Tag

two year old

Halloween Sock Puppets

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I don’t know about the rest of you mommies, but after I had my daughter, my personal appearance & sometimes my hygiene kind of went out the window. After her birth, I would go days without being able to shower, I did my makeup less frequently, I bit off all of my long beautiful nails & I found myself wearing old grungy clothes. Many of my clothing pieces such as bras & socks were falling apart, but I continued to wear them.

I found myself in a pair of my old holey socks the other day. Check out the chipped off nail polish on the toe that is popping out. Classy!

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I decided it was time to retire these socks, but these days I have a hard time throwing away anything. It seems that everything has a crafty possibility. Ask my husband, we have random empty containers & crafting odds & ends all over the house. We planned to turn this sad pair of socks into sock puppets. We decided to continue with our fall & Halloween themes & make a scarecrow and a ghost.

What you will need:

A pair of socks

Glue gun

Colored foam sheets

Rubber Band, yarn or string

Popsicle sticks

Tissue paper

Scarecrow

Directions:

Crumple up a sheet of tissue paper.
Crumple up a sheet of tissue paper.
Stuff the tissue ball in the heel & fold the sock in half, so the the top of the sock & toe end are dangling below at even heights..
Stuff the tissue ball in the heel & fold the sock in half, so that the top of the sock & toe end are dangling below at even heights.
Use a strand of yarn or a rubber band & tie off under the ball to form the head shape.
Use a strand of yarn or a rubber band & tie off under the ball to form the head shape.
Stick a popsicle stick up the open end of the sock.
Stick a popsicle stick up the open end of the sock.
With a glue gun, glue a second stick to the first to lengthen your stick.
With a glue gun, glue a second stick to the first to lengthen your stick.
Cut the other dangling toe end portion up the center until you reach the head.
Cut the other dangling toe end portion up the center until you reach the head.
Spread the splits ends out to the side so that they look like arms.
Spread the splits ends out to the side so that they look like arms.
Glue two popsicle sticks to the center of the scarecrow over the spread arm fabric, as shown,
Glue two popsicle sticks to the center of the scarecrow over the spread arm fabric, as shown.
Glue another stick over the top for added stability.
Glue another stick over the top for added stability.
Fold the cut fabric over the popsicle sticks & glue in place.
Fold the cut fabric over the popsicle sticks & glue in place.

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Cut out a piece to use as a scarf. Set aside.
Cut out a piece of foam to use as a scarf. Set aside.
Cut out a hat & glue to the top of the head.
Cut out a hat & glue to the top of the head.
Cut out a front & back piece of shirt for the scarecrow. Be sure to cut it so that there will be enough space on the edges to glue & join seams around the doll.
Cut out a front & back piece of shirt for the scarecrow. Be sure to cut it so that there will be enough space on the edges to glue & join seams around the doll.
Cut the bottom portion of his sock up the center to give the appearance of pants.
Cut the bottom portion of his sock up the center to give the appearance of pants.
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Add a triangle nose, a foam mouth and add googly eyes.

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Ghost

Follow steps 1-3 from above.

Cut the bottom of the toe end of the sock, so that both sock ends are open. Cut up the side on both sock ends & then cut jagged edges into both bottoms.
Cut the bottom of the toe end of the sock so that both sock ends are open. Cut up the side on both sock ends & then cut jagged edges into both bottoms.
Join the sock seams on both sides so that it creates one large piece that dangles below the head.
Join the sock seams on both sides so that it creates one large piece that dangles below the head. Add two connected popsicle sticks up the middle into the head the same as above.
Cut out two tiny foam circles for eyes & one larger circle for the mouth. Add googly eyes to the middle of the eyes.
Cut out two tiny foam circles for eyes & one larger circle for the mouth. Add googly eyes to the middle of the eyes.

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Mai had fun with her new scary puppets. “Booooooooooooo, mama. I scare you.” She asked me for a Jack-O-Lantern too. It’s time to dig through my sock drawer & look for more socks with holes.

 

 

Paper Plate Halloween Crafts

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It is hard to believe that it is already the middle of September. My favorite season is here. I can hardly wait to begin all of our fall festivities. Soon we will go on our annual leaf peeping drive through Vermont & take our daughter apple picking. We have been trying to brain storm for Halloween costumes, but have not had much luck coming up with anything. I asked Mai, what she thought we should all be for Halloween. She said that she wanted to be a Jack-o-lantern & that I could be the mommy Jack-O-Lantern & daddy could be a ghost. Adorable! Although I do not think that I will be going as a mommy Jack-O-Lantern this year, it is never too early for our Jack-O-Lantern & Halloween inspired crafts.

