Upcycling for My Cloud Lover

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See that plain white dresser up there? Yeah, it fell apart. A few drawers fell out, broke into pieces, and then it just felt a little useless. We got rid of the drawers, and pulled it into our room for safety, but there it sat for a few months. I thought of all these different things I could do with it, and thought maybe a book shelf would be nice, but didn’t know exactly how to make that happen. I’m not very good at building things, but like most, I had big ideas.

I started taking an awesome class at the Adult Ed. called Creating Success. Part of the class was fixing up a piece of furniture, and it dawned on me that it was the perfect time to work on this bookshelf/whatever it was going to become. I spent the first half of the semester trying to decide what I would do, and wanted to do the best I could to make something Caleb would actually want and love. The night before I was supposed to start working on it, we went for a nice evening walk. Caleb looked up at these incredible dark clouds, and got so excited. He told me he loved clouds, and for half an hour we sat and watched them. We talked about them, and why he loved them. “Mama they in sky and cool. Clouds rain and are ice.” (Thank you Tree Schoolers for getting him interested in learning that awesome tidbit!)

When we got home I took pen to paper… and this is what I came up with!

This my friends is Caleb’s own personal book nook! As you can see, the outside is the sky covered in hand painted clouds. The inside is painted as a rainbow (something else he really loves!) with a sparkly blue “C” just for Caleb. Originally I was going to just build a shelf inside for him to sit on/the books to be held under. My awesome teacher came up with a much better plan though! Instead we built him a bench that could fit inside, but would also be removable so that he could take it out of the nook if he wanted to. I painted a big piece of canvas, with the help of my friend, and stapled it to the bench. The legs were off another chair and were perfect “trunks” for this tree he’d be sitting on. The books fit neatly beneath it, and the legs keep them in place. I’m planning to get book ends for when he wants to remove the bench, but I’m not too worried about it for now.

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I was so excited to bring this home for him to start using. I snuck it in before he could see, got it all set up and ready, and brought him in… He was ecstatic! He turned to me and said, “Mama this Caleb’s?”

thank you mama

“Yes sweet boy!” Gleefully this little love of my life said, “Thank you mama!” He ran right over, sat down, got off, grabbed a book, and sat back down to read. He loves his books, and now I find him sitting there looking through his stories for a while every day. This book nook is just full of love. My grandmother had just given us the curtain I painted, so her touch is in here. My friends helped make the paint color to match, and another friend helped prime the inside and paint the seat cover. These are friends who love Caleb, and I’m sure he can feel that love. It took about nine hours to complete (between taking the old pieces apart, priming, painting, assembly, and finishing touches. It was all worth it though…

Sitting

Remember, You Are Loved!

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Caleb’s Imagination

Caleb Paw Patrol Name

^^^ Graphic I Made for Caleb to Print and Pin to His Bedroom Door^^^

Imagination is an incredible thing. One of my greatest joys is watching Caleb play pretend. Our living room is over run by a play house, tool bench, and wonderful wooden kitchen. I wanted to be sure that he could explore those interests in full. He’ll make us lots of play food, build things on his fancy tool bench, and he “goes home” to his play house many times a day. I adore watching this, and playing along when he wants me to.

Another area of pretend play that he’s been working on lately involves his toys. It all started with Po the Polar Bear. He received him as a gift around Thanksgiving from a kind man that lives near his preschool. That bear is his best friend, and they have the most intricate conversations. Occasionally they will be in a  “fight” and Caleb won’t want to talk to or be around him. Then we have to mediate their fight. We’ll tell Po to apologize, and tell Caleb that Po still loves him, and then Caleb apologizes and they are back to being friends again.

Of course though, with his new obsession with Paw Patrol, he’s begun putting his Paw Patrol toys into situations, and it’s just too dang adorable. I wanted to share one exchange from him that had me totally in stitches last night.

Caleb had Marshall stuck inside of his boot calling for help, and his plush Chase was heading off to rescue him. Chase said, “Ryder need us!” He was loud, enthusiastic, and oh so cute. Chase finished saving him and he yelled, “We did it! Yay!!!” Then he walked off with them for another “rescue.” I love this child so dang much. His innocence is beautiful, and fills me with joy.

