Category Archives: painting

Christmas Decorations

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When pulling out my Christmas decorations to put out this year, I tried to look up on the blog how I’d arranged mantels and stuff last year, but I only found pics from a few years ago…since I had never posted the photos I took last year…so now I’m posting photos from this year and last year (which include a move between the two, so same stuff in a new space). My favorite addition from the past two years is the big magnolia clips with glittery centers…that came from Dollar Tree!)

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I’m realizing now that I forgot the way I set up the little birds in nests in the middle of the Christmas mantel…

    

   

A First Birthday Party in Neverland!

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Snuggly Man turned 1!

I had been secretly “pinning” Neverland party ideas for a while, which turned out to be very fitting since Snuggly Man never wants to grow up and is still in denial about reaching that first year milestone…he refuses any of our attempts to coax him into taking a step, still loves to be held and snuggled, cheek-to-cheek, while sucking his thumb, at all times of day. He has made the full transition to “big boy milk” with minimal protests.

Little boys should never be sent to bed – they always wake up a day older…Peter Pan

Having a Neverland theme was also just what we wanted because we got to include mustaches and pirates, Indians and a teepee, ships and a plank to walk, fairies and a friendly crocodile, all within our “theme.” I’m not good at sticking to one theme, so having an all-inclusive one was great fun. Since this was a first birthday, with more adults than kids, we got to go big for decorations and impact with just a few activities to keep the “big kids” occupied and happy. My Honey and I had a lot of fun making our Neverland dreams come true…all for Snuggly Man and the pictures.

Decorations:

To turn our house into Never-neverland, we printed out a nostalgic map with the various corners of this imaginary island and got inspired about which hangouts to create.

1. Map on display (printed from a google search)

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2. The Lost Boys’ Secret Hangout (Hangman’s Tree)

I thought this looked amazing – my Honey used his skills to tape down “puffs” of a green patterned wrapping paper I bought at Hobby Lobby’s after-Christmas sale, then hung brown crepe paper in the doorway, so we could actually “enter” the secret hideout of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys inside “hangman’s tree.”

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3. Indian Camp Teepee

For this, we followed the simple instructions for ThrifyAndChic’s $7 diy teepee – it was simple, easy, and cheap! Plus, it looked really cool, was fun for the kids, and we still get to enjoy it.

Basically, my Honey bought a long PVC pipe, sawed it into thirds, spray painted it brown (with paint for plastic), drilled two holes in the top of each, then wound and cris-crossed rope through them to keep them together on one end. Then, my part, I cut three triangles of fabric with the top corners cut off, after getting a rough estimate of length and height from setting up the poles in a teepee shape, and sewed them all together, along with extra seams to make slits for each pole. I also cut and seamed a slit in the middle of one side for a doorway.

Pen Elaine is opening her “pirate booty” party favor inside the teepee 🙂

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4. First Birthday Mantel

Of course, I strung up Snuggly Man’s month-by-month photos from the first year, so we could gasp and coo at how he had changed so much and how cute he is 🙂 (Actually I had two of his 10-month photos at the last 2 spots, since there was no 11-month posed photo in existence.) He is picture in all of his photos with a model ship (except for his 3 month photo…) that my Honey ordered online before he was born, for Snuggly Man’s “Old Man and the Sea” bedroom, so that is on the mantel. Along with a painting by my Honey of a ship crewed by lions; he painted a picture of a ship (crewed by foxes) for Pen Elaine. Finally, I hung two stars from an empty frame, for the mantel, so guests could

Follow the second star to the right and straight on til morning!

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5. Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship

For a Pirate Cove at the party, we hung a pirate birthday banner that we own, plus taped up a pirate ship cut from packing paper. I printed off Captain Hook coloring pages that kids got to color and tape to the pirate ship. Of course, what made to most impact was Captain Hook himself in attendance!

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6. Window Art: Peter Pan & Wendy Cameos and Quote

I wanted to paint something on my glass window that currently hangs by our kitchen table that would work for Snuggly Man’s birthday party but could also last through Valentine’s Day…I was being realistic about when I would get around to repainting it. So, I used this really sweet quote I saw in Anthropologie’s catalogue and added silhouettes of Peter Pan and Wendy. To make the cameos, I pulled up a googled image on a tablet, then placed it behind the window (laying flat on a table) so I could trace them with a chalk marker, then fill it in with craft paint. The quote and decorations were all with craft paint as well.

