Friday, April 20, 2012

Play Foods

It all started with Tyler pretending to cook in the bathtub. It makes me think of Kramer cooking in the shower on Seinfeld! 

Tyler wants to be a chef someday - his phrasing - and so we would pretend to make some kind of soup in his various bath toys while he took a bath. Sometimes we'd pretend to plant a garden first, to have our own vegetables. You should always try to include a little learning in every game, right?

Eventually he wanted to make pizza in his bathtub kitchen. I helped out by bringing a few spring-form pan bottoms to the tub for pizza pans. We talked about how real pizza restaurants toss the dough in the air to stretch it out before they add toppings. His bath toy storage fish became the oven.

As you can imagine, we ended up with imaginary phone calls for pizza orders and Tyler wanting to play restaurant all the time. Here he is at our first out-of-tub kitchen set up.

Now we play in the bedroom, and a drawer under his bed is the new oven. He takes orders by phone and drives them to delivery spots all over town. (We also pretend to drive around town for Tyler's Woodworking Business. That Black and Decker workbench gets a lot of use now that people want their pool chairs fixed in time for Summer!)

I realized that we needed some food props for our cooking play time. Not wanting to invest in a bunch of store bought play foods, I thought of Sunday school felt play stories and thought "Hey, I have felt from crafting, and I can make that into lots of things." I've had a lot of fun cutting out the shapes. There are 12" tan pizza crusts, 11" red pizza sauce circles, and assorted toppings. Even calamari.

The play cash register he got for his birthday makes running his pizza shop (and other business ventures) even more fun and educational, although it will be a while til we reach the making change level of math!

Tyler's kitchen supplies include empty juice and milk containers, ketchup and mustard bottles, assorted utensils, some stainless steel bowls, tupperware and oven mitts. He got a wooden food set for his birthday: a clearance set I scored on at JCP! You don't have to spend a lot to have a kid's kitchen up and running!

The top of the toy box now serves as a cooking stove. The floor is the pizza prep area. An inexpensive pencil case holds the felt food items when we're not using them. I think other food items are not far off in our future.

We have made and colored several menus and he has a small notebook to take your order. I think yarn for spaghetti will be next. We can get a little practice with his scissors while making that.

Until next time!

New Flooring

With allergies, sometimes you have to do things without knowing how you'll finish it. Like tearing out carpeting when you have no money for new flooring. This is what we did this week in Tyler's room. My daughter and I tore up all the carpet, the padding, the tack strips and got down to the cement floor. No more dust mite ridden (and stained) carpeting, but cement is not a kind surface for a three year old boy who likes to flop down on his knees or fall and pretend to be dead after a sword fight.

What would we do? I considered the cheapest possibility: linoleum. That meant fumes from glue and trying to wrestle a big sheet of it, cutting around corners etc. Not what I want to deal with right now. I knew there had to be an easier answer. And there was!

Util-A-Mat Commercial Grade Reversible Floor Mats, 8 - 24" x 24" TiilesThese foam floor tiles from Sam's Club are interlocking and they are for safety/anti-fatigue. Cushiony underfoot. No glue or anything. And they are 2 feet square! I could have put the primary color sides up, but went with the dark grey side instead. I used an acrylic quilting ruler and a box knife and was able to cut around the closet and walls to fit these easily. Less than $22 a pack and it took only 4 packs to cover all the floor space including closets. What a deal, right?

Tyler likes them so much, he wanted to sleep on the floor that first night. Ha!

Two of the sides on these tiles are straight edged, but you can pull off a narrow strip to reveal the interlocking shapes. This left me with a pile of narrow strips that were puzzle pieced down one side. I was wondering how I'd store them without them getting torn up or bent, but Tyler knew just what to do with them! He started fitting those long strips into pairs and hammering them into place with his Black and Decker kids hammer. He said he was making swords. He thought of this all on his own!   I am impressed.

A little work the past few weeks with jigsaw puzzles and he has a whole new hobby! These are the Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles in a box. Dinosaurs. We put them together over and over. Then we talk about what kind of dinosaur is in the picture and what they eat. Mostly he is telling me, thanks to the show "Dino Dan" on Nick Jr.

So now we have a safe, cushy, hypo-allergenic floor for his room. I hope this gives some of you an idea of what to do in your play room or kids room!

Fun Stuff Fridays

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

We had a very busy day yesterday. Everyone in town seemed to be having Easter Egg Hunts, and it was also Kids' Clinic Day at Home Depot again.

Funny story: I took a few minutes to run into Home Depot the other day for a new shower head. I was alone, which is so rare. After nap time, Tyler noticed that the old shower head was missing and asked why. I said "Nana bought a new shower head today," and he burst into tears! He said "you went to Home Depot without me!!!"  I laughed because he knew which store without me saying and it was such a child/man response. I comforted him with the promise that he'd be at Home Depot this Saturday making a bird feeder and we would give it to his great, great grandmother for Easter.

