DIY

DIY Costume for Teachers

  Looking for a last minute Halloween costume? I’ve got a great one that came to me last minute that is perfect for any teacher.

Every year at our school, we do a “spirit week”.  Students dress according to a different theme everyday. The class that goes all out and has the most participation and “spirit” wins the “Spirit Sword” (which is a little plastic sword with some ribbon on it. For some reason the kids fight like crazy for it!) Anyway, this year some of the themes included Crazy Hair Day, Patriotic Day and Character Day. For Character Day, students (and teachers) were encouraged to dress up like a character from their favorite movie, tv show or book.

My first thought was to dress up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I’ve always wanted to dress up like her, and it is one of my favorite movies. However, finding a big fluffy yellow dress last minute is not an easy thing. I thought about it a little more, and then went to Pinterest.

There were lots of ideas – storybook characters like Grouchy Ladybug, the Rainbow Fish and the Hungry Caterpillar were adorable. All cute, but not for me. There were ideas for being crayons, rock, paper, scissors, or even emojis. And then I saw it: Ms Frizzle! Not only did I grow up watching, The Magic School Bus, I happened to have a stuffed Lizz in my classroom. It was meant to be!

The dress is the most important part of being Ms Frizzle. I happened to have a blue dress that would work perfectly for a costume. I didn’t have a collared shirt to go underneath, so I wore a white, loose-sleeved one that worked well.  So if you want to be Ms. Frizzle, your dress MUST show whatever science subject you are studying! My 6th grade class is studying the planets so obviously I choose to wear Ms. Frizzle’s classic solar system outfit!

I used felt to cut out several stars, some suns, planets and crescent moons. Then I taped them all over my dress, making sure to add little stars to my earrings and planets to the tips of my shoes. I even braided my hair the night before so when I woke up it would have the “frizz” I needed! The finishing touch was

my sidekick Lizz!

Materials I used:

  • Knee length or tea-length dress
  • Tape
  • Felt cut into the shapes you need! The Solar System theme is easy, but you could customize your dress to whatever science subject you are studying! If you need inspiration, check out Monsters and Molecules blog where all “Dresses of the Frizz” are displayed! Amazing!
  • Toy Lizz!

I put this costume together in less than an hour (and that includes the many interruptions from my children!). Even though Magic School Bus is no longer on tv, the kids still knew who I was! Apparently it’s on Netflix… The costume was a big hit! Now if only I had a magic bus that could transport my students to cool places…

 

DIY Hair Accessory Holder

Typically in the summer time I have lots of DIY projects going on. This summer, I somehow just didn’t have the time! However, I did crank out one little project in just a few days (i.e. two evenings after the kids were in bed!)

My daughter is not even a year old and already she has an abundance of hair accessories. Previously, I would dig through her drawer trying to find the little bows or the band that matched her outfit. The little pieces would get twisted, tangled, or just lost in the chaos of socks, thermometers and all the other “extras” in that drawer.

After seeing a few ideas online here and there, I stumbled upon an old, ugly frame at Goodwill one day. There was no glass, it was pretty lightweight, and it was 79 cents. Perfect!

I bought some screw hooks at the hardware store for just over $1. Some paint and ribbon and a cute letter “B” (my daughter’s first initial), and I was ready to go! I think in total, it cost less than $7, and I have extra paint and ribbon for another project.

Materials Needed:

  • Frame
  • Hooks with screws
  • Paint
  • Ribbon
  • Decorations (Optional!)

Step 1 – Adding Hooks

My husband graciously drilled a few evenly spaced holes along the bottom of the frame and easily screwed in the hooks. He is awesome at making things even. I would have messed it up, which is why he got the job. The hooks will allow me to hang baby girl’s headbands easily without getting tangled up with each other!

The ugly frame after the hooks were put in

Step 2

Next, I painted the frame with a few coats of white paint. This took the longest because I had to wait for a layer to mostly dry before putting on another. It took several coats of white paint to cover the tacky brown and gold colors of before. Then, I took a mint green color and painted the inner trim, just to give it some extra pop!

Look what a fresh coat of paint can do!

Step 3

Placing ribbons on the back.

