Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bubble Wrap Snow Printing

Our Christmas season is almost over (believe it or not we still have one more family gathering this weekend) but it's never too early to start creating our thank you cards. We love thinking of hands-on ways to create our thank you cards. In the past this has included creating Potato Print Snowmen or Magic Word Thank You Cards. Other times we just like using some of our process art to create thank you cards, like when we paint with Monster Trucks.

This week we were inspired by the newly fallen snow to create our own snow printings. We've painted with bubble wrap before, but this was the first time we created an easy strategy for printing with it. We used our new strategy to print onto tree collages for cards. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

10 Inside Play Ideas for Winter Vacation

In general I find that the winter vacation following Christmas goes by pretty quickly. We usually have family members to see, new things to play with, and some fresh snow to enjoy outside. Not to mention the fun of our Family Focused New Year's Eve to distract us only a week after Christmas.

But, just in case vacation stretches on a little too long for kiddos, it's always nice to have a few things up my "Mama" sleeve. Here are a few of our favorite inside or winter themed activities we may wind up trying this week. Most of them involve materials you probably already have on hand in your cupboard or playroom.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Show Down: Addition Facts Card Game

While my hope is to just have fun and relax over this winter vacation, I also know that it can be good to keep school aged kids thinking at least a little about both math and reading. The best way parents can do that is by keeping the learning fun and playful. (Which does not mean worksheets.)

A few months ago, I came up with this game for Big Brother and I to play and practice math facts at the same time. It's been a big hit on weekends and vacations since then, and he's not even realizing he's building his number facts as we play.

What are number facts? Addition number facts are typically thought of as addition facts with a sum (answer) up to 20. 

The rules to our "Show Down" game are very similar to the traditional card game "War" with a few math twists. The materials are relatively simple: a deck of playing cards, a sheet of paper, and a marker or pencil. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Chai Spiced Cookies with Egg Nog Glaze

It's that time of the Holiday Season where we focus on baking. We like making treats to share with neighbors, friends, and others. We're always looking for easy and yummy recipes to create with. I'm a big fan of chai teas and I love getting a hot one as a treat while wrapping up holiday shopping.

With that in mind, I tweaked one of our favorite rolled sugar cookie recipes to create these Chai Spiced Cookies with Egg Nog Glaze.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gingerbread Playdough Kit

As the holidays come up, it's nice to have something on hand for the other kiddos in our life. Even though we don't always give gifts to the adults around us, I do like having something little for the kiddos we play and visit with. It's even better if the gift can be something homemade and doesn't cost a lot.

Last year I had thought about putting together some kind of playdough kit, but couldn't find the right cookie cutters I had in mind. This year I was excited to find plastic gingerbread cookie cutters for 99¢ at our local grocery store. This lead to creating our Gingerbread Playdough Kits. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cork Painted Ornaments

We've really enjoyed making ornaments this year! 

We've been experimenting with several new types of ornaments, like these snow white mitten ornaments. But if you've been hanging around this fall, you also know we've been liking using cork as a crafting material.

So of course, why wouldn't we combine the two ideas into these easy Cork Painted Ornaments?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

30+ "Go-To" Recipes From Moms for Moms

If your family is like our family, you're finding yourself pretty busy these days with the holidays approaching. Every weekend is pretty full with different celebrations, and the weekdays are blend of trying to stick to routine but balancing interruptions.

It's during busy times like these that I feel like I resort to those tried and true recipes that I love and know pretty well. I know my kids will enjoy them and they won't take too long to put together.

So with that in mind I asked some of my favorite mom bloggers out there what are their everyday "go-to" recipes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December Monthly Goals: Be A More Proactive Blogger

Hard to believe that almost a year ago I started setting out monthly goals. Throughout the year I feel like the goals have helped me to focus on a variety of house and family related realms. I've loved seeing and feeling progress over the course of the year. With progress in a lot of areas, one area I still need to focus on is blogging.

I love writing this blog and I can't believe that this spring it will have been three years since I began. But it's amazing how quickly time can go by and some of the things I'd hoped to do still haven't happened or become routine. So for the last month of 2015, I've decided to make my focus stay here, on Kitchen Floor Crafts.

Mitten Ornaments Inspired by Jan Brett's "The Mitten"

Mitten Ornaments
This post may contain affiliate links, thank you for your support. 

