173) Sight Word Magnetic Poetry Set

Suddenly the Bee is a full on reader! She has been able to read for a little over a year, sounding out letters and reading short books but in the last few months she has become fluent. Reading everything, everywhere all the time. It still sometimes catches me off guard when we are out somewhere and she will ask me a questions about a sign she just read. With the Bean not far behind this seemed like a good time to make something which has been on my to make list for a long time, a magnetic poetry set. I  am sure I saw this idea somewhere but honestly have been thinking about it so long I can't remember where I saw it. I have seen lots of cool magnetic poetry sets but wanted to make one really geared towards the early readers in my house. So I started by finding a few sight word lists and used these as the basis for our list of words. I also added some of the spelling words the Bee has had this year as well as some family members and other words that are important and meaningful to the girls. Once the list was ready we had a lot of words and were ready to make them into magnets.

Coming up with the list of words was probably the hardest part of this project. Actually making the magnets was super simple. I had some magnet strips at our house that probably would have worked fine but now that our little guy is into everything I wanted to make sure the magnets were too big for him to put in his mouth. I found the perfect solution on a trip to Staples, magnetic business cards. They came in a box of 50 and I found that cutting each card into 4 pieces made the perfect size magnet. The cards already had a white paper cover on the front which worked well for writing the words right onto with sharpie. 

Once I had written all the words onto the magnets we put them on the fridge. So far they have been a huge hit in our house. The Bee can read all the words and likes putting them together to make sentences and stories. The Bean is starting to recognize a lot of the words and the little guy thinks taking the magnets on and off the fridge is super fun. I am thinking over time we will add more words and maybe swap some out from time to time too.

171) Don't Forget Backpack Tag

The return back to our school routine after the winter holidays felt hard this year. After two weeks home, most of which was spent in our pajamas since we all had a bug, getting back to the get up and go was tough. It has been made even tougher by all the wintry weather around here, causing our return to be more stop and go then smooth sailing. I don't know if it is the stop and go or all the added winter gear but there has been a slip back into forgetting stuff at school. So to help I went back and made the Bee another reminder tag for her backpack. I originally made one for her in the Fall when school first started. She was having a hard time getting into the routine of first grade and the reminder tag on her backpack really seemed to help. It was mostly her water cup or her lunch box that would get left behind in her locker, so having the tag on her book bag was sort of like a little checklist of what was supposed to go in before the trip home. Her first book bag bit the dust and I learned my lesson that a good backpack is worth the investment. So now with what is hopefully a better backpack, I made her a new tag in hopes that the reminder will help again.

Since I figured this is probably a pretty common problem I thought I would share the tag design for anyone else who wants a copy. All you have to do is follow the link below, either print right from the document or download a copy to print later. Cut out both sides of the tag and glue the tags back to back with a glue stick. With a hole puncher make a hole. Then have your child write their name and class and decorate their tag however they want. If your child is as hard on their backpack as mine is you might want to laminate the tag. I have had great luck with those non-heat laminating pouches but you could also use just clear contact paper. I also printed my tag on a heavy card stock to help it hold up a little longer. If you download and use the tag let me know if it helps at all. I am curious to see if others find the tag to be as helpful.

Download the Don't Forget Back Pack Tag here

27) Apple Cider Slush

This weekend we made our first trip to Weber's Farm, one of the girls most favorite Fall visits. Top on the girls list to do there are the hayride, the giant slide and choose a pumpkin. Top on my list are apple cider donuts and apple cider slush's. Some people like pumpkin spice but for me Fall doesn't really start till I get to have an apple cider slush. The only down side to the apple cider slush is that is is only available in the Fall and to be honest I kind of want apple cider slush's during the other 3 seasons too. 


A few weeks ago my friend told me about how she and her son had made homemade lemonade slush's just using lemonade and their ice cream maker. She said it was so easy (she was 9 months pregnant at the time and looking for fun easy things to keep her boys occupied) and they were delicious. As delicious as a lemonade slush sounded all I could think was " I wonder if it would work with apple cider?"

