More Outdoor Crafts and Activities!

Going for more walks?

We are. I have high energy children, and I know where they got it from. Me. They got it from me. And at one point, my energy surpassed theirs. I was the hurricane to their tornadoes. But since this damn depression hit, I barely keep up. Stupid depression.

Anyways. My tornadoes need walks. They need to move. If they stay cooped up inside too long, they get aggravated and pick on each other. Before long that picking becomes fighting. This isn’t just a shelter-in-place-thing. This is too-much-screen-time thing too.

So now walks. Two or three walks a day. Is this what it’s like to have dogs?

Here are some things to do while walking.

1. Scavenger hunt. Come up with a list of things to look for. Everyone is suggesting this one. There are tons of lists online right now. We are all desperate, bored people.
2. Photography. Come up with a list of things to look for and take pictures.
3. Make a cool nature collage with those pictures.


4. (In the desert, this gets a little tricky) Find cool leaves and bring them home. Make crayon rubbings with them.


5. Find cool leaves and use them as stamps. Pour some paint on a paper plate or pie tin. Dip the surface of the leaf into the paint. Press the leaf to some paper. In theory, it’ll make a print. Unless your kid smears it. Then they just have fun.


6. Use leaves and sticks as paint brushes. We never had much success with this, but sure, give it a try. I mean, why not? We’re all bored any ways.


7. Press flowers. Collect flowers. Put them between wax paper. Put them between a couple of heavy books. Leave for several days.


More crafts to come. Stay safe! Stay Sane!

Easy Science Crafts – with Glue

Always with glue. Most of these are astronomy related. I like astronomy.

The reason I will not move from the desert is because of the stars. They’re amazing here. So I made, built, remembered a lot of ways to get my kids interested in the stars.
1. Take cotton balls and stretch them and glue them on paper (preferably blue paper but orange or pink would be cool) like clouds. Make cool designs. Go outside and observe the clouds.

1.a. Look up different types of clouds (if your child doesn’t know them or quiz your child if s/he does know them. They will roll their eyes and be annoyed that you don’t know them. But review!) Make the cotton balls into the different types of clouds and label them.
2. Make constellations on black or blue paper. Drip glue in a pattern of dots and sprinkle glitter. Connect the dots with black marker or white chalk. Make real constellations. Make fake.
3. You can make constellations with star stickers too.


4. You can make constellations with white chalk dots and connect the dots. To keep the chalk from wiping off, spray the paper with hair spray.


5. You can use white paint and q-tips to make the night sky. Or white fabric paint. (For some reason I always have fabric paint at my house.)


6. Go out each night and observe the sky. Have the child draw the moon every night.


7. Have the child draw the stars every night. If you go out the same time every night for several nights, your child will notice the sky changing. Or go out several times in one night.


8. Extra points for using Oreos in the phases of the moon. Top off exposes the cream, making it a full moon. Top on makes it like the no moon or eclipse, whatever. Then break the top part of the cookie in different shapes revealing the different phases of the moon or remove the top cookie and cut the cream in different shapes revealing the different phases of the moon. I can’t take credit for this so type in “moon phases oreo” in a search bar an you’ll see what I mean.

Good luck, parents! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Stupid Easy Things to Do

In a crisis, we tend to forget about easy stuff to do. Sometimes we just forget to do things when we’re bored. Or we just forget.

God only know how many times I’ve wandered around the house bored, not knowing what to do, and then later realizing, “Holy Cow, I could have done X; sonofabitch!”
1. Let kids draw on the steam mirror. You can have them clean the mirror after. Kids are entertained by both. Also drawing something on the mirror as a surprise is cool too.
2. Dry erase markers work on mirrors and windows. Just make sure you supervise them kiddos.
3. Bubble baths are awesome any time of day. A few drops of food coloring in the water. Magic. You can also write words and draw pictures with the food coloring drops on the bubbles.
4. Night baths with glow sticks and bathroom light off.


