Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Numbered Onesie's; More Potato Stamps

Potato-Stamped Onesie's

Prepping onesie's for decoration with the help of potato stamps...again.

A onesie for each month of the first year will be put on display at Nephews Baby Shower, so friends and family can add their artistic flare!

123 Count-with-me Beanbags

Potato-Stamped Beanbags

A project assigned to me by my sister, started off as a dreaded activity I was afraid I would fail miserably at.
Once I managed some hurdles, I was enjoying the process so much I was brainstorming all the ways I could use potato stamps on other projects!

My very bestest bud has a very brilliant son who is a budding number genius. 
Since he is about to turn three, we devised some potato stamps for linen beanbags. 
Beanbag games are endless, so adding some numbers to the mix, multiplies the possibilities!

Like with my little sisters Nursery Lyrics Canvases http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8780221851335963540#editor/target=post;postID=1900777798395685520, the alphabet (or in this case, numbers) have to be cut in mirror-image, so they can be read when stamped on the cloth. Plus "6" and "9" can work as one stamp, which is handy when you are cutting several potato's and trying to be precise.

The above need some ironing and a good turn at the sewing machine before packing them up for the trip home. We'll hold off on the rice filling until we land.

O's original set of beanbags..still go to excellent use on a weekly basis!

Frugal Living: Mothering.com

Make-Your-Own Fun

The bigger the city, the more enticing the advertising, the more products we feel we cannot live without.

Before we had O, we didn't stock up on baby stuff, we didn't have a registry or a baby shower and I told myself over and over; this baby will not have every material possession under the sun. 
I begged family to buy her a book for special days or send best wishes.

Then baby came.
There are so many amazing toys and activities on the market.
It is tempting not to find a way to buy them all.
And if you live in China, Taobao can seem like your best friend, but become your worst enemy!

We have loaded her up with more than I initially intended. But, I would say half of the 'stuff' on our Wish Lists, we devised a way to make ourselves and now they are precious pieces in our home.

Mothering.com is a fabulous site and a definite go-to for Attachment Parenting & Gentle Living.
The article I read yesterday was a good swift, kick-in-the-butt, that kids, in fact entire families, are better off not keeping up with the Joneses.

Read and be inspired;)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Baby Girl Bling

 Fabric Necklace
Glass Beads

Incredibly talented ladies at Everyday Art, posted a simple tutorial for making fabric necklaces. http://www.our-everyday-art.com/2012/07/baby-girls-fabric-necklace.html

With no shortage of fabric scraps in our house plus a few glass bead bracelets we bought for 10rmb in Yu Gardens, made this a quick two-material, three-step activity.

1) Simply make a long 'sleeve' on the sewing machine by folding a strip of fabric (outside's facing in). 
2) Turn the sleeve inside out (this was the trickiest part, but a pencil helped the push).
3) Feed one bead in at a time and knot, before adding another bead.

Simple! Cheap! Quick!
Love it!

O is a big fan of her new necklace and it works as a great tool to keep her hands busy.
These would easy,peasy gifts or party favours.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Peter Cottontail

Two Peter Cottontails

In celebration of Spring (yet to make an appearance!), we brought out the plastic eggs and bunny ears this week.
Cooped in with a cold,  O and I made Peter Cottontails yesterday with three items: paper cut-outs, cottonballs & homemade glue.

I found a simple recipe for making your own glue http://www.minieco.co.uk/recipe-for-homemade-glue/
The recipe results in a copious amount of glue, so we reduced the measurements into a third of what was called for.

Homemade Glue

It worked surprisingly well, considering the fact that we used whole wheat flour and didn't really cook the mixture! The ingredients are all safe for consumption, so a little in the mouth is no biggie! Everything still ends up in O's mouth, so we try to be cautious about what materials we give her.


Big fan of blobbing it on....

Dab will do you

..and thought it really amusing to put down glue in one spot..and the cottonball in a different (unglued) spot!

It became a bit of an assembly line project, where O was in charge of the gluing and I was in charge of sticking the cottonballs on.

Math. You can vary the size or the rabbits to make a family and give a lesson in comparison...count cottonballs...or use the cottonballs as addition or subtraction tablets, so the child can concretely see how many are altogether. In our case, the gluing was as much as we could manage in a day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013



Masking tape is another cheap and  handy household item that can be used for a number of mapped out floor games.
A while back we used masking tape for a game of Walk the Line inspired by Montessori activities. http://mamadrool.blogspot.com/2012/06/walk-line.html 

Today we thought we would try a tiny game of good, old-fashioned Hopscotch. Technically hopscotch is played by tossing a stone to land in one of the number boxes, skipping that box as you hop and on your return, balancing on one foot as you retrieve your stone.
That is not how our version went this morning;)

O was happy to help me figure out which numbers belong in which boxes (we started with a simple 1-5 version) as I mapped out the tape. I brought out a soft ball for throwing and did a little demo.
O then took her turn, "jumping into the water like Dorge."
"Who is Dorge?" I asked.
"Dorge from the book." she said matter-of-factly, as she continued to "splash" into the water (number boxes) and ask that I dry her off.

