- Mix flour, salt and water on medium until dough is of even consistency.
- Lightly flour work surface.
- Help kids roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.
- Give them cookie cutters and show them how to press all the way to the bottom of dough.
- Help move play dough shapes to ungreased cookie sheet.
- Using the end of a birthday candle or straw, help kids make holes for hanging the ornaments at the top of each shape.
- Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours.
- Allow to cool.
- Tie yarn or ribbon on each ornament to hang.
- Remind your toddler these don’t taste like cookies!
November has already begun, so my mind is now on Thanksgiving! The kids and I were talking about what we are thankful for and I thought it would be fun to display those “thanks” for the month. I honestly thought of this idea on my own and then happened to see something similar on the Disney “Family Fun” website – that one is great too but we used different supplies and will be adding our “thanks” every day. Have fun and make whatever you’d like of it! We have decided to have ours displayed on our dining room table all month.
- Autumn colored card stock paper (enough for 24 leaves)
- 24 safety pins
- Branches from the yard, with plenty of little spots for the leaves to hang
- A large vase, strong enough to hold the branches
- Draw and cut out several leaves (same kind or different, whatever you choose). I made a couple of template leaves so the kids could trace them. Cut the leaves out – depending on the ages, you might be doing all of the cutting. We made 24 leaves so that we could have one for every day before Thanksgiving. A note on paper: craft stores like Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics, have packets of “scrap”, multicolored, card stock that come in very handy for projects like these.
- Poke a safety pin at the stem of each leaf (also an adult’s job)
- Collect a branch or two from outside that would fit your table or shelf (make sure there are plenty of little branches to hang the leaves from)
- Find a solid vase to set the branches in.
- Each day, write down something that the kids are thankful for. OR you could ask each of your children what they are thankful for and make a list…each day, write one of those things down and take turns so each child is contributing (write their name on the back of that leaf).
For many years our church has packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child. The mission of this Christian organization is to share God’s love by shipping / flying / trucking / snowmobiling / pedaling / paddling, etc…boxes of Christmas toys and treats and joy to children in need in the remotest corners of the earth. To give your children an idea of where their boxes might go and who will receive them, watch this video of children receiving their Christmas boxes in Papa New Guniea and this video of children receiving their boxes in Ukraine. And keep a kleenex box handy. Find drop off locations in your area by typing in your zip codehere. (Friends in our area, our closest drop-off location is the KTIS radio station across from Northwestern College.) You can download all the packing labels you need for your gift box that specify boy or girl and their age here. And don’t forget to include a picture of your child or your whole family and a personal note with your mailing address…we have heard of people getting letters back from the child who received their box! Collection week is November 12-19, so there is still time!
A couple years ago, I helped my boys pack a box for a boy their age and my girls pack one for a girl their age. This year they all begged to pack their own boxes. So we have four.
We talk often about ways we can share what we have to help others who do not have. This is such a tangible and joyful way to encourage our children to give. We went as a family to Target and Dollar Tree for items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair clips and headbands, race cars, nerf balls, crayons, etc. But I also asked each of our kids to pick out at least one special toy that they already own that they would like to give to a child who might not normally receive any Christmas presents. It is so beautiful to see the giving hearts of young children. One of my daughters could not even close her box because she was trying to stuff in so many of her stuffed animals. So she dispersed them between the boxes. We also had one who needed encouragement to find just one toy to give away, but even so it is a rewarding activity for everyone. I know I can fall under either of those categories depending on the day. The purpose is not to guilt ourselves or our children into charitable deeds, but to encourage a generous spirit.
C.S. Lewis writes,
I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, …they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.
This is radical and challenging to me and my family. There are no templates for the right amount of giving. What we do know is that the more we allow ourselves a taste of this joy, the more acute our desire for giving will become.
Have fun packing, and be sure to get your boxes to your nearest drop-off site by November 19!
This summer we transitioned our girls, now 4 and almost 3, from their toddler beds to twin beds. We found a sweet deal on craigslist for some bunks, (here’s what they looked like when we got them):
…and after a new paint job, we liked that they look good unbunked too. For now this is how we will keep them.