It did!! She was right, so easy! All we did was pour most of a half gallon jug of apple cider right into our frozen ice cream maker (We have a Cuisinart Ice cream maker but really probably any would work) and turn it on. After just a few minutes it looked like a slush. I'm not sure why but I was expecting it to take longer and was in the middle of making dinner when the slush's seemed done. So i let the machine run a little longer and then turned it off. After dinner the slush's were perfect and everyone in our family agreed that they were as good as Weber's. Our littlest pumpkin is going to be 1 next week (I cant Believe he is 1 already) and I was thinking apple cider slush's might be a perfect October birthday party treat.

86) Acorn Hill Playground at Robert E. Lee Park

It's been a few years since our Playground Tour and while we still spend plenty of time at the playground, we mostly visit the same few favorite spots. I had kinda of forgotten the excitement of checking out a brand new playground until a brand new playground opened just a few miles from home. The Acorn Hill playground opened in June at Robert E Lee park and we finally had a chance to check it out. The girls gave it an imediate two thumbs up. The playground has a great sand pit, cool climbing equipment, little structures to play in, swings and the coolest wooden blocks we may have ever seen.

To get to the playground you take the Falls Road entrance to Robert E Lee Park (first right after Pepe's Pizza if you are headed north on Falls) and follow the main driveway down to the Robert E Lee main parking lot. After parking you follow the driveway back to the bridge that crosses the dam and follow the path up the hill. The playground sits at the top of the hill with a great view of the reservoir. It also has a great breeze, which I was very thankful for on the hot day we visited. The playground is mostly shaded, another huge bonus on a hot summer day.Acorn Hill has been a definite new favorite and one which I think will probably become one of our new regular hang outs this Fall.

27) Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

There are a few things we do every summer without fail, swimming, trip to the beach, visiting our favorite gardens and maybe most importantly berry picking. We usually make several picking trips a year with either cousins or friends but my most favorite is picking strawberries. Mostly because it seems like summer doesn't really start till we do. This year was the little brothers first trip. He happily sat in the field desperately trying to reach the ripe red strawberries just out of his reach. Finally just before we left he got one, stuck it right in his mouth and gave me the most satisfied look as red juice streamed down his chin. Success. Needless to say his sisters ate more then their fair share as well. Despite the pick one, eat one technique that generally seems to be implemented by all kids picking berries we still managed to pick 8lbs of strawberries!

We brought the strawberries home, filled our kitchen sink with warmish water and a splash of vinegar and let the strawberries soak in the bath. The strawberry bath was something I learned at a Mesh Baltimore class I took last year and the girls thought bathing strawberries was both silly and awesome. After the bath we divided up the strawberries. A bulk of them were cut and frozen for smoothies and other things throughout the year. Eating fresh June strawberries in February is one of those things that I love on a day when I feel like I just can't take winter anymore. We put a small bowl of strawberries in the fridge to be eaten right away and set aside an additional pint to make Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles. Every year we try out some fun strawberry recipe. We have made ice cream, jam, and even soap. So a few days before our picking, when I saw a recipe for the Strawberry Yogurt Pops on the Kitchn's instagram I knew it was a recipe we would most definitely need to try out.

The recipe only calls for a few ingredients:
1 pint of strawberries
1/3 cup of sugar (you could probably do honey if you didn't want to do sugar)
lemon juice
1 cup of yogurt (we used vanilla Greek yogurt)

The Popsicles were very quick and easy to make. Honestly the girls did a lot of it. We started by cleaning and slicing a pint of strawberries. We then added 1/3 cup of sugar to the strawberries and a little lemon juice and let them sit in a bowl for 20 minutes to macerate. After 20 minutes we took the strawberry mix and poured it into the blender and blended it up just to break the strawberries down a bit. If your strawberries were ripe enough you might be able to just smash them with a fork a bit and have slightly chunkier fruit pieces. We then poured the blended fruit back into the bowl, stirred in the yogurt and poured the mix into our Popsicle molds. A few hours in the freezer and they were ready to sample.

If you read the list of ingredients above you already know these were delicious. There was really no way to go wrong here and the girls have been eating these almost every night. I am hoping to pick some blueberries in the next few weeks. I see blueberry yogurt pops in our future.

