Tag Archives: Children

Crafty: The Heart-Shaped Box

17 Jan

I am so excited to finally share this project with you. I really didn’t do much in the way of handmade gifts for Isobel this year. Focusing on thrifting, hosting Christmas, and just being with my family took up most of my time so I thought I really wouldn’t bother with handmade gifts for Isobel. She is just swimming in toys and things she carries around to play with that aren’t toys, and I knew she’d be getting piles of stuff for Christmas, so it was easy to justify not making her a bunch of gifts. And I’ve already explained my theory of thrifted gifts and why I’m an asshole anyway. But, when the Pixie and I stopped by the craft store a week before Christmas to pick up supplies for the gift I was making my friends, I couldn’t pass up this sweet little paper heart box for 99 cents.

Using craft paint I already had, I used time when Isobel was with Grandma to paint layer after layer of pink paint on the brown paper surface. I decided to paint the inside of the box red to make it stand out more, which I don’t regret but made the whole thing more complicated because each mistake meant waiting for paint to dry to apply another layer to fix the errant blotches.

The craft store also had these fantastic jewels for three bucks, and I can’t think of a more perfect treasure to fit inside. Isobel adores her heart box, and I’m so glad I took the time to make it. Total cost of the project was less than five bucks. Although I made this as part of Handmade Christmas, wouldn’t this be the perfect Valentine gift, or even project, if your little one was school-aged? It could be filled with chocolate and covered with doilies or modge-podge.

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Follow Friday: Cousin Photos

30 Dec

Last summer my cousin gave me a green, Christmas-themed shirt her daughter Victoria had outgrown. “Save it for Christmas,” she said, “and we can take photos of the kids in their Christmas shirts.” I thought this was a great idea, so I folded it up and tucked it away in a safe place with enthusiasm. Fast forward six months later, and that shirt is nowhere to be found.

“Liz,” I had to say, “I’m sorry, but I think I’ve turned into my mother.”

The cousin photos are adorable even without matching shirts, though my cousin made a huge faux pas when she tried to take Isobel’s purse out of the picture. ONE DOES NOT MESS WITH THE PINK PURSE OR ONE WILL BE SORRY. Also, check out that sweet goat Baby’s Sam’s holding. I’m pretty proud of it, as I am proud of the last photo in this series. I think I’ve found my calling: Awkward Unposed Children’s Photos.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

hollyburnsAll the dates I’m writing in my new 2012 planner are for season premieres of TV shows.

mommywantsvodka I cannot seem to come up with any decent resolutions for the New Year, so instead I will resolve not to become Lil Wayne.

NicLewis I think I’m a reverse hipster. Whatever the musical group you’re talking about, I’ve probably never heard of it.

theRratedBull That caller I just transferred is so lucky! They get to hear “Endless Love” in its entirety without going to an 1980’s wedding.

justaboutagirl The mom of those Invisalign Teen girls CLEARLY has a favorite child.

SteveMartinToGo My holiday twitter hours: Open all day and night. Except Wodensday, of course. Too busy worshiping Woden. Don’t care about Thorsday.

JVdesigns @exlibris I envy not only that you met Anthony Bourdain, but that you have it on a list with goats.

LouisPeitzman Are there charities to raise money for celebs like Ashton Kutcher and Kelly Clarkson who can’t afford access to Google?

Y_U_NOOO TWITTER FRIENDS, Y U LIVE SO FAR AWAY? Y U NO LIVE NEXT DOOR?

milonguera I’m drinking sangria for dinner. Because an hour ago I ate 70 more pounds of Chex Mix.

wordlust Two things I need to say more often are “I’m sorry” and “Choo-choo!”

palinode My review of Mission Impossible IV is that I stayed home and watched Tree of Life.

LaurelKS I’ve missed #oversharewednesday for months and I invented it. Don’t feel bad if you forget.

RideOrDiePudge You guys who habitually change your avatars have given me a chilling sneak peak into living with Alzheimers.