5. Remember that game you played as kids where you had to keep the balloon in the air. That is still an awesome game.


6. Same game as 5 but you glue/tape popsicle sticks on the back of paper plates and use them as rackets. Have the kids decorate their rackets. Heck, draw a face on the balloon.


7. Since some of us bought up a 3 years supply of toilet paper, you can dress up as mummies. Not us, you. Some of you bought a huge supply. Make a fort out of it.


More to come. Stay safe. Stay sane. You’ve got this parents!

Crafts with Glue!

I have a lot of easy crafts with glue because glue and paper are cheap and easy. (I feel like there’s a joke in there somewhere.) I am sure I will post more glue activities.

Another day in the madhouse here, just like it probably is at your house. My boys have school work, but it’s a struggle to keep them from not plugging in to YouTube and videos games not having anything else to do. So I’m pulling out art supplies and science experiments here.

It slightly reminds me of the horror when all three of my boys had Foot, Mouth, Hand Disease. Tornado E was 6; Tornado S was 4, and Tornado A was 1. I saw no other adult for a week. It was …. It was hellish.

So good luck, parents. You can do this.

(Some of these use food supplies; just remember the supply chain isn’t cut, and things will be back to normal soon.)

 
1. Glue and rice. Make a design with glue, sprinkle rice, shake of excess, let it dry. I was promised a glitter effect, but no. It still looks cool.
2. Noodle Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with noodles. Perhaps various noodles. Glue them down.
2.a. Or let them just glue noodles down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


3. Rock Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with rocks. Glue them done. Like the noodle mosaics, people make some awesome pictures.

3.a. Or let them just glue rocks down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


4. Bean Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with dry beans. Perhaps a variety of beans. Then glue them down.
4.a. Or let them glue beans down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


5. Decorate those large noodle shells. We’ve done markers, glitter glue, fabric paint, googly eyes. It’s great.


6. Print out or draw a large letter or word. Have the child draw glue on it. Then have the child decorate it with buttons, noodles, rock, glitter, whatever you have. This is how I taught letters and words to my own sons.


Stay safe. Stay sane

Craft Ideas: These probably need supplies

Here are more craft ideas for kids or adults. Now my house has always had random stuff to do crafts, but now that I live with my parents, we have so much random junk. Anything my boys need to do a project, we have it.

I assume that I may not be normal. Many of you can still go to Walmart, Target, and the world-dominating Amazon. (Did anyone else see lightning and hear thunder? Just me. Cool.) I told my friends about these crafts before we sheltered in place. Not that many people are listening….

If you have the things, do the stuff. If you don’t, I have other craft ideas. Guys, not only have I been a parent for a while, I was also a Girl Scout leader and am a Cub Scout leader. I’ve got ideas for days.
1. Googly eyes! Glue them on rocks. Glue them on paper and have the child make faces around them. Glue them on milk carton lids. Glue them on plastic tabs. Glue them on signs.
2. Clear contact paper can make all sorts of cool sun catches. Between two sheets, kids can put cut up tissue paper, cut up streamers, leaves, twigs, flowers. I used to draw a shape before the kids put things on it, so I could cut out fun shapes to represent holidays or favorite themes. Cookie cutters make great shapes to trace.


3. Shakers. Get plastic eggs. Fill them with rice, pasta, beans, small rocks, buttons, beads. Each egg a different filling. Hot glue it.


4. Googly eyes on plastic eggs. Glue pompoms on it for feet.


5. Glue a pompom on the inside of the plastic egg for a body. Glue a second one on top the first for a head. Glue eyes.


6. Stamps. They’re awesome


7. If you have washable ink stamp pads, kids can make thumb prints. Just a lot of finger prints. Or make them into a flower with each print a different petal. Or fingerprints that a kid could add details to make them birds, bugs, or monsters. (If you get the nonwashable kind, their hands will be colored for 2 days, maybe 3. 4 tops.)

