DIY Snowflake Window Clings (plus tips and the best method)

 

We have been working on making snow flake window clings for about 4 days now, and finally put them up yesterday. Perfect timing since we had our first snow of the season last night! As soon as we noticed the wintry scene outside, my husband and I ran to Sydney’s room to wake her up. We found her already sitting in her window, watching with excitement. It was so sweet!

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10 Rainy Day Projects For Kids

 

After a very chilly night of tricks and treats, and a little too much candy, Sydney and I are feeling a under the weather today. As a result, we have decided to spend the entire afternoon relaxing indoors and getting healthy again. So, today I thought I would share some of my favorite rainy day craft ideas for kids. Enjoy!

1. Making Slime is always a fun time!
2. With $1 Birdhouses just break out some craft supplies and get creative!
3. Glow Jars are a reader favorite
4. Play pirates and Make your own telescope!
5. Stick People are a fun craft, and they promote imaginative play and story telling
6. With some oil and whole wheat flour, have an indoor beach day with Moon Sand fun.
7. And the classic homemade Playdoh is always a kid favorite!
8. Have some unmatched socks laying around? It’s Sock-topus time!
9. Make Pasta Necklaces with some dry pasta, food coloring, and rubbing alcohol.
10. Chances are you have all the ingredients for some homemade Puffy Paint art.

And, I will most likely be spending some quality time on Pinterest during nap time today, so be sure to follow me here!

Halloween Roundup

 

Good Morning and Happy Friday! So far October has been full of fun Halloween ideas and DIYs. As the 31st is quickly approaching, I decided to put together a little roundup of the festive costume and decor tutorials I did this month. Enjoy!


garden flower, lumberjack, hula girl


gold studded pumpkins, mummy candles, black drippy candles, paper jack-o-lanterns

And don’t forget there is still time to vote for my Fiber One Snackcessory! You can vote once daily, so please click and help send me to Fashion Week!

DIY Lumberjack Halloween Costume

 

If you remember a little while back, I announced the winner to my Thredup DIY Halloween Costume Giveaway. It was a reader who had a great idea for a lumberjack costume. Well, this weekend I put the finishing touches on the costume and suited Sydney up for a little photoshoot. I absolutely adore the outcome, and I hope you do too!

The beard is essential to this costume, and it was pretty easy to make. I started out with three shades of brown felt. I used a piece of paper to create a template for the beard shape, and then cut the shape out of my darkest felt. To add some dimension and character, I cut several scallop edged strips out of the two lighter felts. Next, I used a sewing machine to attach and layer these strips to the beard. You can skip the sewing machine and use glue if you’d like. Once layered, I trimmed off all the excess felt. Then attach a piece of elastic for the band, and it’s ready to wear!

To add to the look, I cut an axe out of cardboard, and adorned it with silver spray paint and a faux bois paper. Jeans, boots, a flannel, and of course a beanie finish off the outfit.

Now it’s time I get started on Sydney’s halloween costume! After going through a few ideas, I think she’s finally made a final decision to be a cat!

And don’t forget there is still time to vote for my Fiber One Snackcessory! You can vote once daily, so please click and help send me to Fashion Week!

Halloween Jack O’ Lantern Craft for Kids

 

I was going through the craft drawer the other day, and I came across some of the paper lanterns from Sydney’s Alice in Wonderland birthday party. I immediately knew we had to make jack-o-lanterns out of the orange ones!

All you need is an orange paper lantern, some glue, and black glitter. You could also use paper, felt, or even just paint to create the faces. Personally, Sydney and I just can’t get enough glitter!

Using lots of glue, I drew on the eye and mouth shapes.

Then Sydney helped me pour on the glitter.

We put a few in Syd’s room, and they make the perfect Halloween night lights!

DIY Halloween Costume Winner, and Hula Girl Tutorial

 

Good Morning! I want to thank everyone who entered the costume giveaway, there were so many wonderful ideas! I am excited to announce the lucky winner is….. drum roll please……. Jenny Downs, congratulations!!! I am getting out my pencil and sketchbook, and coming up with some great ideas to turn your little one into a lumberjack for the night. I’m starting on it right away, and I will share the costume with you all as soon as it’s done.