I forgot we read Curious George, the original version, yesterday, where George flips overboard the boat and needs to be rescued by sailors.

And so went our game of Hopscotch.

Daddy Up's the Ante. Adding Roman Numerals brings a bit of a twist. Thanks Daddy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


 This is my local diner's waitress.

She serves only ice cream (so she tells me), but she still writes down my order.

Messy Bathtime

Bathtub Palette

A while back, our dear friends in Shanghai allowed our girls to get messy in their bathtub with paints. The girls had a great time..and the clean up was, umm, kind of easy.

Yesterday, I found a recipe for bathtub paints and spiced up our nighttime wash-down! My recipe turned out horrible! (surprise!) other than the fact that it was so thick, O couldn't spill the paints when she dumped the container upside-down. That was handy!
Today I found a different recipe http://www.theidearoom.net/2009/02/bath-tub-paints.html that we will try once we finish up yesterdays batch.

Body Art

Once she took a minute to test the paint on the tubside, she immediately asked if she could paint her body. Why not? 
This was her choice of medium for the remainder of paint time.

She played as long as she was enjoying herself and then we cleaned up bubble bath style.

Happy Evening!

Homemade Henna. A highschool art friend of mine asked me to help her one year at a local fair with her Henna Booth. We were just kids, working all weekend in the sun, having a great time..and as a bonus made a ton of money! 
Black henna tends to have high chemical count, but red henna is usually derived from plant material. Indian stores that sell foodstuff, often have pre-made henna or henna powder (for hair colouring). 
* Helpful Hint; Henna's colours are more vibrant when the skin is hot. Sitting in the sun while henna designs bake into your skin will give a nice, strong colour. The inside of the palm is a great place for heat/vibrant colour.

Little Sprouts

 Beans, beans

Spring is not springing around here.
Garden boxes half-finished.
Seeds waiting to be planted.
Winter coats washed and put away, only to be brought back out again every other day.

We took a walk to the veggie market on Saturday and O picked out two types of beans for sprouting. I have done sprouting with all of my kindergarden classes over the years because it is simple, cheap and the results show within a day or two, depending on the type of bean you choose. It is even a suitable winter project when you need a hint of growth in the long months.

Windowsill waiting

1. Choose a few types of dried beans. 
Mixing the varieties allows children to see different growth rates. 
Tiny mung or adzuki beans, for example, usually sprout very quickly. 
O chose kidney beans and "purple" beans. 
We don't know their name, but O picked them for their colour. 
They are significantly larger than your average bean.

2. Use a thick paper towel and a clear jar/container. Wet the paper and line the jar. Slide the beans in along the liner.
Make sure to give them a bit of space between and not seal them in tightly.

3. Place the jar in a sunny windowsill.
If the towel dries out, make sure to moisten it again.

The lesson in growth comes from learning that plants need water and sunlight to grow. 
In a few days, you will have sprouts (or 'tails') and these can grow quite long over a week or two.
You can chart the changes by drawing pictures, taking measurements or photographs with each change the child notices.

Sprout Bags. Most health food stores sell Sprout Bags made of natural materials. These are yummy and edible in only a few short days.

Garden Boxes: Woodworking

 Daddy's Little Helper

Luckily, I have loads of nice memories of childhood. One of those being any time that my dad gave me access to his scrap wood box!

In our house there always seems to be 90-odd half-finished projects lying around the house because I am a Pinterest addict and have amazing access to supplies here in Shanghai.
However, last weekend Daddy insisted on some free time for his project-of-choice; making garden boxes for this year's balcony crop.

 Eager Eye's

I could absolutely relate to O's eagerness.
She is not much for art.
She can do without the crafts.
But she loves to build and she loves the opportunity to figure out new materials.

Hardware Girl

For now, she serves as a bit of a gopher, but this did not seem to bother her one bit. 
She was involved and absolutely helpful!

Styrofoam & Golf Tee's. Not ready to arm the wee ones with nails and a hammer? Try out a piece of styrofoam, golf tee's and a little mallet.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Flower Button Book

 Felt Flower Book

A fabulous mama blogger at Chasing Cheerio's inspired the Flower Button Book O and I put together. http://chasingcheerios.blogspot.com/2013/02/last-week-in-review.html
Chasing Cheerio's created a felt board, but we changed ours up a bit by  folding and covering thick felt, so we can take it to go.

 Fold & Carry

We also created the petals to learn a little lesson in shapes, by cutting triangles, rectangles and circles.

Button Center

The design concept is super simple and a quick craft, but it is a bit tricky to 'thread' the buttons through. Not sure that we are quite at the stage of buttoning.
O took a few turns before using the petals as rings on her fingers;) 
We'll try again later!

Spring Cleaning

 Suds Party

Before the chilly weekend weather snuck it's way in, O and I had the chance to enjoy the first taste of Spring with a Suds Party on the balcony.
Any day involving suds and bubbles, is a good day.

 Can you guess what this toddler is thinking?