Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gingerbread Houses!

There are TONS of different ways to make a gingerbread house! Here are 3 easy ways that I have used.

About 3 years ago, my oldest nephew, R, who was 5 at the time asked if I would help him to make a "holiday house." I had never made one before, but I would (and still will) do anything for him so I said sure. We bought a bunch of candies, some flat shortbread cookies, and vanilla frosting. My neice, K, who was 2 at the time came along too. It was a lot of fun...basically they spread the frosting onto a piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil, and decorated with with the cookies and candy. I just let them go crazy with it. I took pictures of them and my favorite one is them standing in front of their house looking super proud of what they made.

This year I did it the "lazy" way, and I went to the store and bought a gingerbread village kit, where you can make 5 mini houses. I have my sisters 4 kids, and my kid, so it was perfect for us! It wasn't very expensive and it came with everything I needed, the mix for the frosting, the candies, and the gingerbread shapes ready to be put together. My nephew R was very creative and actually turned the pieces of his house into a gingerbread man! The babies, D and T, didn't really do much except eat their houses LOL.

Finally, D went to a gingerbread making workshop with a bunch of other kids, and how it was set up was that each kid got a small milk or cream carton, about 6 graham crackers, frosting which was made with icing sugar and water until the was thick and sticky, and a plate full of candies. The kids used the frosting to "glue" the crackers and candy on to the carton to make their houses. D wasn't too interested in building a house; he glued two crackers down, then ate the candy, then ran off to play LOL.

Cinnamon Dough Ornaments!!

I came across this recipe when I was looking for ornament crafts for toddlers. I had made salt dough ornaments with my neices and nephews a few years back, and they are awesome!! The only issue I had with salt dough is that I had to knead it with my hands, and it dried my skin out sooooo bad!! The cinnamon dough, however, looked easy to make and it says they smelled awesome, so I tried it out.

Here is the website I found the recipe on:

I made 2 batches and ended up with 15 big gingerbread men, and 17 small gingerbread men. My neices, nephews, and D got together at my mom's house and decorated the ornaments. It was fun, but I am pretty much all out of glitter glue!!

Its important to remember that it takes about 2-3 days for the dough to air-dry completely *DO NOT BAKE*, and while they are drying make sure you flip the ornaments a few times a day. The ornaments will also shrink a bit as they dry. However, your house will smell yummy...but do not eat the dough. That would be gross.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rudolph Antlers!

This is such a cute and easy craft, I don't know why I didn't do it earlier!! I made the band a bit to big for D's head, but he enjoyed wearing them, then taking them off and ripping them, but at least I was able to get a good picture first!!

I traced his hands on a piece of brown construction paper, and made sure to trace a bit down his wrist as well. To make the band big enough to fit his head, I had to glue 2 pieces of construction paper together, then wrap it around his head, cut it to fit, and then glue it into a circle. I didn't have enough brown paper to make the band, so i used white. If I had thought about it at the time, I would have had D decorate the band with glitter just to give it a more festive feel, but oh well it still ended up cute!! I glued the antlers on the inside of the band, and let them dry. Afterwards, I colored D's nose with a red washable marker, and put the antlers on his head and started taking pics. Soooo cute!!!

Froot Loop Christmas Tree

Very simple craft, one that I did when I had no time to do any type of prep, and it was to get D to be quiet for 5 he ate most of the froot loops, so he had a little snack too LOL.

All you need is to cut a Christmas tree shape from a piece of green construction paper, and glue on some froot loops. Its a super cute craft that is sooo easy to do, and D had fun doing it. If you want to spice things up a bit, use sprinkles, marshmallows, glitter, smarties, etc to decorate the tree. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snowman on a Snowy Day!!

I've been in a very glittery mood lately...maybe it's because of the snow and the days turning dark earlier...but that being said...D has been doing a lot of little crafts that include glitter. This craft was super easy and I think it turned out to be super pretty!!