 

Finger Paints and Stamping Fun!

I LOVE painting, and Caleb has been talking about painting a lot the last few days. First thing this morning I made a batch of my edible finger paint, and when my sweet boy woke up I surprised him with this painting station.

I really wanted to do more than just finger painting, so I grabbed straws and toilet paper rolls (two things I obsessively collect which drives Corey crazy) and stuck one of each into each of the six colors I made. I got Caleb naked, and gave him some paper. Then (last picture) I created examples to show him how the stamps work, and also to show him with the straw you can blow the paint around. He LOVED blowing the paint.

He really focused on the color red today. I was surprised. I made two purples and pink for him because he’s been so into them, but red was the cool color today.

After three of the toilet paper roll stamp paintings and one of the straw paintings I gave him a paintbrush. That’s what led to the second picture, and I loved watching him paint lines and then smack the brush against it like a stamp. It was cool to see that the concept we were working on really stuck with him. Lastly I took a straw and drew his name into his painting! I think once it’s dry we’ll put it on his bedroom door.

Originally I planned to do more. I was going to “stamp” his hand to make some Valentines Day cards, animal prints, etc… but he wasn’t having it. My normally messy loving boy really didn’t want to get his hands dirty today, so I didn’t force it. The paint only takes a minute to create anyway, so if he seems more willing later on, we’ll just do it then. I want to get some actual stamp pads and stamps. I think he’d love that, and he liked stamping his hand last Friday.

Loving Hand-Print Crafts

This weekend was really peaceful for my little family. We all had it off of work and school, so it was the perfect time to work on some crafts and cooking! I was inspired to do some loving crafts.

The first was the hand-print tree with heart leaves coming off of it. How cute is that? Very simple too. I just traced Caleb’s hand and arm, cut it out and taped it into place. Then I cut out a bunch of different sized hearts, and Caleb helped me put them into place. I was quite impressed with his choices, and only guided him if there were too many overlapping. Then I cut a piece of green paper to look like grass, and fanned it out to make it 3-D. Lastly, I pinned it up onto our butterfly wall, and it looks completely adorable.

The next project was the hand upon hand project (picture three). Super simple, but I love the way it over laps. Blue for Corey, Purple for me, and Orange for Caleb. This one, believe it or not, was the biggest pain because Corey’s hand is so big! I had to trace it three times because it kept fitting weirdly. Eventually we fixed it up to fit on the background with ours. Imagine having it with a teen, elementary aged kiddo, toddler, and new born… Someday my friends! That would be so cute though.

Lastly was the middle project; family hands making hearts. I loved this idea! All you need to do is fold a piece of paper, then trace the hand you want to use with the thumb and pointer touching the crease. As long as you don’t cut the crease in those two places, when you unfold, you’ll have a cute heart! I taped ours together and pinned it above a painting of a heart I did many years ago. It’s a good addition to our living room I think.

Valentines day is coming up soon, and these would be some fun crafts for any age. Caleb prefers stamping his hands compared to having them traced, but he loves picking colors and placing items. I’m a big fan of tape, because you can move things around if it’s not “just right.” I hope y’all enjoy these, and if you try them out, please share them with me!

DIY Educational Book Shelf!

Quite a while ago I bought this book shelf for Caleb. It was a dingy white with partially ripped flowers all over it. I was so sure that I’d be able to get some paint and work my magic on it… six months later, it was still just sitting around in it’s original state. This morning specifically we were just using it as a foot rest in the living room.

I looked up at this super cute snowman hand print project we did yesterday, and it just came to me. I grabbed the book shelf and brought it out to the table for a scrub down. Once it was clean, I put a quick layer of yellow paint over the whole thing. Then I traced Caleb’s hand, and made two of each rainbow color. Next I painted another layer of yellow paint, and placed the hand cut outs where I wanted him.

A few hours later I went back to it with a sharpie. The top hands spell out Caleb’s name, and each finger (as well as the purple heart) have the alphabet on them, and then the side hands have their color written on them with 1-15 written on the fingers. I’m debating on adding more, like maybe some shapes on top? I’m quite pleased with how it came out so far though. The last step, once I’m totally sure, is to modge podge the whole thing so that Caleb can’t rip the hands off, because that’s totally something he would do.