Paper Plate Jack-O-Lantern

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Draw the Jack-O-Lantern face on the back side of the paper plate.
Cut out the the outline to make the Jack-O-Lantern face.
Cut out the outline to make the Jack-O-Lantern face.

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Paint your Jack-O-Lantern orange.

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Paint another paper plate on the top side. Layer colors light to dark.
Paint another paper plate on the top side. Layer colors light to dark.
Cut out a stem using green foam or construction paper. Glue it to the plate.
Cut out a stem using green foam or construction paper. Glue it to the plate.
Glue the two plates together.
Glue the two plates together.
Mai wanted hers to be a mask, so we attached a pipe cleaner to the back for her.
Mai wanted hers to be a mask, so we attached a pipe cleaner to the back for her.

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Scarecrow Mask

Draw your scarecrow face on the backside of the paper plate. Cut out the eyes. Paint your plate yellow.
Draw your scarecrow face on the backside of the paper plate. Cut out the eyes. Paint your plate yellow.
Using black foam or construction paper, cut out & glue your nose & eyes in place.
Cut out & glue your nose & eyes in place using black foam or construction paper.
With a marker draw in eye lashes & stitches around the mouth.
With a marker draw in eye lashes & stitches around the mouth.

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Bend & glue a few pipe cleaners or yarn in place to make the hair.
Bend & glue a few pipe cleaners or yarn in place to make the hair.
Cut out a hat & glue it to the top of the scarecrow.
Cut out a hat & glue it to the top of the scarecrow.
Cut out a scarf & check it using a marker.
Cut out a scarf & check it using a marker.
Glue pipe cleaners or string to the back to hold the mask in place on the head.
Glue pipe cleaners or string to the back to hold the mask in place on the head.

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Paper Plate Spider Web

Cut slits around the paper plate every 2 pleats around.
Cut slits around the paper plate every 2 pleats around.
Using black yarn, slide a strand between one of the slits. Cross the strand across the plate repeatedly until you achieve your desired look.
Using black yarn, slide a strand between one of the slits. Cross the strand across the plate repeatedly until you achieve your desired look.
End your web at the same spot that you started it in. Tie the starting strand & end strand together,
End your web at the same spot that you started it in. Tie the starting strand & end strand together,
Cut 3 pieces of pipe cleaner. Glue the pieces to the pom pom to form a spider. Add goggly eyes if you desire.
Cut 3 pieces of pipe cleaner. Glue the pieces to the pom pom to form a spider. Add goggly eyes if you desire.
Stick the spider in the web. Use a hole punch to make a hole on the edge of the plate & use a piece of string or a pipe cleaner to hang your web.
Stick the spider in the web. Use a hole punch to make a hole on the edge of the plate & use a piece of string or a pipe cleaner to hang your web.

Pasta & Pipe Cleaner Crafts

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The other day my daughter was digging through a chest of drawers and came across a bamboo necklace that I bought when we were in the Bahamas. The necklace was just a simple beaded necklace on craft wire. My daughter was having a great time sliding the bamboo beads back & forth. She wanted to break it open and play with the beads, but I did not want to ruin my necklace. Instead we had another idea.

The beads on the necklace reminded me of Ditalini pasta. We had a couple of boxes of it to spare, so we decided to make bracelets with our Ditalini.

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First we dyed our pasta by tossing it a cup at a time into a plastic baggie with food coloring. Spread out the pasta on a paper towel & let it dry.

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pasta beads and fine motor skills

(For a more rustic look, toss all your beads together while wet & try baking your beads for 30 minutes at 275-300 degrees. It will change the color & shape of the bead for a rougher look.)

Mai saw all the pasta laid out to dry and got excited. “Mama, we do project.” We do love our projects. Once the food coloring dried, my daughter was ready to dive in. We poured all the pasta beads into a shoe box & mixed them up. Mai had a little difficulty using string to make our bracelets, so we pipe cleaners instead. This worked much better. She was able to string them up with ease. This is a great activity for hand-eye coordination & Mai really enjoyed this.

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Measure the pipe cleaner around the wrist to find the desired size for you bracelet. Snip the pipe cleaner about an inch longer than you need it.

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Twist the two ends together tightly & slide the bead around the newly joined section.

