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Homemade Bouncy Ball FAIL!

23 Jul

We were both really excited about making a homemade bouncy ball!

I just happen to be a super blessed mommy of a little boy who absolutely loves BALLS!!!  Typical little boy I know. 😉  When I saw this recipe for making homemade bouncy balls from the Money Saving Mom I knew we just had to try it!

Elijah was so excited!

We gathered all of our supplies and headed outside.  If you attempt to make your own be sure to do this activity outside as it can be quite messy!


Mixing…growing more excited with every moment.

I did help stir at this moment.  Just when I thought the consistency was just right:


I don’t who was more disappointed when our bouncy ball didn’t bounce at all!  It just went splat!  Eli picked it up a couple of times and tried again but it went splat every time! 🙂  I have no idea what we did wrong.  We followed the recipe to a T.  You would think for someone who graduated 1 class short of a chemistry minor I wouldn’t have had any trouble with this but alas it was a complete fail in one sense.

Look at that face. It doesn’t work mom!

In another sense our little project was a complete success.  The goal really wasn’t to make a bouncy ball.  Instead it was to spend some quality time with Elijah while making a great memory.  In this sense it was a smashing success.  For the next couple of days every time we would go outside on the sidewalk Eli would talk about how the bouncy ball didn’t work.  He kept saying “It doesn’t work Mom!  The bouncy ball is broke.”  Precious that’s what that is!

Elijah had lots of fun playing with the bouncy ball fail.

Exploring his world.

I’m still not exactly sure what went wrong with our DIY Bouncy Ball experiment.  Maybe next year we will try again.  For now I’m thinking we will try to add making flubber to our to-do list this week.  😉

Sidewalk Chalk Painting

21 Jun

Eli and cousin Anna had a great time “painting the porch”.


One of Eli’s favorite new summer activities is what he calls painting the porch.  I found this recipe for Sidewalk Chalk Paint on Pintrest.  It is so simple you must try it with your kids.  😉  I have also found that it keeps kids occupied for a long time!

Eli was in awe of the paint.

We have been making sidewalk chalk paint about once a week and usually 1/2 the original recipe and make it as follows.  Combine: 1/2 c. cornstarch, 1/2 c. water, and food coloring.  (I usually split the cornstarch/water mix in two cups so that Eli has 2 colors to paint with.)

Yeah mom this chalk paint rocks.


While the kids painted the porch I had a lovely time writing a letter to a friend and reading a book.


Cousin Anna enjoying her chalk paint.

Sidewalk chalk paint was a huge hit at our house.  What a great way to bless the little people in your life!

Toddler Art Smock: Simplicity 2295 Review or Simplicity 0477 Review

1 May

The finished art smock complete with pockets for crayons.

For my cousin Anna’s third birthday party I decided to make her an art smock.  (I had originally planned on sewing her a dress but after my aunt gave Eli a nice annoying toy I changed my mind.)   🙂  I had made Eli an art smock for his birthday last year from the book One Yard Wonders which turned out wonderful.  Whenever Anna (my cousin) comes over to play we almost always break out the messy art supplies.  She especially loves painting with Jello.

Back view with ties.

I used Simplicity 2295 (also sold as Simplicity 0477 around the holidays) to make the apron although I don’t think it would be very hard to dream up your own pattern.  (I don’t usually spend the effort to dream up patterns when I can often purchase them on sale for .99.)  If you are sewing for a girl this pattern is great.  Besides the art smock it also includes a pattern for a cooking apron, two tote bags, and a couple pretend kitchen play items.  The art smock or bags in the pattern could also be made for the little boy in your life.


I guess we'll have to invite Anna over for messy art day.



I added a pocket for Bag D.


Elijah and I had a great time picking out all sorts of art supplies to go along with Anna’s art smock.  I thought sewing a tote bag would be a great way to keep all of her art supplies together in one place.  It also meant that I didn’t have to drive to town to buy a gift bag.  I figure by the time I loaded up Eli and went to the store and drove back it would equal about the same amount of time it took to sew this little tote bag.  (I sewed view D.)

I think the additional pocket on this bag adds so much.

Somehow I ended up with an extra pocket piece (#11) from the art smock.  Rather than let that piece of fabric go to waste I decided to use it as a pocket on the bag.  I folded the pocket in half lengthwise and finished three sides of the bag (not the folded edge).  Then I sewed it onto the middle of the bag about 3″ from the top of the bag prior to sewing the actual bag together.  I sewed down the middle of the pocket in order to make 2 pockets but you could make the pockets however you like.  These could also be made to hold crayons by sewing seams 1″ apart.  (This would be step zero if that makes sense.)

I think the pocket adds so much to this simple bag.

I accidentally sewed the bag at 5/8″ instead of 3/8″ so my handles ended up being quite small.  Somehow I always seem to miss the small italicized directions.  🙂  Overall I was very pleased with how this bag turned it out.  I have no doubt that I will be making this bag again in the future.

The finished tote bag (view D) filled with art supplies and the art smock.

Such a fun little sewing project to inspire creativity!

