This may be the most excited I've ever been for allergy season SPRING! This winter really did me in between being stuck in the house from the Polar Vortex hell and all those snow days. And while I realize technically it could still be cold off and on until the end of March, I am in full spring mode, ready for daffodils, tulips and flowering trees (Achoo!)
Inspired by an idea from Barb of A Life in Balance, I came up with this simple and fun spring craft. Barbara challenged bloggers to use the tiny terra cotta flower pots in a spring craft.
I decided to make a series of flower pots in two sizes that could be used as a centerpiece when arranged together on a tray in the middle of the table or as a decoration in a line on the mantle or as a place marker for a spring dinner party. I've wanted to try out chalkboard paint for a while, so this seemed like the perfect project for it. I made chalkboard flower pots!
I purchased supplies at Michael's, Target and my basement (ok, I had a small collection of tiny flower pots already!) I saw flower pots at Michael's and I think the dollar store might even sell them. I was excited to find that Michael's sells small bottles of chalkboard paint for under two dollars. I orignially had seen it by the quart at Home Depot, but didn't want that much paint. I picked a regular acrylic paint as an accent in Robin's Egg Blue, because it just seemed very spring-like to me.
mini flower pots
paint brushes or sponges
jute twine or ribbon
hot glue and glue gun
small plants or soil and grass seed
How I did this craft:
I painted the flower pots first, and then added a second coat. Since I was painting several pots, I switched my patterns with the two colors of paint for variety so the pots are not all the same. Before using the chalkboard paint, read the instructions on the bottle for how to apply it for the best coverage and finished surface. Using jute twine I found in the dollar bins at Target, in pink and natural brown, I added some accents to each pot. I used hot glue to secure the twine to each pot so it wouldn't slide off and simply tied the ends into a small bow. I found a mini pinwheel at home and added that for some whimsy to one of the pots after it was planted. I also added a little "happy Easter" sign that I had. I wrote "happy spring" on two of the pots with chalk.
Meanwhile, I planted some grass seed to grow. (If you plan to grow seeds for your decorations, I suggest starting them in soil a week or two before you need them for the decorations.) Initially I thought I would fill each pot with bright green grass, but then I found some teeny little flowering plants at Trader Joe's so I added them to the mix. This was the most simple craft and adds a nice spring touch to my mantle! If I were to use them as place markers, I would write each guest's name on the chalkboard painted part of the pot.
We did a bit of card making on our snow day(#7.) I have a small collection of Valentine's stickers and foam shapes that I've picked up from the $1 bins at Target over the past two years. They also had small packs of plain red cards for a buck. With a few heart doilies, too, we decorated them to make our own Valentines!
My very crafty friend Hillary of My Scraps gave me this great idea: Valentine heart messages on my son's bedroom door. I used a cookie cutter to trace and cut out 14 red hearts out of construction paper and I wrote a different message to my son about what we love about him. Starting on February first, I taped one heart onto his bedroom door at night (or when I remembered!) for him to see the next day. He liked the idea so much that he asked if he could do the same thing for us! I helped him make some hearts and he scraweled some love messages onto his hearts and has been busy taping them to our bedroom and office doors. It is such a sweet idea! Thanks Hillary!
Valentine's Day has become a completely differnt holiday now that I have a child. I think it is actually more fun! I love how decorating for the month changes our home from Christmas and snowmen to warm hearts and hugs. These paper heart messages might become a new tradition for February for me. I think as my son grows older it will be a good way to comunicate happy feelings to him and show him how much we love him, in this non-verbal way.
Here's hoping for another good year filled with adventure!
We spent part of this January first on a walk through part of the Pennypack Preserve exploring what was in our own neighborhood. We had been cooped up indoors for two days of play/relaxation and I felt we all needed to get out for a walk. The kiddo was adamantly against it and agreed to only take a walk in Whole Foods (WTF?) Instead, I insisted that we go for a walk outdoors and promised to stop by Whole Foods afterwards.
It was really cold but it was fun to explore this park that is less than a mile from our home yet we never go there. We found a flock of wild turkeys that were a bit frightened by us! We found a frozen pond that the kiddo had fun hurling sticks onto the ice to see how far they glided. We also checked out a small spring house. Then we got to see the sun start to set...
