Fun Friday – Crayon and Sandpaper Iron-On Transfers

I am notoriously bad at crafts.  I think Pinterest is the devil because my crafts NEVER turn out the way they should, regardless of how easy someone claims the project is.  As such, I have just about given up trying homemade things lately.pinterest 2

However, I discovered a website (The Crafty Collaborative) that features several daring women who try out various crafts and recipes and then let you know the honest scoop on how “easy” they really are!  You get pros and cons from multiple ladies who are testing out the same craft so you know if it really is something worth trying!  I appreciate this on so many levels!

Their most recent art project was making a homemade iron-on design using only sandpaper and crayons!  This looked like a legitimate project to me and the ladies all testified that it was, so my kids and I sat down to attempt it too.

*To try this yourself, you will need the following items:

  • Crayons (old crayons would work great because they will get worn down on the sandpaper)
  • Sandpaper
  • An Iron
  • Paper Towels
  • A plain t-shirt, tote bag, pillowcase, etc. that you can put a decal on

I love that the materials for this project are all things that you probably have just lying around the house!  Cheap and easy? YES, PLEASE!

The kids sat down and colored a design on their individual sheets of sandpaper (we used the thin grit so it was easier to color on).

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

When they were finished, I flipped the paper over, lined it up on an old white t-shirt, and ironed it on.  It only took about 5 seconds to get the picture on the t-shirt!  Then, I put a paper towel over the t-shirt picture and ironed a few times to get the excess wax off.

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

Voila; new art shirts for school (we purposely tested this out on daddy’s old t-shirts because they would be used for messy art projects anyway and I was still a little skeptical of the outcome, given my history of crafting).

showing off their shirts

showing off their shirts

You do have to push down on the crayons a little harder than usual to make sure that the picture is really bright on the sandpaper or the picture will be faint (notice that my son’s shirt is not nearly as bright in certain spots because he didn’t color as hard).

And, if you want to put any words or numbers in the picture, you have to remember to write them backwards on the paper or they will show up backwards on the shirt.  My son forgot that rule and had to adjust his picture accordingly (BUT MOM, HOW DO YOU DRAW A FOOTBALL PLAYER WITHOUT THEIR NAME AND JERSEY NUMBER?! – a question that should have been asked before he started drawing seeing as though I only had 2 pieces of sandpaper at that time), which is why his looks a little wonky – he tried to turn the numbers/letters he drew into helmets on a football field, but he gets his artistic ability from his mama so it is what it is.

The whole point of my rambling is that the project was SO simple and required very little preparation, no specialty tools, little to no money, and very little work on my part – HOORAY!  pinterest 1It is definitely something that I would recommend trying with your kids the next time they get “bored” or if you need a cute gift for a grandparent or family member.

Thanks The Crafty Collaborative for reviewing this fun idea so that I was brave enough to try it myself!

Advertisements

The Wiggles (Yes, I Can Point My Fingers And Do The Twist)

beauty mate

beauty mate

had to also include greg too, because even though he got sick before big trouble was born, my kids remember him.

had to also include Greg too, because even though he got sick before Big Trouble was born, my big kids remember him and we still watch old episodes.

Ok, the title of this post either made you smile or made you cringe.  I know the feeling.  Right now, The Wiggles are Big Trouble’s obsession.  Do they sometimes get annoying?  Yes.  Could it be worse?  ABSOLUTELY (see his previous use of torturous kids shows)!!!!  So I’m not going to complain.

I actually catch myself singing along and dancing like an idiot with them without even realizing it and Big Trouble laughs like the combination of his crazy mother and 4 Australian guys and their pals are the best thing ever.  That works for me.  (sidenote:  I haven’t seen much of the new Wiggles, which includes a girl but I’m pretty sure I will still prefer old school Wiggles – I think I like to see guys making fools of themselves for kids more, but I’ll reserve judgment)

Big brother dancing at a Wiggles concert in 2008

Big brother dancing at a Wiggles concert in 2008 (yes, we went to Wiggles Live!)