TheMiaWarren Mystikal was a rapper who cared. He told you to shake your ass but he also told you to watch yourself.

jenstatsky I always say no to drugs. Mostly after I take a bunch of em and am like, “hey I’m gonna start talking to these drugs!”

PolyesterPony Picture Tintin as a gay man and you’ve got a pretty good idea what I look like without my beard.

lieberian FB didn’t seem that interested in my new Perry the Platypus T-shirt, but I know you’ll get me, Twitter.

MightyQuinn72 The kids have gone into an After Christmas Electronic Game trance where they don’t eat and growl when I approach them.

MightyQuinn72 The one positive about the kid’s video game frenzy is that I hear there is a shortage of Single Player Shooters in the job market.

sgnp White plastic sheeting over an entire hill is the closest thing to snow I’ve seen all year.

lafix By the looks of this Starbucks, a whole lot of lumberjacks are working on their novels.

joversusvolcano When I go to Hogwarts I’m going to get a wand made out Keith Richards’ femur and unicorn pubes.

paulverhoeven They should have called Close Encounters of the Third Kind POTATO MOUNTAIN.

JRehling  People may say I’m old-fashioned, but e’re the Moone werthe and halpthsome Fairies ag’in the heckerlocke Smythe of Aethyr luvv.

Nathan_Pensky Remember when you tried to use the force on your shoe? You were 19. Not a good year for you. LOSE A TURN. #GameOfLife

warmandpunchy take the path that takes you to college. ha ha idiot, all your money is gone forever now #GameOfLife

 Nathan_Pensky  Who’s that guy from jr high who said his dad knew Patrick Swayze? There’s an hour gone remembering right there. GO DOWN THE CHUTE #GameOfLife

Nathan_Pensky  Feel a weird pain. It’s obviously cancer. Obviously. Think about cancer for three hours while trying to work. GO BACK TWO SPACES #GameOfLife

LouisPeitzman  Watch your health insurance expire right before an illness. Draw from Community Chest. There is nothing there. #GameOfLife

rare_basement  Grandma gives you twenty bucks out of pity. Move ahead three spaces. Hooray! #GameOfLife

notthatkendall  I’m pretty sure you guys are repinning stuff just to fuck with me now.

ClevelandPoet  Manager: “How ya doing?” Me: “I’m doing.” Manager: “You’re doing? Yeah I’m doing too.” Me: “Hooray doing!” Manager: …. #HowJimiRolls

NotActuallyHero  I love when someone’s bio says they’re the official account for someone you’ve never heard of because I appreciate officialness

thecorbettkid  all toys that make sounds will have their batteries removed tonight.

Patheticist  Halfway through War Horse I asked the guy next to me to shoot me so I didn’t suffer any more.

Athenabee  You know what I like to happen when someone comes over? Athena to walk out with my bra on.

BridgetCallahan  It’s hard to explain to someone for the twentieth time why they are literally the worst person you have ever met, which is why I use lasers.

cryanathus  Accidentally punched the door frame while trying to slide across the floor in new socks.

derekblackmon   Just put my 7 yr old in Time Out for not showing me how to split the blue birds.

Greeblemonkey  Good news: Didn’t break my arm ice skating yesterday. Bad News: It is so sore I’m having trouble doing laundry. WAIT. GOOD NEWS ALL AROUND.

jen_talley  So I’m thinking about getting out of pajamas today. I know! I need to pace myself.

theneener And, with delayed comedic timing, my dog has let out an audible fart.

TheBloggess  I wonder if @DalaiLama follows no one bc he’s making a very deep statement or if he just doesn’t know how twitter works.

eliza_evans  Good night, Internet. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

BillMc7  Tequila is like Instagram for your eyeballs.

thejennui  The Internet is made of cats.

FannyOvrTeacups If the cat gets any fatter, I’m going to buy him his own wardrobe of tiny woolen cardigans and change his name to Mr. Belvedere.

