Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Summer Gingerbread House

First of all, It's so good to finally write a post again! I can't believe it's been a few years. I have been pretty busy with my kids these days. Brenden is now 14, Kiki is 11, Garren is about to turn 8 in a few days, and Rowen is 5. 
Kiki and I were looking through pictures the other day and saw a craft we did around halloween last year. With fun halloween candy, chocolate graham crackers, and chocolate icing we made Halloween Gingerbread houses. This is literally one of our FAVORITE craft/activities to do. I'm sure the kids love it the most because of all the CANDY that I normally don't let them have too much of. LOL This got our minds spinning on how we can make summer gingerbread houses. 
We thought it would be fun to make the house look more like a tiki hut and for it to be in a tropical setting.
Here is a picture of the stuff we bought from Target to make our summer gingerbread houses. The only thing not pictured is goldfish and some cereal we used.
After you have all of your supplies you have to set up your bases. For our halloween gingerbread houses we just used halloween paper plates but we knew we would want more space to create an island and water so we used cardboard from an amazon box. We cut out squares of cardboard and wrapped them in foil. Then you take your small empty milk carton and hot glue it to the base. The kids all chose their houses to be glued in different spots. 
After your bases are all set you will need to make your "sand" and your "water". To make "sand" you can crush up graham crackers or cereal. This step is fun for kids. Just add whatever you are going to use for the "sand" in a ziplock bag and something tough for the kids to hit the bag and crush the crackers/cereal. We used a mix of Cheerios and Kix cereal because we didn't have a ton of graham crackers. Now, to make your "water", just mix some blue food coloring into your vanilla icing.
Let the kids decorate their house first. We used graham crackers along with pretzel sticks and we even used cinnamon toast crunch cereal for the roof on some. Get as creative as you want. Then after the house is decorated add some white icing around the base of it to make your land. Sprinkle your "sand" on the icing with a spoon. Then use the blue icing to make the water on the rest of your base.
Before we went crazy and just decorated the houses, Kiki and I wanted to create palm trees. We thought hard about the easiest way to create these. First, the trunk is the most realistic when using Pirouette wafer cookies. The next step was to make the palm leaves. We experimented with green sour patch kids and green sour streamers. The best was cutting the sour streamers into a leaf shape because we found that the sour patch kids were heavier and it came apart a few times before the icing  finally made it all stick together.
Here are what the palm trees looked like when done. We just used three "leaves" per tree. We used the white icing to stick the leaves to the top of the pirouette wafer cookie. Then we set them in a glass cup to harden a little before adding them to the houses.
This is how we added the palm tree to the house. We just put some icing on the bottom and up one side of the tree and pushed it against one side of the house. This picture is cool cause you can see how Kiki used pretzel sticks and cinnamon toast crunch to make her house look like a tiki hut.
After you have the house, sand, water, and palm tree then you have the fun of adding all the candy to decorate your house and island. I just gave each kid a plate with all the different stuff we bought.
The kids will need more white icing for this step so they can stick candy to their houses.
Jax and Row decorating their summer gingerbread houses.
Garren decorating his house. Gummy rings are fun for this cause you can use them as floaties in the water. Also sour patch kids were the perfect size to use as people. Garren was the first to use the sour streamers as towels on the sand, which I thought was a fun idea.
Kiki made a little dock and a "person" on a chaise lounge sunning. 
We think they all turned out so well that we had to share our craft idea with you. 
We hope you are all enjoying your summer.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

DIY Thomas Mini's Travel Train Track Set

I don't know if any of you have seen these little blind bag packs in the stores. One day we happened upon them in the Dollar Store. I let my 5 and 2 year old boys each get a pack and that is when the obsession started. They are so cute and small. The recommended age is 3 and up, if your child puts toys into their mouth still then these could be a choking hazard. This ended up being a fun thing Rowen gets when we are at the store. They run about $1- $2 dollars a piece and there are SO MANY different trains! Since our collection was growing I wanted to get a case for Rowen to carry them around in. I also wondered if they made special tracks just for these trains. They do have a few different sets that go specifically for these trains BUT I wanted to have more of an open ended toy that Rowen could use his imagination setting up. 

