a content='IE=EmulateIE7' http-equiv='X-UA-Compatible'/> Kenna's Felt Forest: December 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

Paperless Christmas

 Felt bags instead of wrapping paper, anyone?
 How about bags mde from old t-shirts, and embellished with felt?

 Not a gift under the tree wrapped in paper! My handy husband Bill sewed up some felt bags, and I tucked in our gifts and tied them up with ribbon. 

 This gift (k-cups for Bill) came in this brown bag, so I just prettied it up with a ribbon.

 Bill and I didn't want to buy anything special for this project, so some of our bags are yellow felt, as opposed to more "christmassy" colors. I didn't mind one bit. :)
 I even grabbed some scraps of fabric for some gifts, and wrapped them up!

 Stockings are filled by Santa at our house, and of course, those gifts are "wrapped" by the stocking, so no need for anything else!

Santa left some gifts unwrapped, like our coffee maker, and Kenna's CitiBlocks. He even played around with them and built a tower!
After gifts were open, I folded all of the bags, tucked them and all the ribbon into one of the largest bags, and, well... that was it! Wrapping with fabric was fun and easy, and so good for the environment. Next year we are going to try and have a completely handmade Christmas (only some items were handmade this year, but they were the favorite gifts!). We did have a plastic-free Christmas, though. I should take pictures of all of the amazing wooden gifts the kids got. No promises...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


 This apron, and another just like it for Quinn, arrived on my doorstep a couple weeks ago, from Grammie!! I sent her a link to a cool Montessori inspired pattern for an apron.  She is an extraordinary seamstress, so of course she whipped out 5 of these in a week. (Three for my kids, and two Kenna's cousins.)
 What makes an apron "Montessori"? Well, basically kids can DO MYSELF.  (That's what I hear Kenna shouting at me about a million times a day.)  The neck doesn't tie- it's elastic that slips over the head. The waist doesn't tie either, you just velcro it around to the front! Kenna put it on entirely by herself, first try, and was so excited that she didn't need my help! My awesome Mom made it a little large so it will last Kenna a long time.

Quinn's will fit when she starts walking... in a year!

My Mom even made one for Little Man, out of denim. I'll have to post pics- it is so stinkin' cute! I hung hooks in the kitchen at Kenna's level so that she can access her apron whenever she wants. :) We have used it every single day, between crafting and cooking and just some generic dress up time.

I think I am going to take some pictures and list these on etsy...  I think they will sell great! Especially the boy version, made with denim. 
EDITED TO ADD: I was informed by my mom that Kenna had her apron on backwards in these photos- the velcro is supposed to show on the front, and the waist strap is supposed to come around thethe back and fasten in the front. oops.  Kenna made this harder on herself by having to velcro the strap on the inside of the apron. Sorry Grammie!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Craftiness

We have been doing a lot of Christmas crafts around here. One a day, to be precise. Which means I should have 15 crafts to share with you by now. Sadly, I have far less than that.  My main excuse is that I have three kids under three, and my hands are too full to do a craft and operate a camera.

Here is some of what we have done! 8 out of 15 ain't bad, people!!

 Salt Dough Ornaments- posted about these HERE. (And technically, we did this over two days- one day of baking, one day of painting...so we are up to 9 crafts!)

 Raindeer Cinnamon Stick.  This is easy and takes some great fine-motor work. Curl a pipe cleaner for antlers. Glue on a tiny pompom nose and eyes. Thread a bell onto red ribbon or a bit of floral wire (or a bread twisty tie or even a pipe cleaner). Draw on a mouth.

 I love this picture- Kenna is trying to thread the bell onto floral wire, and our cat Waffles is patiently watching. I can't tell you how often he sits and does "learning" with Kenna. He's the sweetest cat.
 Classic Snowman Snow Measuring stick. Early morning paint a paint stirrer white(Free from hardware store). Once dry, glue on the details. We used stiff felt to cut out a hat (Kenna cut it herself!) She cut a carrot nose out of foam, and glued on two tiny eyes. I wanted to draw a mouth with a sharpie, but she asked me to cut a smile mouth out of stiff felt.  I used a small strip of fleece to make a scarf. The indent of the paint stirrer makes a perfect neck.

