Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kiwi Crate - June 2014 Review


 Have you heard about Kiwi Crate? It is a monthly subscription box full of hands on projects for kids 3-8 years old. Each box includes all of the materials to complete two or three very fun and creative crafts. We received our first Kiwi Crate in May and couldn't wait to get our hands on this month's box.


The theme this month was all about camping! Everything was included to make two, very fun project: My Glowing Campfire and My Sunprint Backpack.


Charlotte was super exited about both of them. She decided to do the sunprint backpack first because she is all about bags at the moment. This was such a neat summer project to work on together. You paint the bag, place the stencils on it and set it out in the sun to dry. Once it was completely dried, it left a sunprint of the fun nature items. Charlotte's reaction when she lifted the first image was priceless. She has been filling her new bag up with all kinds of goodies and carrying them all over the place since we completed this project. She can't wait to take it to the beach.


We saved the glowing campfire project for a rainy morning craft. I love that the directions are so easy to follow and include step by step photos so Charlotte can "read" and take the lead.


I love how her campfire turned out! I took a video on Instagram, but a tea light was included so it actually flickers like a real fire. We immediately roasted our pretend marshmallows. The best thing is the campfire has encouraged so many pretend play moments. She has even set up the fire each night after sunset and asks us to sit around it telling stories! You have to love a project that encourages so much imagination.


The mini magazine was another hit this month. It included a short comic book like story about Steve the Kiwi (and mascot of Kiwi Crate) and his buddy Andy going camping. It also included: a shape drawing activity, a fun camping hidden picture, directions on making a chair tent, draw a campsite scene, learning about various outdoor activities, make your own silly story, directions on how to do a leaf rubbing, a recipe for indoor s'mores, how to make a canteen sleeve, and finally a fun scavenger hunt to do outdoors.

This month they also included a really neat Travel Journal full of even more activities. This is perfect to keep little folks busy and entertained in the car. It included: several pages with a drawing activity, a summer bucket checklist, a to-do list. a dot game, make your own silly story, tic tac toe, backseat bingo, secret code activity, jokes, and ideas for several travel activities. C won't leave the house without her journal. She has become fascinated with playing backseat Bingo. We went on a roadtrip last weekend to a birthday party and she played the entire way for 1.5 hours!


This month a special snack was included - a full size bag of dried cranberries and apple pieces from Nature Box. We joined Nature Box several months ago and absolutely love their healthy snack options. Charlotte is very familiar with this brand and was excited to try a new snack out. It was a huge hit and very tasty!

We both loved our camping themed Kiwi Crate. The projects were fun and the box was full of so many great activities that we have enjoyed completing. We now have something else to look forward to receiving in the mail each month.

Kiwi Crate is $19.95/month with free shipping. If you would like to try it out, here is a $10 off referral coupon: http://www.kiwicrate.com/Refer?i=KimberlyO3

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kiwi Crate - May 2014 Review


Have you heard about Kiwi Crate? It is a monthly subscription box full of hands on projects for kids 3-8 years old. Each box includes all of the materials to complete two or three very fun and creative crafts. We received our first Kiwi Crate in May. Charlotte always watches me open my favorite subscription boxes for myself (Happy Mommy Box and Goodebox), so she was super excited when I told her it was her very own box full of goodies. She couldn't wait to get home from the mailbox and open it up.


There are several different themes that go out each month and we received Rainforest. Everything was included to make two projects: my jumping frogs and my rainstick!


Charlotte chose to make the rainstick first. She has played with them at the toy store before so she was anxious to have one of her very own. The instructions are very easy to follow and include pictures so even young crafters can follow along. She spent a long time finding the perfect spot for each and every sticker! She also really loved attaching the pretty feathers. She has been running around the house for the past month shaking and showing her handmade rainstick to everyone!


