Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"Crusty" the Snowman!!!

I write this post through tears of laughter!! We were measuring and mixing the white glue and shaving cream to make snow paint all while listening to Christmas music (on iTunes Radio, which is amazing, btw). As if in a movie, the song Frosty the Snowman came on. I drew a snowman on one of Beansie's papers as a guide and he started painting it with "snow". After a few seconds of listening to the song and painting, he looks up and said "Look, Moms! I painting Crusty the Snowman!" I am not exaggerating when I say that I could not stand on my feet due to the cramping in my stomach from laughing so hard! Busy had the same reaction and the Beans loves thinking he did something funny so he started laughing too :)

So here it is, "Crusty" the Snowman

All you have to do is mix equal parts white glue and shaving cream, mix and paint! And if you have any left over once you've finished painting, make sure to put it in an airtight container and stick it in the fridge for a bit. It gets cold so you can finger paint with it and it's like painting with real snow! 

Organized Cubbies

Since we moved in, I have been trying to figure out where to put my family command center. I finally got my new fridge, so our calendar, schedule, mail and notes are now on the side. I just hadn't found the perfect place for the kids' cubbies and new chore charts. Eventually we will have a mud room with lockers so things can go there, but until then I needed something temporary that would be just as organized. I also prefer that it be near the point of entry to make it easier for the kids to be successful. Then it hit me! I could put their cubbies in the living room cabinets just past the front door entry! That way the clutter stays hidden but it is all still right there when we walk in the door. This is what it looks like:

Now here it is broken down:
1. The Chore Charts - I decided to rework the chore charts onto a magnetic board. I used the small Foray magnetic dry erase boards I found at Target. With permanent marker I wrote their name and made 'to do' and 'done' sides.

I then traced circles on white paper using the magnets that came with the board (I liked the size). I wrote and drew on the paper, covered the circle with contact paper and stuck a magnet on the back (which came with the board, too!) I stuck the 3M Velcro tabs on the back of the board, and voila! They now have new chore charts. Busy's chores are make bed, clean room and brush teeth. Beansie's chores are feed Bentley (the dog), clean room and brush teeth. They both have to complete all three chores before we leave for school in the morning and they simply move the markers to the 'done' side when the task is complete! They are really doing a great job :)!!!

2. Shoe Boxes - We have been doing this since Busy started wearing shoes and it's really cute when little friends come over and put their shoes in the shoe box too ;) We used to have just one box for both kids, but with growing feet, it's easier with two boxes.
Again, I traced a circle, cut it out, labeled it and covered it with contact paper. Are you starting to realize that I have a small obsession with contact paper?!

Busy wanted her shoes labeled "Lollie", which is what her brother calls her, so that's what I did. And Beansie wanted "Beansie" on his :)

Now each kid has their own shoe box and they know to put them in when they come in the house. That way we don't go looking all over the house for missing shoes when we were supposed to be out the door 10 minutes ago ;)

3. The Paper Catcher - This is a place for school papers to park. When they come in and put their shoes in the shoe boxes, they then take out all papers from their bags and put them in the paper catcher. With the Beans I am still checking for any strays, but Busy is really good at helping him get them all out. This just makes it easier for me to get all papers (including art work) and helps teach them responsibility.

I dressed up the paper catchers with Washi tape so each is unique with pink and orange tape.

4. The Study Box - During Beansie's nap, Busy and I always do a project. Recently, her teachers have been doing some extra work with her including some reading. The books are sight word heavy so they have been sending home sight word cards that she has worked on. So everyday we do some sight word practice and literacy work. In her study box she has a pencil bag (with pencils, a sharpener -which she loves, a highlighter and a pen), a reading phone, a notebook and some sight word balls (we play lots of different games with these - look for them in another post). With her study box in her cubby, she can grab everything she needs at once.
Beansie has a study box too, but his is empty right now. I am planning on introducing one item at a time (like crayons, a notebook and books) to teach him how to use the box.

I also labeled each study box with a Washi tape and contact paper covered circle. The tape color corresponds to the paper catcher colors.

5. The bags and lunch boxes - After taking out all papers from their bags they put them in the cubby next to their shoe box and put their lunch boxes on top of the cabinet. I thought about having them take the lunch boxes to the kitchen, but this way I can just grab them on my way in. Right now putting them on the cabinet it keeps everything together.

This is what it looks like finished:

So, that's what I did for the few days in November after Thanksgiving. After family headed home, I organized a much needed cubby station for my kids (and for me). 

