Since this Dr. Seuss birthday celebration costume post has been getting pinned on Pinterest like crazy for the past couple of weeks, I thought I would update it with a few more details. This post is from 4 years ago. Hard to believe my little GACK is now 8 years old and we still have this costume in the dress-up bin, although the antlers don't look like this anymore.
My son's preschool celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday today by dressing up as their favorite characters. He was so excited. He decided he wanted to be a Gack from "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish". We went to the store and he helped pick out the supplies. My very creative husband managed to create the headpiece out of sturdy floral wire and wrapped it with extra fabric. He used red duct tape on the ends to secure the fabric to the wire. The fabric is a short fur type of fabric that I found at Jo Ann's. The rings on the antler headpiece are cut from thin sheets of colored foam pages that kids use for crafting. The GACK shirt is really simple to make. I just stitched up the sides and cut out a neck hole. Then I cut red felt letters out and sewed them on by hand.
You received a text last night…no school today. Snow day !!! At least that’s how your kids saw it. You saw it more like snow day, right after the weekend!?! Ok you didn’t have to get the kids up early and get them off to school. But you think to yourself, what should we do on a cold day right after spending two days at home?
Hmm…Morning chores, kids make beds and pick up hundreds of lego pieces off their bedroom floor. You wonder how long the clean floor will last before you are stepping on lego landmines again. Boys start some crafting projects, craft for a while, then you think...what should we do next?
Boys are now running up and down the stairs and all around the house enjoying an adventurous game of chase. As much fun as this is for the kids, you would much rather enjoy some peace and quiet. Since the weather is keeping them inside, you decide a trip to Burger King playland might be relaxing for you and entertaining for the kids. New to the area, your older kids have not been to the playland before and you know it will be exciting and new to them. Also, you know you can bring your laptop and catch up on emails and blog work while the kids are happily playing which is a luxury since (new to the area) you don’t have internet yet.
So off you go, bundling up to face the cold on your trek to Burger King playland.
Upon arrival the kids settle in happily in the large enough, but cozy play room. Decked out with a Wii console, a climbing tube play structure, a tv playing one of the Minions movies and a roomy seating area, you know this is going to be a good day.
You order some food and the helpful employees bring it too you when it is ready. You know you are here for the long haul so no pressure to make the kids eat right away. You let them play and eat when they are hungry. You know they will eat everything you have ordered and they do, during play breaks while watching the Minions movie.
You open your lap top while casually eating french fries and begin to work. It has been three days since you have checked your email. It takes a while, but you get through it and even get some photo editing done. You waste some time on facebook, but seriously it has been three days!!!
You realize at one point that you have spent almost three hours at the Burger King playland and that you are now on a first name basis with a very friendly employee who may be a manager…you aren’t sure since you didn’t get a good look at her name tag. She actually recognized you from your first visit the week before when you first discovered this magical place where you could actually put two thoughts together and concentrate on something for more than five minutes.
Of course you can’t help but watch little bits and pieces of the Minions movie. The minions are adorable and your kids are having so much fun laughing with the movie during their play breaks. So you don’t get as much work done as you could, but you enjoy your time with your kids and accomplish more than you normally would. You think to yourself, I can handle this. Bring on the snow days!
You work hard, so enjoy it Mom, bask in the snow day paradise otherwise known as Burger King playland.
Experience the the magic of Christmas with your children by preparing for Santa's Reindeer. They will love helping to make reindeer food and sprinkling it on the ground outside.
All you need is some oats or oatmeal and glitter. If you have access to oats that you would feed to horses you can mix it with glitter otherwise oatmeal works too. Just mix the oats or uncooked oatmeal with glitter and put in a container or small bag. Then let your little ones sprinkle it outside on Christmas Eve. Younger children love this. I found a picture of my oldest sprinkling magic reindeer food seven years ago. Such great memories.
I made these as party favors for a Mom's group children's Christmas party several years ago so I attached labels with a little poem and tied a bell to each one.
