What We’ve Been Up To

I realized that I haven’t done a real “what we’ve been doing” kind of post up since mid-October. So, without further ado, here’s what the girls and I have been up to!

Let’s start with the end of October and November. These were some of our fall activities!

Fall wreaths. Dirt pudding. Thanksgiving “thankful turkeys”. Pine cone bird feeders.

Next up is December. These are some of our Christmas activities. We spent a good portion of December at my other nanny family’s house since his school was closed for the holiday, so we didn’t do as many arts and crafts things as we typically do, and somehow I didn’t take as many pictures of what we did do as I usually do.

Gingerbread house. Christmas presents for their parents.

Here’s some of the other activities we’ve done to keep us busy during the brutally cold days we’ve had.

Baking soda and vinegar science project. Bounce house. Kinetic sand. Microwave play dough. Making snow in our sensory bin.

I try to do one outing or one bigger project (art, science, working on math, writing, etc) each day. We still don’t watch TV or have any screen time (with the exception of the very few sick days, and even then it’s limited to one show). Occasionally, I let the girls have more of a free play type day where I don’t necessarily structure something, but we still have a schedule we follow which I’ll elaborate on in another post.


Santa Handprints (plus a salt dough recipe!)

The gift from the girls to their parents were adorable salt dough handprint ornaments, but with a little twist. The twist being the handprints were turned into Santa!

I couldn’t decide if I liked the black outline or not. In the end I gave the girls’ parents one from each girl without the outline.

To begin, make the salt dough recipe. This is a great activity to do with the children if they’re old enough. My girls (barely 12 months at the time) loved helping me stir the ingredients and were engrossed in watching me knead the dough. Here’s the a recipe for salt dough (which can be used for so many projects!:

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup plain flour (a friend made this with whole wheat flour and it didn’t turn out for her)
1/4 cup water give or take

Mix all together, and when done your project, bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 hours. Be sure to use a straw to make a hole (before you bake) if you’re using the dough to make an ornament!

For the Santa handprint project, after making the dough (we doubled the recipe just in case and had enough for 4 handprints, with some dough leftover), I rolled it out to about the thickness of the crust of a pizza, maybe a tad bit thinner. Basically, you need enough to make a deep impression so that it stands out even better when painted. Stamp the child’s hand into the dough, making sure to press all fingers down along with their palm.

Next we cut out the handprint leaving about a quarter of an inch around the edge. We then used a straw to make a hole at the top of the palm. Then into the oven they go.

I took them home to paint them with regular acrylic paint. Red for the palm and thumb, white for a pom pom at the end of the thumb, pom poms at the bottom of the hat, and also for the fingers for the beard. Be sure to leave an unpainted area between the beard (fingers) and palm for Santa’s face. Add eyes and Santa’s red cherry nose. I did two coats of paint for each color. Once everything is completely dry, I sprayed it with a sealer to keep the paint from peeling for years to come. I’m not sure if it would actually peel, but like I’ve said before, I’m overly cautious like that. I added a red ribbon through the hole, and it was ready to be wrapped and given to mom and dad!


Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer

As one of our Christmas crafts, we made Rudolph onesies. They’re pretty simple to make, as long as you have a cooperative child. My girls typically don’t absolutely love making things involving their handprints, but they don’t seem to mind using their feet. This craft involves both.
We went on our first little adventure using our new Ergo carrier (a more detailed post on that to come). We first went on a hunt at Babies R Us for plain white long sleeve onesies. The only ones they had were technically boys, but really, who’s going to know? So, we picked out two of them, (and maybe got the girls a toy to play with in the next store…M is still obsessed with this toy when she’s in my car!) paid for them (yay for 50% off sales!) and headed to our next stop, Michaels Craft Store.
This store, I must admit, wasn’t as easy of a trip as Babies R Us was. You try navigating a cart with one 1 year old in it through tiny cramped aisles (really – whoever designed the layout of this store must have never actually pushed a cart through their aisles) while wearing another 1 year old! Not to mention, the aisles were cluttered with boxes of craft supplies strewn about on the floor that I had to maneuver around. The girls were great, it was just a mess of a store. Next time we’ll try another craft store instead. Anyway, enough griping. We picked out three colors of puffy fabric paint – brown, red, and black. We chose Tulip and loved it! Then we headed home and washed and dried the onesies.
When you start this project, be sure to put something flat inside the onesies – not only as something sturdy to stamp on but also to prevent the paint from bleeding onto the other side of the onesie. We used a cardboard diaper box flap. It was the perfect size. I first did the girls footprints (toes at the top) in brown, in the middle portion of the onesies (one per onesie). I let it dry for a full 24 hours to make sure it wouldn’t smudge when we did their handprints.
The next day, Thursday, I painted the girls hands and stamped them on the sides of their footprints (thumbs touching the footprint). I also added Rudolph’s eyes (in black) and red nose to their footprints, as well as each girls’ first initial onto the seam of the onesie where it snaps so we could tell which belonged to which child.
I’m sure all fabric paints will vary, but ours said to let it dry flat for 72 hours before washing. I chose to let it dry Friday through Tuesday just because I’m overly cautious like that and wanted to make sure it was fine. One cycle through the washer and dryer and they were perfect! They wore them that Wednesday and also for Christmas Eve!
I’m sure this craft could be completed not only on paper but it would also be pretty cute on a plate for Santa’s cookies!