June 30, 2009

Coffee Filter Butterflies

We've been potty training this week, so I've been keeping C upstairs on the hardwood floor and away from the carpet downstairs. To keep us busy, we've been doing a lot of crafts, and this was a fun one that we did a couple of days ago. Here was the finished product:

  • coffee filters
  • paint & paintbrushes (we used watercolours)
  • pipe cleaners
All you need to do is paint the coffee filters (C did about 5 and she spent lots of time on them!), let them dry (30 minutes out on the deck did the trick for us), then twist a pipe cleaner around the middle of each coffee filter to make the body and antennae of the butterfly. Voila - butterflies! C and her bunny Stanley (à la That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown) had lots of fun playing with them that night.

By the way, C's face paint was done at a multicultural festival earlier in the day. Isn't it cool?!

June 27, 2009

Fruit popsicles and sneaky vegetables

Summer is here, and that means lots of popsicles in our house!

C doesn't eat much in the way of fruit or vegetables these days, but she'll eat almost anything in a popsicle, so we make popsicles and smoothies often. I was pleased with the look of the layered "rainbow popsicles" in the picture above (I know, they're not technically rainbows, but it's a fun name!).

I don't have a real recipe for my fruit popsicles, just whatever is in the fridge and cupboard! These ones had tons of fruit. The orange layer had: mango, pineapple, peaches, pears, canned mandarins, orange juice, yogurt, and a drizzle of honey. I pureed it all in the blender and poured a layer into the popsicle molds. I added raspberries and strawberries to the orange puree left in the blender to make it pink, then poured another layer into the popsicle molds. Then I added blueberries and pureed it with the pink puree, and poured a purple layer into the molds. I dropped in the popsicle handles, then froze it - voila! Some people say to freeze the layers between pouring, but I didn't. The layers weren't perfect, but they didn't mix very much, and I didn't want to wait the extra time. These are a big hit with C, and Hubby and I like them too! I'm always a little disappointed when she doesn't finish a meal, because then she can't have dessert and get a healthy fruit-filled popsicle! I've been meaning to mix some carrot puree into the rainbow popsicles, so I'll have to try that next time - it's almost time to make some more!

We also make green popsicles, which I first tried around St. Partick's Day after reading this post on No Time For Flash Cards. I puree frozen spinach, bananas, yogurt, milk and a couple of drops of vanilla, then freeze the green smoothie into popsicle molds! Use ripe bananas, but not too ripe, or it will taste funny. For those of you thinking "spinach popsicles - gross!", you can't really taste the spinach, it mostly tastes like bananas. I must admit they're not my cup of tea, but C loves them, and I'm all for dessert that gets a green vegetable into her!! C helps me make the popsicles, so she knows that spinach goes in them, but she still likes them, even though she'd never touch a spinach leaf on her dinner plate!

I've been making popsicles for quite a while, and since C has become more picky lately, I picked up the cook book Deceptively Delicious, all about hiding vegetables and fruit in your family's meals. I've tried a few of the recipes and adapted some of my own recipes to add veggies. So far I have put cauliflour puree in banana bread, carrot puree in satueed taco meat, and added sweet potato puree to pancakes (so yummy - I started this when I was using up C's baby food purees). I also add carrot puree to almost anything with tomatoes - chili, spaghetti sauce, even canned tomato soup. I keep ice-cube sized carrot puree (with a bit of green beans) in the freezer so I can even pop a couple into lunch sized portions.

So I'm getting good at sneaking veggies into her food, but getting C to try food in its natural state is another story - she won't even eat grapes or strawberries, let alone a carrots or peas!

June 24, 2009

My Heart Belongs to Daddy

We had a nice day on Father's Day, even though I had to leave that evening on a business trip. Here are C's favourite Daddy books:

Daddy's Girl - Garrison Keillor

This board book makes a great shower/baby arrival gift. It's a sweet collection of Daddy/Daughter poems, and a couple of them are pretty funny! The diaper changing poem is the best - C can even recite it!

Daddy's Little Girl - Ronne Randall
A cute book about a Daddy teaching his daughter to ride her bicycle. We got it as a gift, but it seems hard to find (It's not on Amazon right now).

Just Me and My Dad - Mercer Mayer
I loved this book when I was little. In fact, C has my copy, complete with record! In this book, Little Critter and his Dad go camping. As always, Mercer Mayer's illustrations tell a different story than the words! There is a video based on this book, which we borrowed from our library. C loves seeing Little Critter sing!

My Little Girl - Tim McGraw & Tom Douglas
I bought this one for Hubby for Father's Day. It's about having fun just being together and doing ordinary things.

I Love You Daddy! - Edie Evans
This is a cute, short rhyming book that shows many different fathers doing fun activities with their children.

