Amelie’s Preschool Valentines

Last year, I was SO into it. Preschool Valentines? Adorable! I’ll take any excuse to craft…

This year, I picked up blank red cards from Target Dollar Spot and had Amelie paint them with swirls of gold and glitter. She was enthusiastic at first but her attention span was short lived. I ended up painting the rest myself. In fact, I put together her Valentines myself and it was a lot of work, actually.

They turned out so cute though.

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I included Fun Dip because I loved this stuff as a kid:

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I cringe when I think about how much sugar and chemicals are loaded in it though. Next year, no candy! Stickers or temporary tattoos or something – anything – besides candy. It gets to be too much junk for the kiddies, you know?

Amelie only goes to preschool two half days per week and Valentine’s Day fell on a non-school day. We went to story time at Whole Foods and then delivered her valentines to preschool, including two chocolate roses for her teachers.

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She’s wearing the same dress as last year. You would never know that tutu got caught on the lint trap in the dryer and ripped out a big chunk out from the back…

Hope your Valentine’s Day was lovely. Did you see my Valentine’s Day post? You didn’t. It’s probably because, just like this one, I wrote it in June but published it in February. I’m a cheat.

Tidying The Craft Bin

I was so inspired mid-book to get to tidying, even though the author stresses NOT to do that. But I couldn’t help myself; the train got moving and who am I to try and stop it? I decided to tackle my craft bin instead of starting with clothes (like she suggests) mostly because I was working with an undetermined amount of time (nap time) so I figured my craft bin was the smallest and most manageable category to take on first. I didn’t like breaking all of her rules but I had momentum and I didn’t want to get in my own way!

This bin. It stressed me out. Also, a sneak peek of the current state of our office: horrendous. Be careful, it might eat you!

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See, the lid won’t even fit on the bin anymore. Something had to be done. Like, yesterday.

I pulled it all out and got to sorting.

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I also made a point to gather up my other craft items stored all over the house such as gift bags, tissue paper, cards/stationary, craft paints, etc and address it all at once.

Holy hell, it took a long time.

I thought this would be a breeze to sort it all but it was time consuming. I really tried hard to think about my current needs and not let my old hobbies or future possibilities persuade me. I wanted to focus on The Now. A long time ago? I used to make my own cards. I kept every scrap of paper with plans to use them up in their entirety. But in this phase of my life I buy the adorable cards/gift tags from the Target Dollar Spot and if I’m feeling really crafty, I slap on a piece of washi tape to fancy it up. I hope eventually Amelie/Cade and I will make a bazillion crafts together but currently our crafts are simple and uninvolved. Crayons. Random paper. Attention span of 13 seconds. I figured pairing down craft supplies is just what I need right now. I can always buy bits and bobs as projects with the kids come up. Typical of most purging experiences, I discovered a few forgotten gems that I’m excited to play with and discarded supplies that felt like items on my To Do list instead of enjoyable crafting adventures!

Initially, the bin seemed like the right choice to store everything together but I was finding that it was too big to haul out and too cumbersome to dig through. Currently they are all living in Cade’s closet (which still needs doors, by the way):

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Marie Kondo emphasizes discarding before organizing and that makes perfect sense to me. It’s difficult to put any systems in place if you haven’t fully addressed what needs to stay or be discarded. For now, my crafts supplies are contained to the office at least.

Eventually, I’d like to move all of my craft supplies to the downstairs linen closet but for now, Cade doesn’t need this entire closet and things are put away in a kind of orderly fashion.

Onto clothes! Oh dear.

Gimme Gold

This post was not worth writing and certainly is not worth reading, ok?

I’ve had this letter opener for at least five years.

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It did its job, you know, opening letters and stuff. But, it kinda bothered me. So I fixed it.

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Ahhh, much better.

 

Candace’s Crafty Corner: A Heart of Gold

When we bought the house, the previous owners left quite a few random things behind – tools, a bunch of junk, and a few pieces of small furniture like this side table I made over before Amelie was born. I’m happy to report that we are still using it too!

They also left this stool; a hideous orange-y wood.

stool_orig

I’ve been planning to paint it for forever, but it became more urgent now that Amelie is potty trained and needs a stool she can move to the sink to wash her hands.

I used a new Rustoleum shade: Coral. I had originally bought it last year for my living room lamps but have yet to tackle those. Story of my life, you know?

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And now, after a few coats. So bright and happy, right?

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I felt like it needed some dimension. I was debating on painting 3/4 of the top a super light coral. I mulled over it a while until Zack suggested a total different direction: a heart. Ummm. YES!

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I cut a stencil out of scrap paper and traced the heart with pencil. I chose the Martha Stewart craft pain in Gold – it’s such a beautiful gold. It’s what I used to paint the plastic dinosaurs for Amelie’s 2nd birthday party.

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I did my best to stay in the lines and used a small brush. It’s far from perfect but this little piece is marred with imperfections anyway so I tried not to worry too much about it.

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The first coat was patchy and I worried I should have primed it first with a white. But I kept on painting thin coats and it ended up covering nicely. It went quickly too. Amelie skipped her nap and we painted outside together (she used watercolors and paper). It was sweet!