SpaghettiJesus  If this is a Downton Abbey marathon, I’ll believe in god, but only because it’s obviously a woman with good taste.

Toaster_Pastry  According to Klout I can gain 5 additional Twitter followers if I say the word “boob.” Oh, my boobs ache.

davepolak  “Three blind mice walk into a pub. But they are unaware of their surroundings, so to derive humour from it would be exploitative.”

slackmistress  In case any of you were feeling remotely attracted to me, my bra is filled with brownie crumbs.

ProfessorSnack  Remember my bus ride from DC to Indiana? This time I’m driving! With my family! Made boys go all day without peeing for conditioning.

tehawesome  Matt Damon plays an adventurous father who takes a big risk in the heartwarming comedy-drama We Bought a Zune.

ApocalypseHow  Show of hands: How many of you only remembered it’s Jesus’ birthday from Facebook?

shinyinfo  Mom: “You can check Google but it might be off today.” #Christmas

JohnFugelsang  Happy Birthday to a radical revolutionary who never defended torture, badmouthed gays, or asked a leper for a co-pay.

writingdirty I keep reading it as “Merry X-men”

colsonwhitehead  When the song was written, “bough” meant “corpse,” so you’re singing about decorating your house with the body parts of someone named Holly.

jillsmo  My tombstone will read: “even though she was Jewish, she was still killed by eggnog.”

thejennui  My cat has an inappropriate relationship with my new Snuggie.

steenyweeny  DIE HARD IS ON PRAISE SANTA

Smethanie  A toast to the easiest night of the year to get kids to bed! Cheers!

TheMostTender  The chunk of crab in my cousin’s hair is the least awkward thing going on at this family dinner.

Smethanie No, I’m not last-minute shopping. I’m in the toy aisle on Christmas Eve as part of my Zombie Apocalypse training.

iamfoxyroxie I have no idea what to get my dog for Christmas. #firstworldproblems

johnmoe  My non-American followers should know that the most popular gifts this year are still handguns, cowboy hats, and piles of deep fried things.

WordShore   Hurrah! The Asian corner shop is open tomorrow, so if you are local and haven’t got a present from me yet, you’ll be getting a yam.

Angel__Bee  You guys, I don’t want to jinx it but I’ve made it through the whole holiday season without having to hear that “Christmas Shoes” song

Greeblemonkey  GetGlue is the new Klout is the new Foursquare of annoying Twitter notifications.

shinyinfo  I’m just saying. If there is a siege, the library WILL. NOT. FALL. I have metal bookends I will throw like ninja stars if need be.

MaryHChrist  In the middle east. Pregnant. On a donkey. FML

mrshiggison  When I hear the kids coming up the stairs, I shove whatever I’m eating entirely into my mouth.

palinode I just let something me dismay.

TheRedQueen  Sometimes I wonder why I attempt anything beyond getting myself dressed and not drooling on everything.

badbanana  My New Year’s Resolution, like always, will be to avoid an elk herd attack. I have a good feeling 2012 will be the year.

ecareyo  While standing in line at the store, I whisper “There, there, you’ll be back here very soon” to the Christmas gift I’m about to buy for Mom

meganamram Every time a bell rings, an angel trained by Pavlov starts to drool.

AnnieLowrey  What is scarier: Toy-obsessed, super-judgmental, bearded trespasser, or winged lady who wants to trade dollar bills for teeth?

KagroX  Jingle Bells. They jingle all the way. It’s fun 2 ride in a sleigh w my friends. We dashing thru the snow. We dashing. #RebeccaBlackCarols

thegrumbles when i put my ear up to my coffee cup i can hear the ocean

chickenscottpie  Sorry, lady hitting on me in the fabric store, there’s a reason I’m a dude shopping in a fabric store.

KaseyAnderson Why would I dance like nobody’s watching? People need to see this shit.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

Little Big Links: Random Faves

4 Dec

There’s been kind of a lot going on in the past two days: appointments at the Cancer Center (wherein I found out I probably do not have a new, additional serious health problem), a new phone (finally! I’ve waited years!), Christmas decorating, a parade, friends over, and other things I’ve probably forgotten due to all the activity.  Enjoy some very awesome links I’ve been saving.