I am woman mom enough to suck it up and let him enjoy the Wiggles, even going so far as to continuously put the same On Demand episode on repeat and check out dvds from the library so he always has some available.  (another sidenote:  young Anthony was not nearly as handsome as old Anthony – he aged really well!  Now you know how pathetic my life has become because I am commenting on the attractiveness of a Wiggle….hanging head in shame.)

I think of all of the shows out these days, I can tolerate the Wiggles the best (at least on repeat) so I am kind of grateful that he hasn’t latched onto other, more annoying shows.  But, I know there are others who detest The Wiggles like I detest Caillou.

So, what are your favorite kids’ shows (any other Wiggles lovers out there)? And which ones make you want to stab yourself in the eyes with a fork (uh, hello there, Caillou)? 🙂

It’s Almost Back To School Time….Hooray!

I’m the first to admit that I have been a little slacking in the blogging department this Summer, but I feel like my brain is all over the place between camps and “vacations” and having 3 kids home 24-7, etc.  To say that I have been overwhelmed is an understatement.  However, in just one short week, all 3 kids will be starting school. YES, BIG TROUBLE IS GOING TOO!  They are so excited; I am more excited.drink

This will be the first time in 8 years that I will be home alone without at least one child with me.  I am not exaggerating.  I am never AT HOME without a kid.  Yes, I get to break away with the occasional doctor’s appointment or grocery store trip (sidenote: how sad is it that I look forward to the dentist and taking the car for an oil change because that is my “time off”?!), but if I am at home, there’s always a kid with me, making it virtually impossible to thoroughly clean.   Suffice it to say, our house always looks like a tornado hit it and I AM SICK OF IT.cleaning

So, as I try to survive the last week of Summer, I am reminding myself that I will actually have up to 9 hours of quiet a week.  I have no recollection of what that feels like but it sounds like heaven.  I plan on going on a cleaning spree a la a “Clean House” episode and getting rid of a lot of stuff that the kids will never miss (shhh don’t tell them and they will never know).  Goodwill and other various charities will be the recipients of our goodies and I will smile victorious.

I am hoping these few hours a week will allow me to catch up on all of the things that I have let go over time because I have been too tired or exasperated (maybe even sneak in a coherent blog here or there).  I have BIG plans.  We’ll see.  These plans are contingent upon Big Trouble not getting kicked out of preschool for being big trouble and me actually being able to function without a child around (I sometimes have trouble speaking without the kids around because I am not used to NOT being interrupted so I am fearful that this might carry over to everyday actions).

But, assuming all goes to plan, I will finally have a (semi) clean house and I will also be able to volunteer at the kids’ schools when the classes need parents and I won’t have to ask my husband to take an earlier lunch or drag Big Trouble with me.  These are the days I have been working for over the last 8 years.  And, who knows?  Maybe I will finally find the right part time job that will allow me to get back into the adult world, while still maintaing the balance at home?  One can dream, right?  (This dream goes right under the dream of Big Trouble actually using the toilet instead of just playing with it – Lord, bless his poor teachers.)

Well, I am rambling (which is why it has been hard to actual sit and write a blog these days) but that’s where I am right now.  My kids are starting to grow up.  Part of me misses the baby days (they seriously seem so easy looking back now) but a bigger part of me is excited to see where they are heading and where I am heading.

I am MOTHER; hear me roar….or sigh….ask me

Fun At The Jelly Belly Factory

DSCN3367

by the official Jelly Belly van

While we were in the San Francisco area a few weeks ago, we decided to take the kids for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory.  Now, I must confess that I am not a huge fan of jelly beans in general.  I find the consistency kind of gross and the flavors usually remind me of cough syrup and for those reasons I tend to steer clear of them.  However, sampling all of the flavors at the Jelly Belly factory has changed my mind!

entering the factory/store

entering the factory/store

We got there right when it opened and only had to wait in line a few minute before our tour began.

Ready for the tour

Ready for the tour

They offered us all little hats to wear and even Big Trouble kept his on most of the time (except for when we took a family picture with the giant jelly bean, naturally).

