Chasing Cheerios

Friday, April 30, 2010

Trap Door Readers

O LOVES these trap door reading cards! I was very excited when Arwen from Walk Beside Me emailed and asked me to try out these cards. I printed them on cardstock and followed the directions for cutting and folding them. They were easy to put together, and O has thoroughly enjoyed reading the words. These cards are a great way to make reading fun! Thanks, Arwen!

You can purchase the trap door reading cards for download from here or here.

Felt Bunny Finger Puppets

These sweet felt bunny finger puppets were a last minute addition to O and E's Easter baskets that I didn't finish making until after midnight on Easter morning. I used the pattern and followed the directions from the Purl Bee. These bunnies were quick and easy to make. I left the tail off of E's bunny since I knew she'd be spending a lot of time in E's mouth, and I didn't want to create a choking hazard for my baby.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

That Explains It!

I tried scheduling a couple of posts and did not realize that they never actually posted (I really need to start reading my blog, I guess!). I was wondering why no one commented...usually there is at least one comment per post. Thanks to all of you who comment. I read every comment, and I try to answer the questions in the comments section. Although, I have gotten a little slack about doing that lately...sorry about that. I'm trying to do better :)

Spring Felt Crown

This Spring felt crown is my favorite handmade Easter gift for this year! O loved it, and I was surprised by how easy it was to make.

To make the crown, I cut a crown pattern out of paper. I laid it on a piece of wool blend felt and traced around the paper with disappearing ink. I cut 2 identical pieces from the wool felt, and then sewed the pieces together using a blanket stitch. (This is only my 2nd time doing the blanket stitch, so it doesn't look great, and I had to start over a couple of times). I left openings for the elastic at the base of the crown. After stitching around the crown, I cut the elastic to the appropriate size, pinned it into the holes left on the crown, and did a straight stitch to hold it in place. I made the felt flower from a Martha Stewart felt flower barrette kit and glued it to the front of the crown.

I'm pretty proud of how this crown turned out, especially since I did all of the sewing in a dark room in the middle of the night:)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Five in a Row...Make Way for Ducklings

I've been intrigued by the Five in a Row program for a while, and I finally decided to order the book. (since I had amazon credit...THANKS to everyone who clicks in to Amazon through the button in my sidebar!) I chose Volume 2 since I already had 4 of the books. We've only "rowed" 2 books, but so far we LOVE it! (click on the link to the Five in a Row homepage to read more about the program...because I am too lazy to explain it well :)

Our first Five in a Row book was Make Way for Ducklings. I am keeping this process as simple as possible, and we are reading the book and then having the discussions suggested in the book. I've decided against making lapbooks and ordering the Fold n Learns...for now. I love how this process has prompted me to look deeper at the books and to see things that I didn't notice before. I've been amazed by how perceptive O is as she has demonstrated in our discussions. On Art day, I gave O a brown pencil and her sketch book and encouraged her to draw a picture with just a brown crayon like the illustrations in the book. I was very surprised when she showed me her drawing of a duck. She did a great job and was proud of herself!

We are "rowing" Peter Rabbit this week. O loves the book, and she was excited to learn about onomatopoeia today :) She has also had fun acting out the book, but she insists that Mr. MacGregor is out of town, and she doesn't want anyone to act out his part. We've also been planting our garden this week which which coincides perfectly with the reading of this book.

I am looking forward to "rowing" more books and plan to continue this even after O begins school in the fall. I'd love input on the Fold n Learns...are they worth the money? They seem a bit pricey to me. I'm also interested in the Five in a Row Nature Studies books. If anyone has any experience with either of these products, I'd love to hear more about them. Thanks!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

EC Update

EC is going GREAT with Baby E!!! I haven't changed a poopy diaper in almost a month, and that is so wonderful! Using cloth diapers is a great motivator for doing EC :)

I planned to do EC with E from the beginning, and it was really easy to read her pottying signals when she was brand new. However, I was busy and got slack about cuing her and paying attention to her signals. Once the weather got colder, I left her diaper free less often. I continued to cue her when I changed her diaper, but that was about it.

Fast forward to E at 6 months old...I realized that if I wanted EC to work, I was going to have to be diligent about reading her signals. After one day of diligence and catching all poops and some pees, she TOTALLY got it! It was amazing! She'd signal that she needed to potty (facial expression), I'd say "do you need to potty?" while signing "potty," and she'd smile, wave her arms, and kick her legs. I'd take her to the potty, and she'd go. She seems SO proud and happy to be using the potty, and her diaper rash that developed when she started eating solids is completely gone. Since my one day of diligence, I've caught every poop since she knows to wait until I get her on the potty to go. I'm still keeping her in diapers and actually have no plans to put her in panties since I'm not very good at catching her pees. Although, I may try having her wear thick training pants with a cover because they would be much easier to remove than a snapped diaper.

