Friday, 22 March 2013

Carry Along Car Track




There have been many moments when I have seen something amazing that some else has made and have thought to myself,  "I could definitely make that." But alas, never actually do get around to making it. Check out my Pinterest for a thousand examples of this.

But the Carry Along Car Track  was something I knew the moment I saw it, that I had to try to replicate.

I was at a retreat with my church. There were kids racing around everywhere, mostly bored and all chaotic, including mine. Except for one little boy sitting contently at a table next to his mom and dad driving his little cars around a magical black strip of material. From time to time, I glanced back over at him amazed that he was still sitting there playing with those cars, driving them around and parking them in the slots.

As soon as I got home from the retreat, I began to experiment and it was surprisingly a lot easier to make then I expected it to be. I have made five of these car tracks now and each one looks better and took less time to make then the first.

Avalanche just loves hers. I actually made it for Cyclone never expecting her to be interested in it, but of course she proved me wrong and the first time we took it out, spent the whole 15 minute wait at the doctor's office playing with it. I carry it with me in the bag I take with extra diapers, snacks and such and it is a must now when we go to the doctor's office, church or visitng relatives that don't have toys.

Since I know many of you would be interested in making one, and since I don't want you to have to trial and error it like I did. Here are the steps I use to make them.

1) Cut out two pieces of material into a rectangle 22 inches by 15 inches.



 
2) Cut out a long thin rectangle measuring about 22 inche  by 4.5 inches     . This will be the pocket for your cars. Sew a piece of bias tape over the top edge for a nice finished look. Or fold the top edge over and sew it down so it doesn't fray.
 
3) Fold a piece of black felt in four and cut a round track that will fit unto the large rectangle you made minus the size of the car pocket. The first car track I made I used black material and sewed in the edges. It was a lot harder to work than felt but completely do-able.
 
4) Pin your track unto the large rectangle that you cut out for the inside and sew it on. I used black thread so it wouldn't show.

 
 
5) Pin on your car pocket and sew 7 cm or 8 cm pockets down the length of the material. I used a fabric pen with disappearing ink to make the lines straign and even.
 
 
 
6) Cut out a piece of material the same colour as the outside piece for the velcro strap. About 5 inches  by 5inches. Fold it in half and on one of the outside sides, sew a piece of velcro unto it. Then fold it in half inside out and sew around all the side, except leave the bottom open. Turn it inside out and iron it down.
 
 
 
7) Place the two large pieces of material with the outsides facing each other. Place yoour velcro strap with velcro facing the race track on the inside leaving about 1/2 inch outside. Sew around the edge of the entire thing, leaving a few inches to turn it inside out.
 
8) Turn it all right side out. Take the blunt end of a pen and smooth angle out the corners. Iron it all out flat.
 
9) Fold it all up with cars inside to figure out where the other piece of velcro needs to go. Pin it on and sew it on.
 
10) Sew around the entire edge to finish the hole that was left for turning it right side out.
 
 
And that's it. You have a portable car track great for taking with you anywhere you go where you need a child distractor. They also make great gifts.
 
 
 
 

DIY Cadbury Creme Eggs


One of my ultimate favourite treats at Easter is Cadbury Creme Eggs. They bring back so many yummy memories from my childhood. So with Easter only just around the corner, I decided it was time to do something Eastery and by making my own Cadbury Creme Eggs I not only did an Easter activity with my kiddos but also fulfilled a pregnancy craving all at the same time.

I headed over to a site called Raising 4 Princesses for the recipe and tweaked it a bit. Here is my new and improved version of the recipe.

I was surprised by how easy and kid friendly this activity was.

First we mixed the ingredients all together. It was a pretty small amount for my big mixer, I think next time I would just use my hand held mixer.

Then dyed some of it with yellow food coluring.
Avalanches favourite part was flattening out the white "pancakes" and putting the balls of yellow in the middle.

The consistency of the dough is like play dough so it was very easy to roll into balls.













Avalanche and Cyclone both got their own little piece of dough to "roll" out. But it ened up that they spend a half hour playing with their pieces and were quite content to do that while I finished the eggs.  Avalanche even made a snake out hers. Their favourite part was eating their dough at the end.










Over all it was a easy, fun activity but the eggs were not as yummy as the real ones. Don't worry Cadbury you haven't lost me as a customer. The DIY ones were very sweet so make sure you make them small.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Crazy Easy DIY Play Dough

 
 
 
 
Daddy has been working some late nights lately so needless to say, we have been getting creative with how to pass our times in the evenings. Last night we went down to bike around the cows in the barn. Tonight we opted to stay in. So off I trudged to Pinterest  and came across this recipe. Avalanche loves to bake anything so this was a huge hit. I was surprised how easy and mess free it was to make. The greatest thing is that they have been playing with it non-stop for the past hour.
 