I have gotten so many kids’ room ideas from just being at other friends’ houses, so my purpose in sharing what we have done here is to share inspiration to make our kids’ rooms fun and unique to our unique kids! Also check the best bunk beds for kids!
After we painted the beds, I found cute bedding my oldest daughter and I liked in pink.
The problem was that my 2 1/2-year-old kept reminding me she likes PURPLE. At first I tried ignoring her. But then I decided she should probably have a say this was HER room too! So I began to enjoy the process of making pink and purple work together…
>> Also visit my friend’s blog for the best car seat stroller combo reviews
The bedding is Pottery Barn Kids Daisy Garden quilts in pink and purple. These do occasionally show up used on ebay and craigslist for better deals. What can I say…I am a sucker for cute quilts. I should probably learn how to make them myself someday.
Next we put up more clothespin art display boards as we have shown before….
My girls LOVE hanging up their artwork, cards from family, or anything they think is special. The big clothespins, the wooden letters and flower and butterfly wooden decals can be found at any Joann’s Craft store. I found links for the clothespins and big letters here, and here. The paint colors I used were called “Hibiscus” in the Ace Hardware brand paint for the dark pink wall, then “Blushing Bride” and “Woodland Hills Green” from Benjamin Moore for my pink and green striped wall. I’ll have to get back on the purple because I mixed it myself.
My favorite part of their room is possibly the tea party station.
But they also like their dollhouse and baby doll corner…
where they have a bed for every baby.
This mirror came from my grandparents’ house, and makes an elaborate place to see our reflections.
It was a dusty gold, but I taped up the mirror and spray-painted the frame in white for a more girlie-antique look.
I learned how to paint vertical stripes with straight edges from a Family Handyman article…painter’s tape sealed by pressing a tennis ball on each edge length! And it works on textured walls too…that’s what we have! For our green striped wall, we used the “Woodland Hills Green”, “Blushing Bride” plain white from other paint jobs, purple again, as well as the blue of “Neah Bay” from Ace Hardware brand. My girls and I are pleased with how our mirror and stripes turned out.
Mostly I am pleased that they seem to enjoy their space designed just for them as they play in their room together.
for Cream Cheese Frosting:
Why I love a folding picnic table?!! While I spend most of my time glued to the couch, the charm of summer sometimes manages to woo me outdoors. Writing this set of reviews brought a smile to my face. For all of my life, we have had the same old black picnic table. Depending on the occasion, we drag it from place to place across all five acres. At night, we sometimes drag it to the clear spot on our hill to ponder the wonders of astronomy.
During our 4th of July celebrations, which usually include vegan marshmallows, we cram people on it to the point of creaking. With the toss of a crisp white tablecloth from the dollar store, the rickety antique became a party’s central piece. Just this summer we slapped a new coat of paint on it and tightened the bolt. At this point, this ugly old table should outlast some of our willow trees. I will miss it when it’s been put out of its misery. I know I am not alone in my attachment to outdoor furniture.
Invented in the same era as postage stamps and concrete, picnic tables have become a staple of outdoor living. It’s no surprise, with nearly a century to perfect its design, that my creaking black beauty lasted so long. Also known as a picnic bench, the timeless design features a tabletop with built-in bench seating on either side. Seating capacity varies depending on the length of the tabletop, the width of the seat, and the thickness of the supporting boards. Ours for example, though it bows when loaded, can comfortably seat a family of eight; we can squeeze ten in if hold our breath and pray.
While we have no idea what type of wood ours is made of, most picnic tables are built from stout cedar or oak. To be honest, while I love the big hulking think, at over two hundred pounds it’s not exactly a featherweight. Dancing it around the thing with the lawnmower is back-breaking work. When my back starts screaming at the black beauty, I picture a table that’s easier to pick up, move, and lift. That’s why I became interested in a new design: the folding picnic table. We will be reviewing five different tables in this category. When it comes to picnic tables, it’s best to have one that folds easily under pressure.
Picnic Table Criteria
While this is not a scientific study, involving a countless array of sample selection criteria, some thought went into the five products below. I picked nothing I found overly garish or unable to stand up to everyday wear and tear. Obviously, all of these tables happen to have the ability to fold for easy storage, transform into other items, or shrink to accommodate smaller spaces. In addition to the aforementioned, all also have the following in common: average Amazon reviews of at least three stars, at least five Amazon reviews, a weight under one-hundred pounds, prices under 300 dollars, and the ability to hold at least four adults. So, regardless of which table you choose, you will have an intact wallet, a pain-free back, and enough opinions to fold your own judgment.