The poem reads: On Christmas Eve, sprinkle the magic reindeer food on the lawn. The magic glitter sparkling in the moonlight and the smell of the oats will guide Rudolph right to your house.
I was not the creative thinker behind Magic Reindeer Food. My department made this as a favor to send home with children who attended a Christmas party we threw every year at my old school where I taught Family and Consumer Science.
Linking up at Friendship Friday
Since I have three boys, I thought I would share my thoughts on the best gifts for boys. Our boys ages range from 4 to 8 years old so this is where I will focus. This is an update on a post I wrote last year when our youngest was 3 so it is still relevant for 3 year olds too. I will share our most played with toys over the years and any additional thoughts I have. We really try to limit screen time in our day to day life, so I won't be sharing any videos or movies. I'm also not a huge fan of toys with lots of bells and whistles. Simple is good. I want toys that inspire imaginative play and creativity.
Also, gift giving does not have to be expensive. I have purchased lots of gifts over the years (especially for kids) at thrift stores, garage sales and consignment stores. I have even made a few homemade gifts too. I also keep my eye out for clearance deals and buy gifts all year long and store them away for Christmas and birthdays. These are some of our favorites.
Magna Tiles are by far the most played with toy in our house. We have had them for years and the boys still play with them. They are an investment, but one of the few toys that are worth their expensive price tag. My parents bought the boys a large set years ago for Christmas and they still play with them every day. If you can find them used, buy them. I found a bin of magna tiles at a yard sale for $1 and added to the collection. I have never seen them at a yard sale, thrift store, or consignment store since. I don't have much experience with Magformers (similar to Magna Tiles), but my nieces and nephews love them. They are pricey too, but a toy that will last and entertain for years to come.
Since Magna Tiles are our most played with toy, we are adding to our collection this year (thanks to generous grandparents). We are adding a Magna Tiles Grand Prix set which includes two wheeled chassis. The boys will love the new set. I found them at my local Target, but they are now on sale and the set I want is sold out at the moment so if you know where I can find the Grand Prix set, please let me know. As of this week, all the magna tile sets are on sale at Target.
A classic choice is Lego. Lego is always a favorite toy. We even had a Lego birthday party a couple of years ago. You can sometimes find used lego at Kids consignment shops for a fraction of the price new. Lego are usually pricey new, but look for sales and clearance. I have seen nice sets for half price (which is still expensive, but a nice gift). The younger kids love Duplo. Our boys, especially our 4 year old still play with our bin of Duplo which were mostly purchased at a church yard sale. Our 6 year old received a Star Wars Lego set for his birthday this fall and he thought it was the most exciting gift ever.
If you have boys, you probably have some dinosaurs, but they are always great gifts, especially for 3 to 5 year olds. As you can see they make great dinosaur prints in homemade play-dough too. Dinosaur books are also an excellent choice.
We received our first Switch & Go Dino from a review I wrote a year ago, and it is still a well loved toy. We actually bought a second one at a kids consignment shop for Christmas last year. One turns into a plane and the other turns into race car.
Transforming toys are much sought after in our house. The boys put Transformers on every birthday and Christmas wish list. They have several transformers who are consistently involved in elaborate battles with dinosaurs usually centered around this large castle.
One of the boys received this castle for his birthday a few years ago from some very generous friends. It is a large footprint, but a much used and entertaining toy. If you have the space, this is great backdrop for all kinds of imaginative play. I think it's made by Fisher Price.
This is more for the younger kids, but trains have been a big part of our lives for years. We have quite a collection of wooden trains and tracks. We have a mix of several different brands and they all seem compatible with each other. (I just realized the train in the picture is not a wooden one, there are great plastic trains too.) Wooden trains can get expensive, but if you check kids consignment stores they often have nice sets for a fraction of the price. We have a lot of wooden trains and tracks, but it is from years of birthday parties and thrift store finds. If you have the space for it, a train table is a good investment. Some friends gave us ours when they were done with it and it has been used for all kinds of play. Train tables are common in kids consignment shops too.
