Chasing Cheerios

Friday, December 25, 2009

Taking a Break

Just wanted to let you know that I'll be taking a break from this blog for a while...probably until the New Year. See you then :)

The Best Stocking Stuffer!

E wasn't thrilled about being a stocking stuffer, but she makes a cute one! We're putting the finishing touches on a Christmas morning treasure hunt for the girls and then it's off to bed. Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bell Activity

I brought this activity out of our Montessori rotation box since I thought was appropriate for the season. O enjoyed doing this work...until I borrowed a couple of bells for a handmade gift :)

The idea for this activity came from The Wonder Years. It's a simple and fun activity which was easy to put together. I took 10 bells and removed the balls from the centers of 5 of them. Then I put them in a bowl together. O picks up one bell at a time, shakes it, and determines if it should go on the sound side or no sound side.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter & Ritz Sandwich Cookies

O, E, Elliott, and I made chocolate covered peanut butter & Ritz sandwich cookies for Elliott's work friends. This was a fun family activity! I was glad that Elliott participated since it was fun to see him and O working together...they are SO much alike! After spreading peanut butter on 1 cracker, O asked "Can I lick my knife now?" They were both so excited whenever a cracker broke, and they devoured them like they were starving. I'm fairly certain that sneaky little O broke a few crackers on purpose :)

When we started this activity, E was watching us from her bouncy seat. That did not suit her AT all since she likes to be involved in all of our activities. I put her in the sling (after O tried the sling out...she STILL fits, which is absolutely thrilling for her!), and she was perfectly content. E is not a baby who will tolerate being left on the sidelines!

To make the cookies we spread peanut butter on Ritz crackers and topped them with another Ritz to make a sandwich. We melted Wilton's meltable chocolate in the microwave and dropped each peanut butter cracker sandwich into the melted chocolate. We used O's chopsticks to remove the cookies from the chocolate and placed them on an unfolded cereal bag (instead of waxed paper) to dry and harden. This was fun and simple, but not so fast since it took quite a while for the cookies to dry and harden (and we only had one cereal bag on which to place them).

Model Magic Hand & Footprint Ornaments

O, E, Elliott, and I made hand and footprint ornaments using Model Magic a few days ago. It was SO much easier and works SO much better than using plaster of paris (we made ornaments using O's hand and footprints for her 1st Christmas using plaster of paris. It was difficult to get the footprints just right because the mixture was too watery, and the ornaments are heavy and easily breakable).

To make the ornaments, I rolled the Model Magic into a ball and then used one of O's playdough rolling pins to roll it out. I cut out an appropriately sized circle using a bowl. Elliott brought E over and we pressed her hand and then her foot into the Model Magic. We let the ornaments dry for 24 hours before adding a ribbon and putting them on the tree. I need to sand around the edges, but I'll worry about that after Christmas. I'm VERY pleased with how they turned out :)

O was excited that we also made an ornament using her handprint. She had a lot of fun playing with the Model Magic while we were making the ornaments. We also made handprints of both girls for O to paint that we'll display all year long.

Model Magic is fairly expensive. I bought a large tub months ago (to use for making landforms...maybe I'll eventually do that :) from Hobby Lobby using a 40% off coupon. One package from the tub (it came with 4 packages) made 7 ornaments.

Handpainted Rolling Giraffe

O is proudly making all of her gifts for Baby Sister this Christmas. She enjoyed painting the rolling giraffe (using acrylic craft paint). After she is finished, we'll paint it with coat of mod podge to give it a finished look. (We will watch E closely to make sure she doesn't put this toy in her mouth. The paint and mod podge are nontoxic, but it can't be good to get it in your mouth...)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Felt Sugar Cookies

I can't believe I finished these cookies before Christmas Eve! They weren't top priority on my long list, but since they were so simple to make they eventually made their way to the top while other more important things were cut :)

To make the cookies, I traced cookie cutter shapes onto ecospun felt and cut out 2 of each of the shapes (I did this at least 6 months ago...before having a baby and forgetting about them completely until just a few weeks ago). Once I remembered the cookies, I started carrying them around with me for a couple of weeks hoping for a few minutes to work on them. I finally found the (less than) 20 minutes that I needed while waiting for Elliott's workday to be finished (we ride together) last week, and I sewed the 2 sides together using embroidery thread. I decided not to stuff the cookies.

