Thursday, March 25, 2010

Puzzle Blocks

While my husband and a friend were installing our new kitchen sink and faucet, I was upstairs crafting away. I found these awesome little wooden blocks at the Scrap Exchange some weeks ago. I didn't have any ideas at the moment but at 10 cents each, I knew could eventually come up with something. So here you go: Puzzle Blocks! I originally thought to make some Brown Bear Brown Bear Blocks but there are more animals that sides to the blocks, though I still used the blue horse.

1. Measure the total length and width for the block. Mine were 1 in. blocks so the whole panel was 2in. x 3 in. Find some pictures, shrink to fit the panel and print. I originally had the idea to have family pictures on there but there aren't 6 of us......yet!

2. After printing, on the back, draw your grid so you know where to cut. 3. After your pieces are cut, get the mod podge and start gluing. I used a matte finish mod podge as opposed to the glossy kind. Glue the picture on the block then do one coat over the picture. Allow Each side to dry before starting on another side.

You could even make some silly animals. This was a really easy project that I finished in about 2 hours. Finding and sizing pictures to print is what took the longest. These are alittle too old for Isaac but I though our friend, (who was downstairs until midnight working on the sink) his daughter would really like them. She's older than Isaac. So there you go, created and gifted all in one night!

Hope you like them Isabelle!

Paper Mache Easter Egg Wreath

I started this wreath about 3 or 4 weeks ago. And boy was it tedious. I've always wanted an egg wreath but they are so expensive! I had a really great time making it and Luke was really great about taking over other house things to help me finish it. He also put up with the mess I left everywhere while I worked on it :) Okay here we go!

1. Paper Mache` your eggs. I used a flour and water mixture as the glue. Dip the strips one by one and stick them to the eggs. I used plastic eggs. This took some time to do and the eggs needed a good 24 hours to completely dry. Looking back, I could've skipped this step, but it gave the eggs a nice texture and guaranteed the paint wouldn't scratch off. (If you like the color your plastic eggs are, then just skip right down to the gluing step.)

2. Paint the eggs and the foam wreath form. I painted the wreath form because I was certain the eggs would leave gaps and I didn't want to see that yucky green color through it. I also used some pretty easter colors. I the paint I used was the basic acrylic paint, nothing fancy.

3. When everything is dry, start hot gluing the eggs to the wreath. I didn't go around the whole wreath, just the "front". That is, I laid the wreath flat on the table and only glued the top. This also assures that the wreath will lay flat on the door. ** My foam circle (which I also got at the dollar tree) was about 10in. wide and I used exactly 32 eggs. The eggs at the dollar tree came in packages of 16.

4. Tie a ribbon around the wreath. Measure how far you want it to hang down from the wreath hanger then tie a nice bow.

5. Stand back and look at you creation! It wasn't the easiest craft, but I'm really REALLY happy with how it turned out. I often tell Luke how excited I get when something I make looks like how it looked in my head, and this was one of those things!

Happy Easter!!

Easter Is Coming

Well, we are back in town. What an adventure we had. I loved seeing my family and taking my husband back to my hometown for the first time. He keeps telling me that he understands my quirks a little more clearly now after spending time where I grew up and with my family. Just for fun, here's a picture of Isaac with his great grandparents. So cute, I could just cry.Anywho, I hope you all are still with me. Here, as promised, are a few of the Easter projects I worked on before we left. Easter in our family is just as important as Christmas. And I try to anticipate and prepare for it just as much. As followers of Jesus, Easter should be just as important as Christmas. Christmas is when God came to us in the form of a baby, but Easter is when Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. And not only die, but He was RAISED TO LIFE! Our Savior is ALIVE! We really want to teach Isaac, and all our children that Easter is so much more about Jesus than about the bunny and eggs and candy. So in all my crafts, I used easter eggs and colors, but I always tried to add Jesus into it! Here's the first:

Easter Kitchen Towels and Coasters. I got this fabric at a Walmart that was closing down for 75% off. WooHoo. I also got the towels at the dollar tree. I first printed and ironed on the "He is Risen on some white fabric, and "cutely messily"sewed in on the easter fabric. Then I sewed this onto the towels. Super easy.For the coasters, I sewed them right sides together leaving an opening to turn them inside out. Then I pinned the white fabric with the writing onto the easter fabric. Then I sewed around and around until I got to the middle.
Happy Easter everyone. Two more projects to come.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deep In the Heart of Texas

The stars at night, are big and bright
deep in the heart of Texas!

We are going on a week long vacation to Texas to visit my family! I am excited. But that means I won't be doing much blogging.

So don't lose heart with the lack of blogs. I have been working on MANY Easter crafts that I am excited to share with you. Please check back in about a week!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunday Hymn Sing

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Loving- kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

Let me all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.

In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting,
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.

Hear it HERE

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not Pretty but The Boy Loves It!

