Tag Archives: projects

Shrunken Apple Heads!

Here’s a fun little science and nature craft just in time for Halloween.  The kids and I made shrunken apple heads this month and it’s been great fun watching them change over time.

shrunken apple heads

All you need are some apples (we used imperfect ones off a generous neighbor’s tree), salt and lemon juice.

First peel your apples.  You can leave a little on the top and bottom like a little hat and scarf.

Then give your child some carving tools (a chopstick, grapefruit spoon or pen knife all work well, depending on your child’s age and skill level with tools).  You can trace your design first with a pen or pencil, if you like.

Carve out a face, making sure to make each feature large since they will shrink up and collapse somewhat.

shrunken apple head

Then mix up some salt and lemon juice and apply it all over, especially in the parts you’ve carved out.  This will prevent mold and also protect them from getting too brown.  If you like, you can talk to the kids about how salt has been used for thousands of years to preserve foods and other things, and how acids like lemon juice slow oxidation (browning caused by a chemical reaction when substances react with oxygen).

preserving shrunken apple head

Now just put your apple heads somewhere to dry.  Choose a location where you can watch them and keep up with how they change.

Have fun!

 

 

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10 Ways to Make Your Home Magical

Happy Monday!

I’ve been having fun brainstorming about home improvements around our house and looking at lots of blogs and Pinterest boards for inspiration lately.  I thought it would be fun to change up this week’s magical theme and focus on fun ways to make a little magic in our houses. 

Some of these are easy to implement and some are definitely the daydream type!  I tried to focus on doable projects instead of $15,000 pirate beds to purchase, though.  😉

Click on any image to go to its source (or the closest I could find to an original with an image search). 

Here’s my list of 10 ways to make your home magical for children…

1.  Have hideaways and nooks.

2.  Incorporate ways kids can be active and meet their sensory needs.

3.  Add color.

4.  Add whimsy.

5.  Incorporate your family interests and personalities in your decorating.

6.   Bring in nature and the outside.

7.  Let the kids help create their spaces.

8. Make it a party all the time (at least in little ways).

9. Add lots of opportunity for creativity and fun.

10. Fill it with love.

You can check out my inspiration boards for indoor play spaces, outdoor play spaces, home ideas and more on Pinterest to see more of my favorite ideas, too. 

Keep in mind that you don’t need lots of money to make your home magical!  I kind of like the fact that our house came to us so old and beat up because I got a free pass to do whatever I liked to it over the years as we fixed it up.  I have painted words up the stairs, stenciled gold swirls around the bathroom mirror, hidden colorful dragonflies near baseboards, painted doors with chalkboard paint and have given my kids the insides of cupboards and closets to paint five year-old masterpieces on.  If you rent, you can bring in temporary magic with well placed fairy lights, appliance box forts, whimsical peel-off wall decals and so on.

And really, the most magical home accessory of all is the sound of laughter inside it.  🙂

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to tackle a to-do list the size of a small city phone book and love on some kiddos.  Have a magical week!

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Make Your Own Beautiful, Affordable, Collapsible Dollhouse

Here’s a project I’m absolutely in love with!  Southern Disposition has the plans for an ingenious dollhouse she made from three ring binders, scrapbook paper, magazine pictures and a few found treasures.

It collapses to take up very little space, it’s utterly gorgeous, it’s green, and it’s super affordable.  She estimates she made hers for about $30 but she says you could easily do it for under $10 with a little creativity.

What a sweet holiday gift this would make.  🙂

Head over for all the fabulous information.

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Bleach Pen Fun!

Here’s a great craft for older kids and teens to show off their creativity and bring new life to boring clothes.  Try your hand at bleach pen altering!

Victoria made this lovely shirt from an old peach t-shirt of mine that I was going to donate. 

She put a layer of waxed paper inside the shirt (to prevent bleach soaking through to the other side) and laid the shirt flat, then drew a freehand design on the shirt and put it aside to dry completely before washing (do this in a well ventilated room).

