Putt Putt Golf at Home!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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Today I am showing you guys an adorable printable pack that I am thrilled to share. With this pack, you will able to create one of my favorite activities right in your own back yard, driveway, or living room! So what has me so excited? I am talking about the ultimate vacation sport: Putt Putt Golf.

This pack includes flags for 12 holes, including a page for the back of the flags, and scorecards for courses that have 3, 6, 9, or 12 holes. I wanted to make sure that even people with small spaces could have a scorecard for a simple 3 hole course.

When we put together our flags we used sticks that we found around the yard, but it would work just as well with pencils, or even taped to a chair. For our holes we used paper cups, and the obstacles were just things we had around the house. You can create barriers with bricks, cups, or even rolled up towels.

My parents have a huge yard, and I'm dreaming of how cool it would be to host a party where everyone came up with their own putt putt hole. I think ours would have to be dinosaur themed. What would yours look like?

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Mood Boards: Houses I Will Never Own

Friday, May 29, 2020

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Sometimes I see a listing for a house and I can't help but dream of how I would decorate it if I were given the opportunity. These are houses that I could maybe afford if I really wanted to, so I try to be semi-realistic with my daydreams. I have a Pinterest board full of sections for each different house I fall in love with, and there are many different sections with many different vibes. I thought it could be fun to share a few of my favorites here!

First up is the luxe lakehouse. I don't think I could actually live in this one, but I think it could make a fantastic AirBnB. Who wouldn't want to take in breathtaking sunset views in a house full of chic soft fabrics and moody, cozy decor? And then to just leave when you were done and not have to clean it? That's what dreams are truly made of, haha.

Image Sources: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

The next house getting a daydream renovation is a little victorian a block away from the library where I work. I've always wanted to take a classic home and make it into something a little more ... rebellious. I am a sucker for bright, eclectic interiors. And this particular house had some white molding details that were just begging for some bright watercolor inspired wallpaper.

Image Sources: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

The last house I'm dreaming about today was a country house in the middle of nowhere with a huge porch and spacious living room. The dream for this was a straight modern farmhouse renovation. I grew up in an old house surrounded by cornfields and having a homestead full of wooden details, handmade quilts, and room to breathe just feels like home to me. 

Image Sources: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

I love all of these styles, but I don't know which I will actually choose to go with whenever we do move. Probably a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Maybe more farmhouse than luxe punk, but who knows? We will have to see how the house inspires me.
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Squish Painting Beetles

Thursday, May 21, 2020

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I've been doing art time with Ro while we've been in isolation, and when I posted this project on Instagram everyone loved it so I thought I'd put together a little how-to and share it here!

Paint (Acrylic or Tempra)
Construction Paper

Step 1: Make your squish paintings.
First I tore a few letter-sized pieces of paper in half, then I folded those halves again long ways (hot dog style) and then opened it back up. You need to put drips and drops of paint on one side of the paper for the effect to work best. When you are satisfied with the color combination you have created, fold the paper in half again and apply pressure, then open it back up. As you make more you'll be able to adjust the amount of paint and where you place the paint to make the beetle shells look the way you want. Drying time depends on what type of paint you use. Our paint was pretty glossy, so I let ours dry overnight.

Step 2: Cut out your legs and antennae.
Beetle legs can be as simple as little sticks sticking out, or as complicated as having three joints. I tended to stick with an L shape that bent in on the long part. You can look up beetles for inspiration. To make the symmetry easier, I folded my paper in half and cut out both legs at the same time.

Step 3: Cut out your beetles and attach the legs.
To cut out the beetles, I folded the squish paintings in half again and then cut along the edges. I found that the shapes made by the painting process were very organic and looked like shells with just a little editing. I cut off bits that were poking out, for example, to make the shell smooth. When that is done, flip over your beetle and tape the legs to the back, lining them up as well as you can.

Now you have the most adorable bug infestation ever. If you are interested in more bug activities, you can check out my posts about our "Bug Book Basket" or our "Bug Hunt."

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Rocks Book Basket

Friday, May 15, 2020

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This is the last book basket in our Spring series! This basket was all about rocks, and was chosen specifically with Ro's interests in mind. He loves rocks! He loves to pick them up, bring them home, and arrange them neatly. They don't have to be incredibly unique rocks, his favorite is our driveway gravel. We even have a special box we keep them in.