Either way, this was a wicked easy project, and has a lot of uses! Alphabet, spelling his name, counting, practicing colors, and holding some of his wonderful books inside make it totally worth it! What do y’all think?

Craft Time: Cow Tube Kites

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This week, for our home-school preschool curriculum, our theme is cow. I don’t have specific things written up for weekend activities, but figured we could do a random craft involving cows anyway. I put on a few cow videos to introduce Caleb to cows, and I prepped this while he watched. Super easy project:

White Paper Cut to Fit Around a Toilet Paper Roll

Black Paper for the Legs (cut into strips and accordion folded)

Black Paper Cut for the Spots (or washi tape!)

Marker for the Face

Glue Sticks

To start, I had Caleb put the glue on the white paper, and I wrapped it around the toilet paper tubes. Then I ran out of glue! I ran around trying to find more, but instead found some black washi tape. I drew a quick cow face on each of these, and then cut a bunch of washi tape squares. I helped Caleb glue his tail on, then we each went to town putting on the spots. I showed him how to fold the legs, we cut them out, and we both taped the legs on together. I have seen these with some other animals, and I figured it would be cute with a cow as well.

Right now they are handing on our “project line.” Later we will tie a little yarn to the top, and bring them outside to blow in the wind! This is a very easy project, but it has a lot of steps. By the time we got half way through the spots, Caleb was pretty done. We got up and danced to Old McDonald for a few minutes, and he was ready to go back to the craft. It’s okay to take breaks!

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Easy Sharpie Crafts for Parents and Kids Too!

Well on this dreary, rainy, stay home day, Caleb and I have really made the best of it! Tons of cuddles, bible stories and songs, and games being played here. While he napped though, I had some fun of my own with these awesome Sharpie crafts!

Tie Dyed Onsie

Sharpie Tie Dye

 

This is a GREAT way to Tie Dye because not only is it cheap and done with something most people already own, but it’s also mess free and relies on your own decision of design and color. All you need for this is a couple of Sharpies and Rubbing Alcohol. To make circles like the onsie kind of had you will also need a cup and rubber band.

If you go with the circle design, place the shirt over the cup and wrap a rubber band around it to stay in place. Next just draw your pattern. Try to avoid complimentary colors next to one another because when they blend it will turn an icky shade of brown. Once you finish drawing, dribble the rubbing alcohol over it and watch the magic happen. You can do this until the whole thing is covered or just a little are. I saw someone who made “firework” shirts for her dance students who were dancing to Firework from Katy Perry and she had three circles on each. Once these are air dried, I recommend throwing them in the dryer for a little while, then hand washing them to get the alcohol out, then drying them again.

 

Custom Coffee Cup

Cups

I’m wrapped around my little man’s finger so of course I had to include him in these. I love how simple it is though. Next time I do it, I’m using white cups and I’ll be putting some more effort into the design, but for a test this worked out fairly well and it’s a cute little keep sake. This also makes an amazing gift for things such as Birthdays and Mother’s Day. All you need is an oven, coffee cup, and Sharpies.

It’s really this easy. There is no real trick. Draw on the cup, try to avoid the top or just draw on the opposite side you are sipping JUST IN CASE IT RUNS, then pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cups in for about half an hour more so they cool with the oven. Then take them out and let them cool completely. You now have a permanently personalized cup.

These are both wonderful activities for toddlers. What mom wouldn’t want a personalized cup from her two year old? Play around with it. Use it to teach shapes and colors. There are so many uses and it’s so easy that much planning isn’t needed. Good luck, have fun, and thanks for reading!

Baby Safe, Edible Finger Painting!

Caleb Painting

Oh my goodness, this is the best thing I’ve made since I made, you know, my son! We had given our little man a pile of potatoes, a food he loves with all of this heart, the night before his six month half birthday. Yes, I cry just thinking about this fact. No, I’m not going to go on and on about it. I’m not a fan of crying! Anywho, Mr. Caleb just LOVED playing with the potatoes and smooshing them all around on his high chair. A nice shower was totally needed after wards but it made me think… Time for finger painting!

