November 29, 2023

Looks Like a Name Change is in Order

It seems like I'm going to need to amend the name of this blog to accommodate our latest adventure in making and doing [smirk]

How does "Katydid and KIDS" sound?

So far this pregnancy has been pretty typical--tiredness, some nausea, and plenty of food aversions, especially to leftovers! How weird, but I'm totally serious about it.

This is a wonderful surprise for us, and we're excited to be adding to our family this July.  My due date is July 5th, so maybe this little one will be an Independence Day baby.  Might I request fireworks for completing my labor? :)

November 24, 2023

My Yearly Thanksgiving Contribution

I'm not sure if I'm sad or relieved that I never get to host Thanksgiving.  Both my mother and mother-in-law won't let go of the reins just yet, which means I don't really cook or decorate for the holiday (sniffle, sniffle), though it also means I don't have to make the house presentable or clean up afterward. Yay!

I do contribute my Cranberry Grape Compote each year. I love making this since it's so easy yet so delicious.  It's yummy over oatmeal in the mornings or heated over ice cream too.
The recipe came from an Everyday Food issue a few years back, and my relatives on my mom's side request it every year. This year my mom had to make it because it's my in-laws' year to host us, and because I waited until this morning to finally whip it up.
Cranberry Grape Compote (makes a quart or so)
2 bags of fresh cranberries
2 lbs of seedless grapes (red or green, you pick)
1/4 cup water
1/2-1 cup of sugar (sweeten it to your liking)
pinch of salt.
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium-high until cranberries begin to pop. Lower the heat and simmer while stirring until cranberries have wilted down and grapes have softened.  Let cool, and enjoy!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, my American readers!  Hope your day is filled with things you're thankful for.

November 19, 2023

Holiday Card Wreath {Tutorial}

Every December, I curse the fact that we don't have a mantle.  I'd love to display so many things on it, from photos and items from nature to Christmas cards.  I've spent the last few years trying to figure out some place to display holiday cards, and was just plain worn out of them scattered all over the fridge.
While flipping through the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, I saw a cute card holder wreath made of clothespins and an embroidery hoop--2 things which I always have on hand.  I decided to fancy-up their version and make a cute and functional wreath for the many cards that fill our mailbox this holiday.
This wreath costs under 10 bucks, depending on what you have on hand.  Here's what you'll need:
  • Holiday paper (scrapbooking or gift wrap)
  • 12-16 clothespins
  • 14" embroidery hoop (or larger)
  • scissors 
  • glue stick
  • hot glue gun
  • wide ribbon for hanging.
Cut the paper to fit on top of the clothes pins, then put glue it to the clothes pin.
I used a 4 different colors, including blue. I tend to like bright colors rather than just the traditional green and red.
 The fastest gluer in the world hard at work
Once you've glued the paper onto the pins, arrange them how you'd like in a circle around your hoop.
You want to alternate them so that half of them have the pinching part (for lack of a better term) toward the center, and half are on the outside.  This will give you more space for your cards, so they're not all crowded together.
You may want to add your ribbon at this point, before gluing.  I snuck mine between the hoops and then tightened it back up.
I also used it to hide the metal tightener of the hoop.
Hot glue the clothespins to the hoop.
You just need a little bit, otherwise you'll have glue dripping all over.
That's it!  Now just hang it and wait for all those cards to fill up your mailbox.  
 Cute, huh?  And it took less than an hour to make.
I added a few little felt ornaments I picked up at the craft store for $1.  You could certainly dress this up more, like adding a candy can ribbon effect by twisting a red ribbon around the hoop before hot gluing.  However, I like the simplicity of this wreath without too much stuff on it.
I'm awfully tempted to make 2 more and hang them in a vertical row.  We'll see how many cards we get this year--we just might need the extra room!

November 17, 2023

Let's Play! Smash the Pumpkin

What to do when your pumpkin has become deflated and rotten?
Well, you get your favorite 2 year old, put on some rain boots and play smash the pumpkin.
Yeah, I let my kid do risky things like jump off a table onto a pumpkin, mostly because I believe that risky things (within reason) are good for boys.  And they often don't get to do such stuff nowadays.  (don't worry, we were standing right there).
A chunk of wood is always great fun to use for smashing too.

We all laughed for quite a while, watching this pumpkin become mush, or as Soren would call it, pumpkin guts or spaghetti (the stringy insides reminded him of that).
If you're lucky enough to have a yard, your kids would love destroying something like a pumpkin or even some rotten fruit.  Plus it's free fun!