I wanted to teach Ro more about rocks, that they could be different colors and sizes and shapes. Obviously, I turned to books. I tried to get a few non-fiction books with clear pictures that showed a variety of rock types, the DK books are always a favorite for that. I was also looking for stories that could explain where rocks come from in an interesting way, and "How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World" was definitely entertaining. And finally, I was looking for a story that Ronan could identify with. "Rhoda's Rocks" was a sweet story that was simply about collecting rocks, which was exactly what I was looking for. 

For this basket, I included a rock cleaning kit, that just consisted of a brush, a notebook, and a measuring tape. We spent some time down at the river looking for rocks. We had read the "Baby Explorer: Rocks" book so I tried to link up some of the features of the different rocks with the names in the book. It was a bit too big of a concept for a 2-year-old, but I was able to get him to pay attention to whether it was porous or had stripes, or if it was a certain color. After we had selected a good collection we headed home and I added a bowl of soapy water, plain water, brushes, and a dropper to a tray. He had a blast cleaning his newest additions.

Finding a board book about rocks was a bit difficult, I ended up buying that baby explorer book. It was a good investment, though. Ro asks us to read it all the time. The rest of the books I was able to find or Inter-Library Loan from our local library.

Rocks Book List:

Other Spring Book Baskets:

All of these posts can be found under the tag "Book Baskets".
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Bugs Book Basket

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

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We are back with another Spring themed book basket! This is one you know I love because today's basket is all about bugs! For each book basket, I like to pull together five or more books on a theme and an activity. You can read more about the hows and whys of my book baskets in my first post in the series here.

 I don't know who enjoyed this basket more, me or Ro. (Honestly, it was probably me.)  The Bug Hotel book was so inspiring, we bought our very own bug hotel to keep in our back yard. I would love to build one, and that book would be the perfect resource.

The activity for this basket was a felt matching game. I cut a leaf out of green felt and attached it to sticky back green foam to give it some rigidity. Then I cut two of every bug out of this adorable felt from Hobby Lobby. I found the bug examination chamber at a dollar store and knew would be a fantastic addition to my basket. 

If you are looking for another bug activity, you can check out my Bug Hunt post

I am very into illustration, so I always try to pick books that are equal parts beautiful and informative. This basket is a great example of that.

Bugs Book List:

Check out the other posts in this series!

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In the Garden Book Basket

Monday, May 11, 2020

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About once a month I put together a themed book basket for Ro and I to explore. The themes vary based on what I'm into, what he's into, or current events. I've been doing this for about two years, and I have a ton of themes that I've already fully thought out, so I thought I would share! Every book basket has at least five books in it (most of the time many more) and includes a simple activity.

Themed baskets are great ideas for passive learning. First I introduce him to the basket and the activities, then I set it out in his room to let him play with it as he wishes. Usually, we steal books from the baskets for bedtime stories. You can use these lists as homeschool subject aids, or as ideas for a gift basket! The first three themes I'm going to be sharing are gardens, bugs, and rocks. Perfect reads for the month of May! I will be posting all three baskets this week.

I want to note that I make heavy use of the library and our Inter-Library Loan system when I'm putting together these baskets. Most libraries have a similar system for borrowing books from other libraries available, and some even will let you place holds online. I know currently getting to a library is difficult, but hopefully one day soon we will be able to check out books again!

And now I present: our garden basket! This basket was put together last summer, so you will notice that I used as many board books as possible. 

I had two activities for this basket. For the first activity, I made three discovery bottles that help explain the process of growing. I usually use VOSS  plastic water bottles for these, because they have a nice shape and a solid lid. The first bottle has sunflower seeds that I got at the gas station, the second has potting soil, and the third has grass and leaves that I stole from our yard. To keep the leaves green longer, I added some water to the plant's bottle. This kept them fresh looking for at least a week.

I also added a "Lego garden" activity to the basket, which included green plates and bricks with extra flower pieces. The idea was that Ro could build a garden when we couldn't get outside.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of garden books available. These are just the ones I could get my hands on and enjoyed. If you have a favorite garden book, please add it to the comments! 