Before I was a mom, I was a developmental therapist for kids (0-3) with special needs. I also worked with a bunch of other therapists and we all had our "bag of tricks" of stuff we would use for therapy. This is one of them. Like the title says, it's not pretty but very functional. I took a plastic container I had and cut a slit on the lid. Then, I got some poker chips that I found in the dollar spot at Target a few months ago, on clearance no less, for about 70 cents! The object is to push the poker chips through the slit. This little activity is good for fine motor skills, problem solving skills, eye-hand coordination skills, and a good activity for increasing attention span. I would recommend this activity kids about 10 months-18months. This way, they're past the "everything straight to the mouth" stage but aren't at the "this is so easy, I'm bored" stage. This little can of coins has come in handy in restaurants, at church and for Blanket Time. For little guys, like mine, it may take you sitting with him to try and figure it out a few times before he takes to it himself. If he doesn't feel success, then he'll never like it. I also did the same thing with an old can of formula and marbles. Just cut an "X" on the lid instead of just one slit (you MUST ALWAYS supervise this one however).

How much did this one cost me? 70 cents!!!! You can't beat that. And if you did want to make it pretty, you could just mod podge some nice paper to it. But, the way I see it, Isaac didn't look up and say, "I'm only gonna play with this if it has nice paper around it."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Hymn Sing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's a Bag......Or is it?

The fact that it's a bag is only half of the story. The other half is that it's actually a blanket! I took some of Isaac's old receiving blankets and cut them into 12"x12" squares and sewed them together for a 36 inch square blanket. I cut 18 squares total for two sides. I strategically sewed on some velcro strips in order to make pockets for the toys. Then, I sewed on some straps. Here's a picture breakdown of how the blanket turns into a bag. First, the bottom side opposite the strap folds up. And there you can see the other strap. Then the right side comes over so the short velcro strips match up. Then the left side. Then just fold in half so that straps meet. Here's a close-up of how the velcro makes pockets. Why did I make it you ask? Here's the reason:

I was talking to my friend Andrea one day about how the time when I'm making dinner is always the hardest for Isaac. As soon as he sees any food, starvation hits him and he starts crying and whining, and pulling at me right there in the kitchen. It's not only frustrating, but not safe for Isaac when sometimes I'm in and out of the oven and the fridge, and he's in all the cabinets, and on and on and on. And whenever I took him out of the kitchen, he would wail and only come back in. She said that she had taught her son, Benjamin, about "blanket time". This is a time when Ben would sit on his blanket and play with special (not out all the time) toys until daddy came home or until meals were ready or really anytime that he needed to be confined without being imprisoned in his crib or pack-n-play. I thought this was a great idea and couldn't wait to start teaching Isaac. But being crafty, I just had to make my own blanket for him. The straps are so that the blanket can be an on the go blanket and the pockets are to put the toys in. Now that Isaac is walking, it's hard to keep control of him at other people's houses, especially those that aren't baby proofed. So this technique doesn't just work at home, but at friend's houses too. It took about a week to teach Isaac the concept. The first few days required ALOT of bringing him back and ALOT of crying, but then he got it. And now, as soon as I say "blanket time", he happily comes and sits. The "happily" part really does change from day to day though:) We even have started using the blanket for Bible time everyday.

Thanks Andrea for the great idea! What would we do without other moms to help us in our mommy journey!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cake Batter Ice Cream

We love Cake Batter Ice Cream. So instead of going to Cold Stone Creamery and spending WAY too much, I learned to make it myself. Wanna know how? It's so easy!

What you need:
-1 container vanilla ice cream (softened but not melted)
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- ingredients needed for cake.

What you do:

1. Take a little less than half the cake mix and mix with water only until it becomes a nice batter consistency (sorry I didn't measure how much exactly, I'm an eye-baller). Set aside. This will be what you add to the ice cream, and we don't want any raw egg in there.
2. Prepare the rest of the cake mix to bake the cake. You'll have to modify the measurements. For example, if the box call for 3 eggs, only use 1. (the cake doesn't have to be absolutely perfect).
3. Put the mix in a loaf pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean (The bake time will also be modified from what the box says depending on how much batter you have).
4. Let the cake cool completely and cut it into small squares.

Now for the ice cream:

1. **This part has to be done quickly so the ice cream doesn't melt too badly.**Take all of the ice cream out of the container and put it in your kitchen aid mixer (Any mixer, including hand held will do. the hand held may just be a little harder to handle). DO NOT THROW CONTAINER AWAY.
2. As the ice cream is being mixed, slowly add the batter until it's well mixed in. You may or may not have to add all the batter, just watch to see that it's being thoroughly mixed in.
3. While the mixer is still running, add your cake squares gradually but not too slowly. Again, we don't want the ice cream to completely melt in the mixer. Also, you may or may not use all the cake squares. Again, just watch and see that's it's a good balance for you.
4. After the cake squares are added, continue mixing only until it's all well integrated. Not too long because then all the cake will just be crumbly in the ice cream and you won't have any nice cake chunks in there.
5. Finally, put the mixed ice cream back into the container. Put back in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes so it can harden back up a little.

And that's it. So it is a little time consuming, but generally really easy. And it's oh so good! Enjoy making Something Wonderful!

**Note: The picture is not of the ice cream I made, just a picture I found online**


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