March 31, 2009

Clothespin Critter: Tutorial

Here's a cute little clothespin critter you can make with your toddler (older children could easily make these themselves). I made an alligator. For this project, you'll need:
  • wooden clothespin
  • green paint
  • 2 small googly eyes
  • pencil
  • green construction paper
  • white paper
  • scissors
  • glue

Paint the clothespin green and let it dry, opening it periodically so the clothespin doesn't permanently stick together.

Glue googly eyes to the top of the clothespin.
Fold the green construction paper approximately the width of your clothespin (mine was about 0.7cm). The "body" of my alligator needed to be approximately 6cm long, and I left room for a tail.

Draw spikes above the crease in your paper, and a tail under the crease.
Cut out and glue onto the top of the clothespin, behind the eyes. Don't glue the tail.

The spikes will be on the body, the tail will hang off the end.

Draw teeth on white construction paper, using your clothespin as a guide for width.
Glue the base of the teeth to the end of the clothespin, letting the tips hang down.

Let glue dry. You're done!

I got this idea when C and I were playing with a basket of clothespins yesterday and I was making some clothespins "nibble" her sleeve. Let me know if you make any different kinds of clothespin critters; I'd love to see them!

March 30, 2009

"More tea please darling!"

...that's what she says when she's practicing pouring with her tea set. Oh, the influence of the Fancy Nancy books! C loves to pour water, and clean-up is easy when I sit her in her high chair because it has a nice high rim to catch the flood. She tends to sample a lot of the "tea" too, so a pelican bib also comes in handy! It's a win-win-win activity: it's a good motor skill for her to practice, it kept her busy while we made supper last night, and whatever spills on the floor helps to clean the hardwood!

March 29, 2009

Audio nostalgia

Those of you planning long car trips in the summer (or who have children who love audio stories anytime) should head on over to Kiddie Records Weekly. I'm a big kid, and I'll admit I've been visiting this site since 2005 or 2006 - before I my daughter was born!

The idea of the site is to provide free audio downloads of forgotten treasures from the golden age of children's records. The site has fantastic titles, and many of the records include narration or music from silver screen stars of the 40s and 50s. Many book and movie adaptations are available.

We've been listening to Madeline in the car lately.

I've never actually read The Carrot Seed, but now that spring is here, I've seen a few blog postings about it, so you folks might enjoy it!

C is really enjoying her Little Red Riding Hood book these days, so I think I'll put this version on the next Car CD I make for her.

Thanks to Sarah Jane Studios for posting about the site recently. I thought KRW ended the project in 2007, but after a year's hiatus, they're back for a final year in 2009! There is a story for every week in 2005-2007, plus for each week so far in 2009. Enjoy!

March 27, 2009

Earth Hour: Just a little PSA

We interrupt this broadcast for a public service announcement...

In case you haven't heard, Earth Hour is tomorrow, Saturday, March 28th at 8:30pm. That means you can show your support for taking action on global warming by turning off the lights in your house for one hour. People are always asking what they can do; well, you can live without lights for an hour, right? I bet you can do without your TV, computer and radio too! Take this opportunity to snuggle with the ones you love, read books or have a family game night by candlelight (that's what we did last year - it was so nice!).

Last year, over 50 million people and businesses switched off their non-essential lights, including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square - pretty amazing! They're aiming for 1 billion participants this year. This year's slogan is:
It's not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. It's a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.
...and now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Related books for kids:

These books are on our wish list for C. Click on the pictures for info.
Do you have any recommendations?

When Santa Turned Green - Victoria Perla

Michael Recycle - Ellie Bethel

The Lorax - Dr. Seuss

Flea market finds

C and I visited Value Village today, and she was great! She ate some snacks in the shopping cart while I browsed aisles I usually never get to go down - yay! I let her play in the toy section before we left, and she had lots of fun with a rocking horse, baby doll and Strawberry Shortcake. We ended up buying a monkey puzzle, The Cat In The Hat, and some craft supplies for me: fabric, felt squares, beads, an embroidery ring, and a brand new roll of wallpaper with vintage advertisements on it (this will make great wrapping paper!).

March 25, 2009

Rainbow matching

C is really into matching colours lately. The other day she took all of the yellow-ish magnets off the fridge and put them into a yellow bowl. The next day I found these lined up in the hallway:

So I decided to put together a rainbow matching game for her. For this project you'll need:
  • white paper
  • markers
  • single colour stickers (I used office supply dots)
First, draw a rainbow on the paper, including only colours that you have matching stickers for. Make each colour wide enough for your stickers (I coloured the rainbow myself, but for older children might want to draw/paint the rainbow themselves, or you can outline the rainbow and let them colour it in).

