Soda Bottle Pumpkins

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Being that today is Halloween I will share our last Halloween activity with you all.  It's not too late to get in one more before the season is over.  I have seen this idea in various magazines and websites so it's impossible to give credit, but suffice it to say it was not my idea.  This is however, my spin on Soda Bottle Pumpkins.
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Food Fun Friday - Breakfast Face

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Today I thought I would share a quick kids meal I did for the girls.  I am all about fast and easy food, and breakfast doesn't get much easier than this.

I am a big fan of faces because they are just so easy and lets face it (pun intended) your kid will always recognize a face.  I have made things for them that I had to explain and that is never good.  

I cut some grapes in half for the hair and used half a piece of bacon for the mouth.  The nose is a wedge of string cheese and the eyes are wheat bread with nutella.  I cut the eyes out using a medium sized circle cookie cutter and added marshmallows for the eyeballs.  Using my trusty Wilton food writers, I made the pupils.  You can add some banana ears if you'd like, but I was fresh out of bananas.  There a million variations and things you can play with.  Make it your own.

Super easy and impressive, especially if you're a kid.  Think you have to spend a long time to make a fun meal your kids will remember?  This took all of 5 minutes.  And they ate it all which is a rarity in this house.  For more food ideas check out Food Fun.  
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Terrific Thursday Blog Hop! Week 38

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I am so thrilled to be the new co-host of the Terrific Thursday Blog Hop with Rondi from WAHM Resource Site!  Together, we are hoping to create an awesome weekly blog hop to find new blogs and meet new blog friends.

Each week we will pick a random blog to be the guest host. This weeks guest host for the #3 spot is Masshole Mommy!

bloghopbutterflybutton Terrific Thursday Blog Hop! Week 38

The Guidelines for participating in the Terrific Thursday blog hop are as follows:

1. Please grab the blog hop button to spread the word. 

2. Please follow the two hosts and guest host – Mess For Less and WAHM Resource Site, and guest host Masshole Mommy via Google Friend Connect (feel free to follow on Twitter and Facebook as well).

3. Please do not link up your giveaways, blog hops, etc. (These will be deleted.)

Link up your blog, visit and follow the blogs that interest you and have fun! If you follow our blogs and leave a comment, we will always follow you back!

Now, let’s get blog hoppin’ and have some fun!

You only need to add your link to one linky for it to show up on all participating blogs. The linkys will open every Wednesday by 8:00pm CST.

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Painting Pumpkins 3 Ways

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Today's idea is brought to you by Twitter.  I am a recent convert and one of things I like best is connecting with other mommy bloggers.  Yesterday, I responded to a tweet from the fabulous Frugal Family Fun blog run by Val.  Seriously, if you have not checked out her ideas, you should.  This lady is an idea machine!  Anyway, yesterday I tweeted to her that I planned to decorate some small pumpkins with girls.  I didn't have any ideas how we should do it, so I asked her for ideas.  She suggested decorating the pumpkins with star stickers, painting them and peeling off the stickers when dry to reveal the pattern. So thanks to Val for the inspiration here.

Supplies you will need:

  • Small pumpkins
  • Stickers of various shapes
  • Masking tape
  • Paint (we used black) and paintbrush
  • Glue 
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes

This fun kids crafts cost us next to nothing.  Last weekend, we went to a pumpkin jubilee (not sure what qualified it as a jubilee rather than a festival) and the kids got free little pumpkins.  I love getting things for free and free pumpkins, while not as cool as a free car, are still pretty cool.  After hearing Val's super idea, I went in search of some star stickers.  I only had enough star stickers for one pumpkin, so I used masking tape on another, and circle stickers on the third.  The only circle stickers I had were price stickers from our last garage sale, but they worked fine. Use what you have, I always say.

I thought using black paint would give a nice Halloween effect when the paint dried and we peeled off the stickers.  The kids didn't quite understand what the end result was going to be, but they were just happy to be painting the pumpkins.

B started off by just painting each star black.  

Eventually (in her own time of course) she started to paint the rest.

B would not turn her pumpkin or the tray to paint the other side.  She refused (rather loudly) to let me turn her pumpkin around.  Instead she played a game of twister bending and twisting to paint the other side.

A word about little C.  Eagle eye readers may notice she is wearing a Safeway shopping bag as a smock.  Fear not, she was attended the entire time.  Plastic bags are a choking hazard for kids so I don't recommend trying this at home.  We cut a big hole in the bottom and put it over her head and it worked in a pinch.  I have a feeling Santa will be bringing C a smock.  

"A" painting her circle pumpkin.

C paints her masking tape pumpkin.  She got bored of this after a while and never finished...

But not before she made THIS mess.