172) Cardboard Roll Flower Printing

After this past Winter we could not be happier to finally be enjoying Spring around here. We have been spending most of our time outside, at the playground, talking to neighbors we haven't seen in months, picking flowers and not wearing shoes. It has been lovely! We have however had quite a bit of rain, so on one of our rainy afternoons I saw this simple cardboard roll flower printing project on Treehouse Kids and Crafts Instagram feed. Five minutes later we were making our own printed flowers. I love this kind of project that can literally be set up in a moments notice.

All you need is some cardboard rolls, we used a few toilet paper rolls we had in the recycling bin, tempera paint, paint brushes and paper. I started by taking the cardboard tubes and cutting slits on one end of the tube to create the petals. The first tube I just did straight cuts and bent them back, the second tube I cut more of a petal shape, but they both worked well. The girls then took the cardboard tubes and dipped the flower petal end into the paint and stamped the tube onto the paper. Both girls really liked this project. The Bean is always a fan of stamping, but she particularly seemed to like this one. Once they had stamped a few flowers, they used brushes to go back in and add stems, grass, more petals, leaves and more.

Both girls painted several papers, always the sign of a good project. The flowers were so simple and turned out beautifully. I also loved seeing how both girls used the same stamps to create something so individual and unique. Watching how they put their own spin on the project was definitely my favorite part. A nice way to spend out April shower making May flowers.

171) Rolled Paper Beads

If you are a mom we know in real life you might want to hold off on reading this post until after Sunday or just act surprised when we give you one of these necklaces for Mother's Day. The last few weeks we have been spending some rainy afternoons making these fun and easy to make paper beads. Each bead only takes a few moments to make so over the course of a few afternoons, even with the relative short attention span of a 3 and 5 year old, we have been able to make enough beads for a few necklaces. We are now starting to work on turning these beads into necklaces as presents for all the mothers we love for mother day.

The idea for the beads came from Martha Stewart's Crafts For Kids book, which Is filled with tons and tons of awesome kid projects! We have only tried a few from this book but there are so many projects in there that I can't wait to try. To make the beads we used:
Colorful paper cut into 1"triangles
Glue stick
Drinking straws

I started by cutting some colorful paper into 1" wide long triangles. We used a Kid Made Modern paper from Target but you could also use an origami paper, or even old kid drawings/paintings work for this project. I used a paper cutter to cut the triangles making sure the wide end of the triangle was 1" wide but you could also cut the paper with scissors. 

Once the papers were all cut I showed the girls how to rolls the beads. Placing the pattern side down, we started with the wide side of the triangle closest to them. They then placed a plastic drinking straw on the paper and slowly rolled the straw and paper away from them. When the paper was mostly wrapped around the straw they used the glue stick to put a little glue on the end of the triangle before rolling the rest of the triangle up. Once the paper was entirely wrapped around we pulled the paper bead off the straw and put all the finished beads into a bowl. The Bee had no trouble making the beads. After I showed her how to make the first one she was off making a bunch. The Bean took a few tries before getting the hang of it, but once she did I was impressed with how well she did. We now have a bowl full of paper beads and have started stringing them onto pieces of elastic to make some necklaces. I am hoping to get a few more done tomorrow so we can give them to all our favorite moms on Sunday.

We also made a few beads using triangles cut from the girls drawings. I loved the way these turned out and using their drawings made them seem so much more fun and personal. Not to mention a great way to use the ever growing stack of artwork we always seem to accumulate. I think the kid art beads would be perfect for Mother's Day.

91) Plastic Cup Stacking

It is a fact of parenting that we spend lots of money every year buying toys for children but without fail the best toys are always something that was never intended to be played with. A few months ago I did a major pantry clean out and came across a large stack of red plastic cups leftover from some previous party. I set the cups in the hallway as I cleaned out the pantry and came back to find that they had disappeared. When I looked in the next room I found the girls quietly playing together with the cups. The were stacking them on top of one another building a huge wall of cups. From that point on the cups have become one of the most favorite toys at our house. 

After months of playing the cups still remain a favorite. The girls love stacking, seeing how high, how long and how big they can stack. Wildly giggling when the cups finally topple. Sometimes pointing fingers and each other for knocking them down. They also like to build little houses and towers for their dolls. The cups make the perfect hideouts for their little characters. 

