Monthly Archives: November 2012

Simple Paper Chain

IMG 3080This evening, Miss G and I put together something I loved making as a child… a simple paper chain.  We started with some paper scraps I had left over from a Christmas bunting and used a paper cutter to trim them into neat strips.

IMG 3087Miss G then chose her “special starting paper”, loaded one end with several swipes of a glue stick… 

IMG 3082And I helped her roll it up and she pinched it tightly while counting to ten.

IMG 3084IMG 3085Together, we added ring after ring…

IMG 3089Until we had this sweet little holiday-themed paper chain.  I’m not sure what we’ll do with it yet… In my classrooms, I’ve always used them as a countdown tracker of sorts, snipping off one link until the big day, but I’m not sure that Grae is going to want to cut apart the creation she’s so proud of.  It may just be a sweet little addition to the holiday decor we’ve slowly been adding around our house.

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En Francais

We’re riding the Canada Line, and a man wearing a baseball cap gets on…

Gracen: (loudly) Dat man wearing red hat, Mama.  (now shouting) Bon chapeau, Man!

We can thank her Papa for this one…

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On Papa

While doing her hair this morning:

Gracen: Papa’s a niiiice guy, Mama.  Funny guy too.  Papa says ‘booyah’ and ‘dude’.

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Ocean Bath

Ocean BathDon’t ask me how I come up with these things… Tonight as I was running a bath for Miss G, I randomly decided to surprise her with a special themed bath.  I basically gathered up a few things from our ocean and pond sensory bins, added a couple of drops of blue food colouring, and that was it.

IMG 3039Gracen was super excited when I dramatically flung open the shower curtain to reveal her surprise bath and immediately jumped in.

IMG 3041I was a little bit worried about her sitting on the hard items by accident, but she automatically cleared them out of the way as soon as she climbed in without me having to say a thing.  

IMG 3042Two things to keep in mind when converting your bath tub into a mini ocean… Make sure the ocean items are washed in warm soapy water first (duh!) and try to pick rocks and shells that are smooth so that no little tushies are poked during the fun.

IMG 3040The huge part of the fun of course is swimming around in the tub with sharks and whales and crocodiles… We got these little sea creatures at the dollar store quite a while ago, but you can find them at toy stores and teacher stores too. 

 
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Painter’s Tape Jump Boxes

Painter s Tape Jump BoxesWhile we had our painter’s tape out for our indoor roadway, we also lined our hallway with this… A little series of jump boxes.  Grae adores the jump mats they have at our Strong Start program, so she’s very pleased to be able to jump her way down our hallway now too.

IMG 2955IMG 2940IMG 2950

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Painter’s Tape Roadway

Painter s Tape RoadwayThis afternoon as Gracen and I were working on our ribbon wand project, Miss G asked for a “biiiiiiiiiig” piece of painter’s tape.  I obliged and asked her what she was going to do with it.  Her response was, “Stick it on da floor”.  Bright idea, my girl.  

IMG 2987I’m not quite sure how it all happened, but before long, we were both sitting on the floor ripping off pieces of tape and creating this little indoor roadway.

IMG 2934As I snipped pieces of tape in half lengthwise and begun adding our lanes, Miss G gathered up her car and tractors.

IMG 2920She started driving her vehicles around on it as soon as she could and we even had a few “races” {and collisions}. 

IMG 2985This is such a simple {and inexpensive idea}, yet it brings hours of fun and endless possibilities.  Brad came home from work and immediately commented on our dead ends, so there may revamp in our near future. 

IMG 2936Of course, when it’s not being used as a roadway for cars, it can aways be used as a roadway for people.  ☺

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Last Day of Ballet

Today was our last parent and tot ballet class. Grae was so excited about it (and so thrilled to hand out her ribbon wands), that she didn’t have a nap beforehand.  She just couldn’t fall asleep. Of course, we all know how that turns out… 

IMG 2996IMG 3000IMG 3001Needless to say, come time for class, she had some of her classic overtired crazy energy going on.  