After letting it dry, I added pads to the bottom because this stool made the most atrocious sound as Amelie dragged it across the bathroom tile. In addition, one of the legs was too short so I added an extra pad to prevent it from being tippy.

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Since Amelie (and eventually Cade) will be moving this about the bathroom and stepping on it, I figured it could use a couple coats of sealer. Luckily a friend had a can on hand in her garage. Thanks, Lisa!

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All done! Can you believe it?

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Me either!

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Ok, I’m ff to take a nap or eat cake or something to celebrate this momentous occasion. Say nice things while I’m away!

Spring Treat Cups

Oh my, Easter is early this year! I love any excuse to pull out the bunny ears.

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I mean, come on!

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Anyway, I put together spring/Easter treat cups for Amelie’s preschool friends. I’m sure this will get old quickly but for now, it’s something fun to do during nap time. I picked up some supplies for a few bucks at Target. Plus, I needed to use this grass washi tape on something and this was the perfect project. I had to!

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I taped a chocolate carrot to the Fun Dip and nestled it in shredded tissue paper. I added a pipe cleaner handle and a few stickers that I already had on hand. Here are the finished “baskets”:

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Crude but cute! I hope parents don’t curse me out for sending the kids home with more sugar. I couldn’t resist! I hope the preschool teachers don’t curse me either because I can see that shredded tissue paper being a problem. If Amelie’s tuition goes up, I’ll know why!

Hoppy Monday, bunnies.

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Christmas Crafts

The Christmas crafts are endless, are they not? It can be kinda overwhelming. Amelie did a few easy ones and I wanted to share. These will not blow your mind.

A while back, a few moms came over and we made salt dough ornaments…just like everyone in the world because it’s an awesome and easy craft. Mostly, it’s the moms doing the work while the toddlers bounce around demanding snacks and spilling things.

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I baked a bunch that day but we only got around to painting them this past weekend. It was a great excuse to haul out my craft paints and Amelie loved it!

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Especially with her favorite guy.

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Maybe next year, we’ll use a coordinating – instead of competing – color palette…

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In hindsight, I would have made the ornaments thicker because they are pretty fragile but I honestly don’t expect these to survive more than one Christmas anyway. Keeping my expectations low, you know? I should get a sealant for these too but eh, I doubt I will.

Wouldn’t they be cute taped to a hand-delivered holiday card or a present?

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Oma bought Amelie this little wooden house from the Target dollar section (at $3). That place is a treasure trove of lovely easy kid crafts. I pulled this out during a crabby day and she was into it. So into it in fact, I had a hard time pulling her away for nap time.

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It came with red, white and green paints but Amelie mixed them all together in sort of a, uh, Christmas Mauve. Beautiful, right?

christmas_houseI know, short post today. Two days until Christmas Eve, y’all!

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Fingerprint Ornament

Can you believe it, another post? Better hold on tight, things are about to get Christmas crazy around here.

Remember from yesterday’s post, Amelie’s little fingerprint reindeer ornament?

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We made a handful for family and friends. Here’s how. First, I needed some reindeer inspiration:

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Second, supplies. You will need clear plastic ornaments, red and brown craft paint (I used Martha Stewart Tartan Red and Vanilla Bean), a Sharpie, and tiny fingers to do the finger printing!

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ADORABLE! Am I right or am I right?

Ok, time to be candid. I stole this idea straight from a friend on Facebook. I attempted to have Cade make his own fingerprints, but he acted as if I was trying to rip his finger off so Amelie did both prints (one with her thumb, one with her pointer finger). She thought it was awesome and I thought it was too until she wiped brown paint on her pants…

Anyway, I wanted to share a seriously quick and easy craft if you were looking for something homemade. My hope is one day I’ll add sparkly red paint to the noses but I know the probability of me getting around to that is solidly in the Unlikely Category.

More Christmas posts coming. Brace yo’self.

 

Halloween Treat Bags

The Halloween stuff cropped up at Target and I had these sweet non-candy treat bags assembled by mid September (while the rest of the house sat in disarray, obviously). It’s one less thing to think about come October so why not?

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I spent about $10 for the supplies and took some quiet crafting time to myself. Turns out, I don’t want to spend all of my free time doing laundry and cleaning up spilled food. Mommy needs some fun time too!

Included in each bag is a pencil, eraser, foam and paper stickers and a package of Goldfish. Basically stuff I was craving to get in my Halloween haul because I loved this kind of thing as a kid. Target is the best! They should sponsor this blog.

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As I ran low on items, I substituted in suckers and temporary tattoos I had lying around. I tied each one up with “candy corn” curling ribbon from the 90s and called it good.

I figured it was less than I would have spent on candy. We can give a few to friends and set the rest out for trick or treaters. We will be out trick or treating ourselves so I didn’t go overboard. When they are gone, they are gone!

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Next project, Amelie’s costume. She wants to be a sea turtle…

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Tree Ghosts

Hello, October! The first day of October isn’t too early to be talking Halloween, is it?