Garden Book List:

Other Book Baskets in this series:
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Ten [Bug] Things...

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

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Bonkers about Beetles by Owen Davey is one of my absolute favorite bug books. Not only is it incredibly informative, but it's also designed beautifully. The illustrations are simple, clear, and engaging. I interlibrary loaned it and as soon as I saw how great it was I immediately bought it for myself.

I would love to get Ro some bug wings to wear during playtime. These Rainbow Wings from Sarah's Silks look so soft and lovely, I really think that they would be well-loved. I also can't get over how adorable this Pinafore from Girl Like the Sea is. Those embroidered wings are so creative.

These Pollinator Houses from Garden Outside the Box on Etsy are so cute! The color choices are so fun, and they look very well made. I would love to hang a few on my fence this summer!

Handmade Charlotte has a ton of bug DIYs, but my favorites are these Wooden Bugs, and these DIY Jumping Jack Bugs. Colorful, fun projects that you could do with stuff around your house!

The bathroom of Maude Smith (as shared at House and Garden) has hand-painted ceramic tiles that feature colorful and whimsical bugs. If this isn't bathroom goals for me, I don't know what is.

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DIY Foam Puzzle

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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In my head, I call this puzzle the "nap time" puzzle. For a few days after it was done, Ro would insist on taking it to bed with him. And with the colors, the theme, and the softness of the materials, I tell myself that it's a relaxing toy to take to bed. I could just imagine him slowly putting all of the pieces in, his eyes drooping closed.  In reality, he just runs over the puzzle pieces with cars. But I can dream, right?

Sticky Back Foam Sheet x3
Old Cereal Box (or another thin cardboard box)
Exacto Knife
Scrap Paper

This puzzle is incredibly easy to make. It is three layers thick, with two layers making up the puzzle frame and pieces, and the final layer is the back.

1. Take the sticky side of the color of foam you want to be your top piece and lay it directly on top of the foam you want to be your middle piece, sticky side down. It is okay if you don't get it exactly lined up, it will be trimmed at the end. These are the layers that will make up your frame and your puzzle pieces.

2. Decided what you want your design to be. Shapes with straight edges are the easiest to cut. Make stencils out of scrap paper and arrange them the way you want them. Keep in mind, designs will be reflected because you will be drawing this on the back of the foam. If you are making letters, write them backward! Flip your puzzle piece layer over and draw out your design on the paper part of the foam.

3. Cut your design out. this can be done with scissors but your puzzle pieces will be much more snug of a fit with an Exacto knife. Slide the blade over the same spots multiple times with a gentle cut for the best results. You will use both the shapes inside and the outside as the frame, so be careful to stay on the lines!

4. Pop all of the pieces out and flip the foam over. Test that everything can be put back in place easily. If it does not fit smoothly, trim the edges until it fits.

5. Peel the back off of your puzzle pieces and stick them to the side of the cardboard that has been printed on. Flip it over and press, making sure the pieces are stuck tight. Cut the pieces out, making sure the cardboard does not stick out past the edges of the foam.

7. Stick your bottom piece of foam onto the printed side of the cardboard. Carefully peel the foam off of the frame of the puzzle. Match up the corners to the bottom foam piece and carefully lay it directly on top. When you are happy with the placement, turn the whole thing over and press to seal as well as possible.

8. Cut off the edges. One of the fun things about foam is when you cut it with scissors it kind of fuzes the pieces together. Make sure everything fits one last time, and then you're done!

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Sheep Puppet Craft

Sunday, March 29, 2020

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I am so head over heels for these little sheep. I have seen other marionettes like this on the internet, but I've never seen a sheep one. I figured since March is supposed to be "out like a lamb," this was the perfect craft for right now. We are under a tornado watch as I write this, though, so I'm not sure March got the memo.

T.P or Paper Towel Roll
Cotton Balls
School Glue
Black Paint, Marker, or Crayon

1. Cut holes in your cardboard tube.
Fold your tube in half, add two holes to the top and 4 to the bottom. The bottom holes will not be centered, leaving space for the head. For a better explanation, please look at the pictures below. Do not be afraid to draw guides, this will all be covered up. Folding the tube might leave it an oval shape, but that's okay! The oblong face shape actually looks more like a sheep!