Here he is with his newest creation. Honestly, this project was way too hard for his age. I had to do all the nail hammering. You are putting several layers of wood together and it is just not possible for a 3 year old to hammer that hard. But he liked decorating it!

Did you make it to a Kids Clinic in your area yesterday?

Before Kids Clinic we went to the Easter Egg Hunt put on at our favorite new park. Many (or all, I'm not sure) of the churches in Beulah got together to provide carnival type games and food and balloons, etc. All Bible based and there was a huge turn out.

He had a blast. He even got his face painted. He wanted to be the Easter Bunny. I was impressed that this girl, who is probably 10?, did the painting. Not bad either.

After bowling for candy, reaching in a big fish mouth for money, and trying the bean bag toss twice, we did the toddler egg hunt, got a balloon from the Easter Bunny and it was time to head off to Home Depot.  I had boiled eggs before we left so we could decorate after nap time.

This is the method we used for dying our eggs. It was a lot of fun, especially since we started off by searching the yard for tiny leaves to use on our eggs. 

You cut some nylons into 6 inch pieces, place a leaf on the egg, slide it carefully into the nylon section, pull the ends of the nylon around to the back and rubber band it tightly. You use warm water, white vinegar and food coloring drops to make the dye. We counted the drops, so math and chemistry were part of the fun too! Then let them soak about 5 minutes, carefully unwrap, and you have a leaf motif on the front and a star pattern on the back where the tie was!

This was so easy and so much fun for us, I think we might want to do this any time we need hard boiled eggs!

If you don't already subscribe to Family Fun, I highly recommend it. I started getting the mags when my kids were little. There are many great craft memories because of this Disney publication! I'm not getting compensated in any way for telling you this either.

You can subscribe digitally, or get the magazine in the mail, but they'll also send the digital version too.

I have to include my all time favorite Easter cartoon.

Happy Easter everyone! Make some memories today! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dress Up Storage and the Schnibble that Almost Was...

This is the project I've had in mind for a few months. Now it is reality! Tyler is so pleased, he immediately started moving all his costumes and hats in and he wanted it kept in the living room so he can play with it daily. (There really is not much more room in HIS room, so now it is in the public domain.) That is a closet sized dowel for hanging outfits on. Plenty of room for the knight outfit, chef outfit, firefighter and others that I am behind on making, right?

I owe all the construction and painting credit to my husband and to Tom, future stepson-in-law and the stepdaughter, Van, too. Great job people! This Storage unit cost about $30 without the wheels. I already had the quart of paint.

Have you ever built anything from Ana White's blog or website? She has such good directions and even tells you what the cost should be. You could build your own Pottery Barn type furniture, if that is your style! If I get a granddaughter some day I will be putting this in the works for sure. The cutest play kitchen!

We had previously built Tyler a very sturdy bookcase for his room, and it is so nice, I decided to go with the wardrobe on wheels and we painted it the same gray as the bookcase. I have not decided if I will stencil something on the side yet. Ideas? Probably his name at some point.

Its been rainy and polleny here for weeks. Not good outdoor weather for us, although I sure wish it was, cause soon enough it will be VERY hot and humid. If you have no allergies, you should get down on your knees and thank God every day. Anyway, we have been doing more play time with paints and pirate sword fighting etc, so it is still fun! 

How's this for fun? Mama drew the goatee and big curly mustache on with the washable markers. I had been drawing him a mustache with black eyeliner. Yes, that is a black eye at the edge of his left eye. Poor kid is full throttle all the time, and not always looking where he's headed. 

In other news, I got a very late start on the March Schnibble pattern, Bibelot. Like, it arrived on the 26th and I got all the blocks finished on April 1, after the Parade of Schnibbles deadline. Oh well. It will get done soon. Will I order the next pattern in time for April's deadline? Only time will tell with my crazy life right now!

 I used a charm pack of Modern Workshop prints. I know I should have ordered 2. I thought I could wing it with my leftover Spirit charm squares, but there is not quite enough for the border pieces. I'll have to cut into the few Modern Workshop fat quarters I have or improvise. Also, this will be narrower than Carrie's pattern because it was too wide for the back of my door, and that is where it is going. Afternoon sun is blinding without a nice quilt over the windows.

Did you make it into the Schnibbles Parade? Or at least get Bibelot finished? A month seems like so much time at the beginning, and not so much when it is half over and your project is still in your head, doesn't it?

This weekend is Easter. It should be the start of a busy week with family coming to visit here. I wish you all a Happy Easter and hope you'll leave me a comment about any of my topics!

Fun Stuff Fridays