Kids DIY: Melted crayon pumpkins.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I know I'm not the first to share this project and I sure won't be the last... but when you land on an art project that a) requires materials you probably already have and b) is safe enough for even a 2-year-old to do mostly unassisted... well, I couldn't help but share it.

Pumpkin (any shape, size, or color)
Broken crayons
A hair dryer or embossing heat tool
Trash bag (to protect tabletop)
1. Unwrap broken bits of crayons.
2. Glue crayons to top of pumpkins and let dry.
3. Place pumpkins on a trash bag to protect your work surface.
4. Use a hair dryer on the hottest setting or an embossing heat tool like this one to melt the crayons. That's it!

My kiddos loved watching the crayons melt all over the place, and I loved letting them do a project all on their own. Enjoy!

Chess King.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A few weeks ago, we introduced Liam to the game of chess. I heard about No Stress Chess from a friend and had a feeling Liam would take to it, but had no idea that just a week or so later, he'd be a competitive chess player hungry for game after game. 

With No Stress Chess, you start out by using a deck of cards and one side of the board which explains where each piece goes. Each player takes turns drawing a card that tells you which piece to move and how it moves around the board. There's some chance involved, and some strategy. Then, once you've learned the basics, you ditch the cards, flip over the board, and play a real game of chess. It's been the sweetest way to spend one-on-one time with Liam, teaching him critical thinking (the best we know how) and watching his little brain work. (This is not a paid advertisement... this company has no idea who I am. I'm just a happy customer!) 

I know I'm always looking for constructive ways to spend time with my kids, and this one hits the jackpot. It's educational, fun, interactive, and Liam adores it. And from our perspective, we'd rather play 5 games of chess than 5 games of Chutes & Ladders any day. ;)

His favorite spot.

Friday, September 29, 2017

"Mama, any day that I get to do my art is such a good day."
- Liam, age 4.5

Two months with Brooks Wilder.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dear Brooks,

Thirty more days around the sun has exploded our love for you, just as we expected.

You're weighing in at just under 15 lbs, which puts you in the 99th percentile for weight. "There is no 100th percentile. He's as big as they come," the doctor said. You have rolls in places I've never seen rolls. You are round and happy and apparently getting just what you need. You eat well and spit up a lot, but are generally calm and comfortable.

You're starting to interact with us more every day, easily recognizing Mommy's and Daddy's faces and flashing your bright eyes and deep dimples when we talk to you. You're so tolerant of those loving siblings of yours, not even whimpering when they clobber you with wet kisses all over your face.

You have a name now, sweet boy. One that feels so fitting and came straight from God's hand. We wouldn't have chosen it, but it fits you more perfectly than the one we did choose. And with it comes a story I will never tire of telling.

You are our peaceful place, and someday, we pray you will bring the peace you've found in Christ into our fractured world. We read the headlines today and everyday and there is such a need for the peacemakers. You have a purpose in this world, my Brooks.

I love you like crazy,

I hope this picture resurfaces at your rehearsal dinner someday. ;)

Kids DIY: Marbling paper with shaving cream.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It's been a while since I've posted a DIY project here (I'm embarrassed to even find out how long!). In reality, though I haven't posted, DIY projects are part of our every day life at home. I'm homeschooling Liam this year for his second year of pre-K and about 75% of our daily "work" involves art. He thrives doing it and I thrive teaching it, so it's a good fit for our family. Liam and Lanie's very favorite thing is when we have an "art day" where we do several projects in a row. I set out some simple supplies - glue, tape, construction paper, kid-friendly scissors, glue sticks, markers, play dough - provide some guidance, and they can go for hours. For some moms, I'm sure that sounds overwhelming. But I believe that if you set up your space well, putting down paper or towels and using washable supplies, it's doable. 

Now onto this project... 
There are dozens of ways to marble paper with shaving cream, and this is just one of them. I loved the results so much that I thought I'd share the materials and steps we used!

Watercolor paper (cut to fit your container of choice)
Shallow dish or container to hold the shaving cream 
Popsicle sticks 
Spatula or ruler

*This marbling ink kit is a small investment for a lot of fun projects! If you follow the instructions on the box, you can marble paper with just water and ink. Also, there are many other ways to marble paper with shaving cream: tempera paints, food colors, acrylics. I just love this because a little goes a long way and we can use it for several projects. I totally recommend it.

Here's how: 
1. Squirt some shaving cream into a shallow dish (if your child is old enough and can be trusted, kids love doing this part!). 
2. Let your child choose which colors they'd like and drop a few drops into the shaving cream.
3. Use the popsicle sticks to swirl the colors into the shaving cream. Be sure not to overmix it.
4. Place the paper into the shaving cream, making sure the entire front side is saturated with shaving cream.
5. Pull the paper out and scrape off the shaving cream with a spatula or ruler to reveal the design. Let it dry completely and you're done!
We had fun cutting out the shapes into leaves and pasting them on paper, but the options for this paper are endless: making stationery or cutting small shapes to create a garland are just a couple ideas. Enjoy!
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