He couldn't be bothered with his hat during the photo op

He couldn’t be bothered with his hat during the photo-op

We got to see each stage of the jelly bean making process (sadly, couldn’t take pictures) and taste a new flavor of jelly beans at each little stop.  The first we tasted was cantaloupe and it tasted EXACTLY like cantaloupe!  I was floored at how accurate the flavor was!  We also got to taste plum and marshmallow, as well as 3 more flavors of our choice.  I have to say, they were all pretty tasty, but my favorite was the buttered popcorn!  YUMMY!

Of course, they mentioned that not all of their flavor attempts turn out, but they save these anyway and rename them nasty names and sell them for “fun” (I’m guessing this was inspired by the Harry Potter ‘every flavor beans’ but you know they won’t admit that).  I was not up for trying any gross flavors, but Big Trouble will eat just about anything so he got to try booger, pencil shavings and moldy cheese!  He did not spit them out.  (insert a semi-guilty mom-conscience for allowing him to be the guinea pig for nasty jelly beans, but it was pretty funny)

check out some of the reject flavors

check out some of the reject flavors

Along the way, we also saw some of the cool jelly bean mosaics that have been created over time as the Jelly Belly corporation grew.

hall of presidents

hall of presidents

Ronald Reagan - champion of jelly beans

with Ronald Reagan – champion of jelly beans

We also got to sample some spectacular fudge (who knew they made that too?) and we each received a sampler bag of their most popular flavors, which we shared with other family members.  Might I mention that this entire ordeal was completely FREE?!  Yes, you read that right; it was totally free!

what a great trip!

one more fun shot before we left

I have officially been converted to a fan of Jelly Belly’s and I foresee me purchasing some more of those buttered popcorn jelly beans in the very near future! I will steer clear of the moldy cheese and booger flavored ones though. 🙂

How To Tote a Car Seat Through An Airport Without Losing Your Mind (Or Spending A Fortune)

airplaneI’m the first to admit that the scariest part about flying cross-country with our three young children was thinking about how in the world we were going to get our 2-year-old (Big Trouble) to sit still on the flights.  I mean, he doesn’t sit still at home or nearly anywhere else, so why would I even think he would stay in an easily escapable plane seat?  Even though I have never used a car seat on a flight before, I knew I really didn’t have any other options if I didn’t want our flight crew to kick us off the plane.  My tiny “angel” had to be strapped in.

I started asking around and getting ideas from various people and friends and family and while the consensus was that it is a pain to use a car seat on an airplane (yes, it is, when you factor in the narrow aisles and even smaller areas for leg room between the seats while you are trying to set everything up), there are things you can use to get it around the airport without a lot of trouble; everything from specialty bags with wheels, to collapsable luggage carts, to specialized straps that you can buy to attach the seat to a rolling luggage.  The prices ranged from $19.95 to over $100.

Well, there was no way I was going to spend a ton of money when we hardly ever fly, not to mention that a lot of these products had to be ordered well in advance and had numerous reviews citing that they are not as easy to use as they appear so I would need to practice so that I don’t hold up the line at security and getting on and off the plane.  Um, no; having to practice something hardly makes it easy.  But, we had a TON of luggage that would be going with us and there was no way anyone could carry the car seat through the airport.  So, I looked around for an alternative and, guess what?  I found it very easily for $1.50 at The Home Depot.

all of our junk on the "helpful" luggage cart (this did not include the car seat or our three kids so you can imagine the struggles)

all of our junk on the “helpful” luggage cart (this did not include the car seat or our three kids so you can imagine the struggles)

The mystery item that was the secret to my success?  A bungee cord with plastic hooks.  Seriously.  That’s it.  It is an adjustable cord that allows it to go from 24″ to 42″ so it will fit any size car seat and rolling carry-on luggage (no, it was not created especially for this purpose but I had no idea what size I would need so the adjustable worked beautifully).  And, it literally took me about 10 seconds to strap together and less than that to take it apart.  Every time.  Absolute life saver in my book.

perfection

perfection

Just flip the seat upside down, place it on top of the luggage and strap on.  Never had an issue with it sliding or falling off or not wheeling correctly, etc.  And, the cord doesn’t have metal so it’s safe for you, security doesn’t think you are going to use it as a weapon on anyone else, and it’s easily stored in a back pack or the rolling carry-on until the next use.