Onion article: Silvio Berlusconi Gets Penis Stuck In Wine Bottle Stuck In Prostitute

One of the best things I’ve read, ever: Breaking Dawn, Dress the Vampire Fetus and the Headboard

T-shirt: Hench 4 Life

For fans of This American Life: Ira Glass’ Sex Tape

Isobel’s Current Favorite Youtube Videos:

Snapshot

9 Nov

Here’s what I’m up to:

– I’m really excited Top Chef has started up again. I love Top Chef. I do not, however, love their weird try-outs gimmick for the first couple of shows. I’m ready for that to be over and for shit to finally get real.

– My fantastic in-laws took Isobel for a portrait sitting the day we went to the Warrior Dash. Even though you probably know how I feel about portrait photography places, I always look forward to getting the photos because my kid is absolutely adorable.

– Speaking of adorable kids, Kingston came over last weekend and he and Isobel played together beautifully. They’ve reached some developmental sweet spot where they can play and interact with each other withing constant supervision and territory disputes. We still had to watch them, of course, and enforce the necessary sharing treaties as we saw fit, but overall, they were less work together than they were on their own, which is the sort of milestone we’ve been waiting semi-patiently for for over two years. At one point, they were having so much fun than when Angela checked on them she noticed they had knocked over the cat’s scratching post and were both straddling it like it was a horse, saying, “WHEEE!” and “YEEHAW!

– Isobel and I have been cooking together a whole lot since I discovered the therapeutic benefits of the the kitchen. She loves to help.

Isobel packed a suitcase so she can go to China and see the baby pandas.

– Every time you @-reply me on twitter my phone buzzes so Isobel picks it up and says, “Hello? Hi? How are you?” and sometimes, “I can’t hear you.”

– Handfuls of pomegranate seeds and dark chocolate chips make a great dessert when no one’s watching.

– I am overall feeling better. Since the panic attacks I’ve been seeing my therapist more frequently than before and that has helped immensely. I do intend to thank everyone personally for all the kindness and support I’ve received. You all have been so kind.

– Most of my updates today seem to be Isobel-related. I’ve been doing things that are not Isobel-related, such as reading The Woman Who Loved Reindeer, which I enjoyed, and starting Curses, Inc. I also shot some more portrait photography this weekend and learned to play the Star Trek Deck Building Game, which is super fun despite the fact that I suck at it.

– Oh! I also made that salad in the photo above from leftovers in the fridge: spring greens, tomatoes from Jake’s garden, bacon, cooked roast chicken, pomegranate seeds and a dressing made up of the rendered bacon fat and red wine vinegar. Very yum. This salad came about as part of an attempt to use up everything we have in the fridge and save money while still being delicious.

Thrifty Living: Toy Kitchen

3 Oct

It started while I was thrifting, when Isobel tagged along beside me, grabbing things out of bins or trying on hats when she thought I wasn’t looking. Or maybe it really started before that, when she sad on the ground as a baby, digging through my measuring cups and playing with spoons. Then, it occurred to me: I could start building her a collection of thrifted kitchen items to play with. Her own mini thrifted kitchen.

You can probably tell my favorite area of the thrift store is the kitchen paraphernalia. I’ve talked about it a couple of times. (And I have more planned for the future.) It’s just that vintage kitchens are so charming and so interesting and generally very well-made. It was only natural, then, especially since I have Isobel along with me when I shop, to start buying toys for her in this aisle.

Children’s kitchen toys aren’t expensive. In fact you can come by them very, very cheaply. In many cases there is nothing wrong with a regular ol’ pot and pan set, and you can even find some really cute ones without looking very far. Why then, go to the effort of building a thrifted kitchen? Simple: It’s more fun. You can build a whole cooking set based just on things you find secondhand. The best play knives I’ve seen were actually (totally blunt, completely dull) cheese knives in the bin at my favorite religious charity shop. I could find a dozen small saucepans and mini loaf pans in under and hour if I wanted to. Spoons, ladles, all manner of spatulas can be found for a few cents and make wonderful accessories to a child’s play kitchen.

