Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly Kids Co-op: Come and play! {#3}

Happy Friday everyone!  We hope that everyone has been having a great week!  Sorry I haven't been able to do much posting lately...but I'm almost done with the school semester and we'll be able to share more soon! Until then, come see all the fabulous, fun ideas that have been linked up on our weekly play date!

Here's a few that we enjoyed reading from last weeks play date:

1.  This is such a brilliant idea!  We loved how Mama's Little Muse up-cycled dried out marker caps and turned it into a fun jump rope!

2.  This is a wonderful post by Creekside Learning on fun ways you can read more to your child.

3.  Life is always magical and more interesting when you step outside of your comfort zone.  Here are 10 great ideas written by 52 Brand Name on helping your child get out of their comfort zone. 


We hope that you'll find more inspiration with all the wonderful activities posted below.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cookie Cutter Bird Feeder

We were inspired to make bird feeders out of cookie cutters from a blog called Eighteen25.  It's a quick and simple project to do with the kids, and you'll get lots of visitors that are fun to watch.

-1 cup birdseed
-1/4 cup water
-1 small envelope of unflavored gelatin
-Ribbon, twine, string, or yarn
-Cookie cutters
-Wax paper
-Cookie sheet

First add an envelope of unflavored gelatin to a pot.

Then add 1/4 cup of water and bring it to a simmer, while stirring, until all the gelatin is dissolved.

Next add 1 cup of birdseed to a bowl.  The original recipe called for 3/4 cup (hence why my kids are only holding 1/4 cup of birdseed in the picture), but we still had quite a bit of liquid at the bottom after stirring, so we added another 1/4 cup.

We then mixed in the gelatin with the birdseed.  Both my son and daughter thought the two ingredients combined smelled awful....can you tell by the look on my daughter's face?? Hahahaha!

Place some wax paper on top of a cookie sheet.  Then lay your cookie cutters on top of the wax paper and  spoon the birdseed mixture all the way to the top.

The mixture is really sticky, so take the back of your spoon to make sure the mixture is packed really tightly, and to smooth out the top.

Next, cut a straw that's about an inch to an inch and a half long and poke a hole through the top of each cookie cutter mold.  Make sure that it goes all the way through because this is the hole you will use to string your ribbon  for hanging.   Leave the straw in while the mixture is drying.

Allow the mixture to dry inside the cookie cutters overnight.  Then slowly slide them out of the cookie cutters, remove the straws and string ribbon through them to hang on your tree.  I had a little trouble stringing the ribbon through the hole, so I used a bamboo skewer to help push it through.

Just an FYI...we were only able to make two ornaments from this recipe.  So depending on how many ornaments you want to make, you might want to double or triple the recipe.

And here's our first happy visitor. =)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekly Kids Co-op: Come and play! {#2}

Happy Friday everyone!  We're excited that you joined us on our weekly Friday play date.  As you will see below, there are already lots of fabulous ideas being linked up 

Here are a few ideas that we loved from last week:

1. My kids love to play with water...they would have so much fun with this running stream that Create With Your Hands created.
2. NurtureStore grew their very own indoor meadow. The kids would have a lot of imaginative play fun with this!

3. And last but not least....I loved Repeat Crafter Me's post on 10 Restaurant Games to play with kids....because it's always a challenge to keep kids entertained while waiting for service/food at a restaurant.

Although I only highlighted a few posts....there were lots more wonderful ideas to check out if you missed last week.
If you have any kid friendly activities...I'd love for you to link them up down below.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Come Sow With Me - Toilet Roll Planter Seed Starters

My son's class has been studying about plants, so to continue with that curiosity and interest I purchased a variety of seeds for us to plant at home.   In class, the kids planted their own green bean plant in a plastic cup, which the kids could take home and replant in their own garden.  In honor of Earth day coming up on April 22, instead of using plastic cups, we up-cycled toilet paper rolls, which make great seed starter pots. As a bonus these are biodegradable....this means you can just plant these pots straight into the ground when it's ready to be planted in your garden.

Today, we not only planted seeds for our garden...but we planted seeds to sow the seeds of change.  A group of wonderful moms over at the #ONEMom campaign asked bloggers to volunteer their voice in helping end hunger, simply by posting a picture of a gardening activity, and we couldn't pass up this opportunity.  So please read about this wonderful campaign and how you can get involved at the end of this post.

-Toilet paper rolls
-Tray to hold seed starter pots

First cut toilet paper rolls in half.  (If you don't want to cut it in half that is fine too).

Now there are two ways to do the next part.  There's this version where this blogger cut 4 slits down the roll and made these nice, neat little boxes, with the flaps tucked perfectly under each other.  I however chose to do this method, since it is easier for the kids to do.  Basically, I had my son cut about 8-9 slits about halfway down the toilet paper roll.

Once the slits are cut, you can fold the strips down so that they overlap each other.

Next you will want to add soil to your seed starter pots.

Here are the seeds that my kids wanted to plant:  Watermelon, cantaloupe, green beans and radishes.

Add one seed to each starter pot.

And then water till they are moist. Put them where there is light or sun, check for dryness and continue to 2-4 weeks they will be ready to plant in the garden.  All you have to do is plop these right into the soil.  No need to take them out of the rolls because they are biodegradable.

Have you ever heard of, a global advocacy and campaigning organisation that was co-founded by Bono? is dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable diseases particularly in Africa , by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures.