IMG 3005Of course it all turned out alright.  She proudly handed out her gifts, danced her little heart out, and said goodbye to her dance buddies. 

IMG 3006Miss G loved this class so much that we will definitely be signing up for the next session starting in January.  Billie is amazing with the kids and the class was the perfect blend of ballet moves, good old fashioned dancing, singing, and ‘acting’.  

For more info on the classes Billie teaches around Vancouver, visit her Facebook page here.  I promise you’re going to LOVE her!

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DIY Ribbon Wands

DIY Ribbon WandsMaking one of these sweet little ribbon wands for Miss G has long been on my project list, and since her last dance class took place today, it was the perfect motivation to not only make one for Grae, but to make one to gift to each of her little friends too. 

IMG 2879If you poke around the internet, you’ll find tons of different styles of ribbon wands and methods to make them, but when we stumbled upon these adhesive picture hanging strips (available at hardware stores), we came up with a way of our own.  

IMG 2878First off, we took  wide satin ribbon and cut it into strips approximately 125 centimetres long, cutting one end straight across and one end at an angle. Then, using a lighter, we sealed off the cut edges.

IMG 2880IMG 2881Next, we took the adhesive backing off of the picture hangers and firmly attached them to the straight end of the ribbon.  At this point I was going to sew the picture hanger onto the ribbon for added security, but the adhesive was so strong that it wasn’t necessary. 

IMG 2885With our ribbons ready, we moved onto the wand part of the project.  Using painter’s tape, we taped off our 6 inch dowels about a third of the way up.

IMG 2890Then using crafter’s acrylic in colours that coordinated with our ribbons, we painted the bottom third of each dowel with two coats of paint.

IMG 2892When the paint was good a dry, we carefully removed the painter’s tape to reveal the handle part of our wands.

IMG 2907IMG 2908Next, we used a tack to poke holes in the top ends of the dowels. 

IMG 2909Then it was time for these guys – small eye hooks available at all hardware stores.

IMG 2910We screwed the eye hooks into the recently made holes by starting the process by hand and using pliers part way through.  (One thing to be mindful of at this point is that if your eye hooks are on the larger side (like ours), you don’t want to force them down into the dowel too far.  You’ll get a pretty good sense on when you should stop twisting, and please do so.  Spoken from experience, if you force them down too much, the dowels will split open.)

IMG 2900Your wand should now look like this.  

IMG 2901IMG 2902Now the final step…  We hooked the metal picture hanging hook onto the eye hooks and use pliers to squeeze the hook shut tightly.

IMG 2904And there you have it – a pretty little ribbon wand.

IMG 2911IMG 2980In order to transport them to dance class without a big tangly mess happening, we simply wrapped the ribbons around the wands, and secured them with a bit of polka dotted washi tape.

 

 
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Kiwi Crate Giveaway Winner

I’m so excited to announce the winner of our Kiwi Crate giveaway… I know that the lucky winner will enjoy the kit just as much as we enjoyed ours and it’ll make the perfect surprise or Christmas present.  

So without further ado….

Kiwi Crate Giveaway Winner

Congratulations, Koryn!  I’ll be sending you an email shortly with all of the details.  To everyone else, thank you so much for entering!  Keep your eyes peeled for a few other fun giveaways we have in the coming months. 

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A Yearly Tradition: Handcrafted Christmas Ornaments

I know I’ve said it before, but becoming a mama has given me an overwhelming urge to create special traditions with our little family of three.  Things that we look forward to each year…  Memories Gracen will hold onto for a lifetime.  The holidays are extra special when looked at through the eyes of your child, aren’t they?