While I get to work, I wanted to share one more diy costume Sydney and I worked on together. It’s a Hula Girl!

This one is so easy, and I’m sure a lot of you have these items on hand at home. You’ll need a brown paper bag, coffee filters, food coloring, and ribbon.

1. Start by dying several coffee filters in a mixture of food coloring and water. About 3 drops color to two tablespoons water. Set filters aside to dry.

2. Taking a brown paper bag, cut it open and lay it out flat. Trim off excess flaps to create an even rectangle shape.

3. Use scissors, or an x-acto and straight edge, to fringe the paper bag, creating a grass skirt. Be sure to leave a 2″ band at the top of the paper bag. This will be the waistband.

4. Glue ribbon to the inside edge of the waistband, leaving it long enough to be tied.

5. Once the colored coffee filters are dry, use them to make flowers. One large flower can be glued to a clip and worn in the hair. Smaller flowers can then be glued to a necklace or thick strand of yarn to make a lei.

Now just pair your homemade pieces with some brown leggings and a bright colored shirt, and get ready to hula!

 

Mummy Candles

 

Yesterday I apparently lost my mind and thought it was Friday. I woke up confused this morning, and then realized that I had completely skipped Thursday, which is why I posted ‘Things I Loved This Week’ yesterday. Oh well, it happens to the best of us. Right?

So, now I can officially say Happy Friday everyone! And I share with you a super easy craft to get you in the halloween spirit. Mummy candles! All you need is gauze, googly eyes, led candles, and some glass jars.

Just wrap the glass jars with gauze, securing it with either glue or tape. Then glue on some googly eyes, and insert an led votive! Sydney loves these, and can’t get enough of them. The led votive makes them totally kid friendly.

I am also excited about all the great ideas for the DIY Halloween Costume Giveaway. The winner will be announced Monday!

Tips For Photographing Your Kids : An Interview with Evan Kafka

I feel so lucky to have a creative husband, and even luckier that he’s worked with the very talented photographer Evan Kafka. He does amazing work with kids, and has shot for big companies including Parenting Magazine and Huggies. I had the opportunity to pick his brain a bit, and share some of his tips for capturing those perfect moments with your own children. Enjoy!

How do you get the perfect reaction / expression from a baby?

Be ready and shoot a lot.  Work the moment.  Don’t just stop at one or two photos.  Keep the camera close by.  Also, it helps to have a friend play peekaboo behind your head while you shoot.  It can be helpful to get in close, so you can engage your baby while you photograph.  It’s nice if you can reach them and tickle them from time to time.

How do you get your little ones to follow direction?

That’s a tough one.  When I’m shooting my kids, I just try to be ready.  Like an ultra famous movie star once said to me “you’re gonna have to work with what you get”.  It can be very frustrating.  I try to make it fun, keep it interesting for them.  When they are really small, we just try to set them up.  If we want a crawling shot, we give them something to crawl towards and then get their attention when they reach the optimal area for the photograph.  For tighter headshots it’s helpful to have someone hold them in certain ways so the adult is not really visible.

What lens would you recommend to parents who have a DSLR?

I think everyone should have at least one fast, or bright, lens.  These are lenses with a large maximum aperture or lens opening.  It’s confusing because the lower the number, the bigger the aperture, and the more light passes through.  The most affordable fast lens is usually a 50mm.  They are usually F1.8 or 1.4, much brighter than any zoom lens.  These will allow you to shoot in low light without flash.  You can use a large aperture, even in bright light, which gives you a very shallow focus effect that can help soften a busy background.

What is a fun DIY type solution to create a solid white background for your photo shoot?

