Four Fall Sensory Bags 

It’s definitely not fall here!  It’s been over 100° F for the last few weeks! Frankly, we don’t really get much of a fall in Las Vegas. My kids sure don’t experience the fall that I had growing up in Buffalo, New York!

As a child I remember picking apples, raking colorful leaves from the ground and jumping into the pile, and drinking homemade apple cider!  In Las Vegas we try to have fall by going to a pumpkin patch and farms.  With the excessive heat it makes it difficult to really enjoy the day. So I came up with these four easy sensory bags with the theme of fall in mind to allow my boys to experience fall with all of their senses. The best part is they do not require any special supplies, most likely these are items you have laying around the house!

For sight we had the colors of fall through out all of my bags. We had the sound of fall through my tissue paper leaf bag, it sounds like leaves crunching when you squish it in your hand! With every sensory bag project there’s always the sense of touch being included with different textures the children will feel from our squishier to our crunchier bags. Smell could and taste from the walnut sensory bag that we ate the contents of as we made it!

Shaving Cream Sensory Bag

For this bag I focused on the color red, however you can try a different color such as gold or orange to focus on. I filled the bag halfway with shaving cream then added red food coloring.   I squished the bag around to mix the food coloring and shaving cream together until it was evenly mixed. Then I added red glitter. This bag felt like a stress ball. My oldest child loves squishing it. He would not stop squishing it in fact this was his favorite!


Tissue Paper Fall Leaves Bag


For this bag I used half a bottle of orange hair gel that I got at the Dollar Tree. Then I added in brown, green, yellow, orange, and red tissue paper squares. You can also pick these up at the Dollar Tree. They are a huge time saver! Then I added gold glitter and strings of brown yarn. The brown yarn stuck together creating sort a viney-tree trunk effect. Once I closed up the bag and squished it and made the crunchy sound that leaves make in the fall as you walk across your yard.

Cotton Ball Bag

For this bag I again chose red as the main color. I think if I was going to do this project again I would do an orange or gold bag for the shaving cream and keep this one as my red bag. Red is so synonymous with fall. For this bag I added a full bottle of clear hair gel and I filled up the bag halfway with cotton balls. Then I added in some red Pom Poms and strands of red yarn.  Lastly,  a few drops of red food coloring to swirl as the children played with it.

Walnut and Burlap Bag 

This bag is made of used pieces of burlap that I cut into basic shapes like triangles and rectangles. Then I added in walnut halves from my pantry.  The main ingredient is steel cut oats. They look almost like sand. I gave it a nice grainy texture. With this one the children could see different shades of the same color: brown. My oldest son could tell me the different names of the shapes. My youngest son could feel the different textures from the more flimsy burlap to the very hard, curvy walnut halves.

My three-year-old and I put all of these and three bags together in about an hour one afternoon while my 20 month old slept. Both boys had a great time playing with them. In fact they’re still playing with them! One thing I like to do is use clear tape on the top of all of my sensory bags to make sure they stay shut. Another idea is taping them to a sliding glass door or a big window so the kids can look inside of them better and see all the different variations of colors.
I hope you and your children have as much fun as we did with this project. It’s a great project for kids three years old and younger.  Older kids can even make it for their younger siblings!

Father’s Day with My Petite Picassos

Father's DaySo yes I am slowing down on the blog but when something relevant happens I do want to share and we just had an epic Father’s Day!  It started off with Ben making this cute framed photo craft at summer camp. In fact, if you follow me on Pinterest you’ll see that there are a lot of cute ideas posted for making photo presents for dad. 

Prior to Father’s Day, about two weeks ago, I made with the boys Father’s Day gifts for my dad and for my husband. We used acrylic paint and paint markers that I purchased at Target to make handprint and footprint art pottery. My dad is an avid golfer, so we made his around the theme of golf. My husband just adores his children so we made his with the theme of hearts and a little Hebrew rhyme (my husband is from Israel).


This project just took one afternoon. I recommend if you get into multiple footprints like I did that you do first the lighter color of paint.I did my dad’s plates first with the boys using the silver paint. Then we did my husband’s plates with the red paint.

I glazed the plates and cups with dishwasher safe Mod Podge which takes a month to cure. On Father’s Day I made my husband breakfast and surprised him with the play and the coffee cup.


After breakfast we went to swim class for Ben. He’s been working really hard on swimming for the last few months and has moved up a level and this week he moved up again! It’s actually funny that on Mother’s Day he moved up, then on Father’s Day he moved up again!  When he goes up a level they give him a ribbon and he can pick a toy from the treasure chest. He picked bubbles. He carried his ribbon and bubbles around for the rest of the day, he was so proud! The swimming skills came in handy later on when we went over to our friends’ house for a pool party. We  had a great time swimming and afterwards finished the day with ice cream at dusk. It was a long and fun Father’s Day! It was great to spend time with friends and enjoy the outdoors in the Las Vegas heat! The boys slept in this morning because they were so tired from all of yesterday’s events!

