Firework Poppers DIY

Friday, July 3, 2020

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Originally the plan for this DIY was just to make "reusable fireworks" by making them into a pushup pop. Then after I created it I realized all it needed was a cone on top to make it look like an actual firework! I love it when DIYs evolve into something better while you are creating them.

Paper Towel Rolls
(That link is to an Amazon listing but I found mine in our local grocery store.)
Colorful Paper
Ribbon, Fabric, or String

Step 1: Cut your tube. The long side should be approximately 6.5 inches long.

Step 2: Cut out the pieces for the ends of the tube. Cut down the side of the leftover tube, making a flat piece of cardboard, then trace the end of your tube twice, putting some distance between the circles. You want the two pieces to resemble the template above, one circle with tabs and a large hole in the middle, another that's just a circle. When the circle without tabs is cut out you will need to add two holes that the straw can fit through. When you are done it should look like a button.

Step 3: Attach the end of the tube. Attach the circle with tabs to the end of your tube by folding up the tabs and taping them to the outside of the tube.

Step 4: Make the "fireworks". Extend the straw and fold it. Tie your ribbon to the bend of the tube. I went for a more primitive look with torn fabric scraps for the one I'm showing, but I also used gift wrap ribbon for one and it was just adorable. 

Step 5: Add your stopper. Insert the two sides of the straw into the holes in the cardboard circle. Slide it up as far as it will go, then tape the two straws together. You can use this circle as a base for taping on more decorations if you wish.

Step 6: Make the cone for the top of your firework. Cut a circle out of colored paper. Cut a slit to the middle of the circle, then bring the edge of the slit around until you've made a cone shape. Tape it when you have created the size of cone you want. 

Step 7: Decorate your firework. Wrap a piece of paper around your tube. Cut the paper so it overlaps when wrapped around the tube. The top of the paper should sit flush with the top of the tube, while the bottom of the paper should hang over about a half-inch.
When this is done cut a small strip of paper about 1 1/2 inches long. Fold this in half. Tape one half to the inside of the tube, and the other half to the inside of the cone. This topper will have to be pushed to the side when the firework is popped, so keep that in mind when attaching it.

Step 8: Load your firework. Slide the popper into the firework straw side down, pulling the straw through the slit at the bottom. Pull until the stopper hits the bottom. Tuck the ribbon into the tube and put the lid on.

These poppers are removable and make excellent wands for dancing! Ro ran all over our yard with them, and then used them to decorate our fence!

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Pennant Placecard

Monday, June 29, 2020

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These pennant place cards were simple to put together and can double as a party favor! 

Hot Glue Gun

1: Cut out your pennants. I made mine small enough that I could cut them all out of two sheets of felt. About 3 inches at the top by 6 inches to the point.

2: Cut out your letters and stars. I suggest drawing out your stars first. I freehand cut them and you can definitely tell! I tell myself it adds to the charm.

3: Hot glue the decorations onto your pennants. Ro helped me place the decorations so there were a few pennants that had backward letters. I was so focused on gluing that I didn't notice until everything was dry. Doh!

I love the way these turned out! Using the red and blue color scheme gives them a very Americana feel, making they are a perfect DIY for the 4th of July. But with a simple switch of colors, they could work for any holiday, birthday, or even a wedding! I can just picture them with a yellow base and blue decorations. Man, I might have to make another set! 

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DIY Color Frames Game

Friday, June 26, 2020

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As someone who naturally loves to teach, having a two-year-old has been magical. As with many kids this age, Ro is a sponge. He has learned so much in so little time. And he loves to show off what he has learned, which means he is constantly practicing. I try to encourage this practice by introducing activities that make learning into a game. This activity is a great example of that. 

This DIY is awesome because it checks off the three boxes that I feel like every great DIY should. It's recycled materials, it's easy to do, and it doubles as both a toy and a teaching tool. It's incredibly simple to make and not too time consuming. I was able to complete the whole project in about two to three hours.

I used recycled cardboard for my frames. I cut them into 6 inch by 7 inch rectangles, then cut out a square in the center, leaving more room at the bottom so I could write the names of the colors. I ended up making ten frames for all of the colors I thought he knew already. (red, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, brown, black, gray, white.) I then painted the frame the base color with a few coats, then added some details with lighter paints. The patterns aren't necessary, but they give the frames a more finished look.

Ro has really enjoyed matching the colors on the frames to things around the house. He particularly loves to put the green frame around the power button on the Roomba, and the black frame on the TV. When I came into the room today, one of the frames was hanging on our night light. Quite an art piece!

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Monster Maker DIY Felt Toy

Friday, June 12, 2020

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This is a simple DIY toy that uses colorful, zany shapes to create a situation where imaginative play comes naturally. That play can easily lead to conversations about how bodies are structured and why different creatures have such extraordinary shapes.


This is one of those projects that has almost too much possibility. It kind of leaves you thinking "where do I start?" I would start with the big shapes first. Cut a few out of each color you have available. I did a triangle, square, circle, the normals. And then I also did a few U shapes and a few abstract ones. Then, with the felt I had leftover, I cut out my smaller shapes. Triangles, stars, zig zags, rectangles, eye shapes... whatever I could think of. Feel free to use any of the pictures below as inspiration for shapes! When I was done with this project all I had left of the felt were itty bitty scraps. It's a great craft for using all of your leftover materials!

The best piece of advice I can give you is that you should try to cut out all of your smaller shapes in pairs of two. That way any zig-zag can be an arm, and a triangle can be an eye. I also loved cutting some "fringy" pieces. They worked well for hair, whiskers, beards, skirts... 

I'm going to admit, it was so much fun to set up the felt for the picture below. It was a stretch for me, creatively, and kind of soothing. This DIY isn't just for kids!

And I couldn't leave this post without showing you some of our beautiful creations. I think my personal favorite is the blue guy with the big ears. Now that I'm looking at these again, though, I kind of want to make a mega-monster using as many of the shapes as possible. How far do you think I'd get before my two year old got bored and tried to destroy it?

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10 [birthday wishlist] Things

Sunday, June 7, 2020

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It's my birthday month! I am totally one of those people that celebrates my birthday in little ways all month. My family has been bugging me about what I want, so I thought I'd put together a little wishlist of the things I've been eyeing.

Happy Birthday to all of the other June babies out there!

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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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