November 10, 2023

The Art of Shaving Cream

We don't just stick to the standard paints and crayons for art supplies around here.
For a whopping 89 cents, hours of fun can be found in a can of shaving cream.
Bring out the usual cars and trucks, spoons and forks and all is special again.
I tried adding food coloring, but S didn't care either way, so I nixed it. No reason to get MY hands stained up, right?
When he's a bit older, we'll try painting with shaving cream or maybe marbling paper with it.

What fun things are you doing with your littles this week?

November 8, 2023

Macaroni Kid

Have you checked out the website Macaroni Kid? It's a great resource for local things to do with your kids. 
While Macaroni Kid itself is a national program, there are local affiliates who keep weekly newsletter subscribers up to snuff on festivals, story times, art workshops and all matters of fun, 52 weeks a year.  It's been a valuable resource for our family in keeping busy, season by season.  Subscribe today or maybe even consider becoming a Publisher Mom in your area, if you don't have one yet.

November 4, 2023

Mayflower Thankfulness Boat {Tutorial + Giveaway}

Thanks to Scotch(R) Double Sided Tape for sponsoring my writing about crafts. Add your comment below to be entered for a chance to win free sample rolls to help with your upcoming holiday needs.

November is such an odd month for decorating, after the Halloween let-down. While I love scattering natural elements throughout the house, like mini gourds, pumpkins, acorns and leaves, sometimes I just feel like making something. With the theme of "thanks" that permeates this season, I decided to create a Thankfulness boat based on the Mayflower.
This is a great craft to do with kids, and it doesn't require much in way of materials, just a paper grocery bag, Scotch tape, copier paper, scissors, a skewer and crayons.
Cut the bottom off of your paper bag. Save the rest of the bag for using later.
You will now cut along the seams along the bottom of the bag, which will make the template for your boat.  It should look like this:
Since you don't want to see that label on the side of your boat (unless you want to paint it, then don't bother with the next step), you'll use this piece to trace this same shape onto a logo-free area on some other part of the bag. 
Trace and cut it out.  If you'd like to make more than one boat, you can trace more out of the bag.
Time to fold the boat! Begin by folding it in half 
 Then fold the sides in, following the line where the angle meets the rectangle in the center.
Do the same on the other side so it looks like this:
Tape the edges closed.  Kids love this part, at least in my experience as an art teacher, they went crazy for tape and staplers.
Layer a few pieces, reinforcing the sides of the boat.  This would work equally well with Scotch Double-Sided tape too.
This would be the time to decorate the boat with crayons, if you wish. It's better to color it when flat.

Next, open up the boat. On the inside of it, flatten out the floor a bit. You might need to fold the inner ends, just to keep it open.
On to the sails.  Fold your piece of copier paper in half, 
and draw 2 half-sails, one small and one large.  They should be sized appropriately to your skewer so both will fit.  You can always trim them later to fit.
Cut out the sails
and write "Give" and "Thanks" on them. You could also use these as place cards and write guests' names on them instead.
Poke the skewer through the sails, and if you'd like, add a little colored flag on top.
Assemble the boat. I filled mine with crinkly paper, but you could use cotton, reindeer moss, or just shredded paper.
Stick the sail into the boat.  For mine, the paper held it in place enough, but you may need to tape it to the bottom of the boat or stick it in a piece of play dough hidden beneath the filler.
I cut out some leaves from the extra paper and wrote some things I was thankful for on them.
This would be nice for kids to do on Thanksgiving, while waiting to eat.  Just cut out a bunch, leave out some crayons and markers, and let them have fun.
And just in case you were interested in scoring some free tape of your own, Scotch 3M is giving away 10 rolls of double-sided tape to 10 randomly chosen winners.
To Enter
Leave a comment letting me know how you'd use your double-sided tape.
Extra Entry: Share this giveaway either via Twitter, your blog, or in a linky and get an extra entry for each step you do. 

You must do the first entry in order to enter ("I want to win, thanks!" comments will NOT be considered). You will have until Wednesday November 10th at 11:59pm EST to enter. The winner will be chosen via random number generator the next day and notified by email. I'll also post the winners on my blog HERE. If I don't hear back from the winner within 72 hours, I'll pick another.

Please learn more about Scotch(R) Double Sided Tape and other Scotch(R) Products, and join the conversation on the Scotch(R) Brand Facebook Page and via Twitter. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
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