The car seat worked well for us and Big Trouble was renamed “Just a Little Trouble Because We’re Flying At Awful Times” for the duration of our flights to the West Coast and back home again.

california7

Strapped in and ready for Take Off!

Seriously, if you are flying and need to bring a car seat, even if you just check it at the gate so that there’s no fear of losing it along the way, this is the way to go!!!  Now, if only I could have figured out how to strap Big Trouble to the bigger luggage…..

Getting To Know Us – Part III: Interview with Big Trouble

children-quotes-funnyWell, I said I would try to do this with Big Trouble too, but it didn’t turn out quite as well as I had hoped as he is 2 and could care less what I want.  So, instead of trying to get him to answer my questions, here’s a few of his random thoughts and conversations as they occurred over the last few weeks (with my thoughts added in).

  • The Princess, after smacking Big Trouble in the face with a beach ball: Are you ok, sweetie? (notice she gets all big sistery AFTER hitting him on purpose); Big Trouble: I am better than ok!  (This is his new way of answering questions.  I have also asked him if he is pooping in his diaper and he responds with “I am better than pooping”.  I have a little optimist on my hands….and a big poop machine who often tells me that he is a “grossy, stinky butt and dat’s funny.  No. No, it isn’t).
  • Upon watching his big brother and sister go into a different room so they won’t be bothered by him, he runs after them, bangs on the closed door screaming, “Help! Let me in guys!  Hey, guys.  Open the door. (as though it was a mistake that he was shut out – poor little brother)
  • A conversation with me: “Do you think you would like to pick blueberries with mommy?”Big Trouble: “I love pooberries!” (um, ew – he has also called them boogerberries, so fun!).
  • As I was leaning over to pick up a basket of laundry, I feel a tiny hand on my butt and I hear a little voice say, “Shake your booty. Haha.  Dat’s funny.”  (Yeah, I’m definitely doing something right around here).
  • While playing Family Feud with Big Brother and practicing his juggwing (juggling) skills along with The Wiggles DVD, Hot Poppin’ Popcorn, I overhear this little gem: Big Brother says to him, “tell me something we all know about Brad Pitt.” (I think this may have been an actual family feud question because I’m fairly certain Big Brother has no idea who Brad Pitt is).;  Big Trouble answers: “2 Balls”.  (Yes, my mind went there even though I knew he was talking about juggling the two bouncy balls in his hands and was not remotely referencing Brad Pitt.)
  • While putting a new load of laundry in the washer, I hear the load I just pulled out being dumped on the floor by Big Trouble as he shouts to me, “Don’t worry Mommy, I get them.” (So glad I have his “help” or how else would I get anything done?!).

Getting To Know Us – Part I: Interview With The Princess

Recently I have been coming across a lot of really cute blogs where mothers have asked their kids different questions and had the kids answer honestly.  I thought this would be a fun “experiment” to do with my kids too, so here’s part one!  **Disclaimer – I may randomly add my thoughts to these answers in parentheses so you can know what went through my mind as she answered**

