Friday, October 25, 2013

Whatcha Doin' This Weekend?

What's Going On?

If I have one fave fall tradition, it might just be taking my kids to the pumpkin patch. The past couple years we went with my best friend, her husband, and her kids who are close in age to my kids and are also pretty great friends.  (There are no pictures of them even though they are some of the most adorable children but simply to protect their privacy.) If you haven't been to the pumpkin patch yet this year YOU MUST GO!  There are so many fun things to do: sand art, little trailer rides, pony rides, animals to see, face painting, button making, moon bounces, and of course the hay ride to the pumpkin patch.  

I tried so hard to get pictures of the kids, but of course my daughter is too cool and my son was frantically running from pumpkin to pumpkin overwhelmed with choices.  So the best I could get was this:

Gosh, it looks so much like fall in this post.  I just love it!

Every year we pick a couple pumpkins for the kids to paint and a couple for them to help mommy carve.

What's Cooking?

I love making a big breakfast on a lazy weekend morning.  I cannot wait to make these absolutely delicious looking Baked Upside-Down Cinnamon Apple Pancakes from Flourishing at Home.

What's Happening?

I am so excited to make skeleton cupcakes.  It starts with white icing, a toothpick, white-chocolate or yogurt covered pretzels (I still have to go to the store), and marshmallows with smiley face drawn on with ice cream topping my cousins gave to us.  The face marshmallow is the head and the pretzels are the ribs, all held together by the toothpick.  I will include a poorly taken picture using a camera phone as soon as we make them.

Pumpkin painting and possibly even carving will also happen this weekend.  I hope it's not too early to carve.  I definitely learned my lesson with that one a few years ago.

The power ranger and vampire pumpkin heads.

What's New?

This awesome Melissa and Doug floor puzzle.  We actually received this a little while ago, but my son never had the patience or focus to do a puzzle until now.  He is into firetrucks right now because some firemen came to his preschool last week and from the pictures I saw, it was really cool.  He even got to hold the hose and squirt the water.  So when we unearthed this puzzle, he was amazing and focused, and we got this puzzle put together in no time.

It is only 24 pieces so it was just challenging enough, but gave him a sense of accomplishment and success.  It also was really well made and, where some puzzles are easily discombulated during the puzzle-putting-together process when it is done on a carpet, these pieces actually stayed put.  I definitely recommend it.

We are so excited for Halloween and having tons of fun.  We will also be attending a birthday party and Mommy might very well be attending Fright Fest.  Whaaaat?  Yeah, that's right, I might just get a babysitter and be crazy!

What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DIY Bath Toys

Note:  I am now making letter craft foam shapes of some of my son's favorite letters and the ones we've been working on at home.  I like trying to incorporate a little bit of learning into fun and fun into learning.

With summer over and the pools closed, my kids have been in swimming detox.  My three year old has realized that he can still get his fix by getting his gills wet in a play-bath.  Baths are even more fun with toys, as I'm sure you know.  We have boats, cups, waterslides, mermaids, duckies, whales, and so on and so on.  Then there are all the toys we had a subsequently had to get rid of because they are just SO FREAKIN' HARD TO CLEAN! And have you ever let your kids color with those bath crayons?  They get in the tile every time and are virtually impossible to clean.  

That's when inspiration hit.  I remembered in a past Family Fun magazine, there was something about craft foam bath toys.  I remembered thinking it was cute...if only I could remember what they did.

But here is what I did:

First obtain sheets of craft foam.  I can't remember the price, but I got a pack of 12 sheets from Wal-Mart for super cheap (and I still have 8 or 9 sheets left!).  Then we cut the foam into random shapes.  A few bigger shapes, and then a variety of different shapes and sizes.  I kept nose, eye, and mouth related shapes in mind.  My daughter had the great idea to cut out some letters (specifically ones that would spell BOO).

Once the shapes were cut, the kids threw on their bathing suits and jumped in the tub for a play bath!
When the craft foam is wet it clings to surfaces, most importantly tub sides, tile walls, and other pieces of craft foam.  The kids used the foam to make Mr. Potato Head-esque monsters.

My son has taken a number of baths playing with his craft foam shapes and just loves sticking them on the wall.  Right now, he puts them up and calls them his symbol power (note: that is a Power Rangers Samurai reference.)

Take Away Tips:

1. Larger Shape are Preferable.  They don't get lost in the tub or bubbles causing widespread panic (okay, very controlled panic, but it feels as if there's enough panic to suit the world imploding upon itself)
2. Be prepared for the shapes to rip at some point.  The first couple of baths in which these were used there was no sign of ripping, but then as I wiped them off for the umpteenth time I ripped a set of eyeballs in half.  Not long after that, the kids ripped a piece in the tub.  Just be prepared with a super enthusiastic "WOW!  NOW YOU HAVE TWO THAT'S EVEN BETTER!" and remember you have tons of craft foam to cut more shapes if need be.
3. These are so easy to clean with some Clorox wipes.  Rinse, wipe, then I store them in a mesh bag so they are ready for next play bath time.