Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ladybug Planter

Spring has sprung here in Vegas and I'm ready to try to prove again that I wont kill every plant I've ever touched.  This year the girls are old enough to garden on their own so the plants have a much better chance of survival.  I packed up the twins and CeCe and headed off to our home away from home, Lowes

As we walked up and down the isles we searched for things we would want to grow and planters to plant them in.  We bought some cilantro, basil, and rosemary.  As for the planter, I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.  As I stood debating the shape of the planter to buy, GG sat down to get the sand she had brought with her out of her shoes.  Then it dawned on me, dump the sand box I can't stand and fill it with dirt!

Although the sandbox has a lid I would find the baby crawling into it to eat the tasty sand.  The girls had been tracking it in our house for over a year and I was over the need to have a sand box.  It was time to convert it to something more useful.

I dumped the sand out and found a colony of little bugs, ew.  Apparently it had been time to convert it for quiet some time!  My husband drilled some holes in the bottom to help with drainage.  Seeing their sandbox empty was an invitation to play!

 CeCe had so much fun hang'n out in the empty lady bug that we really considered leaving it that way!
 The girls loved that the cover could fit with them in it!

After the holes had been drilled we covered the bottom with rocks a bit larger then gravel then filled with soil.

The girls planted the cilantro, rosemary, and basil all by themselves. I'm excited to show them that we can pick the herbs and use them directly in our cooking.

All the girls chipped in to water the newly planted seeds.  I gave the twins water bottles in hopes they wouldn't drown the seedlings....they screwed off the tops and poured it in anyways!  I didn't even know they knew how to screw things off yet.  The small amount in the bottles was perfect for watering.

The best part of the garden being in the ladybug is Little Miss CeCe has forgotten she can lift up the lid which means now when she's outside we have no fear of her eating the dirt and pulling up the herbs.  I'm now addicted to find different things to use a planter.  If you have any great ideas please send them to me.  I'll happily link to your post!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Grass Caterpillars

Celebrate Earth Day
and the Letter C
Grass Caterpillar Hairy Caterpillars Letter C craft

I found these adorable caterpillars all over the Internet while searching for crafts my playgroup could do for Earth Day. It looks easy enough for a bunch of 2-4 year olds to accomplish mostly on their own! So I gathered up my troop of princesses and headed off to Lowes to pick up some grass seed, potting soil, and some cute shovels for the kids. After much searching I found a small bag of grass seed, and several other seeds I wanted to try out with the kids as well.

Our playdate began with the moms prepping our breakfast counter. We poured soil into 2 containers figuring more then one kiddo would want to participate in the craft at one time. In a large bowl we mixed the grass seed with the soil then cut up our pantyhose. I never knew how much fun it would be to destroy my pantyhose! 

We set up the kids with a bowl of soil and grass seed mix, handed them shovels, and opened the pantyhose for them to pour it all in. It was a mess, but fun none the less!

FamilyFun Magazine says to use ponytail holders and we tried that on one of the caterpillars. That worked well as long as you use the thin holders, the thick ones were too hard to wrap around the worm. But it did work well. Another mom brought regular rubber bands, hers turned out great as well. 

I refused to part with any of my pony tail holders and honestly didn't want the girls to think they could use their small ones for anything other then their hair. So I wrapped the pipe cleaners tightly around the worm making segments then used what was left over as legs. These pictures also show the placement of the tie off and I personally prefer making it the nose as seen in the first photo!

Earth Day Grass Caterpillars
Caterpillar with rubber bands and legs pushed into the side:
Grass Catapillar
Caterpillar with pipe cleaners wrapped around then used as legs:
Hairy Grass Caterpillar

*Tip - You may want to wait on putting the eyes on. We didn't, as you can see and were worried they'd come off during the soaking. So far neither of mine have lost their eyes but that may just be luck!

After the legs are done its time to work on the antenna. There are a couple ways to affix the pipe cleaner to the caterpillar. You can cut the pipe cleaner in half and push it through the pantyhose 0r you can cut 2 slits in the hose and feed the pipe cleaner through. Bend in the middle and curl the tops.

Now its time to soak! Soak for 10 minutes.
After your caterpillar is done soaking its time to put it in the sun. Since the girls garden is barren in the middle I thought it'd be a nice home for ours till we can plant the seeds we bought at Lowes.
Hairy Grass Caterpillar in Ladybug Sandbox Garden

Once your caterpillar has dried out a bit, you can affix the googlie eyes on without much worry. Water your caterpillar every other day. Have your kiddos go out with you to observe how the grass is growing, the texture, color, and length. I measure out the water for each girl and let them water their own, otherwise they'd be mud by now!