The girls both went to sleep fairly early (gasp!) a couple of nights ago, and I worked furiously on Christmas gifts...the cookies made the cut once again, so I painted them with fabric paint. It's supposed to look like icing, and I guess it does. I think they'd look better with felt embellishments instead of paint, but they're done and that makes me happy. I packaged them in a Martha Stewart cookie box (bought at 75% off after Christmas last year), and they are under the tree!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Felt Gingerbread Village

I've really enjoyed playing with our felt gingerbread village this year. I say "I" because O hasn't been very interested in it, but I've had lots of fun :) I made the felt village last year, and I was hoping O would be as excited about it as I am...maybe next year. The directions for making the gingerbread village are here.

Painted Peg Doll Necklaces

Painting these tiny little dolls was one of my favorite handmade Christmas gifts this year (along with the Thing Finder Necklaces). I've been planning to make peg doll necklaces for O and my niece since last Christmas, but I was not looking forward to it since I did not enjoy making the peg doll family for O's birthday in July. However, I really enjoyed this and plan to make many more (maybe this will be a good item to make and sell on Etsy...).

To make the dolls, I painted them with acrylic craft paint and then added details using paint pens. I painted the dolls to match the girls' Christmas dresses (yes, we have matching dresses for ALL 3 girls :). After I painted the dolls, Elliott drilled a tiny hole into the top of each doll and screwed a small circle screw into each hole. I then painted them with a coat of mod podge to finish and protect them. I threaded a thin ribbon through the screw to make the necklace, and they were done (I may switch the ribbon for a stretchy elastic cord).

I wrote the girls' names and the year on the bottoms of the dolls. After Christmas, we can shorten the ribbon and the necklaces will turn into keepsake ornaments for next year's Christmas tree. E (who is only 3 months old) is obviously much too young for a necklace, so her tiny doll is already hanging on the tree. My niece was SO excited when I gave her her necklace this afternoon. I'm already planning on making tiny birthday doll necklaces for the girls. These dolls would also be great additions to O and E's birthday ring!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Most Amazing Baby Quilt EVER!

(and I don't mind saying that since I didn't make it!)

They say it's the thought that counts...if that is true, this quilt is worth millions! I've been thinking about and planning this quilt in my mind for more than a year, and it turned out BETTER than I expected! I did the planning, purchasing, and cutting, and my mom did ALL of the sewing! Isn't she AMAZING?!!! (I planned to help, but I'm not a very good seamstress, and I certainly can't sew while nursing a baby which is how I spend my days :)

Now, let me tell you about the quilt...My favorite side is the Visual Stimulation/Peek-a-boo side. We decided to only use red, black, and white fabrics on this side.

Mom sewed clear plastic pockets onto 5 of the squares and created a flap to cover the pockets creating a peek-a-boo effect. O has already put one of her drawings into a pocket, and we plan to rotate pictures and drawings through the pockets for E to enjoy :)

The other side of the quilt is the Texture/"I Spy" side. I chose several "busy" fabrics so that we can play "I Spy" with the quilt when E is older. To add various textures to the quilt, we used fleece, flannel, velvet, satin, and corduroy fabrics. Many of the different textures were cut from my old clothes (my favorite cords from my college days and a velvety red Christmas shirt that I loved), which makes if even more special to me.

We had fun making this quilt. It was hard to find the time to do it (I cut all of the squares before E was born, but that was as far as we got), but it was well worth the effort. I hope that E loves and treasures this quilt as much I do! Thanks, Mom! We love you!!!

Handpainted Santa Trivets

O painted these cork trivets (from IKEA) using her handprint for her aunts, grandmamas, and me! These gifts were super easy to make and turned out better than I expected.

