Tag Archives: fun with kids

baby / tots creativity decor DIY life

DIY Chalkboard House

Ava says she wants to be a city bus driver when she grows up (or a paleontologist) and now I think we can add interior designer to the list.  She has a recent love for her design apps that let her pick out wall coverings and furniture for little dollhouses – maybe from watching me constantly arranging and re-arranging things around the house.

She also just learned to draw an outline of a house and loves filling in the rooms – see below.

(And yes, that is someone sitting on the toilet upstairs – she also thinks p-o-o-p is quite hilarious).

And me, I’ve been wanting to do something with washi tape (paper craft tape).

I was really inspired by this cute little creation I saw on petitevanou .

I cut out chalkboard contact paper in the shape of a house, stuck it on a closet door, outlined it with washi tape & voila!

(And it doesn’t have to be a house – what does your kid la la love?)

A little house for Ava to decorate over and over again!

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baby / tots creativity DIY

Paper Bag Puppets

Yesterday I got out our giant craft box, handed Ava a bunch of supplies, and watched her create these ‘Ava & Pixie’ paper bag puppets.

I helped by cutting out a few things she requested [hair, ballet shoes, etc] and she did the rest herself.  I think they are pretty cute and wanted to see what kind of paper bag puppets other people were making.  I’d love to see some of your own creations too!

I love this pirate!  By Amanda Formaro on Kaboose

From ‘The Star Wars Craft Book‘ by Bonnie Burton, Admiral “Sackbar”! LOL [via boingboing]

Toothy Guys by Michelle M. of Isle Tri

Rrrribit!  Cute and Simple Froggie from Learning Ideas

I am crazy about this owl made by Denise Sharp.  I think I’m going to buy a pack of brown paper bags today!

life

Portland, We Miss You

I can’t believe it has already been two months since our vacation!  And at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago.  Man, I really miss Oregon.  Our plane hadn’t even landed yet and I was already in love.  We spent two nights [not enough] in Portland and then a quick drive to the Northern Coast for a week of much needed R&R.  We all wished we never had to leave … it’s the sort of place we could happily live for – oh, i don’t know – forever probably.

If you’ve never been to Portland, you should.  It really is a beautiful city and we really needed more time to explore it, but what we did see totally impressed us [and that ain’t easy, folks].  At first I thought maybe I was just enamored because it wasn’t Chicago [sorry, Chitown], but that wasn’t it.  It just felt …. homey – in a very indie vibe sort of way if that makes any sense at all.  It has all the things we loved about Williamsburg circa 2005, but it’s CLEAN and frankly, not trying so hard.  The food truck scene is just beyond any I’ve ever seen and there were so many restaurants to choose from that if we had stayed much longer, I would have gained 20 pounds easy.  We weren’t able to sample too much grub in such a short amount of time, but if you go, please eat at Pok Pok – the food was fabulous and Michael is now obsessed with ‘drinking vinegars’.

Being tourists, we most certainly had to check out Voodoo Donuts.  Um, yum.
Then a walk along the waterfront, smiles, and playing in the fountain.

Then of course we did a little shopping … too many shops, way too little time.  Portland, we miss you and we promise to come back soon.  Next up, Oceanside … ahhhhhhhhhhh.

baby / tots life local

Weekend at the Cabin

Last weekend I planned a surprise getaway for Mike’s birthday.  I wanted something close, something serene … somewhere we could just relax.  I found a secluded cabin just an hour and 15 minutes away from Chicago, nestled on 80 private acres of woodland and spring fed ponds.  I did all the packing and grocery shopping in advance and even picked up two fishing poles [Mike has always wanted to take Ava fishing].  It is amazing how much stuff we had for just a two night/three day stay [most of it for Ava – kids don’t pack light!].  Mike drove us to our destination, guided by “Matilda” [the name we gave our mobile navigation voice] and was pleasantly surprised as we turned down the long private drive to the cabin.

The surroundings were beautiful – lush spring forest, lily pad laden ponds – ahhhhh nature.

While I sorted things out inside the cabin, Mike busted out the fishing poles and he and Ava dug up some worms and headed to the pond.  She caught a baby bluegill on her first cast!  She ended up catching a total of two … Mike, zero.