The cups seem to have endless possibilities and I love watching the girls come up with new ways to incorporate the cups into their play. All for the cost of $2.99, they might be one of my most favorite toys too.

170) Lemon Print Wrapping Paper

I always get really annoyed with myself at this time of year. As soon as the weather starts to warm up I feel the need to clean the house. Every year when this happens I always wonder why I didn't do more cleaning all winter when I was stuck in the house. Why do I always wait till the weather is beautiful to start cleaning out the house. All of this is to say that while cleaning out the fridge I came across two long forgotten lemons in the back of the veggie drawer. Just as I was about to throw them out I thought maybe we could find something fun to so with them before they hit the trash can.

I cut the lemons in half and placed each half on plate with some different colors of tempera paint. We then pulled out a few pieces of large paper. The girls then painted each lemon half with a brush and then stamped the lemon on the paper. They were amazed at seeing the patterns the lemon left on the paper. The Bean was a little disappointed at first because she had so much paint on her lemon that the lines didn't show up. I showed her how to print the lemon with a little less paint so the lines would be clear. She then decided that she actually didn't want the lines to show up and painted back into the lemons she printed. But that how making art with three year olds goes. She was happy with it and who am I to say there is a right or wrong way to print lemons. 

The Bee on the other hand loved meticulously painting the lemons and carefully stamping them on her paper. Both girls stamped several large sheets of paper. We let the sheets dry and have been using them as wrap presents. The large sheets have made the perfect wrapping paper and I see us making more in the near future!

Childhoodlist on Instagram

We have been working on lots of fun projects lately and even revisiting some past projects.  Try as I might, getting to write about them on the blog seems to be taking me longer and longer these day. While I am slowly but surely getting back to writing, I have been posting lots of photos of the things we have been working on over at Instagram. You can find photos of crayons, projects and our adventures on Instagram @childhoodlist or #childhoodcrayons. If you are on Instagram come find me, I love seeing others photos and adventures.

170) Sticker Resist Dyed Eggs

I was just contemplating what kind of eggs we should dye this week for Easter and remembered that I never shared the eggs we did last year. Honestly I am thinking we might do the same thing this year because they were fun to make and turned out so cool.

We started by hard boiling a dozen white eggs, then when they were cool to the touch, I gave each of the girls a few pages of reinforcement stickers. Which bring back a wave of memories from middle school, but that's a blog post for another day. The girls covered the eggs with stickers and I helped, making sure the stickers where fully smoothed onto the eggs. We then filled a few containers of colored dye, I actually think we just used one of those kits that you get at the store. However since it is over a year since we did it my memory is a little foggy, I guess that's what I get for waiting so long to write about this. 

After letting the eggs sit in one color we took the eggs out, let them dry a little and removed the stickers. We played around with layering the colors, adding more stickers and placing the eggs into a different color. Some of the stickers came off after a while but that just seemed to add to the effect.

 When we were all done we removed all the stickers and let the eggs dry. The layered colors and round sticker outlines turned out beautifully. The girls also played around with drawing on the eggs in crayon before dipping into the dye. Another technique I hope we get to explore again this year, but check back next year for more on that one.


About the Shop:

 One day I read a post about making your own crayons from soy wax.  Out of curiosity and a love of all things art materials, I gave the recipe a shot. My first crayons turned out a little rocky but they worked! After that I was hooked. I spent a few months perfecting my recipe, at which point we had a house full of crayons. So I decided to open a shop. My crayons have come a long way since my first set and I now make them in all sorts of colors and shapes. I love crayons, art supplies and anything that inspires creativity in kids (and adults.) So you will not only find crayons in my shop but a variety of other creativity inspiring products.
Everything in the shop is in stock and ready to go but I am always happy to make custom orders too! I love to talk crayons so feel free to conversation or email (gillharveyk@gmail.com) with any questions, thought or ideas.