Toddler Activity: Cheerios Bird Feeder

30 Apr

Cheerios for the birds

One of our favorite recent toddler activities is making “bird feeders.”  All it takes is one pipe cleaner and a handful of Cheerios.

The first time you do this activity you will probably need to show your child what to do.  I always begin by making a knot at the end of the pipe cleaner so that the Cheerios don’t fall off.  Then I demonstrate gently threading a Cheerio through the end of the pipe cleaner and pushing it down the pipe cleaner.

He's so proud!

This is a great activity for developing motor skills.  I also found that it was a great way to teach what “gentle” means.  Elijah had to be very gentle with the Cheerios or they would break.  🙂


On his way to go hang up his bird feeder.


Simply wrap the end of the bird feeder around a branch and wait for the birds to enjoy.



Elijah enjoying his handiwork and stylin' at the same time.

This activity is a great way to use up stale Cheerios or Cheerios that have fallen onto the floor.  Around our house we find this is a wonderful activity to keep Elijah occupied while I am finishing up dinner.

Gingerbread Playdoh/ Pumpkin Spice Playdoh

7 Jan

We had a great time making Gingerbread Playdoh this past December.

If you haven’t noticed yet we love making arts and crafts from things that we have around our kitchen.  Playdoh happens to be one of our favorites to make.  🙂  I have been making it regularly with Elijah for almost a year now.  We usually make some sort of Koolaid Play-doh.  It is fast and very easy!  This is the recipe I have used for years.

Playdoh makes an excellent activity for developing motor skills.

Last month I decided to get a little more creative than just making another batch of Koolaid Playdoh.  We made Gingerbread Playdoh and it was so much fun to make.  Quick too!

Gingerbread Playdoh Recipe:

Combine together in a saucepan 2 c. flour, 1 c. salt, 4 t. cream of tartar, 2 T. cinnamon, 4 t. ground ginger, 2 t. ground nutmeg, 2 t. ground cloves.  Then add 2 c. water, 1/4 c. oil, and 2 orange extract (you can skip this if you don’t have any).  Stir all together and you should have what resembles a type of batter.  Cook over medium heat until a thick dough forms.  Knead on parchment paper until smooth.  *Be careful not to let your child touch it until it has cooled slightly.  Enjoy!

This is the way we need the Play-doh.

You can also easily make Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie scented playdoh by replacing all of the spices lifted above with around 3 T. of Pumpkin Pie or Applie Pie spice.  The recipe can also easily be cut in half but this makes a nice amount to share with friends.  (We actually had some friends drop by the day after we made this.  It was great to be able to share it with them.)


I think Gingerbread Playdoh is a new Christmas Tradition in our home.



Fall Tree Hand Print Pictures

1 Nov

Look at the excitement on this boy's face.


I finally broke down and joined Pintrest a couple of weeks ago.  When I came across this Kid Craft I just knew that it would be perfect for Eli to do.  Our version was slightly different from the one on Pintrest and so much fun to make.  🙂


Love the grin on his face in this picture. How I wish I could have video recorded Eli making this craft. He giggled with delight.


Action Shot


After we stamped Eli's hand on the poster I cleaned him up. (I recommend lots of baby wipes on hand.) Then he had a wonderful time making the leaf dots with his fingers.


That face makes it worth all the mess. What a fun memory to make with Elijah.


So proud of his handiwork.


This craft had to be one of my favorite activities. we have done this fall.  I was so thankful we were able to do it before the weather got super cold.  (Although I would encourage you to be adventurous and cover your kitchen table with lots of newspapers or an old sheet.  It was really that great.)  We did make a couple of extras to send to the grandparents.  I hope they really enjoyed them!  One also adorns our mantle and is headed to the memory box once Christmas comes.

Fun for Toddlers: Helping in the Kitchen

21 Oct

Eli and I both have had a great time canning together this fall. In the photo Eli is helping me stir pectin into a pot of juice in order to make jelly.


It is amazing how much children love to learn.  I never cease to be surprised and even encouraged by Elijah’s love of learning.  He loves imitating and exploring the world around him.  I have almost always been an “attached parent” who loves keeping my children close by.  What joy Eli finds in helping me throughout my daily (sometimes monotonous tasks.) 

I am so thankful for Eli’s passion for learning and exploring.  It is our desire that we would constantly be encouraging that desire in his life.  One area which seems to work wonderfully for helping your child to learn and explore is the kitchen. 

What delight Eli finds in learning and helping in the kitchen.

 I wrote about different learning activities for little ones last May but wanted to give an update on the different ways Eli continues to learn. 