ONE shows how the small percentage of Government income that is invested in aid really DOES make a positive difference in terms of helping MILLIONS of people overseas.

ONE "hopes to plant a seed of change in the G8!  Together, we can stop malnutrition, not just for one child, but for 15 million. We can end poverty, not just for one person, but for 50 million. Together we can break the cycle."

Want to get involved?
1. Sow one- Show your commitment to agriculture in the developing world by planting a seed at home.

2. Send one- Sign ONE's Thrive campaign petition!  You will be adding your name, along with thousands of others, to stand together to help reach the goals of Thrive.

Other ways you can help:
-Send your friends and family to ONE's Thrive campaign to sign the petition
-Keep up to date with the campaign by following ONE on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube
-Share updates on your seed planting/growing on your blog and link them here.

We would love for you to participate with us in the Come Sow With Me Meme by sharing a seed planting activity (Sow one) and encouraging others to do something (Send one). Come back here and share your photograph and your post on the Linky. Let’s see how many we can do before the G8 at the beginning of  May 2012.

Let our voice count.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Soda Bottle Terrarium

My son has been learning about plants at school, so we decided to do a few of our own planting projects here at home.  The first project we decided to do was to make our own terrarium out of a soda bottle.  I found some great instructions on this from the Terrarium Man.

I first took my kids to this cute little garden shop and let them pick out their own plants.

The kids saw some cute garden trinkets that they wanted, so we grabbed a few of those too.

-2-liter soda bottle
-Small plant or seeds
-Rocks, pebbles or marbles
-Sharp scissors
-Garden trinkets (optional)

Turn a coffee mug upside down and rest your sharpie pen on top.  This will help you draw a straight line around the 2-liter bottle.  As you place your bottle next to the sharpie, spin the bottle around slowly to draw the line.

Take some sharp scissors and cut along the line.

Later you will be putting the top half  of the bottle back onto the bottom half of the bottle, so to make the top part fit better we cut a little over 1-inch slit down the side of the bottom bottle.

First we filled the bottom of the bottle with some small rocks (we didn't have any pebbles).   The purpose of the "pebbles at the bottom allow excess water to flow to the bottom of the bottle. This will prevent it from soaking the soil and making it muddy".

We then added some soil.  How much soil you put in depends on if you are planting a plant or seeds.  Since we are planting small plants, we didn't put much in.  If you are planting seeds you will want to fill the soil so that there is about an inch of space left to the top.

Next add your plant, and add some more soil to fill in the spaces.  If you are planting seeds...the Terrarium Man recommends planting "6 to 10 seeds and later as they grow you can pluck out some of the weaker ones and leave the 2 or 3 best ones".

Next water your soil so that it is moist.

The kids then decorated their terrariums with the garden trinkets that they purchased.  After that, just place the top half of the soda bottle back on.

The Terrarium Man offered this advice on how to care for your terrarium:

There are two important factors you have to consider when it comes to your terrarium: the amount of sunlight it gets and the amount of water that is inside.

Once the plants have sprouted you should make sure it gets sunlight but do not leave it in direct sunlight for the entire day. It is a closed environment and it can get very hot inside.

Water - Look carefully at the soil in the terrarium. It should look moist but not soaked or too dry. Beads of water should form on the top inside near edge and these will drip down the sides and continue to water the soil. If it appears to be too wet you can take the top off and leave it uncovered for a day or two.

Visit the Terrarium Man's website for more ideas on different ways to build terrariums.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Weekly Kids Co-op: Come and play!

Juggling With Kids is finally joining The Kid's Co-op...where many bloggers from around the world are showcasing their favorite ideas for the week. 

Every Friday we'll be sharing some of our favorite activities and crafts that we've seen.  We hope you will join in by sharing & linking your favorite kid's activities too. And if you don't have a blog, we hope that you'll find a wonderful activity/craft below in the linky to do with your children this weekend. 

Easy Felt Pizza by Little Family Fun

Outdoor Volcano fun by Quirky momma

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Crayon Art

If you've been on Pinterest, chances are you've seen melted crayon art.  It's something that has been on my to do list for a while now, and it was so much fun that I wish we had done them a lot sooner!  We'll definitely be making these again, since ours didn't turn out exactly as I would have liked (which was to have the kids' initials on them).

-Box of crayons
-Hot glue gun
-Hair dryer

I initially wanted to add the kids' initials onto their canvas, so I printed out their initials from Microsoft Word, cut the letters out from the paper, and then traced the letter onto strips of blue tape.  I then cut the letter out of the blue tape and put it onto the canvas.  This tape however wasn't strong enough, and started to peel immediately when we put the hair dryer on to melt the crayons, so we scratched this idea.

I then had the kids choose all the crayons they wanted to glue onto their canvas.  They each got their own box of 64 crayons, but of course they shared/traded with each other.

I then hot glue gunned the crayons in the order of their choice.

This project is definitely messy, and the crayon drippings will splatter, so make sure you protect the area you are working at with newspaper before you start. Then set the hair dryer on high and hold it near the crayons.

Keep heating the crayons....

You will begin to see the crayon melting relatively quickly.

We tried experimenting, by holding the hair dryer at different angles.

We held the hair dryer really close to the crayons too...and the melted crayons quickly streamed down the canvas.

Here is a close-up of my son's crayon art.  He worked on this a bit longer than my daughter, so he has some great texture on his art piece.

Here is a close-up of my daughter's crayon art.

Aren't these just beautiful?