Good luck! Stay safe! Stay sane! We’re all in this together.

A post about nothing in particular

There’s not much to say.  I’ve been buried in school work.  My last 5-week class had a huge amount of reading and writing every week.  This class promised to be less.  Except I went away for four glorious days without the kids.  I figured I would enjoy myself more if I didn’t have to worry about work that needs to be done and finding the time to do it and borrowing someone else computer and pray that the internet connection would hold up.  So I pushed myself and got it all done early.  Then I saw last weeks pile of work.  The two largest chapters in the book, a 90 page booklet, a 30 minute web video, 2 papers, and of course the online discussion, which started Thursday, meaning all the reading was “suppose to be” done by then.

My father gave a rousing speech about how ridiculous it was to have assignments due on Thanksgiving weekend.  It was beautiful.  It was one of those moments where a huge American flag drops down behind them and “America the Beautiful” starts playing in the background.  I wanted to give him a standing ovation.  Instead I said, “That’s all well and good, Dad, but their excuse is that I could have done the work early if I didn’t want to do it over the weekend.  This is the price I pay for an accelerated program.”  God, I tried explaining to him about holiday day pay and temporary or part-time retail workers, and he just couldn’t wrap his head around the idea people have to put up with a lot of sh*t to get a job.  Ah, city employees, sometimes their jobs are pretty sweet.

My mom maintains that the reason I’m doing so well in school is because I’m older and taking it more seriously.  Mom, you have me confused with my brother.  You know your child that took 8 years to get his bachelors.  I’m the one who made Dean’s List all semesters but one, who graduated with almost a full year’s worth of credits over what I needed, who was invited to be on the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta.  (To be young and an STD)  No, I’m doing well because I didn’t bite off more than I could chew in classes.  (I totally bit off more than I can chew in life, but you know, that’s life.)

This week I have ONE chapter to read and ONE paper and just ONE discussion question.  I’m thrilled by all that free time.  I can blog!  I can read blogs!  (Seriously, people are going to think I don’t like them any more.)  I can email my friends!  (See, last aside.)  I can call and text my friends!  (Um, again, the aside before the aside.)  I can study history!  I can start on next week’s project!  I can start on Christmas gifts!  I can shop online!  I can do chores!

I’m obviously getting a little overexcited about the “free” time and the exclamation points.  But those are a nickle a dozen.  In reality, I’ll catch up with what needs to be done and not feel like something is breathing down my neck.  If I was smart, I would be home finishing this up and starting the phone calls that HAVE TO BE DONE, and that I think I’m avoiding.  Instead, I’m at my parents’ house because Tornado A was so damn cute asking to be with my mom and my mom invited me to lunch, which didn’t happen, but hell, at least I can blog.

10 things about my Dad

1. My dad’s a storyteller.  It’s why I want time alone from him.  To hear his stories.  It’s why he was so good at police outreach.  People love his stories.  It’s why the community college wanted him without a degree.  Because he taught so well.  Through stories.

2. My dad’s favorite colors are red, white, and blue.  Which is to say, he doesn’t have one but is willing to pacify his young daughter who was trying to draw something for him.  Some dads lie to please their kids.

3. He’s a lone wolf.  He wishes my baby brother and I didn’t inherit that.  We also inherited his run-towards-trouble, not away from it.  He wishes we didn’t inherit that either.

