Thursday, June 28, 2012

All About The Kids: Outside Soup

It's SOOOOO hot and humid here right now, but I'm still trying to get the kids (especially Hudson) outside for a least a little while everyday. I've been pinning ideas on Pinterest and just browsing blogs for simple ideas that don't require too much energy. I've also been trying to think back to when I was a kid to remember the creative/imaginative things we would come up with when we were bored.

One of my memories involved making "outside soup" or "nature soup" using everything we found in the yard. We would fill a bucket or bowl with hose water and wander the yard in search of ingredients. It would entertain us for hours. We would make a soup play for a while, dump it out and make a new soup. So much fun!

I figured that it would be a fun activity for Hudson to do this morning while Harper was taking her morning nap before if got too hot outside. We filled his bucket about 1/4 way up with water and then went searching for as many different "ingredients" as we could find in our backyard.

Here is a list to give you an idea of what could be added, but the list could go on and on depending on your surroundings. So many possibilities!

Outside Soup Ingredients
wild strawberries
(We have some of these growing in our yard. Bad for our yard, but awesome for outside soup!)
flower petals

Hudson had so much fun hunting around, adding and stirring the ingredients! We left it outside in the sun to "cook" and he goes out to stir it every couple hours. I tried to incorporate as many different things as possible, as well as, tried to make it as colorful as possible. It was even kind of fun for me and brought back a lot of memories!

So there you have it! A simple outdoor activity to keep those kids busy and keep their imaginations working!

Have a great weekend and stay cool!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fireworks In A Bottle

Once again I've been inspired by a project that I found on Pinterest. Big surprise, I know, but there are so many great ideas floating around out there!

I give you, Fireworks In A Bottle!

This project is all about the kiddos. I love all the sensory bottles I find on Pinterest and thought the kids might like them too. They're basically homemade snow globes using items that you have on hand, such as plastic bottles, beads, glitter, ribbon, confetti, etc. I have a couple different ideas pinned, but since the Fourth of July is just around the corner, I knew I wanted to make my own version of these from No Twiddle Twaddle:

I already had plastic water bottles, red ribbon, white ribbon and silver glitter on hand, but wanted to pick up some blue ribbon and some star confetti. I loaded up the kiddos and we took a trip to Michael's. When I got there I came across a whole 4th of July section and they had some awesome glittery red and blue ribbon for 30% off, so I picked up a roll of both colors. I also grabbed some silver star confetti. Then on the way home, I decided that I didn't want to use the water bottles I had on hand. I wanted to use the square Fiji water bottles, so we stopped at the gas station to get a couple bottles of water. I didn't mind spending the extra couple bucks because Fiji water is my favorite and I was thirsty anyway!

Once we were home, we got to work. First I cut up all different sized ribbon strips. Then I grabbed the rest of the supplies:

red glitter ribbon (Michael's)
blue glitter ribbon (Michael's)
white ribbon (already had on hand)
silver star confetti (Michael's)
silver glitter (already had on hand)
Fiji water bottles
super glue

 Then it was time to fill the bottles with all the goodies.

 Once we were done filling the bottles with "fireworks", I filled them up with water. Oil would work better for keeping the glitter and confetti swirling longer after shaking, but I didn't have any on hand.

Once the bottles were filled with water, I used super glue to seal the lids on to ensure no spillage.

Fireworks In A Bottle!!

Each kiddo has their own bottle of fireworks.

Hudson thinks it's pretty cool! He had lots of fun putting everything in the bottle.

He has a fascination with fireworks and makes all kinds of "firework" sounds when he shakes it! It's kind of funny!

One thing I noticed about the water though (that was also mentioned here on No Twiddle Twaddle); it does start to turn a little pink from the color bleeding off the ribbon. If you took the time to pre-soak the ribbon it might not bleed, but this was supposed to be a quick, easy project, so I wasn't too worried about it. It doesn't bother me..okay, it bothers me a little, but not enough to make new ones! Ha ha!

This was a fun project! I even liked making one! Plus it's a safe way for kids to play with "fireworks"!

Has anyone else made any 4th of July projects or crafts?

I still have a couple more things I want to make before the holiday arrives. We'll see if I have enough time!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Road Trip with Little Kids

About a month ago we took our first long road trip family vacation. We drove down to Dallas to visit some family and just get away for a few days. It was the longest road trip we've taken since having Hudson three years ago. When he was about 13 months, we took a mini vacation to Minneapolis, but we worked out a way to shorted our time in the car by stopping in Sioux Falls to stay the night with my parents on the way there and the way home, so we only ended up being in the car for about 4 hours.

Dallas is around a ten hour drive from Omaha, but when you factor in stops for potty breaks, diaper changes, stretching and eating, it can easily turn it into a thirteen hour drive. I was extremely nervous about being in the car that long with a 3-year-old and a 11-month-old. Hudson was never good in the car as a baby. He would cry non-stop. Once we got a TV in the car, the crying started to ease up and he does much better now. (I always said I wouldn't be one of "those" parents that just puts a TV in front of their kids to keep them quiet, but now that I am a parent and realized how well it works and that sometimes it's the best I can do, I totally have become "that" parent. No judgements please...) Anyway, Harper does pretty good in the car most of the time, so I wasn't too worried about her.

We picked a date and made the plans. We decided to make a stop over on the way to Dallas. We figured it would work best to leave in the late afternoon and stay in a hotel somewhere in between in hopes that the kiddos would get in some sleep time in the car.I was excited to get out of town, but first things first, I needed to find some ideas for entertaining the kids and keeping them happy.

