Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Piggy Hairbows

So my sister-in-law makes bows, and she is really excellent at it. She has taught me from time to time, but I'm not so great at it. So I haven't really made any in a long time. She found me some pig ribbon. And my daughter loves pigs, so I had to make some bows. I made 2 larger pinwheel style hair bows (I used a shorter ribbon length than suggested.) and two mini tuxedo style hair bows. I think they turned out pretty cute. And my daughter was overly thrilled to see these when I presented them to her. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sewing! A baby blanket and 2 burp cloths

So I've had a sewing machine since my birthday a year and a half ago. I got it right after having a baby. Maybe that was really bad timing, because this said baby was very stubborn and did not go to bed at night. This did not allow for much time to practice.  So the whole learning to sew thing, sort of got pushed to the side for awhile.  A long while. Anyways, then I tried to learn later on, but kept getting frustrated because I kept getting the thread tangled in knots and was just having a hard time. Then I moved to a new house and the sewing got pushed aside again. Then I got frustrated again. I finally discovered that I was using the wrong type of thread. A super thick thread too. No wonder I was having problems. Oops! Make sure you got the right thread if you are learning to sew. That will make things a lot easier.

Anyways...I'm still not amazing at sewing, but I finally feel like I've gotten to know my sewing machine enough to work with it and actually accomplish things without going away super frustrated. Yay! This week I had a baby shower to go to so I decided to make a baby blanket with matching burp cloths. This was a good starter project because it is relatively simple, (still takes work) and it turns out really cute. I got 2 different flannel fabric pieces I liked. (One for the back and one for the front.) 1 1/2 yards of each. I used 1 yard for the blanket and the remaining 1/2 yard is just enough to make 2 burp cloths out of.  I washed the fabric first. Unfortunately the fabric got a bit frayed and ripped up in the washer. It also did a lot of pilling. Fortunately this was fixable, but took time. I trimmed around the frayed parts at the edge and there was still enough fabric for the blanket. I also found a sweater comb to get out all the pilling. (A cat brush also worked.)

For the blanket I took the two yard size pieces of fabric lay them together right sides facing each other.  Pinned them together, and sewed around the edges, leaving a gap open, to turn the blanket inside out and allow the right sides to now face out. Then I ironed the blanket. Last I top stitched around the edges  of the entire blanket, closing up the gap in the process.
For the burp cloths I pretty much did the same thing as I did with the blanket, only I used a free pattern that I found online for the shape. I was also left with just enough fabric that I should be able to make a little bib and burp cloth for my daughters teddy bear. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mommy & Me Book Club: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

We hosted another Mommy & Me Book club. Most of the ideas we got from this site. We changed a few things and modified others. My kids really love this book and it was fun to theme an entire morning  around it. Here's how it went. 

Gathering Activity: 
For the gathering activity we pooled together several ABC themed books and laid them out. We also had out some ABC Magnetic letters for the kids to play with. While waiting for people to show up the kids could read through books or use the magnetic letters. The pre-school age kids did not seem too interested in this however, they mostly just played while waiting for others to arrive. My little one had fun with the magnet letters while the others worked on their craft. 

Circle Time:
During circle time we all gathered to sit down on a fun ABC mat that we happened to have. We sang "Here we are together at Mommy & me" (Saying each kids name in the song.) We of course sang the "ABC's." We then counted to 10 and backwards from 10 back to 1. Then we read through the book, "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom." Each child had an instrament that they were able to play/make as loud as they could during the "Boom Boom" parts of the book. They also yelled out "Boom Boom" if they could remember to do both. We then re-told the story of chicka chicka boom boom using a magnetic board and magnetic letters. Each child got to help tell part of the story. They especially loved being able to knock ALL the letters down to the ground when that part of the story came. 

For the craft we made Coconut Trees. We used Crystal light containers for the base of the tree and had that part already covered in brown paper before the kids got hold of it. We also wrote each letter of the alphabet onto the tree. The kids were each given a sheet of ABC stickers and were to match up all the stickers with the letters on the tree. Then we had green "grass stuff" To stick into the top of the tree for leaves, and little cut out brown circles for the coconuts that the kids could tape onto the top. 

The finished Trees!