All I did was cut out 3 circles out of white paper and had D glue them on a black piece of paper (his snowman is bowing LOL). I then covered the circles with glue from a gluestick, and D went crazy shaking the glitter onto the snowman. To make the snowflakes, I dipped a popsicle stick into liquid glue and made "snowflakes" and again, D went crazy shaking the glitter.

For extra embellishments, decorate the snowman with a scarf, top hat, or draw him a face before you put the glitter down. Make more than one snowman, or make a snow dog!! There are so many different things you could do to this craft to make it your own you just need to use your imagination!!

Rudolph and Santa Paper Bag Puppets

Paper bag puppets are super easy to make, and when you're done you can put on puppet shows that will keep kids of all ages entertained for at least a few days!!

All you need are paper lunch bags and a huge imagination and you are well on your way!!

**note**Make sure the lunch bag is upside down so that the flap is on top!!

For Santa, D spread glue on the bottom of the paper bag and pressed some cotton balls to make the beard. I cut a hat shape out of a piece of red construction paper, and he glued down some more cotton balls. I cut out and colored some eyes, and yes, he glued those down too.

For Rudolph, I traced D's hands (and part of his wrist!) on a piece of brown paper to make antlers, and D glued them to the back of the paper bag so they stuck out a little. I used the foam Q to cut out eyes and colored in pupils, and a red circle for Rudolph's nose. To add a little more "pizzazz" D sprinkled red glitter on to the nose.

Once the glue dries, put on a show!! Super fun for both parents and kids :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Wreath!

This Christmas wreath was something I had been wanting to do for quite a while now, and it was super easy and it looks AWESOME!!

I painted D's hands with green paint, and made 12 green handprints on white paper. After the paint dried, I cut out his handprints, and he glued them onto a cardboard wreath (I cut out a wreath shape from a cardboard box and painted it green). Once the handprints were glued, I dipped D's thumb in red paint to make the berries. When the red paint dried, I put a little bit of glue on each "berry" and D sprinkled red glitter on it.

This wreath ended up super cute and is now hanging on our front door. The only downside is that our floor gets sprinkled with glitter everytime the door opens, but it's a small price to pay LOL :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bottle Monster

One of my favorite shows on Treehouse is Mister Maker. He's this guy from the UK who does kid-friendly crafts for a half hour. I get a lot of my ideas from his show, and I have even uploaded some of D's art onto the Mister Maker website ( or

Anyway, Mister Maker showed the kids how to make "bottle monsters" and I thought it would be something fun to try with D.

What you do is take any color paint and add a bit of water to make it a little more runny. Pour it into a plastic bottle (I used a 1L Pepsi bottle), put the lid back on, and shake it up until the paint coats the whole inside of the bottle. Once the inside is coated, unscrew the lid and turn the bottle upside down over a styrofoam cup so that the excess paint dribbles out. I left the bottle upside down overnight.

Cut out face shapes, eyes, mouth, nose, horns, etc. from contruction paper and glue onto the bottle. If you're feeling extra crafty you could glue on other stuff like playdoh or egg carton bumps for a little more oomph! D likes to thrown his bottle monster around, so I just had him glue pieces of paper on :)

Egg Carton Caterpillar

This is one easy to do craft that you can do anytime...and it kept my little guy quiet for quite some time!!

Basically, you cut an egg carton in half vertically so you have a line of 6 bumps. I cut the other half of the egg carton into lines of 2 bumps to make "baby caterpillars" too. Give your munchkin a bunch of different paints and a paint brush, and let them go to town!! Or you can just color with markers or crayons (but that won't really work on a styrofoam egg carton)

For extra embellishment, add some glue and glitter!

After he was done painting, D drove his caterpillars around like cars LOL. Then he ripped the big guy up, so I have more babies and no "mommy" caterpillar...but that's ok :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dried-out Marker Craft!!

Don't throw out your old, dried-out markers!!! Just take a coffee filter and a cup of water and make a fun, colorful window decoration!! Just dip the marker in the water and color the coffee filter. Super easy and lots of fun!!