Please be aware that these tables are listed in no particular order. You should not take the order as representative of my overall thoughts, rank, or preferences.
And the WINNERS of the lovely Tervis Tumblers are…………….
Thanks to everyone who now follows us on pinterest. We will continue pinning and posting as we feel inspired.
Heidi and Molly, please email us your address info and we’ll get those in the mail to you! (email@example.com)
So after Lindsey posted her favorite cups ever a while back, Tervis sent us a couple of their tumblers to raffle off! Tervis has thousands of designs and choices – they are such good quality cups and they have a lifetime guarantee!
We would like to offer them as raffle giveaway prizes this week. Notice our new “Follow Me on Pinterest” button on our upper right sidebar? If you will just give it a click and then leave us a comment on this post, we will enter your name in our drawing for Friday! Your comment can be anything you’d like: maybe share your favorite post or topic you’d be interested in us posting about. And check out our pinterest boards! Hopefully the way we have arranged them is easy and accessible to you when you need them. Thanks so much, and we will pick our giveaway winner on Friday!
We currently have an abundance of basil in our garden. This was an attempt to make use of the abundance. Just went with the Dill Dip recipe from Joy of Cooking, but switched out the dill for pesto and added minced garlic. We have been loving it with crackers and veggies for lunches.
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream (or yogurt for a healthier alternative)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup basil, processed in food processor
2 cloves garlic, minced
- In electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and sour cream.
- Add salt.
- Mince 6-8 handfuls fresh basil leaves in food processor to make pesto.
- Mince garlic.
- Mix in basil and garlic to cream mixture.
- Dip with veggies and crackers.
For a long while now, I have been pondering how to get my kids’ handprints on our walls…besides just the normal peanut butter and jelly ones. I had been thinking a tree would work…perhaps inspired by all the preschool art we have done. I googled all sorts of tree images. You could buy a precut laminate sticker like this one for your wall for large amounts of $$$, or you could just pencil in, brush over and see what happens…
What you need:
pencil (for sketching outline of tree branches)
different colors of paint
lots of hands
After sketching and painting the tree with limbs in desired spot, paint each child’s hand with decided color. Help child make their handprint by asking them to hold their hand flat while you help them press it to the wall at different angles a number of times. If they allow you, try to press each fingertip and the outline of their hand for more detail. In attempt to minimize the mess, we did right hands, washed up in the sink, and then left hands. But there is no right order.
This project was not about perfection, but about making a memory.
I pulled out many cans of bright colored paints from various other projects over the years, and this is what we came up with. But you could easily buy the small little dollar bottles of acrylic paint at a craft store. And don’t forget to paint your name down the family tree, and the date you finished this project or even the date your family was established. My kids each had their own color so we can tell whose prints are whose. Now they often walk down this hallway and give themselves or whoever else a high-five over the handprint. 🙂
Whether we are ready or not, our children’s handprints will not fit in the prints we make with them today for very long. My hope for my babies is that they will continue leaving their growing handprints of love and compassion wherever their journey may take them. And that is the dramatic and sentimental encouragement from one parent to another to make art of our babies’ handprints today so we can show them how far they have come tomorrow.
Why do you need an outdoor cat house? Any cat lover will tell you that felines are amazing pets. And, I know that my cats have been some of my dearest friends over the years. Some people say that they are not as loyal or as friendly as dogs. But, I would beg to differ. Cats are wonderful friends and companions with a huge capacity for love and affection.
But, they can also cause problems inside of your home. Their litter may cause unpleasant smells, they may claw at the furniture or climb on the bookcases and knock things over. Cats are sometimes messy and can be prone to throw up or spit up hair balls.