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We made one more bead craft before our night was done. The colored pasta is not just for crafting, it also great for sensory boxes, color sorting and counting games.

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes

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Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day. I love eggs, french toast, hash, home fries & pancakes. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. The best thing about breakfast is our daughter also loves it. It is the one meal that I can usually count on her eating. I will admit that we have made breakfast for lunch & dinner on occasion just to ensure that the kiddo would eat.

Pancakes are one of our daughter’s favorite foods & they are one of my favorite things to make. They are delicious, easy to make & a lot of fun to experiment with. Today we made PB & J pancakes.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup of all purpose flour

3 tbsp peanut butter

3 tbsp jelly

1 tbsp of brown sugar

2 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg

1 1/4 cup of milk

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg & set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt & oil. Add the peanut butter & break up the clumps with a fork while mixing. Stir in the milk & stir well until smooth & peanut butter is broken up. Stir in the egg & jelly. Break up the jelly with a fork as well. It is ok if it is a little clumpy with the jelly. Pour 1/8 cup of batter per pancake onto a hot skillet set at medium-high heat. When pancake bubbles and edges start to firm flip & cook on the other side.

The pancakes were a hit. Next week we will try them Fluffernutter style.

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Baking Soda Volcanoes

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It has been a month now since Mai started daycare. As you all know, I was not exactly over the moon with the decision to put her in daycare, but now I couldn’t be happier. It is a pain waking up early to drop her off before work & I do still get that feeling of guilt at leaving her there, but I have seen such a wonderful change in her over these past few weeks. She comes home with great stories about her new friends & the fun things that they do together. It warms my heart to hear her talk about her day with such excitement.

The other day when my husband arrived to pick her up, they were outside making baking soda volcanoes. Hubby had a difficult time getting her to leave her fun activity. When they came home, they both wanted to share with me how much fun Mai & friends had playing with the volcanoes. My husband told me that it was just a simple activity using baking soda & vinegar. He said that he used to do this a lot as a child. Perhaps I lived a very sheltered childhood, but I had never heard of such a thing. I have seen many things on Pinterest for different science experiments that caused eruptions, but never actually looked at how they were made. Had I realized it was so simple I would have tried these ages ago. Thank you Miss Laura, you gave us a wonderful activity to try at home.

Baking Soda Volcanoes

What you will need:

Baking soda

Vinegar

Food coloring

Squeeze bottles

Small receptacle or cup- we used a mini flower pot & a Dixie cup

Plastic dish bin

Play Sand (optional)

Place your small receptacle in the center of the plastic dish bin. We used a mini flower pot & also a Dixie cup. Surround it with sand to give it a more volcanic look. Add baking soda to your center container. In a squeeze bottle or bottles, mix vinegar & food coloring. Squeeze the colored vinegar mixture over the baking soda & watch it erupt.

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If you can’t tell, our daughter loved this. We went through a whole bottle of vinegar & box of baking soda. When we were done, she said, “Mama, Dada go to store to buy more food coloring?”. I guess we have to hit the supermarket for more supplies.

 

 

Lessons From The Kitchen

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I always found it humorous that children love doing the things that we as adults hate to do & vice versa. They fight naps & taking a baths while these are things that I dream about. Doing dishes & sweeping the floor are not my favorite activities in the world, but yet my daughter can’t wait to get her hands wet & pick up a broom. Children like to emulate what they see their parents doing. My daughter like many little girls has a play kitchen. She spends many hours a week cooking up delicious meals for mommy & daddy.

I used to find it difficult to prepare meals & clean up the kitchen with Mai running around. I realized the easiest way to get things done was just to involve my daughter. Cooking with my daughter is not only a fun bonding activity that we can share, but it also has a lot of learning opportunities as well.

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1. Measurements –  From as young as I can remember one of our daughter’s favorite toys has been our measuring cups & spoons. Now that she is older, she has learned that they are also used for other things. Show your child the different size cups & spoons & explain to them what each one is.  Let them scoop and measure. Assist them for accurate measurements. Let them pour the measured substance into the mixing bowl or dish.

2. Following Directions – Toddlers are not always the best at listening or following directions. Our daughter is no different, but when we are engaged in an activity such as cooking or baking, she is surprisingly attentive. Explain what needs to be done in each step & let them help with anything that she can do safely. Offer them encouraging pointers along the way.

3. Hand eye coordination – All of that pouring & measuring requires a little bit of dexterity. It may take some time, but with practice you will see their abilities grow. Our daughter has become great at pouring.