Truth is, I’ve been Halloween-ing for some time now. My new motto is: if I manage to feel inspired one day then by all means, don’t hesitate! With little kids, you can not count on the opportunity for free time, motivation and a decent night’s sleep to line up. The days (and nights) are unpredictable. I totally understand why stores start stocking holiday stuff so early. It’s for the Moms, they need every moment of prep time they can get!

A few days ago, the kids and I did a Halloween craft together. When I say “together” what I really mean is I get the craft supplies out and Amelie bounces around like a pin ball machine unloading the craft bin, Cade quietly scoots along sucking on things he shouldn’t while I do the craft as quickly as I can yelling, “Scissors are for grownups, don’t touch!”

“We” made these adorable ghosts, one representing each family member:

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I had everything on hand: the styrofoam balls were from a friend that moved, the googly eyes were leftover from Amelie’s dinosaur birthday, the gauze was from this scary Halloween of yore and the black ribbon I’ve had since the 90s. The 90s!

I used three eye hooks leftover from the playroom lantern cluster project

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and hung them from various branches along our front walkway. Also, a sneak peek of our new landscaping! More on that later (hopefully before the snow flies).

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I wasn’t about to buy anything so the eye hook-less ghost got nestled in a tree.

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Cute, free, festive!

Amelie and I did a bit more decorating – spiders and spiderwebs for the boxwoods:

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and a scarecrow and mums for my front step courtesy of my MIL. I should have bought more mums while they were on sale to fill out the planter but I’m tired, you know?

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Amelie has been fascinated by scarecrows lately. They’re a funny concept, aren’t they?

The inside got some Fall sprucing as well when I brought out an old favorite, my white and gold pumpkins!

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We are feeling very Halloweeny-y/Fallish these days, even though it’s been hitting almost 90 degrees still.

Flannels, don’t fret, I’m coming for you soon! Also, beware, more Halloween posts are in the queue…

Dinosaur Party!

Amelie’s 2nd birthday party was Dinomite!

The reason I’m sharing the details? I want to remember. Most likely Amelie won’t so this will be a nice way for us to look back on how we celebrated her. <3

I was going for a blush, gold, white and gray (of course) theme. I’ll be sad when I’m not in charge of the theme and Amelie wants Dora everything. Until then, Mommy calls the shots!

My first project: transform these plastic dinosaurs into a pretty, pretty gold. It took me a long time. I made them into a cute dinosaur banner: The decorations continued. Poofs for over the table:

It’s hard to tell but the gray is actually gray and white polka dot. It’s so adorable in person and a fun way to mix in some pattern.

Fringe garlands. I love these, I think I’ll make them every year!

They are putzy but cheap and easy to make. I couldn’t help but add a mini fringe to our hutch too…

Rawr!

To serve as a distraction from our gross countertops:

Cupcakes topped with white chocolate dinosaurs and edible glitter.

A glittery shout out to The Birthday Girl: The outside got some fancying too with dinosaur tracks and a birthday message! Except the rain washed them away by the time the party started. Phooey. BUT. DINOSAUR SHIRTS HAPPENED. They were an Etsy splurge. My littlest dino: I’m new to this kid-birthday-party-throwing-business but I tried to think of a few activities to keep busy toddlers, well, busy. Half of the kids were into them, half of them couldn’t have cared less. Amelie was mostly planted in the second camp.

The first was a Build Your Own Stegosaurus station. You could do this project a million different ways but I tried to keep it simple. Although looking at this picture makes it seem otherwise… I cut out all of the pieces beforehand to save time and to avoid a Toddler with Scissors Scenario. Also, an excuse to use washi tape! *claps* Everything was ready for them to piece together their very own menacing Stegosaurus! Best of all, I had all of the supplies already on hand. Attention spans were a little short for this craft so the moms ended up finishing them. Nonetheless, I hope the kids enjoyed taking home something that they made. Amelie and I made ours ahead of time and she loves playing with her paper dinosaur!

The second was a Dinosaur Tattoo station.

Amelie chose a Brontosaurus for both hands. Then she added more later that evening.  Cade got tatted too.   The last station was out on our deck. A Fossil Dig! I made the fossils out of salt dough. Super easy (although they took forever to bake). Each “archaeologist” was allowed to bring home two foot prints, a dinosaur skull and a mini T Rex in their own fossil bag: Unfortunately, it was raining out so the fossil dig was a little soggy. Most of the kids didn’t much care about finding the fossils but enjoying digging in the sand.

Speaking of bags, I put together treat bags for the kids too: Up close because I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to use googly eyes. It was supposed to be a T-rex but kinda looks like a lizard. I figured two year olds won’t judge my dinosaur free-handing.

This one was for “Ameliesaurus” Here’s what went inside: Dinosaur tattoos and dinosaur stamps (both from Amazon) and the dinosaur crayons I made tucked into a golden “dinosaur” egg. Normally I would not have bought each child a stuffie, but these were 50% off in the after Easter sales AND there were exactly five of them. It was too perfect. That’s the advantage of having a small party. Thanks to my MIL for finding these!

Lastly, coordinating Thank You cards for any gifts Amelie received. 

It was so fun to plan and craft and decorate. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves, especially the birthday girl.

I love you, Amelie. Rawr.

For the memories: Amelie’s first birthday