Back to school treats

For the teachers….

For the kiddos….

We are ready for fourth grade….

And first….

I cannot believe summer vacation is over! The boys were ready to go back to school, I was ready for them to go back to school, but I still had a moment of “woah, did it really end that fast?” We did a lot this summer! We went to the beach and Texas! We had loads of cousin time, ran laps through our “family farm”, spent hours at the pool, went fishing, and saw The Incredibles, Han Solo, Hotel Transylvania 3, and Christopher Robin. We played Fortnite, MARIO, and Kirby All Stars. We read a whole bunch of books (J read thirty Magic Treehouse books!), and we made it to story time at least three times. There was VBS, FCA, baseball camp, and swim lessons. And best of all we slept in (some, my kids get up early), took time to be lazy, and spent some afternoons just doing nothing.

To me that is the best part of summer.

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Ladybug craft

I have to share this cute craft and story idea that J came up with for my niece. He decided to make ladybug paper plates and worked very hard on an example. My personal favorite part was the hidden smiley face on the underside of the paper plate! I really think J is going to end up being an imagineer at Disney or Pixar. He starts about every other sentence with “hey mommy, what do you think if….” and then he’ll end it with something like “if butterflies had wheels so they could both drive and fly.” And that will follow with a ten minute discussion of how he could actually make that happen. To support or paper plate ladybugs we watched The Grouchy Ladybug:

And a quick video on how ladybugs fold their wings:

And a lengthier one that they started getting bored about why ladybugs are called ladybugs:

And then we made our paper plate ladybugs:

 

 

 

All you need is two paper plates per kid, some construction paper, glue, scissors, and crayons. You just put the wings in between the plates and glue the plates together. Then color one side like the ladybug, and the inside is the ladybugs hidden face! So fun! If you want even more craft ideas for ladybugs, the boys and I did a ladybug activity day three years ago. You can find it here! Happy ladybug learning!

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Red, white, & blue stars

This is a beyond simple craft, perfect to do during one of the hit or miss showers today or tomorrow! We gathered plain craft glue, glitter, and chipboard stars from Hobby Lobby.

Then we painted our stars with glue:

Applied glitter:

And then let the stars sit and dry:

Then I shook off the excess glitter (and poured it back in the jars to save for another project):

Then we set them up to display with our other Fourth of July decorations! So fun and simple!

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Driveway painting activity

As the boys are getting older they are playing more on their own, creating their own games and adventures. We don’t do summer activities quite as much as we used to, but when we do I look for ones that the boys are able to do a majority of the steps, as they get bored quickly if it takes awhile to set-up. They also tend to like ones that involve either painting or cooking. A chalk paint activity fits into the create and paint category.

The boys started out by scooping the cornstarch and water into muffin cups and then adding food coloring to each:

Then they mixed up the colors (green was a favorite, ha!):

Then they started painting:

J created this sweet cross:

And when they got bored I dumped everything out and they painted with that:

And then they were done and off to ride bikes after we cleaned up! An activity that was more time doing than setting up was perfect for a summer morning!

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Bunny masks

In the freezing cold of the first three days of Spring Break the boys and I were searching for something to do and they really wanted to create a project. They were inspired by the first episode of Spring Baking Championship (it featured bunny cakes), so they wanted to make something bunny themed. I rummaged through my craft box and came up with paper plates, cotton balls, pom poms and pipe cleaners. And I came up with bunny masks.

The boys began coloring and cutting out ears, while I put holes for eyes in the paper plates:

And then we attached the ears:

And added a whole bunch of cotton balls attached with glue:

And then we added whiskers and a nose:

 

Easy bunny craft for the win!

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A tour of our Christmas decor

Join me around our house! I’ve been steadily adding to our Christmas decorations each year, and I’m loving how everything turned out this year. I’m not the best at decorating, but I’m learning slowly (layering, creating visual points, etc.). The boys’ excitement over the decorations make it worth while. Oh and if you need help decorating quickly, have J come over. He will bustle behind you until you are finished, saying things like “why are you sitting down?” and “keep decorating!!”

First up, our entry way!

I love the idea of combining what you have already with some Christmas updates…

holiday decor

And I was beyond thrilled to find these cotton stems from one of my favorite local shops (Mint Julep Marketplace), to include in the Target vase I had been eyeing:

Holiday Decor

And then we dressed up our little reading nook in the living room:

Reading nook

And our mantel is fresh and new with accents from Kirklands (that mirror was 20 dollars!!):

Mantel DecorMantel Decor Mantel DecorThe bottle brush trees are from Hobby Lobby and I’m going to tell you, they are a glittery mess. But they look awesome!

And here is a close-up of our tree. Take a good look, because this guy is about to be replaced. We have to string lights that work around the middle of the tree because the pre-lit portion stopped working. Last year. No judgement.

Christmas Tree

The layering detail was a tip I picked up from the mantel link I posted with my Friday Favorites two weeks ago:

Stocking layering

And this year we added in a fox to our random lighted animal collection:

Christmas DecorI cannot even express to you the hilarity of this set-up. The Bible does discuss behemoth animals, so I’m pretty sure this is what they were talking about.

Let’s move on to the kitchen, shall we?

Immediately upon posting this, I noticed that one of my candle wraps has slipped down, and my A-typeness cannot handle that, so I’m fixing it now…

Christmas Decor

I love the incorporation of the metal canvas with the cookie print that’s a staple in our house.