Attaching the ribbon came next. Most other projects that I had seen used thicker ribbon – 1/2 “ to 1” wide. However, a set of mint and white ribbon caught my eye at the craft store and I knew it would be perfect! Because some of it was pretty thin and I wanted it to hold all types of barrettes, clips and bows, I decided to double up on the strands. Using hot glue, I attached both the top and the bottom of the ribbon to the back of the frame. Now, this was quite the process for me because I had a hard time getting the ribbon on straight. I had to redo a few strands. (You could also use a ruler to help you… this did not occur to me until I was halfway done. Then I was too lazy to get up and find one in our house!). But in the end, I think it turned out well and will be strong enough to hold quite a few accessories!

Almost done!

I finished the project by adding a mint colored letter “B”. Although I intended to add more ribbon or other girly things, I liked the simplicity of it with just the letter. Really, you could decorate with whatever you wanted!

The project turned out like I had hoped and I would even do it again! It is so easy to customize the

 colors, ribbons and design, that you could really do anything. Attaching flowers? Awesome! Adding words? Excellent! Glitter paint? Good luck.

Now that I have more space, a certain baby girl might be getting a few more hair bows in the near future…

Happy 4th of July!

A Roundup of Toddler 4th of July Hand print (and foot print) crafts!

Most people enjoy the middle of summer holiday with some good food on the grill, time off from work, and watching some fireworks. But if you have littles at home, fireworks may be too loud or too late to see! Instead, you could make your own holiday crafts. And of course, include the hand or foot prints of the kids! Here is a quick round up of some 4th of July handprint (or footprint) crafts for your littles! Why not try one of these for the holiday?

Flag and footprints

House of Burke has some great ideas for flags or footprint fire crackers! Super cute!

From houseofburkeblog.com

Patriotic Hand

Krissy from B-inspired Mama shows a super cute patriotic hand print. If you can get your child to sit still long enough to paint it, do it!

Patriotic Hand Print Craft 1
From B-InspiredMama.com

Hand wreath

Really, you could do this project for any holiday! For the 4th, use patriotic colors and arrange the hand prints around in a wreath. You could do different hand prints of all your kiddos! Thanks for the idea, Decorating with Dodi!

From dodi47.blogspot.com – Decorating with Dodi

Hand print fireworks

The blog Ava’s Alphabet shares step by step tips on how to get a great hand print with a youngster. I LOVE this fire work idea and will have to try it!

Handprint Fireworks
From avasalphabet.com

Hand and Footprint Canvas Flag

And lastly, this adorable idea from Sewing for Sanity. I love the hand and foot print combo! Super cute.

From http://littlethingsbybeth.blogspot.com/2011/07/american-flag-art-4th-of-july-kids.html (Sewing for Sanity)

Try these out! Create a keepsake for your family! If you like these hand print ideas, you can check out some of my other holiday hand prints here!

Here is how one of our projects turned out (my son painted the background fireworks!)

Happy 4th of July!

The Greatness of Garage Sales

The last few Friday mornings, at least one of my kiddos and I have been hitting up local garage sales. I have always had a love of finding special treasures for cheap and I believe my son is learning to love it as well! In fact, last week, I asked him, “Would you like to go to a garage sale with me?” And his 2 ½ year old response: “No, Mommy, FIVE garage sales.

So what is the greatness of garage sales?
  • I think as a mother and a teacher, garage sales are the best way for finding things you may need (or just like) for your home, kids or classroom without breaking the bank!
  • By reusing someone else’s things, you are being more environmentally friendly! This may seem like a stretch, but really, if you think about what would happen if we all just through away our stuff when we were through with it (which some do) how much waste we would have? By reselling and buying used things that are still in good condition, we are reducing our need for new products, and recycling!
  • You get to know people in your community! Just the other day, my son and I went to a neighborhood garage sale a few blocks away from our house. In that neighborhood alone, we talked to someone you attend the same out of state college as me, a woman whose daughter shared the same name as mine (and it is not a common name!), and discovered that a close relative of one of my students lives just around the corner from me. Get to know your neighbors. And their junk.

But where do you start? I know some people just like the thrill of the hunt and have no set plan. Usually I like to have an idea of what I’m looking for at the start. This way, I can drive by and scope out whether it is worth it to stop and get out (especially with two kids).