What did you do on Father’s Day? Did your child make some DIY art projects for their dad? If they did please share them in the comments below.

Ben showing off his ribbon.

Nutritious Pancakes With Fruit and Oats

Nutritious pancakes
Pancakes are Ben’s favorite breakfast.  He won’t eat anything but pancakes in the morning!  Some mornings he’ll have some apple and carrot sauce or down a bottle of chocolate milk for added nutrients.  Usually I give him Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes from Trader Joe’s which I just heat up in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. On lazy mornings when we’re not rushing out the door I like to make him these nutritious homemade pancakes.

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Adding the oat flour to the egg/fruit mixture

Ingredients:

1/2 cup oat flour (I grind rolled oats in the blender first)

3 eggs

5 oz. applesauce

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 banana

1 apple (cored, skinned, and sliced)

2/3 c. flour

Directions:

Grind up rolled oats in a blender and pour into a bowl.  In the blender add apple, banana, eggs, and applesauce.  Blend.  In a bowl or using a stand alone mixer mix oat flour, flour, and baking powder. Pour in and mix egg and fruit mixture to form a batter.

Using a tablespoon spoon the batter into a warm pan with coconut oil or butter and fry until golden.  Flip over and fry on the other side.  Serve with honey or fruit.

What I really like about this recipe is that you can add a variety of fruits and veggies in.  Zucchini, bananas, crushed pineapple, pumpkin puree, pureed beans, and carrot sauce can all be mixed in and give nutrition to a simple breakfast food!

Galaxy Marbled Valentines

Galaxy is been a huge DIY trend lately. We explored this with our latest play group meeting. We created three different crafts the delved into the galaxy. One project that was very popular was galaxy marbled paper. Afterwards we all took them home to create our Valentines!  This is a really easy and fun project to do with a toddler and it’s cheap using materials you probably already have!

galaxy-valentines
To start I covered a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Then I lay down a layer of men’s shaving cream. I added a few drops of pink, purple, and blue food coloring to the shaving cream and used a straw to swirl it around.



After we pressed a piece of card stock on top of the shaving cream and we peeled it off.  We ran it underwater. When the water clears off the shaving cream a marbled effect is left behind.


From there the paper can dry can then be used to create cards, hearts, artwork, and a variety of arts and crafts projects.  We had a lot of fun creating our galaxy art projects. We hope you will too!

My Favorite Tried and Tested Busy Bags from Pinterest

This past fall I had the daunting task of taking a 24 hour flight with a 2 year old and a 9 month old.  My 9 month old I figured would be happy as long as I held him, but the 2 year old would need toys.  Toys not just for the plane, but for a month long vacation on the other side of the world!  So I put together a backpack with 15 busy bags and here is a list of some of my favorites from Pinterest.

  1.   Colored crafts sticks with Velcro dots to make shapes with. Both Ben and Adam loved these and still use them for restaurants and other outings to stay occupied. From the Tip Garden.
      DIY Toddler Activities - craft sticks and Velcro dots... "Busy bag" okay weird…:

2.  My niece and nephew loved this activity which not only makes kids match patterns, but also colors and fractioned shapes.  From No Time For Flash Cards.This is a simple activity with great cognitive benefits. Matching is the…:

3. This busy bag idea came with a free printable, but I just made my own cards with a sharpie and card stock.  From Teaching Mama.Snowflake Busy Bag {Free Printable}:

4. Lastly, I’m choosing to share a busy bag idea I didn’t make yet, but will for our next trip.  Ben and Adam love building, so I think this will be right up their alley! From How Wee Learn

quiet time activities for 3 year olds:

These ideas are cheap, reusable, and easy to make.  These activities don’t need to necessarily just be used for busy bags and outings or travel, the could just be quiet time activities for a rainy day.  What busy bags do your kids love?

 

Easy and Beautiful Gluten-free, Vegan, and Kosher Gift Basket

For the holidays I struggled with the idea of what to get my parents this year. In years past when I was making a salary I could purchase them anything I wanted but this year was different as I’m a stay at home mom.   I figured DIY would be the way to go this year.  My dad just recently switched to a gluten-free diet. In my home we keep kosher and vegetarian. So as my parents were visiting I figured it would be a lovely hostess type presentation to give my dad a gluten- free gift basket that he could snack from while staying with me.

 

I started with this tin basket that I found at Michael’s. I got it for 40% off with my coupon which turned out to be a great deal. Then I went on to find some cute snowflake tin containers that I could put different food items and as well as snowflake treat bags.