What I came up with has ended up being one of our FAVORITE toys! I have even caught my 8 year old daughter and her friend playing with it! Another awesome thing is all the supplies cost me under $10, excluding the trains. 
The three things you need to start are felt (2 green sheets and 1 blue 8X10), BIG "tongue depressor" wooden craft sticks, and a case to hold it all in. I was going to just use a case I found around the house but I ended up seeing this Thomas the Train tin lunch box case for only $6.99 at Hobby Lobby and then used a 40% off coupon. I call that a score!!!
Here is Rowen with his new Thomas box and a few of his trains inside.
The next thing you need to do is get a sharpie and draw train tracks on the wooden craft sticks. I just used another stick to draw my lines.
 With two basic 8X10 green felt sheets it takes about 8 wooden sticks to make a circle.
Next step is to cut some water out of blue felt and make a bridge out of popsicle sticks. Your water can be cut in any shape you want. For the bridge I used smaller craft sticks but you can use the bigger ones if you want. I just cut the sticks with scissors and used hot glue to stick the bridge together.
After you hot glue the sticks together just simply paint brown and wait for it to dry.
This next step was so fun. Rowen and I took a special walk to find some perfect size rocks to add to the scenery. After he picked about 3 or four we took them in to wash the with foamy soap.
Another simple and fun addition to Rowen's travel train track set is a little pack of dinosaurs we found at the Dollar Store. They also had the option for Safari animals but he wanted the Dinos!
After completing those few steps above, you are all set to PLAY!!!
Make sure to make extra track so your child can set it up however they want. They might even want the tracks off of the felt!
Here is a special close up of our bridge and rocks Rowen picked out. 
He loves setting the dinosaurs on top of the rocks.
After your child is done playing, just pack it all up in the case and it is ready for next time!
Since it's just Rowen at home with me on the weekdays these days we have many chances to take his travel train set with us to different places. I had an idea to go let him pick out a set of Thomas Mini's at Target. Then we got a snack and played at a table. He had so much fun lining up all of his trains. We even played a counting game along with his normal pretending.
Here is one last example of Rowen's set up at the Doctors office. I had a normal check up and Rowen had fun playing while I talked to the Doctor. This would also be a great idea to have on plane trips. 
One other thing I was thinking of doing is adding a few micro machine type cars and on the other side of the train track sticks made them road sticks for cars.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Keepsake Treat Bags~ 2016 Hand & Footprint Art

 Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I started a tradition in 2012 with my children where we put their hand and/or footprints on the sack they take trick or treating. If you want to know more about this click HERE to see the past posts and the hand/foot prints from past years.
This year I kept it a little more simple and did only one print for each kid except for Rowen. He is still so little and the prints are just so cute at this age! 
Here is Rowen in two of his costumes this year.
Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba and Buzz Lightyear!
Here are the prints I did for him. I wish I would have done his footprint for Buzz in purple because that is actually the color of the bottom of his foot. Instead I just wrote ANDY in purple.
Garren's foot print turned out better than I thought it would! 
I just copied his costume of a blue Power Ranger to his footprint!
 Kiki is a police woman this year so I thought it would be fun to just put a police badge in her handprint!
 One of Brenden's costumes is Harry Potter so I got really creative with his LARGE footprint! 
Seriously, just to get an idea of the space this takes up.... he wears size 7 in men!!! 
Why do they grow up so quickly!?
 Lastly, I had to add what Brenden is wearing today for actual Halloween Day.
He is Josh Dun, the drummer from my FAVORITE band Twenty One Pilots!
Notice the sharpie O gage on his ear! LOL
 Here is full body! Brenden is wearing his Skeleton hoodie just like Josh and Tyler wear!
And don't forget the drum sticks!
 To his bag, I will probably add his handprint in red and paint the Twenty One Pilots logo in the center.
Well, I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!!!
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