This is what C left behind.  Later, "A" asked if she could paint the rest of C's pumpkin.  So C's pumpkin was really a joint effort.  

After the pumpkins dried overnight came the fun of removing the stickers and seeing how everything looked.  This is where we ran into some problems.  The tape and circle stickers removed easily.  The stars however were a different story.  I have no idea what sort of mega glue the star stickers had on them, but I could not get these things off.  Correction: I was able to remove 1 star sticker.  Look how cute the pumpkin would have looked if they had all come off.

But they did not.  Most were just plastered on and the ones I was able to pry off peeled big chunks of paint off the pumpkin.  Lesson learned: test the stickiness of your stickers before putting them on your pumpkin.  Super sticky = super tricky to remove.

Now what?  Of course this had to happen to B's pumpkin.  B is my most sensitive and least "roll with the punches" kid.  Sigh.  I had to think fast about how to cover the mess.  So I stuck some googly eyes to the worst peeling spots and added some pipe cleaner hair.  The hair was really cute but when I added more it started looking like a spider. So that's what I went with.  

I just love our little spider because it was born out of failure.  

Here are our three decorated pumpkins.  Not bad for an idea born on Twitter and executed by 3 year olds.  

Oh and if you are not already following Mess For Less on Twitter, what are you waiting for?  All the cool kids are doing it.  Click the link above or the cute little birdie in the right side bar.

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Fun with Foam Pumpkins

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During our last trip to the dollar store, "A" spotted these little cuties. Foam pumpkins! I am so glad she noticed these because when I saw them I knew we could use them for a few Halloween games and activities.  

If you don't know about some of the cool activities your child can do with foam, check out our Foam Window Clings.  This is a variation on that activity.

Supplies you will need:
  • Foam sheets, foam pumpkins (you can also cut out your own)
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Cup with water and paint brush
This is a very frugal activity as almost everything came from the dollar store.  They sell these foam sheets in the craft section of the dollar store and I cut out some Halloween shapes from the foam.  I wanted to jazz up my shapes a little more so I added some googly eyes and mouths to these ghosts I made.  I also cut out some green monsters, a moon, a haunted house, and a gate for our pumpkins to sit on.  I bet some of you really artistic types can make some great stuff out of the foam.  You can also trace some stencils or cookie cutters and cut out some fun shapes.

Each kid got a tray like this with supplies.

A, B and C set to work "painting" the back of the foam with their water and brush and sticking the foam to the window.

B was really determined to stick her moon high in the sky.

"A" puts her pumpkins on the gate.  We had a teachable moment here as I asked A to put one pumpkin on the top of the gate and one on the bottom of the gate.  We reviewed top and bottom by playing the same game with our ghosts and the gate.

B prefers her pumpkins on top of the gate.  

We were able sing a favorite song, Five Little Pumpkins.
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said, Oh, my it’s getting late!
The second one said, There are witches in the air!
The third one said, But we don’t care!
The fourth one said, Let’s run and run and run!
The fifth one said, I’m ready for some fun!
Then Wooo went the wind
And out (clap) went the lights
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

C's pumpkins rolling out of sight.  

This was a relatively clean activity.  At one point C stepped in her cup of water and then sat down in the spilled water, but that's a pretty good day for us.  You can leave these shapes up as part of your Halloween decor or you can take them down and use them again somewhere else.  I have a feeling we'll be seeing these foam pumpkins again...

Linking to: Preschool Corner, Friday: Growing Up Gardner, Stay At Home Nation
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It's the Great Glitter Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

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You all know how much I like paper plates.  We've already made these little guys from some white paper plates.  Well, I was so thrilled when I happened upon some glitter paper plate pumpkins at Blissful and Domestic.  I put it on my ever-growing to-do list.  It shot to the top of the list when I was at Target the other day and spied the orange paper plates.  I took it as a sign that this art project needed to get done.

Supplies you will need:

  • Orange paper plates
  • Glitter and confetti
  • Glue
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • Plastic cups for glitter

I already had some glitter and confetti that I picked up a while ago at the dollar store.  Can you believe all this sparkliness for $1.00?  I know!

Since my girls don't have the hand strength to effectively use glue bottles, I sat with the girls and asked them what shape eyes, noses and mouths I should make with the glue on the pumpkins.  This was a great way to get them thinking and review their shapes.  But any weird shape combos you see were chosen by A and B.   I poured some glitter into some recycled apple sauce cups and gave them to the girls along with their plates with the glue faces.  

B's rectangle mouth pumpkin waited to be glitterized!

Next, just let them sprinkle the glitter on the glue.  My girls had some trouble with this.  To a 3 year old "sprinkle" means "pour liberally."  Just ask "A."