The first place I looked was Pinterest. I had seen some pins geared toward kids and road trips, so that's what I searched. I got some pretty great results including one that turned out to be a total lifesaver! Jordan over at The Fun Cheap or Free Queen has some really awesome tips!!

The BEST tip for me that she blogged about (that never crossed my mind) was making a trip to the dollar store or dollar section of Target before the trip and buying a bunch of "presents" for the kids to open in the car. You can read her entire post here. She even wrapped them in old wrapping paper she had on hand. I thought this idea was BRILLIANT! That was exactly the type of thing I was looking for. Hudson is sort of at that in-between age of not being a baby anymore, but not totally a big kid either, so I wasn't sure how I was going to keep him from having meltdowns. This was it!

I went to the Dollar Tree and picked up some fun things that I knew would be easy to play with in the car and then went home and wrapped them in some leftover birthday wrapping paper. Once we were in the car, I showed Hudson the bag of presents and told him that he would keep getting presents as long as he was being a good boy. It worked like a charm. We gave him the first present about 2 1/2 hours into the trip and then every 2 hours or so, depending on his behavior. He NEVER asked for a present the entire time, but got really excited every time he got to open one. It was awesome!! Here is a look at a few of the presents he got on the way down:

Oh, and I also picked up this Franklin DVD for $5 at Target so that Hudson would have something new to watch to keep him occupied. It's 3 hours long!! He had never really watched Franklin before, but liked it a lot.

I found a "girl" version and "boy" version of those cute stuffed caterpillars. (Side note: Hudson gets really attached to new stuffed animals when he first gets them and he loves bugs, so I knew we had to have these.) I was right, he loved it. See the photo below. Then I picked up a coloring book, a water gun for the pool once we got to Texas, a new Hot Wheels car and some glow necklaces, as well as a glow wand (not pictured) to use when it got dark out and we were still in the car.
(I took this picture after we got home and I think I'm missing something, but cannot figure out what it is)

Then the night before our drive back home, Jeremy and I went to Target and grabbed some more dollar toys for the drive home. We didn't buy anything that cost more than $1, so I think we ended up spending $10 on both kids on the way down and $10 for the drive home. Totally worth it for us!! It eased my mind and helped to make the trip much more enjoyable for everyone. There were NO tantrums or meltdowns at all! Amazing!

I was okay with spending a little money on the "presents" because our kids didn't really get anything else on the trip as far as toys. They each got some new clothes and Hudson got a $5 ball game from Old Navy to play with while we were there and a race track mat from Ikea to take home, but that was it. We definitely don't spoil our kids with toys. If you don't want to give your kids toys, you could always try educational "presents" or a punch card of sorts where they get punches to earn a special something.

Jordan has some other great tips too, such as, putting a basket of coloring books, games, etc. in between the car seats so they can be easily accessed by the kids and packing lots of nutritious and delicious snacks and drinks ahead of time so you don't have to stop a bunch. She also mentions pre-filling sippy cups so you don't have to pour in the car, which is something we always do for any road trip. It makes things so much easier!

I spent a lot of time planning ahead to try to ensure a smooth trip and it payed off.

Anyway, if you're looking for more ideas, I definitely recommend checking Pinterest. There were lots of other websites/blogs that I didn't even get a chance to look at.

All in all it was an awesome trip! We needed the break so badly and it turned out to be lots of fun! Here are just a couple pics of the kiddos in the pool.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Documenting Our Summer Fun=Summer Captured 2012

I had an idea about a special way to document the activities that we actually cross off of our Summer Family Fun List. I want to be able to incorporate a special insert(s) into my Project Life album. I was inspired by this insert idea from Elise over at http://eliseblaha.typepad.com. She used a coin pocket page purchased from amazon.com to display all her instagram vacation photos.

photo source here

So Genius! I went straight to amazon to order some of my own! They hold 20 photos in the front and 20 in the back side, which I also thought would be perfect for this project. This is what they look like:

I've already used one page to display our family vacation instagram photos and it's probably my favorite page so far! Here's a look:

Looks pretty cool, right?! I think so too!

My next source for inspiration comes from Marcy Penner over at http://www.marcypenner.com/?p=7224.
She used the same concept to document Day In The Life this year, only she made her own pocket page by sewing one out of a 12x12 page protector in order for it to fit her Project Life album. I really love how she alternated between an instagram photo and a small journaling card in order to add words to her photos. Take a look. Love it so much!

So, my idea is to fill up three 20 pocket pages using the fronts and the backs. I plan to alternate an instagram photo of each activity and a small journal card detailing the fun we had. Our list contains 50 different activities, so in all I'll need 100 pockets, which will take up 2 1/2 pages leaving just the back side of the third page empty. I decided that I can either fill up the back side with some pretty patterned paper, one giant photo cut up to fit the squares or, if we end up adding more activities to the list, I will have room to incorporate those into the spread as well.

This seems like such a great way to not only document each activity, but also to make us more likely to complete the entire list, which is all about having FUN together and focusing some attention on family time. I may even print out another copy of the list and insert that into an 8 1/2 x 11 page protector and add that in the same spot. I have a lot of ideas flowing! I do know for sure that we plan on tackling one of the activities this weekend, so I think I'll add the inserts in between the first week of June spread.

I can't wait to see how it turns out! And if any of you are fellow Project Life junkies like me and you want to join in the fun, I would love a link to check out how you plan to document all your summer fun activities! Just leave it in the comments section or send me an email!

I think I'll nickname this project Summer Captured 2012, hence the blog title.

I'll be posting updates as I add to my pages.

Here's to a fun-filled summer full of family and of course photos!