Saturday, June 28, 2014

Guess Who Is One - A Sunshine Birthday

How can these sweet squishy babies go from doing nothing to getting into everything in a blink of an eye?  June turned one on the 19th and here's the cake to prove it.

We sent out these adorable invites.

This was the first time I purchased invites, but in all honesty her birthday kind of creeped up on me.  Maybe that happens when you're number 4?  

Decorations Part 1

Thrifted frame, spray painted, and chalk paint over the glass

Mini chalkboards $1 Michael's 
Happy dahlia 

Invites - Sweet Gumdrop Creations on Etsy
First birthday chalkboard - CustomChalkPosters on Etsy

More inspiration for your little sunshine to come!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Balls Everywhere!

All of my kids have been wild about balls.  And really what isn't there to like about a basket full of balls with different textures, colors, and some sparkle?  This month June's Treasure Basket is balls. 

After three kids we have a lot of balls and since she loves to dig through big baskets, I moved her things to a larger basket where she could not only riffle through balls, but stand.  To be a nearly one year old!

As a reminder of how fast time passes, here is Ladybug with the same balls at 9 months. How does this happen?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thank You and Thanks - End of the Year Teacher Gift

When you bring home that sweet newborn the days seem so long and if you're my kiddos, then they make sure the nights are long, too.  This is girl.  This Wee One, or Cheese as we call her at home, had a big year.  She became a big sister, started preschool, and moved.  That's a lot of stress for a three-year old, so it's no surprise she will act like a threeager  every so often.
Her teacher and teacher aid were so amazing and provided stability during all of those transitions, so I wanted to do a little something. 

This is literally a little something.  Thanks to the popularity of fairy gardens, my local greenhouse is stocked with miniature plants and miniature pots. 
To make my life even easier, the nursery put them in these adorable boxes.
Plant - $1.99
Pot - $2.99
Thank You Flag - Free made at home
This teacher gift isn't cutting edge, but the it's cute and inexpensive. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Discovering Great Artists - Book Review

Have you ever spent hours hours pouring through a website trying to decide which product would be the best bet?  No, then consider yourself lucky.   If you're like me, then I'm pretty sure I've spent a cumulative of months looking at products only to do the cart dance - in the cart, out of the cart, in the cart, and back out.  My most recent cart dance involved picking an art book.  I needed one that gave background, covered many styles, and had activities. 


Discovering Great Artists

The book is easy to use and comprehensive.  There are icons to help you plan your time and materials.

The activities are fun and my kiddos have loved every thing we've done.

The only downfall and it's a big one for an art book is that it's not in color.  My husband said, "An art book not in color? "  I knew the book wasn't in color, but I thought it wouldn't bother me.  It does.  I get it that it's an instruction book, but Ladybug reads it and wants to do every activity she sees. She would get more out of the book if it was in color or better yet a set of postcards of some of the art. 

This is not a pass, but rather makes a good part of a collection of art books for kids.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Best of the Best - Little People

When you have a lot of kids, or maybe it's just having a kid, you have a lot of toys.  Unfortunately so many of those toys are cheap junk.  They break, have limited entertainment value, and will end up in landfills in less than a year. The thought makes my eye twitch and so I try to be selective in what we own.  Looking at our playroom, I may have failed. 

Now for the good - Little People.  Yes, they are plastic and probably leach BPA or some para-something into my kids, but the toys are sturdy, interesting, and have open-ended play.  I introduced June to Little People recently.  I started out with the farm and showed her how to put the animals into the silo and then retrieve them. 

The set-up.  I showed her the animals, the silo, and how to put them in.  The basket lasted a few seconds and ended up across the room.

It goes in.

It took a few tries to get the animal in. 

It comes out.

June came back to this activity a few times and each time she was a little better at putting the animals in the silo.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Artist Study - Pablo Picasso

What art study would be complete without a week of Pablo Picasso?  This was an easy and quick introduction to colors, moods, and The Blue Period.

We discussed how colors make us feel.  Blue can make us feel sad or calm while yellow feels like summer.  We made a chart of colors and what they remind us of and the feelings they evoke.  I followed up with a few Pablo Picasso videos on YouTube. Thank you Interwebz for these awesome resources.

To end our day, each child chose a color and made a picture using just that color.  I would have liked if they chose colors for their moods, but true to kid form they picked their favorite colors.

Ladybug made some angry birds (purple makes her feel angry and wild) with a James Rizzi sun. 

Mister chose green and made things that grow.