We're really excited to be participating in the 10 Days of Kid-Made Ornaments as hosted by Mama Miss. There are so many amazing homemade ornament ideas being shared by some of the most creative kid bloggers out there. And all of the ornaments are both kid-made and inspired by a different children's books! Of course you can see why we're excited.

For our ornament project we decided to read Jan Brett's "The Mitten" and create our own snowy white mitten ornaments.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Barnyard Small World Play

The boys are getting more interested in small world play, and I'm excited to think of all of the possible scenarios we can set up. Although we've experimented with small world play a little before (including setting up a beach small world and a Lorax small world) it's not something we do often. For this small world set-up I had Little Brother in mind. He's such an animal lover, I knew he'd be interested in a farm scene.

We've also been eating a lot of clementines lately, in fact the boys just can't get enough of them, but that also means we have several clementine crates itching to be used for a project. Which inspired us to try using the boxes as containers for small world play.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tabletop Cork Turkeys

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, yet there is still plenty of time to make these tabletop cork turkeys.

We love using corks in projects, like printing with them to make cork spiders or crafting cute cork bats. These little tabletop turkeys were just as quick to put together and just too cute! We're planning to put a whole flock on the table this coming Thursday.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fall Textures Basket

There's something about November that is so drab and brown, but yet also can be really pretty. Recently Little Brother and I had the chance to get out for a walk just the two of us. Because the weather was beautiful and sunny the dried plants, leaves, and trees really captured our eyes. We love finding ways to explore nature connections, especially when we take a walk. 

This time we brought the materials home with us to create a Fall Textures Basket, an easy way to create some toddler sensory play. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Potato Stamped Tea Towels

We were really excited to be able to participate in the Kid Made Gift Series that is being hosted by Teach Me Mommy. We really like making homemade gifts, especially around the holidays. These potato stamped tea towels were something I'd been thinking of trying for a while now, and we just love how they turned out! 

Potato stamping is always fun and versatile, as you can create just about any kind of stamp you want. In our case, we want these to be holiday gifts to we made Christmas themed ones. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Create a Dinosaur Pop-Up Card

This is a fun design for a pop-up card that we've used a few times now for friends' birthdays. We like to call it a "dinosaur" but with a few changes in color it could also be a monster!

We had the chance to make one this past weekend for a friend of Big Brother's sixth birthday. It's also a great project now that the new movie The Good Dinosaur is almost out in theaters!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Shape Search in a Fall Backyard

The weather this week has been amazing, and we were really pleased to be able to get out and enjoy the nice temperatures again. Little Brother and I had a ton if fun playing with shapes outside in the fall sunshine and leaves.

We had a blast bringing our large, foam pattern blocks outside and involving them in some great backyard autumn play. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monthly Goals: November 2015

With new schedules and new routines this fall things are definitely feeling different, and a little more frantic than they were in the past.

For some reason at the end of the October I really started to feel the new changes to our family routine and weekly schedule. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Exploring A Recycling Center (Learning Through Adventure Series)

We were really excited when we learned about the opportunity to participate in the Learning Through Adventure Series that is being hosted by Bambini Travel. We're known for being a pretty on the go family, and we're often on the look out for cool places to explore with our kids. Usually we find great resources for learning and exploring first hand! A few years ago we had a blast with our Alphabet Adventures which gave us lots of options for exploring local places.

For this adventure I decided to take us to a place I'd been with students, but not with my own kiddos: a local recycling center.

A little over a year ago as a family we moved to a zero sort recycling system that we share with our neighbors. This meant our kids no longer saw 1) where recycling went and 2) what the categories for recycling were. (They just know we do a lot of it and that every once in a while a large truck picks it up.)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cork Print Spiders

Last year we were given a very large bag of corks, and it's been fun to think of different ways to use them. In honor of Halloween, and because we've enjoyed other spider projects this fall, we decided to try cork print spiders.
This also proved to be another great, after school project for Big Brother one weekday. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Painting Shiny Fall Leaves

This has been one of the best foliage years I can remember, colors just popped all around us. So while the trees were showing their beautiful colors, we were inspired to create our own fall leaves at home.

To create colorful and shiny fall leaves, we used an unusual painting material I've enjoyed using with students before: corn syrup. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pumpkin Patch Candy Counting

We love finding ways to use holiday candy in learning games and activities. In the past we've used candy hearts and jelly beans to practice different math skills. So of course it was time to do something with fall candy!