 
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1tsp. baby oil (optional)

*food colouring (I used 4-5 drops)
  1. Dump all the ingredients into your pot and stir it all together until it is smooth and gooey.
  2. Cook it on medium heat, stirring constantly until it forms a ball.
  3. Set out on wax paper and start to kneed it as soon as you can stand to touch it.
 
* I think you are supposed to add the food colouring in the pot but I wanted four different colours. I divided my play dough into four balls and dropped 4-5 drops food colouring unto each ball and kneaded it into the ball for my different colours. I ended up with very colourful hands for a while but it was worth it. I also added a tsp. of vanilla food colouring for a nice smell. :)
Cyclone likes to put the play implements in his nose and mouth more than he actually plays with them in the play dough.
Avalanche's new favourite trick is to make snakes.
Cyclone with his dirty chocolate face.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Fun with Felt Friday - Pancake Breakfast & Winner




Every weekend we have a special breakfast and every weekend Avalanche asks to make pancakes. She loves stirring the batter, watching mommy pour it on to the griddle and especially loves when Daddy gets the whipped cream out of the fridge as a special treat. Avalanche's favourite weekend breakfast was my inspiration for this week's fun with felt post.

The pancakes were super easy to make. I traced a CD unto two pieces of tan felt. Cut them out and sewed around the edges. Some tutorials suggest sewing around the edges and turning them inside out for a puffier result.

The syrup is simply one piece of brown felt cut to symbolise ooey, gooey syrup.

The pat of butter is a two small squares of yellow felt sewn around the edge with a little stuffing of leftover felt to make it a little lumpy.

I made the eggs by first sewing two  pieces of white together and then sewing a yellow circle on top.

The bacon was the most labour intensive. I cut out two pieces of tan felt with a wavy bacon look. I took one piece of the felt and sewed two thin strips of brown felt unto it with brown thread by hand. Then I sewed the two pieces of tan together also by hand.





The end result is a plate of scrumptious breakfast sure to satisfy the hunger of the most starving explorer, farmer or dolly mother.











Congratulations to the winner of last week's giveaway. Amy from Ontario, has one a set of the heart shaped cookies. I'll be posting those this week, Amy. Thanks to everyone who entered the draw and stay tuned for more giveaways :)

 
Some of my favourite Felt Food Tutorial sites:

Felt Food Cook Along from Helping Hands - http://helpinglittlehands.blogspot.ca/p/felt-food-tutorials.html

Felt Food Mania from Married with UFO's - http://married-with-ufos.blogspot.ca/2010/11/felt-food-mania.html

Favourite Felt Food Tutorials from The Busy Budgeting Mama - http://www.thebusybudgetingmama.com/2010/09/sophias-felt-food-my-favorite-tutorials.html

Friday, 8 February 2013

Fun with Felt Friday - Heart Shaped Sugar Cookies & 1st ever Giveaway




It snuck up on me like a instant chocolate craving. I became addicted to making felt food without warning and haven't been able to turn back since. The crafter in me loves the creativeness of it and the mother in me loves how my children use it to make their imagination's soar. 

I thought I would share this passion with my readers and give you the chance to also become addicted to it. The greatest benefit: it may look real, but has no calories, actually burns calories.

This week, I will share my favourite creation thus far, heart shaped sugar cookies with icing.

1) Start with two whole sheets of tan coloured felt. I cut them into a square shape.
2) Sew around the four edges of both sheets.
3) Chose a cookie cutter shape or shapes and draw them unto your "cookie dough"
4) Sew around the inside of your cookie shapes and around the outside of your cookie shapes.
5) Use sharp scissors and cut on the line you traced between the two sewed lines.
6) Cut out the different coloured icings. Make two sides of one colour.
7) Sew small beads unto one side of one icing piece.
8) Sew the icing together.
9) Easy as that, you have cookies and icing!
 Hint - Felt food really gets easier the more you make. I made two sets of these and my second set took all of a half hour.

Avalanche loves her cookies. She gets her rolling pin from her play dough containter, rolls out the dough, cuts out the cookies, bakes them in her oven, lets them cool and then decorates them. The best part is getting to share them with her "brudder" on a plate complete with a glass of milk. Too bad Cyclone too young to understand that they are only pretend and biting them results in a fuzzy mouth instead of a sugar fix.
Now for the GIVEAWAY!!!
 