Seamless paper by Savage is not that expensive.  It comes in 4.5′ or 9′ wide rolls. B&H will ship it for about $15 and many local camera shops carry it in white. We usually hang the roll up and drape it down but that requires stands and a crossbar.  It’s also possible to tape the top to a wall or the side of your garage and then sweep it with a soft bend and roll some out along the ground/floor.  You could also try it with a sheet but you will probably see wrinkles unless you can keep it very bright.  Pay attention to the light where you are setting it up.  Unless the light is exceptional, it’s probably best to set it up in a shaded area or, if you’re indoors, at about 45-90 degrees to a window with indirect sunlight.  Or, if you have an external flash, you could experiment with bouncing it off a ceiling or wall.

What is the best tip you can give for any mom or dad who wants to do a photoshoot of her child?

Luck favors the prepared.  Get everything set and ready, maybe while your baby is napping.  The worst thing, and believe me it’s happened to me, is to be having some sort of technical problem while your baby is happy and ready.  We all know they have a limited attention span.  If you’re not ready, better to wait until you are before you present the situation to your child. Also, do some test shots of a doll or stuffed animal to make sure things are looking good.  And if the phone rings, don’t answer it!

If possible, leave things set up for a day or two, incase your baby is not in the mood and you can try again later.

A big thank you to Evan for all of his great tips! If you’d like to know more about Evan, or see more of his work, please check out his website & blog:

http://www.evankafka.com/

http://evankafka.com/sensorsensibility/

* All photos in this post are property of Evan Kafka, and may not be used without his permission.

Halloween Costume GIVEAWAY : enter to win a custom costume made just for your little one!

 

Good Morning! As I mentioned last week in my DIY Costume post,  I will be giving away a halloween costume this month. But not just any costume, it will be custom, one of a kind costume made just for you child!


(1. pig in a blanket, 2. sheep, 3. garden flower, 4. bat)

Here’s how it works:

Head over to thredup.com and find a piece of clothing that sparks Continue reading

DIY Halloween Costume : Garden Flower

 

Today I am sharing a costume tutorial I put together for the lovely people at ThredUp. This is a fun, no sew tutorial that will help you turn your little cutie into a garden flower with birds and butterflies buzzing around her head! You can start off with some basic pieces, like a bright colored shirt paired with some green leggings or skirt or what the heck why not both! Then get creative with it.

Here’s what else I used:
7 sheets of pink felt for the petals (or any color you like)
2 sheets of yellow felt
some ribbon or velcro
4 pink pipe cleaners
3 yellow pipe cleaners
3 yellow craft pompoms
hot glue
a headband
floral wire
needle point pliers
and various decorative butterflies, birds, and ladybugs

1. Start by creating a collar out of a sheet of pink felt and ribbon. I cut a 6” strip of felt, then folded it in half to make it more rigid. Make your collar long enough to loosely fit your child, leaving a good amount of wiggle room. Glue ribbon or velcro to the ends of your collar.

2. Fold the remaining pink felt sheets in half, and cut out your petal shapes.  Trim pink pipe cleaners to size, and use hot glue to adhere them to the center of  6 petals. Set the other petal aside for now.

3. Gather the felt at the base of each of the 6 petal to create dimension, and secure with hot glue.

4. Glue these petals around the outside of your collar, about halfway up. Shape the petals as you glue, and be sure to also adhere the petals near the top of the collar. This will give them extra support.

5. Glue the remaining 6 petals to the bottom of your collar, positioning them below and in between the top 6 petals.

6. Fold over and glue, or trim, and extra petal felt.

7. Now, Cut a 6” strip of yellow felt, fringing it on one end. Glue this strip to the inside of your collar to give the illusion of the flower’s center.

8. Time to make the stamens! Glue the three pompoms onto the ends of the yellow pipe cleaners.

9. Tightly wrap the three pipe cleaners around the center of the headband, while also twisting them together.

10. And now onto my daughter’s favorite part. Add springy wire to your headband and attach all sorts of garden friends to the wires. We used butterflies, a humming bird, and ladybugs. Be creative and have fun with it!