Getting to Know “The Princess”, Age 6

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher, a mommy, and a cashier at Publix (sounds just fine to me)
  • What brings you the most happiness? when I go to Nuberri for frozen yogurt (this is Daddy’s go to place when we have no idea what we are going to do on a weekend – we’ve gone through several customer loyalty cards)
  • When do you feel the most loved? When my Daddy hugs me (apparently, my hugs are not enough?! Hrmphf)
  • What are you afraid of? the dark  (I was surprised at this answer because I would have said she was afraid of thunderstorms as she always goes and hides under a blanket when she hears thunder – this usually leads her to accidentally falling asleep so it may be the thing I look forward to the most on a long Summer day – maybe I am projecting?)
  • If you had one wish, what would you wish for? to be a princess (There is a reason I refer to her as “the princess”)
  • What is the funniest word? potty (I’m just glad she didn’t say anything else)
  • What is the hardest/easiest thing to do? the hardest is to write supercalifragilisticexpialidocious; the easiest thing to do is Kindergarten math (I can attest to the fact that it is hard to type supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…twice.  But, I thought Kindergarten math was pretty hard when I had to help her.  Glad she is so confident.)
  • What is the best/worst thing in the world? worst is seeing a monster and the best is getting to be with a nice family (I love that she is still innocent enough to think that seeing a monster is the worst thing, but wise enough to know how important family is)
  • What makes you mad? when my brothers call me poopy (it definitely is a sore spot with her)
  • What is the meaning of love? happy with heart kissing (I have no idea what this means, but it sounds nice)
  • If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? I would buy the toy cleaning set from ToysRUs so that I could clean the house (I find this answer extremely hilarious because I have an arsenal of real cleaning products here that she is more than welcome to use at any time, yet she has never done it without complaining about how mean I am for making her help)

Getting to know me (THE QUEEN), as told by The Princess

  • What’s my favorite TV show? Real Housewives (It’s not my favorite, but it definitely is a guilty pleasure)
  • What do I drink? Coke (I don’t drink alcohol so this is how I make it through the day with 3 crazy kids.  Don’t judge, especially since I have only had Starbucks twice this month.)
  • What do I eat? taco salads (well, I do enjoy a nice taco salad)
  • What do I do for fun? Take a Nap. (I’m not sure this is considered fun, but I would definitely choose it if given the option)
  • What do I like to read? The Great Gatsby (I just re-read this after seeing the movie – luckily she didn’t give away my obsession with random YA series such as Harry Potter, Beautiful Creatures, The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc…..)
  • What do I wear? jeans and a t-shirt and flip-flops.  You never wear skirts but sometimes you wear dresses. – she says this with disappointment and then a slight hint of hope for the future (I’m very predictable, and apparently sad and pathetic in my choice of clothing)
  • What do I do with my friends? Go out to eat (I am a huge fan of getting to eat AND hold an actual adult conversation for more than 3 seconds)
  • What is my favorite song? Something by One Direction (um, NO.  That would be Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, not some cheesy boy band from Britain that I am constantly subjected to. But, it could be worse; she could have said something by Justin Bieber)
  • What do I do when you’re school? Play with Big Trouble, make him take a nap, and probably go to the playground sometimes. (Yes, that is exactly how I spend my days when I’m not eating bonbons and watching Real Housewives.)
  • What do I do when you’re in bed at night? Help Big Trouble go to bed and watch tv. (This is true on certain nights)
  • What do I dream about at night? Your kids. (Sorry, sweetie, it’s Johnny Depp)
  • What is my favorite store? Target (Not sure this is actually my favorite store, but it is really close to our house and it’s not Walmart so we are there A LOT)
  • What do I buy there? Diapers and Wipes (hoping to delete diapers and add big boy underwear to this list very soon)
  • What’s my favorite thing to do with you?  Take care of me when I am sick. (You know, there really is nothing I enjoy more.  …seriously?  That’s what you picked as my favorite thing to do with you?  Should I take this as a compliment?)

And there you have it.  Stay tuned for thoughts from Big Brother and Big Trouble….if they decide to cooperate. 🙂  Feel free to try this with your own kids!  The answers are always great and surprising!

Summer Camp Recycled Crafts – Part 2

As promised in Part 1, I’ve got a few more “green” crafts from Summer Camp to share with you and here they are!

