Thursday, October 3, 2013

My 2 and a Half Year Old Said It:

"Please, give me some space"

Halloween Craft Bonanza!

Before having a little one, Halloween crafts meant pumpkin spice pudding shots and fraying the hem of that summers bridesmaid dress for my "sexy/scary" costume. A lot has changed...

Stringing toasted O's onto yarn with a toothpick. These will look festive strung on tree branches by our picture window while giving the birds a treat too!

Three months ago while melting away at a Fourth of July parade we were given these "fans" by the lovely people representing Fifth Third Bank. I held onto them (like I do very often) and was tickled when I got the inspiration to cut eye holes and paint them for a quick Halloween mask. 

I'm preparing myself for B to go totally boneless and lose his mind when Halloween night comes and he is "required" to wear a costume to receive candy... Hopefully these impromptu masks will do the "trick" (pardon the pun) for a costume compromise.

I painted a pumpkin on one and B painted a "shadow" on his. 

While we had the craft chest open B was  inspired by a bag of odds and ends I had floating around. It's amazing how a piece of construction paper and tube of glue can entertain a toddler so thoroughly. 

We have been collecting leaves as they begin to fall (and before our retired neighbor can get out his blower and leaf vacuum) to do a leaf rub picture for our nature table. As you can see, "rub" to B translates to scribble as hard as you can... 

On our little walks this week we have also pocketed a few acorns, crab apples and twigs that B thought were fascinating at the time. I let them sit in vinegar for a day and then baked them on 350 degrees for an hour in case there were any bugs or anything that had laid their eggs in there. 

We had an empty (plastic) nut butter jar and added it to our collection as a seasonal imagery jar. I was going to hot glue the lid, but I'm not concerned with B unscrewing the lid. Even if he did, he's already has his hands on everything in the jar while we collected it.

Look at this spread! Wow!! When we do craft time, we rock it out! We also enjoyed reading fun facts out of our Awesome Autumn book.

What seasonal crafts have you done with your family this year?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Barramundi WHAT?!

Barramundi fish with homemade garden (yes, mine) pesto over brown rice with sautéed kale (in garlic, oil and lemon juice). 

Easy, light and not smelling my house up ... Which is the #1 reason my hubby grew up not liking/eating fish. Unless you count battered and fried cod on Friday at a restaurant (I do not).

My title guy won't eat anything without his Mickey Mouse Fork.

It was a hit!

What's your favorite weeknight meal?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ice Cream at the Beach (a.k.a How to experience your toddler barf like a frat boy)

An impromptu family road trip to the beach on the last "official" weekend of Summer, seems innocent enough... 

You know those frozen yogurt places that have various flavors in a slushy-style self-serve machine and a salad-bar set up for every topping know to man? They charge by the ounce (minus the gigantic cup, they say). It's ingenious really. You think, "frozen YOGURT, that's healthy, right?" Until you slather on hot fudge, gummy bears and York peppermint patty chunks and the calorie count soars to more than a chili dog! I always feel the need to try the most wild combinations at these places, like the kid who is paid five dollars on a "dare" at the lunch table to eat some concoction. Except I've paid them $8.74 (they charged me tax, I couldn't believe it)! 

Anyway, I made B a VERY simple teeny weeny cup with strawberry flavored fro-yo and a few gummy bears. We all sat by the beach, enjoying the sights and sounds of the boardwalk on a hot end of summer night when he starts barfing

Aaaahhh!!! Noooo!! I pick his little body up and prop him over a garbage can. His little hands are holding the sides of the can and he is wretching into it like a frat boy on Spring Break!  We left the beach immediately and I never looked back. My apologies to any bystanders or patrons who had to smell that yak until the beach crea could clean it up ;(((

How did your last beach day go?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Mysterious Magic of Swings (and other ways to skin your knee)

The magic allure of a swing...

Pushing, sitting or belly flying... It's all good :)

No where else in my experience will a mommy-centric toddler take off running away from his safety zone to take off flying!! It seems at every age, we all line up to sit on the swing at the park and kick our feet. My nearly seventy year old mother-in-law likes it, my fourteen year old nephew wants to see how high he can go and I love it too...seems universal to me!

What's your favorite way to swing on the swingset??

Thursday, August 15, 2013

No-Sew Chair Cushion Cover

I bought a beautiful outdoor dining set seven years ago at the end of August for a  steal. It's time to get new cushions but, hard as I tried, NO WHERE had the correct dimensions to fit my chairs. I do not sew and needed an alternative. A friend of mine told me about using drop clothes from Lowe's to cover them. I have twelve chairs, so I needed a reasonably priced fabric. 