*Additional note: Once the grass begins to grow the eyes you glued on will disappear. The FamilyFun site says to use a bobby pin and glue the eyes on that way. I tried that but had an impossible time keeping the bobby pins upright. I also didn't find the need for a yogurt container or pom poms.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mothers Day Hand print Foot print Flowers

Hand and Foot Print Flowers for Spring!
Finished Project

Mothers Day is on its way and the girls have been excited about growing their gardens.  We have been working on colours this week as well so I thought this would be a fun craft the girls would enjoy and the grandmothers would love! 

We did the above prints on paper to see if we liked them enough to really make them as gifts, they had me hang them in our playroom they like them so much.  Tomorrow we'll be doing this print onto canvas bags to give as gifts.  It also ties in with our playgroups Green Team theme of giving eco friendly gifts.  We'll make one for this mommy as well so I can show off my kids prints at the grocery store too!

These are super easy to do, I was even able to get both of my 3 year olds hands and feet onto the SAME piece of paper! Granted it was a large piece of construction paper, but they fit none the less. I had to settle for a new piece of paper to get my 11month olds flowers done but that eased my fears of her turning her flowers into a finger painting project which would "ruin" the twins prints.
8-Oz. Color Splash! Washable Tempera Paint (Pack of 12) Using Washable Tempura Paints make this project an easy one to clean up after.

Washable Tempura Paints
Paint brushes
Wipes or a wet hand towel
Paper to apply prints onto
Step 1: Choose your colors for the flowers, my girls actually chose different colors! I thought we'd have our usual purple and pink but they surprised me and I think they turned out great! Place your hand and foot prints as shown. I use regular baby wipes to clean off the paint but a wash rag would be far more economical.

Step 2: Draw in your stems. I used a regular foam paint brush. I buy mine at Michaels but have seen them at Target and Walmart. Make sure to wash these out ASAP, even just soaking them will make them last longer. They may be cheap to buy but having to run to the store just to buy paint brushes is rarely in my plans for the day!

11month old's project

Step 3: Paint on leaves and add the name and date to either a stem or on an empty part of the paper.

Since we are doing colours this week we discussed the Spanish words for each colour as well as the ASL sign for them as well:

Yellow - amarillo
ASL The sign for "yellow" is made by forming the letter "y" with your right hand.  Shake your hand from the wrist, and move it to the right. 

Green - verde
The sign for "green" is made by forming the letter "g" with your right hand.  Shake your hand from the wrist, and move it to the right. 

Blue - azul
The sign for "blue" is made by forming the letter "b" with your right hand.  Twist/shake your hand from the elbow (the wrist doesn't bend on this sign).  

Purple - morado
Shake a "P" twice. Use a movement that pivots from the elbow. 

Red - rojo
The sign for "red" is made by stroking your lips one time with the tip of your index finger. 

Flowers - morado
Touch a "squished O-hand" to your cheek on one side of your nose and then the other. 
Mom - mamá
Make the sign for "Mother" by placing the thumb of your right hand against your chin. Your hand should be open. 
Grandma - la abuela
The sign for "grandmother" is made by touching your chin with the thumb of your dominant hand, as when signing "mother." The dominant hand should be open. Move your hand forward in two small arches.

Note: Many people just move the hand forward without the arches.

Family - la familia
FAMILY: The hands trace the shape of a circle. As if representing a family sitting around a dinner table.

Love - el amor
The sign for "love" is made by crossing both hands over your heart. (Middle of your chest.) Your hands may be closed or open, but the palm side should face toward you.

Remember to sign the colours as your talking to your kids as you point them out on scavenger hunts, walks, field trips, or while playing.  The more you use the Spanish words and/or signs, the quicker they'll catch on and remember them!  My twins are 3 now and are trying to teach their little sisters signs all day long, its so fun to see them teaching.

abc button

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cothespin Butterfly Crafts

Clothespin Butterfly Craft
Butterfly Clothespin craft for toddlers Letter B craft
This is a fun, easy, and educational craft for your little one! We did this craft as we learned about the Letter B. As we put it all together we talked about how pretty butterflies are, the stages they go threw to become butterflies, and of course the sound B makes! Somehow both girls already knew the Spanish word for butterfly, mariposa! We also learned how to sign butterfly in ASL.
Butterfly Clothes pin supplies
*You can also decorate with glitter glue, crayons, markers, etc...