4. He’s had a mustache since he started college.  My mom has been asking for him to shave it for years.

5. He wanted to be a cop ever since he was a little boy.

6. He never drank.  He never smoked.  He was always a Good Guy.

7. He worked for Pepsi before he was a cop.  He raised us all to be Pepsi fans.

8. I have complete faith he can fix anything.  Even when he grumbles that he doesn’t work on foreign cars.

9. He keeps mints in his pocket so he can give them to my boys.  Just like his grandpa did for him.

10. A few stories:

When my dad was three, his family lived at the top end of a T intersection.  Before work, his father would move my dad’s little sister from her crib to the master bed to sleep with his mother.  My dad woke early and turned on the TV to watch Howdy Doody.  One morning, my grandpa left for work.  My dad raced to watch Howdy Doody.  Someone ran the stop sign and plowed into the family home.  The car landed on my dad’s empty bed.  My dad regrets never sending a letter to Howdy Doody thanking him for saving his life.  Also when my family lived at a T intersection, my dad parked his squad car in front of the house, so if someone ran the stop sign, s/he would plow into a car, not my bedroom.

My dad tells how he and I sat on a bench once, eating ice cream.  “I feel sorry for grown ups,” I said as I swung my legs.  “Why?” my dad asked.  “Because your feet always touch the ground.  You never get to rest.”

The year they rereleased Snow White in the theaters when I was a child, my dad bought a poster.  He hung it up in my room one night when he got off his midnight shift.  The first thing I saw when I woke up was that poster.

When I went to college, I cried the night before I left because who would hug and kiss my dad in the morning before he went off to work and to say goodnight since my brothers were practicing teenage boy jerks.

It’s hard to stop the stories because there are so many.  He has shaped my life.  I turned to him when I questioned my faith because I knew he would be honest with me.  I turned (and still do) to him when I questioned a moral, a philosophy, a law, a political stance.  One of his favorite past times is to play devil’s advocate to me, especially when he can push me to annoyed anger, and then I yell “better a bleeding heart than none at all.”  He enjoys when he can trip me up with a riddle or a joke, miming reeling in a fish when he has me on the hook.  (I’m more fun to sport because I fall for less than my brothers.)  He’s my dad. 

My dad and me.

Note: Not only was I an ugly baby but way too skinny.  What where those people doing to me?

Just a Friendly Chat

“Hey, Tornado E’s Mom.”

I looked over to see Sweet Girl’s father walking up to me.  I found it amusing he didn’t know my name, even though I knew his.  But he never did the drop off the last two years, so we’ve only met at Sweet Girl’s birthday parties and school events.

Me: Hey, Sweet Girl’s Dad!

SGD: Are your boys having a good time?

I looked over my shoulder at Tornado S and Tornado E diving into cupcakes.  I returned my gaze on Tornado A who was thrilled to find another father to play catch with him.  He had already manipulated SGD to play with him earlier.

Me: They are.  Especially Tornado A (as I pointed to him.)  Thank you for the party.

SGD: It’s good to see Sweet Girl play with all her friends.  (pause)  Sweet Girl’s mom really enjoys those nights out.

Me: I love hanging out with her.  She’s so much fun.

SGD: I know she likes them because she tells me she’ll be home at 8, and then I get a text at 9:30, saying she’s on her way home.

I laughed.

SGD: But they’re good for her.  You should organize more of them.  This time was the first time I gave Sweet Girl a bath!

I chuckled.

Me: Soon you can just chuck her into the shower.

SGD: Is she old enough for that?

Me: Tornado E takes them some times.  He twirls underneath the water.  I have to drag him out.

SGD: Ha.  (We watched Tornado A.)  He’s a cute one.  And, um, so is Tornado E.

Me: Thanks.  But Sweet Girl is so cute and sweet and smart.  She loves playing with Tornado A when she comes over to our house.  A mamacita.

SGD: She’s a good kid.  I had nothing to do with it.  It’s all her mother.  So you have . . . two boys?

Me: No.  Three.  Tornado E.  Tornado S, who is turning 5.  And Tornado A.

SGD: Who is three?

Me: Two.  He thinks he’s six though.

SGD: You must be busy.

Me: Never a dull moment.

SGD: I wanted more, but Sweet Girl’s Mom is done.  It’s fine.  I’m lucky to have Sweet Girl.  I’m so glad she’s a girl.  The men in my family don’t do well with boys.