I gathered my supplies:
9x12 Blue Hawk washable and reusable drop cloth $25 x 4
Fabric Fusion $11 x 2
Heat Bond $5
Pins $3
Straight edge razor, scissors and iron were already in my "tool box"

Besides sewing, I also hate measuring, so the first cut was a little off, but I figured I could use the scraps for crafts with B at some point. 

I ironed the first piece to the cushion with the heat bond. I did melt the original cushion a little, note to self, hot iron and somewhat plasticky fabric do not work well together :(  

Another note, if you don't like peeling permanent fabric glue off of your fingers for days, this may not be for you. I, on the other hand enjoy peeling things, weird, I know. Like the first good burn of the summer... Probably why I've had skin cancer three times before I was 40 years old, but that's an entirely different story for another day.

I iron the fabric as I go too so that I can get sharp sewn-like angles. This fabric is great because it has sewn edges that give the illusion of sewn seams.

Once it's ironed, I match up the "seams", apply a gooey line of Fabric Fusion as close to the edge as I can without going over and pin it. I tried pinning it the way I've seen people do when they were sewing, but that left little ridges when it dried, plus I kept sticking myself. I don't know how to sew, why would I have a thimble? Sticking the pins straight in seems to work the best. 

I used the straight edge razor to slice a tiny opening where I could pull through the Velcro pieces that are on the original cushions. I could not figure out how to make them look pretty. They still do the job they were created to do, they are behind the cushion, so I kept them. Any shag /fringe I got from opening the fabric up I just trimmed and I'm hoping it doesn't fray. Although I did see a "no fray" spray near the Fabric Fusion at Michael's, so if it does, at least I know there is something I could do about it.


I fold up the edges as if I'm wrapping a present. I use the natural "seam" on the drop cloth fabric whenever possible. But, because I cut the original fabric into thirds, I wouldn't be able to get a "pre-sewn" seam on both sides. Some people may not like that. It is completely up to you. I figured, at least one side will look sewn. If I have any persnickety guests in my backyard, I'll make sure the sides of the cushions that look sewn face their seat. Ha ha! 

The other side without the "pre-sewn" seams doesn't look too shabby, in my opinion. Some may choose to do both sides the same, just for uniformity. Either way, the cushions get covered :)

After 2 - 4 hours (I just let them dry over night because this is a nap time project for me) you can remove the pins. I used needle nose pliers because those straight pins can really be difficult to take out, especially with my stubby inept fingers and the fact that they've been pierced through permanent glue!


The final product. I scored a cute pillow at Bed, Bath & Beyond with my 20% off it came to $5.21. DONE.

What DIY projects have you been working on?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Craft Shmaft!!

Craft Shmaft! For his last birthday, a dear friend subscribed B to a monthly craft program from Green Kid Crafts. It really is a super cute idea. Each month has a theme. There are three or four instant crafts with all of the supplies you'd need to create them in individual bags. A sheet for "add-on" ideas and a teaser for the coming month for those super prepared parents who would start sharing books with their wee one on the subject in advance. I have a stack of them, largely unopened because every attempt I made to engage B in their uber cool aspirations of teaching us about marine biology or organic gardening was shunned with a VERY cold shoulder.

I'm not sure if it's just a "boy thing", or if he wasn't developmentally ready but B had NEVER been interested in gluing, painting or creating in any way what-so-ever. Until... recently, we were at a friends house for a play date and out of the blue B walked up to me and asked "are we going to do a craft, mama?" In his sweetest I want candy voice. I had to check my pulse! Was I dead?! Had I crossed over?! Then I checked B for any bleeding or head injuries, then I checked his tags to make sure he was MINE! Sure enough, he really did want to do a craft. Thankfully our friend has two boys and lots of readily available craft supply options. 

This was his creation. I helped peel the sticker backs off and we talked about letters and words and daddy, of course, but he chose everything else. It's not intricate, but it's about five more minutes than he's ever spent "crafting" before, so I'm impressed. 

I think I will try the Chinese Swallow Kite craft as our first Green Kids Craft and see how it goes. It is a cool and rainy day today in our neighborhood, so outdoor play will be limited and we will need some activities to fill our day. 

It literally has EVERYTHING I need in this little bag. B has flown kites before with his daddy on various beach and park trips, so he has the concept. We shall see, I suppose...

Do you have any craft projects that were a hit with you and your toddler?