Marble Spider Web and Handprint Spiders

I recently featured this fun idea from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and just had to try it with two of my girls this week. 

To do this project I took a piece of dark colored cardstock {purple w/ polka dots}, cut it to fit inside a cake pan and attached it with tape.  Then I added a few dollops of white paint.

Then I added 3 marbles to the pan and let the girls roll them around in the paint by tilting the pan from side to side.  This one looks like it's about done.  After the girls were done with their webs they wanted to paint this way some more - I see we'll be painting with marbles again soon.

While the spider webs were drying, I painted the girls' hands with brown paint and had them stamp their hands on another piece of cardstock.  Mina {age 2} did not want me to tell her where to put her hands, but somehow I was able to get her to do it.  I know I need to let her do some finger painting soon.  I confess I've never let her try that. 

 I traced a line going around the handprint spider so that Maisy {age 5} could cut her spider out easily on her own.  It was good practice for her to cut something with such an odd shape.  I cut out Mina's for her even though I know she would have enjoyed using the scissors {it would have been cut into tiny shreds}.

Then they glued on googly eyes to their hearts content.  The spiders were ready for their new home - we glued them onto the web and they were ready for display.

I wanted to hang these up somewhere and decided to hang them from the dining room light fixture.  I attached the two webs together so they were back to back - so fun to look at!

There were so many fun elements to this art project -  thanks Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas for this awesome idea!

Recycled haunted house

Ok, so we made this haunted house last year, but my kids absolutely loved making it.  We had been to the library where there was a display of recycled art that kids of varying ages had made and it was so awesome.  That's where the inspiration for this haunted house came from. 

When I brought it out this year as a decoration, they just want to play with it.  I think we need to make more, but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

We took a couple of empty boxes {we used a tissue box, a necklace box, and some plastic baby food containers} and painted them.  At the time, it was just Lou and Maisy doing the painting because Mina was too  young still.   Each of us painted a different part of the house.

Then they each painted a baby food container, but then they decided to stack them all and attach them to the roof as a chimney.

After the paint was dry I was able to take carefully cut out some windows.  We added orange crepe paper  to hang from the inside of the windows to make it appear as if the lights were on inside.  I've also now added a battery-powered tea light for fun. 

Once we decided on how to attach the boxes together to make our house the girls added some foam stickers.  This year I am unable to keep those stickers attached because Mina likes to take them off and have them play inside the house.  

One eyed, one horned flying purple people eater

Maisy has been singing this song almost nonstop for the past couple of weeks, but I hadn't thought to actually make one until I saw Toddler Approved do theirs {by the way, you need to check out that blog if you haven't already - amazing}. I pulled out some supplies {purple cardstock, colored craft sticks, circle punches, googly eyes, bingo markers, and glue} and set them on the counter for the night so we'd be ready to go in the morning. Little did I know that the girls would self start on this first thing in the morning without direction from me. This is where I walked in.

Maisy and Lou had already drawn out their monsters and glued on eyes and a craft stick horn {cut up with scissors}.  They were all ready to start decorating their people eaters.  Maisy went for the red bingo dot marker and Lou started punching out orange circles and adding them as hair to her monster.

Mina came to join the fun and immediately got a hold of one of the bingo markers and started gluing on a bunch of eyes.

Mina was more interested in cutting.  She snipped and snipped away.  She still holds her hand the wrong way when she cuts, but her fingers are in the right place and she has got the motion down - she does love her scissors.

Maisy liked to glue scraps of leftover paper onto her page.  She was making Lou pretty mad because she seemed to be taking up all the "good" scraps.

Here's how they turned out:

Lou's stylish people eater on a platform 

Maisy's interpretation - I know she had been envisioning this for quite some time.

Mina's cute little creature - love it!