Boys love bugs, at least mine do. They spend their entire summer outside climbing trees, playing tag, and yes collecting bugs. We actually have a real wooden insect collection box that the boys were given by an entomology professor when their father took them to visit the entomology department at the University. They learned how to correctly preserve and label insects and their interest grew like crazy. These are some of the boys favorite things. They love collecting and identifying insects. If your child has any interest in science and nature, he will probably love insect related gifts.
Art supplies are always welcome in our house. I love consumable gifts because we all have too much stuff. Other great ideas are magazine subscriptions and fun activities. My son received golf camp for his birthday two summers from his grandparents. It was a great experience for him. There are a lot of great magazines for kids. We have received National Geographic Little Kids, Ranger Rick Jr., and Highlights.
Another idea is Origami. Our oldest is really into Origami right now. The boys learned it at Kung Fu camp two summers ago and make origami at least once a week. I found a box of origami books and paper at a thrift store a year ago and they have really used it. They still love origami and will be getting some special themed origami sets I found at a local kids consignment shop in their stockings this year.
A new favorite in our house are these Star Wars workbooks. The older boys received these as gifts this fall and we purchased some more for them because they love them so much. I love that they are learning and having fun at the same time. We need to get the preschool level books for our 4 year old who will be so excited to have his own. Our boys pretty much love anything Star Wars which is pretty easy to find right now with the new movie coming out.
If you are handy or crafty, homemade gifts are great too. When the boys were younger, they loved to play with geo boards at preschool. The older boys have sort of outgrown this, but it is great for younger kids. My husband made the boys a homemade geo board from supplies he already had in the garage.
My oldest got Travel Tangoes in his Christmas stocking a couple of years ago and he still carries it with him on trips. He loves this game. I need to find another one for my 5 year old's backpack.
Games are always great choices. As our boys get older, they are really getting into games. My husband is a huge board gamer too so he really encourages them by playing with them when he has free time. The two older boys are really into Tally Ho right now. They played for hours last weekend.
Other great games the boys love include Mastermind Jr., Labyrinth Jr., Zingo, and Whac-A-Mole (kind of silly, but fun). Another favorite game is King of Tokyo. My husband taught the boys to play and they could literally play for hours.
Last summer I walked into the living room to this scene. The boys had brought in a card table from the garage and were playing The Reef, all on their own. I was glad to see them getting along so well and playing happily together. My husband is the board game geek in our family and I am so glad he shares his love of gaming with the boys. It is a great way for them to bond and the boys learn a lot from playing board games.
Our 6 and 8 year old boys are really into Pokemon. They could spend hours looking at Pokemon cards and books. They have several friends who are also into Pokemon so it must be a popular thing in this age group. Pokemon cards are highly sought after and have been the reward of choice this year at Family Formation. They earn coins for learning their bible memory verses and get to spend them in the "store".
Other good ideas for boys are practical things like long underwear, pajamas, socks, gloves, hats. This doesn't have to be boring since there are lots of fun styles. Our boys love anything camouflage or Star Wars.
What are your favorite gifts for boys? Feel free to share.
Linking up at Share the Wealth, Best Mom Advice, Friendship Friday
Updating this old post to make it a little more pinterest friendly. I originally published this in February 2012 which means that my now 8 year old was only 5 then. He looks so cute and little in the pictures. How do they grow up so fast?
The other day I noticed a draft by the front door so my oldest and I decided we would make a draft snake. We used materials we already had and recycled some of my husband's old jeans for fabric. I always save his old jeans when he is done with them so I can reuse the fabric for sewing projects. This was a fun project to complete with my son. He helped me measure the door and the fabric. He also helped fill the snake with beans and fabric scraps. Then my husband drew scale patterns on the snake's back and they both colored them in.
Small piece of felt for the tongue
Two buttons for eyes (I save the extra buttons that come with new clothes)
Long piece of fabric for snake body
Dry beans and fabric scraps for filling
T-shirt markers if you want to draw scale patterns
1. Measure your door to see how much fabric you will need. Then measure and cut the fabric adding a few inches. I measured my door at 32 inches and added 4 inches making my fabric legnth 36 inches. I did not measure the width of the fabric. I just cut as wide as I thought would work for the snake. You only need to cut one piece of fabric because you can fold it to make a tube for the snake's body.
