Snowflakes

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 10, 2010

As I travel across the country for the third time in the last week, I can only imagine what my babies are doing to keep busy under the watchful eye of Aunt Sara. It was cold and raining when I left this morning, so I envision many little ones – eight to exact, including my two nephews – running around indoors, shirtless and shoeless, as my boys often are.

I have many ideas running through my head, as I begin to plan out the next several weeks of school, with my notebook here in front of me. Lessons, field trips, and many more wintery weather activities will take place, before the sun decides to stay out from behind clouds and begins to shine again.

When my plane was preparing for departure on the tarmac of the Denver runway the other day, I noticed that it began to snow. A beautiful sight for this California girl, who doesn’t much witness snowfall, let alone study snowflakes. I sat in awe as I began to really see the flakes of frozen water drawn to my window like magnets. Beautiful white specks, displaying the individuality of their Creator.

Snowflake

Sitting there I began to notice that, although each flake was unique and beautiful, each had six points – something I had known to be true, but was now witnessing first-hand. Of course, I immediately googled snowflakes and began reading about these little flakes.

Now, I vaguely remember being taught all about snowflakes when I was of elementary school age, but I just sat in awe of God and the little flakes of frozen water. Flakes that can blow through as a blizzard, trapping families in their homes. Flakes that, when falling ever so slightly, can be one of the most beautiful natural occurances.

It was at that moment, sitting there in my seat, that I decided that my children needed to see the beauty of snowflakes. A perfect topic for a fun wintery weather activity! I recalled how, when I was little, I was shown pictures of the remarkably shaped flakes and proceeded to recreate images of snowflakes by cutting shapes in to a folded piece of paper. Seems simple enough, but not living near the snow, it never really occurred to me how fun this would be to do with my own kids.

So, I decided that next week, when I am home from my travels, the kids and I will study snowflakes. If not real ones, the idea of them.

Have you done any fun snowflake activities, made any fabulous snowflake crafts, or had snowflake unit studies with your kiddos? I’d love to hear about them!

This post is sponsored by Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup who wants you to know that 32 feet of fresh egg noodles go into every can. For lots of fresh ideas about how to keep your kids entertained and the chance to win $500, check out Wintery Weather Fun at DivineCaroline.

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Winter Sun Catchers

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 28, 2010

amandaIn my quest for a craft-filled week, I have asked some of my friends to help me out with some fun ideas. Today my friend Amanda has agreed to share a wintery weather craft with us.

Amanda is a happy stay-at-home mom to two. She blogs at ohAmanda and Impress Your Kids. She’s a member of the 2010 Disney Mom’s Panel. And she twitters about all of it @oohamanda.

Please help me make Amanda feel welcome and let us know if you try these mini ice sculptures!

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When Christine first asked me to do a wintery craft, I knew I wanted to do something with ICE. I love crafts that ::whisper:: you don’t have to keep! I saw this great Winter Sun Catcher in our most recent Family Fun magazine and was dying to try it. It consisted of food coloring, ice cube trays and a cake pan. It sounded easy and isn’t it pretty?

With all the freezing, it took two full days and I photo-documented it every step of the way. My four year old daughter, Lydia was ecstatic about checking on our “ice-thing”. However, when it came time to time to take it out of the mold, this is what we ended up with…

winter craft ice

Not quite the same, huh? Lydia almost cried. So, we had to jump to Plan B. I have a ton of silicone ice and muffin trays in various shapes (I pick them up on clearance whenever I see a cute one). We squeezed 1-2 drops of food coloring into each compartment. Then we used a measuring cup with spout to fill the shapes to the top.

ice craft winter

Instead of trying to do a hole like the Family (not-so) Fun Sun Catcher, we cut some yarn and dropped the ends in the water. (You’ll want to cut the yarn significantly longer than the ones shown above.) We had to use a a fork to push the yarn under the water…I tried using my fingers first but now my nails are blue. Oh well.

winter craft ice

So, what do you think? Pretty cute, huh? Plus, I upped the ante by adding a quarter to one of the ice-ornaments. Lydia’s already staked that one out. It would be fun to put leaves, berries, small toys or glitter inside, too!

ice sun catcher

This is the perfect craft for any age kids. I think it would be fun for older kids because you could experiment with color combinations and measurements. Little kids just like water. And I’m pretty sure watching it melt is going to be even more fun than making it!

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Snowy Winter Wonderland

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 26, 2010

Marie LeBaron 300We have a very special guest here at From Dates to Diapers today, to help us out with our challenge to be more purposeful about doing crafts and fun activities with our kids.

Marie is a mother of 3 living in Utah. She’s the founder of Make and Takes, a top rated parenting blog featuring kids crafts, home crafts, recipes, and parenting tips. She’s listed as one of Nielsen’s Power Mom 50, is a regular contributor at Alphamom, Snackpicks, and Craftzine, and is a hostess of SocialLuxe Lounge. When she’s not crafting with her kids, she loves to run, read, and blog!

