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Watercolour Whimsy

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I like to do some sort of new activity with E each week.  Something different to kind of cut into the routine for both of us!  A lot of times it’s something new we’ve created in the kitchen, or an exciting (and usually messy) crafting project or sometimes it’s just hitting up one of the parks in town.  This week I was inspired by www.thedadlab.net with their watercolour painting project. (If you don’t already follow them on facebook please check them out…they also have a youtube channel and this dad’s ideas are seriously awesome!)

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It’s super simple.  All you need is some plain white paper (watercolour paper if you’re feeling fancy! we just used plain computer paper!), watercolour paint and brushes, water and a white crayon.  I spent a little time drawing a few pictures with the white crayon on the paper for E (if you have older kids I’m sure they’d love to do this part too, although the surprise factor is kind of neat).  Then I just let E go to town with the paint and water and as he painted on the paper the picture I drew showed through.  I’m talking easy easy easy and so neat!  My busy two year old stayed with this activity for a relatively long time and we have some beautiful pictures to divvy out to his grandmas now! A perfect morning activity for any day of the week!

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PS Note my inspiration….tractors and burgers!!! Ah the hungry life of a mom to a future farmer!

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Spring is for the birds…literally!

 

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This week’s theme of Everything Birds has been full of fun projects!  We made tasty chocolate nests filled with mini eggs, we filled up the bird feeders around our yard and Noma’s (after which E stood beside the feeders calling “Birds. Birds! Birds…”) and our latest afternoon activity included a wooden birdhouse from the dollar store, some paintbrushes and a few squirts of acrylic paint…oh! and a paint smock for little man!!

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This is such an easy and cheap project to do with your kids.  I think I spent $2 on the house!  And as your kids grow, so will their creativity.  Bring out some items other than just paint to let them decorate with; pennies, beads, glass pebbles, gems, stickers, ribbons, etc.  It’s amazing to see how creative kids can be!

I covered the table with newspapers, squirted some paint into a plastic lid and let E have at it.  He is still working through letting his hands get messy with arts and crafts but he really enjoyed decorating his house!  He amazes me daily and this project was no exception! I expected a mess and was fairly nervous about this since I was letting him use acrylic paint, not the usually crayola washable kids paint.  He was so diligent with his art and let me help him paint the roof yellow. He worked hard at only getting the paint on the house and was fairly meticulous with it all.  After the paint dried I sprayed it with a clear coat of weather-protecting varnish.   I think his house turned out beautifully, a true work of art and later today we’re going to go on a hike and find the perfect place to hang his little bird house!  I really hope a little feathered family makes it their own this summer!

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Pretty Pastel Projects for Spring

 

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I love Spring for a heap of reasons; the weather is warmer and the air is fresh, there’s a new lease on life and animals (and humans) come out of hibernation, the early plants with their bright green start to pop out of the soil, song birds are back, the days are longer, easter decs come out, mini eggs are out for consumption (massive consumption!), and now with a soon-to-be two year old there’s a whole lot of creative eggy projects to test out!  Here’s a few of the fun (and messy) activities we have tried out so far…

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I found some “fake” eggs at the dollar store (which came with the directions to decorate just like you would normal eggs), so we coloured them with crayons and then set to work dipping them in food colouring mixed with vinegar and water…

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This was a bit messy and E seemed to be more in love with dipping the little stands that are supposed to hold the drying eggs and to be honest these plastic eggs did not colour like regular eggs..but Easter is for pastels anyways so we dipped to our hearts content regardless of the outcome!  In the future I’d still purchase these eggs as they are way easier than blowing out real eggs and aren’t fragile for little hands.  Next time we’ll have to fine-tune our dying procedure is all!

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Next up I hard-boiled some eggs and instead of pealing them I cracked the shells gently and let them cool in water with food colouring.  For the perfect hard-boiled egg I fill a pot with cold water and place the eggs in it and put the heat to high.  Once the water starts to boil I put the lid on and turn the element off, let this sit for 10 minutes then pour under cold water to halt the cooking process.

