Kids Archive

Ho-Ho-Homade Ornaments

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salt dough 2Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving was so late, or maybe it’s because this is our first holiday season in a cold environment, but we cannot wait for Christmas this year! I’ve been itching to do some crafts, and I figured the day after Thanksgiving was the perfect time since there was no way you’d find me heading to the mall.

Now, I consider myself a fairly crafty person. I love doing crafts, but I’ll admit I don’t love doing them with my kids. I have a low tolerance for glue and paint in all the wrong places. But I also know it’s good for them to get creative and for me to step out of my comfort zone, so this Black Friday, it was all about family crafting.

snowmanFirst up were the Melted Snowmen ornaments. I forget where I first saw these, but I filed it away in my mind a long time ago. You fill plastic (or glass, if you’re brave) ornaments with salt, add some peppercorn “coal,” and carrots and sticks made of polymer clay. Sculpting the clay parts was the most time-consuming step, but even that went pretty fast. A few minutes to bake and cool, then everything got added to the globes. (Hint: Use a funnel for the salt!) The whole project took less than an hour.

Next: salt dough ornaments. I turned to the interwebs for a good recipe, but everything I found was different, and people reported different levels of success. I lucked out on my choice, though. The dough worked beautifully, and the end result feel more like bisque or stone than baked dough. Here’s the recipe I used:

salt dough2 cups flour

1 cup salt

3/4 cup warm water (plus more if it’s too dry–I needed just a bit more)

Mix together with a spoon then knead until smooth.

I rolled mine out to 3/8″ then we used various cookie cutters to make our designs. Remember to add holes for hanging!

Bake at 200 degrees for two hours. (I put mine on parchment paper, but the bottoms wound up still damp so I had to put them back in without. Next time I’ll skip the parchment.)

The colored ones were stamped with regular stamp-pad ink before they were baked. We planned on painting the other ones, but I think we might leave some blank because the stone-look is so cool.

(In case you’re wondering, I ordered the Minecraft and Starbucks cookie cutters from a seller on Etsy.)

The day wasn’t without mishaps. My 2-year-old spilled a whole bottle of peppercorns on the floor (those things can roll!) and I wound up vacuuming four times. But we had so much fun, I just might declare every Black Friday “Ornament Day.”

What are your favorite ornaments or holiday crafts to make with kids?

 

Unofficial Product Review: Pink Rubber Frog From the Floor of Home Depot.

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Product: See title.
Manufacturer: I don’t know but it might as well have been Jesus himself.
Uses: Everything.

Liam found this gem on the floor of Home Depot when I was picking up some mulch. It is a very very soft rubbery pink frog about the size of a quarter that was laying in a puddle of filthy water, just waiting for some grubby small hands to snatch it up while an adult voice echoes in the background, “Noooooo! Get out of that water!!!!”.

At first glance it seems to be another piece of crap that will end up on the floor of your car, in that awkward space between the counter and the fridge, or clogging up your vacuum. But no my friends. Don’t judge. This small frog will make your day about as smooth as it can be with a spirited, stubborn, and determined toddler. This frog can be rolled between fingers, causing your child to actually SIT IN A CHAIR while eating breakfast. It can be used as a bribe to get on the potty and pee before leaving the house. When dangled along the driveway, it can be used to lure the child in a *gasp* timely fashion to the car. While in the car, the sunlight shining in from the window makes sparkly reflections off it’s pearlescent back and onto the vehicle seat, distracting the child from kicking on the 5 minute drive to Target. While in Target, the frog fits perfectly in the fingers of the child, and hops from pack of toilet paper to pack of toilet paper, then along the wall, all throughout the store. Being so small and rubbery, it’s limbs can get caught on the metal shelving, causing a leg to rip off. Instead of tears, this causes a whole new interest of trying to do toddler “surgery” to get it back on, all while riding quietly in the cart. Once back in the car, now the body and the severed limb make not one but TWO shiny spots!! At home, it can be placed on the very top of a dresser, and used to bribe the child into a nap with the promise of burying it in the sand at the park later. It also works as a bribe to take a bath, get jammies on, and get in bed because it has magically developed the ability to speak (but isn’t it weird that mama’s lips are moving too?). This frog trumps every $50 toy your child will ever own.

