Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spelling Names and free printable Bookplates


M has been spelling his first name for a good 1 1/2 years now, but I am always on the lookout for some way to help him learn how to spell our last name and practice spelling it.  He is just not interested in learning it, mainly because it is quite long and a little intimidating. 

But he LOVES writing his name on the inside cover of books, so I made up some cute robot nameplates for him to use on as many books as he wants.  These are sized at 4 inches by 3 1/3 inches – a standard shipping label size.  Print them out on shipping labels, have your little one stick them in his books, then write his name on the lines.  The deal around here is you have to print both first and last names to be able to use these.

Click an image below to go to the download page.

Robots and Rockets Nameplates:image


I also made up some more “girly” ones, in case anyone is interested!

Flower Fairy Nameplates:image


Flowers and Hearts Nameplates:image

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Have a beautiful day!
Nicole :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spring Fever


Spring fever has officially hit our house. 

Grumpiness, restlessness, a desire to run away – far, far away from Minnesota… and that’s just Mama.  It definitely hits me the hardest.  My husband is an eternal optimist – February always makes me happy because I know it’s not much longer now until spring (he says while I shoot eye darts at him along with mental warnings to just shut it because he knows full well what I consider real spring is at least two more months away); and M always has the hope of coming snow to break up the monotony of our days (while I shoot eye darts at the skies and wonder just how did I end up in this cruel, cruel cold wasteland).

So.  There you see the real me.  The real pregnant me,- because throwing up all of January, just to be hit with gray skies and snow in February does not. seem. fair.  We need some happy yellow daffodils poking up through green grass.  Not more grayness, covered with an occasional layer of whiteness and blah-ness. 

We recently went here, as everyone in the family is desperate for Mommy to act somewhat normal again: IMAG0230


IMAG0234 I kept thinking how lovely it would be if they would just leave me here for a week with a pile of good books and a pillow (and please try to get rid of the rest of the people milling about.  Because sometimes they talk.). 

And it seems M has caught the flower bug.  He has grand plans for his very own garden this year.  He spent an entire afternoon looking through a flower book and marking all the flowers he wants to plant:IMAG0061


I didn’t have the heart to tell him that here in Minnesota (sigh) you have to choose based on hardiness, not prettiness.  So here’s what the book looked like when he was finished with his page marking:IMAG0063

He wasn’t actually finished… he just got to the “G”s and ran out of bookmarks. :)

My husband saves things like vegetable trays from Sam’s Club, thinking that they’ll come in useful “someday”.  I fake-smile at him and mentally scream things like “Declutter!  Peace!  Sanity!  Small home!”, while he thinks things like, “Useful! Recycle! You never know!”.  As long as he stores his “stuff” out of sight, I am okay with it.  And, clever man that he is (and he is, I admit) he used a little super glue to attach an upside down cover to a tray, then poked some drainage holes through the bottom of it.  M will be using this to start his garden – hopefully sometime this week we’ll get around to actually planting the seeds:IMAG0314

Because in this cold and cruel place you have to start your seeds inside, two months before spring, if you actually want anything to grow. 

Now I’m off to continue my hibernation attempt (if only everyone would leave me alone, I’m sure I could sleep through March).

Your little ray of sunshine,
Nicole  :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

3-d nature art – hot glue style








I haven’t mentioned much here about M’s enthusiasm for the glue gun.  He loves it.  He uses it only with supervision, is extremely careful, and is responsible enough that I trust him with it.  I would not advise a glue gun for every 5 year old’s art supply set though.  Ours is a low temp gun; I can not use a high temp gun without getting blisters – I would never allow M to use one.

The wonderful thing about hot glue is the freedom it gives you to build upwards when creating art.  Regular white glue would not hold as well, nor would it dry as quickly.  Quick-drying glue is important when you are 5 years old and building something as fast as your imagination can go. :)

I started with setting out a few supplies:IMAG0174 Glue gun, glue sticks, sea shells, glass stones (florist style, flat marble), wooden beads, craft sticks, pine cones, and a sturdy surface to place everything on.  A thick piece of cardboard would work… we ended up using tagboard from the back of a certificate frame.  A piece of wood would be lovely as a base as well!