I take her to the potty when she wakes up and when I change her diaper, and I can almost always tell when she is wetting, but I haven't gotten good at reading her signals before she goes. I have to admit that I'm not trying that hard...I'm just happy that she's pooping on the potty. It makes my life SO much easier, and she is so happy and proud of herself. I encourage all mamas to give this a try. When it works, it makes life so much easier and it's good for the environment :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Easy Embroidery...Maybe an IKEA Hack :)

I'm not sure if this project would qualify as an IKEA hack, but maybe...

I love the simple animals on the IKEA burp cloths, and I thought they would make cute embroidery patterns.

To make E's shirt, I photocopied the burp cloth, cut out the pictures that I liked, traced over the lines with an iron on pencil, and ironed the design onto a t-shirt. I embroidered over the pattern using the backstitch. This was fast and simple to do. I've embroidered several bibs and a couple of onesies with the different IKEA animals, but the monkey is my favorite. I plan to embroider several more t-shirts for E to wear...they are so much easier than onesies now that she is using the potty often (more on that in an EC post!).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sustainable Homestead

Cayce from Sustainable Homestead sent us 2 lunchbox napkins and a reusable baggie to try, and I thought this review would be perfect for Earth day!

We only use cloth napkins in our house as I can't stand the waste of paper napkins. (Elliott insists on buying paper towels, but he doesn't use them very often, and I usually just use them for art projects :) All of our napkins are quite large, so it was fun for O and E to have napkins that were just for them! They are the perfect size for little hands and faces (and they must taste good, too!). I love the fabrics that Cayce uses for her napkins, and we use them often when we have picnics on our porch and in the yard. They are fun for an impromptu game of peek-a-boo in addition to being great as napkins.

The napkins are approximately 7"x7" and are made from 100% cotton fabric. They have rolled edge hems and are double thickness.

The reusable baggies are perfect for picnics or school lunches. Here's what Cayce has to say about the baggies...

"Are you looking for a good no-waste replacement for those thin plastic baggies? Look no more! My reusable baggie is made from soft ripstop nylon with pretty rolled exterior seams and features a reinforced fold-over top to hold items inside. Fold over closures are easier for little hands to open and close. No food bits stuck in velcro. No crumbs trapped in internal seams. Ick! Just bright and bold colors and easy clean up with this reusable baggie! They are approx. 7"x8" unfolded, a similar size to their throw-away plastic counterparts.

These bags also make GREAT party favor and gift bags! They can be made in almost any color or combo of colors to suit your individual needs. What a great way to promote green living at your next party or event!"

We were so excited to use these products, and I'm sure that we'll be using them for years. They are very well-made, and it feels good to use handmade, reusuable products instead of mass produced, disposable goods. Thanks, Cayce!

Make sure to mention Chasing Cheerios when you order (for the next 2 weeks) to get 10% off your order! Earth Day is a great day to start going green, so give it a try with these fun, handmade products!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nature Crown

O and I had fun making this simple nature crown today from a cereal box, Magnolia leaves, Azalea flowers, and staples.

To make the crown, I cut 2 strips from a cereal box and stapled them together to fit O's head. We picked Magnolia leaves and stapled them to the cardboard crown. O chose the flowers, and I stapled the flowers between the leaves. This was fun, simple, and I love how it looks on my little sweetie :) Oh, and it's perfect for Earth Day!

O and my mom made a Magnolia Leaf Crown last year, too! This might be a yearly tradition :)

Helping Out the Birds

After reading Bluebird's Nest, O and I filled a tangerine bag with materials for birds to use to build their nests (I've been saving bags to do this activity for more than a year, so I was glad to finally do it!). We put yarn, stuffing, pine straw, long blades of grass, and moss in the bag. We tied to bag to a tree, and we hope that the birds will appreciate our efforts and use the materials when building a nest :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Moveable Alphabet...

...or not! My birthday was the day after Easter, so we celebrated on Easter with the delicious cheese braid that my mom makes for me every year. This year she bought candy letters to spell out Happy Birthday. After they sang to me, O started playing with the letters and making and reading words. What fun!

