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Valentine rainbow, easy valentine box, and our new favorite place for art

How’s that for a title?!  I have so much to talk about that I haven’t gotten to this month as we’ve been out of town.  First, earlier this month I went to Target and they had  a ton of valentine’s day art supplies in the dollar bins and I stocked up, put them all in a shoebox, and then promptly forgot about them.  Enter coughing five year old with a fever and no energy.  I put out the box of supplies and the girls went at them for over an hour.  Nancy loved the stickers and glitter glue.  Clara loved the foam flowers and markers.  A good time was had by all– even when sick.

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Next, we went to the best place EVER a couple of weekends ago.  Its in NE Portland and its called Art ala Carte.  It is essentially a space for kids to create whatever art they want to and parents don’t have to clean up the mess.  They have all kinds of art supplies.  In fact, if you can think of it, they have it.  My girls loved it.  And oh, the glitter.  Nancy had a ball with the glitter.  For like an hour.  And I didn’t have to clean up any of it!  That’s her above glittering a record.   Clara built a “house,” painted it, and even found a My Little Pony to live in the house before moving on to like three other projects.  By the end, the trunk of my car was full of wet art projects to take home.  It was a great rainy Sunday afternoon activity.   With a family membership, it is really quite affordable, too.
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Finally, we made a valentine’s day rainbow based on this beautiful post from No Time For Flashcards. I simply put contact paper sticky side out on the wall (this is harder than it sounds and an extra pair of adult hands are helpful) and drew a rainbow outline on the contact paper with markers. Then, I used a heart punch to punch rainbow colors of hearts out of my wallpaper sample book. Then, I invited the kids to sort the hearts onto the sticky rainbow. It turned out beautifully! I love walking up my stirs and seeing it on the landing every day.
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Watercolor Resist Hearts

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The other day, I had another family over for dinner (Hi Kim!) and had a wide variety of ages kids to entertain (1-5).  I wanted to be able to do a project that they could all participate in at their own level, but still come out of with a great product.  And it would be great if it could be fun and somewhat kid centered.  This is what I came up with: watercolor resist painting with a  heart motif.
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I differentiated for the different ages by letting the older ones do more of the project themselves and the younger ones do less. To start, I cut heart stencils of varying sizes out of a box and I drew the hearts on some watercolor paper. Then, for the littlest ones (1 and 2-years-old), I outlined the hearts with oil pastels. I let the bigger kids do the oil pastels themselves. Then everyone got to paint their pictures with watercolors and see what happened to the oil pastel lines. On the second and third rounds, the older kids (3 and 5-year-olds) traced the heart stencils, did the oil pastels, and used the watercolor paints all by themselves. Everyone enjoyed themselves and they all produced some great art on their own.
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Sensory Bin of the Month: Valentine’s Bin

I know it isn’t quite Valentine’s Day yet, or even February for that matter, but I couldn’t help myself.  I went to Dollar Tree the other day and there was a ton of fun things to make a Valentine’s sensory bin, so I scooped some up and went home and put it together.  And, I must say that this one is a hit.  After our snow village, this one seems super clean.  It also seems that the pink and red is irresistable to my girls.  The first night they played with it for at least an hour and a half straight and then all this weekend it has been broken into and played with every day.  I have eaten a lot of “love soup” this weekend.

In this bin, I have a set of ten little heart boxes, some sparkly foam glitter hearts (table scatter), some plastic red hearts (also table scatter), a bag of fake rose petals, and some random gems that I found in the girls’ room in a little box.  All of those were from Dollar Tree.  Then to add a bit more interest I dumped in some dry white beans and barley from my pantry and a few bowls for scooping things into, a couple of egg cartons, and two pairs of kid chopsticks.

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We have scooped, sorted, cooked, hoarded, patterned, and dumped with this bin and it was broken in to again today. This just might be the easiest and most loved sensory bin yet.

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December and January

Boy, the last month has sped by and I’ve been busy trying to catch my breath and get back into a normal routine.  Which of course had been completely forgotten in the two weeks of vacation and Christmas craziness.  So, we’ve been retraining.  And I’ve been making cakes.  Because all of the nephews and niece have birthdays in a three week span.  So, I leave you pictures of the three cakes I made and promise new posts in the next week: a craft and a sensory bin. Enjoy!

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Thomas Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for Miles’ fifth birthday

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Spiderman Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for Drew’s fifth birthday

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Princess Crown Yellow cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugar Cookie embellishments for Chloe’s third birthday

Christmas Art Play Date

We had a fun Chirstmas Art play date last week at our house.  It was a very low-key affair, as many of our friends were sick.  We made four crafts:  toilet roll reindeer, sandpaper gingerbread men, wallpaper Christmas trees, and shredded paper snowmen.  Pictures below!!  Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Sensory Bin of the Month: Pretend Snow Village

This month I made the messiest sensory bin yet, but it is super fun!  I put a tablecloth down under the bin, but the kids got it all over themselves and of course tracked it around.  So, if you do this, consider yourself forewarned.
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I got the idea here and it is a fabulous idea.  It is a pretend bin of snow based on cloud dough, which we played with this summer, except I added a bit of glitter (8 cups flour to 1 cup oil).  The cloud dough will hold together to make “snow” balls.
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I also added a few Christmas village houses, a snowman, a couple of trees, and some little people to the bin. All of them I bought at Dollar Tree. They are ceramic, but the bin is on the ground, so I don’t think I have to worry too much about them breaking. They are covered in fake snow now, but it should just rinse right off to put away in the Christmas box for next year.
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We’re here making ornaments!

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Been a while since I blogged, but rest assured while I’ve been gone, the girls and I have been decorating our Christmas tree. Some day, when I have teenage girls who are about to leave me and strike off on their own, I hope to have a tree of only girl-made ornaments to keep me company.

I recently found the fabulous blog, Happy Hooligans and all of her wonderfully easy Christmas ornaments for small children to make. I’m making my way through a lot of them. Here are some pictures!

Toilet Roll Snowmen
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Tinfoil Trees
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Initial Ornaments
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Clara also made these great (and also super easy) woven tree ornaments from The Crafty Crow.
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And my sister Kristen helped the kids make these stuffed felt Christmas trees. Drew, my nephew, even sewed the entire outside himself (with some support right by him on the couch).
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Coming up later in the next couple of weeks, I’ll have a Christmas sensory bin and a Christmas Art Play Date with four different Christmas crafts. In the meantime, here are some links from Christmases past: