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Category: Activities and Crafts

Homemade Crib Rail Protection you Won’t Find on Pinterest

It may be a slight exaggeration to say that my son is part beaver, but seriously, has your crib ever looked like this?

I know we shouldn’t compare children, but my daughter never left marks like this. Teeth marks, yes, but not gnawing like she was going to bite through the bars completely.

I knew I had to do something when I came in to get him from his nap and there were brown paint chips all over his face from the crib. That can’t be healthy.

I remembered seeing somewhere about how people used pool noodles and you could make a fabric overlay for them and use that. Great idea! But I am not a sewer, and have no sewing machine or time to learn. And besides, this was an emergency. Something had to happen, like, now, before he got a splinter in his mouth.

So, this is what I came up with on the fly, without purchasing anything. Read more

Homemade Edible Play Dough Saves the Day and Makes Us Blue

Last Monday it snowed here. We haven’t seen snow in a while, and even though we could have still gone out, I opted for an inside day. Normally, I hate inside days because they are torture with two little ones under 3. But I guess I was feeling rather adventurous. I found this recipe for edible play dough on Pinterest a few weeks ago and decided it would be the perfect time to try it out.

It’s super simple, only 3 ingredients: coconut oil, cornstarch and marshmallows.

Maddie helped me count out the marshmallows and put them in each bowl.

I added the rest of the ingredients and food coloring and ended up making three colors: pink, purple, and blue.

It was a little more dense than I thought it would be, but we were able to make a few things with it.

As I finished helping Maddie make a snake I took a peek at Asher and discovered that he really liked it too, only in a much different way.

I was so happy it was edible because he thought it was snack time, not play time.

By the end of our time he had it everywhere! In hindsight I should have stripped him down before we began, but I don’t think of that in the middle of winter. Needless to say, after play dough time came bath time.

I didn’t really care for the consistency of the dough but it did the job of helping pass the time and it was simple to make and clean up from. Maybe I would try it again and mess with the ratio of ingredients.

What are your favorite ways of passing the time with little ones when you are stuck indoors?

First Encounter with Markers a Success

mr sketch2I received a free sample of Mr. Sketch Washable Markers via Mr. Sketch and Crowdtap. I remember using the Mr. Sketch markers when I was in grade school and how I loved the smells then. Smelling these markers sure brought me back.

Maddie is just about two and we hadn’t tried any markers yet. Mainly because I did not own any other than permanent, and even though I’ve made plenty of mis-judgements as a mom, even I know enough not to place a permanent marker in the hands of a toddler. Recipe for disaster! Read more

Baking Soda is so Versatile

imageI received a free box of Arm&Hammer Baking Soda via Smiley360, along with a little booklet detailing a variety of ways it could be used. I already use it in my refrigerator and in cooking, but there is so much this inexpensive little product can do.

The first way I used it was in the bottom of my dishwasher to ward off smells when it’s starting to fill up, but not quite ready to be run yet. This worked great! I will definitely do that more.image

The second way I used it was for an art project with my daughter. We made “paint”. It was so easy and she loved it. Plus, all the ingredients were edible, so I didn’t have to worry when she stuck her thumb in her mouth. I’m sure it didn’t taste all that great, but at least it didn’t harm her. And clean up was super quick in the bathtub. Everything washed right off with no problem. I think we’ll do this again and make multiple colors to try next time.imageimage

There are so many uses. You can check them all out for yourself by visiting the Arm & Hammer website. Thanks Smiley360, for this fun free sample.

Snow Cream

With the abundance of snow we’ve received this winter here’s something fun you can do with it. Important to remember that you will need CLEAN snow.

Snow CreamSnow Cream:

1. Mix 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup sugar and a splash of vanilla in a bowl until sugar dissolves
2. Add in 4-6 cups fresh, clean snow (or enough to suit your desired consistency)
3. Mix well and enjoy!

You can even add in mix-ins, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, fruit – be creative.

It’s simple. It’s delicious and it’s really inexpensive. Enjoy!


Free E-Book: Long Story Short, Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God

Amazon.com: Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God eBook: Marty Machowski: Kindle Store.

If you have a family this may be a great book for you to have. Now that I am expecting I am already thinking about how we are going to incorporate our faith into our family and make sure it is at the forefront. Hoping to glean some ideas from this book and many others.

*Please check the price before downloading as it may have changed.

Operation Christmas Child Is Upon Us

This has got to be one of the best promotional videos ever. Whether you are a Duck Dynasty fan or not, you can still help. Operation Christmas Child is in full swing. National collection week is right around the corner Nov 18-25. Samaritan’s Purse has been running this event since 1993, providing gifts for needy children around the globe, and not just practical gifts, but the message of Jesus Christ. Check out the website for more details on how to become a part of this booming ministry simply by filling a shoebox with gifts. This is a great way to get the kids in your life involved as well!

Helping Change

coin jarI was inspired by a blog post I read around Christmas. One family told how they save change throughout the year and then sit down as a family, count their change and go through a gift catalog for an organization such as World Vision, or Samaritans purse, and pick out items to “buy.” For example, they might be able to buy some chickens or a goat for a family in need. I thought that was a neat idea.

This year we decided to go ahead and cash in our change. We’ve been saving it for about a year and a half. And the grand total was $71. That’s pretty cool. We chose to give it to Bright Hope this time around. They are a great organization, located in nearby Hoffman Estates, that works to help those living on less than $1 per day.

We want to do it again this year and be more deliberate about it. We are doing it minus some quarters because we use those for laundry, so it might not be much, but it will be something. I thought that maybe it might be fun if others wanted to get on board and we can have a big Christmas get together, pool our change and pick out our gifts to buy. So if anyone wants in, let me know. Regardless, I think it would be great for every person/family to do on their own.

Let’s make our change “helping change.”

Cookie Decorating

I remember sitting in the kitchen with the bowls of colored frosting scattered on the table in front of me and the cookie canvases awaiting my strokes to bring them to life. This is how I remember cookie decorating at home with my mom. I loved the way you got to be creative with each and every cookie. They were mini canvases and the best part was that if you didn’t like one you made, no big deal, there were plenty more to keep trying.

This year, we decided to try and make some new cookie decorating memories so we invited a family over with kids to help us. But first I had to get the cookies made. Saturday, I spent a good chunk of the day baking. It didn’t start out so well. My first batch was too thin and burnt. I took a lunch break and tried again. After I figured out what I was doing wrong, (I had to roll the dough a little thicker and keep it a little colder) it went much smoother. I even tried something I had found in the Everyday Food Magazine. And that was to make different colored dough and kinda make shapes and press them together. They really looked like store bought I thought. Here’s the link for instructions on that.

Once all the cookies were made I was ready. Sunday I pulled them out and made a few different colored frostings and got out all the sprinkles. Once the family arrived we had a really good time. I forgot how much kids love sprinkles and I think some of their cookies ended up with tablespoons full of them. (Frosting and sprinkles) But they had fun! They completed a whole tray and some and John and I had to make 50 for my work. So we kept going a while.

All in all we had a great time and have some great cookies to show for it! Enjoy our cookie gallery below:
Kids Tray

Mashed Potato Fine Art

An ordinary dish of mashed potatoes 
watching Master Chef at the same time as making the potatoes
My rendition of loaded mashed potatoes. Do you think Judge Ramsay would approve? 

I fashioned the lump of potatoes into a circular shape and evened the top out with a spoon. Then I placed a round piece of thinly sliced pepper jack cheese on top, and topped it off with some green onions and pieces of bacon. It was rather fun to eat as well. I felt like it was the most sophistocated plate of mashed potatoes I had ever eaten!