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6. Birthday Banner

For Pen Elaine’s first birthday, I made a glittery, dainty, beautiful birthday banner that gets pulled out every year, multiple times, but it definitely looks like a “girl” birthday banner. So, I felt Snuggly Man deserved a birthday “boy” banner that could be used every year, but was especially made for him. First, I pulled out some old ready-made muslin flags I had picked up on super sale from Hobby Lobby and realized I was one letter short from being able to make a Happy Birthday banner using only those. Plus, they were extra small in size and would be hard to see 🙂 So, I bought some more ready-cut pennant flags from the same material and painted the letters to spell Happy Birthday on the larger pennants and drew little chevron stripes on the alternating, little pennants. I feel like it fit the Neverland/Lost Boys theme but can also be used for any boy birthday theme in the future.

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INVITATIONS: EVITES

For Snuggly Man’s first birthday party that included a few friends and mostly family, I opted for invitations of 2015 – “evites.” These are not as cutesy as paper invitations, but Snuggly Man is a boy, and he is one, so I think he is good with evites. Plus, evites are fantastic because people actually rsvp for them, as opposed to the paper ones that rarely get any rsvp’s – in fact I usually don’t even try to get them when I send paper. Also, I was still able to include cute little sayings about flying off to Neverland for the birthday party. Instead of my family inviting everyone to the party, we went by pseudonyms: Hook, Tigerlily, and Tinkerbell invited everyone for Snuggly Man’s party. “Follow the second star to the right; think happy thoughts and you’re sure to take flight! Wear a costume if you wish or must! Instead of presents, bring faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust!”

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ACTIVITIES:

1. Dress-up Station & Indian headband craft: Since we invited guests to come in costume, I wanted to have costumes and props on-hand for anyone who forgot or couldn’t find anything around their house. So, we included pirate swords and hats, “Lost boy” masks that were really a pack of fox, owl, and raccoon masks I found in the party section of Hobby Lobby (I think they were meant for a forest/woodland creature party). I wanted to buy green fairy wings at the dollar store, but they only had red ones in stock, so we just pulled out a few costume wings we had in our dress-up box and a glittery fox mask for girly options.

I also laid out supplies on a craft table for kids to make “Indian headbands” using brown paper (cut in thirds, horizontally), feathers, crayons and stickers, and cute masking tape. Instead of waiting for glue to dry or glue sticks to work well, I gave them striped/chevron masking tape I had bought for a previous party activity to be used for attaching paper strips together to make a wide-enough headband and for affixing feathers to the paper. It worked great!

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2. Walk the Plank: In our Pirate ship area, we laid out a blue blanket and put a two-by-four on top of it with the words “Walk the Plank.” This was as risky as we were going to get with 6 to 9 kids, all ages 5 and under (and all walking except Snuggly Man).

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3. Ride the Crocodile: This not only looked cool, next to our pirate ship-infested waters, but it was such a huge hit and totally worth the 10.99 we spent on Amazon!

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4. Hook a Pretzel: All I needed to buy for “Hooking” a pretzel was a bag of pretzels, then round up my costume pirate hooks, a big bowl, and a chalkboard sign. I saw this somewhere on Pinterest and thought it was such a cute idea. The preschool crowd we had thought it was so fun. It seemed like they just loved being able to access their own snacks, and they loved showing off their skills with a plastic pirate hook.

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FOOD & FUN!

Somehow, I forgot to take a photo of the table, but we decided on breakfast tacos! Snuggly Man absolutely loves eggs, and he loves tearing into his very own tortilla, so this was his perfect party food. We bought three different types of tacos, and labeled each serving dish with a chalkboard clothespin. We also had guacamole, pico de gallo, and chips to go with them. This was a super easy food plan. I also bought green paper goods, some green paper straws, a pirate table cloth (red and white striped), and some striped napkins. I also framed an 8 x 10 picture I printed on my printer of a googled image from Peter Pan to display next to food stations.

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Plus, I made cupcakes inside of ice cream cones, which turned out great (this was my first time to try this fun way of baking them). All you do is fill each cone about 1/2 way full of the batter, and bake them as normal. I set each cone in a muffin tin, to help keep them upright. Having the cupcakes in cones made them easier to handle for icing and decorating them (less messy), and it made holding one and eating it much easier for 1-year-old Snuggly Man – Win/Win! For decorating the tops, i slathered on some store-bought vanilla frosting tinted blue with food coloring. Then, I dipped them in a bowl of green crystal sprinkles – very cute and very fast. Lastly, I used a small tube of black gel icing to draw an “X” and little dotted lines to make a treasure map – actually, I drew one and let my little sister (Sunflower) draw the rest…about 1 minute after the party was supposed to be starting, ha! She made them beautiful and super-cool-looking!