Next, show your child the rainbow and talk about the colours (this is also a good time to talk about where rainbows come from).

Ask your child to choose a sticker. Ask her what colour it is, and ask her where that colour is in the rainbow. Ask her to put it on the same colour in the rainbow.

Your child can probably take it from there! C got the hang of this really quickly, and she emptied the whole sheet of stickers. She seemed to think the blue belonged right in the middle though!

This is her finished project. The stickers peel of pretty easily, and we'll probably do this one again.

Free online subscription to parenting magazine

Here's a neat deal that I stumbled across on Simply Frugal in Canada.

The ReadGreen initiative is offering people a free online magazine subscription! There are a ton of choices including Reader's Digest, Elle, Popular Photography, Hockey News, Popular Science... it's really a huge list! I chose Parenting: Early Years.

Click here to see the choices.

March 24, 2009

Weekly finds

I've been visiting a lot of new blogs this week, thanks to the Ultimate Blog Party. Here are a few of my favourite posts from blogs involved in the UBP, or from browsing other bloggers' favourite sites:

Birthday banner tutorial - Katydid and Kid

Making and freezing bread dough - Raising Peanuts

Homemade air hockey table - Frugal Family Fun Blog

Dress-up clothes for coyboys (and cowgirls!) - Little Birdie Secrets

Homemade breadsticks - My Little Gems

Cozy camera case tutorial - amy a la mode

Homemade hot pockets - Jane4girls $800 Annual Budget

Video of Edison's day: montessori parenting - Sew Liberated
(it's pretty amazing what this little boy can do!)

Hmmmm... most of these links are for things to make... Next step, finding time to make them!

Bran Flax Muffins

Just let me say that these are a lot tastier than they sound!

These are easy, very child-friendly, and because there are so many ingredients to add to the bowl, they're fun to make with kids. Because of the raisins, apples and nuts, C loves them! An added bonus for me is that they're so healthy, giving her a lot of fiber and even some veggies! The recipe is pretty versatile and you can substitute or throw in extra fruits and veggies. I always use more raisins than the recipe calls for. I've also tried adding grated pear and cranberries, and I imagine a bit of grated sweet potato would be tasty too. Enjoy!

Bran Flax Muffins

1 ½ cups white or unbleached flour (can use part whole wheat)
¾ cup flax seed meal (just grind flax seed in your blender if you don't have it on hand)
¾ cup oat bran
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup shredded carrots
2 shredded apples
½ cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
¾ cup milk (or buttermilk, or yogurt)
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Mix dry ingredients. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins and nuts.
  2. Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla; pour into dry ingredients and stir until moistened.
  3. Fill muffin cups ¾ full.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. Makes 15 medium muffins.

March 22, 2009

Puddles and icicles and potholes, oh my!

It's been a busy week here! C has begun attending a few more scheduled activities, so I feel like we've been running around quite a bit this week with them, a birthday party and my trip to Halifax for a conference. Thank goodness her activities are all drop-in, so if we're having a rough morning or just feel like staying home we don't feel guilty! Hubby takes her to Daddy/daughter activities with some other dads on Tuesdays, Wednesday is a playgroup at our church hall, and Thursdays is a music class (we've only gone twice so far, but C loves it!).

With all of that going on, and finally some warm weather, we haven't been spending much time in the house! We went puddle jumping and collected icicles yesterday (C calls them "classicals"). It was so nice to be out and not shivering! You'll notice that "warm" is a relative term, since we still have 4 feet of snow on the lawn. I'm so jealous of those of you who have started your spring planting!

We started making an egg carton caterpillar for the anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar book, but C lost interest and we haven't finished it yet. Another fun activity was an Easter Matching game, which I found through a link on My Montessori Journey.

In honour of all of the massive spring potholes in the roads right now, I'll share one of C's favourite bouncing rhymes with you. We've been doing this one a lot lately!

Bumpy Road

There isn't a particular tune to this rhyme, so just say it however works for you!
Sit on the floor or in the middle of a bed and place your child on your legs, facing you (I like to bend my knees and sit C there, with her feet in my lap). Hold your child's hands, and with each verse, bounce more energetically. When you get to the last line, open your legs and let your child fall between them! Be prepared to do this rhyme over and over!

A smooth road
A smooth road
A smooth road

A rough road
A rough road
A rough road

A bumpy road
A bumpy road
A bumpy road

A Hole!

March 21, 2009

Come join the party!

Pull up a chair, grab some munchies and join the Ultimate Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009 5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a virtual party so that moms and dads across the blogosphere can connect. So head on over, check out the hundreds of blogs, add your blog to the party, and check out the prizes!