To make the Santas I painted her fingers white for Santa's beard, and I painted her palm pink. I painted the bottom of her palm and thumb red with a little dot of white on the tip of her thumb (we used acrylic craft paint and tempura paint). Then we mashed her hand onto the trivet. I repainted her hand for each trivet. I added the eyes with a permanent black marker. I thought about adding a few more facial features, but then decided to keep it simple. I didn't seal them with anything, so I hope they will last...

The idea for painting cork trivets from IKEA came from Let's Explore. Thanks Amy for all of your inspiring ideas!

Oh, we also put a handprint turkey on the back of my trivet, so I can use it for Christmas or Thanksgiving (although I doubt I'll actually use it for anything other than decoration). We ran out of time before we could put turkeys on the backs of the other trivets :( Next year I really will finish our handmade gifts's so much more enjoyable to make gifts without a deadline weighing down on you.

Glittery Letter Ornaments

We had a GREAT time making glittery letter ornaments! First, we sanded the edges of the letters (bought from Hobby Lobby in packs of 2 for a dollar).

Then she painted the letters with glue.

Then she went crazy with the glitter. I was distracted by a phone call during this activity, and we somehow ended up with glitter EVERYWHERE in our house...even in the toilets! Next time, I'll just let the phone ring :)

O made ornaments for herself, her baby sister, and one of her favorite people.

I'm glad she had fun making these ornaments because I think it's the last time we'll use glitter for a while...if Elliott has his way!

Candy Activities

I bought a candy cane filled with Christmas star candy for us to use for various activities. We used them for a couple of days before I let O in on the secret that the stars were actually candy (she was calling them beads). She was amazed and thrilled!

She's gotten quite good at using the chopsticks. She likes to create a pattern when transferring the stars.

For this activity, she counted out the correct number of stars to match the numbers. I was surprised by how much she enjoyed this activity. I only had the numbers out to 5, but she insisted on doing the numbers up to 9. (Hopefully, her early interest in numbers indicates that she'll be better at math than I am!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Card Puzzles

O loves to do these Christmas card puzzles! To make the puzzles, I cut 1 or 2 rectangles out of each card (using an x-acto knife). I put the rectangles in a bowl and the cards in a stack and gave them to O. She had fun matching the pictures to complete the puzzles. The idea for this activity came from Let's Explore. (Please excuse O's dirty's covered with paint and glittery glue :)

Handprint & Paper Plate Reindeer

When I saw this reindeer craft at my school on Wednesday, I knew that O would love making it, and I would love having it as a keepsake (since I love to make things with O and E's handprints).

To make the reindeer, O colored a paper plate with a crayon rock (our favorite crayons!). She went a little crazy with a glue stick and covered almost the whole plate before placing the eyes and nose on the plate. I traced her hands onto stiff brown felt and then cut them out. I hot glued her felt hands to the back of the plate, punched a hole in the top, and looped a ribbon through the hole.

O was excited and proud to hang the reindeer on our tree. He's a little big for our 4 ft tree, but we don't mind a bit! This activity went along perfectly with our advent book, Snappy Little Christmas. (Somehow, I keep getting lucky and our activities and books are fitting together nicely without any planning :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snowball Surprise Soap

O and I made Snowball Surprise Soap to go along with the book, Dream Snow, which was our advent book on Friday. To make Snowball Surprise Soap, you need a bar of white soap (we used Dove), a grater, a small toy (we used a plastic penguin), and a bowl of warm water.

First, we took turns grating the soap.

Then we wet our hands in the bowl of warm water, picked up handfuls of the grated soap, and pressed it onto the penguin.

As we pressed the soap onto the penguin, we rolled the ball in our hands to make a snowball shape.

This was a fun and easy activity, and this soap would make a great handmade gift for kids. I think we'll definitely add this to our list of handmade gifts to make for next Christmas!

(The idea for this activity came from a magazine...probably Family Fun, but possibly Parents.)