Pre-cut the wing squares - Cut a strip 6 inches long and 4 inches tall then fold in half. Draw a B on one side for your child to cut out. *Always supervise your child around scissors.

Cut the pipe cleaner to 6 inches.

After your clothespin is dry from decorating, take the B that has been cut out and place into the clothespins mouth as seen in the picture.

Take the pipe cleaner and bend in half then place where the wings are, curl the ends to become antenna.

Apply googly eyes and draw on a smile - Done!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Earth Day is right around the corner and I wanted to do some things to make the day more special. We were working on the letter B this week so I thought it'd be fun to make a Pine cone Bird Feeder.

Living in Las Vegas makes finding pine cones a little harder then when I lived in Seattle! All three girls and I set out to find some regardless. We found tons of neat nature things to put in the bottom of Little Misses stroller. By the time we got back to the house I had 12 pine cones, a small bucket full of dandelions, several rocks, and a couple cherry blossoms.

They were happy to take a nap after we got home so I set all the goodies out in our backyard in hopes in bugs would wonder out and off our nature findings. I don't want to trap some poor spider in his home with peanut butter!

Once the ladies all awoke from slumber we started our craft:

How to make a Pinecone Bird FeederPinecone Bird Feeder Earth Day craft Letter B craft Familyfun Magazine CraftHave all your supplies ready:
Birdseed *I bought ours at the Dollar Store
Creamy Peanut Butter
Shallow Bowl
Cookie Sheet

I set out a cookie sheet so both my girls could cover the pinecone with peanutbutter easily. We did this outside on the grass which would have made a mess without the cookie sheet.

Using your shallow bowl, fill with bird seeds. Let your child(ren) roll the pine cone in the seeds. GG thought she's lick some peanut butter of her fingers and was very upset with the amount of bird seeds now stuck in her teeth! It took a couple flushings before she was satisfied they were all gone. *I used a fresh jar of peanutbutter only to realize half way through: Eew, they are dipping a spoon several times into a fresh jar of peanut butter and smearing it onto a dirty pinecone. Not the best plan. Next time I'll put some in a tupperware container for them!

Cut off some string, I made ours 2 feet long to give me plenty of string to tie. Wrap the string around the top of the pinecone, then to a tree branch. All done! This took us from start to finish 15 minutes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Handpainted Glass Baby Bottles

These are super easy to make!  I've been trying to find fun BPA free baby bottles and have yet to find any.  So, I made my own.  I bought a 3 pack of glass baby bottles - Evenflo Classic Glass Bottle 4 oz, 6-Pack $11.99

Since the bottles are not smoothly round but have more of an octagon shape, its very hard to use the actual paint.  I decided on using the Vitera Paint Markers which are dishwasher safe after being put in an over at 250 degrees.  *Follow the instructions on the pen to be exact!  I also used the Vitera 150 paint for the butterflies, ladybug, and flowers.

If you'd prefer not to do this free hand, which being a horrible artist myself I couldn't bare to even try it, then sketch it out first. 

Step 1: On a paper cut to the exact size of the bottle draw out your design.  While drawing keep in mind that your pen or pencil draws a much thinner line then the paint markers.

Step 2: Place your design template into the botte and fill with rice, beans, or cherios!  The idea is to keep your paper from moving about while you draw.

Step 3: Begin to draw.  Have a wet rag on hand to clean up any mistakes or sharpen any lines.  You have a grace period while the paint is wet, once it dried its nearly impossible to clean up!  Though it is possible.

Step 4: Once your satisfied with your design, remove the filler and paper.  Place the bottle ONLY into a cold oven.  Set your oven to 250 degrees for 15 minutes.  Remove after the oven has cooled down.  Most importantly, follow the instructions that comes with the paint - these are the instruction I recieved with the kit I bought.

Step 5: Wash in your dishwasher on the top rack.

You can have some fun with the design knowing the background will be white, at least for the first year! 

I've made several for babyshowers as well, they've been a huge hit everytime.  Once you have your template created, the actual drawing takes little time.
I also painted some baby food jars.  I use them for collecting little art supplies like scraps of tissue paper from past crafts or jewels that fall off projects just begging to be used again.

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