Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Put a Lid On It

This past weekend, we had lots and lots of cold, stormy, rainy weather.  A pure delight for us Arizonans.  If only there was no school and other obligations to attend to, so that we could have indulged in a lazy day with pj's, hot cocoa, movies and blankets.  I was loving the rain, but my littles were sorely disappointed that play day at the park, or even in the yard, was cancelled.  What to do with two house-bound kiddos?

I had a bit of cooking to do during the day, and I tried to enlist their help.  They typically love helping to measure and dump things into the mixer.  This time, they lost interest quickly.  Mr. Three went and found some cars and motorcycles to run along the walls and floor while Mr. Four managed to pull out a opened container of oats to keep himself entertained.  Luckily, it was only about 1/4 full, so it didn't bother me too much when it quickly ended up spilled onto the kitchen floor.  Mr. Three was all too willing to help clean up (and by clean up I mean mostly spread around) the mess.  It was actually a nice activity to keep them busy while I finished up my dinner preparations.

After cleaning up the kitchen mess, I had a light bulb moment.  The oatmeal container would make a great toy.  Mr. Three and Mr. Four are really interested in sorting and pouring all sorts of items.  Good thing I have been saving(hoarding) the lids off of the squeeze baby food pouches for some time.  All I did was cut a rectangle in the oatmeal container lid just big enough to push a squeeze pouch lid through, popped the lid on, gave the boys the container of squeeze pouch lids and let them play.  Best rainy-day-free toy ever!

Besides filling the oatmeal canister with lids, they also poured the lids back and forth between the containers.  I had Mr. Three tell me the color names as he pushed each lid through the hole.  We counted lids and then discovered that they are stackable and make great towers to knock down (Mr. Four loved the destruction aspect.).

Earlier in the week, with the cub scouts, we had taken the lids and tried to flick them off the side of our hands into a box, as a simple gathering activity.  The scouts and my little boys loved this game.  Here's a video, if you want a (not so great) demonstration, with a little motorcycle action thrown in for interest.

I have also pinned some other great uses for these squeeze pouch lids that we may have to try soon.  So, if you have been saving (hoarding) these lids like me, here are several good reasons to keep them in your stash of useful stuff.  You're welcome!

It would be fun to make bugs on a sticky table.

I found these rolling truck and car toys.  This could be a fun cub scout activity as well as something for the preschool set.

This build a bug busy bag is on my to do list for the spring.

I love this color wheel matching game, and you could easily use the squeeze pouch lids in place of the wooden wheels.

In case that's not enough, a few more ideas:
use them to make patterns
count the lids
stack and compare towers
graph with them
make a batch of playdough and use the lids as stamps, monster eyes, wheels, etc.

Loads of rainy day (or any day) fun!

If you're still reading, here's the boys playing with their toy, adding their own great sound effects.  Anyone with little boys knows that sound effects are mandatory for pretty much any activity.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Halloween 2013

The Mr.'s decided to go with a theme again this year for Halloween costumes.  I was all too happy to oblige.  You know I can't resist matching people...

I was also a bit relieved that they wanted to do something other than Star Wars.  This year, it was all about the ninjas, Lego Ninjago Ninjas, to be exact.

I drafted the patterns for their costumes using their jeans and a Sunday shirt as my pattern starters, and I have to say, they turned out pretty nice.  I used this tutorial for the pants, and just figured out the wrap top on my own.  I also made the shoulder armor and pinned them to the shirts so that the rest of the costume could be thrown in the wash.  Want to know the trick for the cool head covers?  All I did was buy a matching t shirt from the craft store and sewed the crest on the inside back of the tee, then you tie it on like this (scroll down the post for the picture how-to).  Super easy!  Thanks to our Kalanui cousins for tipping us off to this easy ninja mask trick a few years ago.

It was really hard to get a good pic of all of the boys standing together, they all wanted to pose with their sweet ninja moves and some of them just wanted to go dig in the dirt.  I think I got a few good shots, though.

 Who knew measuring spoons and squirt guns were ninja weapons of choice?

The Sunday before Halloween, we had our traditional spooky Halloween dinner with my family. 

On the menu was pepperoni-fried mushrooms (not Halloweenish, but the mushroom lovers were so happy), monster fingers (chicken strips), ghost mashed potatoes, brie and crackers (the knife added a little Halloween element), red jello with candy eyes, veggies and dip in a jack-o-lantern bell pepper, and pumpkin cookies and eyeball pudding (tapioca) for dessert.  We had to have our kool-aid in our dry ice-filled cauldron as well.  I love themed holiday dinners.  It is a fun tradition that I hope we never stop doing.

On Halloween night, we went trick or treating with my brother's three kiddos.  It was akin to herding cats to keep them together, let alone get them to stand still and look at the camera for a picture!  I think the action shot is quite fun, though.  It captures the real moment, you know, with two of them play fighting, one on the floor, one trying to run away...  We met up with all the family in town for pizza and candy, then down a few streets in my parents' neighborhood to trick or treat.  They had a blast.

Mr. Four was happy to join in, as long as it involved having a sucker in his mouth for the festivities.  Who can say no to that face?  I don't even want to think about how many suckers he ate that night...


Just for fun, here are two art projects that Mr. Two made in school that I thought would be easy to make at home, too.  The mummy is made with masking tape.  Why didn't I think of that?!  So clever.

It was another memory-and-candy-filled Halloween.  Now, on to Thanksgiving trimmings, gratitude and some fun fall projects to finish up!