Folks, this is a quarter sized pink rubber bribe. For free. Aside from the potential biohazard of the puddle it was originally found in, and the fact that it’s conveniently the size of a child’s windpipe….but hey, we all have to take risks for our sanity, right?

Next time you’re at Home Depot, check all the puddles that look like sewage. And if you’re not quite ready to commit but may be interested in just a pink rubber frog leg, it’s somewhere in the sandbox in Mint Hill, NC.

This frog will change your life. Or day.

This frog will change your life. Or day.

 

The Great Escape.

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Well, it finally happened. The moment I’ve been dreading for 2.5 years. I’m actually watching it unfold for the millionth time over the baby monitor as I type this.

He learned to climb out of his crib.

It just happened out of the blue one morning. I woke up around 8 (Liam usually wakes up between 8 and 8:30) and went out to the living room. His bedroom door was closed like it always is when he sleeps, so I didn’t think a thing of it. I entered the living room and had a cross between a heart attack and a reflex to kick some arse, because some man was sitting on our couch.

Except that man was 37 inches tall, wearing firetruck pajamas, and playing some cop game on the iPad, totally ignoring me.

With no prior practice or warning, he had climbed out of his bed, shut the door behind him and gone out to play games by himself. That afternoon he climbed out of his crib 4 times and after the fourth time of me saying “No. Go to sleep.” he finally gave in and took a nap. That was a month or so ago and he didn’t try to climb out again after that till Saturday. Saturday he was napping as usual and a couple came by to buy a stroller I had listed on Craigslist. Liam came walking out of his room like it was no big deal, handed the guy his sock, and climbed up in the kitchen chair demanding a snack. From that day on, it has been a battle of the wills. Last night he climbed out of his crib twice at bedtime, the first time catching me eating cake and freaking out that I had kept it a secret and waited till he was in his cage to eat it. This morning I woke up in bed, opened my eyes, and noticed that I had his pillow, Elmo, and 7 cloth diapers piled on my back. Apparently the Escape Artist Fairy had visited me in my sleep before heading to the living room to catch bad guys on the iPad.

As I write this he is standing in his crib, one leg flung over the side, yelling “I WILL get out Mama! I WILL!!”.

I know the solution is to buy him a big boy bed. Which we are, in a few weeks when our tax return comes through. He’s getting the Kura bed from Ikea so I’m hoping the cool factor will help him stay in it. But basically my heart sinks because I know a bed is just going to increase our battles. His crib has been my haven for 2 years. A place I can put him where he can’t get me. He is the most demanding, loud, intense child I have ever met, and the idea of no longer having a place where he lays down quietly and goes to sleep frightens me. Yes, I could put a gate in his doorway but he will just scream on the other side of it and that doesn’t grant me any breaks. It just fries my nerves.

So to the next milestone we go. Bye Bye Crib, Hello Big Boy Bed. Transitions. It’s all about transitions. This whole thing reminds me of car seats. You know the whole, “Each step forward is a step back in safety”? For us it’s, “Each transition forward is a step back in my sanity.”

Just wait. As soon as my eyes open, I will make a break for it.

 

Stroller Update from the ABC Show 2012

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I missed being a stroller gearhead when my kiddos were young enough to use one; guess I could use a stroller for my dog, but, uh, she’s a dog and I won’t embarrass her by doing that. So as we were at the various booths checking out carseats, I asked about strollers if they were there and I also hit some stroller booths on my half-day “off” when we didn’t have appointments. Hopefully you’ll find some new fashions to tide you over!

 

Baby Jogger

All strollers but the POD accept the car seat adaptor, which is designed to fit Chicco, Cybex, Evenflo, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, and Peg Perego infant seats. I was told that the Shadow Black color is being phased out.

City Mini
Colors: black/gray, crimson/gray, blue/gray, sand/stone, green/gray, purple/gray

City Mini GT
Available at independent retailers
Colors: black/black, shadow/green, shadow/orange, shadow/bamboo, shadow/crimson

City Elite
Colors: black, red, sand

City Versa
Colors: black, green, silver, blue, red

City Select
Colors: ruby, onyx, quartz, amethyst

  

Summit X3
Front wheel lock is on handle
Colors: green/gray, black/gray, orange/gray

Front wheel lock on handle

F.I.T.
Colors: slate/black

POD
Colors: orange/gray, crimson/gray