  • While Cooking or Preparing Meals: Talk with your child about what you are doing.  Allow them to hold the vegetables or hand them to you.  Lately we have been concentrating on trying to teach Eli his colors while we cook vegetables for dinner.  I have also taught Eli how to wash vegetables.  It is amazing how helpful an almost 2-year-old can be! 🙂   



  • Dishes: I often let Eli help me unload the silverware after they are washed.  Most of our dishes are glass so I admit I usually do not let Eli help me put them away.  It would be a great idea to rearrange your kitchen so that your little one could help put away dishes. 
  • Baking: We recently purchased a Learning Tower which has been wonderful.  They are pricey but worth every penny!  I don’t have to worry about Eli falling so he is able to really help with the cooking.  He gets to help me add ingredients, stir, and sometimes even play with the dough.  I’m sure he will be a great cook one day.  :)
  • Cleaning: Whenever Eli hears the cleaning closet door open he drops whatever he is doing and runs to help.  Imagine!  Such excitement over cleaning.  I admit I often find it encouraging.  It is hard to have a bad attitude about cleaning when he is so eager and excited to help.  Eli can hold a dustpan and empty it quite well.  He can take a cloth and wipe off chairs or Swiffer the kitchen floor area and move chairs around.  Eli is also a pro at picking things up off the floor and putting things away.  A true help and delight to our family as he learns at the same time.     


Washing vegetables is great for a child's motor skill development. It is also great fun for them and teaches them the importance of work.


I wouldn't actually trust my son near the water faucet yet. It's too enticing so instead he washes the vegetables at the counter. I always fill a small container half full of water. Then he washes them and places them in another container or hands them to me. Works great!


The official vegetable washer.



I decided to let Eli "learn" what a raw mushroom tastes like. He prefers them cooked and seasoned with a little pepper.

Fun for Toddlers: Jello Paint

7 Oct

Elijah thinks jello painting is one of the coolest things ever. If only he knew how simple it was.


I try to make it my goal to do a craft project with Eli about every other day.  Of course it depends on our week.  Some weeks we might do 6 while other weeks we only do 1.  This might be something as simple as coloring a piece of paper or it might involve a little bit more mess.  In my experience the messy ones are usually a bit more fun.  One craft that seems to always be a hit and is only slightly messy is painting with jello.  It also smells great.  So good in fact your kid might try to eat it.  It’s really okay if they do but I try to discourage it.  I don’t want Eli getting use to eating the things he paints with.  🙂 

Sample artwork using Jello Paint.


How to Make Jello Paint:

  • Mix 1/2 Jello Packet in a small bowl.  (I do not recommend using Sugar Free jello as it doesn’t seem to work quite as well as regular jello.) 
  • Add a few drops of water and stir. 
  • Continue adding water until desired consistency. 
  • Allow child to paint with jello paint using fingers, Q tips, paintbrushes, straws, or anything else you can think of.  🙂 
  • Use different types of material for your child to paint on.  I save scrap paper, cardboard, scraps of fabric, old folders, paper towel tubes, etc.  Our personal favorite is to paint on Photo Paper.  It is nice and glossy which adds an interesting look to Jello Painting. 

    What a joy to watch Eli create.


Make Homemade Bird Food

18 Sep

We had so much fun making homemade bird food this week.


We have been trying to squeeze in some last-minute summer fun before Fall is officially here.  (I guess we will try embracing fall next week.)  Eli has been absolutely fascinated with all of the geese flying south for the winter.  We spend a lot of time outdoors and every time they fly overhead he cries “geese, geese.”  So precious.  We have a suet feeder hanging in our backyard.  It has been great watching birds enjoy it year round.  I went to purchase some more suet the other day and our store is no longer selling it.  What to do?  Make our own bird food.  🙂   

This activity does make quite a mess if you let your little one stir but that's half the fun right? ( I recommend doing it outside.)


Homemade Bird Food:

  • 1 cup peanut butter melted
  • Add in: 1/2 c. cornmeal, 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. oats, 1/2 c. seeds or birdseed (I used sunflower seeds). 
  • Stir together. 



This makes an excellent scooping activity. Here Eli is using a measuring cup to scoop the bird food into an egg carton (I cut the top part off to make it easier).


We took our old suet container and placed our homemade bird food inside. I pressed it firmly with a spatula into the suet container. This recipe makes slightly more than the suet feeder can hold so we ended up filing up the egg carton and placing it along our fence under the trees.


This grin makes it all worth it. So thankful we were able to do this fun activity together.


If you are looking for a simpler bird feeding activity string Cheerios onto a string or pipe cleaner.  Then hang from a tree branch.  🙂 

What activities are you trying to squeeze in before the cold weather hits? 

Fun for Toddlers: Make a Pom Pom Push

15 Sep

Supplies needed: old plastic container, about 30 small pom poms, and scissors. I recommend the Dollar Tree to purchase Pom Poms. A huge bag of 90 was only 1.00


With cold weather fast approaching it is time to get busy making some great activities for your toddlers.  Before we know it playing outside will be a distant memory.  You may remember the Clothespin Drop, Rainbow Rice  or Homemade Playdough from last winter.  These were great ways to beat the winter boredom. 

Very carefully cut a small hole in the top of your lid.

After making a hole show your child how to push the pom poms through the hole.  They will love it! 

Action shot. Eli loves this activity. It keeps him entertained for a long time. It would also lend itself well to situations where Eli needed to be entertained and quiet at the same time.