Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween costume part 2: Peacock Costume

First of all, let me say that I am not a seamstress. I don't make clothes or much else for that matter. I can sew in a straight line, so I have made things involving straight lines, like pillows or curtains. That is about it. This project wasn't complicated at all.

This year for Halloween, Birdy asked to be a peacock. I fretted for a bit on how to make this, but after consulting with some of my friends and family, I finally settled on an idea. This is how I made her peacock costume.

First I made this pattern from a piece of card board. It is sort of an exaggerated neck tie shape.

I cut pieces of blue, green, teal, and purple fabric out in this shape and sewed them together.

I found these cute Christmas ornaments at Hobby Lobby that I had planned to attach to the bottom of the dress, but the cloth I used was so thin and the ornaments were so heavy that the tail just didn't hang right. Instead I sewed the tail to a scarf and attached the ornaments to the scarf to hang from her lower back.
Then I used glitter paint to paint on the feathers to the fabric.

Birdy just wore a black leotard and black tights and I tied the tail around her waist. I found this cute little feather clip at Hobby Lobby also for her hair. I think it turned out so cute, even if it is a little different than I originally planned.

I linked this post at...

jdaniel4smom halloween traditions link-up

Friday, October 28, 2011

Baby Play Friday: Easy last minute toddler costume

For this Friday I am just going to show you the adorable costume Bug will be wearing this Halloween. It took me three children to finally learn this lesson, but toddlers don't really like wearing big bulky costumes. So I decided to make this as easy as could be. Here are some photos from Fall Fest of Bug wearing his costume. I literally threw this together the morning of Fall Fest. I drove to the church with the windows down so the paint would dry by the time we got there. Let me know what you think!

I just used puffy paint from Hobby Lobby and painted the words and crown right on to one of his old onsies(I'm surprised I could find one that still fit) and then kissed him all over with my brightest red lipstick on.
I expect the money to start rolling in! I mean, who wouldn't want a kiss?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Take it Outside!

This last summer central Texas experienced the longest heat wave on record. We had temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees far in to the month of September. Going out side was miserable. By 9:00 am the playground was an oven, parks were empty, neighborhoods were ghost towns. If it wasn't for the pools and splash pads we wouldn't have survived. Everyday this summer, I promised myself that we would make it up in the fall. I am happy to say I've kept my promise. Cooler weather finally reached us this month. (When I say "cooler" I mean highs of 90 instead of 110) We have been out daily enjoying it!

Here is one activity that we took out doors. I love these Montessori inspired weaving projects for the fine motor skills and wanted to do one with the girls.

In an effort to take our indoor activities outside, I opted for a larger version. As we went for a morning walk we noticed that a neighbor was trimming some branches on his tree. I spied a perfect one and loaded it in to the stroller. I have to admit the neighbors looked at me a little funny, but I loaded it any way and brought it home for this fun little weaving project.
 Birdy helped me string yarn around the two branches, then when CC came over they both worked weaving the ribbon and string through the yarn. It took a while for the girls to understand what it was that we were doing. CC is a stickler for having her projects turn out just right, and having to work along with Birdy who...well...isn't such a stickler was a bit of a challenge for CC.
 Eventually, however, the girls both learned to work together. I think the finished product is beautiful. I have kept it on our front porch so the girls can add to it when ever they feel like it.
 CC's mother, Mary, and I sit down together and plan out our lessons a month at a time. Doing regular weaving and sewing activities had been somthing that I planned on introducing to the girls, but it wasn't until I found this branch that it occured to me that this activity could be taken outdoors. Doing this weaving activity out in the front yard has made me start looking at my whole lesson plan and think, "What else could I take out side?"
So what are your favorite "Indoor" activities to take outdoors? How do you think the outdoors adds to or changes traditionally indoor activities? Do your children respond differently to them? Are they more engaged? I would love to hear some feed back from other parents and teachers. I really want to make the front yard, back yard and neighborhood parks extensions of our classroom and would love to hear your ideas!
I linked this post with...
Outdoor Play Linky Party

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Opinions are like______. Every one's got one!

I have been joining in on the 31 Day Better Blog Challenge on the BlogFrog and it has been something else! Some of the tips and ideas are things that I knew I should probably be doing. Some were things that I had no idea how to do, and some were things that were just frightening for me.