The bottom line is that though cats are wonderful pets, it can be a bit of a pain to keep them indoors with you at all times. Let’s just say that they aren’t the best roommates. But, any good pet owner knows that animals need shelter and comfort. This sometimes leads us to feel that we can’t leave our pets outdoors for very long. But, they are animals and they do enjoy outdoor play. There is nothing wrong at all with giving them their own space outdoors in which they can play, rest and grow. A compromise must be found in order for everyone to be happy and safe, but you shouldn’t have to live in a stinky house or clean up cat vomit 5 times a day.
Does this make it sound like I hate cats? Well, I most certainly do not. I adore cats and I love having them as pets. They are some of my very favorite animals in the world. I am just honest and forthright about some of the pitfalls of living with them.
When the time came for me to move them out of the house, I worried that they wouldn’t feel safe or that they wouldn’t be able to find shelter if they needed it. I have always loved having cats but needed to find a solution that would allow me to let them in and out of the house without worry. I wanted them to have a safe place to get warm, cool off, take or just hide out. It was important to me that they had their own little home so that they didn’t feel abandoned and banished to the yard like secondary citizens.
Indoor cat houses, as far as I am concerned are a waste of money as cats can just as easily go curl up in the recliner or bury himself in the couch pillows. They are also unattractive, bulky and take up a ton of room. I have had a few but never found them very useful. So, when I decided to start looking around for outdoor houses I wasn’t sure that I wanted one. I was worried it would be as useless as the indoor cat houses that I have spent hundreds of dollars on over the years.
I knew that outdoor dog houses were pretty common but I wasn’t sure about what was out there for cats. So, I researched and found an outdoor cat shelter that suited our family, and our needs. I was still unsure about the idea because I had never had one before but I was excited to see how this new adventure went for my kitties. I was pleasantly surprised at how much they loved, and still love, their house.
Now, I want to share all of the knowledge that I gained during my research to help you make the very best choice for your furry friend!
I will begin by giving you a quick rundown of 5 of the best outdoor cat houses out there to purchase. I will outline their pros and cons and give you the information that you need to feel like you are an informed consumer.
PS: If you’re bunny lover, you might also love to see the best cheap indoor & outdoor rabbit hutch.
Looking for a relatively easy, family-friendly lawn game? Cornhole (or Bean Bag Toss) is a great option! We call ours “Mousehole” 🙂 as you can see from the photos. This game consists of two boards with a hole in each one, and then beanbags (of 2 different colors) to toss into the holes. It is really fun! My husband built these in a matter of a few hours and I spent a few hours painting the design. We thought we were pretty clever making the hole one of the ears – but I am sure you can come up with many other fun designs or ideas that would suit your family!
There are many ways to build these – here is a great site that takes you through each step:www.cornholehowto.com
|Candy is revealed!|
- Bake your favorite cake mix in the bundt pan – according to the directions.
- Cool and invert the cake onto a platter.
- Poor candy into the center of the bundt…we liked using mini m&m’s!
- Frost the entire cake, but begin frosting over the candy section first – it’s totally possible to make it look like a regular cake if you frost it well!
I am not a garden expert, by any stretch of the imagination. I just enjoy gardening and have experimented a fair amount in my 3 short years of having a garden so far. I know there are oodles of sites out there with lots of great information based off of research and expert experiences. I am simply offering my “clueless but successful” experiences with you, in hopes it could shed some light into your gardening struggles.
Last year, I noticed our zucchini plants would flower but then not grow beyond that point. I spent about 2 minutes looking online at boards that discussed this and formed my conclusion that we must not have enough bees to pollinate the flowers to grow fruit. So, I started self-pollinating the flowers every few days, in the morning or the evening and had some success! I also did it with my lime plant, yes a lime PLANT, that I was able to keep alive all winter indoors…and I now have limes growing!
|Male Flower – pollen is all over the stamen.|
Here’s what you do with a zucchini plant:
Either in the morning or evening, inspect the plant…find a male flower (it will have powdery pollen all over the stamen) – this will be sacrificed.
Find a female flower that is NOT open yet – you will need to open this flower before it’s yellow – carefully peeling it open without ruining the pedals…deposit the pollen and then close the pedals again…some people put a small piece of painters blue tape over it, to keep it closed but not too tightly.