Afterwards, as promised, we went for a walk around Whole Foods. When I asked him why there, he replied that he liked it there and wanted to buy chips. I said no to that and asked him if he wanted to find his new food to try there. On New Year's Eve we had a discussion as a family about what we wanted to have as goals for the new year. One of the ideas we all agreed to was that the kiddo (and parents if applicable) would try one new food per month this year and even went as far as to plan to find different ways to serve that food. So we went on a quest at Whole Foods to find a new food to try this month.
The kiddo wants the new food to be new to all of us, however he doesn't realize how adventurous his parents are. We decided to add green smoothies and drinks to our January menu. I've tried green drinks before and didn't really like them, but they are really healthy so I'm willing to give them a try again. I decided to purchase pre-made green drinks first, since in the past my attempts to make them were miserable. I just don't have a blender or juicer that will emulsify the veggies to a drinkable texture. (I am always tempted by the Vitamix blender, but am just unsure of that kind of investment!) We picked out two smoothies, a green one and a blue one. We tried the green one when we got home.
The kiddo declared it delicious! He loves green apples, so he thought it was full of them, and disagreed with me when I informed him that they had broccoli, spinach and kale too. We just went along with him not believing that the green was from veggies. I also picked up a bunch of kale, so maybe I'll try to make a homemade smoothie with my new stick blender I got for Christmas.
The kiddo got a special phone call this year from Santa himself. He later confided that he thought it was his uncle playing a trick until he realized that Santa knew things that his uncle would not know! Hope Santa visits your home tonight!
Every year for the past four years we have been going to Hershey at Christmastime. We stay at the same hotel, the Comfort Inn at the Park, and add a new activity to our schedule each year. This year we went for a weekend and had a blast! Between the chocolate, the fun with friends and the snow, it was a memory in the making. We probably went on the Chocolate World ride five times over the weekend, as the kiddo loves it (and the free chocolate candy sample at the end!)
Our buddies met us on Friday night at the park for some Candy Lane fun! The kids loved riding the train together and my son LOVED driving us around in a classic car. It was really cold, but we were prepared with layers of warmth and hot cocoa waiting for us at the hotel.
Because we knew it was going to snow on Saturday, we planned our night at the park on Friday and spend the day at the Hershey Story on Chocolate Avenue. I wasn't sure how well that visit would go over with the kid, but he loved it. He learned all about the history of Milton Hershey and the town of Hershey, along with how to make chocolate. We even had the chance to visit the Chocolate Lab there and make our own chocolate bars.
We enjoyed a good lunch at Cafe Zooka in the Hershey Story, including dessert! (Peanut Butter Pie to share!) The kiddo couldn't wait to taste his newly crafted chocolate bar from the Chocolate Lab.
We enjoyed a ride through Hershey on on the Hershey Trolley Works, complete with a visit with Santa! They were offering trolley rides through the Hershey Sweet Lights, which we had planned to do, but due to the snow it was cancelled. We will have to do it next year! The Christmas ride we took was fun, featuring actors portraying the history of Milton Hershey and some Christmas fun. Santa knew all the names of the kids on the trolley and gave each of them a special ornament to hang on their tree at home.
The hotel we stay at is about two miles from the park and has our duck friends, as we like to call them. This year we brought some bread to share with them and they were very appreciative!
We brought home some sweet treats and had a fun family weekend!
A few weeks ago I planted three amaryllis bulbs and a pot of paper whites. One amaryllis has bloomed and the other two are slowly growing. But today I notice that I have a bloom on the paper whites! I love to have flowers indoors during the holidays. It makes winter a bit easier to tolerate! I still need to pick up a few poinsettia plants soon.
Do you have a favorite Christmas or holiday book from your childhood? I have many! I've been collecting children's Christmas picture books forever and have amassed quite a collection that I've now passed on to my son. Each year we pull out the books from a big box in storage to re-read favorites as well as one or two new ones that I add. This year I am borrowing an idea from Hillary of My Scraps. I wrapped 24 of our holiday books, one for each night leading up to Christmas. I told my son that he gets to unwrap one book a night to read, but we can always re-read any of the opened ones throughout the month.
I purchased two rolls of wrapping paper at the dollar store and spent an evening wrapping up all the books. I showed my son the stack tonight and explained the process. He was very excited about getting to unwrap a book each day, even though they are not new books. Tonight he happened to pick out one of my favorites, illustrated by a favorite artist/illustrator of mine, Mary Engelbriet.
My son's only request was that we re-read this one on Christmas Eve. Not a problem!