Then I sent M out to scavenge in the yard.  Since we’ve had a mostly brown winter it was easy for him to find several interesting things:IMAG0175

Then the fun began.  M was very particular about deciding just where everything should go.  He absolutely loved this.  He finished two masterpieces and begged to do more.  If I’d had enough material for bases, I think he would have done this all afternoon!IMAG0178


The finished artwork… Can you tell what they are supposed to be?



Playgrounds!  We added some peg people the next day:IMAG0195
I love that he built miniature play areas… it reminds me of a fairy land sort of thing – something I’m not sure he’s ever heard of (poor child) – beautifully made with bits of nature and, of course, the amazing hot glue gun! :)

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Have a beautiful day! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Holy Week 3-part or sequencing Cards

I created these cards for use during Lent, especially Holy Week (the week between Palm Sunday and Easter).  I wanted to share them early in Lent so you can use them however you want.  They would go nicely with the Jesus Loves Me, This I Know e-book that was released earlier this week!  This was actually something that Erin and I wanted to include in the e-book, but just couldn’t get it completed in time.  The pictures used on these cards are vintage illustrations, and beautiful, I think. :)

There are a total of 8 cards illustrating everything from Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem to his resurrection and appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. 

Each card has a label, like traditional 3-part cards, as well as a scripture reference.  To use these as 3-part cards, you will need to print 2 copies.  Leave the label attached to the illustrations in one set, and separate the labels from the illustrations in the other set.  Have your child match up the pictures and the labels.  These would also make wonderful sequencing cards for telling the Easter story!

Download here, or click on the image above!  Enjoy!

This post is linked to the Celebrating Lent Link-Up Party at Explore and Express and Wonderful in an Easter Kind of Way.

Have a beautiful day! :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ideas for Making Lent Meaningful

Lent has officially begun!  I thought I’d share some links for you to check out… these are what we did for Lent last year, and what we plan to do again this year.   You can see our crafts/artwork:image
our Lenten Basket:image
and our Lenten Countdown Cross:image  

I hope these inspire you to create some Lenten traditions in your own homes!

I mentioned in those posts, rather presumptuously, that I was planning on making a second set of the Countdown Cross to give away; and that I planned to offer everything as a printable this Lent.  It seemed like I had so much time to get all this done!  Silly girl.  With two computer crashes to deal with in the past year all of my saved items for the printables were lost, and while I did plan to re-do everything in time for this year’s Lent… well, I ended up pregnant and in some sort of pregnancy-fog, and that’s my excuse these days for every single failing I might be accused of.  An excuse I’m sticking to until I can claim the new baby as one. After that gets old I’m sure I’ll come up with something else.  ;)

Of course there is still the new Lent / Easter e-book!  Go check it out if you haven’t yet!

This post is linked to the Celebrating Lent Link-Up Party at Explore and Express and Wonderful in an Easter Kind of Way, as well as: image

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Have a beautiful Day! :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jesus Loves Me Lenten activities E-Book!!

Well, it’s up and ready to go!  There was a bit of a delay; thank you all so much for your patience!


This e-book is the brainchild of Erin over at Royal Baloo.  Erin organized it, edited it, put the actual book together… and put a lot of hard work into each part.  I simply helped with some ideas, a handful of printables, and photographing and writing up a few of the crafts.  It was a pleasure to work with Erin and I’m so glad she offered me the chance to do this with her!!  You can read more about the e-book in her post.  It’s our hope that this will be a help to you as you teach your child about how much Jesus loves them, as shown through the story of Easter.

You have the option of downloading the e-book from Scribd or 4Shared.  Click on either link to go to the download page.  This e-book is totally free!

This post is linked to the Celebrating Lent Link-Up Party at Explore and Express and Wonderful in an Easter Kind of Way.