Next up was the jumping frogs. This turned out to be a great lesson for Charlotte. She was very curious about each frog and learning more about them. We looked them up on Wiki, read a bit about each and studied their colors before coloring our own. Ross was very shocked when he came home that evening and found her talking about Rocket and Clown frogs. The end project was a huge hit. We had fun seeing which frog could jump the farthest.


Both projects were fun to work on and have been played with numerous times since we completed them!


Each box comes with a fun little mini magazine! This one was 18 pages long and full of wonderful ideas and activities. It included: a story, 2 drawing activities, a hidden picture, instructions for making a terrarium, info about the rainforest, instructions for completing a colorful carnations activity, a recipe for chocolate dipped bananas, instructions for making a venus flytrap and a hanging snake to cut out. We have slowly worked our way through the magazine this past month. It was a great place to find some inspiration for our daily activities and to extend the rainforest theme for a few more weeks. The box also came with a summer calender and a pair of kid friendly scissors. She really enjoyed practicing her cutting skills on the scraps of felt from the jumping frog project. I also love that every box has a fun scene printed on the inside. Charlotte has used it for pretend play for the past several weeks. I know her My Little Ponies have visited the park often!!


Needless to say, we both loved our very first Kiwi Crate. The projects were fun and the box was full of so many great activities that we have enjoyed completing. We now have something else to look forward to receiving in the mail each month.

Kiwi Crate is $19.95/month with free shipping. If you would like to try it out, here is a $10 off referral coupon: http://www.kiwicrate.com/Refer?i=KimberlyO3

We have already received our June Kiwi Crate last week. I will share it with you in another post later this week! Are you and your little crafters already signed up for Kiwi Crate? If so, we would love to hear about you favorite project that you have completed so far.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sending You Sunshine and Birthday Wishes!

Today is my sweet friend Tammi's birthday. I really wanted to make her a card because she has showered me with so many lovely creations over the years. Her cards always put a huge smile on my face!! Her great friendship has been an extra blessing. We've never met in person, but we have shared many years laughing through emails, telling stories, recommending books, talking about life, getting one another hooked on TV shows and crushing over certain celebrities. (Tammi - I still daydream about Russian rainstorms :) She just returned from a wonderful vacation in Hawaii so I knew I wanted to make her a little tropical birthday wish. I dug through my stash and this is what I came up with:


Tammi sent me an adorable little book full of sketch designs a few years ago. It's so nice to flip through and have on hand for inspiration. I followed SSS70 (The Sweet Stop Sketch Challenge) for this layout. I always did love layers. I of course had to add my own spin to the main image. I paper pieced her skirt and flower and added a bit of dimension to her ukelele. Quick, little card, but hopefully it surprised my good friend.



Tammi - Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful celebration with that sweet family of yours. Mahalo for your friendship!!!!

Stamps: The Greeting Farm, sentiment - Garden Gnome (Whipper Snapper Designs)
Paper: Old Olive, Chocolate Chip, My Mind's Eye
Extras: Waterfall Stickles, dimensionals, Copics, tiny pearl and ribbon

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Felt Tea Bags

It has been awhile since I have shared any of my felt food creations on here. I still love making pieces for Charlotte to play with, especially for her play kitchen! Ross and I are huge tea drinkers. Iced or hot, we love it all and drink it often. I have been wanting to make some little felt tea bags for Charlotte for a long time and finally sat down and created a few this past week. 


I saw several different styles on Pinterest, but finally settled on this tutorial --- (here's my pin if you want to save it). I loved the shape and design. It just looked like a real teabag. Her directions were easy to follow too. Once I created the basic shape, I simply sewed on the "flavor" designs. Charlotte actually told me the ones she wanted. I filled each bag with tiny beads that I found in my crafting stash. This gave the bags a bit of weight to stand up on their own and made the bags look like they actually had something in them. I've seen several people use scraps of felt to achieve this look as well. I used a thick cord for durability and sewed a little decorative heart tag on the end to add to the cuteness factor.


Do you have a favorite tea flavor? This is Chai, Strawberry and Lemon.



I also made Hibiscus (my favorite cold brew tea), Orange and Mint.