2. Fold your cut fabric so that the wrong side is out and sew along the bottom and side. Then turn the fabric so that the right side is out and you have a tube with one open end. Trim the open end so that it has a curved shape like a snake's mouth.
3. Sew two buttons onto what will be the snake's head. Cut a tongue shape out of your felt and sew it into the bottom of what will be the snake's mouth.
4. Fill the snake with dry beans and fabric scraps. The more beans you use, the heavier it will be so add some fabric scraps unless you want a 10 pound snake.
5. Leave a little room at the top so that you can sew the mouth shut. You may need to have someone hold the snake for you if you sew this part on a sewing machine. I sewed the mouth shut with a zigzag stitch twice to make sure that it was very secure. You could also hand sew this part.
6. If you would like to make a scale pattern on the snake's back draw a simple pattern with t-shirt or other fabric markers. Color in the scales or let your children have fun coloring.
Linking up at Create with Joy, Best Mom Advice, Friendship Friday, Share the Wealth
I love handprint crafts for kids because they are fun to make (kids love putting their hands in paint) and they become keepsakes that I will cherish reminding me how little my children once were. I still have a Christmas handprint craft my son made with his babysitter (I was teaching full time then) when he was 6 months old and I treasure it. It reminds me of how tiny and precious he was. He is still precious, but at 8 years old he is keenly aware that Mommy is embarrassing and won't let me hug and kiss him in public anymore. Well most of the time, I did get an arm around him in church on Sunday.
Since my four year old and the little boy that I watch part time love to craft, I got out the paints and some poster board and helped them make handprint and footprint turkeys the other day. They had a blast and painted for at least an hour while we let the handprints dry.
I mixed some yellow and red tempura paint to make orange, then swirled some more yellow in to give their handprints a mottled mixed color effect.
I then helped them position their handprints on the poster board. We let these dry for about an hour, then made footprints.
I very carefully dipped their little feet in paint then positioned them on the turkey to make the turkey body. I had baby wipes near by and quickly wiped the boys' feet off before they could run around with a painted foot. We let the paint dry during nap time so that it would be completely dry before moving on.
Then I cut waddles out of red construction paper and beaks out of orange craft foam and the boys helped me glue them on. For fun we added wiggly eyes. I think they turned out really cute and the boys had such fun making them.
This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.
When welcoming a little one into your family, you want everything with which he comes in contact to be safe and gentle, even down to the baby wipes you use on his delicate perfect skin. We don't have a new baby at the moment, but we are still in the potty training stage and we use baby wipes everyday. WaterWipes are chemical free because they contain only two ingredients, 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. No chemicals will touch your baby's delicate skin when using WaterWipes.
WaterWipes do not contain preservatives, thus making them chemical free. The WaterWipes package will keep for up to 15 months before it is opened. After opening, you should use within a month.
WaterWipes are not interfolded allowing for the sterile environment within the package to be maintained. For this reason, it is recommended that you do not move the wipes to another container. The WaterWipes package is easy to open with a resealable opening in the center and will fit easily into a purse or diaper bag.
WaterWipes are not only a safer, natural option for your little one, they are strong and durable too. They are thick and feel almost cloth-like while maintaining a comforting softness. Have trouble with diaper rashes? Try switching to soft chemical free WaterWipes.
I found WaterWipes easy to use because they are strong and clean well. Since they are so thick, you don't have to use many for a messy diaper or training pants cleanup. Before using WaterWipes, I wondered if they would actually do a good job of cleaning up messy bottoms without any soap in them. After using them, I have to say they do. They don't leave a strong scent like some baby wipes do, they are just fresh and clean.
Keep WaterWipes handy when crafting with the kids. They can safely and easily clean their hands and faces without putting any chemicals on their skin.
