Sunday, August 21, 2011

Found object painting

I have noticed this idea on many blogs, and I really can't remember any to link back to, but I have been wanting to do this for the last 2 years. It just never seemed to work out. Well, I put this on our summer bucket list, sort of as a reminder for myself to actually do it. Then we moved to an apartment and I thought it would never happen.  Today, I decided that we will do it. I got out our long folding table, and set it on the ground without opening the legs. I think rolled a sheet of newsprint (free from our local newspaper!), and had Adam tuck the paper under the table. I had the kids gather 4 random washable things from around the house, while I gathered the washable paint, wet wipes, paper plates, and a few things that I had thought of using. We headed outside to get started! I squirted a blob of paint, a different color on each plate, and then showed the kids what to do. It started out slow as they experimented with different items, and techniques. After a little while, it really got moving. Hands, paint brushes, and feet got into the action! This was tons of fun, all 4 of us added to it, and we are going to hang it up in the new living room. Clean up was pretty easy, I had the kids put the items in a plastic basket that I use to carry art supplies to different functions. Wet wipes were used to wash up hands, arms, legs, and feet before going inside to really wash up. Paper plates and used wet wipes were thrown away in a plastic bag. And the basket full of painted items came right in and was washed up in the kitchen sink. Easy peasy!


 Items that we used were: 2 berry baskets, paint brushes, dust brush, screwdriver, wiffle golf ball, bubble wand, wooden blocks, Barbie hairbrush, play DQ ice cream sandwich, McDonald's canteen from the 80's, a foot door stop, plastic snake, Robin action figure, play cars, play cookie and peti four, and a toy turtle!

Trying new fruits!

Adam and I started a tradition years ago that every once in awhile, we head to the produce section of our local grocery store, and pick out a fruit or two that we have never tried before. Most times it is met with some, um shall we say, disgust. We rarely find one that we want to try again. This time we included the kids in our adventure. We took them and told them to each pick out one they had never tried. For some reason, they chose a fresh pineapple.  We get at least 1 per summer, I guess they forgot. We also picked up a lemon drop melon, tamarillo, and I found 1 lonely starfruit on the discount rack. We had a yummy dinner of salad and bread sticks, and then topped it off with our discovery for dessert. L and I both were not really fans of any of it other than the pineapple. Adam was able to enjoy all of it, but D couldn't stop. She kept asking for more of everything! She is our more adventurous eater out of the two.

Our bounty before cutting
 D really enjoying the tamarillo!
 L was a bit more hesitant.

L happily trying the star fruit

Yummy star fruit

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tortilla making

Years ago, Adam and I bought a tortilla press from a little Mexican grocery back in Valpo. Well, many moves, and years later, we have decided to make out own tortillas again. We were making flour ones for the last few months, but went out and bought a bag of masa. We followed the recipe on the bag, and pulled out the old press. We explained to the kids what we were doing, and they got very excited to help. Adam showed them how to roll the dough into a ball, and place it in the press. They quickly got to work. That night we had tacos on our fresh tortillas. We had some left over so a few nights later, we used them to make quesadillas! Fantastic! And what a great fun way to include the kids in dinner time prep.

"Painting" Rocks

One of the things on our Summer Bucket list was painting rocks. I wasn't sure if I was going to have the kids actually paint the rocks, or if we were going to do something different. Then I remembered seeing somewhere last year this fun idea!

Things you need:
a handful of rocks, cleaned
paper plates/bowls or parchment paper
oven or very hot day
baking sheet

I prepped these rocks in the oven while I was preheating it for a chicken nugget lunch. I placed my rocks on a baking sheet and popped them in the oven to warm them up. You want to get these nice and toasty. If setting outside, make sure you place them in a spot that is sunny all day. Once they were nice and toasty,  I put one on each plate or bowl. I let the kids pick out whatever color they liked, and warned them that the rocks were hot and not to touch. Once you touch the rocks with the crayon it starts to melt and get nice and liquid. Draw pictures, or like D, just "paint" it all one color! Once we were done with the color, we set them aside while we ate lunch. Once the rocks are cooled, they will be coated in wax, colorful, and neat to feel.

Pony Express day/Wild West play date

It was our 2nd Pony express day/Wild West play date. Both years we had a cowboy cookout of hot dogs, cornbread muffins, and baked beans.  Last year we colored western themed bookmarks picked up at Hobby Lobby on clearance, and had a pony express race. We divided the kids in two teams, little kids and big kids, and each group had a hobby horse to ride along with a stack of "mail" to deliver. I made mail pouches out of large grocery paper bags (just scrunch it up and roll down the top), and the mail was just large colorful envelopes I had in my stash with city names written on them along with stickers used as stamps. The kids had to ride the hobby horse and deliver the mail as quickly as they could. The older ones had a great time, but the littler kids had a hard time holding onto the horse and mail.

This year, we still had the cowboy cookout, and colored any of the leftover bookmarks, but we also made cowboy vests out of large paper grocery bags. To make these I just cut a thin block off the front going all the way up the bag, and cut a hole in the bottom of the bag to make a neck hole. I then cut 2 smaller holes in the sides for the arms, and cut the front into corners. The kids got to decorate these however they wished with markers. After we were done making out vests we painted horse tracks. I picked up a package of 10 sponges from Dollar Tree, and cut those into a horse shoe shape. I then mixed brown and black paint in paper bowls for easier clean up. Because we had this at a park, and you always need to factor in wind, I taped a piece of drawing paper in front of each kid. They then dipped the sponge in the paint and pressed it on the paper, leaving tracks all over. They all had a good time. The day was topped off with a run through the splash pad to wash and cool off!

Some of our cowboys and cowgirl!
 Horse shoe prints, the website I found these on also suggested sprinkling sand over the paint while still wet.
 Coloring the bookmarks last year
Last years pony express races
Way to deliver that mail kids!!!
Books we read:

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