See how they stand up by themselves and fold in like an actual tea bag! I love how they turned out!!! Charlotte couldn't wait to get her hands on them. She immediately grabbed her dishes and created a huge tea party for us. We spent a good portion of our morning trying new teas, discussing the aromas and taste, and giggling as we cheered to a fresh cup and enjoyed some tasty treats. It was pretend play at its finest!!!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bluebonnets

This past winter has been extremely long and fairly chilly for us. However, it did bring a lot of much needed rain. We never complain about rain in Texas!!! I get excited when we have really good wet winters because my mind is already anticipating Spring and all of the lovely wildflowers that will pop up all over the place.


Our state flower is the bluebonnet. They start popping up around April and stick around for a month or two. You often see families taking their Easter pictures in fields full of the flowers or spy cars pulled over on the side of the highways to snap a few shots. Here's a link to a post I did about the wildflowers several years ago.



I couldn't wait to take Charlotte out and snap a few photos of her. One afternoon, we just happened to be in the vicinity of a really good park that I knew had a huge field full of bluebonnets. Thankfully, C was wearing the perfect outfit so we made a detour and spent some time meandering through the sweet smelling field. I wish I would have had my big camera with me, but my iphone took some pretty great shots of her!


C kept wandering off and chasing these tiny, yellow butterflies.





Did I mention that it was crazy windy that afternoon? Like ridiculously windy! The poor girl's hair was all over the place.





You're not suppose to pick the bluebonnets, so C settled for a bouquet of other wildflowers growing in the same field. The red ones are another one of our favorite: Indian Paintbrushes. C calls them Alien Paintbrushes.



Several people over on Instagram really liked this one. C was starting to get restless from me asking her to smile and look at the camera for the billionth time, so I took off running through the flowers. At one point, I found a tiny slop and completely laid down on my stomach with the phone pointed up and ready to go.  I could hear her squealing with delight as she got closer trying to track me down. I snapped this the moment I saw her and thankfully it turned out super sweet and captured the playfulness of the moment!



Doesn't it look like she's sitting in a painting? I could have stayed out there all day, but we were over the wind and ready for a late lunch!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Roundup

I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely Easter celebration this past weekend!! We unfortunately had a sick toddler on our hands. Charlotte came down with a fever last Friday night and battled it all weekend long. No more symptoms showed up until  Monday, when she developed a sore throat and runny nose. Thankfully the fever is gone, but now we are dealing with a nasty cold.. We've been resting up, watching a few shows, cuddling and playing around with a few Easter goodies.

We did manage to complete a few Easter themed traditions and crafts the weeks leading up to the holiday. I thought I  would go ahead and at least share those along with a few pictures. I've included links to the ideas I got off of Pinterest in case you want to save any of these for next year.


 Our first paint craft, were these easy PomPom Easter Eggs. Instead of using regular paintbrushes, you paint with pompoms clipped in clothespins. The first one she did was just dots, the second she experimented by swirling the colors around and the third she just flat out painted a random picture. I love that she enjoys doing crafty projects!!


I love changing up our chalkboard every month! I liked the simple lines on this one, plus C walked around the house singing this for the past few weeks!! 



C has really enjoyed creating several hand and footprint images for each holiday. For Easter, we decided to make these super cute bunny footprints and a patch of fist pump carrots :-) I love doing these art projects with her because they are easy, quick and leave me with a little memento of how small she once was!


 The week leading up to Easter, I surprised C with a special Bento style lunch everyday. I saw several people doing this all over Instagram and I'm glad I gave it a go because she absolutely loved it!  Here's another example, from my favorite mama blogger, using only fruit and color matching them to the eggs!


If you pin any of these, be sure to do this one: Shaving Cream Easter Eggs. This was probably my favorite Easter craft! They turned out super cute and C really had a blast making them. In fact, we made quite few.  It was the perfect activity for a rainy day and kept her busy for quite awhile. She loved the sensory aspect of squirting the shaving cream and mixing the colors. She also really loved using the squeegee. I can definitely see us incorporating this technique into other crafts!