Water Wipes is a premium European brand that is now available in the United States at Meijer stores. Meijer is one of my favorite places to shop because I can find everything I need in one place. Next time you head to the store for groceries, Christmas presents, or even new shoes head to Meijer because they really do have everything. And while you are there you can stock up on WaterWipes!
Use the WaterWipes Store Locater to find a store near you.
Back when I taught Family and Consumer Science, I used to have my students make this recipe to expose them to zucchini and show them that it was actually delicious. I know it's not the same as eating zucchini as a vegetable, but it was a start. Many of them had never eaten zucchini and thought it was really strange, but when they tried the finished product they always liked it.
Now my boys enjoy these for a healthy snack. Well, healthy except that they do have a lot of sugar. I have been experimenting with alternative sugars and made this batch with sucanat instead of using granulated white sugar. Honestly, I think they taste just as good with sucanat as they do with granulated sugar. I also threw in a little ground flax for added nutrition.
These really are delicious and stand alone without any added frosting. They never last long around our house.
1/2 cup real butter softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup oil (I use melted coconut oil)
1 3/4 cups sugar or sucanat
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup ground flax (optional)
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. In a mixing bowl cream butter, oil and sugar.
2. Add eggs, milk and vanilla, mixing well.
3. Combine flour, ground flax (optional), cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Then add to the creamed mixture.
4. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.
5. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Top with pecans if using.
6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.
Home Economics Classroom Recipe
In a Home Economics classroom with 5 or more kitchens of students making this recipe, I used a 1/2 recipe for each kitchen. Halving recipes insured that food was never wasted and that our food budget went further. The kids gained more hands on experience because we could afford to cook more often. I would not use pecans in this recipe in a classroom due to possible food allergies.
Here is a half recipe for use in the classroom.
1/4 cup butter softened (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup oil (I use melted coconut oil)
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 Tbsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. In a mixing bowl cream butter, oil and sugar.
2. Add eggs, milk and vanilla, mixing well.
3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Then add to the creamed mixture.
4. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.
5. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
Makes about 1 dozen cupcakes.
Linking up at Create with Joy, Mom Advice.
Disclosure: I received product for review. All opinions are honest and are my own.
We are long time fans of Kidorable products so we were really excited to receive a new pair of rain boots for review. My 4 year old chose this adorable fireman raincoat last February for review so we picked the fireman rain boots to match. So far he is planning on wearing this for Halloween and I think he will be the cutest fireman on the block.
On our adventures we found this amazing spider and he wanted a picture.
My boys have worn Kidorable boots for years and love them. They are comfortable and easy for them to run around in on their outdoor adventures.
So many things to see.
Exploring in the Secret Tunnel. We could spend all day at the children's garden.
Looking for bugs under the stepping stones. He can't resist checking...just in case.
The boots are flexible and really soft on the inside making them extra comfortable.
They have an extra grippy sole to prevent slipping.
Want to win an adorable Kidorable umbrella of your choice? Enter on the rafflecopter form.
Linking up at Friendship Friday
I actually wrote these notes to myself in my journal quickly one afternoon. It must have been about a year ago and I really needed some encouragement. Being a stay-at-home parent can be lonely sometimes and there seems to be a lot of pressure to do it all. I know I feel the pressure to keep a clean house, raise well-behaved, well-rounded children, plan and prepare healthy and delicious meals, help with yard maintenance, and contribute to the family finances by saving money and earning income (usually blog income and ebay sales). When you think about it, stay at home parents contribute A LOT to the family. Yes A LOT is in bold because really it's like a TON.
So here is some encouragement for all of my fellow stay-at-home parents.
Let me start with this, you are doing the most important job in the world! It doesn't seem like it most days, but when you look back at your life, your children will mean more to you than any job ever did. The days will seem long, even mundane in the everyday tasks that must be performed, but each task that you do and each moment that you spend with and for your children is essential to the happiness and well being of your family.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
Most Popular Posts
Grab Green Cleaning Products Kit Giveaway