About the Blog:

The Childhood List blog is all about documenting the big and little events that make childhood one of the best, most important and most memorable times in our lives! As the mom of three (the bee(5) and the bean(3) and a new baby brother) and also an art teacher my love of creativity with kids is most often the source of my blog inspiration. The goal of this blog is to share with others what is on our childhood list and to celebrate, document and honor all the moments of childhood. On the right is a list of things that we make, places we go, moments big and small, stuff we read, and things we do. The list will be ever growing and ever changing. On the left is the ongoing documentation of our adventures. What is on your childhood list? 
"If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies."
-Nadine Staire

About Me:

After 12 years teaching art to children in elementary and middle school I decided to make a big change and stay home with my then two little girls. My inability to sit still for too long and my habit of saving things to make into something quickly turned into the blog. After a year of writing the blog I started making crayons and opened The Childhood Store. Most days you can find me at my house making crayons and playing with kids. If I'm not here it's because we are off on an adventure and will be back soon.

169) Tea Scented Play Dough

To say this winter has been brutal would be a giant understatement. We have had every kind of precipitation and weeks upon weeks of freezing temps. I know that I always complain about the winter weather on this blog but this winter most definitely takes the cake. My saving grace this winter has really been play dough. It is something both the Bee and Bean can always agree on, they can almost always play nicely together (at least for a while) and there are endless play dough possibilities. 

On one of our many snow days, the girls woke up needing something new and I woke up needing a warm cup with a little caffeine. Combining a cup of hot tea with play dough seems like the perfect combinations for this winter. Not to mention that we have made a lot of batches of play dough this winter so something a little different was a nice change. I originally read about tea infused play dough a few years ago and have been wanting to try it for a long time, but just finally got around to it. We started by getting out a bunch of tea bags, I am a fan of a good cup of tea so we had plenty to choose from. The girls selected three types of tea, a chai, a passion fruit and an earl gray.

We started by brewing each of the three tea bags in a cup of hot water. The girls liked smelling each one and picking their favorites. While the tea was steeping I started to mix the play dough. I used our regular recipe but halved it since I was making 3 different flavors. 
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 tablespoon of oil
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar 

I mixed all the ingredients in a saucepan and then added one cup of the steeped tea to the pot. I mixed all the ingredients over high heat until they came together to form the dough, about 5 minutes. After the dough formed a ball I dumped it out on the counter to cool and kneaded the dough once it was cool to the touch. After fully cooling I turned the first batch of chai play dough over to the girls and started the next two batches using the same recipe. 

We didn't add any food coloring to the chai or passion fruit play doughs the teas had a nice pinkish color and didn't need any color. The Earl Gray didn't really have a color so the girls decided they wanted to add yellow food coloring to that batch. The Bee explained to me that the tea smelled yellow, a fascinating statement that made me think that matching colors to smells could be a fun experiment for another day.

Over time the three batches of play dough got mashed together but the delicious tea smell held strong making the play dough fun to play with for a few weeks. We stored the dough in a plastic bag when not in use and it has lasted a good while, seen plenty of use and been a huge savior on all these cold, snowy afternoons.

168) Cardboard Tube Heart Printing

I have never been a fan of winter, but this winter has been particularly brutal. Record breaking cold temperatures, freezing precipitation of every kind, winter colds and a new baby means we have spent more time inside this winter then ever before. In order to control the craziness of cabin fever we have been doing lots and lots of projects lately. Good for this blog, not so good for the cleanliness and organization of my house. While we already have one Valentines project, our Play Dough Valentines, underway, I saw this very easy heart printing on Pinterest and thought we would give it a shot. 

I used two toilet paper tubes (one for each of the girls) and pinched one end together to form the bottom of the heart and pinched the middle of the top together to form the top of the heart. I then used our good old metal trays and squeezed in a little red and purple washable tempera. I got out a few large sheets of white paper and let the girls stamp to the hearts content. This is the kind of project I love on an impromptu snow/sick day. It took no prior planning, less then 5 minutes to set up and the girls spent a good 20 minutes happily printing.

Once they had finished printing we left the papers to dry. The next day we used a large heart shaped paper punch (though you could also just cut hearts out with scissors) to cut out a bunch of hearts for the girls to use for the class valentines. The Bee has been all about writing this year and has been working every day to write a Valentine for each of the kids in her class. The Bean is a little less concerned with Valentines day, so I have been writing the names of her classmates on the hearts for her but love that she made the artwork on the front.