As Little Brother is getting a little older, he's been getting really interested in counting and numbers, so I put together this Pumpkin Patch counting activity using candy pumpkins. I decided we would work on the numbers 1 to 5.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A "Bad Apple" Craft & Snack

I love when we find great new books at the library! "Bad Apple" by Edward Hemingway is one of our new family favorites.

This sweet tale of friendship tells about an apple "Mac" who wakes up one day with a worm "Will." The two become fast friends, but other apples can't accept the friendship and Mac begins to doubt it. Eventually Mac decides he'd rather be a "bad apple" with his friend than a sad apple without him.

Not only do we love this friendship tale, but it inspired us to both create and snack!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fall Spice Playdough

There's something about these cooler days that instantly make me want the tastes and smells of fall food: cinnamon, nutmeg, all sorts of delicious spices . . . sometimes I don't even have to eat them to fulfill the craving, just smelling them is enough. 

Little Brother and I put together this delicious smelling playdough the other day and both of us couldn't stop smelling it! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Monthly Goals: October 2015

I'm not going to lie, I didn't do so well with my September Goal of Getting More Sleep. In fact, I probably should just continue it into this month. But, I knew this would be a hard habit to break. So, I'm going to try and keep it going this coming month.

However, with our new school year routines this month, it's become pretty clear there's another monthly goal I need to tackle: make our school mornings less stressful.

My husband leaves pretty early, well before the kiddos get up, so that gives me the task of getting myself and two kiddos out the door before 7:15 am. With two schools to drop off at, and a third one I'm rushing to myself, just getting out the door isn't even really the end of the mad dash. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hand Print Mum Paintings

One of my favorite sights of fall includes beautiful fall mums. I love the variety of colors and I would buy one of each color for the house if I could!

It seemed like a fun idea to try and recreate mums with the kiddos in a craft project: we were inspired to try creating Handprint Mum Paintings. I decided this would be a great project to do with Little Brother.

I do have to admit that sometimes "toddler art" throws me for a little bit of a loop. Although I had one idea for this project in my head of what it would look like, Little Brother took it in his own direction and it looked a little different than I was expecting. But I do love how much he got into painting it, so I decided I still wanted to share it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

CVC Alphabet Cracker Activity & Snack Mat

The return to school this year is definitely taking more energy than we expected this fall. An increase in work hours for me and Big Brother kicking off kindergarten, combined with our normal, busy family routine, means it's been hard to share some of the fun after school and fall activities we've been squeezing in. But now we have a bunch of new posts lined up to share in the next week!

One thing we really enjoyed was an engaging snack that built upon the new reading skills Big Brother is quickly taking on in kindergarten: a CVC Alphabet Cracker Activity & Snack Mat.

My kiddos are huge fans of ABC crackers, we especially love the ones made by Cheez-It, although we've seen other brands at the store. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Spider Web Glue-Relief Painting

Now that Big Brother is in full day kindergarten most of our activities are ones we can do after school or on the weekend. I was inspired by this Fall Leaf Watercolor Resist Art from Fun at Home with Kids to create a different fall art idea: Spider Web Glue-Relief Painting.
We spread the art process over two after school days, this worked well for the type of glue we were using. It also worked well with our new after school routines. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Nature Objects: Sink or Float Exploration

The last few weeks have been so hot weather wise that it's been a little hard to get into the mood for autumn and we've been finding ourselves thinking back to summer fun. One activity we've enjoyed on hot days in the past is doing a Sink or Float exploration
For this exploration we took it outside and collected items from nature to experiment with. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pirate Week (Simple Summer Theme #5)

So although summer is officially over, the busy end of our summer meant we never fully got to finish sharing our Simple Summer Theme weeks. We've shared before that we're huge fans of pirates, so of course we needed a Pirate Week!

We enjoyed as much of pirate week outside as we could as it proved to be one of the nicest weather weeks of the summer! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Painting with Acorns

You may have noticed it's been a quiet few weeks here. Adjusting to our new schedules and a minor illness have definitely left us a little thrown off the last few weeks. But despite our quiet front here online, we are still finding a few moments to craft and create.

One great aspect of our new schedules is that Little Brother and I have a few hours a week that's just the two of us. This is a first for us and we're both enjoying it! It's been fun to think of some projects that are geared just for him.

As we slip into fall this acorn painting was an easy and fun toddler project.