I filled the gift tins and treat bags with nuts and a dried fruit. I included a bag of gluten-free pretzels and a bag of gluten-free granola. I found all of these items at Trader Joe’s.  If you go to their customer service they will print you out a list of all of their gluten-free items which is so incredibly helpful.

This turned out to be a really easy and useful gift for my dad. He didn’t have to go searching in my pantry for something to eat. He had plenty to eat while he was at my house despite all of the very different diets that we have in my home. This would make a great gift to anybody who’s visiting or staying with you. Also this would be a great teacher gift as it was fairly inexpensive and only took about 30 minutes to put together!  For shipping: I would recommend wrapping cellophane around it and tying some ribbon on top before putting it into the box so everything will stay pretty well in tact during the shipping. I also would recommend going with a lighter box, maybe even a wooden crate which they have plenty of at Michael’s and with that 40% off coupon it would be very inexpensive. You could also paint the crates different colors and match them with your tins!

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-3 DIY Wreaths for $15 or Less!

three-wreathsEvery year I look for quality Hanukkah decorations in stores and I can’t find anything good.  So this year I decided to craft my dream Hanukkah decorations and to do it on a shoestring budget since I’m currently a stay at home mom.  One item I’ve long dreamed about is a beautiful wreath for my front door.  Online-I think because they’re so rare-they can be quite pricey.  Here are 3 DIY wreaths and each  cost less than $15 to make.

For this easy wreath I purchased the straw wreath base at Savers, the ribbon at Dollar Tree, the chalkboard paint and wooden rounds came from Michaels.  This time of year there are lots of sales at the craft stores-so it’s definitely good to do a lot of craft shopping now.  To start with I used my hot glue gun to hold the white and burlap ribbons down as I wrapped them around the base.  Then I painted chalkboard paint on the wooden rounds, once dry I wrote Happy Hanukkah with chalk marker.  I got glued them on and added a twine loop to hang.  Easy and cheap!  Took me less than an hour to make!

I found the base for my second wreath at Savers as well.  This is an upcycling project.  It was a plain burlap wreath on a wire base.  First thing I did was spray paint it with 4 coats of silver spray paint.



I took white and silver tulle I picked up at the Dollar Tree and knotted 4″ pieces every 3″ apart on the wire base. I also found blue wire edged ribbon at the Dollar Tree that I cut into 4″ pieces and I knotted them every 3″ apart around the wire base.


My friend Anat brought a Hanukkah garland with blue and silver foil Hanukkah decorations held together by silver jump rings.  We took it apart and I glued some of the dreidels onto the tulle and I added six silver ornaments that were purchased at the Dollar Store as well.


The last wreath I’m going to give instructions for is one made by my friend, Anat. She found most of her materials at Walmart.

She used a wire base and she attached tulle and ribbon to it using pipe cleaners to secure every 4″. Lastly, she used a happy Hanukkah signed she found it $.99 store last year as a focal point at the center of the wreath and added a little silver flower that she also picked up at the Dollar Tree.


The most time consuming wreath was the second one with the burlap because it took several hours to apply the silver spray paint and allow it to dry between coats.  All of these wreaths are no sew and were assembled simply with a glue gun.

 

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-Burlap Hanukkah Card Craft for Kids

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Want an easy and stylish kids craft to do this holiday season?  Burlap is everywhere.  I see it on garlands, tote bags, pillows, you name it!  To make this easy craft you’ll need:

1 piece of burlap 4 1/2″x 3″

1 piece of brown craft paper 4 1/2″x3″

1 chisel tip Sharpie

puffy paint or homemade paint (the recipe is here)

Clear Krazy Glue

Directions:

Glue the piece f brown craft paper inside the burlap.  Once the glue is dry (30 minutes or so), fold the card in half.  Kids often need a lot of help lining up items to glue and folding-plus you’ll have to use the Krazy Glue.  Older kids can draw a menorah or write Happy Hanukkah with the chisel tip Sharpie, younger kids will need an adult to do that.  Then they can decorate with puffy paint or if they’re little like Ben (2 years old) they can use homemade paint and a Q-tip to apply paint. Let it dry. img_6691

 

 

Eight Posts for Hanukkah -Vintage Baby Block Driedels (Easy D.I.Y.)

baby-block-dreidels-finished

ben-blocks

I picked up some vintage baby blocks when I was pregnant with Ben for a maternity shoot. It dawned on me while I was in the playroom the other day they could easily be turned into dreidels for Hanukkah and be repurposed.

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This is an easy, fun, 5 minute craft that yields great results.  I purchased the Mini Peg People at Joann Fabrics as well as the 1/4″ dowel.  I sawed off a 1″ piece from the dowel and attached it with my hot glue gun, then on the opposite end of the block I glued on a mini peg person.  Voila!  A driedel.  Ben enjoyed playing with it – a great little homemade toy or present!

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