If you are looking for some more Valentine ideas here are some Valentine projects we have done in the past:
Play dough Valentines
DIY Doily Heart Printed Shirt
Play Dough Printing
Contact Paper and Glitter Valentines
Borax Crystal Hearts
Needle Felted Heart Sweater
Valentines Station
Oil and Paper Heart Garland
Valentine's Doily Printing

167) Coffee Filter Snowflake Window

Over the last few winters we have tried paper snowflakes several times. The first year we tried the Bee was fascinated but not able to cut them herself, so she got quickly frustrated. Last year she was able to cut them but not able to cut the intricate designs she wanted. This year she was finally able to cut the intricate designs she wanted and she was hooked. She loved cutting the snowflakes and spent the longest time cutting different designs each one getting more and more complicated. The Bean on the other hand had no interest in cutting snowflakes, she wasn't able to cut the designs and it didn't bother her in the least. Funny how different they are sometimes. She was however thrilled to paint the snowflakes so they made a great pair. After spending so much time at home this winter the bickering has been pretty bad so to have a project where everyone happily worked together was amazingly nice. 

We started our snowflakes on sort  of a whim, really my attempt to redirect the bickering came out as a suggestion to make snowflakes without much forethought. So when I went to the cabinet to get out some coffee filters to make our snowflakes, I was a little surprised  to find that we only had recycled unbleached coffee filters. Coffee filters are the best for making snowflakes since they are already the perfect round shape and thin and easy to fold and cut.  Fortunately the girls didn't seam to care, and once painted they looked so beautiful it didn't matter. To make the snowflakes we started by folding the coffee filters in half and half again and half again until we had a small triangle. We then cut triangles, half circles and lines into the triangle. This tutorial is really helpful if you are looking for snowflake ideas.

After we finished cutting, or really as the Bee was cutting, the Bean painted the snowflakes with liquid watercolors. We used blues and purples to give the snowflakes a wintery feel and the coffee filter sucks the paint up and blends the colors beautifully.

We worked on the snowflakes for two afternoons in a row and then had so many we needed to do something with them. My friend Genie has a beautiful snowflake garland at her house, so at first I thought we might try and make one of those, but then I remembered these beautiful window displays I had seen on the Artful Parent a while ago. So I found some contact paper, we only had white, and taped a large piece of white contact paper sticky side up onto the table. The girls and I then placed the snowflakes onto the contact paper, carefully smoothing them out with our fingers. In some places the girls overlapped the snowflakes and even included some that we never finished painting. When all the snowflakes were on we took the contact paper off the table and smoothed the sticky side onto the glass of our front storm door. 

The finished mural looks so nice! It adds such a fun color on a gray winter day. I think maybe we will try and make some coffee filter hearts for Valentines next...

165) Playdough Valentines

With New Years over my kids have already moved on to the next holiday, Valentine's Day. The girls have already been talking about what kind of Valentines they want to make and give to their classmates this year. Which brings me to the dilemma I face every year at this time, to give candy with the Valentines or not to give candy. My Kids of course want to give candy, because like every other kid they love candy. And while I don't mind my kids having the occasional piece of candy I hate to be that parent that hands it out to all the other kids. So this year I came up with what will hopefully be an option that will keep me happy and them happy, play dough valentines!

The temperatures around here lately have been very cold, that combined with the new little brother means we have been spending a lot of time at home and a lot of time playing play dough. The other day we made a new batch of our favorite snow play dough, a white play dough with glitter and peppermint extract. While we were playing with the snow play dough and talking valentines, I started thinking about making heart play dough to give all the friends. We used our snow play dough and an additional batch of red play dough made using my favorite recipe:
                                                                                                     2 cups of flour

1 cup of salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil 
1 cup of warm water with red food coloring

We started by taking the red play dough and rolling it into a thick worm. I then took a clay tool, although you could use a knife or even a pencil, to push a trench into the top of the worm. I found that making the trench pretty deep seems to work best. I then took the opposite side of the worm and pinched it into a point all along the bottom. So that when I was finished I had a long heart shaped worm. Next the girls helped me to flatten the white snow dough into a pancake. I then carefully wrapped the white play dough around the red heart worm, starting by pushing one end of the pancake into the trench of the heart. I rolled the white play dough until it fully covered the red and then pinched the roll shut. Finally I used a string to cut the roll into 1 1/2 inch pieces. When I cut into the play dough we were delighted to see a perfect heart in the middle. I then took each piece and placed it into a small plastic container. I bought the containers at the dollar store but any small Tupperware type container would work. We made a few containers and I am hoping to make more over the next few weeks so that the girls can each take them to give to their friends at preschool on Valentines Day. I was thinking of maybe getting tags so that the Bean can draw a picture and the Bee can write her friends names to personalize them a bit.  I will try and share a picture of the finished outcome as we get closer to Valentines Day.