We were inspired by our post a few weeks ago on 35+ Fall Painting Ideas to try painting in a new way, using something simple we could already find in our yard this month. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Monthly Goals: September 2015

Okay, now that the fun of summer is over and my oldest kiddo has started kindergarten, I know it's time to face up to the monthly goal I've been avoiding all year: Get More Sleep.
For most people, the idea of getting more sleep would be a welcome treat . . . and for me that is true. But there's also a part of me that goes into a true panic at the idea of taking on this goal. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Apple Nutella Blossom Snack

Now that Big Brother is an official kindergartner, it means I need to start thinking about real after school snacks. His busy and long day mean that he arrives home pretty hungry. On the first day of school I treated all of us to this yummy snack: Apple Nutella Blossoms.

For quite a while now this has been an easy weekday dessert, 
but it also makes a great afternoon snack!

Monday, August 24, 2015

35+ Fall Painting Ideas for Kiddos

With fall on the horizon it's time to start thinking about what fall activities and projects we might be looking forward to. We love painting projects, and especially enjoy finding new things and ways to paint. In order to be inspired we've collected over 35 different ideas for fall painting activities from some amazing bloggers!

$500 PayPal Cash Giveaway! 
We've also teamed up with a group of bloggers to cohost an amazing giveaway: $500 Paypal Cash to one lucky winner! More information can be found at the end of the post.

Painting Ideas by Themes
We've found so many amazing ideas for fall painting, we decided to group them by themes: Apples, Leaves, Pumpkins, Fall Colors, and More . . .

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Kindergarten Count Down Chain

It's hard to believe, but a week from today I will have a kindergartner in my house. I shared a little about how I'm feeling about it earlier this month in my Monthly Goals post.

But even though I may be feeling sentimental, Big Brother is a bundle of excitement, anticipation, and a few nerves. He's been asking daily for count of how many days are left until school begins. So, with one week to go I put together this Kindergarten Count Down Chain to help keep track of the days.

We do something similar for the winter holidays, so Big Brother knows a little bit about how the chain works already. It's a little like an advent calendar, there is one link for each day. Each day he removes one link. The last link is taken off the day kindergarten starts.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Crab Apple Print Making

It's hard to believe that autumn is around the corner, but you can sense it in the air. 
School starts next week and I've already spotted a few colorful leaves on the ground! So it's not hard to believe we're getting in the mood for a few fall crafts.

The crab apple tree in our yard is very abundant in our yard this year, and although we never do much with these apples, this year we're feeling a little more inspired to use them in some way. To start with we used them for some crab apple print making. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An ABC Treasure Hunt

It's no secret we love pirates around here. In the past we had so much fun with our Pirates' Gold Number Play we knew that we wanted to extend it into some letter play. That lead me to create an ABC Treasure Hunt.
It's great to do these types of activities during the summer, so we can be outside. But, the materials are simple enough it could be recreated inside as well. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Castle Week (Simple Summer Theme Week #4)

As I let Big Brother help come up with several of the themes for our Simple Summer series, some of them have made me stretch my imagination a little. It's been interesting to see what I can think of that sticks to the point of our simple summer weeks, yet still matches his theme idea. Castle Week was a bit of a stumper, but I think I came up with some good activities.

Castle Week was another week where I had several different aged kiddos, my two boys plus two visitors, so I had to think of activities that were approachable for all the kids.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pool Noodle Sword

This homemade toy was a huge hit in our house recently! We had thought about buying some foam swords for our Simple Summer Theme Castle Week, but were a little surprised to see them for $5 each. We knew we needed four: for the boys, Little Buddy, and Big Cousin.

Rather than spend $20, I spent less than $3 on putting together all 4 swords. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Monthly Goals: August 2105

As a teacher there's something about August 1st that has always left a slightly bittersweet feeling in the air for me. It means there are a few more weeks of summer to go, a few more relaxed days before the busy days, a little bit of time left to squeeze in a few more things from our summer bucket list.

But there is also that beginning anticipation and excitement of a new school year ahead, new students to expect, and all the plans to be made.

Only this year, as August 1st rolled around there was a new feeling: the realization that at the end of this month my big guy will officially be a kindergartner. And as soon as I think about that, I just want to slow summer down as much as possible.

When people ask me how our summer is going, I feel like I can honestly answer that while it's been busy, it's been good. We've been enjoying our Summer Bucket List, Simple Summer Themes, and our attempts to Plan to Unplan. We've spent time with friends and on our own, we've created and played, we've explored and just hung out too. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread

A few months ago we participated in the Tour the World by Flower blog hop with our Red Clover Painting Exploration. This time again be participating in A Tour the World blog series, this time focusing on food!