 
I'm pretty excited to be offering my first giveaway on this site!
Would you like a set of these cookies for your child? That's right! I'm going to send someone a set of these cookies complete with four cookies, dough, icing and cookie cutter.
How can you win?
  1. Become a member of my blog or start following me by email.
  2. Write me a comment and tell me you have become a member and that you would like to win. Simple as that.  I will announce the winner of the giveaway next Friday on the next Felt Food Friday post. :)
 

Some of my favourite Felt Food Tutorial sites:

Felt Food Cook Along from Helping Hands - http://helpinglittlehands.blogspot.ca/p/felt-food-tutorials.html

Felt Food Mania from Married with UFO's - http://married-with-ufos.blogspot.ca/2010/11/felt-food-mania.html

Favourite Felt Food Tutorials from The Busy Budgeting Mama - http://www.thebusybudgetingmama.com/2010/09/sophias-felt-food-my-favorite-tutorials.html

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Cherish Your Children






"Sweet baby, are you hungry?" she utters the question quietly and tenderly.
"I know you are. You are such a patient little girl." Answering in her best mommy voice, she gently places the baby in a highchair and places a bib around it's neck.
But it isn't a mother who stands there cooing, she is still only a baby herself. She is my baby and she is growing up so fast.

So many mothers, far wiser and more experienced than I have hinted at it.This phenomenon that broadsides all mothers like a freight train.  I just didn't really understand what they were talking about, but now am starting to realize how quickly time is passing and how I long to make it stand still.

Our precious little angel was born in April of 2010. So small and delicate at 6lbs 5oz. Almost three years later, our tiny little girl has become a bright ball of energy and wisdom, and it all happened in the blink of an eye.

In the midst of the whirlwind of new motherhood I was little aware of how quickly time was passing. Perhaps during the dim hours of dawn when I realized I had only been up four times that night for feedings instead of five. Or when I realized that her once tiny, little body that was swallowed by a preemie sleeper was quickly straining in every sleeper we owned. Maybe when the size 2 diapers were only shielding some of the blow-out poops. But those thoughts of passing time were as fleeting as the second of quiet mind space I had to think them, and I soldiered on not comprehending the immensity of the situation.

It all happened so gradually and so stealthily that it snuck up on me. Almost suddenly I have realized that my three year old is as wise as a 40 year old with the energy of an elf and I often find myself wondering, "Where has the time gone and how did this happen?"

And as wise as they are, none of those mature mothers, that have spoken of this time disappearance, have been able to offer a cure. They only have suggestions for how to slow time down a bit. ( Please note that I am speaking to myself more then any one else :)

1) Cherish - To say being a mother is a busy time would be the world's biggest understatement. In between diaper changes, dressing wriggling bodies, washing dirty clothes, walls, dishes,  sticky messes, hands and faces, training up small hearts, and making meals, there is little time for much else. But we NEED to cherish the time with our children. We need to leave the clothes for a few moments and go play with them. We have to spend time simply staring at them playing, pretending, interacting and constantly changing. Take mental pictures and real pictures and cling to those. Because before we blink they will grow into teenagers who are playing much different games and will not want out kisses for boo boos.

2) Pray for them - A relationship is strengthened with a person you think of in times of quiet and solitude, times of anger and times of joy. Pray for your children, every chance you can. A woman of God is breathing out tiny prayers for patience and strength and wisdom with almost every breath. A mother should be praying out prayers for her children just as often. Pray for character traits you want them to develop as they grow, for their future spouse, their careers, praise God for the blessing they are to you and give thanks for them in ALL situations. Use a your quiet time to lift them up in prayer and use a prayer binder for ideas of what to pray. Pray for yourself and your spouse. That you would display Godly characteristics to your children. That they would learn who to be by watching you. Display God to them in all circumstances so they will recognize Him when he calls them to Him.

3) Record to Remember - There are moments of sweetness during your motherhood you will never forget. They will linger in your mind forever; their first smile, the way they uttered your name,   "Mommy" when they were cuddly and sleepy. But there are other important moments you will quickly forget in the busyness of passing weeks and years. Take time to jot down special moments. There are different methods for different levels of dedication. Scrapbooks, baby books, photo albums or a simple free calendar from your local muffler centre. You may think you will always remember those milestones but you won't. You may think that such books are a waste of time but they aren't. What a sweet experience it is to show your daughter her 1st year scrapbook and have her understand what it is to be growing from that tiny little being into the heavy bundle on your lap.

4) Make Memories - In a world of Pininterest and Facebook, we are proud of the memories we make with our children. The problem is, we are more often documenting them than spending meaningful time with our children. At the end of our lives, are we going to be more proud of the amount of likes we had on a Facebook picture or how many shares we've had on Pininterest or are we going to be proud of the way our children turned out and the meaningful moments we spent with them? Slow down, shut off the computer and spend time with your children. Set aside your selfish desire to stay in where it is warm, and take your children outside at least once a day. Play with their Fisher Price barn and teach them their animal sounds in creative fun ways (even if it makes your look like a complete dork). The benefits are immeasurable. They learn to love themselves and others because of the love they see coming from you, they learn that they are worthwhile and adored because you would rather spend time with them than do other things, they learn from imitation. You show them how to play and share and learn and grow and laugh. You learn to be selfless and you learn to anger less often because your agenda is them and not them upsetting your agenda.