I'd Be Your Princess - Kathryn O'Brien
I gave this one to one of C's friends on her birthday. In this book, the little girl imagines being a princess and her Daddy talks about how she'd be such a good princess, because she has character traits like honesty, helpfulness and sharing. Short bible verses are at the bottom of each page.

I hope you had a wonderful Father's Day!

June 17, 2009

Super Summer Swap

C and I are going to participate in the Super Summer Swap.

It involves making a new friend from another part of the country or world, making something creative and your child sending and receiving mail.

Are you intrigued yet?

Head on over to Life of a Dairy Queen or Superheroes and Princess (the co-hostess' blogs) for more information!

June 16, 2009

Getting out the sewing machine

I've been feeling crafty lately! I made this bandana skirt for C, and I'm so happy with the way it turned out! I used the super simple tutorial from V and Co. C seemed to like it too!

I also painted another freezer paper T-shirt and added some more pictures & info to my tutorial.

June 11, 2009

What would you say?

I've been having one of those days where I just love life. Seeing my little girl, talking with her, playing with her, snuggling and reading books... I can't seem to stop hugging and kissing her today. I'm just filled with so much amazement that we created her, and I'm so happy that I get to be a part of her life and watch her learn and grow every day!

I heard a song, Say What You Will by Justin Hines today, and I looked on YouTube for a video. It's so touching that I just had to share it. It makes me think of so many people in my life.

Tell them you love them every day.

I smile whenever I think of you.

Hugs are better than bandaids.

Cherish the memories.

Tutorial: Making one-of-a-kind T-shirts with freezer paper and fabric paint

I made these for C! I'm so happy with the way they turned out!

The C shirt was super easy - an iron-on transfer that I picked up last year. I put it on a size 3 shirt so she'll get lots of wear out of it. The glittery seahorse and bird were made using fabric paint and a homemade stencil. I painted them on size 2 shirts, because I wasn't sure how they would turn out!

Here's a close-up of the seahorse:

And now for the instructions!

It was pretty easy. Making the stencil was the most time-consuming part, but all in all, it didn't take more than 20 minutes, plus time for the paint to dry. I found out how to do it from Angry Chicken's (adorable) little elf shirt.

You'll need:

printer paper
freezer paper (Plastic on one side, paper on one side. Found next to the waxed paper in your grocery store. I used Reynolds brand)
exacto knife + cutting surface
iron + ironing board
fabric paint
paint brush or sponge

  • Print the image that you want to use for your T-shirt (I did an image search for "silhouette"), and trace the image onto the paper side of the freezer paper (or trace the outline of a photo or a picture from a book - use your imagination!). You could also cut your freezer paper into 8.5 x 11 sheets and run them directly through the printer.
  • Use an exacto knife to cut out your image
  • Line up your stencil on your T-shirt, plastic side down, and iron it onto the shirt

  • Iron another piece of freezer paper on the inside of the shirt, behind the stencil (both pieces of freezer paper should be back-to-back, sticking to the fabric of the shirt's front). This will prevent the paint from seeping through the fabric

  • Follow the instructions on your fabric paint and paint/dab it on your shirt, inside the stencil

  • Let it dry for a few hours or overnight
  • Do a second coat, if necessary (I did for the bird shirt)
  • Slowly peel the freezer paper off the shirt, taking care around the edges (I used my fingernail to help separate the paint from the paper, because I was afraid the glitter glue I used wouldn't give me crisp edges)
That's it!

I haven't done a wash test yet, but I plan to wash the shirts inside out, hang to dry, and not iron directly over the paint. Let's hope it washes well! I've used regular and glitter paint, so we'll see the difference in how they look and wash.

June 9, 2009

Summer reading: the top 30 children's picture books

I'm a list girl. I like to-do lists, grocery lists, and especially lists of top things. The Bookworm's Booklist has posted a list of the 30 top children's picture books, and that's right up my alley. Here are the ones I've read with C so far.

#1: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)

#2: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (1947)

#3: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1979)

#4: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (1962)
#5: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (2003)
#6: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1941)
#7: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (1955)
#8: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (1939)
#9: Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag (1928)
#10: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (2004)
#11: The Story of Ferdinand by Monroe Leaf, ill. Robert Lawson (1936)
#12: Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (1994)
#13: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (1948)
#14: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, ill. Lane Smith(1989)
#15: Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (1996)
#16: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (1987)
#17: Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (1947)
#18: In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak (1970)
#19: Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (1982)
#20: George and Martha by James Marshall (1972)
#21: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (1999)
#22: The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone, ill. by Mike Smollin (1971)
#23: Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (1964)
#24: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, ill. Lois Ehlert (1989)
#25: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton (1942)
#26: Corduroy by Donald Freeman (1976)
#27: The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1902)
#28: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, ill. Ray Cruz(1972)
#29: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (1969)
#30: Brown, Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? by Bill Martin Jr., ill. Eric Carle (1967)

So, which ones have you read?