As an ironic side note, my mom gave me an avocado pitter for my birthday...I cut my finger the next day using a knife to pit an avocado. As I was bringing the knife down to the avocado pit, I was thinking "I should find the avocado pitter that mom just gave me." As I was bleeding all over the kitchen, I was thinking "I REALLY should have found and used the avocado pitter!"

Wet Chalk Art

Last Wednesday was a rough day for me. I was stressed over my inability to do the things I needed and wanted to do because of my wrapped and splinted hand. I was also feeling very discouraged by how slowly my wound was healing. I needed a quick and easy activity to cheer me up and to entertain O.

Art Jar to the rescue! We dipped chalk in water and drew on one our outdoor chalkboards. O said "I'm making smooth, broad strokes like I do with paint." She paused and then said "I made paint!!! Can you believe I made paint?!!!" She soaked the chalk in the water for a while, and it was even nicer to work with. She then started "painting" with her hands and feet by smearing them in the wet chalk. We had a lot of fun, and we'll definitely do this again soon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On the Mend

My finger is finally healing! The stitches didn't work, and my stepsister who is a wound care specialist recommended against using glue. She did an ultrasound mist treatment on my wound, and I've kept it wrapped and splinted. It has healed amazingly fast since the ultrasound mist treatment. I'm hoping that I may be able to take the splint off within a few days. It's not easy to take care of these kiddos with only one good hand :) Here's a picture if you dare to scroll down...

Don't use a knife to pit an avocado!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

oh, well...maybe not

i'm not back after all :( i took my stitches out tonight, and my cut has not healed. elliott and i have it pulled closed with a bandaid that is held in place with surgical tape. hopefully, this will work and i won't have to go back to the ER. so, my hand is all bandaged up since the chance of infection is higher now that the wound is open, and typing with one hand is slow and annoying. i have so many posts to write, but it's not going to happen tonight. hopefully, i'll be back on schedule with daily posts by the end of the week. see you then :)

I'm Back

Thanks for all of the comments on my Unintended Break post. My finger is on the mend, and I should be back to regular blogging soon. I was supposed to get my stitches out today, but I accidentally popped one this morning and my finger didn't look healed enough to have them all removed. I'll probably clip the rest of them tomorrow. I'm trying to talk O into helping me (since she loves to pretend to be a doctor), but she's not interested. She said "I'm just a little kid. I'll be a doctor when I'm bigger." I asked when that would be and she said "when I'm 6 or 7 or maybe 9 or 10."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Unintended Break

I'll be gone from the blog for a week or so due to my utter stupidity...I sliced my finger to the bone while removing a pit from an avocado with a knife. Sweet O was running around behind me cleaning the blood up off the floor while E just wanted me to hold her. Thank goodness our neighbors are down here for the week and came to my rescue.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yummy Birds' Nests

O and I made yummy bird nests with chocolate malt ball eggs for Easter! We had fun, and they turned out even cuter than I expected.

The idea and recipe for the birds' nests came from The Artful Parent. The nests are basically rice crispy treats made with cornflakes and shaped to look like nests. We made several changes in the recipe, but nothing major...we used Total cereal instead of corn flakes, we didn't toast our coconut, and we used a whole bag of mini marshmallows. I think making (and eating!) these fun, little nests may be a new Easter/Spring tradition for us!

To make the nests, we melted a bag of mini marshmallows along with a 1/2 cup of butter. We poured in a teaspoon of vanilla extract. We then slowly mixed in 4 cups of Total cereal and a fourth cup of coconut. We pressed the mixture into mini muffin tin cups to make the nests. After they were set, I took them out of the muffin tin. We refrigerated the nests overnight, and then we put the eggs in the nests to finish the recipe.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Could she get any cuter?!!! I don't think so!

We've had a wonderful Easter, but I have to admit that I'm glad that we are done with holidays for a while :) I feel like I've been constantly planning around and making things for holidays for months...wait, I have! My goal was to finish making handmade Easter gifts by the end of February, but I was up finishing up last minute gifts until after midnight last night. It was worth it though because O was SO excited about her handmade gifts...more on them later.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Baskets for Fairies

O and my niece had a fun time making fairy Easter baskets on this week!

To make the baskets, I cut 2 cups out of a cardboard egg carton for each girl. They colored the cups with markers. We twisted a pipe cleaner to make a basket handle and hole punched a hole in each side of the basket. We put the pipe cleaner through each hole, and we were done! The girls filled their tiny baskets with flowers...most people would call the flowers weeds, but O thinks they are "beautiful!"