Dinner in a pumpkin

This dinner is a long time tradition in my family {maybe that's why I love it so much}.  Not only is it cute, it's delicious as well.  The recipe is simple, you'll need:

1 small to medium size pumpkin {mine is about 8 pounds}
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package of fresh mushrooms, sliced {this time I actually used a combo of diced celery and shredded carrots in lieu of the mushrooms and it was really good this way - just use what you like}
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. soy sauce
2 cups cooked rice

Wash and dry your pumpkin and draw on a face using a sharpie.  Clean out your pumpkin and microwave it on high for about 10 minutes (until the pumpkin is slightly soft).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, saute your vegetables and brown the meat.  Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, {mushrooms} and soup.  Simmer 10 minutes, then add the rice.  Put the mixture inside the pumpkin and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour or until the pumpkin is tender. 

Make sure you scrape the sides of the of that tender pumpkin - it's very complimentary to the rice mixture.  Enjoy!

Playing with water beads

It wasn't until recently that I even knew these existed.  I first saw them on You'll Thank Me One Day.  Hers took several hours after adding them to water to plump up; the ones I bought were ready to go.  You can find them in the floral section at your local craft store - I got these at Michael's with a 40% off coupon for around $3.  The great thing about them is I can store them in the container they came in until next time.  I think they will last for a while. 

My daughter Lou was actually the one to talk me into getting them.  She saw them on the shelf and was practically begging me to get them.  I don't know if it was the colors she liked or if she actually knew what they were.  I don't know how she would know, but she claimed she did. 

They are awesome - completely squishy, slippery and bouncy {they are a polymer just like GAK}

After running her fingers through them  few times, Lou decided to get out some tongs and play that way.

Well, one kitchen utensil turned into many...I actually had to draw the line because I didn't want to have to wash every kitchen utensil that we owned after they were done playing. 

Maisy immediately wanted to add some marbles into the mix since they looked very similar to the water beads.  Of course the marbles gave exactly the opposite sensory experience than the water beads - very hard vs. soft and squishy. 

She had to try a bunch of different utensils as well.


I had to split up the water beads between the three girls - you can see here that Maisy has plenty to work with, but she really spent most of her time running after the strays that were bouncing around on the floor.  She never could get quite enough.  I wish she would have played with them more instead of worrying about what the others had - I guess that's part of the middle child syndrome.

Mina loved to stir her beads around.  In fact all the girls love to toss their make-believe salad. 

Since Maisy was adding marbles to her "salad", Mina decided she should add a Squinkie or two. 

The problem I had with Mina and the beads was that she started to try and eat them.  They are definitely not for consumption, I ended up taking hers away because she wouldn't stop putting them in her mouth.  Needless to say, she was not happy about that. 

Halloween crayon rubbings

I've seen this activity in several places recently {although I feel awful I never bookmarked it, so now I can't remember where it was}.  I sketched some simple Halloween shapes onto cardboard, then went over them with hot glue to create a raised surface.  Then I showed the kids how to do "sleepy crayon" over the image {my preschooler is already a pro at this, but it was totally a new concept to my toddler}.

At first, Mina just wanted to color the regular way with her crayon.

I showed her how to lay the crayon on its side in "sleeping" position and rub, but she just ended up rolling it.

She got the hang of rubbing over the image with the crayon on its side for a moment...

But she decided she liked coloring this way much better.

Maisy knew right what to do, she did a few different images then was done. 

Then later on I discovered that they had a much better time just coloring in the hot glue images. 

Do your kids like to do crayon rubbings? 
 I thought mine would like it more than they did, but I still want to try fall leaf rubbings.  Maybe we'll have more success with that.

Mummy meatloaf

I saw this idea last year in Family Fun magazine and tried it, and to my surprise my girls actually ate it!  Now, I'm talking about girls who previously didn't want anything to do with meat.  In fact, they renamed the meatloaf "mommy cake".  They really don't know what a mummy is, I guess they think I'm saying mommy?  Anyways, this makes for a nice warm and festive meal to give your kids before they head out in the cold to go trick-or-treating.

You can use your favorite meatloaf recipe {or try this one that I love} and shape it with your hands to look somewhat like a mummy.  I could have done a better job, but you get the idea. 