This post is an example of one of those things. The opinion post. I do not get very opinionated in my posts. I am non-confrontational as a general rule. It is not that I don't have strong opinions but I don't always feel the need to voice them. And what ever my opinion is, someone out there thinks they know better.

A blogger on the Mom Loop shared a comment she had gotten from a person who strongly disagreed with how this blogger put her baby to bed. Not only did she disagree but she wrote that she would "Pray that (the baby) can escape." It was really so horrible and I felt so bad for the woman who received it.

It got me thinking about opinions, and how people seem to feel so at ease letting you know exactly what they are, especially when it comes to how to be a parent. I started thinking of some of the "helpful" opinions I had received over the years.

"All that kid needs is a good spanking!"

"Your girl is too chunky to be wearing those pants"

"You didn't circumcise him? That's filthy, he's going to get infections and cancer!"

"Stop coddling him so much, your going to turn him in to a wuss."

"She'd start talking if you'd take that passie out of her mouth!"

"You need to teach your children to obey!"

Most of these were said by family, friends and coworkers who all thought they were doing me a big favor by adding there opinions to how I raised my children. And being the non confrontational person I am, I usually just smiled and said, "Okay." And then went on parenting exactly how I had been parenting before the helpful advice. As parents we are under so much pressure. We are under a constant microscope of judgment. And if we aren't directly pressured by others than we lay the pressure on ourselves by comparing ourselves to others.

We agonize over every decision. Baby wearing or stroller? Crib or family bed? Cloth diaper or disposable? Public school or home school? Work or stay home? Cry it out or rock to sleep? And what ever we choose, there will be someone there to tell us we are doing it wrong!
So here is my plea, to all the mothers of the world...Lets give each other a break! Let's cut each other some slack. Let's all acknowledge that we are doing the best we can with what we have got and none of us can judge until we have walked in each others shoes.

If you have an example of some "helpful" advice gone array I would love to hear it. And if you would like leave some one some words of affirmation, I think that would be wonderful as well!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Dinosaurs (as promised)

As we continued this week with our D is for Dinosaur unit we ended up with a plethora of activities. The girls played with a new dinosaur sensory tub, they pinned spikes on to a stegosaurus and they made fossils out of coffee grounds!


First, let me tell you about our dinosaur sensory tub. A few quick changes made swapping out our creepy crawly tub for a sensory tub easy. I kept the black beans as a base and kept the colorful bones because they tied in so nicely with our dinosaur bones that we dug up in the yard. I took out the snakes and lizards and added our small dinosaur toys.This was a fun tub and playing with all of the dinosaurs in the tub was a great way for the girls to process some of the information they had learned about dinosaurs. At lunch Birdy and CC brought the little dinosaur toys out from the box to dine with them. All through lunch they would say things like, "Your a plant eater, would you like my raisin?" or "You have sharp teeth you don't like raisins, would you eat my sandwich?"


Our next activity is adapted from one that Big Sissy did at church a few years back. They were studying Moses and the 10 commandments. They made these "rocks" out of this dough made from coffee grounds and flour, then stamped pictures in them. We used the same recipe to make fossils from our dinosaurs, plants from the garden and seashells.

To make the "rock dough"...

Take 1 cup of used coffee grounds and 1/2 cup of cold coffee.
Mix it together with 1 1/2 cups of flour (our dough was a little runny so I added another 1/2 cup of flour) and 1/2 cups of salt. Kneed the dough together and then roll it in a ball and place it on a piece of wax paper. Flatten it out in to a flat shape around 2cm thick.
Then find objects to make an impression in the dough. We used the dinosaur toys, bits of rosemary from the garden, and seashells. You could also use a tooth pick to draw your own picture if you like. The dough will eventually dry on its own but it will take forever. To speed things up I stuck mine in the oven for about while on a low temp (around 250). If you live in a humid climate you may have to do this.

A quick note about the pan. This is my craft pan. I use it for things like crayon melting or rock dough, I have lovely pretty pans for when I cook something that someone will actually eat. I don't want to scare people away from my kitchen!
Fine Motor
The pattern for the stegosaurus is from a Mailbox. To get a little fine motor practice the girls pinned clothes pins on to the backs of the stegosauruses to create the spikes. CC wanted her's to be coordinated. Birdy wanted to have the most spikes on any stegosaurus ever! It is funny to see the two different takes the girls have on each activity.