(last image courtesy of thredup.com)

I will also be doing a DIY costume giveaway next week. Check back for the exciting details!!! UPDATE: Click here to enter the giveaway!

Fall Pasta Necklaces

 

Today we are making jewelry! Fall pasta necklaces, to be exact. It’s a simple and inexpensive project that’s guaranteed to keep you and your little one entertained this afternoon. And the best part is I had everything we needed on hand, so this craft cost us $0. All you need is an assortment of pasta, yarn, rubbing alcohol, food coloring, sandwich baggies, and some tape.

Start by coloring all the pasta. Put a mixture of rubbing alcohol and food coloring in a baggie, about 1Tbsp : 10 drops, then add the uncooked pasta. Zip up the bag and shake, making sure all the pasta gets coated with color. Let sit for anywhere from 2 – 20 min, occasionally shaking the bag as you wait for your desired color.

Empty the pasta from the bag, and onto an old towel or several paper towels, and allow to dry. Use a strainer if necessary. Dry time is about 5 – 10 min. Remember, food coloring can stain, so protect surfaces, hands and clothes.

Once pasta is dry, I had Sydney help me divide all the pasta by color and put them into small bowls. The perfect opportunity to squeeze in a color lesson!

Now it’s time to get creative! We used yarn for our necklaces, but you can use any type of string you like. With the yarn, it’s helpful to wrap one end with masking tape, making it rigid and easier to thread the pasta.

Mix and match all sorts of pasta and colors for pretty jewel tone necklaces, perfect for fall! This is also a great project to teach kids about patterns and how they’re created.

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Multiples Mom

Fall Artwork : Finger Print Trees

 

I am beyond ready for fall weather, so I think it’s time to break out the apple and pumpkin spice candles. And, time to decorate the house with some autumn artwork made by cute little hands, literally! Today, while Sydney is hard at work fulfilling my wishes, I wanted to share the first project of the day with you. We broke out the finger paints and rolled up our sleeves to make this cute little tree!

Her hand and arm create the trunk and branches…

 

and her little fingers are the leaves.

A squishy ball helped her create the grass to finish off her masterpiece.

Top 7 things for Kids to do in London

Good morning! Today we are back in the air, bittersweetly headed home. I didn’t have time to get any new airplane toys, but hopefully a few new iPad apps and sorting through shells will keep Sydney busy!

While we fly, check out today’s guest post courtesy of Angelina Lawson and theatretickets.org.uk. If you have any upcoming trips to London with your littles this post is for you!

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Traveling With Kids

 

We are having a fabulous time relaxing and visiting with family and friends in Hawaii. But, before we arrived in paradise, we first needed to survive a 9 hr flight. With a 3 year old. I tried to prepare her as much as possible in the weeks leading up to our trip. We had several discussions about airplane etiquette, and the importance of being quiet on the plane. I also let her pick out some new toys, which immediately were packed into her ‘travel entertainment’ bag. I have found that playing with new toys is exciting and keeps Continue reading

How to Store & Display Finger Puppets

 

Sydney loves finger puppets. We started collecting them for her when she was born, and over the last few years her collection has grown quite large. She has all different kinds of animals in beautiful, bright colors. They’re so pretty, it would be a shame to store them away in a box somewhere! So we found a great way to store and display them on shelves in her room. We ordered a set of kid sized mannequin hands online. What better than fingers to store finger puppets!? Continue reading

3 Days of Music for Little Ears : Tips for Taking Kids to Festivals

 

We had a great time at Lollapalooza this weekend! Not only did Syd have an awesome time while we were there, but she woke up every morning excited to go back. I have to admit I was a bit nervous the first day… We have taken her to a couple festivals in the past, FYF in Los Angeles and Pitchfork here in Chicago, but Lolla is a whole different animal. It’s much larger, which means loads more people, super drunks, and wild teens. Thankfully we didn’t witness a lot of craziness, and missed the big storm that rolled in on Saturday.

After a fun and successful weekend, I wanted to share my top five tips for taking kids to music festivals:

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