Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Prepping For The Happiest Place on Earth

We are prepping for our first family trip to Disney and I have to say the whole thing is quite overwhelming. People keep warning me....about everything. There is not so much sharing excitement about our family adventure, so much as fear of weather, lines, dinner reservations, and crowded hotel rooms. Well, I love being with family, enjoying warm weather, and seeing the joy on my kids' faces when they are having fun! So I am choosing to focus on that. Sure there will be rainy days, long lines, and plenty of tantrums...the kids might even have some meltdowns too! But tantrums, adult or child, will not be what we remember from this trip! So I am starting early with some creative planning and crafting.

First, I wanted to make a countdown calendar. What do you know? I found another use for the giant roll of pipe insulation I bought. Read about that here, if you'd like. I made three circles and covered them with yarn. Then I attached a small dry erase board to the back and finished it with some colorful Mickey Mouse decor. I text a picture of it to my Dad everyday. He is so excited for the whole family to be together.

My sister-in-law and I are each making some t-shirts for the kids. I'm making a batch for my kids and hers, and vice versa. That way we only need to make one type of shirt. Plus it's more fun because we are surprising each other with what they will look like. I'll post some photos of those after the trip.

Next, I started working on some Disney hair accessories for my niece. I have two sons so when I feel the need to get my girly girl crafting on, I give the finished product to my nieces. This is the first headband I made, and I have a tiara in the works but I'm not feeling too confident in my abilities on the tiara, so we shall see.

I am planning on doing an autograph book next. Getting autographs was one of the things I remembered most about my childhood trip to Disney. Are kids still into that? I'm sure I can convince an almost three year old to love it.

That's my plan so far. Even though it's time consuming, I'm really enjoying these trip preparations.  I'm working on educating Jack on all things Disney. We checked a couple movies out of the library as well as a giant, and very wordy, anthology of Disney stories. He is definitely excited about meeting all of the characters, especially Daisy Duck. Why Daisy? I have no idea, but I think it's adorable!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hands-On Toddler Activity #21: Tissue Paper Rainbows

The sun is shining. Spring is here! Yet it's still pretty cold out and the wind is blowing like crazy today, so it seems like a good day for a morning art project. Spring makes me think of flowers, rain, and rainbows, so that is what we decided to make today.

This project is great because it allows us to practice some fine motor skills in addition to learning about colors, rainbows, different textures, following directions...the list goes on!

First I drew a rainbow and cloud shape, making sure I had enough rows for each color of the rainbow. I'm keeping it simple with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, but for an older child you could discuss the colors of the real rainbow and introduce the child to the colors indigo and violet.

Next, I cut tissue paper into long strips. I wanted my son to have some practice with cutting, which did not go well, but that's why we were practicing. I showed him how to cut the strips into squares. He did some, I did a lot. Once the squares were cut, I showed him how to scrunch up the square and dip it into the glue, then place it in the correct row on the rainbow. Once the row of red paper was done, we moved on to the orange, then yellow, and so on. Finally, he glued some cotton balls on to the ends of the rainbow to make clouds.

My kiddie is almost 3, so he still needs a lot of guidance and direction when doing a project like this. So, since we are doing it together, there is lots of time for us to chat about what we are doing. We discussed the names of the different colors of the rainbow and the feelings of the different textures of paper, glue, and cotton balls (sticky, soft, fluffy, etc). He was so proud of his finished rainbow. I asked him if he wanted to hang it up, and he said, "No I want to hang it down." As in, he wanted me to hang it low enough so he could see it!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nursery Update: Curtains!

Surprisingly one of the most difficult aspects of moving into a new home is figuring out window treatments!  Currently much of our home is outfitted with the beautiful white paper shades from Home Depot that cost about $5 and are raised and lowered manually and held in place with what looks like chip clips. They serve the purpose of creating a little bit of privacy and shielding at least some of the sunlight.

Our beautiful Home Depot paper curtains

Curtain chip clip
They certainly do not keep the room dark though and with a newborn I needed a dark space for him to sleep. I didn't want to actually purchase shades or curtains yet because I wasn't sure how we'd be decorating the space, so I decided to just purchase some blackout liners from Target and use those until I figured out the curtain situation.

7 months later, I finally got around to it and I decided to make my own curtains. I figured I could just use the blackout liners I already bought and sew those into the fabric I chose. This was the first time I was making my own curtains and it did not go as smoothly as I'd hoped, but I feel that I learned enough from it that I will be more successful in my next curtain sewing venture. That or I learned enough to know that I should just buy pre-made curtains next time, I'm still undecided on that.

I used a few tutorials I found online to give me a little guidance, this one at Sew Many Ways and this one at Ten June were the most helpful. I'd give you my own tutorial but I think it's safe to say I shouldn't be teaching anyone to make curtains, just yet. There are a few flaws which I'm sure only I notice, but I think they look very cute in the nursery and they serve the purpose of creating a nice dark room for William to nap in.

Making curtains I learned the value of the saying, "Measure twice, cut once. " I'm thinking next time I'll measure 4 times and hopefully cut only once! I also learned that the time spent sewing is about 1/4 of the time spent ironing.

Peek a boo