Now, a bit about me...

I'm a 29 year old Atlantic Canadian with a 2 year old daughter and a wonderful Hubby. I'm a music buff, a law school grad, a goof with those who know me well, a bit of a perfectionist, and a big fan of classic movies and old cartoons. I work part-time from home for a health promotion consulting company, but most days I'm happiest just hanging out with my daughter and enjoying her precious first years (ever wish you could stop the clock to savour the beauty of childhood?).

Painting Pink Pajamas is pretty new, but I've been blogging since 2003. My daughter was born in 2007, and my posts were few and far between for a long time. After sleep deprivation subsided, I started posting again, but found that I wanted to talk about being a parent! My daughter is 2 years old now, and recently I've been browsing a lot of great blogs for activity ideas. I decided to share some of my recommendations, activities to do with toddlers and musings about being a parent, so this blog was born. I hope you'll have a look around and share your thoughts!

P.S. If I'm lucky enough to win a UBP prize, my top five prize picks from the Canada/US list would be:

Handmade Retro Apron from BoojiBoo
SavvyGirl & Companies’ Candy Apples Bracelet
Big Combo Pack from Mabel's Labels
Box of laugh-friendly company books and doll
See Kai Run toddler shoes

Of course, winning anything else related to babies/young children would be great!

Books! Favourite books for girls

Here are a few of our favourite books for girls - ones that have both Mommy & Daughter approval! While C has a couple of Cinderella books (and loves them!), we generally try to read her books with a more empowering message.

These books aren't just for girls, of course!

I Like Myself - Karen Beaumont

This has fantastic, quirky artwork, and a wonderful message. "No matter if they stop and stare, no person, ever, anywhere can make me feel that what they see is all there really is to me."

The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch

A castle, a prince, a princess, a dragon, a rescue... all the traditional fairytale elements. Oh, except that the princess outsmarts the dragon, rescues the prince, and then dumps him for being a jerk.
Robert Munch is C's favourite author, and this is one of her top picks.

That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown - Cressida Cowell

A really cute story about the adventures of a feisty little girl and her cherished rabbit Stanley - and the people who try to take him away.

Tummy Girl - Roseanne Thong

C likes the pictures and rhyme in this one, and I love it. It's so sweet, chronicling all of a little girl's stages.

Daddy's Girl - Garrison Keillor

Wow, look at all the pink books on this list! Our version is blue, but I guess they discontinued it. Anyways... this board book is a great gift to give someone as a shower gift or Father's Day gift. It's a sweet collection of Daddy/Daughter poems, and a couple of them are pretty darn funny! The diaper changing poem is the best - C can even recite it!

...but as far as Cinderella books go, this one is fantastic, and the artwork is beautiful!

Walt Disney's Cinderella - Cynthia Rylant and Mary Blair

Mary Blair created the concept art for the Cinderella film, and this book is a retelling of that story (in a slightly sadder, more grown-up way) using her artwork as illustrations. It's a long book, but C has been asking us to read it since she was about 18 months.

I hope your girls and boys enjoy them!

March 20, 2009

Flea market finds

...well, not quite a flea market, but close - the Salvation Army.

We've been doing a major closet purge, and I had a few bags of donations to drop off this morning. I was unusually sans famille, so I took some time to browse and, of course, walked out with a few things for C. Rain boots, because she'll grow out of hers any minute, a couple of Little People vehicles, a craft book, and a few farm/animal books. We're big fans of Grover here, and I loved this series of Sesame Street books when I was little. At $0.25 each, I couldn't pass them up!

I also bought a few skirts off the $0.50 rack (currently in the washing machine), in the hopes of trying my hand at making some skirts and dresses for C, à la the Recession Wear that this stay-at-home dad makes (check it out, his stuff is fantastic!). It's funny, I'd been to the fabric store that morning and couldn't find anything that caught my eye, but I did well at the thrift store!

March 19, 2009

Music box

C has a "music box" that we keep adding small instruments to. We store it under a coffee table in our living room, and she pulls it out to play a few times a week. I've been meaning to collage the box for months, and we finally started this weekend.

While I was cutting out pictures from catalogs and clip art that we printed, C drew on the box.
Then she spread glue on the lid of the box, and stuck the pictures on, with some help - she tends to put everything in the same spot, so I rotated the box and pointed out empty spots.
C lost interest after about 15 minutes, so it will be an ongoing project to finish the box, and eventually mod podge the surface for durability (and so the pictures stick better!). It's much better than the boring Spalding box!