The first thing I bought for the thrifted play kitchen was plastic fruit and vegetables. These are better than all the plastic food versions I’ve seen for kids, and it was less than a dollar for all this and more (Isobel was playing with some of the fruit at the time). The best part about this display food is that it’s healthier than most of the fake food items you can buy. I bought a bag of children’s play food for a dollar at a yard sale before Isobel was born. The healthiest thing in it was frozen carrots. It seems like I can find some healthier versions now that don’t include only canned or boxed vegetables, but I’ve yet to see a set than includes the variety and detail that this set has. Sure, it might be out there. But I found this (in an attractive display basket) for fifty cents.

(A word of warning, as with anything you give your child, especially if it’s not a toy meant for young kids, watch for hazardous parts. I have several bunches of plastic grapes that I put in the attic because she could pluck off those plastic globes and choke on them.)

You can find full-sized small saucepans easily, as I mentioned, but Isobel loved playing with these metal measuring cups. She put them the DIY kitchen my Aunt made her before we bought her a toy kitchen. She filled them with plastic hot dogs and wooden wedges of cheese. She’d shake her sealed jar of pink sprinkles in for seasoning and then she’d lift it directly to her lips, sipping loudly, before exclaiming, “Yummy!”

This mitt is perfect for a four or a five year old.

I’m not exactly sure what these were used for, but their long handles suggest they are for open fire cooking, maybe part of a camping set. I really don’t know but I adore their orange color.

I bought these at an estate sale wherein I had a very embarrassing moment. I walked in the door and immediatley I could see three paths to take: the living room, the family room, or the kitchen. Obviously, I chose the kitchen area and became fascinated by an antique kettle. I rushed forward for a closer look (sensing others in the kitchen who might also want it) before realizing it was full of hot coffee and the ladies in the kitchen were running the sale. Which was all piled in the living and family rooms.

This thrifted gravy  boat is perfect for Isobel’s kitchen. It’s to tiny, yet perfectly proportioned like a real gravy boat. Zorro must have known I’d want to take a photo of it next to something else for scale, so he obliged.

I found this miniscule whisk and this small ice cream cup on the same trip, and Isobel loves to play with them together as if she thinks they are part of a set. Usually when I’m cooking she’s on a step stool right next to me and sometimes she’ll be stirring her little bowl with this whisk while I cook.

The pot in the background was my great aunts and it was hers as a child. It’s circa 1900 and has held up remarkably well. The miniature pan next to it came from my Nana and is surprisingly not a toy. It was part of her Revereware cookware set. It’s the perfect size for melting butter or heating up a bit of leftover sauce or chocolate in the days before microwaves. Little saucepans like this used to be common.

The watering can is usually kept with the kitchen stuff. It just is. I pulled it off a wreath for a nickle and Isobel likes to “water” indoor things with it.

The tiny rolling pin came from the same estate sale where I totally embarrassed myself and the tea scoop is a measuring cup for flour. I talked a bit about the blue tea cups here.

Collecting all these things only serves a purpose if your kid likes them enough to play with them.

Which, fortunately, mine does. They are some of her favorite toys and the first thing she reaches for when she wants to play, “cook.” I’m always thrifting and on the lookout for more items to add to her collection. In terms of price and charm, secondhand is definitely the way to go.

Thrifty Living: Box Tunnel

13 Sep

I know I’m  not alone when I say that I have fond memories of playing with cardboard boxes. Hours of fun, actually. Before WalMart came to our small town my Uncle owned a small Magnavox store, and every so often my Dad would come home with a giant television box after a visiting the store. You would have thought my Dad brought us home a pony with how enthusiastically we greeted him.