We kicked off our night by making a fire in the firepit and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.  I thought Ava would love s’mores, but she said she didn’t like marshmallows “with brown stuff”.  She did enjoy waving her marshmallow stick around though!

On Saturday we went exploring [we were only 15 minutes away from the Michigan Harbor Towns on the beachfront] and picked up some local morels and sausages from a farmer’s market.  Ava spent lots of time outdoors and especially loved the tree swing out in front of the cabin.

Saturday night, Mike and Ava headed down to one of the ponds with a flashlight and net and brought back a bullfrog and a tree frog.  [If Ava spots a gnat or fly, she totally freaks out – but frogs and fish, love at first sight!]  She held the treefrog for quite a while and wanted to bring him home with us [um no.].

The next morning, Mike made a stellar skillet breakfast using our fresh morels and some wild onions, scrambled eggs, local bacon, and potatoes.  Yum.  Then he and Ava headed down to the pond one last time and found a few tadpoles.  [Not bringing those home either!]  By the time we had to leave, we were just getting into the rhythm of cabin life [isn’t that how it always is on a vacation … just when you start to relax it’s time to go].

I have a feeling this won’t be our last weekend getaway for the spring/summer.

baby / tots life

I’ve Been a Very Bad Blogger

Yes, I admit it.  Lately I have been a very bad blogger.  I haven’t posted anything in 44 days.  Yikes.  Shame on me.  Now I am going to have to make up for lost time by going on a posting rampage.  I’m not even going to make any excuses for my neglect except to say I was sucked into a black hole or a time warp or something … because motherhood can feel like that sometimes.  Things we have (or make) time for slowly inch their way down the priority list to make room for bigger and better stuff … like …

Learning to ride a tricycle:

Finally being able to pump the swing:

Climbing a tree:

(With Daddy’s help, of course)

Holding a baby lamb:

And planning a weekend getaway … which we are leaving on today.  It is Mike’s birthday weekend [official b-day Monday] and we are whisking him away on a surprise trip so I can’t share any details with you … yet.  XO

baby / tots creativity life

Making Play Dough!

The other day, Ava and I decided to make our own play dough.  I found a no-cook recipe on instructables, gathered the ingredients [flour, salt, water, food coloring], and sat down at the table with a very excited little girl!

I covered the table with some scrap paper and handed her the measured ingredients to dump into the bowl.  Then I gave her the spoon and let her mix it up – her most favorite part of helping me in the kitchen.

Once the dough was thoroughly mixed, I divided it into three lumps [I had to keep adding flour until the dough wasn’t so sticky] and then added the food coloring.  [I would really recommend wearing disposable gloves for this part, unless you want red, blue, and green hands like I ended up having.]  Just keep kneading the dough until the color is blended.

Hooray – play dough!

After I just reminded her to NOT smash it all together.

After I reminded her that once you smash them together, it’s very unlikely to have three separate colors again.

“Oh well, mom.  I’ll just make a rainbow worm.”  And that was perfectly fine with me. :-)

baby / tots life

Winter Picnic

I have spring fever … or maybe it’s just cabin fever, but either way I am longing for sunshine and warm breezes and days spent playing outside.  I guess that’s why Ava and I decided to do something different for lunch the other day.  We had a picnic.

A sheet, little sandwiches, veggies, and homemade blueberry muffins brought a little bit of sunshine to our winter routine.

Ava thought it was pretty cool to not have to sit at the table.  She cleaned her plate and then danced around the room singing, “we’re on a picnic … la la la la la”.  We might have to make this a regular thing.

baby / tots life local

This is What Lunch Looks Like

We try to dine out at least once a week.  If you have children, you know it is not as relaxing as it used to be when you and your significant other got to go out solo.  This is what eating with Ava can look like:

This was our lunch stop at Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen  We thought she’d behave in the booth.  Oh, were we wrong.  And yes, one of those pictures is her UNDER the table.  I guess she wasn’t in the mood for barbecue.  She did however like the live music [the musician even played an old-timey country version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for her] and the old horse they had in the back, that still worked when you put a quarter in!

I was big fan of one of their pieces of art on the wall … made out of old yardsticks.

Despite Ava’s antics, we left with full stomachs and smiles.  Next time we’ll remember to bring along the ipad. [wink]

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