I chuckled.  I had heard that before, but I told that guy to suck it up and deal if he wanted to be a parent of any children.

Me: I’m sure you would have done fine.  Tornado A likes you.

On cue, Tornado A lost the ball, which rolled to us.  SGD stopped it and rolled it back.  Tornado A snagged it, laughed, and ran back to his new playmate.

Pause.

Me: So how are you?

SGD: Um.  Uh.  I’ve never had a mom ask me that before.  I don’t think most these moms know who I am.

Me: We could make you a name tag.

SGQ: That might help.

Me: So how are you?

SGD: Fine.  (I opened up my mouth for the follow-up question.) Oh, there’s my brother-in-law (who had been there the whole time).  I should, uh, um, talk to him.

He ran off.

Huh, I usually do better than that with dads.  Heck, K and G’s dad wants to make me a drinking buddy.

I should really tell him I don’t drink.

The Other Foot

Six years ago.

I was invited to be on a panel discussion, talking about religion and marriage.  One main discussion point was if it was ok to marry someone outside your own religion.  I represented the Roman Catholic view point.  Only half the panel was married.  I was the only one, who not only dated men outside my religion but married someone outside my religion.  I shocked most of the panel, and I was shocked by them since I was raised in a two religion household.  Nothing shocking.  Just two different versions of Christianity.

I felt my best moment was when I kept an interested, unskeptical look on my face when one panelist declared that she didn’t need to date since God has already made her soul mate and He will bring that man into her life when it was time.  I was sure she was confusing the Bible with some fairy tale.  I could see how that would bring confusion.  She, on the other hand, could not wrap around the idea of marrying someone who was not of my faith.  “But how can you grow closer to God without your husband sharing that relationship?”  “How can you grow stronger in your faith if your husband doesn’t help you?”  “But what of the children?  Won’t they be confused?  How will you raise them?”

Good question.  And I answered that one too, pointing to my first-born son in the arms of his father in the back of the room.

As I listened to another panelist, one that didn’t think I was insane and going to hell, the ex held Tornado E up a little and pointed to the door.  I nodded.  I understood, even when he tried to text me a moment later.  He was taking Tornado E home; it was past the poor little guy’s bedtime.  It was really sweet of the ex to come and bring Tornado E.

I finished up the panel, answered questions from the audience, gave an interview to the university’s newspaper reporter, and caught a ride with a friend home.

When I got home, I listened to the ex’s tale of woe of dealing with a baby, trying to keep him content and quiet, understanding it all since I too had been there.

The ex: So then I realized he had a dirty diaper.  So I took him to the bathroom.  There were no changing tables!  I started looking for a place.  I couldn’t find one anywhere!  I ended up rolling the stroller outside and changing him there.  It was an explosion!  It was a four-wipe mess!  Poop everywhere!  I finally got him cleaned up and decided to put him in his jams.  He moved and struggled and yelled, and finally I was able to get him zipped up.  I picked him up and realized something was wrong.  I held him.  I patted him.  And then it dawned on me, I forgot to put on his diaper!  I then unzipped him, fought with him, and finally got his diaper on and zipped him up.  It was hell!

Me: Wait.  You forgot his diaper?

And then I laughed.  And laughed.  What idiot forgets to put on a diaper on a baby?  And I laughed.  It was a great story to tell to other moms while the men were grilling and drinking beers.  And we laughed.

Until yesterday.

It was the morning crunch time.  I was almost ready for the day.  Tornado E and Tornado S were at various stages of ready.  My God, I hated nagging, yelling, stressing.  I grabbed Tornado A who was running around and laughing, trying to play “Catch me if you can.”  I tossed him on the changing table and pulled out a few clothes out of the drawer. I took out his feet out of the pajamas and took off the diaper.

Me: Diaper rash.  Hold on, kid.