If you’re going to do the activities and blog about it, please add your blog to the linky list below!

Have a beautiful day! :)


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Art Project – Making Paper Beads


Honestly, this was a little project for me – I have wanted to try this since I first found out about paper beads a few years ago.  I was not sure that M would be at all interested, especially since the process includes the possibility of glue touching your fingers (oh the horror!).  But, as it turns out, he LOVES to make paper beads and happily kept at it long after I was finished.

I keep old calendars with pretty photos around just for projects such as this:IMAG0086 

I picked a few pretty pictures and cut them into long triangular strips.  I did not measure these in any way, just eyed them and cut.  The main thing to keep in mind here is that the broad end will be the width of your finished bead, so keep it fairly small.  You could also cut (or tear, for a bit of texture) simple straight strips.  The triangular strips allow you to see colors from the whole piece in the finished bead, though, so we chose to do it this way.IMAG0088

Other supplies:IMAG0092Glue, foam paintbrush, wax paper, toothpicks, styrofoam (or something to poke the toothpicks into), and a thin paintbrush or skewer for rolling.

M picked a strip and began rolling it around the thin paintbrush.  I showed him how to stop once the strip is halfway rolled and paint glue on the rest of it:IMAG0094 

Continue rolling it up, then pop it off the paintbrush and onto a toothpick and stick it in your foam to dry:IMAG0099 


Once these were dry, I did take them outside and spray a finish on them, just because I happened to have some.  But M continued to make beads, and I did not spray them all (it was way too cold to go out and do it more than once!).  I don’t think we can tell the difference between the finished ones and the unfinished.  If you want to seal them and don’t have a spray finish, you could simply brush another coat of glue on the finished beads.

M was so excited once they were finished and ready for stringing – he got right to work!IMAG0119

abc button Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ice cold hearts for Valentine’s Day

IMAG0079 Early Valentine roses from my sweethearts – just had to show them off. :)


We did something different this year and made hearts from ice.  I saw an idea similar to this recently here.  It looked like fun, and they sure were pretty, so we decided to make our own version.  M is all about freezing things – he has loved to make colored ice since he was very little, so this was a good twist for that favorite activity.

Supplies – water, sparkly things, food coloring, silicone heart mold, and freezing temps outside.

First M filled the molds a little more than halfway with water.  We tried pouring, but decided to use the baster instead:IMAG0011

Then he added in some heart confetti and sequins, which pretty much floated on top.  I had foreseen this, and that’s why we only filled them halfway.  After freezing them we filled them the rest of the way and set them out to freeze again, so the sparkles were all contained in the middle of the ice:IMAG0012

We added yarn to the hearts prior to freezing so we’d be able to hang them up later:IMAG0014

See the wire rack in the photo below?  It’s best to place the mold on top of a rack or tray of some sort before adding all the water!  This makes it easy to transport.  I found this out the hard way. :)

After the hearts were totally frozen:IMAG0052

We added some salt (see the bits?) and a couple of minutes later we added drops of food coloring, then stuck them back outside to freeze again:IMAG0057

After we remembered them (3 days later!) we popped them out and hung them up:IMAG0075

IMAG0076 They are prettier in real life than these photos would suggest. 


We worried, a bit too late, about the sequins falling out when the ice melts.  M decided they will just make pretty decorations for the tree, but I’m thinking maybe pine branch tips or tiny pine cones would have been a better choice than sequins.  Oops!

Have a beautiful day! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Coming Soon! Easter E-Book


I was honored and excited when Erin over at Royal Baloo asked if I’d like to work with her on an Easter e-book for children.  We’ve been coming up with crafts, activities, discussion tips, and printables to help little ones get a hands-on understanding of what Easter is all about.  The activities span the 7 weeks prior to Easter, so it’s perfect for doing during Lent (or pick and choose what you like and create your own schedule!).

Visit Erin’s post about the e-book here!

Have a beautiful day! :)


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