Monday, April 18, 2011

March for Babies 2011, Windy but successful

Due to all the rain we received on Saturday they had to shorten the route (the Rose Garden was flooded). So we only walked approx. 2.5 miles instead of 3.5 miles. The wind was horrible and made it feel so much colder than it really was. So glad the kids were bundled up and didn't seem to mind it.

It always feels so good joining hundred of people for such a wonderful cause! I hope Hannah will continue to walk with me even when she's older and I can't make her go :D

Hannah after the walk, enjoying some cookies and juice.
Our walking buddies. This is our 4th year walking together.
All that fresh air really tired her out!! Sheesh, you'd think she actually did the walking LOL. She had fun so that's all that mattered!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Game born of desperation! Ball Toss

So we've all been down with a version of this cold / cough. Thankfully the little one has only had a runny nose and cough. I on the other hand got every possible version of it. Fever, cough, the whole nine yards!! So in my desperate attempt to keep H occupied so I could get some kind of rest this is what we got.
Instant ball toss game! Cost - Free! Empty diaper box, some tape and miscellaneous small balls. And H LOVES it.  I will need to go back and reinforce it with better tape. All that I could find handy was scotch tape. I was also thinking of covering it with some left over gift wrap or something. But really she doesn't care, she loves it just the way it is! Isn't that the wonderful thing about kids?!
Here's a side view.
Here it is in action. All of the 'balls' aren't even balls, one of them is a green apple from her kitchen set! But it works just fine and she doesn't care so why should I!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Flowers

So Mother Nature decided to tease us with one gorgeous day and then slap us with below normal temperatures! She can be so cruel!! So I decided to get alittle flower garden started inside. We started this last week and we've already got very nice progress.

We started with 2 little egg 'pots' that we found in the $1 section at Target. One had Daisy seeds and the other had Zinnias. The instructions tell you to only put 10 seeds in each pot so we spread the rest of the seeds into cups.
H didn't care for getting dirty much but she did like watering the seeds. Once we were all planted everything got put into the sunny kitchen window.
I've done most of the watering but every couple of days I have H use her little water pitcher to water them. She was amazed when they started sprouting.
After only one week the Zinnias are going crazy! The Daisies (middle cup) are alittle slower but they're starting to pop up too now. It's hard to see the Daisies but if you look really close you can see tiny leaves popping up. 
Here they are after 16 days. They're going to be ready for transplanting soon!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Paint with water

I remember the paint with water books when I was little. I LOVED them! What I love even better is today's reusable version, Water WOW! by Giddy-Up. H has the Giddy-up Princess Water Wow Book Activity Book
and the Dora Water Wow Doodle Book (Dora the Explorer-Nickelodeon)
H is kind of heavy handed with the 'brush' the first time we tried it which resulted in the coating on the pages getting scratched alittle bit.  Instead we use a sponge brush now which works beautifully.

H loves 'painting' each page and seeing what's hidden. Each page has activities like counting the fish or find 3 circles which makes it educational as well. The only down side is that each book only has like 5 pages. Still H loves them and I love that their reusable!!

Bunnies, bunnies, everywhere bunnies!!!


When H saw the pages I printed out laying on the table in preparation for this weekends crafting she immediately wanted to 'do project'. I didn't have all of the things I needed to complete the windsock I had planned on making so I changed gears alittle bit.