Please help me welcome Marie!

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I’m excited to be guest posting today, sharing a Wintry craft. We’re using white paint and toothbrushes to bring the snowy fun indoors.

Supplies for Snowy Winter Wonderland:

  • white paint
  • old toothbrushes
  • paper plate
  • cardstock paper – the thicker the better, but any paper can be used
  • embellishments – yarn, stickers, crayons, googley eyes, etc.

Steps:

1. Fold a piece of cardstock paper in half to make a crease. Open it back up and squeeze a few drops of white paint onto the paper. You can put the paint anywhere you like, but stay at least 2-3 inches from the top and bottom so it doesn’t ooze out.

2. Press the paper together and rub your fingers all around, helping to spread the paint. Sometimes you can shape which way the paint will go by pressing your fingers up or out.

3. Open your paper and see what creation you’ve made. Hopefully, it’s turned into something that looks like a familiar object, or I’m sure your kids will be able to see some sort of shape. We think our looks like a small child dressed for winter, even wearing a snow hat.

4. Now it’s time to make the falling snow. Pour a little bit of white paint onto a paper plate. Dip your toothbrush in and tap off any excess paint. With newspaper or a drop cloth and in an area where paint can be sprayed, you’ll flick the toothbrush using your thumb on the bristles. You’ll see paint spray onto the paper, resembling snow.

Let the paint dry completely, then you can add embellishments. We cut a hole on either side of this little winter boy and tied yarn around for a scarf. We added googley eyes and a crayon mouth. Have fun indoors creating your white wintry scene.

What a simple and fun craft that you can do with your kids this week! Please help me thank Marie.

Now, head over to Make and Takes and check out all of the fabulous crafts and activities that you can do with your kiddos. Let me know which one you would try. Oooh, and please let me know if you try one!

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 25, 2010

I know, I know… Christmas is over. But, the cold and wet weather is sticking around for awhile. Which means our energetic family – much like yours, I’m sure, unless you live in Florida – must turn to indoor activities to keep us busy and active.

This last week was the most wet week of the entire winter in Northern California, thus far. It kinda worked out, though, because we were sick and confined to our warm and cozy house. Of course, being sick meant that our wintery weather “fun” consisted of watching movies and playing the Wii, when we weren’t passed out with fever induced sleep. It was quite sad. (We are now mostly all on the mend, with only Ben down with the bug. He is being such a trooper… Poor guy!)

illustration by Peggy Collins

illustration by Peggy Collins


Even on a sick-free day it can be quite challenging, especially for a not-so-crafty mom like me, to come up with fun and unique indoor activities to keep the kiddos busy on cold, rainy days. But, like many of you, I like to turn to the oldies, but goodies – games, baking, and indoor forts and tents!

As promised, I would like to share with you one idea that was given me by one of YOU. Justine is the winner of the $50 Visa gift card giveaway that we hosted, on behalf of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, this last week. Justine has a great idea for creating some lasting memories with cold-weather fun ::

When you see it is snowing outside, take a clean baking pan or huge bowl and set it outside where it can collect snow. When it is full enough, bring it inside and scoop some into bowls for the kids (and parents too probably!). Then sprinkle powdered drink mix (think cherry, grape, etc) on top and eat, YUM! A REAL snow cone for a change, and they’re almost free!!

It almost makes me wanna live where it snows. Almost.

Like Justine, many of you gave me some great new ideas. Ideas that I am eager to try. Some of you reminded of me of fun activities that we could be doing to stay busy during this time of the year, but aren’t. Here are a few of my favorites from YOU::

  • Make homemade soap or crayons
  • Have an indoor scavenger hunt
  • Put on a talent or puppet show
  • Host an indoor campout, complete with roasted hotdogs and S’mores
  • Make Pinecone Bird Feeders (look for the how-to’s for this one, coming soon!)
  • Act out stories and recite poetry

During these wintery weather months, especially, I would so like to engage in more structured activities with my kids (aside from school work) and y’all have inspired me!

In honor of your inspiration, I’d like to challenge myself to be more purposeful in planning a new activity with my kids each day this week. Maybe I’ll even throw in a craft, or two, as well! Maybe.

Would you like to join me? It can be a new recipe you’ve been dying to try with your little bakers. Or, perhaps that craft that you’ve seen on someone’s blog that you know your kiddos would love.

I’m up for the challenge. How about you?

This post is sponsored by Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup who wants you to know that 32 feet of fresh egg noodles go into every can. For lots of fresh ideas about how to keep your kids entertained and the chance to win $500, check out Wintery Weather Fun at DivineCaroline.

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Bath Crayons

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10 Easy and Fun Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Children

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For us life can be hectic, as I’m sure it is in your home as well. It seems like there’s always something to do; whether it be appointments, 50 phone calls, the dishes, the laundry, the kids’ activities. We’ve all been there and to be honest it seems like this is a regular day for [...]

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