Friday, December 23, 2011

For Auld Lang Syne: New Year's Masks

This is actually a craft mom had been thinking about doing, but we couldn't seem to fit it in.  Fortunately my teacher busted it out right before winter break.  Pretty simple -- we painted wooden masks, covered them with glue, and sequined those babies up (mom found these similar wooden masks).  But we love them and can't wait to use them at our New Year's party.

Speaking of New Year's, we are taking some time off to celebrate the holidays and hope you all get a chance to do the same.  We'll see everyone in 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

This Peppermint Winter: Candy Cane Playdough

We needed to come up with a gift to leave my preschool friends (I'll be moving on to a new school in 2012) and thought playdough would be a good one -- all of my classmates really liked making it with us this past semester.  We were happy when we came across Artful Parent's candy cane playdough idea and we decided to do something similar using our go-to recipe.  We made one batch, split it into two, colored one half red and left the other plain.  Each got a healthy dose of glitter (red or silver) and peppermint extract.  Then mom coiled the two together in a tupperware and tied it all up.  It's a nice, easy to make gift if you are still looking for present ideas -- I hope my friends enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Big Locomotive Right on Time: Garden Railway at the U.S. Botanic Garden

If you live near D.C. and you haven't heard about the Botanic Garden's Garden Railway, you must be living under a rock.  Sometimes harder to get into than the currently hot Pearl Dive Oyster Palace (mom maintains she will get in one day), it's best to try and go during a week day right at 10 a.m.  Mom took our preschool on a field trip and we were super psyched to spot all our faves (Thomas, Percy, AND James) mixed in with whimsical fairy gardens and running in and out of mountains.  I would also suggest that you watch your step if you happen to take a tour through the desert room on the way to the restrooms -- you will in fact get cactus needles in your hiney if you fall on one (the movies don't lie).  I know.  Mom spent several minutes picking needles out of my tush.  Ouch.

the offending cactus

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In a World of Swirl: Swirled Paint Glass Ornaments

One of the first holiday crafts we did this year was to make some swirled paint ornaments.  We used this tutorial as a starting point, but we ended up using tempera paint.  Mom thought it might be easier for us to use -- we poured it into small squirt bottles and mixed glitter into some.  We bought both large and medium sized glass ornaments, but found that the medium ones worked best with our smaller hands.  I found that I was pretty good at getting the paint in and shaking, shaking, shaking.  All those yogurt cups we saved came in handy for draining and drying our ornaments.  Mom took a second crack at some larger ones using metallic tempera paint and found that those drained almost completely of the paint.  Wasn't the intended effect, but they still look pretty cool.  We'll try some acrylics next year (and have these and these on our list for ornaments next year, too).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Put On Your Yarmulke, it's Time for Hanukkah: Hanukkah Stained Glass

Mom tells us that she is "super happy" that Hanukkah and Christmas fall at the same time this year.  Our house has been exploding with holiday crafts for the past few weeks in preparation and we recently made these very pretty Hanukkah stained glass pieces.  We used these stained glasses as inspiration (and for the templates!), but instead of collaging the tissue paper directly on the back of the black construction paper, mom had us make collages on a piece of white watercolor paper (it is a little thick for light to shine completely through, but it holds up well) using watered down Elmer's glue with a paint brush.  Then mom cut out the templates and glued them on top.  Kane was interested only in tearing up the pieces of bleeding tissue paper (which is a totally awesome art material that we haven't used before), but not in the collaging.  I liked sitting on mom's lap and placing the tissue paper down while she brushed the glue on.

We had lots of little strips of collaged paper left that were too pretty to throw away.  Mom is in the midst of a massive present wrapping effort (perhaps why she is "super happy" about the intersection of holidays this year?) and thought they'd make neat gift tags.  She used her Recollections tag punch and punched out a whole bunch.  Grammie B made some too and even put some glitter in the glue for some sparkle.  Mom stamped a set of 16 to use for our Hanukkah presents with the first letter of our name and the number of the night (C1, C2, etc.).

I see lots and lots of bleeding tissue paper crafts in our future!

Friday, December 16, 2011

You Have Led Me to the Banks of Quiet Waters: Quiet Waters Park

Back in the day, when Vegas was the only child, mom and dad used to pack the car and head up to Annapolis for the day to let Veg run the dog beach at Quiet Waters Park.  We hadn't ever been with them and since Veg has gotten the short end of the stick lately, we took him up a few weekends ago.  Of course the dog beach had been washed out and was closed (with no currently planned reopening), but we decided that he'd still be pretty psyched about a nice "hike" in the woods.  There are many different trails at Quiet Waters, with sculpture placed throughout the Park, and we decided to take one of the paved paths.  All was good for about 2 minutes.  Then Cami and I decided that we both needed to be carried and I threw a tantrum over my inability to find the exact perfect "walking stick."  (more accurately at mom and dad's refusal to let me carry ridiculously large, pointed tree branches as walking sticks).  Poor Veg ran bigger and bigger loops around us and you could almost hear him muttering, "seriously, kids?  you can't even let me have one GD hike?"  Oh well.  We chilled out a bit at the sweet playground and were in better spirits when we made it over by the skating rink to the Garden Cafe for a little Pit Boys lunch.  There is a really nice room to have lunch, complete with fireplace, overlooking the garden and skating rink.  But we suggest bringing your own lunch -- Pit Boys tasted great, but didn't sit so well with anyone.  After lunch Cam and I insisted that we were ready to behave and hit the trails again, but our attitude adjustments were a bit late.  It was nap time.  If you are in the area and have time, we also suggest checking out Cantler's Riverside Inn for an authentic crab feast.