Daddy grabbed some paper plates and the glue stick while I cut out the bunny pieces as quickly as I could.  Gluing is her favorite thing right now so this was a big hit. We love the Crayola 2ct .29oz Glue Sticks


I punched a hole in the top of each, strung some fishing line threw it. Now their ready to be hung up. At this rate I won't need to get any of the Easter decorations out of the attic, H will have the whole house decorated in no time!
 Once she was done with the paper plate bunnies she wanted to do more. So we moved on to the next project. More cutting for Mommy and more gluing for H.
She moved the arms and feet around a few times until she got them exactly where she wanted them. I am so impressed with the end results! Ok so the bow was supposed to go on the head and the flower was supposed to go on the dress. I love her version so much more!!!  Not bad for a 2 year old
Find these and more printables over at http://www.dltk-kids.com/
Here's a direct link to the bunnies http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/bunny/index.htm

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Matching Game

An alternative to the Memory Game for smaller kids. We started the Matching Game when H was about 18-19 months old. I'll use anything that's handy. In this case it's a Memory Game. I've also used Uno cards. Here's a little video I shot at age 23 months.

video

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Butterflies

With Spring officially here I wanted to do some crafts to make it feel like spring. So I decided we were going to make butterflies.

You will need:
  • Coffee Filters (2 for each butterfly)
  • Crayola Washable Markers
  • Sponge brush
  • Water
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Towels for cleaning up the water
  • Fishing line or yarn to hang

Start by letting your toddler color the coffee filters with the markers. Since the filters are so thin you want to be sure to protect the surface your toddler is coloring on.  I used paper towels over her laminated placemat.

Once they're done coloring then put the coffee filters on something absorbent and let them 'paint' over them with the sponge brush and water. Don't over brush them or most of the color will end up on the towels. (Again I used paper towels)

Set them aside to dry. They're so thin it doesn't take long.

Cut your pipe cleaners in half. Bend in half and set aside.

Gather your coffee filters down the middle forming a bow tie shape. Stack two together and slide them onto the bent pipe cleaner. Twist the pipe cleaners together about 2 inches from the ends. Curl the ends around your finger to form the antennas.

I attached some fishing line and hung them in our front window.
Have fun crafting with your little ones!!

More Easter crafting

Paper Easter Eggs

Using the center pieces that were cut out for the frames to out 'Stained Glass' Easter Eggs we simply glued yarn. You could also use markers or crayons to decorate the eggs.  I wanted this to use different textures than plain old colored eggs.  I prepared ahead of time by snipping different sized lengths of yarn in varying colors.  Then I handed over the glue stick and let her go to town.

Easter Crafting - 'Stained Glass' Easter Eggs

'Stained Glass' Easter Eggs
This project can actually be made using any shape you want.

Here's what we did.

The night before I used a pencil sharpener to shred up a bunch of old crayons. I stored each color in a left over plastic cup.

Spread out wax paper, twice as long as a regular piece of paper.

Lay the wax paper over a paper with the outline of your design (in this case the Easter Egg) to give your toddler a target.

You don't need piles of crayons, actually less is better.
Once they're done fold the wax paper over and fold the edges to keep any wax from escaping. I layed a tea towel over the wax paper and used my iron on a medium to medium low setting. Press the design for about 10 seconds. DON'T OVER HEAT!!! Wax will burn.

Once your stained glass is done set it aside to cool for a couple of minutes.

I used 2 pieces of colored construction paper for the frame. I traced my design on one page. Then holding the 2 pages together cut out the design (save the cut out section to craft with later). Glue your stained glass between the two frames. Punch some holes to string your yarn through. Hang up and admire.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Birthday Time!!!

I can't believe H is 2 already!!!

Last year I did a massive Caterpillar cake for H's 1st birthday. It was amazing!! Three different flavors (chocolate, yellow and strawberry).  We also had a small cake just for the birthday girl.  So how was I going to out do that masterpiece?!  Well I wasn't going to try. The party this year was going to be much smaller than last year so 1/2 a sheet cake would be fine. I decided on trying something new. I found my inspiration here http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com/toy-story.html#c6 (which is actually the same site I got the inspiration for the last year's cake!). 
Now to decide on the subject......Dora! That's it! H loves Dora and Boots right now so she'll love it.  

Here's how I did it.