My markers aren't dried out, but I still wanted to make this craft, so I let d color the filter with the markers, and then dribbled water on it to make the colors run. If I had a spray bottle I would have used that, but I didn't. LOL.

Hang to dry, then hang it in the looks really cool!!

Outer Space Painting!

Outer Space pictures are super easy to make and there are soooo many ways to make them. In this craft, D and I just used paints and different colored construction paper.

First step, dip a paint(or tooth)brush in white paint that has been slightly watered down. Use a popsicle stick or a piece of cardboard to brush against the bristles to make the stars on a black piece of construction paper (with D I just showed him how to shake the paintbrush. It worked jsut as well!)

Cut out planets from different colors of contruction paper, and have your kids paint spots or designs on them.

Once the paint is dry, glue them onto the black sky covered in stars.

Voila! An outerspace picture!! Super easy and super cute!! :D

Pop Bottle Rocketship!

Even though Christmas is sneaking up on us, I don't want to get too Christmas craft crazy, so I was trying to think of something else fun and cute to do. Then it hit me! Pop bottle rocketships! There are a few different ways you can make a rocketship with your kiddies, but I chose the messiest way...PAINT!! I put a smock on D and gave him a try with different color paints on it with a big paintbrush and let him go crazy. He ended up painting his leg, hand, and forehead also, but it kept him happy for about 20 minutes LOL. Once his rocketship dries I am going to let him play with it and show him how to let it soar through the sky!! I am also going to put some beads or dried beans inside to make a rocketship shaker!!

Another way you could make the rocketship is to use glue and tissue paper; spread the glue all over the bottle and cover it with ripped up pieces of tissue paper. When the glue dries, use a black marker to make windows and other little details if you want.

Or, you could mix the paint with a little bit of liquid glue, and pour it in the bottle itself, and have your kids shake it until the inside of the bottle is coated. Turn the bottle upside down over a cup and let the paint dry. Again, use a permanent marker to make details on the bottle.

It's a cute and fun craft for a child of any age! :)

**In this picture, D is painting his rocketship**

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Frankenstein Halloween Bucket

I wanted to make a bucket for D's first trick-or-treating Halloween...originally I wanted to make a pumpkin, but when I sat down to do the craft I realized I was pretty much out of orange tissue paper...but I had plenty of green, so I decided to make a frankenstein!! It was pretty simple...all I did was glue a piece of tissue paper onto an ice cream pail, I drew on a mouth and some scars with a permanent marker, and I made the eyes out of white construction paper by using a foam letter Q to trace for the eyes to make the pupil.
I also cut a hole in the lid to put candy in. In this pic I don't have the lid on because I had covered the lid using a piece of garbage bag, but the glue was still drying. :)
Making a pumpkin bucket would be even easier, just cover the pail with orange construction paper and cut out and eyes, nose, and mouth out of black (or yellow) construction paper and glue on. You could also make a mummy bucket using white crepe streamers, or a witch using green and black tissue paper...just use your imagination!! :)
I tried to have D glue the eyes down, but today he wasn't in the mood to do a craft so I did it for him :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Handprint Spider!!

Handprint spiders are one of my all-time favorite crafts!! Super easy and super cute!!

I didn't have black paint though, so I made a dark purple color and hoped for the best :).

Paint the fingers and palm of your child's hand (do not paint the thumb). Press down on white paper.

You can either paint your child's other hand to make the second half of the spider, or just turn the paper over. Whichever you prefer! I used the same hand to make both sides (you may have to add more paint to the hand first!!)

Voila! A cute halloween decoration!!

If you want to make a spiderweb to go with your spider, there are a few options. You could take a piece of black construction paper, and put a blob of slightly watered down white paint in the middle, and either blow with a straw to make the web, or you can place the paper in a tray, and use a marble to roll back and forth through the paint to make the web. :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Handprint Turkey

I usually don't do too many Thanksgiving crafts, but I've always loved the handprint turkeys! They are super cute and super easy to make, and this one D made I glued onto a piece of cardboard that was twice the size of the turkey and bent it over to make a centerpiece.