You will want to have the adult shake off the excess glitter or you will have a whole lot of mess on your hands.  You can reuse the glitter you have shaken off once you pour it back into the cup.  

B did a very happy pumpkin and she just loved how it sparkled.  She enjoyed feeling the glitter as the glue hardened. 

My dollar store glitter pack also came with some metallic confetti and I thought it would be a nice way to add a little more bling to our pumpkins.  B decided that we should make a scary pumpkin with an "O" shaped mouth.  Here she is "sprinkling" on her confetti.

I had some green pipe cleaners and cut them in half to make some stems for the pumpkins.

I added a little curl to these stems but I am not sure if I like them better than the plain stems.

This was a super messy kids activity.  We are still finding glitter everywhere.  It's like a gentlemen's club exploded in our kitchen.  I think this is something we will re-visit as the girls get older and can squeeze their own glue bottle (and clean their own glitter).  

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Apples Two Ways - Part Deux

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Hey, you came back!  For those keeping score, I promised to share the second apple kids craft today.  I am all about ease and simplicity.  When I did the first apple activity, I cut a tree out of brown construction paper and glued it to a background piece of the paper.  When I was doing that I knew I wanted to do two apple activities so I cut out some extra trees.  I used them here.

Supplies you will need:
  • Tree cutout
  • pom poms in Fall colors
  • glue (I poured some in apple sauce cups and gave the girls a brush to paint it on since they lack the hand strength for glue bottles)
The girls were very excited when they got their "apples."  They pretended to eat them and then tried to sort them by color.

"A" starts by gluing her small apples first.

Sorry for the blurry shot, but B was so excited when she stuck some apples on her tree.  I love the joy on her face.  Ah, to be 3 again.  

"A" adding more glue.

This is A's completed tree.  Notice it only has apples on the right side.  I think the other side didn't get much sun.

C found this more challenging than the twins but she had some help from Grandma who took care of the glue while C placed the apples on her tree.  

Kids activities are done. What's left to do?  Have an apple snack of course.  I highly recommend our Cinnamon Sugar Shakers.  You know you want some.

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Apples Two Ways

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I have to admit, the title of this post was inspired by Top Chef.  I love that show and noticed that often in the challenges a chef will take an ingredient and cook and present it in two ways. It always sounds fancier to say you've made something two ways.   Try it next time you host a party.

I wish the apples in this kids craft were edible, but alas, they are not.  With the weather finally turning a little cooler in Northern California, I was inspired to do some kids activities that  focused on the Fall.  I loved this fun idea I saw at The Picky Apple where they painted using wine corks.  We are not big wine drinkers and don't have any corks lying around, so I modified the project to use bottle caps.

Supplies you will need:
  • bottle caps (the number depends on the number of colors you will be using)
  • paint in Fall colors
  • tray or plate for the paint
  • construction paper for the background
  • Brown construction paper cut into the shape of  a tree.
While the kids were napping, I drew and cut some trees from brown construction paper.  I am NOT an artist and think my tree looks sad like one of those Charlie Brown trees, but whatever.  I then glued the tree onto some construction paper to make a nice background for my Fall scene.  

Your child will be stamping some apples on the tree using the bottle caps and Fall colored painted.  How many colors you use is up to you.  I used yellow, orange, green, red and brown.  Make sure you have a bottle cap for each color of paint to keep the colors from mixing.

I explained to the girls how we were going to make apple trees and there might be some apples in the tree and some at the bottom of the tree.  I demonstrated how they can dip the caps in the paint and stamp them on their paper. Here are their interpretations.

"A" starts out with some green apples on her tree.

Lil C having fun.  This is a great preschooler activity, but also works well with toddlers.


B starts out so well.  

Then she just starts stamping everywhere.  I asked her if she was making apples on the ground.  "No!"  I asked if she was making apples on the tree.  "No!"  Okay then B, you just keep doing what you are doing.  I like to think that B's tree was in the middle of a big storm and so apples were flying in every direction.  

I kinda like it.

C was similarly inspired

"A" was a little more restrained.  I love how even the simplest children's craft reveals so much of the artist's personality.

I love painting with things I have around the house.  You might remember in the past we painted with blocks and bottles.  I think bottle caps will be added to my list of "fun things to use with paint."  

So I just noticed that this post is pretty photo intensive.  I think I will save the second apple idea for tomorrow so as not to overwhelm you all.  If you liked this easy idea for kids art, check back in tomorrow for the the second way with apples.  The anticipation must be killing you.

Linking to - Thursday: Making it With Allie, It's Playtime, For the Kids Fridays, Creation Corner, Sautrday: Tatertots and Jello, Sunday: The Sunday Showcase, Link and Learn, Monday: Made by Little Hands Monday
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