25 October 2011

Apple Orchards and Craft Excitement

This past weekend, my husband, son, and I spent Sunday with my mother and father in law, where we went to a farm near their home that had apple picking, pick your own pumpkins, and some farm animals. We had a blast.

My son had a great time with the pumpkins and spent a good while crawling around them and checking them out. He probably would have been content among the pumpkins for even longer, but since it was one of the first things we did (after eating), I wanted to make sure he had a chance to look at the animals (and that we had a chance to get some apples!). It was great to see him so excited; at just 15 months old, sometimes it's hard to tell what's going to hold his interest. But the pumpkins and animals certainly did! I did have to work at keeping him from picking the goats' noses, though, since everytime a goat stuck his head through the fence to check us out, my son would go straight for the nostril. Unfortunately, he couldn't really reach the pigs, because they were all piglets and too small to get close enough for us to reach.

My father in law found us a little apple and A wasted no time in digging right into it, managing to polish off a good chunk of the apple by the time we were finished filling our bag. He passed out in the car when we left and slept the whole way home (1 1/2 hours). Of course, this meant at bedtime, mommy was exhausted, but A was not. My wonderful husband gave me a reprieve when it was clear that A wasn't going to bed any time soon - the guys went out to the livingroom to play, read, and have a snack, and mommy passed out until A was ready to nurse and go to sleep for real. We've decided that this is going to be an annual event, and I hope that the rest of the in laws will join in next year.

And along the crafting vein, I'm still on a craft kick, so I think it's really going to stick around. Which I'm glad for, because I just keep finding more and more projects to work on.

My sewing machine came today, so I can start working on the Wipes Container/Toddler Toy project. I figure this will be a GREAT introduction to the sewing machine, as it really won't matter of I don't do perfect stitches on the cloth, since I'll mostly be hemming the squares to keep them from fraying.

Last weekend and the weekend prior, I managed to gather the majority of the materials that I'm going to need to start working on the quiet book.

I also found the perfect present for my mother in law if I can pull off actually making it, and some cool homemade popsicle stick bracelets that I might attach to my nieces' and nephew's gifts. I also found some great directions for homemade bath fizzies, so I am hoping to have some really personalized, heartfelt gifts to give this year. I always try really hard to buy things that people will like, but this just seems so much warmer and meaningful - if I can pull it off!

18 October 2011

Arts, Crafts, and Fun

Lately, I've been getting big into do-it-yourself projects. In the past few weeks, we've found a few simple (and cheap!) ways to have fun with my son, and I've been starting to get revved up about trying to do some homemade crafts, some of which I hope to do for my son for Christmas (either this coming one or in the future) - and maybe even some for my nieces and nephew.

So far, our homemade flour finger paints and dyed ice cubes at bathtime have both gone over very successfully. For the finger paints, I actually doubled the recipe on the website, and have 3 decent-sized containers (red, yellow, and blue) stored in my fridge. They've kept well for several weeks so far, and we've had at least 4-5 fingerpainting sessions with them, where I've filled a 1/2 dozen egg carton with paint. It washes off easily, and flakes off once it's dried.

The dyed ice cubes idea I got from a mom friend. My husband had a brilliant idea, since small ice cubes will melt in the warm tub water quickly; we used a small tupperware (about the size of 1-2 cups of water) and froze it up with some food dye in it. This has now become a weekly tub treat.

I've been adding them to my Pinterest account, so that I have an easy to find place for them. My first three crafts are two small projects and one HUGE project.
Turning a Wipes Container into a Toddler Toy
Felt Envelopes
Quiet Book (aka the "HUGE" Project)

I'm looking at getting a sewing machine, because I want to start making other felt toys as well.

I've been getting into do-it-yourself projects for around the house as well. Recently, I made my own dishwasher detergent, thanks to this recipe. So far, it's done a great job of keeping the dishes clean, and we've done away with the $3-4 bottle of detergent that we need to replace every 2 weeks. It was quick to mix up, and the supplies we got will make many batches (or may even start getting used for other cleaners). This will be a great cost savings for very little effort. The only "inconvenient" part is that the mixed batch sometimes needs a good shaking before spooning some out, since it can clump.

My next do-it-yourself for the home is to set up a family command center that can serve as a memo board, place to keep the shopping list, a calendar, etc. I just have to find a wall in my home that I can hang things on without them falling out that is in a central location. My entryway just doesn't want to hold up the things I try to nail to the wall....