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Oooo, this is a good one! I recently made this for the little ones in my class, and decided to break it out for Busy this afternoon. It truly is amazing!

An oobleck is a "non-newtonian fluid" which means it acts like a liquid when poured and a solid when force is applied to it. In short, it's mind blowing!

This is what you need:

1. corn starch
2. water
3. a clear bowl
4. a fork

What you do:

1. pour about a cup of corn starch into a clear bowl (so you can see the reaction from all sides).
2. slowly pour water into the bowl and mix until it becomes an oobleck. You know you have the right ratio when you can pinch the "solid" in your fingers but when you relax your fingers, the "liquid" runs through your fingers.

This kept Busy, well busy, for over 30 minutes. We talked about the differences between a liquid and solid and how an oobleck acts like both depending on what you are doing with it. After we had our little minion lesson with the activity, she just played with it letting it run through her fingers after mushing it in her hands. And other than it being really awesome, clean up is a breeze! All you do is add water to dissolve away the solid and wipe everything clean with a damp paper towel. EASY! Which is also why it works so well with little ones (because it gets everywhere with the babies!)

She would smush it her hands to create a solid
then relax her hands and let it run through her fingers.

Then she added food coloring...

and sprinkles.
I think next time we may try adding peppermint extract and red food coloring for a Christmas twist :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Peppermint Dough

SNOW DAY!!! Okay, so it's mainly ice and that really is no fun. But we are totally taking advantage of the no school day! Busy woke up at 6:30 but decided that she was going to play in her doll house for an hour before insisting on breakfast :) And Beansie decided to sleep in (until 9:00!!!) then refused to get out of bed after waking up because "I too snoogalie to get out." After breakfast we played North Pole which they made up and really all you do is go around telling the elves what toys to make for kids they know. We, of course, had to bake cookies for a snow day snack then we made peppermint dough!!! If you have never made this, it's really easy, fun to mix and you can do a bunch of different things with it. It's pretty much play doh but with a twist. We also talked about measuring and mixing as an added math bonus ;)

Peppermint Dough 

What you need

2 cups of plain four
1 cup of salt
3/4 of a cup of cold water
1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
5 or so drops of peppermint extract (depending on how strong you want the smell to be)
Red food coloring

What to do

1. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt then add the other ingredients and mix well.

2.Kneed until the dough is formed. If it is too sticky, add more flour. If it is too dry and flakey, add a bit more water. While you are playing with it, it may get a little flakey. Just wet the tip of your finger and kneed the dough. That should fix it :)

3. Split the dough in half and in another bowl, mix half the dough with the red coloring. We had to use quite a bit to get the dough red enough.

4. Then play away!!! You can use cookie cutters, your fingers, spoons, forks and all sorts of different things to play in the dough. We used Christmas and holiday stamps!!!

Yes, she is in her swimsuit. I just don't ask ;)

Growing a Jeweled Rose is a great blog with all sorts of play dough recipes!! If you have never been there, make sure you check it out :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Decorating for Christmas

Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the smells, the sights, the tastes and the meaning of Christmas. We have started decorating around the house and it's taking a little longer than usual. We are in a new house and I see so much potential for Christmas and winter decorations! The kids are really wanting to help decorate this year and that is just fine by me! So, this is just some of what we're doing around here to get in the Christmas spirit…

Our snowman door is new this year!
I got the idea here.

Our stockings complete with our Elf, Scout.

I let the kids pick out new lights this year and
obviously they went for the brightest, most colorful
option! It's a little much, but they love it. And most
of the ornaments are on the bottom half ;)

Flour Painting

The beans does not like to paint. Really he doesn't like art that much at all but really doesn't like to paint. You have no idea how that breaks my heart considering how much Busy has always loved to paint! So recently Busy and I have really been trying some new ways to paint in hopes to entice that crazy little stubborn thing ;) Attempt # 497, flour painting!

The Recipe
Flour & water - that's it! And if you want to add color, either add food coloring or Kool-Aid.
Just mix the flour and water together until you get the consistency you are looking for.
*You can make it thicker for the younger ones.

What you need
This time we painted on paper that was taped to the counter with painters tape, but you can also use a paper plate, aluminum foil, mirrors or really any other surface. It's super easy to clean up :)

What to do
Once you mix up the paint, you can either use it as finger paint or paint with a paint brush. You can rub it on, drip it on, or make hand or finger prints. Really there is no wrong way to do this! Just have fun!! Even the Beansie Bear love it!!!