164) Snow Ice Cream

Over the last few years I have seen a lot of recipes for snow ice cream on the Internet. I always want to try them but we honestly haven't had a lot of snow. This winter we have finally had some. The girls and I were excited to give the recipe a shot. I started by taking a large bowl and placing it outside on our steps soon after the snow started. A few hours later we had a good bowl full of snow. We brought the snow in and added one can of sweetened condensed milk and a little vanilla. That was it, so simple that the girls really did all the work. They loved mixing everything together and they especially loved eating it.  I think next time we will add a little chocolate syrup to make it even more decadent, because really isn't that what snow days are for.

43) it's oh so quiet and peaceful until...

It has been a while since I have had a chance to write a post, mostly because I am a terrible one handed typer.  Over the last weeks I have spent most of my time holding a baby while trying to keep up with the Bee and Bean. Leaving very little time for much of anything else. The new little brother arrived in the middle of October and his two big sisters have been smitten with him since. He is fortunately a pretty nice little guy who seems happy to go with the flow. A good thing given that he doesn't have much of a choice. His sisters smother him in kisses and germs, he has already had two colds, which our pediatrician assures me will mean he will have a great immune system built up by Kindergarten. Life with three has been hectic, in a good way. Currently our house is a mess, showering is one of those occasional things, and the laundry, oh the laundry. But at the end of the day when I see the three of them together it makes it all worth it. I know someday I will sleep again, someday I will have a clean house and someday I will shower whenever I want for as long as I want. I am sure when that someday arrives I will look back and miss these chaotic days with little ones.
We are all finally starting to settle into our new routines and I am finally finding a little time to get back to things like this blog and the shop. I reopened the shop in November after taking a few weeks off, just listing the crayons I had in stock. I am hoping to start getting back to custom orders, favors and wholesale in the next few weeks. Although I am sure to be a little slower for a while. I am also hoping to get back to this blog a little more. I miss writing here and having this creative outlet. We have been working on lots of fun projects lately that I hope to find the time to write about soon. In the meantime I hope everyone has had a good holiday season and I hope to see more of you all in the new year!

163) Secret Messages

The last few months, especially since the start of Kindergarten, the Bee has been really into writing. It seems to all be clicking for her, the letters, the sounds they make, how they can form words. It is so fascinating to watch as she starts to piece it all together and I can't help but be in total amazement at every new thing she learns. As a result of her new love, she is writing all the time. I find little notes and drawings all over the house, in her school bag and on any piece of paper that might be left around.  So a few weeks ago when she asked if we could try to write secret messages, I couldn't say no. The secret messages idea came from a book I had long before she was born called Loo-Loo, Boo and Art You Can Do by Denis Roche. I don't even remember where I got this book but it is filled with fun and simple art activities and she loves it. Often, oddly requesting to read it at bedtime although it is not really the kind of book you would think of as bedtime reading.

The secret messages are pretty simple, all you need is white paper, white crayons and any kind of watercolor paint. One person secretly draws or writes on the white paper in white crayons, then gives the paper to the other person. The other person then needs to paint over the crayon with watercolors to reveal the secret message. We did a bunch of these sometimes I would write the message, sometimes the Bee would write something or draw a picture. The fun part was watching the message appear, every time both girls would seem totally surprised by the image, even if it was something they had drawn themselves. The Bean like the secret messages too, mostly just painting the paper to reveal the messages, she was highly opposed to drawing with just the white crayons. So she got out all the colors and worked on her own oil resists. With Halloween coming up I was thinking this could be a cool, spooky craft or even a fun group project. Either way it is something we will surely be doing again.