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After they had sat in the coloured water for about 20-30 mins I peeled off the shells and we were left with these pretty marbled eggs (once again in pastels!) Red food coloring seems to work the best so the pink and purple eggs are the showiest I’d say! I’ll store them in the fridge and make party eggs this week with them.

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Next up are these cute little hatching chicks!  My grandma made these for table settings years and years ago one year for Easter.  Easter at her place was always super fun. She’d have an easter treat hunt set up in the basement for us grandkids and there was always fresh easter buns/paskia (essentially citrus scented buns, open-faced and topped with icing and sprinkles…a kid’s ultimate delight!), and a huge family feast always set on a prettily decorated table.

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All you do is take cracked eggs, gently wash them out then dye them (in a cup with water, a splash of vinegar and food coloring), let them dry then using a hot glue gun stick cotton balls or cotton batting into the empty shells.  Accent them with construction paper beaks, peppercorn eyes and then glue them to a piece of construction paper to stabilize them.  They’re so adorable and truly are the ultimate Easter and Spring promise of new life!

It was really fun to share these moments with E, childhood memories of decorating eggs and making Easter crafts.  I can’t wait to show my grandma the cute hatchlings and see if she remembers making them for us years ago! (And I must get her Easter bun/Paskia recipe at next week’s visit too!)

 

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Crayon Creations

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Broken and dull crayons bother me…like really bother me!  There’s quite a selection in E’s crayon box that have been screaming at me! So we finally delt with Momma’s OCD today and gave those poor broken crayons a new life!!

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This project was extremely easy and the outcome was fabulous! All you need is crayons, a silicone mold and an oven! (A sharp knife helps too to take the paper off a bit more easily although getting little fingers busy doing this step works too!) All you have to do is peel the crayons, break them up into smaller pieces, fill the molds then bake (I put the silicone mold onto parchment a pan so that it was more stable). I baked them at 350 and just watched until they were liquified (it took approximately 5-7 mins). Let them cool and then peel them out of the molds!

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We used little bunny molds so that E has a cute little gift for all of his cousins for Easter, along with some chocolatey treats too of course!  This was an incredibly fun and simple afternoon project (and the best part is that the crayon box is cleaned up and ready for a new box of crayons…spring cleaning is fun!)

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“Lucky”!

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It’s the end of February and to me that means one thing and one thing only!! It’s the beginning of one of my favorite times of year! St Patty’s Day! So this weekend we created another decore item to celebrate this awesome holiday!

When I was young we had this amazing book full of fun projects to do. Everything from building your own musical instruments to bubble art! I wish I still had that book, it would be such a fun resource to use for me with my little boy! I can recall this one section dedicated to making your own stamps out of fruits and vegetables!! Cut-outs in potatoes, flower stamps from the base of celery, stars from apples and I’m not sure if it was in the book or not but shamrocks from pepper rings!!! So!!!! With a plate of green and yellow paint, an orange bell pepper cut in half, a canvas and an excited little boy suited up in his art apron from great grandma I fulfilled a childhood quest and we made art out of vegetables! How “lucky”!!

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It took him awhile to warm up to the fact that he’d get paint on his fingertips (it seems I’ve passed on some of my clean freak-isms!) But once he realized that the paint was washable he really enjoyed pressing down the peppers to make their stamp after I had dipped it into the paint!  It’s a really simple and impactful craft.  We did ours on canvas but  any surface would work! (I cannot wait to make other vegetable stamps and roll out the craft paper to make some wrapping paper!). We let the shamrocks dry and then I used black paint to write out “Lucky” but if you have older kids they could do that themselves.  Let them be creative with what they write too! Their names would also be really neat!

Get ready for many more creative and simple decor projects to highlight St Patty’s Day! I’m talking rainbows, clovers, leprechauns and all things green! It’s the most wonderful time of the year after all!! (And no, I’m not even Irish!)