3 Tbsp. light molasses
Here's my mummy all ready for the oven.
3 Tbsp. prepared mustard
3 Tbsp. vinegar
4 Tbsp. catsup
1 c. milk
2 unbeaten eggs
1 env. dried onion soup mix
3 c. bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. oregano
3 lb.  ground beef {I actually used 2 lb. ground turkey here}

 Bake 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees F.  Cover with the following sauce the last 10 minutes.

Mix for the sauce:
1/4 melted margarine
1/4 c. sour cream
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 c. catsup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. vinegar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce

After the meatloaf is completely cooked, add strips of sliced white cheese in a "wrapped" pattern and add some sliced olives for the eyes.  Depending on the type of cheese you use, it will either melt right on the hot meatloaf or you may stick it back in the oven for a minute or two to let it melt a little.

Dry erase crayons on the window

Afternoons can be stressful in our house as my oldest daughter comes home and needs to complete her homework.  She is the type who can't have ANY background noise, it really makes her agitated.  Coming up with a quiet activity for her two younger sisters isn't always so easy, this time I decided to let them try out our new dry erase crayons on the window.  They absolutely loved this - and I loved how it didn't stain their clothes like regular dry erase markers can. 

Here's a few of their drawings they were working on:

The down side is that the crayons break so easily - and I have a two year old with a crayon peeling and breaking fetish. Here's what they looked like after she was done:

Have you tried these type of crayons?  I wish they weren't so expensive!

What other ways have you used them besides the usual dry erase board or books?

Halloween suncatchers

I first saw Time for Play make these suncatchers using colored glue.  I knew I had to give them a try, so with Halloween coming up we made some great decorations to jazz up our windows.

I had stocked up on school glue during the back to school sales so I have a ton of it.  I just used a few bottles of it and added food coloring to tint it to my liking.  I just squeezed the bottle to mix the color through.  Then I laid out some wax paper on a cookie sheet it could be easily transported when we were done.

At first I was thinking our Halloween cookie cutters would make this project a breeze - the kids would just need to fill in the shape with glue, right?  Well most of my cookie cutters are a little defective - that is, they had this bar going right across the back which made it impossible to use most of them for this purpose. 

I decided I would outline a shape and have Mina fill it in.  This really worked out great, and then she was also able to do a little of her own artwork on them also.

At first I thought Maisy would love to draw out her shape with the glue, but she was frustrated that it wasn't turning out just right so I ended up outlining her first shape as well.  She started out with a ghost and decided to fill it in with a little purple.

This is Maisy's bat she decided to dump squeeze a few drops of green food coloring right onto her shape.  Then she stirred it in a little with a craft stick.  Actually this one ended up really fun looking, there really is no wrong way to do it.

Aha! Finally a cookie cutter without that darn bar running across the back.  Maisy really liked filling this one right in.

And when Lou got to make her own the next day, she wanted to start out with a lovely Hello Kitty shape.  Here she is giving her some white pupils {of course they dried clear}. 

I could not find our google eyes anywhere {but of course I have since then} so I pulled out some buttons so they could add some eyes to their Halloween creations.

Mina started out with two yellow eyes which then turned into a handful of buttons dumped right onto her pumpkin.  And oh boy, she did NOT want me to move one single button!  {I had to secretly move them so they weren't overlapping}  In the end, I really liked her little creation.  Who knew?

After a full day of drying, I was able to thread a string through them with a needle and put them on display.

Simple Halloween luminaries

I love luminaries!  And these are so simple to make - we just recycled some empty glass jars, pulled out some electrical tape (masking tape would work also) and used enamel paint we had left over from an old project (acrylics would be great as well).  I also found some battery powered tea light at a local bookstore for only 75 cents a pop, so these were so inexpensive to make also!

I started by cutting out some shapes from the tape to stick onto the jar.  Then Mina painted away.  So funny how none of my girls ever want to paint things the color they "should" be...

I wasn't able to take any pictures before Maisy was this far into painting hers.  She even decided to paint the inside a bit.

And this is my first picture of Lou's project, she did her own tape cutting and sticking.  I love how she always puts eyelashes on everything. 

After the paint dried completely I peeled the tape off to let the light shine through.  Aren't these fun? 


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