4. Counting – This is an especially fun side activity while you cook. If you are working with items such as chick peas, lentils, pasta or chocolate chips ask them to count out a small number of them for you. My daughter loves counting and separating.

6. Teamwork – A lot of toddlers wrestle with asserting their independence. This is a wonderful thing, but it also important for them not to lose sight of being able to work together as a team. Cooking and baking is also a great bonding moment for you & your child or your whole family.

7. Reading labels – Reading does not always have to be in just your children’s bedtime stories. Take every opportunity that you can to read to your toddler and point out new words. If you are following a recipe, read it aloud and point out the words and pictures.

8. Home Economics – Let’s not forget the main task at hand which is to cook or bake something fabulous. At an early age your child is learning basic principles in cooking. Hopefully this will encourage a love for cooking and maybe someday they will be fixing you gourmet dinners & desserts.

9. Responsibility – Making a mess in the kitchen is the fun part, the clean up after leaves something to be desired. Throwing away trash, wiping down the counters and doing the dishes are chores that I could do without, but like I said before our children seem to love this part. That sets a good foundation for chores in the future.

 

Sometimes Mommies Cry

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Motherhood is riddled with a wide range of emotions. From the day that your child is born, you are overcome with feelings like you have never felt before. You have never loved so much, laughed so much, feared so much or felt so happy. As much joy as your children bring into your life there are days that can bring you to tears.

 When our daughter was first born, I cried a lot. I cried from exhaustion, confusion & from the endlessly overwhelming feelings of uncertainty that I felt. I didn’t think that I was doing anything right. I could not get my daughter to sleep or stop crying. I was certain that I was going to be a failure at motherhood. Time went on and those tears dried up. Things got easier. As our daughter grew so did my love. Not that I didn’t love her before mind you, but watching her develop into a person with her own personality and mind was magnificent. It was nice getting to meet my daughter.

This week I found those tears again. This time is was not from the exhaustion or uncertainty is was from a wounded heart. It first began over the weekend. Mai reached for her toy guitar in one of her toy bins. She was having a difficult time pulling it out as it was stuck on the lip of the shelf. I walked over to her and asked…

“Do you need Mama’s help?”

“NO! Daddy do it!”

“Mai, Daddy is resting. Mama can get it for you.”

“NO! No Mama! It’s Daddy’s turn.”

When I pulled out the guitar to hand it to her, she threw herself on the ground sobbing and kept asking for Daddy.

This was just one of many incidents similar to this that occurred over the past few days. With every diaper change or bath or bedtime story, my daughter cried and said that she wanted Daddy to do it. I felt as if I was just picked last in gym class, dumped at the prom & lied to by best friend all in the same day. I felt a sad little pit planting itself into my stomach. I tried to tell myself that she was just going through a Daddy phase this week. Lord knows that she has done the same thing to my husband, but this did not bring me any comfort. Tonight after Daddy gave her a bath & got her ready for bed, he had to leave for work. I tucked her in to read her a bedtime story. She pleaded and sobbed & asked for Daddy. I opened the book and started reading through her protests. As I read, she cried. I could feel my own eyes filling up with tears. After a few sentences she finally calmed down, snuggled in and listened. She looked up at me and smiled and said “Mama, one more book.” Of course, my baby. After she fell asleep, I drowned my hurt feelings in a bowl of frozen yogurt. Looks like mama might have to grow some thicker skin before the teenage years hit. I better buy some more yogurt.

 

 

 

 

What Daycare Teaches An Only Child

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When we made the decision to start a family, it never occurred to me that we might only have one child. In every day dream that I ever had there were always two children. I saw my husband carrying a little girl on his shoulders while I held a little boy’s hand. Of course they were perfect well behaved children & we were all full of smiles walking together hand in hand.  After our daughter was born, I woke up from that dream. After what seemed like endless sleepless nights & a colicky infant that cried constantly, we started to rethink baby #2.

Things eventually began to get easier, the cries slowed down, our baby began to sleep through the night & I began talking to my husband about baby #2. His mind had not changed. We went back and forth with it, named off the pros and cons and even asked for opinions here on my blog. It was a hard sell, but after a lot of convincing the day finally came and we began to try to get pregnant. We were not successful. With my advanced age and some medical issues, it seemed that my dreams for a second baby came to an end.