Bloggers from around the world are sharing recipes and project ideas which focus on a key food from their state or country in this Tour the World by Food blog series.

For our post we focused not only on an ingredient our state is commonly known for, but also an all time favorite in our house: maple syrup.

I grew up in a family that made maple syrup, and used it often in almost everything and anything, (moving way beyond pancakes of course!): coffee, fruit salad, oatmeal, cookies, etc. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Vehicle Week (Simple Summer Theme Week #3)

We're still really enjoying our Simple Summer Theme weeks even though summer is quickly passing us by. It's no secret we love playing with cars and trucks, so Vehicle Week was a lot of fun for the boys!
Week Three: Vehicle Week

One of my favorite things about this week was that we already own so many of the materials we needed. It also encouraged us to get out some of the transportation toys we already owned and hadn't used in a while. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Roll, Count, Color to 100

We've been enjoying the Cool Math Series which has been going on this month. Earlier this month we shared 4 ways to Explore Symmetry at Home. Today we're sharing a new, homemade math game: Roll, Count, Color to 100.

For a while now, Big Brother has been interested in counting to 100, and he can pretty much do it as long as the gets a little help with the "tens." I wanted him to get a sense of what the tens actually meant, so I put together this math game. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TRUCK inspired Sticky Collage

This month the Virtual Book Club for Kids author is Donald Crews. We read several of his books last year as we explored our Vehicle Week as they perfectly fit our Simple Summer Theme.

The book the boys enjoyed the most was TRUCK. The book follows one tractor trailer truck as it makes its way across the delivery route. The brief text and bold, colorful illustrations make it appealing to even the littlest reader. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Build-A-Road Playdough Play

Toy cars abound at our house, so it's always fun to find new ways to play with them. One thing the boys really enjoyed this past week was this new playdough invitation, with a slightly new twist on our playdough recipe.

This invitation was one that was definitely high interest for all the boys, even though they are at slightly different ages. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

One Bowl Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

As we've shared before, the boys love muffins. Banana muffins are usually our go-to recipe as we almost always wind up with overripe bananas in the house. I'm always looking for ways to make them a little quicker and easier, which is why I've come up with this one bowl banana chocolate chip muffin recipe. Fast to make and easy to clean up.

When I make these, I always make them in our KitchenAid mixer, which makes the mixing fast and smooth. It had actually been a while since I made some, but we were pretty excited to enjoy a fresh batch this week.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Beach Week (Simple Summer Theme 2)

It's been a couple of weeks now, but we greatly enjoyed our second Simple Summer theme: Beach Week.

Ocean related activities are always some of our favorites! We had a lot of fun earlier this year with Big Brother's Ocean birthday party, so we were able to build off of that with even more fun activities. And even though it will be a while until we see the real ocean, this made us feel like we could almost be there. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

4 Ways to Explore Symmetry at Home

We're really excited to be participating in the Cool Maths series hosted by Peakle Pie, which is continuing for the entire month of July. Each day this month bloggers in this series will be sharing great and practical ideas for how to explore math at home, and make it fun!

We're often doing math at home, sometimes as a project or game but more often it is just part of our daily experiences and conversations.

This week we started exploring symmetry. To introduce the topic, we explored it in four different ways.

Symmetry is a geometry term. The symmetry we explored focused on the idea that a shape or object can have a line of symmetry. When an object is folded in half, or you visualize a line going down the center of an object, you can see that the other half exactly matches or mirrors the first half. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Footprint Birdie Birthday Card

Sometimes we plan out projects that we know will turn into a post, and sometimes something turns out so cute we just have to share. That's how it was with this Footprint Birdie Birthday Card we created for a family member this week.

This week was our "Pamma's" birthday, and the boys were excited to pick her out a hummingbird feeder as a gift. To go with her present we decided to put together this sweet card. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July Star Wands

Every year we head to our local parade on the 4th of July. We love the fun of the trucks, floats, and of course candy.

Each year we usually bring small flags for the boys to hold, but this year we decided to switch it up and create something else a little festive for the kids to hold: Fourth of July Star Wands.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

It's strawberry season here in our neck of the woods, which means it's Strawberry Shortcake time. And to me, nothing says summer quite like strawberries.

I've been playing with our recipe a little bit and tweaked our favorite biscuit recipe to make it a sweeter version for shortcake.