Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Colored Glue Suncatchers

We got the idea for these colored glue suncatchers from the fabulous early childhood blog, Teach Preschool.

To make the colored glue, we filled empty condiment bottles ($1 apiece from Wal-Mart) with white school glue and a squirt of tempera paint. You can use food coloring or liquid watercolor to tint, if you prefer. I stuck autumn and Halloween cookie cutters (a Wilton set - $4 at Michael's) to contact paper to hold them in place.

Meg simply filled the cutters up with the glue. I encouraged her to use different colors in the same cutter to highlight features, but she wanted to stick with one color per cutter. Just as well, because the glue did run quite a bit and the colors may have mixed too much. I've read that you can run a bead of hot glue around the inside and outside of the cutters to prevent the colored glue from escaping underneath, but, despite a lot of leakage, our cutters were still nice and thick, so I don't think it's necessary.

The shapes took a few days to dry, but they finally remained firm instead of sticking when we lifted a corner to peek underneath. The oranges and reds dried the slowest, probably because they had more pigment. After we popped them from the cutters (much easier when they're still a bit stretchy, by the way, than if you let them harden completely), we poked holes in the top and bottom of each shape and strung them together with thread to hang in the windows. For fun, I added some faces and other simple (very simple) features with a Sharpie before we hung them, like so:

This was one that we left in the cutter until it hardened completely, and you can see that his hand and tail didn't pop out cleanly.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Hairstyle Photo Dump

Today's bento photo dump inspired me to go back through some other photos on my computer that I may not have had a chance to share on the blog. I found a number of hairstyles Meg wore earlier this year when she was in her fancy stage, and I figured I'd give them a quick dump as well.

Three topsy-tails on top. Braided the middle tail straight down. Used the outside tails and the middle braid to start a chunky French braid with the remaining hair. This style would have looked much neater if I'd started with wetter hair, but Meg hates having her hair sprayed in winter.

I believe Meg wore this to church the Sunday before Valentine's Day. Just a simple topsy-tail-turned-heart (There are tutorials all over Pinterest and YouTube - it's a very simple trick to execute.) with the rest of the hair braided down her back.

This was on Valentine's Day. I did a side topsy-tail heart and made it meet a sideways French braid that wrapped from the top of her left ear to the bottom of her right ear. This looked much softer and prettier as the hair dried.

Top half topsy-tailed. Tail split in half and brought down to meet two pigtail braids. This one was very pretty in person and stayed in well.

"Puffy braid headband" across the top of her head pulled down to meet a messy bun beneath and behind her right ear.

Dramatic zigzag part, pigtail puffy braids, ending in low pigtails.

Three topsy-tails on top. Middle tail split and pulled down to meet the outside tails joined with sections of lower hair. These tails crisscrossed and joined with all remaining hair in low pigtails.

Fourth of July short hair hairstyle. Two twisty knots on top. Pieces of lower hair behind the ears braided up and pinned behind knots with bows. Glitter spray.

Two very messy low curled pigtails. Scrap of fabric rolled and wrapped around head and tied. Bobby pins near pigtails to ensure the fabric stayed put through play. Glitter spray.

Two topsy-tails on top, split to make three more topsy-tails, all pulled down to join rest of hair in a messy bun. Pom pom headband.


Bento Photo Dump

It's a well-documented fact that I hate to cook. Haaaaate. I get around this some by having a husband who loves to cook and handles all dinners and weekend meals, but the authorities say I still have to give my kids lunch while he's at work. In light of this fact, it's somewhat surprising I'd jump on the bento bandwagon, no? But, in fact, creating cute lunch boxes makes the food preparation process much more pleasant for me. And the kids are crazy about it.

So, here's a photo dump of my first attempts at bento (and not-so-bento-but-still-decorated) lunches and snacks.

These are the first bento-specific supplies I purchased. Plum District had a great coupon available for Bento USA, an online retailer with a huge selection of BPA-free bento accessories. We've since added a number of cutters, picks, food markers, bento boxes, and silicone cups to our collection - some scavenged from the kitchen drawers, some purchased from Target or HomeGoods or other local stores.

My first sad little attempt. Grape tomatoes, black grapes, cucumber stars, peanut butter and honey on whole wheat with a sprinkle-filled star cutout, string cheese stick. (Meg)

Grape tomatoes, raisins, carrot sticks, cottage cheese, cheese tortellini. (Meg and James)

Grape tomatoes, turkey roll-ups, whole wheat star, string cheese, apple section with happy face drawn on, turkey and hummus on whole wheat with crusts cut off and star cutout. (James)

Frozen peas, "cheesy beans" (kidney beans with melted cheese, crumbled whole wheat crackers, and Italian seasoning), mango. (Meg and James)

Apple, grape tomatoes, peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat cut into puzzle pieces and topped with green sprinkles. (Meg and James)

Whole wheat crackers with food marker initials, black grapes, carrots, Happy Panda cookies, (Not pictured: shaped hard-boiled eggs the kids just couldn't wait for me to finish before they started their lunch. The eggs bombed spectacularly anyway, because I put them in the egg molds the wrong direction.) (Meg and James)

Cucumber hearts, grape tomatoes, cottage cheese with pink sprinkles and strawberry heart, peanut butter and honey on whole wheat cut into a heart and drawn on with a food marker. (Meg)

Snack of strawberries, cucumber slices, grape tomatoes, and veggie straws. (Meg)

Plum, frozen peas, grape tomatoes, Happy Panda cookies, veggie straws, peanut butter on whole wheat cut into animal shapes and embellished with food markers and shaped sprinkles. (Meg and James)

Dyed egg snack. I just submerged boiled and peeled eggs in food-colored water and put them in the fridge overnight. The dye bled through part of the white inside, leaving neat rings of color, white, and yolk when the eggs were sliced into circles. (Meg and James)

Frozen peas, cucumber stars, apple slices, olives, hard boiled eggs, Happy Panda cookies. (Meg and James)

Giant strawberry, frozen peas, large grape tomato, cheese tortellini. (Meg)