Buttons, Buttons Everywhere!

I probably told you that my Mom taught preschool. It's pretty handy, especially with two young kids! Also handy that my parents recently downsized, (they moved thirty minutes closer) and I got some stuff I never knew I needed. 

Among the things I got was some of my Mom's preschool collection: books, puzzles and craft projects. I could seriously plan my kids lesson plans for every minute of the day with the books she gave me! One of the gems I pulled out was a button bag!

GASP!! You don't know what a button bag is?? Okay neither did I but it is now every day language around our house. My mom put together a "button activity bag" with sorting activities for multiple levels as well as button themed books!

For Simon's age group, two years old, we did button sorting by color. She drew columns on small posterboard and labeled each with a color. She actually wrote the word in the corresponding color. The kids sort the buttons by color and also practicing seeing the word correspond with its meaning. Simon and his friends got the concept quickly!
While Maya, my six year old, was perfectly happy to sort buttons by color I had her do the more complicated project! She had to not only sort by color but also by number of holes in the buttons!
She did a great job working on it but playing with buttons is apparently WAY more fun! She gave herself button eyes...
We also sorted the buttons by size; there are endless possibilities! What kind of projects do you do with buttons?

Related books:
Corduroy
Buttons: Using Buttons to Teach Basic Math Skills
The Button Box Buttons Buttons (Learn to Read)

The Only Good Thing About Having A White Fridge

I pretty much hate my fridge. Don't get me wrong. It works and it holds a lot of food. I just don't like its looks. Anna and I created this today and I think I will love it for the rest of winter (or until we take it down).



By the way, it was Bill's idea to put the towel in the door for the scarf (which was brilliant!). And sorry for not posting lately. Sarah and I were caught up with life. Keep checking back for more posts!





Haven't Forgotten You!

Hey friends, sorry we haven't posted in a while! Between Thanksgiving, my family battling ever single germ that has ever existed (or at least that's how it felt) and Mandi's house getting painted which has taken over we have been on a posting hiatus.

I'm going to do my best to get back posting now that our holidays are over here. Today though I'm going to leave you with some pictures of a little known fact. My Dad and I are superheros. Yup, we got ourselves some Target PJs and turned into superheros!
Thank goodness that my Dad was there to help me learn to fly. He's a special kind of guy to help his adult daughter learn to fly. As you see from the first picture he was quite successful.

Luckily I was also there to help my Dad learn how to relax with a cup of tea after a long day of superhero-ing. A nice cup of tea and a sit down!

Invisible Ink

 I'm not sure if you were aware but I live with a spy. She is six years old and is working hard to creep around my house, unseen, while asking me not to look at her. She was lucky enough to get some awesome spy stuff from her friends for her birthday, binoculars that see in the dark, glasses you can see behind you and some other fun tools!

My sister decided to add to her fun with some invisible ink markers. They are awesome!! They write completely clear and you can only see the message with a black light that comes on the cap of the marker. It's meant to be for paper but Maya uses them to write secret messages on my hand. Anna was over yesterday and they took it to a new level. If you look at my hands and feet in black light secret messages will appear!!!

These markers are cheap, you can get them on Amazon Prime and provide my kids with hours of amusement!!

Ball Ramp

What does your baby want from Santa? A ridiculous question. If it is your first baby it is pretty easy to come up with a few little things that are sure to make a baby smile. When you are on child number three. You do not need any more toys. So you search and search for something that is different from the five million other toys that you have. William recently received this Roll and Swirl Ball Ramp by The Early Years as a gift and he loves it. It is a very simple plastic toy that stacks up to make a track. The ball rolls around the track and then drops down through the hole and again and again until it reaches the floor. William can put the ball in himself (he is 11 months old). I love how simple this toy is nothing flashes or plays music. Which is quite refreshing!




Sparkly Decorations

Sparkles are a big deal in our house. We love anything that sparkles! We especially love holiday lights although we, unfortunately, don't participate. It's not that we are against them for our house but I just don't even know where to begin!!!