We did two different activities. The first one was Alphabet freeze dancing. We turned on some fun ABC music and the kids danced away. Then the music was paused and each kid had to stop on top of a  letter. We went around and each kid told us what letter they were standing on. Then the music started and they danced again and so on. This was a big hit. The kids loved it. 

Another activity that we did was rice bucket exploration. We filled a giant tub full of rice and put in all 26 magnet letters. The kids had to work together to find all 26 letters. After they were all found they lined them up in order on the table. 

Show & Tell:
Everyone brought an item for show and tell. Some had to do with the book, some didn't. But they enjoyed getting up and showing off what they brought. They followed this routine:

My name is...
I brought...
I like it because...
It is like the book because...

Snacks & Food:
For the main part of lunch we had these really cool coconut trees. peanut butter and jelly for the trunk of the tree. grapes for the coconuts, apples for the leaves, and cheese-it crackers with letters on them for the letters. 
 We also had cute coconut tree cupcakes with chocolate covered raisens for the coconuts, and sugar letters.
 For the adults we had a fruit and vegetable tray, more pbj sandwhiches and extra cheese-it letters and such.
 And another mom brought these awesome mini pancakes with letters on them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mommy & Me Book Club: The Three Little Pigs

We found this Awesome Website that does Mommy & Me Book clubs and decided we were going to start our own Book Club. We are using the site for a reference point, as we get our group started. For this first activity did "The Three Little Pigs." We mostly did all the same activities and crafts that are featured on the site. Here's how it went.

Gathering Activity:
As people were showing up, before we started, we worked on a cute pig craft with cotton balls, paper plates and glue. We won't always have a craft at the beginning. Sometimes we have puzzles or books to looks at, but there is always something. The night before we spray painted the cotton balls pink. (Or I suppose you could just buy pink cotton balls to use, if you can find them.) Then we pre-cut the ears, nose and tongue with construction paper. We used little googly eyes for the eyes. The kids enjoyed gluing the cotton balls onto paper plates and making the faces.
The Finished Projects:
Circle Time:
During circle time we sing a few songs. "Here we are together" (Naming each child in attendance.) "ABC's" (Or a different song depending on the theme of the week.) Next we count with the kids 1-10 and then count backwards from 10-1. Then we read the book for that week. After we read through the story we tell it again. This time, however, we retell it using magnets glued to cutout characters from the book and allow the kids to help re-tell it. Each kid gets a chance to help tell part of the story and help show part of it using the magnets on a big white out board. At the end of circle time we all sing "Shake my sillies out" as we head over to the table for a craft/art project. 

Each kid got a pig coloring page to color. After they finished coloring the pigs, we brought out some "mud" (chocolate pudding) for them to finger paint all over to the pigs. They really enjoyed that part. It took them a bit to find out that it was chocolate pudding, but once they did they were eating it and painting with it.
For a fun activity we gathered a bunch of different building supplies and let the kids try to build their own pigs houses. Each time they finished one we tried "blowing down their houses" to see which ones were strong and which ones were not. The kids got really creative after awhile. Some houses included straw, blocks and sticks. 

Show & Tell:
We told everyone in advance to bring an item related to the Book of the week to share. The kids got up in front of the group, shared their names, what they brought and why it was special to them. 

We told everyone who came to bring three little pig theme snacks to share. here's what we had to eat.
Pigs in a blanket, Piggy bagels, and pig "building supplies." (carrots, pretzels, and twizzlers.) We also had a fruit and veggie tray. So there was lots to eat. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Scrapbook paper clothes pins

I like to hang my kids pictures, drawings, paintings and what not up on a clothes line in the house so we get to see them and can easily rotate them as we make more. It works well for us. I decided that I wanted to make the appearance a little cuter. Looking at pintrist and all sorts of blogs I noticed the idea to cover the clothes pins with scrapbook paper. What a great idea! Super easy and cheap too. You can use up scraps of scrapbook paper that you have leftover from other projects. Each clothespin only takes a little bit. I actually didn't have any scrap book paper at the time, so I found cute designs online and after measuring the size of the clothes pins resized them on photoshop and printed out 1 page with several different fun designs. Then just cut them out and glued them onto the clothespins with Elmers glue. (You could also use modgepodge.)  Super easy! And now They are a whole lot cuter.