 When all the details were dried, we lined up the stick with a ruler, and ticked off each inch. Kenna helped count and identify numbers. She isn't quite sure what the stick is for yet... wait til it snows and we go and measure how deep it is! It'll be so exciting! (I ambitiously numbered our snowman measuring stick to 8 inches... LOL)

 Foam stocking with foamie decoative stickers
 Tape art. I wanted to do some tape relief- where we tape, paint, and then peel off the tape to see the pattern. Kenna was so absorbed in pulling off pieces of tape and placing them on the paper, I decided to skip the painting this time. I forgot how much fun tape could be! We have a few rolls of Shurtape- colored, not-so-sticky tape- from my days as a teacher. The company(local to us) had donated a gabillion colored rolls to the school, so each teacher has a lovely stash for crafts and things.

 Handprint Santas. I did this with Kenna, and need to take time to do it with the babies (I think I need Handy Husband to help though- babies and painted hands are a recipe for disaster!!) I painted Kenna's palm "peach" and her fingers red. She stamped a couple prints, and then when it dried I added the details. Ho Ho Ho! (or as Kenna says, Yo Ho Ho! Apparently Santa is part pirate.)

Our lovely Cone trees, as seen here...
And finally, some more foam art, which I have to admit, she loves. Kenna loves stickers. It's so easy, and she loves it. That makes me happy.
If I find pictures of more Christmas Craftiness, I promise I'll add them here. There are sure to be at least 5 more crafts lurking around... Oh, I also promise to try really hard to remember to take pictures of the crafts we do each day for the rest of the month. 

Salt Dough Ornaments

 Today was Kenna's first time using Acrylic Paint. I was feeling stupid brave, and the babies were sleeping, so we got to work painting our Salt Dough Ornaments. Could have sworn I took pictures of us baking them, but they are nowhere to be found. We made a big batch of dough, rolled it out ,and used cookie cutters to make festive shapes. I used a skewer to poke holes in the ornaments before we baked them, so we can string them and hang them.  We ended up with a TON of ornaments- like 30 or more. We are going to be gifting these well into the new year. Happy Easter- Have a Gingerbread Man. :)
 Needless to say, there were plenty for me to paint as well. I am not artisic, and can't paint, but I had fun with this.
 To say Kenna enjoyed painting is a bit of an understatement. The girl focused on this activity for almost an hour. And then after nap, painted some more. She LOVED having access to 6 colors at one time. She loved dipping her brush in the water, swirling it around, and wiping it on the towel. She loved this.  She also loved mixing the colors to come up with new ones.

 It wasn't as messy as I feared. She didn't paint herself (I explained the rules) and she didn't splatter paint everwhere. Phew. I hate it when a fun project turns into a nightmare!

 What really cracked me up about this was that she was alternating between just two ornaments, but they dried quickly, and then she would completly change their color! That circle was blue, then white, then purple, then red and green.

 Aren't they lovely? Oh, I have to point out that this Gingerbread man was rolled and cut by Kenna. Then she requested that the hole to string it be on his foot. She thinks," it's silly to hang by your head- he should hang by his foot." Wise child.

Here are a few that I did for the grandparents.  Quinn's little hand fit perfectly on the circle. Little Man's palm is so chunky it cracks me up. Daddy calls it "meaty." Kenna's big girl hand didn't fit at all, so I just did her fingers. I loved this idea I found on Pinterest to make each finger a little snowman.
*Note- I was being stubborn and wanted all the circles to be the same size. In retrospect, I should have just started with a bigger circle.

When the paint was dry, I hit the ornaments with a light coat of clear sealant. Now they will hopefully last for years to come!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Light Box- Snowy fun

 I got a great idea from Play at Home Mom- put some polyfil pellets in a clear bucket, set it on the light table, and watch the fun begin!!  We started out with a shoebox sized container, because that's what I had on hand at the moment.
 With the flash on, you can see the awesomeness that is polyfil pellets!! :) If your kids hands are clean, the pellets roll right off. If they are dirty/sticky/slimy, the pellets will coat their hands. Then the sticky child will try and shake their hands to get the pellets off, spraying pellets everywhere.
You've been warned.
 Our buddy who comes to play on Wednesdays liked the tub, too. He's 22 months, and tried to eat the pellets at first, but got the idea by the end that we were playing, not snacking.