Except the 3 Little Pigs, we've read the highlighted books above many many many times, and C has memorized most of the lines! She goes around talking about climbing Corduroy's mountain, saying "we'll eat you up, we love you so" (like the wild things), and when we're baking she'll yell "milk, milk, milk for the morning cake!" (In the Night Kitchen was a gift for her first birthday and her first favourite book - we read it all the time, and still quite often!). C also often quotes Madeline (appropriately - her middle name).
Oh, by the way, June 10th is Maurice Sendak's Birthday, so plan some fun activities!

I've put The Snowy Day, Caps For Sale and Peter Rabbit in C's gift box, and she'll get them soon. Some of the others are on a wish list. There are a few on that list I've never heard of, though!

How many have you read with your children, and what are your favourites?

June 8, 2009

Flea market finds & thinking ahead to Christmas

Oh, how I love yard sale season in my neighborhood!

There are tons of young families around here, so there are yard sales almost every weekend. Over the past few weeks I've gotten some great stuff!

Toys for C, craft supplies, and sewing patterns for me
(the big wooden airplane was only $1! I was excited to find a Fisher Price Movie Viewer - anyone have any movie cartridges they want to sell?)

Tons of books for C
...and me!

I've put a few things in C's travel bag (preparing for our summer trip to Newfoundland), but I've put many away for Christmas. I know, it may seem strange to give used toys for Christmas, but I was really inspired by an article in Canadian Family magazine last year, called A Green Christmas: How one family reworked the holidays with some creative gift giving. Instead of buying a lot of new toys, I love the idea of giving others handmade gifts, or passing along a toy, gift or clothes that you enjoyed and think someone else would like. I particularly like the idea of involving kids in choosing the hand-me-down gifts or making homemade gifts. And while we may not always have something that would suit everyone, I've found some neat things at thrift shops and yard sales. I can't imagine we'll be able to do this for everyone this year, but I'd like to do it as much as possible and challenge myself to be creative and resourceful. I like the message of giving that (I hope) it will teach C. I've considered asking other family members with kids to participate too, but it might seem too preachy, and I guess there's always the "cheap" stigma around used goods.

What do you think about the idea?

Flashback Fun

C does this in the bathtub:

June 2, 2009

Fantastic site for printables!

Last week, Katydid and Kid posted about her fabulous boredom bags, filled with activities to keep kids busy on trips, in restaurants, waiting rooms, etc. While clicking on the links in her post, I found the most fantastic website and I just had to share!

I initially got excited about Hugo l'Escargot because it has thousands of colouring pages on almost every subject imaginable! Click through the coloured tabs to find subjects like cartoon characters, famous paintings, animals & nature, countries of the world, children of the world, Egypt, pirates, and so many more! The faces section is pretty neat too - kids can draw their own faces on the people on the colouring pages. The website is in French, bit it's pretty easy to navigate; there are icons for every section.

Well, after exploring the site another day, I found some more gems! The songs section (chansons) has music files, lyrics and colouring pages related to each traditional children's song. Of course, the songs are all in French, but it's a perfect site for anyone trying to teach their child French! We live in New Brunswick, Canada, an officially bilingual province, so this will be helpful for us.

On Hugo l'Escargot, you can also print stationary, birthday invitations, play online games (some of which are in English), view crafts & recipes, and other printables and cut-outs (including fantastic paper dolls of boys and girls. Print them on cardstick, paper, or give them a magnetic backing).

A helpful hint: visit an online translator whenever you need a web page (or just a few words) translated. You can enter website addresses and it will translate a whole page at the click of a button. The grammar certainly isn't perfect, but it will give you the gist of what is on the page!

So there you go, I hope you enjoy the site as much as I do! I was so excited when I saw all of the great activities that I think my husband thought I was a little bit nuts!

June 1, 2009

Off for a few days!

We're going to lovely Prince Edward Island for a couple of days!

I've scheduled a post for tomorrow about a great site I stumbled across a few days ago - you'll want to bookmark it! Stay tuned...

According to About.com's Fun Days Calendar, today is Dinosaur Day, so teach your kids about dinosaurs today! Some facts I learned last week: the term "brontosaurus" is outdated - now it's "apatosaurus", and a "pterodactyl" is now called a "pterasaur"! Oh, how things have changed since I was a girl... I loved visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum of palaeontology in Alberta on school trips. I've been back once as an adult, and it's still the most amazing museum! Check out these virtual tours of the Dinosaur Hall.

By the way, I want to thank Princess Mommy from Princess With a Half Price Tiara for nominating me for a blog award last week! Check out her blog for preschool activities, budget-friendly tips & tricks, and crafts!
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