March 14, 2009

Playtime at the mall

Despite the title, we didn't actually go to the mall today. We went to the farmer's market and the library for a family-friendly symphony concert, but I didn't bring my camera! C had a ball, dancing to the music and chowing down on snacks. She even got to pluck a cello after the concert!

Speaking of the library, I did pick up a couple of St. Patrick's Day books today!

Going to Chapters book store is a favourite pastime for us though, and a nice quiet break from the mall traffic. C gets to play with the train set and some other kids, and I get to browse the children's section or sit and rest while she plays. Bless whoever had the idea to add the trains to the store!

March 13, 2009

Pot of Gold

C and I did another St. Patrick's Day art project today - creating a pot of gold.

Very little prep was needed for this activity, just a "pot" and some shamrocks cut out of black construction paper. Other supplies:
  • cereal box cardboard (or paper)
  • glue
  • markers
  • gold stickers
I had a bunch of Hallmark card seals that worked great as the "gold", but play money or circles cut out of yellow paper would work fine!

We've never tried drawing rainbows before, hence the abstract 2-year old's interpretation! C loves the glue bottle, but is a bit finicky about having sticky stuff on her hands, and kept holding them out for me to wipe! She really liked adding the gold stickers to the pot.

I really should have looked for St. Patrick's Day books at the library today; I'm not sure how to explain the holiday to her!

March 12, 2009

The Business of Being Born

There will be a screening of The Business of Being Born in my city later this month, followed by a panel of women and medical professionals discussing the role midwidery could play in our province. Currently, midwifery is only regulated or funded in a few Canadian provinces, but the New Brunswick government is moving in that direction. It should be an interesting evening!

Check out the trailer:

For anyone in Fredericton who is interested, the screening is on March 31st at 7:00pm at Tilley Hall 102 on the UNB campus. Free admission - babies welcome!

March 11, 2009

Homemade play dough

At C's second birthday party last month I set up a play dough table for the kids. I knew that a group of under-2 year olds wouldn't really be able to follow directions for games, and this seemed like something fun that they could play with at their own pace.

I tried out several recipes, and here is the one I preferred (with a couple of modifications to the directions). We've been playing with it constantly since the party!

Homemade Play Dough

1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1 tbsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water
Food colouring
  1. Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a bowl.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a pot.
  3. Mix water and food colouring in a measuring cup.
  4. Add dry ingredients and water to pot and mix together.
  5. Simmer until clay begins to pull away from the pot’s sides.
  6. Remove from heat and allow clay to cool in pot. Transfer clay to a cutting board and allow it to cool further until you can knead it comfortably.
  7. Knead until smooth. Store in an airtight container.

The craft corner

I finally organized some of our kid friendly craft supplies and carved out a little nook for them in our downstairs closet. I think having an area like this will help to keep me more organized and with things on hand, we'll be able to do crafts quickly without having to hunt for things all over the house!

C's first post-organization craft was a St. Patrick's Day collage with things from the "green" can, inspired by a craft on No Time For Flash cards.

March 10, 2009


We have a library in our house.

That's what it feels like, anyways. Visitors are always astounded. My childhood books have made the rounds to cousins, and we received a huge box after C was born. Plus, I have a weakness for buying cheap books on (go - buy! Get $5 off $35 with the coupon code magic and password But I digress...

C has long loved to entertain herself by pulling books off her shelves and flipping through them. She will sit still for long airplane rides as long as we keep reading to her (thank goodness for that!), and we often find her sitting in her room, flipping through books: "read it by yourself!" (we're working on the my/your distinction).

My girl is quite a bookworm, and her memory astounds me. She'll walk around the house quoting from her books - do other people's kids do that?

At just over 2 years old, here are some of C's current favourites:

If You Give A Moose A Muffin

A birthday gift from her Daddy. She thinks it's hilarious and giggles the whole way through.

Amelia Bedelia series

Amelia Bedelia has been a big hit in our house since last summer. We have a bunch of them, and Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia is one of our favourites. C walks around the house talking about Mrs. Bender who has hives, and hopefully honey! These books are pretty long, so they're perfect for plane rides and waiting in the doctor's office!

Dick and Jane

C is a huge fan of the Dick and Jane books. We read them more than any other books, much to her Daddy's chagrin. They're also apparently very quotable - we often hear a little voice saying "Jump down funny Puff!" or reminding us that "Jane will have a birthday soon!"

Bad Dog, Marley!

Dog books are popular, particularly if they involve cookies and cake. The longest sentence C can say is "Mommy baked a chocolate cake and put it high on top of the refrigerator!" Which is shortly followed by: "Marley got it! Every last crumb!"
That girl is SO going to want a dog.

And those are some of C's current favourites! What are you reading these days?
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