Saturday, February 14, 2015

Making Monster Valentines

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 This post is a little late to help much for this year, but I just wanted to share. Evan doesn't go to preschool or daycare, so we don't have anybody to "exchange" valentines with. However, I wanted something to give to the grandparents, and to keep for ourselves as a keepsake of sorts.
We have a crafting playgroup, and I brought the supplies for monster valentines for the kids to do, as well as some cute coloring pages. You can find the coloring pages over here, and the printable for the monster valentines here. I found both on Pinterest, of course.
I was too distracted to get pictures of the setup or while Evan was putting them together. I used little sponges to do the "body" so that I could set it aside to dry without a mess. Once it was dry, I had multiple options for the googly eyes.
I found these really neat stickers to use (here), which are great for kids who are too young to be trusted with glue! Then I also had a pack of normal googly eyes to be used with glue (here). Evan is 3 and is to a point where he understands how to use glue, though he loves twisting it up and down just for fun, but he had fun with the sticker ones too. The only thing I didn't like about the sticker eyes was that they didn't have the same variety of size. I look forward to using the sticker eyes for other crafts too!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Fine Motor Fun

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To work on Evan's fine motor skills, I had Evan sort pink and red colored pom poms into a silicone heart tray (here). I wasn't totally sure if he would go with it, but he's getting increasingly better at following directions. Not only did he go along with it, he had fun! He's actually asked to "play with his hearts" multiple times since I introduced it.

I got a set of plastic tongs (here) to use, but also allowed the option of tweezers that we already had handy. He used the tongs mostly, but I think he could use more practice with both. After a little bit, he resorted to using his hands because that was easier. I also noticed he was making a pattern of his own creation in the tray.

I love that the tray has multiple purposes. My next plan for it is for some play dough fun.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Get Fit on a Limited Budget

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In a perfect world, we could all afford gym memberships, personal trainers, nutritionists, and more. Heck, maybe you only dream of being able to order Shakeology and the various Beachbody programs out there. And that's ok! You don't need ANY of that to get into better shape. Those are just perks.
Some of you are probably like me, just getting by. And I know we can't afford to spare money on a bunch fitness programs that may or may not get completed.
If you have absolutely zero money to spare, don't sweat it! You don't need expensive programs, diet products, or even a scale to get into better shape.
Start by simply moving more. I won't say "eat less" because I don't know your diet. If you're a calorie counter, throw out the "1200 calorie" expectation, and check out a personalized calorie calculator that takes into account your weight, height, and how active you are. I like the IIFYM calculator. You can join a free website like MyFitnessPal to keep track of your intake while also keeping track of your activities. Be aware that MFP's estimates (for calorie intake and for calorie burn) are simply estimates.
Free activities you can do to get active are going for walks, running (check out the free program/application C25K if you're not a runner), playing games with your kids, or even weight lifting. Right now, you might be thinking that you can't afford weights. That's OK! Do you have a child? They can be used as a weight. So can bottles or jugs of water, or pieces of furniture.

Some free workout plans include, but are not limited to the following:

Some inexpensive workout plans include the following:
Biggest Loser: Weight Loss Yoga

One of my resolutions is to actually complete all of the programs I currently have. The only one I've finished is 30 Day Shred, which gave me great results! Then I got pregnant. So now that Oliver is about 9 months old, it's beyond time to get back on the wagon. I'll be starting with PiYo, which I bought last summer.

If you've resolved to lose weight or get fit this year, how do you plan on getting there?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Great Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt (10/15-10/31)

Welcome to The Great Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt! Halloween is right around the corner so Cloth Diaper Addicts and some blogging buddies decided that it would be fun to do a fabulously spooky giveaway with a twist!

Hidden around our blogs, there’s a jack o’ lantern or two. Find the jack o’ lantern and enter it in the Rafflecopter form for 10 points! Not to worry, every good scavenger hunt comes with hints to find the goodies. One lucky winner will come away with a brand new bumGenius Freetime Jules!
This giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada, ages 18 and up. Here’s your hints. And don’t forget to come back for the daily entries to increase your odds of winning! Good luck!

Don’t forget to visit Thinking About Cloth Diapers and The Parenting Patch, too, for more daily entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Simple Homemade Play Dough: Halloween Style

Last week, our playgroup was cancelled because the room we use was unavailable. I had made some play doh to take and test out. Instead, I got together with a couple friends to let the kids play with it.
I made four different recipes. Two were no cook, and the other two stove top. My big mistake was trying to multitask and do it all at once, but everything turned out ok.

The first recipe was Pumpkin Spice Marshmallow Dough, which is technically a fondant. This one involves no cooking and is edible, so I enlisted my toddler to help. Evan was excited. I started by putting the ingredients together and getting them somewhat mixed, then I handed the bowl over so I could get started on the next one.

The next recipe for was Night Sky Play Dough. It was supposed to be astronomy themed, but I figured black with glitter could totally be Halloween. I wanted to keep it fairly edible since the playgroup is for younger kids (most are under 18 months), so I used Wilton black gel food coloring for a pure black.
Now, this is where I got frazzled. I was busy at the stove when I noticed Evan dumped all of the flour into the marshmallow dough. I obviously had to take care of what I was doing first, but then I scooped out as much flour as I could salvage. What I did get out of it, I figure I can use to make a cloud dough some time soon.

I couldn't get all of it, and I knew I had to moisten the dough somehow. My first thought was coconut oil. Don't do that. I did, and while it turned out fine, it reacts with the other play doughs by seeping. It was fine at the time, and even a few days later, but within minutes of being smashed into the other play doughs it got gooey and sticky. I can't wait to try it again and see how it it supposed to turn out.

When I turned back to the black play dough, I was worried I had ruined it. It wasn't well mixed, so I just did the rest by hand after it cooled.
 Then I added in the glitter.

When I made the third dough, it went a lot smoother. I made sure I had all the ingredients together before starting, and got my husband to keep an extra eye out so I could focus. The third recipe was Pumpkin Pie Scented Dough, and believe me, it smelled amazing. I threw in a bit of extra spice, and the color came out perfect I think.

Lastly, I made the commonly found conditioner/cornstarch play dough (recipe here), but used lotion from the dollar store instead of conditioner. This one was pretty fun. I split it in half, keeping some white, and dying the rest neon green. A few days later when I went to use it, it had become crumbly at first. I can't describe the texture. I probably should have used more lotion, to be honest. One person hated it and compared it to player, while another loved it. I loved it too. I'll try it again with more lotion some time and see how that turns out.
Meanwhile, Evan started decorating the Marshmallow dough with fake leaves I had laying around. Such a creative kid. He was having a blast with that fondant.

When we brought them all out to a friends house a few days later, Evan's favorite way to play with it all was to smush all the types together and cut it. I had brought some other objects to play with, but he preferred to keep it simple.

My favorites were the two stovetop recipes, of course, while the others loved the marshmallow dough. The kids and moms enjoyed tasting it. Even Oliver, who is currently doing baby-led weaning and loving food, got to taste the play dough.

Have you tried making your own play dough at home? What's your favorite recipe?