All you do is paint the palm and thumb of one hand with brown paint, and each of the fingers a different color (I used red, yellow, blue, and orange...but after I painted D's fingers he squished his hand together so his whole hand was pretty much brown LOL). Make a handprint on a piece of construction paper. I used orange, and when the paint dried I cut out the handprint and glued it onto a yellow piece of paper.

Take a crayon and, if your child is older, have them draw a beak, legs and a gizzard (I think that's what it's called LOL). For the eye, I just used a white and black crayon, but googly eyes work too. If you're feeling extra crafty, have your child glue different colored feathers on each of the fingers, or add some colored glitter!

Voila! A fun, cheap, cute, and easy Thanksgiving craft!! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Leaf Wreath

One of the best things about Fall is all the leaves on the ground!! of the best/worst things about me is I hate I don't do much with leaves from outside LOL...BUT that doesn't mean you can't make fun fall crafts!!

If you google Easy Fall Crafts, one of the most common results is a leaf wreath. It's simple and fun...but I like to make them a little more personalized. Instead of using leaves...I traced D's hands and feet onto red, orange, yellow, and brown construction paper and cut them out. I put glue on a cardboard wreath I cut out and D put the "leaves" on the glue. Note: I taught D to hit the shapes when he put them on the glue. He has a blast smacking his crafts and when he's done they are all stuck down LOL.

D's wreath is hanging on our front door now and I point it out whenever we are coming in from outside. It's soooo cute! And...we look festive :).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cake Decorating!

Got a birthday coming up?? Make a cake and let your kid(s) decorate it!! It's super simple, and the kids have a blast doing it...and it makes them feel pretty proud when their cake comes out all lit up with candles!!

For my mother's birthday, instead of baking one rectangle cake I made 2 circle cakes and had 2 of my neices, K and B, decorate it. Each girl got their own container of frosting, and a huge assortment of sprinkles to decorate with. They had a blast decorating, and when the time came for cake they made sure that each person knew who had decorated what cake (although by that time neither one could remember which cake they decorated and they actually pointed out the other girl's cake as their own LOL). The bigger people at the party told the girls how awesome their cakes looked and should have seen their smiles!!

Handprint/Footprint Ghosts!!

I LOVE Halloween!! I love making Halloween crafts and decorations! It is one of my favorite holidays :)

I have been making Halloween crafts with D since the beginning of September. Mostly the crafts are pretty simple...for example, I cut out a pumpkin shape in white paper and D painted it orange, or I cut out a pumpkin shape in orange paper and cut out black shapes for him to glue on to make a Jack-o-Lantern.

Buut! One of my favorite crafts we did together was the handprint/footprint ghosts. It's super simple and super cute!!

Paint one hand and one foot with white, washable, paint. Make a handprint and a footprint on a piece of dark paper (I used black for this one), or you could use 2 different pieces of paper. If you use the same paper, make sure that the fingers and toes are pointing in the same direction!

When the paint dries, use a black marker to draw a face on the ghosts...if your child is older then have them do it!

You could use glitter to embellish your picture if you want. I chose not too because D is pretty young, and with the paint I had a pretty big mess anyway LOL.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Walking Painting

This is one of my FAVORITE art projects to do. Basically, I take a huge piece of paper and tape the corners down on the floor (otherwise the paint will stick and the painting will be smudgy and baby will fall)...I always put a tablecloth on the floor and tape it down too. Take your baby (he/she doesn't need to be walking on their own yet!) and paint their feet. I painted one of D's feet blue and the other red. Then I let him walk all over the paper leaving footprints. I also painted his hands to make handprints. Super messy but super fun! D was 11 months and already walking when I did this with him, but again you don't have to wait until baby is walking to make a fun picture. :)

Homemade Finger Paint

I love using finger paint with kids because, just like the pudding paint, they can squish feels goopy and fun LOL...and if you don't want to spend the money to buy finger paint, you can find simple, and cheap, recipes online.