Even though my husband & I were perfectly happy with being parents to our one sweet little girl, there were some concerns about her being an only child. I worried about how it would affect her socially. Would she be spoiled from always being the center of attention? Would she learn how to share? These were definitely valid concerns as I already noticed that Mai had problems in dealing with organized events & classes she was in involving other children.

We recently started her in daycare a couple times a week. Even though it still pains me to send her off to day care, I know that it will be beneficial to her. Being an only child there is much that she can learn from this environment.

1. Sharing: Our daughter came home from daycare the other day and said to me “Mama the kids took my toys.” This made me sad for a moment and then as horrible as this sounds, it made me smile.  While the kids were not actually taking the toys out of her hands, she still thought they were taking them from her because in her mind all of the toys are hers. Other than the occasional play date, she has seldom had to share. She has free reign over a houseful of toys daily.

2. Patience: At home when our daughter wants something she is attended to right way or at least pretty quickly.  She is not accustomed to waiting. With several other children to attend to, her daycare provider is not always at her instant beck & call. At daycare she is not the center of the universe. She needs to wait until it is her turn.

3. Learned behaviors: This can be a good thing and a bad thing as she may also pick up bad behavior, but socializing with other child especially of an older age can be a great learning tool. For instance, my daughter has a difficult time sitting still in her seat & eating, but at daycare we get a report back each day that she sat & ate almost everything on her plate at each meal & snack. I was amazed. Our provider explained that at first she was resistant pushing her plate away as she often does at home, but when the other children continued to eat & talk, she joined in. Hopefully she can take some potty training cues.

4. Basic socialization: We talk with our child all the time, but it is not quite the same as interacting with her peers. After 2 1/2 years of mostly talking to mommy, daddy & nanna, she is now able to chat with children her own age. Today she told me all about her new friend Colton & how he really likes bears, but is still afraid of them too. Oh, the conversations they must have.

5. Dealing With Conflict: All of my friends that have multiple children have kids that fight like cats & dogs. They love each other. They hate each other.  They beat up on each other. Having only our daughter I feel that we shield her from far too much sometimes. After daycare the other day, our daughter told us, “Colton hurt me.” What happened? “Colton pushed me.” I checked with the provider to make sure that it was nothing serious. She assured me that nothing concerning happened, but then I learned that they also got into a verbal argument over a picture in a book. One was certain that the picture was of a boy, the other thought it was a girl. Neither backed down. Debates, conflict, differences of opinion are a part of life & something that should be introduced early. The longer you shield your children from these things the harder it will be for them to deal with at a later age.

I am enjoying listening to all of Mai’s new experiences. She is loving her days with her new friends & is learning a lot along the way.

 

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Clay, Play & Painting

Paint on tin foil & then press onto a piece of paper for a beautiful painted transfer painting. A great srts & crafts activity to do with the kids.

One of the reasons that I love painting & drawing with my daughter is listening to her explain to me what she is creating. She wields such a wonderful story with each stroke of her paint brush or marker. I love watching her. I could just stare at her for hours & listen to what she has to say.

Here she asked mommy to draw a monster for her, but with a little instruction Mai was able to draw her own. It is a little faded, but it was a pretty good representation I thought. The baby monster was trying to find the mama monster & was running fast and it was so windy. The dots are the baby monster’s foot prints. Adorable!

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We do a lot of painting in our home. We use different mediums of paint. We dabble in water color, acrylics & even Cool Whip paints. Aside from experimenting with different paints we like to paint on different canvases as well. We have painted on cardboard & paper plates, wax paper & over the weekend we painted clay.

We used a simple clay recipe:

2 1/2 cup of flour

1 1/4 cup of water

1 cup of salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir. Use hands to knead the clay in the bowl until all flour and water is absorbed.

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We rolled out the clay with a rolling pin.

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Mai made hand prints in the clay & used cookie cutters to make a lovely piece of abstract clay artwork.

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We baked our clay projects at 250 degrees for 2 hours. This will vary depending on thickness.

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Our little Picasso went to work.

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Tonight we tried something a little different, tin foil painting.

Mai & I painted designs & pictures on a piece of foil & then pressed a piece of blank paper over the painting. We rubbed a hand over the paper & transferred the painting onto the blank paper.

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Mommy made a tree & then was asked to make a heart.

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From Foil…
To paper.
To paper.

Mai made a beautiful painting as well. This was a doggie. He was very tired & wanted to lay down. I do love that imagination.

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Paint on tin foil & then press onto a piece of paper for a beautiful painted transfer painting. A great srts & crafts activity to do with the kids