2. Cut out the head, ears, and legs.
Trace the front end of the tube (the end with just one hole) on a piece of paper. Add tabs to your drawing, then cut it out. This piece will cover one end of the tube to make a face. For the ears you want to draw one ear shape with a tab on the top, then fold the paper in half and cut through both layers at the same time, giving you two ears that are the exact same shape.
You will also want to cut your straws, which will be your legs, at this time. I ended up liking the legs that were about 2 inches long the best.

3. It's time to make our sheep's face black! 
Paint the front end of the sheep up past the first set of leg holes.  Then paint both sides of the face and the ears.

4. Add the strings. 
When you cut your string for the legs, make sure they are double your straw length plus at least 5 inches. You will also need a very long string (at least 2 feet) that you will thread through the top two holes to create the puppet strings.
Thread the long string through the top and the shorter strings through the holes across from each other on the bottom.
To add the straws that make the legs, you will need to thread a straw through one leg, then tie multiple knots, and check that the straw doesn't slip off when tugged before trimming the end. Be sure to leave enough room for the leg to move when the cotton is attached, I left about an inch of string between the straw and the cardboard tube. Repeat this process with the other side of the string, checking to make sure you have left enough room on both legs before you trim. Add all four legs, then it's time to make this sheep fluffy!

5. Time to glue! 
Kids will love this part because, to get the cotton to stick, the more glue the better. I found that if you pull apart the cotton balls prior to attaching them to the tube the wool looks much more realistic. Glue as close as you can to the strings, but make sure not to cover the hole completely. I was even able to stretch cotton over the back end of the sheep, which makes for a cuter project.
When all of that is done and partially dry, it's time to add the face. Put glue on the tabs and then attach them to the sides. you'll have to hold these in place for a while. Then add the ears to the top.

6. Tie the strings onto a straw (or stick) and you're done! 
I added notches to my straw to give the string something to grip. See-saw the stick back and forth to make this he sheep walk!

I let Ro test the sheep when it was done, and he got a kick out of making the sheep dance. From an adult's perspective, I like that this craft has a rustic vibe without being too over the top. I feel like it's one of those toys that could also double as a decoration. It took me about a half hour to complete, and then at least another half hour for the glue to dry completely.

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Pet Census Printables

Thursday, March 19, 2020

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With everything else that is going on in the world right now, the census may not seem that important.  But with a lot of use stuck at home anyway, it's definitely worth it to take a few minutes to be counted. The data collected from the U.S. Census determines how many seats your state has in the House of Representatives, as well as aiding in the distribution to funds to communities. You can find more information on the census.gov website.

To help kids understand what a census is, I've made this cute little printable pack for you to do your own pet census at home!

For your census, you could count the animals in your neighborhood, in your family, or even on a TV show! I have included a form for Instagram stories, so your friends, family, or followers could also participate digitally.

For kids who are a bit too young to add, you can keep track of the totals using Legos or other small toys. Legos have the added advantage of being able to make a bar graph. For the older kids, there are websites where you can plug in the numbers to make a bar graph or even a pie chart. Sneaky math lesson! 

I've also included image files of all of the animal types, so you can use them to label your counts. You can also print one for every animal counted, or even print a town of animal pictures to be counted! 

If you want to print multiples on one page, save the file and then copy and paste the image into whatever editing software you have (paint or Word would work). Resize to the desired size by clicking the corner and dragging. Add as many as you need to the page, then print!

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10 [tea, but make it punk] Things...

Saturday, March 14, 2020

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I searched high and low for the perfect teapot for this list and MAN am I glad I did. I now have a new watched search on eBay.

I started this list because I realized that there were some teas that I wanted to share with the world. Birthday Cake from David's Tea gets the top spot, because it's the first flavored tea I bought. The sprinkles in this tea add such a fun, sweet surprise.

I love this Bavarian Wild Berry Black Tea from Lipton. It comes in these neat triangle bags that make you feel so fancy! Sadly, I think this tea has been discontinued. I am currently hoarding a box of it in my cabinet, like some kind of tea dragon.