When I was teaching I tried to think of winter crafts that weren't holiday specific. My first/second grade classroom had kids who loved crafts and closer to the holidays it was fun to be more relaxed and make things to decorate our classroom. What better to decorate with than glitter! 

Glitter ornaments are great to hang on Christmas trees, windows, even make a mobile! Ours reside on our window just to add a bit of sparkle to our dining room!

First you take a piece of yarn, the length of your choice, and coat it in Elmers glue. 
When the yarn is thoroughly covered with glue shape it on a surface that it will not permanently stick to. We used parchment paper but I think that a ziplock bag would have been easier to peel it off of.
Now sparkle it up!! Sprinkle glitter on the yarn so it's coated to your desire and let it dry. Maya sprinkled the glitter and blew on it to make the colors mix together.
FYI this is not a clean project but it does leave your hands fantastically sparkly!!


Adorable Hello Dolls

Need an idea for your little one for Christmas? Check out these Hello Dolls, a Land of Nod exclusive. They come in various adorable styles. These dolls are designed by Suzy Ultman, are made of printed fabrics, and are soft from head to toe. They're perfect for little ones to carry around everywhere they go. If there is a doll out there that is more adorable than this, please send me a picture right now!!

Meet Mary T


Check out the other style options. Land of Nod has $4.95 all-you-can-ship, so you can load up on all the must-have toys.



Rolo Stuffed Ritz

I've been off Pinterest for a bit. No particular reason but I finally came to my senses and got myself back on! Amidst the fancy schmancy recipes that involve more brain power I can muster I found the idea for rolo stuffed ritz crackers. They looked amazing.
I went out before Thanksgiving to get the ingredients and I had plans to have the kids put these together while I was cleaning for our company. Problem is that I forgot about them. Totally forgot. Well lucky for me when we had an impromptu dinner date with Mandi and Brina (and families) and I wanted to bring dessert I remembered them! I brought all the ingredients and Addie and Simon put them together for us!
Rolo Stuffed Ritz
Ingredients:
Ritz Crackers
Rolos

1. Put a Rolo on a Ritz Cracker.
2. Top with another Ritz Cracker.
3. Bake at 250ºF for 5 minutes.
4. Smush the crackers down and enjoy!


Adorable Thanksgiving Craft

Need a last minute craft to keep the kids busy while you cook? Check out this adorable turkey hat that I found on Parents.com. I plan on making these with the kids tomorrow. 

Photo was taken by Scott Little and is from Parents.com


We hope you have a marvelous holiday!



Weightless

I know that the week before Thanksgiving is probably not the best time to tackle weightloss (or weight maintenance) but this will actually PROVIDE food for those in need! That's right, every 1000 calorie you burn will donate  a dollar to the Weightless Project! Right now through December 31st the money is going to the victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

As of now if you connect your Jawbone, FitBit or Basis to the website and every time you exercise you will be helping the hungry. As of right now the Nike running app isn't supported but I've emailed support for both Nike and the Weightless Project so I'm hoping that my exercising can be counted towards food for the hungry soon!

What motivation to know that you keeping yourself healthy this holiday season can help feed those who need it most. So go exercise and feel good about yourself AND the contribution you are making to the hungry!

If your device isn't supported email the company, maybe if enough people email they will also join the Weightless Project!



Paper Plate Fish




Need a quick idea to keep the kids busy on holiday break from school? This fish craft is perfect and I love how simple it is and it is an excellent use for dot paints. The dots mimic the scales of the fish beautifully. To make the fish simply cut a wedge out of a paper plate and attach it to the other side for the fish tail with some glue. If you do not have dot paints you could certainly use any markers or paints that you like. We did this craft on our trip to the Carnegie Science Center. If you ever find yourself in the Pittsburgh area you should check it out! Anna loved the Robot Exhibit and Addie loved the Seascape Exhibit.


What's Thanksgivika Without a Menurky?!