She had so much fun that she altered a ton of other clothing she scrounged up, from colored undies (peace signs were added in back!) to shirts and socks.

This could be done with younger kids if a parent does the actual bleach pen work, since bleach is very caustic.

For young kids, have them draw the design with chalk, then have a parent go over it with the pen.

Want to see some inspiration from others?  Here’s a google image search of all sorts of great designs others have done.  Fun!

 

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Tuesday!

We’re less than 6 days away from meeting our little one and I’m feeling awfully tired these days.  So today’s list of ways to make the day magical is courtesy of Pinterest!  🙂

These are all crafts and activities that I’ve pinned to my boards lately.  Click on the photos to visit the sites…

1.  Marshmallow shooters/pom pom poppers

2.  Power drills and pumpkins (eek! love the idea but with CLOSE supervision!)  🙂

3.  Angry birds in the back yard

4.  Cave of stars via cardboard box and Christmas lights

5.  Lawn Jenga

6.  Homemade cough drops and cough drop lollipops (honey based)

7.  Wand tutorial (we made these and loved it!)

8.  Scratch-off pumpkins (black spray paint, then scratch your design)

9.  Teacher Tom’s fabulous, kid-friendly version of crayon melting art

10. Quick epsom salt geode egg shells

Hopefully I’ll get a post or two in before our new babe arrives, but otherwise I’ll be sure to arrange for some pictures to be posted ASAP when we meet her.

Have a magical week!

 

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10 Fun Links

It turns out that by the fifth child, I’m a terrible blogger!  😉 

Apologies for my lax blogging lately.  Hopefully you and your kiddos have been busy making some last minute summer magic of your own.

We’ve been busy and I’m keeping up as best as I can with my giant belly.  I’m getting rather old for this pregnancy business, I think!  I’m no longer a spring chicken and with this heat and four kids to chase, I’m not exactly one of those bouncy, skinny-except-for-the-belly, super active pregnant mamas who reorganizes the house and does yoga till the birth date!

Nonetheless, I’m enjoying this last hurrah of baby-making.  The kids are having fun playing “chase the baby part” on my belly and they’ve been wonderful at giving mama foot rubs and helping with housework (Daddy too, of course). 

We’re leaving today to visit Magical Mama Tiffany and her gang in Nebraska.  There will be some other fun families down there, too, so it should be a noisy, grand old time!

In the meantime, here’s 10 links that caught my eye lately (a few are ones I wrote up elsewhere).  See if there’s any fun that catches yours….

1.  Black magic art

2.  30 Days of August fun with your kids

3.  The A-frame play tent

4. Spaghetti and play-doh

5.  50 things to put in sand and water tables

6.  DIY chalkboard paint (Instructions from elsewhere: Outdoor Chalkboard: Get a 4 x 8 plywood sheet and mix a chalkboard-colored outdoor paint with unsanded tile grout: 1. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps. 2. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry. 3. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust. 4. To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge. )

7.  Easy homemade doctor’s kit

8.  Glow in the dark sensory tub game

9.  Tube and funnel peg board

10.  Glow in the dark wall

And with that, my sweets, I’m off to the wilds of Nebraska!

Kiss your babies, count your blessings, and don’t forget to take care of you!

~Alicia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Door to Anywhere

Daryl has been on the lookout for an old fashioned screen door for a play he’s putting on in September.  Last week, he spotted one by the street for trash pick-up and snagged it.  When he got it home, he realized it seemed to be made for very tiny people (!) and would not work at all.

A door made for very tiny people?  I immediately seized on it and asked Daryl to hang it up for us.

Three hinges and ten minutes later, we had a door to nowhere.  Or the back yard.  Or anywhere.

Daryl added a hook and eye screw so the door can be fastened against the garage when out of use.

We discovered that it made a perfect stage for puppet shows!

Or just make believe.  🙂

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that often the most magical things are things that other people would consider rubbish.  Whether it’s scrap wood painted bright colors and used as giant outdoor building blocks or old doors that lead to nowhere, there’s often pretty nifty stuff out there waiting to be imagined — for free!   🙂

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