Here are the top things I currently look for when I’m garage saling:
  1. Kids Clothes/shoesThis, right now, is my number one purchase at any garage sale. If there is a chance someone will be selling toddler boy or baby girl clothes, I stop. I’m discovering that most times, girl clothes seem hardly worn! I’ve purchased brand new or like new clothes for $1 for my baby girl. However, rarely do I find this in toddler boy sizes. Why? Going by personal experience, it is because boys wear out their clothes so much faster than girls. And trying to find boys gym shoes in good condition? Good luck!
  2. Books – I know several other teachers at my school get almost all their classroom library books from garage sales. Not only does it save the teacher (and the school) so much money, but you can find a variety of books, genres and reading levels for super cheap! When most people buy books, they read the book once and then are done. Almost every garage sale I’ve been to has some sort of book section. It does take some time looking through the titles, but if you have the patience, you can find some classics, or some great new novels! Also, board books for the littles are popular to sell, so sometimes I grab one or two for my own kids.
  3. Storage containers – These are not very expensive to buy new in the store, and I often do that. But I’ve found some really cute, unique or just super cheap containers that will hold anything and everything. I’m always looking for tubs to hold my children’s outgrown clothes or a place to hold some toys. In my classroom, having tubs, buckets, and containers for everything from scissors and colored pencils to marbles to leftover owl pellets is a must (And yes, I do have a container of leftover owl pellets).
  4. Toys and games – Typically my son finds at least one thing he just loves at each garage sale. Typically, I let him pick just ONE thing that is less than a dollar or two. A truck, a new Minion sippy cup and a Nemo watch have been his latest finds. Board games and puzzles priced low (and with all the pieces) can be perfect for those rainy day recesses.
  5. Those random, yet perfect items that you weren’t expecting to find – It’s all worth it when you find that one thing. That thing that you didn’t know you were looking for, but found! Or that thing that you did not know existed until you saw it. For me, that was a camera tripod a few summers ago. My purpose for it wasn’t for a camera, but for a solar system lesson in my classroom. I think I bought it for $3 and I was expecting to have to pay close to $20. Awesome! My husband (who doesn’t garage sale much) happened to stumble upon landscaping rocks at a sale by our house. He had just started to fix up our backyard those were a perfect fit. Who knows what your treasure will be… a beautiful, antique tea set? A like-new piece of furniture? Something completely random for your classroom?

So get in the spirit of treasure hunting. The Greatness of Garage Sales is only truly great if you go out and search. Get some more use out of other people’s things. Start talking with your neighbors and learn more about those you live around.

Happy hunting!

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Crafts for Kids Round Up

St. Patrick’s Day is coming soon! When your last name is O’Shaughnessey, St. Paddy’s day is a big deal! I like to make corned beef and have Irish Soda bread, but take a pass on the Guinness… (my husband and I don’t really drink much).

This year, I want my busy boy to help celebrate. Leprechauns and rainbows can be fun ways to celebrate, but our clan loves shamrocks. My husband’s family tends to collect, display and even grow shamrocks. Shamrock’s can symbolize the Trinity, which makes it even more special. Therefore, I hunted down ideas that involved Shamrocks! (You’ll notice several of them have hand or footprints too…another favorite of mine!) Click on the titles to see instructions or pictures for the activities.

Hand print shamrock on canvas

Source unknown (If anyone does know, please let me know so I can link to the site!). 

The picture shows a four leaf clover, but you could do three hands for a shamrock. Paper, card stock or even fabric could be used instead of the canvas.

Fizzing Paint Shamrocks 

Source: Gift of Curiosity, giftofcuriosity.con

I love this idea! My son enjoys playing with baking soda and vinegar and watching the fizz (we call it playing “science”). This activity combines painting and fizzing! Also, if you don’t have pipettes handy, we have used extra syringes (leftover from old medicines) and they worked great!

Rainbow Watercolor Raised Salt Paint Shamrock

Source: Rhythms of Play, rhythmsofplay.com

Definitely would like to try salt painting in the future! A St. Patrick’s Day theme makes it even better! My middle school students would love to try this too!

 

Marshmallow Shamrock

Source: Pinterestedparent.stfi

Super quick and easy way to paint. Pretty sure my son would try and take a bite of the marshmallows though…

Kids Shamrock Footprint

Source: CraftyMorning.com

This website contains many other ideas for holiday crafts! Take a look around to see more great St. Paddy’s Day ideas.