I've never done anything like this before so I was a nervous wreck!!  I started by printing coloring book pages that I found on the internet. Dora, Boots and some balloons. I taped the images to a cutting board, then stretched plastic wrap across the cutting board and secured it with tape. It's very important to make sure the plastic wrap is very secure and pull it tight so you don't have any wrinkles!! Also make sure to free up some space in your freezer before you begin.

Mix up your buttercream icing. I used Wilton Icing Colors
and colored small batches of icing as I needed it.

Begin by outlining the images using black or another dark color. Put it in the freezer for 15 minutes or so to set.

I used milk to thin the remaining icing down a bit before I continued (you could also use corn syrup but I thought that would make it way too sweet!). Don't worry about it not being perfect. Remember you're looking at the back side of the work! The plastic wrap side is your finished side. I piped the icing in to color each area then went back with a small rounded knife to smooth everything out. You want to be sure you don't leave any air pockets on the plastic wrap side! I popped it back in the freezer for a few minutes to set after each color.

Once all the coloring was done I left it in the freezer over night. The next morning I finished putting the final coat of icing on the cake building little mounds where I was going to put my images. Then one by one I CAREFULLY placed each one on the cake and pealed back the plastic wrap. Boot was alittle hard to handle because his arms and legs were so thin. I saved the left over icing for just this reason. So I was able to go back and repair Boots.

For my first attempt I was pretty happy and my daughter loved that Dora and Boots were on her birthday cake!

Last year's cake
Last year's caterpillar cake

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

March for Babies

The last 2 years have been magical. Yes the economy has sucked and things have not always been easy but having my daughter in my life has made all of that so much less important.  She is the light of my life, she makes me whole. Watching her grown and learn. She amazes me each and every day.

Every child should have the chance at a happy, healthy life. I've just signed us up for this year's March for Babies walk. It will be her 3rd, she was only 7 few weeks old the first year. Even after having had a C-section I managed to complete the walk.


Last year we got Daddy to join us.
Who wants to join us this year?!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Recycled Valentine's Day

Ever since my daughter first picked up a crayon I've been saving her artwork. Knowing that one day I would be able to use it in some way.

Over the weekend I was trying to come up with an arts and crafts project that she could do for her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She lost interest in those projects quickly. So I came up with the idea of cutting out heart shaped cards from her artwork. They were a big hit with everyone! She had a blast handing out the cards to everyone and saying Happy Val-tine Day. She really concentrated hard on saying the word Valentine!! So cute.

This was some old card stock weight paper that I brought home from work.

I even used the pages with stickers on them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Think Spring!! Daffodils

I've searched and searched the internet for the perfect daffodil pattern without success.  So I've played around and have come up with my own version of a couple of different patterns that I tried.

This is what I came up with, I hope you like it!


Yarn: Baby Sport Weight Yarn (sport would also work fine) in pale yellow, white and green (orange would be nice too)
Needle: Susan Bates Crochet Hook Size F
Other: Pipe cleaners to give the stem stability (1/2 for each flower)

Stitches and Abbreviations Used:
  • ch = chain 
  • yo = yarn over
  • sl st = slip stitch
  • sc = single stitch
  • hdc = half double stitch (yo hook, insert hook in the next stitch to be worked, yo, pull yarn through stitch, yo and pull through all loops on hook)
  • dc = double stitch (yo hook, insert hook in the next stitch to be worked, yo, pull yarn through stitch, yo, pull yarn through 2 loops on hook, yo, pull yarn through last 2 loops on hook)
  • tr = treble stitch (yo hook, insert hook in the next stitch to be worked, yo, pull yarn through stitch, *yo, pull yarn through 2 loops on hook, repeat from * 3 times)
  • dtr = double treble stitch (yo hook, insert hook in the next stitch to be worked, yo, pull yarn through stitch, *yo, pull yarn through 2 loops on hook, repeat from * 4 times)
  • picot = ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook
  • Rnd = round

    Directions:

    Rnd 1: With F hook and pale yellow, ch 4, sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 3, 11 dc in ring, join with sl st in top of ch 3 (12 st).
    Rnd 2: Working this rnd in back loops only, ch 3, dc in each st around, join as before.
    Rnd 3: Working in both loops, ch 3, dc in each st around, join.
    Rnd 4: Ch 2, sc in first st, (ch 2, sc in next st) around, join with sl st in first ch of ch 2. Fasten off and weave in ends.