I ran to grab the Aquaphor out of the boys’ room.  That stuff is great for mouth sores and dry hands as well.

Me: Tornado S!  Get. Your. Pants. On.  NOW!  TORNADO E!  What are you doing?!

I walked back into the nursery.  I pulled Tornado A off the light switches, laid him back down, dressed him quickly, and put him on the floor to toddle after his brothers.  I looked at the time.  Actually, not bad.  Considering.

For some reason, they jammed through the last of the routine as Tornado E realized that if he hurried he could play a video game for a few moments.  Which I shouldn’t allow.  Because when it was time to leave, everyone dragged their feet to get their backpacks, lunches, and shoes.  We were back behind schedule.

I grabbed Tornado A.

Me: You’re wet.  Very wet.

I ran my hands down his very wet pants.  That made no sense.  I patted his butt.  Crap!  Crap, crap, crap!  What idiot forgets to put a diaper on a toddler?

Christmas ornaments for kids, preschoolers, and toddlers to make

Christmas is coming.  The goose is getting fat.  I love prepping for Christmas. Tornado E and I are brain storming for this year’s ornaments and crafts.  I’m not sure what to do for the families.  Here are some ornaments we made last year.  We had a blast making them.  Depending on the age and the ability of the child will depend on how much work you do.

Mini Christmas Trees

(I remember doing something similar when I was a Brownie in Girl Scouts. It’s an easy, fun, and messy project.  Tornado E (5) and Tornado S (3) really enjoyed making them.)

What you need:

Pine cones

Green spray paint

Glue

Glitter

Paper plates

Ribbon

Spray paint pine cones green.  Once the pine cones are dry, pour glue in one paper plate and glitter in another.  Have the child roll the pine cone in the glue and then in the glitter.  Let the pine cone dry.  Glue ribbon to the pine cone to make a loop.  Allow to dry.

Glitter Shells

(I saw this in a Martha Stewart magazine.  The hard part is putting a whole in the shell; you’ll need a drill, preferably a dremel drill.  It was easy to adopt for children.  I’m thinking I want to try other shells this year.  The boys loved making these.  I loved playing with my dad’s dremel drill.  If only I had a real reason to get one.)

Things you need:

Shells (We used clam shells)

Dremel Drill

Glue

Glitter

Paper plates

Tooth pick

Ribbon or string

Drill a hole in the top of the shell.  Have the child dip the shell into the glue.  Have the child cover the shell in glitter.  (We did most shells in one color as well as mixing two colors together to get a neat effect.)  Clear the hole of glue and glitter.  Allow to dry.  Thread the whole with ribbon or string.  Tie the ribbon to make a loop.

Clay Ornaments

(These are so easy, simple, and fun.  Toddlers can even do it.  Now that I think about it, I might have the boys make more this year and work on decorating them in different ways.  The boys had lots of fun.  Keep on eye on these.  They can burn quickly.  Tornado E prefered the burnt ones.  I was less than thrilled.)

What you need:

Polymer Clay

Something to cut clay in a circle (I used a plastic Easter egg.)

Rubber stamps

Straw

Cookie sheet

Tooth pick

Foil

Ribbon

Have the child knead the clay for at least two minutes.  (For younger children, you may have to work with it too.)  Roll the clay flat to about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.  Cut out circles.  Use the straw to cut out a hole in the top.  Have the child press a rubber stamp in to the clay.  On the back of the clay, write the child’s name or initials with the year.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil, and place the ornaments on it.  Bake in an oven or toaster oven as it says on the directions. (275°F for 15 mins.  I think mine baked in 10 mins.)  Let the ornaments cool.  String ornaments with ribbon.

More craft and ornament ideas

Christmas crafts for kids, preschoolers and toddlers part 2

Winter and Christmas Crafts for Toddlers and Children

More Christmas Crafts for Children, Toddlers, and Babies

Christmas Crafts for Kids, Toddlers, and Babies