  • Fabric CD Coasters – At the same local shop we found the old VHS cases (The fantastic Sharing Tree if you live in the Tallahassee area – you can fill a huge tote bag full of scrap/recycled materials for only $5!), we also found bulk used CDs and Fabric Sample booklets.  We used these materials to create fun coasters for the kids to give as gifts.  You simply trace the CD onto the fabric with chalk or a pencil, cut it out, glue it on one side of the CD and cover the fabric with Mod Podge to seal it.  We used small pieces of Duct Tape to cover the hole in the back just to guarantee the liquid wouldn’t seep through there and we placed little foam pieces on the back to raise the coasters off of the table a little.  So easy and with so many fabric choices available (even from old shower curtains, drapes, towels, etc., that you have lying around the house), the possibilities are endless if you want to match them to your home decor or create as a gift!
We used all different types of material (from thin satin and gingham to very thick, almost carpet-like fabric)

We used all different types of material (from thin satin and gingham to very thick, almost carpet-like fabric)  These were still wet with glue, but they dried solid and work GREAT!

  • Cereal Box Collages – We cut the front and back cardboard pieces from recycled cereal boxes to use as a mat for creating a collage.  We then let the kids create a theme by using old magazines as inspiration.  The children used animals, fun shaped letters, and other things to create theirs.  This could be a totally free craft to create on a rainy day if you have old magazines, a cereal box (or even a shoe box or mailing box or the back of an old book that is falling apart) and some glue!

    My son decided to go through the magazines and find ads from different products that he recognized and creating a collage of those.

    My son decided to go through the magazines and find ads from different products that he recognized and create a collage of those – ANY theme would work.

  • Cupcake Liner and Egg Carton “Flower Garden” – For the end of the week luncheon centerpieces the second week of camp, we let the younger kids make “flowers” out of cupcake liners, popsicle sticks, and other tiny odds and ends.  We then placed their flowers into egg cartons which they painted green to resemble a patch of grass.  It was really interesting to watch some kids really decorate the inside of their flowers, while others were content to just glue a single button or pom-pom inside and call it a day.  In the end, it was a simple project but also a colorful one that the kids enjoyed.

    Our little "gardens"

    Our little “gardens”

  •  Crystal Light Find-It Game –  I have done this craft with my own kids (as seen in this post) and they had a blast so when we realized that we had enough random materials to let the pre-K and Kindergarten kids make this, we ran with this adapted version.  Instead of soda bottles, we used empty Crystal Light containers that were donated to our class.  We also had a small package of birdseed so we used that instead of rice.  Turns out, both containers and both “filler” items work just fine.  You simply fill the container 3/4 of the way with whatever filler you choose, add random “treasures” (such as lego pieces, foam cutouts, buttons, beads, Barbie shoes, etc. – whatever items will fit in the container) to the top of the filler, seal it with either glue or duct tape, as shown in the picture below, and shake it up good so that the items are mixed into the filler.  *Remember to make a list of the items you will be searching for, just so you don’t forget!*  Now the kids have a game for the house or on the go!
    The birdseed and items to find (pre-shaking)

    The birdseed and items to find (pre-shaking) 

    find it 2

    Our finished product (minus the clue card)

Pet Rocks – As an extra time filler, we brought back the 70’s fad, pet rocks!  All you need is paint, little googly eyes, yarn or confetti and rocks from your yard or garden.  Surprisingly, even the older kids seemed to like this.

I was told that these pet rocks were modeled after the monsters in "Monsters Inc." :)  Very creative.

I was told that these pet rocks were modeled after the monsters in “Monsters Inc.” 🙂 Very creative.

During the camp we also used the fabric samples to create bookmarks and decorative binder clips (although I failed to get a shot of those).  We really enjoyed finding new ways to use left over materials and recycled materials.  Not only did it make crafting less expensive, it allowed us to repurpose items that you might not think could be repurposed.

Thanks again to everyone who helped me with ideas in my original post and I hope you are inspired to try a few of these projects yourself!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday – Legacy

Right now, at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts, there are numerous pieces of artwork created by children from area schools as part of their “Generations” exhibit.  My son was asked to be a part of one of the exhibits based on the theme of “my legacy”.  The children from his school were to create a picture and a poem based on one word that they chose to be their legacy to the world.  I’m proud to say that he chose the word, HELPFULNESS.  I like that legacy.

His legacy: helping the world.

His legacy: helping the world.