Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Homemade Christmas

I have been truly inspired this year by bloggers from all over to include more handmade items with the gifts I plan to give for Christmas. I have included some of my more ambitious items in this post along with a link to the post where I originally found my inspiration. I encourage you to check out these other blogs. They will have the tutorial that I used and you can see the original projects they created. It is well worth the time.

The first gift I made was a fairy tree house for Big Sis. Yes, I know she is 12 years old, but she still loves to play. When I saw this Pixie Hollow inspired fairy house from Pink and Green Mama I knew she would love it. I used wooden pieces from Hobby Lobby to construct the house, then hot glued filler from the floral department to give it that woodsy look. I constructed the furniture from pieces I gathered from a potpourri set. They had all kinds of cool organic shapes and they were perfect for making the little beds and swings and chairs.

For the stairs I hot glued these flat pieces of wood together with little cubes in between. Then I got glued the mossy filler in between. This is currently hiding out in my garage which is why the photos look like they are taken in a junk pile.

The second project has been in the back of my mind for almost a year now, ever since reading this post by Rhythm of the Home. She made a painted wooden travel play set and I just fell in love with it. Last summer Birdy fell in love with the movie Tangled and so I decided to recreate the idea using the movie as inspiration. I first created the peg dolls to vaguely resemble each of the characters. Then I started to work in the play box. I painted the out side of the box to look like bricks from the tower.

On the inside of the box I painted scenes from the movie. I painted the tower and Rapunzel's valley on the lid of the box. In the bottom of the box I painted a water fall and a forest scene.

When you turn the box around and look a the wall (as if looking out from Rapunzel's tower) you see the castle with lanterns flying out over a lake. I am hoping this small world scene will be just the thing to inspire her imagination for play.

I am really enjoying this hands on approach to Christmas giving. I hope the kids like them as well. Have you ever tried making home made gifts for your kids? What kinds of gifts do you make? I would love seeing any projects you are working on for this holiday season. Leave me a link bellow so I can check it out.
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Recycled Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Do you have any clear plastic food containers sitting around? If you are anything like me, You save these handy items. I mean, there is ALWAYS something to do with a clear plastic food container, right?

We had a few of these nice beef jerky containers and I thought Birdy could make something special for the Thanksgiving table with them. Birdy took red and brown tissue paper and cut them in to small pieces and glued them to the outside. Then she glued on silk leaves in fall colors. Finally, I helped her used a paintbrush to cover the whole thing in Modge Podge (Who doesn't love Mod Podge?)

The final product looks great. It is beautiful with a candle inside or filled with fall flowers. And Birdy gets to take pride in her addition to the Thanksgiving table.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Going on a color hunt

So if you have missed me, I apologize. This week has gotten very busy. As I have mentioned before I volunteer two days a week in a food pantry which operates out of my oldest daughter's middle school. This pantry sends a back pack full of food home with 32 children in need every weekend. During the school week the children are fed with the free and reduced lunch program, but over the weekend, many of these kids go home to homes with no food to eat. Yesterday was the last day of school before Thanksgiving break and we wanted to be able to send enough food to help them the week they were gone and to provide a Thanksgiving meal for them. This required a lot of work coordinating, sending out pleas for donations,  and lots and lots of packing. Long story short, I haven't been blogging much this week. I have managed to get the kids outside every single day, but I haven't managed to get many photos and organized play went right out the window for a few days.

We did do an activity for the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge. The challenge for day 16 was to go on a hunt. We decided to do a color hunt. We chose different colors then raced all over the house to find as many objects as we could of that color. Over at the Pink and Green Mama they did something very similar. They took it a step further and made a cute I spy book out of all the different colors.

Here are our versions...

Birdy got the great idea to climb up on to the top bunk of her bunk bed so she could look down on her room to see the objects. She sat perched up there and would call down directions.
"There is a purple spotting scope, over there!"
"There is a blue circle in Bugs toys!"

We never got around to orange or yellow, but I think we may have to. I think I'm going to try to put them all together in to a color book for Bug. I started one for Birdy when she was little but never finished it. I am determined this time to see it to the end.

On another note...I have become absolutely obsessed with Pink and Green Mama's site. She might be the most creative person I have ever seen. I am planning on making several of the kids Christmas presents this year and a couple of them are borrowed ideas from her site. I will always link back to her or whoever I borrow an idea from if it is not something that I came up with on my own. First of all, stealing is bad. Secondly, their version of it will probably be much better than mine! If you are looking for some wildly creative ideas for things to do with your kids, I would check out her site. Be careful though. You may get carried away and look up only to find it's next Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No bad weather, just bad clothes

There are two challenges going on this week. The first is  the 30 Days to Hands on Play, which is still in full swing. Every day through the month of November we have been given a play idea and charged with the task of spending at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted play with our child.
The other event taking place this week is the Everyday Play Day sponsored by Active Kids Club and Polarn O. Pyret USA. The idea is to get outside everyday regardless of the weather.

Today's play challenge from the 30 Days to Hands on Play was to play with junk. Today's weather challenge for playing out side was that it was raining. So we put on our rain boots and jackets, gathered out junk and went out side. I love multitasking!

I'm not a big shopper. I try to only buy what I think we really need. But I also don't like to be stuck indoors for any reason. So I made the decision to purchase each of us a pair of rain boots. Some thought it was wishful thinking since we haven't had much rain, but I knew we would put them to use eventually.

We dug through the recycling and found lots of containers to gather up rain water. Then we dug up some dirt from the empty planter bed. We spent the better part of the morning out in the front yard making mud and filling what ever we could find with rain water.

This part of the year may not be as challenging to get outside in our area as it is in some, but this is still a challenge that I feel strongly about taking on. More and more research is coming out on the benefits of outside play for children. Regular outside time is being studied as having positive effects on children's attention spans, sleep patterns and physical health. Making a commitment to allow for outside time as part of your every day schedule is a commitment to the health and well being of your child.
Thank you so much for stopping by!