If you remember we got new wonderful carpet a few months ago, and while I was at home packing and watching Isobel  we had a little fun by constructing a tunnel out of extra boxes.

"Hi, Mom!"

These boxes were a really thrifty find for us because we got them free from Borders. My husband worked there for years so we had a hookup. Ugh. This was before we got our wonderful carpet. I forgot how non-wonderful the old carpet was. Isobel didn’t care, though. She was too busy pretending our wireless mouse was a car and driving it through the tunnel.

All we did was unfold the boxes and wedge them in between the couch and the coffee table–no tape necessary. Later when my friend’s family moved her son learned that boxes on the floor make a great surface for dancing, proving that they are as multipurpose as they are thrifty.

Scrapbook: Pretty In Pink

11 Sep

These photos are from last December, when I edited them and filed them away and eventually, forgot about them. Isobel isn’t the same little girl anymore, but she’s still pretty in pink, isn’t she?

Scrapbook: Spontaneous Dancing

28 Aug

Spontaneous dancing while at the Farmer’s Market.

Featured On: Make And Takes! Children’s Terrarium Tutorial

23 Aug

I am so excited today I an hardly stand it: today I am a guest poster for Make and Takes Summer Camp series! I have been avidly reading and voraciously bookmarking Make and Takes for over a year, so imagine my excitement when I found out I could create a children’s terrarium tutorial as a guest poster.

Check out the post here.

I have loved this blog even before I had Isobel. Though a large part of the site is geared for or with children, you don’t have to be a parent to find inspiration and wonderful ideas there. Craft ideas, inspiration, and food–I’ve pinned the hell out of that website on Pinterest and saved hundreds of bookmarks and now I hope someone will take inspiration from my post.

Head on over to read my Children’s Terrarium Tutorial. And give me a high-five while you’re at it.

Thrifty Living: Toy Cart Update

22 Aug

Recently I posted about the vintage cart we’re using as toy storage for Isobel. I still needed organizing bins at the time, but it worked out so perfectly just as it was that I wanted to share it. Isobel and I took a trip to Target the next day and I happy to discover their dollar aisle was full of colorful storage bins. I bought a ton since I didn’t know what exactly I’d need and also because her play room (known in our house as “the guest bedroom,” or more often simply, “the pencil room”) was also in need of some organizational assistance. Even so, I bought more than I’d need for just the two areas since I wanted to be sure I had both areas covered and I knew I could take back the unused bins.

Isobel was busy “painting” while I got to work on the toy cart.

Her toys already divided pretty evenly by type: bubbles, sand and gardening toys, chalk, and water painting supplies. She also has a ton of small inflatable beach balls left over from her bubble-themed birthday party,  but those we keep near the pool with her other water toys. The Barbies, of course, are courtesy of Jupey’s Harem.

The top of the cart is where we keep the watering cans, her bulk bubbles, her (by now crusty) Easter basket, and of course, all of her water painting buckets and brushes. Since she was playing with them at the moment of the photo, they are not pictured.

The second tier of the cart comfortably holds vast amounts of chalk and an assortment of bubble wands and bubbles. The librarian in me was tickled the two orange pans fit neatly side by side on this shelf, as if they were meant for it. It gave me an organizational boner.

The bottom shelf holds a large bin with all of her gardening equipment and her sand castle toys. Next to that is the bubble bucket and her “Mrs. Cat Boots.”

Hey, Isobel! While I was organizing, you weren’t by chance  painting the windows, hrmmmmmm?

That’s what I thought.

All the extra tubs I had intended to return never made it back to Target. Isobel thought up a lovely new game called “Train” and they are now a necessary part of our family. She likes to organize them by color, sort them into a line, fill each “car” with passengers, and sit in the front bin while saying, “CHOO CHOO!”

If it makes her happy then I guess it was money well spent, especially since each bin averaged out to about a dollar.

This whole “thrifty living” thing I’m so fond of? I think Isobel’s better at it than I am.