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For the big “smash cake” time of the party, I had Snuggly Man’s high chair set up in front of dark, pretty curtains so that photos wouldn’t be washed out by backlight. He absolutely loved having balloons tied to his high chair, so we got cute pics of him gazing in wonder at balloons and his very own cupcake-in-a-cone. It was magical, and the (iphone) photos turned out so precious.

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PARTY FAVORS:

For party favors, I let Pen Elaine decorate brown paper lunch sacks with pirate stickers and wrote “Pirate booty for a BOY or a GIRL” on each of them. I filled them with (leftover Christmas stocking) candy…as well as plastic gold coins for boys and necklaces for girls. (Confession: I went through my old necklaces and picked some I never wear and seemed sturdy enough to last a day or two in the hands of a preschooler.)

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I think Snuggly Man had a fun time at his party!

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Personalized “grandma” gifts

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So, we used these as Christmas gifts, but here’s some ideas for Mother’s Day or grandparents day, etc. I had seen another blogger paint handprints on little tea towels for the kitchen and matching hot pad, and I thought that was genius! To emulate, I bought hot pad sets from Walmart and looked up ideas for turning hand or footprints into art. Then, I let pen Elaine choose which cheesy artwork to use for our prints. We ended up with the heart shown above for a few, as well as a crab, some footprint birds (I decided to only use Snuggly Man’s feet after painting one with his hands.), and a dinosaur. They turned out cute and very personal!

For a card or photo display for my mom, I took a piece of finished out wood/sign from hobby lobby and glued on a wooden shape that Pen Elaine had already painted. Then, I wrote Deuteronomy 4:9 on there with paint- after hot glueing clothespins, spaced evenly, along the bottom. I determined spacing and placement by having a photo in them and marking my determined spots with pencil.

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Mommy & Me class: Pretend Play with Fake Food

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Pretend play is so important for young children – they need time and space to imagine and practice what they are figuring out in “real” life. It is easy to fill up their time with structured activities, commitments, and get caught up with our own schedules so much that we start dragging our kids through each step and “job” of the day. One of my recent resolutions has been to give Pen Elaine some play time (that includes me) before making her complete her morning “jobs” of getting dressed and making her bed, even if I still have a kitchen to clean up or breakfast dishes to put away. This does not and cannot happen every day, but it is at least on my radar and a goal for most days. However, I know making time for children is important since Jesus Christ said that He was not too busy to hold them, touch them, pray over them. Matthew 19:14 says, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'”

Sometimes a craft project can help lead to more pretend play or more intentional pretend play. Pretend play with food can be a fun time to practice table manners, thinking of other people, using proper utensils, and having mealtime conversations, to get the ball rolling.

I saw these tantalizing play food creations from oneperfectdayblog and really wanted to attempt our own. Ours didn’t turn out looking too much like actual food…although Snugly Man was fooled, as captured in the top photo!

Only supplies needed: sponges from the dollar store, paint & paintbrush, some glue optional

Pen Elaine enjoyed painting and stacking these “slices” of sponges to create a piece of cake and “cookies” (that kinda look like cupcakes…?).

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We also made paper pizzas (to look like one by Looksissquare via Pinterest) – it’s on the bottom in this last pic, we cut out the “dough,” “sauce,” “cheese,” and an assortment of toppings such as peppers, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, meatballs, etc. These could’ve been made with felt to be more durable for creating many times over.

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Happy Birthday to my Man!

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We were traveling with family during my Honey’s birthday this year, so i gave gifts throughout the week at home leading up to the big day. There were treasure hunts, cards, and a pirate cookie cake all at home, so I warned him that I wasn’t packing any gifts for his actual birthday. However, I knew that our family would be bringing him gifts, and I also had planned a goofy family surprise that was also a throwback to the early 90’s when decorating your own tshirts was big…at least in my circles…So, I used craft paint to decorate a plain tshirt for each family member to wear, plus dresses for the little girls, and Pen Elaine helped me decorate my Honey’s birthday shirt. It was a fun surprise to look like a tour group as we were traveling and seeing the sights around Nashville.
Here’s the sayings I wrote:

Have your cake and eat it too.
Peace, love, and birthdays
Keep calm and {birthday} party on
Live long and prosper
Olive You
Happy Birthday
Birthdays are for Uncles
Birthdays are for Daddy
#Itsmybirthday

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Summer Activities Plan…Upcycled Castle

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Summer is in full swing! We kick off summer with lots of birthdays and celebrations, not to mention all the fun summer events like library story hour and reading club, swimming at the pool, and summer kids’ movies at the theater. However, our excursions work best during the morning, with some quiet time in the afternoon but still more time to fill with fun during the “twilight” hour or two before my Honey gets home from work. I don’t want to let this time slip away or let a sleepy toddler who refuses to nap fall into trouble for lack of some organized activity…besides helping in the kitchen sometimes. So, my summer activity plan has been devised, and I’m kind of excited about it…mostly because it involves Pinterest, so I’m getting to share my joy of Pinterest with my daughter.

First, I created a Pinterest board just for Pen Elaine, full of simple to pull-together-activities that I thought she would enjoy during an afternoon.

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Second, I printed off the list, so Pen Elaine could see all the activity pictures without us having to turn on a screen…too much risk of her wanting to watch videos on the computer or my phone or whatever, but I wanted her to be able to “browse” the activity ideas.

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Now, for the fun part! I let her choose a picture for us to do, either in the morning (so I can pull the supplies together while she’s resting or reading or having some screen time during her afternoon “rest” time) or in the afternoon when we are ready to pull together our supplies together and make our project right then!

Our first pinterest project was a castle made from cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, and toilet paper rolls – we love it!

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I taped together two cereal boxes of varying size, then covered the larger sides with construction paper. I cut some ridges (cutout squares) on the tops of towel and to rolls to look more castle-like. We used masking tape to roughly tape on our towers- some big and some little- and Pen Elaine decided to make one of towers a “cannon” instead. Last, we had a paint free for all with red, purple, and white craft paint- mixed to make pink- and wearing craft smocks to protect clothing! After drying overnight, it was ready for actual play.
 

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We have even pulled out all her “little people” princesses to play with in the castle – they work great – they can even stand on top of the towers!

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Mommy & Me Class: {easy, DIY} Ice cream & Chalkboards

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So we had our last Mommy & Me class of the semester, and it was kind of sad and sweet and nostalgic…even though we’ve only been together for 3 months, we had such a fun, faithful group!

For our grand finale, we made chalkboard trays that are also magnetic, and we made homemade ice cream in plastic bags – so cool!

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CRAFT/ACTIVITY #1: DIY lightweight, magnetic chalkboards!

I bought these metallic trays in the party goods section of dollar tree – just a buck!

Then, we used chalkboard paint (can be bought at craft stores, home improvement stores, or even walmart) to paint 2 or 3 coats.

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Since these are metallic trays, they are also great for magnet play, as well as coloring with chalk…how about tracing shape or letter magnets with chalk?! If you can’t find these one dollar trays, just use an old cookie sheet to paint with chalkboard paint. Since it’s a rimmed sheet, these are great for playing in the car, with some chalk or just some fun magnets – or paint on a little person and get a set of magnetic clothes.

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CRAFT/ACTIVITY #2: Homemade ice cream in a plastic bag

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Supplies:

  1. 1/2 cup milk (we used whole)
  2. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  3. 1 Tablespoon sugar
  4. 4 cups crushed (or cubed) ice
  5. 4 Tablespoons salt
  6. 2 quart sized (or larger) Zip-loc bags
  7. 1 gallon size Zip-loc freezer bag (optional, duct tape for sealing)
  8. a hand towel or gloves to keep fingers from freezing as well!

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Put the first three ingredients into one of the smaller bags, then put that bag into the other smaller bag to keep anything from leaking out! These are easy, safe ingredients to let little fingers pour into the bag…or you can do this step ahead of time.

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Now, place the small bag of ice cream ingredients into the gallon-sized bag, then fill with the ice and sprinkle in the salt.

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Here’s what you’ve got:

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Now, for the fun part – your kiddo will get a kick out of shaking and massaging the ice around the inner bag. This is coooold though, so get out some winter gloves or hand towel. Five to eight minutes is adequate time for the mixture to freeze into ice cream – of the soft-serve varitety. 🙂

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For an extra treat, add in some mixins at the end, such as crushed oreos or sprinkles, before eating.

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No special equipment necessary!

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