With the male flower, either pick it, peel back the pedals so just the stamen can be put in contact with the female flower (which will have small lines and no pollen on the stamen). OR use a paint brush to gather pollen and then brush onto the female.
|A perfect flower to pollinate – not open yet.|
|See the female stamen…no pollen yet.|
We LOVE making homemade pizzas…it’s become a Friday night tradition in our house. It can be very easy too, with the help of a bread machine (which makes the dough in 50 minutes), a pizza stone, and a wooden paddle (to transfer each pizza). I recently made a pesto pizza that was a hit and wanted to share!
Bread machine-made dough:
(Check what recipe your machine has, but this is my recipe)
3/4 cup warm water
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP olive oil
2 1/4 cup flour – I use half whole wheat
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Breadmachine quick rise yeast
It takes my machine 50 minutes to mix, and let it rise and it’s totally ready for rolling out pizzas!
During this time, I heat the pizza stone in the oven at 475 degrees.
Ingredients for Pesto Pizza
Basil pesto sauce – the amount depends on how many pizzas you are making – we love the large jar from Costco
Real mozzarella – the kind that is in a ball
Optional: Fresh basil leaves
Optional: Fresh Tomato slices
|Wooden paddle makes transferring very easy!|
Break each loaf of dough up into 4-6 smaller balls of dough (depending on how large or small you want them). Roll out each ball into a 1/4 inch-thick circles. If you are using a wooden paddle to transfer the dough, lightly flour that surface so the dough circles slide off nicely. Place each one onto the hot pizza stone in the oven, bake for 4 minutes, remove. Do all of the dough at this time.
|Note the coals are moved to the sides – not directly under the pizza|
If you are grilling the pizzas, make sure the coals (or heat source) are moved to the sides of the grill – not directly under the pizzas (or they will burn!) It might take some practice to get the right amount of cooking time and temp, but just keep an eye on the bottom of each pizza so it doesn’t burn. The cheese melts better if the cover is on. If the bottoms are done, but the cheese is unmelted, you could always just pop them into the oven on low-broil to get it melted to your liking, but it should be OK on the grill if the temp is right.
|Pizza stone – a great investment!|
– 6 ounces White chocolate (Baker’s Premium White Chocolate squares)
– Blue sugar (Wilton sprinkles, blue sugar)
>> Also check reviews on best picnic tables at here!
My husband built this while I was grocery shopping one Saturday morning not too long ago. We eat most meals on our deck now anytime it’s not raining…it’s awesome! This table is perfect for up to 6 kids ages 3 to 10. Here is before and after the paint job…
The plans came from Ana White’s website right here:
Or you can also buy a kid-sized picnic table at here!
I realize this post is for woodworkers, but if you are not afraid of wielding a power saw, this project is a cinch. According to my handy husband, this is…
|Proof that anything hanging in my house will get “loved” by little fingers!|
Hello to all of our followers!
Yesterday we had a little hiccup in our system and lost our original domain name. All is well now, and our new domain name is: www.kidfriendlyhome.com. Look familiar? Well, it’s almost identical to our original domain name, but now without the “the” at the start.
If you have us bookmarked, make sure to update your bookmark to www.kidfriendlyhome.com.
Sorry for the hassle. But THANK YOU for your interest in our blog. We are not going to let this little setback stop us from sharing our passions with you.
Lindsey and Sarah
They were pretty well-received by the young superheros. The only trick is finding a material that will not ravel when cut. This is especially crucial when making 24 at once…no time to sew edges, even if they only take 15 minutes each! I went with a rayon stretch material. You will need to look at the edge of the material where it has already been cut. If it already has strings raveling, look elsewhere. You should be able to find a solid with a bit of stretch, that does not ravel. And be sure to use a Joann’s coupon from the site or get the Joann’s app!
Now you are ready for the next step! Simply lay the material out on a flat surface and cut out a rectangular shape approximately 20”x 30” with a rounded edge on one side like picture above. Cut a circle 6” in diameter close to the rounded edge.
Use a sharpie marker (or slick fabric paint if you desire) to label which superhero the cape belongs to.
Capes are hardly even costumes anymore around here. We put the on just as much as we pull on our socks. There is nothing like a good cape for encouraging creative play. Plus you can be sure you are well-protected with so many superheros around. Try a cape and turn a rainy day into a super day! 🙂