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, which I think is fun. When I was making them I was thinking "a dash baby shower, a dash fiesta."

My biggest deviation from her instructions, I thought they looked better with more than 6 sheets (as many as could still be stapled). Also, I experimented a lot with cutting the ends either curved or pointy to make petals. Those are some of my favorite. The ombre look is good too.

A slightly closer view of the flowers at the front door.

My dad took some fun, Georgia O'Keeffe-esque pictures of the flowers.

They're very light, so they're easy to hang with a piece of tape, as long as you find a good surface to attach them to.

My favorite photo from the day. Looks like there's light coming from the gift. We didn't have our nice camera yet, unfortunately. I'm excited to post some blogs from after the camera entered our life.

The flowers are also great because they store pretty easily. My mother-in-law just threw them all into a couple big garbage bags and put them in her basement. I borrowed them back to use at Everett's third birthday. I just had to fluff them up a bit and they were good as new!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Puppet Party!

Over a year ago, I posted about making the invitations to Everett's 2nd birthday party. Well, I guess I should finally blog about it! I got a little sidetracked from blogging when I got pregnant with our daughter. I was actually pregnant during this party. I just didn't know it yet.

Ok, so last year, Everett had a puppet party!

It was such a fun event with family, friends, and food (and some puppets thrown in).

Of course, we had to have a puppet stage. We used the plans from this website to make it. And I'm still amazed we found that awesome material at my parents' church rummage sale! My mom volunteered to do the sewing, which was wonderful of her.

So one of our activities was putting on puppet shows. Here is my dad. He's actually a member of the puppet troupe at our local zoo!

Another activity was making puppets out of paper bags. These doubled as favors, since I'm not big into favors and neither are most of our friends.

 Of course, we had to try the puppets in the puppet stage!

Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, and the kids played outside a lot.

 They played in the water table.

The aspect of the party I spent the most time on was the food, no question. By the way, I made the letters out of scrapbook paper and simply taped them to a length of yard.

All the food looked like animals or faces, and most things were on sticks. We had olive penguins, mini happy face pizzas on sticks, bread stick snakes wrapped around sticks, mozzarella balls made to look like chicks with tomatoes . . . on sticks. Puppet food!

Check out my Pinterest board for sources! 

Of course, I had to make cake pops! They're like cake puppets!! But they were so hard to make and so so so ugly. I will never make them again.

But they were tasty!

It was a fun party! And I hope it inspires somebody someday.

I can't believe this was over a year ago, and my baby boy is already THREE! I'll blog about his third birthday next!