As all babies like to taste anything and everything they can get their hands on, I set out on a mission to make an edible but still usable paint. I went straight to Pinterest. Honestly, I was disappointed with most of what I saw. None of the things people were making had the same consistency as regular finger or tempura paint. If I was going to do this, I wanted to do it right. Finally I came to a recipe that seemed simple enough and the results looked like real paint. Not that the food coloring in potato idea was bad, Caleb would love it I’m sure, but I really wanted to have something that would last and not just chip away but wouldn’t dye him too badly either.

At last, here is the super simple recipe that we used. It was a total blast and I hope you have fun with it as well!

Ingredients:

1/3 Cups of Flour

2 TBSP of Sugar

1 Tsp. of Salt

2 Cups of Water

Food Coloring of Your Choice*

*You can use natural alternatives such as powdered juice, tea, or anything else you can think of. That way people with food dye allergies or sensitive skin can use it too.

Instructions:

Add all of the ingredients, besides the dye, together in a pot. Constantly whisk and let boil until the right consistency, something close to tempura paint. Afterwards, add the dye to the mixture. There is enough for six colors easily from this recipe. I ended up putting it in the freezer afterwards so I could use it right away. I recommend letting it cool by itself instead as it thickened quite a bit when I cooled it in the freezer.

Simple as that though. It doesn’t stain little one, it’s totally fine for them to eat, and it cleans up super easily. Never spend money on finger paint again!

 

Tell me how it went, share pictures of your little ones and their masterpieces. Thanks for reading! To reply privately, email me at sami.jordynn@gmail.com

Easy First Foods – Recipes to Start

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     When starting solids, please always start one at a time. Wait at least four days and search for rashes and watch for upset tummies. Safety first when it comes to the little ones. 

     Alrighty my solid starters. Here are four super baby foods that are great to start with and easy to make for them. Carrots are full of Vitamin A, are a great source of fiber, are sweet and desirable, and are a full serving of vegetables by themselves. Avocados are full of calcium, potassium (more than a banana), and protein and they are also very easy to digest for babies. Blueberries help keep your urinary tract clean and are packed full of healthy brain and heart helping antioxidants. Spinach is also full of antioxidants and other vitamins, helps with digestion, and is a great fiber. 

     When we started we went right with carrots because they were a favorable taste and color that I thought, and was right, would keep my little man entertained. I cut the carrots into about one inch pieces, put them in a bowl with enough water to cover them, and I put it in the microwave for two minutes. Then I dumped half the water out. Next I put the remaining water and carrots into our ninja blender, which my wonderful fiance got me for Christmas, and let it turn into a consistent puree. After letting it cool for a while, we tried it on our son and he loved it. Not as much as he loves sweet potatoes now but…

     Then we worked with avocados. This is one food that is crazy easy because if you are out and about and don’t have the time to really prepare a food, then this is the food for you. Just slice it open and you can scoop the fruit right out and feed it just like that. If you have more time though, this is a great food to introduce different spices into. I like to mix in things like lemon zest, vanilla, or even more savory spices like rosemary. I originally used garlic but my son absolutely hated that. They recommend starting seasonings at eight months but as long as you use the four day rule, go for it.

     Blueberries is something you really do need to watch for allergic reactions. They are rare but serious. Blueberries though are an absolute super food and a great first for babies. They taste delicious and have all the nutrients any parent would wish for their child. Due to the juicy aspect some parents use baby rice cereal in it as well but I have a strong distaste and trust to the cereal so I didn’t. These you do NOT want to cook. Just much them up really well, making sure the skin is nearly invisible, and you can serve it just like that. 

     Spinach is another thing that you don’t need to cook but you can if that makes it easier for you. One thing is to always look for the smaller leaves as they have more nutrients and are less stringy and tough. With spinach once you test it for the four day allergy test, this is a great ingredient to mix with other foods to help with digestion.

     Once each of these foods are tried on their own, you can mix them! Carrots and Avocado are a beautiful combination, with a great consistency, and full of nutrients. Then blueberries and spinach are a great mix because they make it a little more solid and full of antioxidants and fiber. These are just the combinations we have done. There are so many foods out there. Play around and find what your little one is going to like.

     If you have a recipe, please share it below. I’d love to try something new for my little man too. Thanks for reading!