The one I use most is:

3 cups water

1 cup cornstarch

food coloring

Boil the water and add to cornstarch in a separate bowl. Stir until clear and smooth. Divide into separate containers and add food coloring. Leftover paint can be stored in air-tight containers also. :)

This paint is simple and easy to clean...the only problem with it that I find is that when the paint dries the paper curls up and the paint starts flaking off. I still use it for rainy days and such when I just need D to be quiet!!

In this pic, I have my two neices finger painting. Note: Don't be silly like me...make sure that the kids are wearing smocks!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Edible Playdough

I think playdough is a great creative toy for kids!! They can make balls, snakes, food, people, snowmen...anything!! But...who here hasn't played with playdough with a child and not have them sneak a bite or two?? True...most playdough is non-toxic...but it's salty...and if they eat too much they could get sick. I searched the internet for hours trying to find edible playdough that was peanut-free and easy to make. I found this recipe:

1/3 cup margarine

1/3 cup corn syrup

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 lb powdered sugar

-mix until smooth. add food coloring. play :)

When I made this for D I did not have enough powdered sugar so I added some oatmeal. It was still pretty sticky but he had fun playing with it. He was just under a year old...he ate a bit but was more interested in how it felt and the stickiness. I am a curious kitty and I had to try a little for myself. It was delicious!!

When D was done playing I wrapped it in cling wrap and kept it in the fridge. I threw it out after the second time playing...but not because it went bad...just because it had fingers in it and had been licked and stuff so it was kinda gross LOL.

Spaghetti Worms!

When I worked in the 2 year old room at the daycare, we made spaghetti worms for the kids to play with. They LOVED it!! Basically to make these, I over-boiled spaghetti noodles until they were super soft. After draining, I used food coloring to make a wormy color and mixed it with the noodles. When they cooled, I put some on D's highchair tray and added a bit of water to make them slimy. He LOVED it! He squished the "worms" in his fingers and then started dumping them on his head. The best part? They are edible so it wasn't a fight to stop him from eating the worms LOL.

D was just under a year when I gave him the worms to play with. I probably could have given him the worms sooner, but I wanted him to play with them more than eat them :)

Pudding Painting!!

One of my favorite things to use in crafts is food!! Not only can kids be creative, but they can taste their art too. It's fun and messy and delicious!

I first had D paint with pudding when he was 11 months old...I don't know why he used actual paint before I gave him pudding paint...but oh well.

In this picture he was using butterscotch pudding, but other times I gave him vanilla pudding, separated, and put in a few drops of food coloring to make different colors. The best paper to use for pudding painting is the white glossy stuff, because otherwise the pudding leaks through the page, but if all you have is plain ol' paper don't let that stop you!! :)

Other "edible" paints you can use is sweetened condensed milk, applesauce, or jello (just add half the gets goopy and sticky)

Well Hello There!


So, the truth is, I watched Julie and Julia...and it made me want to start a blog. I considered being a copycat and making a cooking blog...but honestly I really don't enjoy cooking all that much...and I especially don't like cooking things that could easily end in I started thinking about things that I enjoy doing that might be interesting to other people...and I came up with crafts. I LOVE doing crafts with son is now 17 months old and I have been doing arts and crafts with him since he was about 10 months old.

Honestly...I am a firm believer that you should just sit a kid down with a whole whack of fun stuff and let them go to town and get their creative juices flowing...however...D is only 17 his crafts are a little more structured...but I still let him go to town for the most part. I just have to do the cutting and gluing for him LOL. One of my biggest peeves, though, is people who make displays and have the kids make a carbon copy of a craft. Kids need to be encouraged to be creative and use their helps to build their self-esteem.

D's art is displayed all over the house. Sometimes we walk around to each picture and I tell him what an awesome piece of artwork it is...and should see his little face light up! He may be young...but he's as proud of his art as I am :)
**Picture of D's first painting when he was 10 months old :)**