    Petals
    Rnd 1: Join white (or pale yellow) yarn with sc in front lp of any st on round 1, ch 2, skip next st, (sc in next st, ch 2, skip next st) around, join with sl st in first sc (6 lps).

    Rnd 2: Sl st in first ch lp, *(ch 2, tr, 3 dtr, tr, ch 2, sc) in same lp, sl st in next lp; repeat from * around.
    Rnd 3: *Sc in each of next 2 ch, sc in each of next 2 sts, (sc, picot, sc) in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts, sc in each of next 2 ch; repeat from * around, join as before. Fasten off.

    Stem
    Rnd 1: Join green yarn with sc in front lp of any st on round 1. Sc in each loop around (including the loops used in Rnd 1 of the petals) (12 st)
    Rnd 2: Ch 2, hdc in each st around.
    Rnd 3: Ch 2, * hdc next 2 st together (yo, insert hook in the next stitch to be worked, yo, pull yarn through stitch, yo, insert hook in the next stitch to be worked, yo, pull yarn through stitch, yo and pull through all loops on hook). Repeat from * around.
    *Rnd 4: Ch 1, *sc in next st, sc next 2 st together (insert hook in next st to be worked, yo, pull yarn through st, insert hook in next st, yo, pull yarn through, yo, pull yarn through all st on hook), sc in next st, sc next 2 st together. (4 st). Continue sc in each st around until stem is desired length. Fasten off and weave in ends.

    *Note: I found it easier to insert the pipe cleaner through the center of the flower when I'm about 6 or 7 Rnds in and work the stitches around it.  Pull the pipe cleaner through more as you go. This worked better than trying to push the pipe cleaner through the entire length of the stem as it seemed to catch on the stitches.

    Leaf
    Rnd 1: Ch 21, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and next 3 ch, sc in next 15 ch, 4sc in last ch. Continuing on opposite side of the chain, sc in next 15 ch, sl st in last 4 ch. Working up the center of the leaf sl st in each hole of the original ch. Finish off leaving enough yarn to sew to stem.

    Finishing
    Sew 1 or 2 leaves to each flower. I attached the leaf  at a slight angle on the stem from the bottom of the leaf about half way up and left the rest to curl.

    Inside activities, baking

    This winter seems to be lasting forever!! And it's not even the end of January yet!!  Trying to find new activities to keep my daughter occupied is getting harder and harder with each week.  This weekend I decided to try baking. Nothing fancy, just a boxed cake mix.  It went very well and she was so proud of herself she had to call her Nana to tell her 'I made cake Nan'.















    Everything made it into the bowl and not on the floor!














    I let her do alittle stirring by hand with the spatula and of course she loved it.  We will be doing more cooking projects soon. 

    If you haven't baked with your toddler yet I highly recommend it!!

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Setting My Sites on Easter!

    I know it's not even Valentine's Day yet but I've got my sites set on Easter!

    One idea I have is daffodils. My Mom loves daffodils so I'm thinking of knitting or crocheting some to have my daughter give to her grandmothers and aunt on Easter. I might throw some tulips in there too.

    So I'm on the hunt for a good pattern.  The ones I've tried just don't match the picture in my head. Maybe it's time to design my own......stay tuned for that.

    Last year for Easter I made my daughter this beautiful Easter doll. 