Holiday Decor

And our Christmas card holder is ready to go…

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And my wall swag:

Christmas Decor

And my wreath that I made a few years ago with my sister and Mom:

Christmas Decor

And our cookie holder and Christmas countdown snowman:

Cookies & Counting

And that’s it! I’ve got my eye on these pieces from Anthropologie to complete a few areas:

Christmas Extras

And then it’s on to wrapping presents! Happy decorating!

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Painted snowflakes

While at Target insisting we “NEEDED” more holiday decorations, J found large wooden snowflakes and declared that they would be perfect for his and A’s doors. A agreed they were a great idea and I set them up one evening with their wooden snowflakes and a host of acrylic paints:

Painted Snowflakes

I love that they rarely go for typical Christmas colors. They wanted every primary color, silver, bronze, white, and black:

Painted snowflakes

Ten minutes later, they were all done!

Painted Snowflakes

After leaving them to dry overnight, I added them to their door with the included twine, and a little monogram ornament over the top. Perfection!

Painted snowflakes

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Valentine’s Decor

Christmas is our decorating holiday and this year we invested in new lights, mantel decorations, and a friendly little T-Rex. The rest of the year I keep decorating pretty minimal, but I’m working on developing a set of timeless decorations that I can bring out each year. I always remember very specific decorations that my Mom had for each holiday (the door signs were my favorite), so I think along those lines.

First, I decorate our hutch with a few fun items and prints. The puppy salt and pepper shakers are left overs from J’s birthday, but I love them! They match with the ABC heart print, and the little wood canvas I picked up from Hobby Lobby:

Valentine's DecorThen I set out two plastic heart shaped bowls for the boys to store their Valentine candy in. Thankfully, J has finally reached the stage where we don’t have to hide candy because he throws a fit and wants to eat it all immediately: Valentine's DecorAnd then I have a little line up of heart ramekins and decorations at the top (the plate design I made for J’s first birthday): Valentine DecorAnd this year after reading Momfessionals Valentine’s post I purchased these latte bowls from Anthropologie. I love them already because they are perfect for ice cream and cereal.

Valentine DecorFor the table I picked up a couple of little candles and some sour gummy hearts (the boys love these). I’m in the process of testing out candles to see if I can find one that doesn’t give B a headache.  Valentine DecorI invested in new Valentine plates for the boys (Pottery Barn), and fun robot placemats. I also picked up a little table runner from Target (again, I don’t get to put girly stuff up very often): Valentine DecorI also decorated the boys’ doors (because how many years will I get to do that before they start complaining?):

Valentine DecorAnd I have two different banners:

valentines-day-canvas-painted-heart-garland-o(From Pottery Barn…I waited for it to go on sale and so it hasn’t arrived yet…hence the stock photo)

BannerMy sister and I each made one of these heart banners about five years ago. I love it, but it’s definitely starting to show wear and tear, so I may need to make a new one next year.

And finally I picked up a stack of goodies to put at their table on Sunday morning.

Valentine DecorJ’s stuff is on the left and A’s is on the right. B also picked up A a Harry Potter Pop character that’s not pictured. This probably seems pretty unconventional for Valentine’s items, but I always think of it as little happy items. For example, A is always looking for yarn to make lanyards and signs, so I figured he needed his own. I think the boys will be quite excited!

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Creating shadows

Groundhog craftDo people celebrate groundhog day besides those in Punxutawney, PA? The boys love making shadows and we were in need of a downtime activity on Sunday, so I pulled together this little craft and book to read.  Groundhog craft Groundhog craftAll you need is dark colored cardstock, popsicle sticks or dowels, and tape! Then we just drew, cut, and they were ready to go! Groundhog DIY Groundhog DIY Groundhog DIYAfter some initial shenanigans of trying to take a picture, then we made lots of shadows! A determined that the groundhog will always see his shadow, and J determined that the groundhog was nice in the story and the pig was not nice. Good lessons. HA!

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Halloween Extravaganza

This past weekend myself and two of my friends hosted a Halloween extravaganza for A’s class and his BFF’s class. They did the bulk of the decorating and work, I was mainly in charge of cupcakes and games, so I felt like I had the much easier end of the hosting responsibilities! Here are all the great decorations and some of the fun!

A quick pic of the hostesses and A’s wonderful teacher:

Halloween extravaganzaB and I were Where’s Waldo and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego:

Halloween ExtravaganzaI originally borrowed a terrific red coat (because Carmen Sandiego is usually in red), but it was so hot, I had to go with my thinner black coat. Almost 80 in October!

So on to the decor:

Halloween Extravaganza Halloween Extravaganza Halloween Extravaganza Halloween Extravaganza Halloween ExtravaganzaAnd now some of the party game set-up…

Halloween ExtravaganzaHalloween Extravaganza Halloween ExtravaganzaWe did a pin the spider on the web, a candy corn guessing game, a ring toss, and a pumpkin run with spoons. I learned some things if we ever do another party (number the spiders, get smaller pumpkins for the spoons, and make sure the kids don’t pick all the same number for guessing the candy corn). The kids had a lot of fun, but the saving grace of the games was three tubes of glow bracelets that one of the hostesses brought. Genius!

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