Add any butterfly pea flower to a green-based tea and all a sudden you have this gorgeous teal color.  Blue Moon Tea is one of those that gets the balance just right for a truly magnificent color. When a friend introduced me to this I felt like all of my dreams had come true.

Now that I'm looking at this list I want to do a tea flight, but with a rainbow of tea. The red hue in my rainbow is definitely created by Tazo's Passion Tea. It's got a great flavor, but with no caffeine. Hello, night time tea!

And one of my favorite things is when people brew teas to match my favorite characters. Malfoy Tea Emporium on Etsy has wonderful tea mixes for all of my treasured fictional people. I personally have Rhysand (love my dark brooding leads) and Karou (my favorite leading lady of all time. She would definitely approve of this list.)

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Car Show Birthday Party

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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I'm so excited to share this party with you guys.  Ronan has a little obsession with wheels, so when I was dreaming up a theme for his 2nd birthday party I knew cars had to be involved somehow. Because a two-year-old isn't really familiar with the whole concept of birthdays yet, I took some of the pressure off by trying to just plan a day that would make him HAPPY. I was talking it out with my husband on the way home from shopping one day, and out of my mouth spilled, "Oh, he would love a car show." And instead of just moving on to the next idea, because admittedly that one sounded a little ambitious, the thought embedded itself in my mind. By the time we had gotten home, I had called more than one member of my family and dreamed up a whole plan.

I suppose, to make myself look a little saner, I should include the fact that my husband and I both own sporty cars, and my dad owns a few old vehicles. So when I landed on the "Car Show" theme I knew that we would be able to stock the show with our own vehicles, so anyone else who brought one was just icing on the cake.

The brilliance of having a theme like "Car Show" is that the decorations could be as simple (or complicated) as I wanted. I went the simple route, with the thought behind the color choices and the general mood being "vintage small town."  Since I live in a little adorable vintage small town, the location really set the stage. All I did was amp up the cute factor by making some bunting out of colored paper and twine.

Our other big DIY for the day was our favors. In the spirit of car shows, we gave every participating car a ribbon that Ronan himself helped create. The center of the rosette was created with the "tire painting" technique (aka driving the cars through the paint then across the page). Then there was a layer of paper, which we hot glued ruffly ribbon to, then the ribbon that hangs down, then finally another circle of paper on the back. It was a bit of work (took about an hour and a half to make a dozen or so), but I love the way they turned out. And I've seen a few of the ribbons tucked away in the houses of relatives, which is so sweet.

The food was simple and classic. We are very away of the fact that Ro having an October birthday means that almost every party would involve some sort of bonfire (which I am perfectly fine with, we love roasting hot dogs!) A few bottle sodas and mini cupcakes rounded out the food table and put the spotlight on the best part of the edibles: the birthday cake. 

While this birthday cake was amazing looking, I'll tell you a secret: it was so simple. I borrowed inspiration from this cake I found on Pinterest. The cake is a store-bought angel food that I took attacked with a spatula to smooth it out. Then I crushed some chocolate and filled the center, placed the dump truck on top, and arranged the leftover chocolate to look as if it were spilling out the dump truck and down the side. I added two construction cone candles that I found at Target and it was the cutest dang cake I ever have seen.

I am a firm believer that parties should include at least one planned activity, so to add some fun to our event I bought these wooden cars from Amazon. I set up a table with paint and brushes with a sign that gave people the option of painting a car for Ro or taking it home. Most chose to give their masterpiece to the birthday boy, so we now have a wonderful collection of custom cars that were created by the people that love Ronan most. The only regret I have is that I didn't ask people to sign them. On that note, if you painted a car and you remember what it looked like, please tell me which is yours, haha!

In the spirit of honesty, this day started out with my phone taking a bath with my child, leaving all of the last minute details and picture taking to be done with my husband's phone (he was such a good sport about it, though.) That, plus a few other mishaps that were beyond my control, could have taken a wonderful day and made it stressful for me and unenjoyable for the birthday boy. But with the support of my family, who took a few hours out of their day to help prep for the party, I was able to really relax and enjoy the event. The theme had a very hands-off vibe that was truly great. It allowed me to really enjoy my time with the monster, and all of the people we love.

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