This year Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. This complicates things in terms of buying presents (are you really feeling holiday-ish when you're still raking leaves??) but is amazing for the feast. When is it more appropriate to have a fried turkey? (In case you're confused it's tradition to eat fried foods on Hanukkah!)

While we are not frying up a turkey this year, thanks to our Fresh Direct delivery, we will be having latkes and, if I get up to it, turkey shaped challah! We are also decorating; turkeys, dreidels and MENURKEYS!!!

What is a menurkey? Simon's teacher introduced them to me, it's a turkey with eight feathers. Get it? Eight candles, eight feathers, turkey, menorah. It all adds up to a menurky!

I took some things I had around the house and went to work. It probably looks like my kids made it. It was allllll me. I love my arts and crafts and I learned that coloring with sharpies on latex gloves is not as easy as you may think.

DISCLAIMER: Not my prettiest work but it was fun and festive to make!
You need:
2 latex or latex free gloves
small rubber bands
sharpies
1. Blow up two latex (or latex free) gloves. You can find them in the rubber glove section of the grocery store. I tried to tie a knot like a balloon at the bottom but didn't have luck with that. I used small rubber bands instead.
2. Connect the bottom of the gloves together with a rubber band making sure the thumbs are pointing in the same directions.
3. Connect the thumbs together, with one thumb smaller than the other to make the waddle, using another rubber band.
4. Use a rubber band for each of the feather/candles to make the "flames". (You can see them in the photo below.)
5. Color your menurky!


DIY Stencils

What do you do with your brown-paper grocery bags? No matter how diligent you are about bringing your own bag to the store, on occasion you leave them at home, in your other car, or one of the one thousand other possibilities. So if you are like me (or my mother-in-law) you want to do something productive with them instead of just tossing them into the recycling bin. Yesterday my super-creative mother-in-law came up with this idea.

First she took the bags and cut them into squares. Next she cut out various shapes: star, fish, and bird. She gave Anna a foam brush and a tiny bit of paint. Next she laid the stencil on top of another square of brown bag and Anna lightly dabbed the paint inside the stencil. The results were amazing.



Leaf Collage

Around our house leaves are plentiful. I'm not saying that lightly, we can use the leaf blower one afternoon and by the next morning the yard is literally covered in leaves again! If you look out the window on a slightly windy day it looks like it's snowing leaves. While it's very pretty to look at but a major workout to contend with!

When I was looking for wall art for our front hallway, before we had inspiration, I came upon these beautiful pictures made of pressed leaves. They were intricate designs of birds, owls, butterflies and completely made of leaves. Inspiration!!!

I took a walk one afternoon with the kids and we went leaf hunting. Their goal was to find as many different colored, shaped and sized leaves and that we did! Most of them were found on the ground but they had special permission to pick a few leaves on our property which was a huge plus for them!

We went inside and pressed the leaves in a dictionary (in between paper towels) and set them aside for a few weeks. I'm sure it didn't need to be that long but we just hadn't had the time to do the project.

Yesterday Anna and Maya, who were in excellent moods, were in a craft mood. Simon and Addie were busy with dot paint and the big girls were keen on doing a "nature project"! I gave them dictionary pages, my new favorite collage paper, and the pressed leaves. They were so creative! One thing they did learn was they couldn't put the glue stick directly on the leaves, they had to glue the paper instead.

Anyone Else Find Coats, Hats, and Mittens Annoying?

The moment I get all three kids into hats, coats, and mittens, I quickly look at the first child to realize they are not wearing a hat, their once-zipped coat is not zipped anymore, and they took off the baby's coat. This makes me crazy everyday. One thing that I have found to make my life a tiny bit easier are mimiTens. What an awesome product! Will has this pair.


They come in sizes for a baby or a 1-2 year old. There are many different colors and styles. The sleeve technology is by far the best part. When I put these on Will, the sleeves go all of the way up to his shoulders. These are not coming off and they keeps his hands nice and warm.


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