Looking back on my own childhood, the holidays were filled with special traditions I still remember vividly now as an adult.  Trudging through the snow out at Imperial Oil (where my Dad worked) in the freezing cold and selecting the perfect tree to cut down and take home…  Having a special evening dedicated to decorating the tree together…  Visiting ALL of my grandparents’ houses over the course of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day… Staying up as late as we wanted on Christmas Eve with our cousins…  It all seemed so magical. The thing is, the times I remember most have nothing to do with wish lists, Santa visits, or presents received.  All of the memories that stick out in my mind are about doing things as a family…  Just us spending time together.

And that’s my hope for Gracen when it comes to the holidays…  That she’ll come to cherish the time we spent doing things together more that any of the material indulgence that inevitably comes with Christmas.

Handcrafted Christmas Ornaments

This past weekend, we carried on a tradition that we began last year… An afternoon filled with holiday music and handcrafted ornaments. The hope is that one day we’ll have a giant tree filled with beautifully mismatched homemade ornaments that mean more to us than store bought ones ever could.  

Here are this year’s additions…

IMG 2800First up are some very simple, but very beautiful beaded candy cane ornaments.  

IMG 2798To make these, we used sparkly pipe cleaners cut in half and colourful iridescent pony beads Miss G selected at the store herself.

IMG 2790To get started, I simply folded over one end of the pipe cleaner to create a little nub to hold the beads on, and Grae began adding beads.

IMG 2791The wonderful thing about making these ornaments is that little ones get to sneak in a ton of fine motor skill practice while making them.

IMG 2793Once the pipe cleaner is nearly full, just flip over the open end to create a nub on the opposite side.

IMG 2801Then gently bend your beaded pipe cleaner to form a candy cane shape. (This is the one that Gracen made – start to finish – by herself).

IMG 2813Next, we did a remake of an ornament we made last year… A glass bulb decorated with a family of thumbprint reindeer. To make this one, select a solid-coloured glass bulb (one with a matte finish will photograph much better – duh!), then cover your thumb with a thick layer of brown crafter’s acrylic.

IMG 2818Carefully press your thumb onto the glass ball.

IMG 2826Hang your ball somewhere or carefully set it on a small cup and allow it to dry completely.

IMG 2845Once dry, use red crafter’s acrylic to add noses and a black paint pen or Sharpie to add eyes and antlers. Easy peasy!

IMG 2828The last batch of ornaments we made were out of cinnamon dough (2 cups of applesauce, 3 cups of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla mixed like mad by hand ).  With these ones, we used extra cinnamon to prevent sticking, assorted cookie cutters, stamps, straws to create ribbon holes, a rolling pin, and parchment paper.

IMG 2835This dough was quite tough and much easier to work with than last weekend’s baking soda clay.  

IMG 2836It could easily be rolled, handled, and stamped without sticking at all, which was nice.

IMG 2834On the downside, handprints and thumbprints were out of the question.  The dough just simply didn’t have enough give to it.

IMG 2839Once we’d filled our baking sheet, we popped the ornaments into the oven on the lowest setting and let them stay in there for several hours, flipping them once and a while.

IMG 2870I wish I could somehow bottle the smell of our house while they baked and share it with you all here… It was divine.

IMG 2876Before going to bed, I turned off the oven and let the ornaments sit in there overnight, just like I did with the baking soda clay ones.

IMG 2873When we awoke, they were fully dry and hard as a rock, but still smelled delicious.  (These are a few of the ones G made all by herself).  We added small loops of baker’s twine, and voila – they’re ready for hanging.

IMG 2867And how sweet is this little initial bunting Bradley made for Gracen?  

Now we just have to get a tree so that we’ll have somewhere to hang all of these beautiful new ornaments.  

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I am so thrilled to be sharing this family tradition as a part of ‘12 Days of Christmas Traditions with Vancouver’s Top Mommy Bloggers‘.  If you haven’t already, please pop over to JulieNowell.com to read her post about carrying out traditions in a new home, and be sure to pop over to The Write Mama tomorrow to read all about Lori’s Christmas Village tradition.  Enjoy!
 
 
 
 
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