The Wee One chose blue and her picture ended up with a water theme. 


 One of my favorite parts about these kind of things is when the kiddos take it to real life.  Halle was without her siblings for a few hours and she spent the entire time using the driveway as her canvas.  Each section of the driveway had a color period.  She was so excited and said, "Here is my green period. Here is my red period....and my pink period." 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kidnoculars - A Review

Behind our house is a small pond that attracts a whole new world of wild life.  Mister has written to Sea World to ask for an orca, but in the mean time we have been bird hunting.  They spend a great deal of time looking out the window at all the birds that visit our pond.  To encourage their love for the pond, the Easter Bunny brought a pair of binoculars for each kiddo. 
 Before the bunny found the binoculars she spent a lot of time researching which pair to get.  I needed something:
  • durable because things get dropped all the time
  • auto focus
  • large enough to hold
  • preferably large eye holes

The only pair that came close were the Geosafari Jr. Kidnoculars.  They are durable and easy to see through with auto focus.  I think they are a great pair for a young preschooler to practice looking through binoculars.  Also, it creates a whole level of excitement that a pair of toilet paper rolls don't match.  If you are looking for something that really magnifies long distances, then these aren't for you.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Artists Sensory Bin

Artist Study Sensory Bin
  • Pony beads
  • Chenille stems
  • Miniature paint pallet (Michaels)
  • Miniature still life bowl (Michaels)
  • Miniature chair
  • Sunflower
  • Paint bucket (Michaels)
  • Chalkboard
  • Chalk
  • Sample artist paintings with names
  • Artist names
  • Paintbrushes
  • Mirror for self portrait
  • Spoons
  • Small cup
  • Pom poms
  • Letters spelling artists names

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Arts and Crafts - Treasure Basket

We are an artsy crapsy kinda family.  I have a Honey Do List that keeps growing, a little gal who saves every scrap just in case she needs to craft, and another gal who asks every day what kind of art project we are going to do.  The boy, well, he's a little more like the only other male in this house, but he puts up a good face just as long as we play football or dinosaurs or space travel every so often.

This month June's basket if full of things we use to craft:

  • Fabric - Varying textures and colors
  • Ribbon - Varying lengths, textures, and colors
  • Pony beads in a bottle
  • Jewelry beads in a bottle
  • Broken crayons in a bottle
  • Styrofoam balls - We will see how long these last with a oral baby
  • Watercolors
  • Washi Tape
  • Glitter glue
  • Crepe paper
  • Popsicle stick

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Look Back - Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party

I think the more kids you have, the crazier you become.  It really is a good thing we stopped June because anymore kids would send me farther over the edge.  Yes, farther because I'm pretty sure I'm at least partly living in Crazy Town.

Example of my crazy was throwing the Wee One a birthday party when June was 2 weeks old.  See, I could have had it at the park or Chuck E Cheese's, but no I had to throw her a Strawberry Shortcake birthday because that's what you do when you live in Crazy Town.  

She's Three!


See that blank spot?  That's because I have no memory of doing an invite and record of one.  People managed to show up so there must have been something.

The Scene -The party ended up being a variation of Vintage Strawberry Shortcake picnic party.  The colors were pink, red, and green with daisies and strawberries.  The Wee One has a July birthday and that means very little decorating needs to be done.  It's hot, the tundra gets hot, and we spend most of our time in the inflatable water slide.

Food - We had fried chicken, grilled corn on the cob, blueberry muffins, pasta salad, potato salad, and strawberry applesauce.  That applesauce was so good it is still in my freezer - untouched.  That means I've had it for almost a year and I moved it.  

The food was served in wax paper lined baskets.  The guests had their choice of pasta salad or potato salad served in small cups.

The kid tables were done with green disposable placements and a gingham runner made from fabric.  
Strawberry lemonade and lemon water to drink.

The cake was a double decker strawberry shortcake.

The Fun - We had the inflatable water slide, chalk, an enchilada (pinata for those who don't speak Wee One), and plenty of running around.

The Favors and Thank You - Each guest received some chalk, berry flavored lip balm, a jump rope, a visor, and some candy from the pinata.  

The green berry baskets were lined with the same gingham fabric as the table runner.  
And the thank you cards that never happened.  Confession:  I am really bad about Thank You cards.  Really bad.  Maybe a mid-year resolution?

This was as good as it was going to get.
So I am only behind two birthday parties now?  Maybe it's denial that my kiddos are growing up.  Probably not.