    Not sure what to do for this year. Any suggestions or ideas are welcome!!! I was thinking she might like a topsy-turvy doll, but she loves Pooh bear too. Oh well. I'll start on the daffodils and hopefully an idea will come to me for the little one.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Simple Toddler Key Hold Scarf

    Anyone who has tried to get a toddler all bundled up to go outside and play in the snow knows that the easier on and off a garment is the better!!  This scarf is as simple to slip on your toddler as it is to make.


    Begin by casting on 28 st. I used the cable cast on method but you can use whatever method you prefer.

    Work k2, p2 ribbing for approx. 24"


    Work first 6 st then continue working in k2, p2 pattern bind off the next 16 st, work last 6 st

    Work first 6 st in rib pattern, using the cable cast on method cast on 16 st, work last 6 st

    Continue in pattern for another 7 1/2" (or for as long as you'd like)

    Bind off in pattern, weave in ends and you're done!

    Happy Knitting everyone!!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    New and Improved 'It's All In The Yarn' Toddler Hat now with Ear Flaps!

    ‘It’s All In The Yarn’ Toddler Hat with Ear Flaps



    While the hat fit our little subject perfectly I found that because her hair is so silky the hat kept riding up. So I decided to add ear flaps and i-cord ties.  Here is the modified pattern.

    Yarn: 1 skein Beehive Baby Sport Twists Yarn - Big Girl (you will have plenty of yarn left over for a matching scarf and maybe mittens too!)
    Needles: US size 3 circular and double points (or just double pointed if you don’t have circular)

    The yarn does all the work in this one!! I LOVE this yarn!

    Cast on 108 stitches using your favorite cast on method.  For this I used the cable cast on method.

    Beginning in the first stitch cast on (so you’re connecting in the round) begin your pattern of knit 2, purl 1. Be sure to mark the beginning of your row with a stitch marker.

    Continue in knit 2 purl 1 pattern for approx 40 rows. You can go more if you’d like, it’s totally up to you.  This is the part that allows you to customize it to your child. If I were to do it again (which I probably will) I would probably do about 50 rows to cover her ears better.

    Decrease rows:
    Decrease rows are done in knit only.

    1st Decrease row – *knit 8, knit 2 together, repeat from * around.
    Next row – Knit in pattern (knit 2, purl 1)

    2nd Decrease row - *knit 7, knit 2 tog, repeat from * around.
    Next row – Knit in pattern.

    Keep decreasing every other row knitting 1 less stitch before the knit 2 together until you knit 1, knit 2 tog (switch over to double pointed needles when the work gets too tight on the circular).

    Once you’re at that point the next row knit 2 together all around. Cut yarn and run it under all remaining stitches. Pull tight and weave in the ends to secure.

    Ear Flaps

    Pick up 18 st anywhere along the bottom edge of your hat making sure to begin with a knit stitch and end with a purl.

    Row 1: K2, P1 across, turn
    Row 2: K1, P2 across, turn
    Repeat rows 1 & 2 until you have 18 rows.
    Row 19: ssk, p, ssk, p, k2, p, k2, p, k2t, p, k2t, p (you should have 14 st), turn
    Row 20: ssk, ssk, k, p2, k, p2, k2t, k2t (10 st), turn
    Row 21: ssk, ssk, p, k, k2t, k2t (6 st), turn
    Row 22: ssk, ssk, k2t (3 st), turn

    Using the remaining 3 stitches begin your i-cord and work for approx. 9"
    Bind off and weave in ends.

    I-Cord is worked by knitting across your 3 stitches. Without turning your work, slide the stitches across your needle and knit the stitches bringing the working yarn from the last stitch around to the first stitch. I hope that makes sense. If not there is a nicely done tutorial with pictures at http://www.stitchdiva.com/custom.aspx?id=196. The only difference is the tutorial is done with 4 stitches.

    For placement of the second ear flap the easiest thing to do is try it on the subject. Mark the center spot of the ear then pick up stitches evenly on both sides.


    Stay tuned for the matching key hole scarf!!!

    Happy Knitting!!!