 I used too small a tub the first time I set the pellets out- Kenna seemed intent on swimming in them but could only get her elbows in, so I got a larger rubbermaid tub the second day. I also added some Christmas erasers and a couple glass jars for scooping.

 Aglow on the light table.

 So, of course, she wanted to sit in it! She explored the texture with her hands, her feet, her knees, and her bottom. She spun in circles and she tried to bury her feet. She LOVED this!

 Quinn is 6 months old now, and of course wanted a turn in the texture tub!

 She was fascinated by the texture, and did a lot of splashing in it, like the gestures she does in the tub.
Pellets were everywhere. It was awesome. (a sheet under the bin made for quick clean-up.)
 Baby fun! And she never once tried to eat them. I was surprised. Little Man (15 months) got a turn after he woke up from nap, and the first thing he did was eat a handful.  Awesome. (Yes, they are non-toxic. And yes, I strongly encouraged him not to do that again. And yes, he did it again.)

 A closeup of the erasers (From Oriental Trading) that I threw into the tub to make it merry and bright.

Kenna loved this. The beads are a smooth and soft texture, and they plink in a lovely way when they fall. The light box just makes it more fun and magical.  We love our lightbox.
We made ours for $7.00!

Linking up to:

Friday, December 16, 2011

December- What's on the Tray, week 2 and 3

Lots of fun on the trays this week, gearing up to Christmas!
 Same and Different tray- Kenna has been really interested in this concept. She is comparing things, and making amazing connections. I am stunned by some of the things she has been noticing. I found a winter themed same/diff game, and we have played a bunch. I added a control of error with an S or a D on the back of each card. Kenna knows she can flip her pile of "same" and make sure they all have S. 

 PreWriting skills- Dry erase marker and lots of fun Candy Cane prewriting pages. She is more interested in this than she has been in a while.

 She was circling the circle- she didn't understand she had to trace it ON the line!

 Roll the Dice, match the pictures, and decorate the tree.

 Extention- Last week our tray with bows focused on tweezing. This week, Kenna is encouraged to think of two different patterns (ABAB and AABB is what she came up with) and line up the bows. This was a huge hit.

 Count and Clip- This was not really fun for her at all. The snowflakes were too small and kind of mixed up, so she couldn't easily count them.  I deliberately only printed off 11-20 cards, because that is what she needs to work with, but they are really hard still.

 She does love the clipping though! ( I wanted to share that after this tray sat unused, I added a dry erase crayon. I modeled crossing off snowflakes as you count them, and BOOM! She was sucessful and really happy!)
 Skip Counting. Kenna is way beyond 1-10, so these cute ornament cards needed to be extended... I sorted them into two groups and we used our beloved "pointer" to count by twos. She really loved it. We used the terms "odd and even" and then we watched a couple funny youtube songs about even and odd. She totally grasps the concept and has all the even numbers memorized. I taught 3rd grade for 7 years, and this was so hard for those poor kids... I am excited to be starting early with skip counting!

This wasn't a tray, per se, but we did take time to bake sugar cookies for Santa. ( I am not a cook. I don't bake, I barely make edible toast.)  We used Grammie's secret recipe, and the cookies (Shockingly) came out so delicious! (This is despite the fact that we made them vegan and replaced the egg, butter and milk!)

 Quinn, wearing her new apron from Grammie. She helped by being underfoot and getting into the flour Kenna spilled.
 Little Man, watching the cookies bake, and wearing his apron from Grammie like a cape. (His apron is denim, made from recycled jeans, and I am in love with it! I'm going to beg my mom to make a few to sell on my etsy!)
 Kenna, helping wash dishes. This Practical Life activity is one of her favorites at the moment. She loves our scrub brush, she loves the running water, and she really likes squirting soap.  She's also wearing her apron from Grammie... and not much else!

 While the cookies were cooling, we stirred food coloring into the special almond icing.  (Another grammie reicpe)
Kenna iced all the cookies, and carefully cleaned up our spatulas and cups. She has become a great little helper. I love that she loves all aspects of the kitchen- even though I am terrible at cooking.

  We're getting close to the 25th! Please Christmas don't be late!
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