5) Little Is More - Dolls, felt food, cars, trucks, toys litter the house and for a brief moment they are entertained. I am quickly learning that more is not better, it is simply more. I can spend hours on KIJIJI or local swap sites looking for the newest best toy or that adorable little outfit. But again that steals precious time from my children. They do not need more material items to play with. They need  you teaching them to use their imaginations and showing them how to turn a pot holder into a dolls pillow. They do not need you make a list of things you never made them or even need the things you did manage to make them. Balance is good and some of that is a nice outlet for you and a fun learning experience for them but most of the time it is just time wasted, never to be gained again.

6) Love the Lord - This may be the last listed but is by far the most important. Some of you may not think you know the first thing about being a good mother. Maybe you didn't have a good example of it growing up. You may fear your anger or your ignorance. You may avoid spending time with your children because you aren't sure. You may just suffer from a chronic case of selfishness or laziness. But we have a Father in heaven who is the ultimate parent. He teaches us everything we need to know about cherishing time with our children because the thing he wants most from us is our time. He teaches us how to love unconditionally and without exception. He teaches us how to give without thought to ourselves and he always forgives our wrongs. He is also able to cover our failures with cleansing grace when our learning from him fails and we falter.If we want to be good mothers, and learn to enjoy our children, we must first learn to enjoy our creator and father in heaven.


They do grow up so fast. Don't miss another moment of it.

 
If this interested you, please also read: How to Miss a Childhood by Hands Free Mama

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Prayer Binder





Prayer..... so much depends on it. God calls us to pray to him to strengthen our relationship with Him, to focus our minds, hearts and souls on His will and to intercede for others. In the chaos of the day I pray often, those quick, pleading prayers of patience, help and grace. It seems I am always speaking to God. But those prayers aren't enough. Something my soul has been crying out for is a time each day of focused prayer. Time to just soak in His peace and pray for things that the Spirit leads me too.

The trouble is that over the years, I have trained myself to not be able to do this. When I sit down with good intentions to pray, my mind follows its normal habits of going a mile a minute thinking about other things. I usually end up frustrated with myself and disappointed for God and get up to do something else.  I had to somehow train my mind to be able to again sit quietly in the presence of God and I needed something to keep myself focused on the task at hand, but what?

A few months ago, an idea of a prayer binder peeked my interest on Pininterest. It became clear to me that as an organized woman of lists and binders that a prayer binder was exactly what I needed. Something that laid it all out for me and kept me focused during that time with God.

Don't take this the wrong way, I am not suggesting legalism or mantras of repetition. That is not what my prayer journal offers me, but suggestions for the days when my mind is too busy and I need guidance about what and whom to pray for.


I searched on the Internet for ideas and finally decided to come up with my own personalized version of what others had. I included the following categories:
  • My Husband
  • My Children
  • Praise ( Attributes of God)
  • Who I Am In Christ ( Thanks to Neil T. Anderson)
  • Character Qualities for Myself
  • Family ( This section is blank to add your own family members)
  • Friends ( I left this section blank also. hint: I used my Christmas Card lists to compile these people)
  • My Church
  • The Nation & World Missions
I searched the Internet for sites that provided me for biblical things to pray for in each category for  and was so excited and surprised by the result... different prayers to focus on in the 9 different categories for 31 days.

One of my regrettable faults is that I tend to get overly excited about things, put hours of work into them and then move on to something else. I didn't want this to be one of those things. So,  I have been using my prayer binder consistantly for the past month to make sure it was worth sharing with my blog readers. I haven't been able to pray every day, but on the days I do, it is so much esier to grab my binder, find my comfy chair (under piles of clothes to fold) and spend time with God. The difference it has made has been transforming! I know now that my thoughts won't wander, I have experienced true peace in sitting with God and have been able to calm my heart enough to hear from Him in these moments and that is all the encouragement I need to MAKE time during my days for this.

I also made a check list for my own encouragement to be able to go back and see the times I have been able to sit at Jesus' feet. At the back of the binder I keep looseleaf to write down specific prayer requests. I date them and look back periodically to see what prayers God has answered.

I put all of the sheets in plastic page protectors and have them all stored in a white binder with a front pocket for the title page.
 
At the bottom of the Prayer Binder Categories document you will find all of the sites I reference when compiling this binder. I meant in no way to infringe on any copyright rules.  Thank you to all contributing helpers.
 
I wanted to share this with all my readers because it has made such a difference in my prayer life. If anyone would like the word document to change and personalize, please let me know and I will email it to you. This is not to be sold or misused in any way. My only intent is for it to bring glory to God in encouraging fellow believers to be better able to sit down and speak with Him.