 Every Easter, I make this Makeover Moist Carrot Cake. In fact, I've blogged about it before many years ago and I even used this recipe (minus the nuts) as C's first birthday cake. It is soooooo good. This time around I followed the recipe, but poured the batter into muffin tins. They baked for about 20 minutes and made it easier to share with others.



Even though we was running a high fever Saturday night, she still begged to dye some Easter eggs. It was the first time she has ever done it and she really did enjoy it. She also enjoyed having an impromptu color mixing lesson.


The night before Peter Cottontail came bouncing through our house, we stayed up making a few of these jelly bean bracelets to stuff in a few eggs. C loves jelly beans and just recently discovered how wonderful candy jewelry can be, lol. These were easy to complete and would also be great for birthday parties or other holidays!


Easter morning we tried to recreate these fun bunny pancakes as a special breakfast. Now I will admit, that ours does look slightly scary/rabid, lol. However, in the eyes of a 3 year old it looks like a masterpiece. We used pancakes, turkey bacon, cool whip, apple slices, strawberry and jelly beans. The pupils are blackberry pieces and the whiskers are almonds.


My favorite part of her Easter basket was this fun Roly-Poly Playground . She has been obsessed with hunting for roly-polys all over our yard so this was right up her alley. You catch them for the day, feed them a few things, observe them and then let them go later in the day. Do you call them Roly-polys or Pill Bugs? We might have a slight debate going on about it!

I'm so glad we got in so many fun activities before my little bunny got sick. This is a perfect example of using Pinterest to make you look like a rockstar mom. I love finding ideas on there and try to only pin things that I will honestly consider trying or doing sometime. Have you Pinned and Did any Pinterest ideas lately? I'd love to see them!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pads



Hey folks. I've got another product review to share with you! We recently discovered the Melissa and Doug Reusable Stickers Pads and instantly fell in love with them. In fact, we bought one for Charlotte for Christmas and after seeing how much she enjoyed it, we immediately purchased several more.


Each fun pad contain five different scenes and 150+ reusable, vinyl stickers. You simply peel off the reusable stickers and place them on each scene. When you are done playing, they peel right back off and are ready to use the next time your little one is ready to play. This is genius! Charlotte has spent hours creating little scenes and using it to tell stories. She has been playing with these constantly since the end of December!!!!



We have the following and these are the scenes that each include -

Habitats Reusable Sticker Pad :
A farm, a prehistoric landscape, an African oasis, a jungle and an ocean.

Play House! Reusable Sticker Pad:
A living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and a yard.

Vehicles Reusable Sticker Pad:
A harbor,  construction site, train depot, city street, and an airport.

Reusable Fairies Sticker Pad
A twilight scene,  garden village, pond, inside of a tree house and a forrest.

They also have a Dress-Up Reusable Sticker Pad and Princess Castle Reusable Sticker Pad . Both are on our wish list! 


If your child is a fan of stickers, I can't stress how wonderful these are. We recently went on a road trip and it was easy to pack for quick  entertainment in the car and hotel room! My favorite part is finding the various scenes that she comes up with. The majority of the time they make me giggle because they are completely chaotic!! I also love overhearing her create little stories as she places each piece.



When purchasing, make sure the pad states Reusable in the title because the company does make additional pads that look similar, but contain regular stickers. They run $4.99-$6.80. That's a great deal for the amount of time my three year old has already used it plus everything that is included in each pad!!! At the end of the day, my husband and I check out her creations and then remove and replace the vinyl stickers on their original page so she is ready to make a new scene the next time she picks it up.


If you do end up buying one or all of these sticker pads, please send us a photo of a fun scene your little one creates!!! (you can find us on Instagram). We would love to see them. 

 (the above post includes affiliate links and my own personal opinions. I was not contacted or compensated by the company. We just truly love this products!!!)