Handprint Shamrock (or 4 leaf clovers)

Source: Preschool Ideas for 2 Year Olds at Terrific2s.blogspot.com

Another handprint clover or Shamrock example. Adding glitter always makes life for interesting!

Marble Painted Shamrock

Source: PlainVanillaMom.com

No need for a holiday to do this activity, but using a themed paper makes it even better. Grab some marbles, paint and a Ziploc container, and you are good to go!
There are many more activities out there that don’t require much prep and look fun! Spend a little time with your little (or big ones) this St. Patrick’s Day and create something to pull out every year!

Valentine’s Day Hand and Feet

Valentine’s Day is coming soon–or wait, it’s here! It always seems silly to me when you see aisles of pink, red and white in the stores before Christmas is even over. But BOOM, all of a sudden, this day of flowers and chocolate sneaks up on you. All of a sudden, I need to organize a little party for my homeroom class. (This is still important, even in middle school… or should I say, especially important because it is middle school…).

My kids all of a sudden need to bring Valentine’s to their day care. Yes, my 3 month old is bringing her daycare “friends” strawberry applesauce, which she cannot even eat yet. But I found these super cute tags on Savoring the Good so it’s all good!

All of a sudden it is the day before Valentine’s Day, and I don’t even have card for my husband. Oops…

I did notice a few days ago though, that I had no Valentine’s Day decor around the house. I’m not into super cheesy decorations or going overboard, but I think a few well placed pieces are a fun and festive way to get into the different seasons. So a DIY Valentine’s Day project began!

DIY Valentine’s Decor
My son loves to help with crafts. Here, he got to paint his own board!

I am a little obsessed with all things made with hand and footprints from my children. My two year old’s room is decorated with a transportation theme. His footprints are different motor vehicles and I took hand prints and made them into a traffic light! Since my daughter’s feet are still itty bitty, I want to take advantage any way I can!

Because I had boards left over from my last DIY project (you can see it here), I simply painted one red with a white border.

Next, I brushed paint onto my daughter’s cute feetsies and stamped them one at a time onto my board to make the shape of a “V”. I free handed the letters “L” and “E” in the corners of the board. Finally, I took my son’s hand and placed it to make an “O”.

It turned out pretty good! All in all, this project took me less than 30 minutes of work. I did little parts at a time, but it was super easy and inexpensive, and I love that I will be able to pull it out for several years to come and remember how little my babies were!

If you are in a pinch for a gift or card for someone, try this! If you don’t have a wood board, paper would work great and you can turn it into a nice note or even frame it for a grandparent. Who doesn’t love the adorableness of tiny hands and feet!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

DIY Nail Art – A Girl’s Night Activity!

I’m a part of a small group of people from my church that meet a couple times a month. We call it a “Lifegroup” because, as our church continually states, we “do life together!” We meet, we eat (obviously!), we do a Bible study, or sometimes we just talk. And we pray for each other. I think that alone makes our group tight. We share what God is doing and how we need God in our lives.

In about two years, our group went from about 8 adults and 2 kids to 8 adults, 6 kids and one on the way. Needless to say, our get-togethers can become crazy quickly! But this is our life, and so we do the crazy together.

Recently, the ladies of our group plus several others from other groups, got together to celebrate the coming birth of the “one on the way” in our group. It has become somewhat of a tradition in our group to have a sort of ladies night whenever someone is due. We especially like to do this when it isn’t their first baby and a big themed baby shower isn’t necessary. It is awesome to have some time with other women to laugh, share and just get away for a couple hours.

I love to help put together these types of get togethers! Rather than playing traditional baby shower games, I decided it would be fun to do a DIY project. When I saw a picture of a simple arrow nail art, I thought it would be a great project for the girls!

Setting up:

It was easy to assembly the materials. All you needed were boards, hammers, nails, and string. I included paint and brushes as well. My husband helped with the boards. He bought two different sized long boards from the hardware store, then cut them into the sizes I requested. We left some boards plain and used a few types of stains on the others. I printed a few ideas for templates that the girls could use if they wanted.

Note: I did a trial run before the party, and this is what happens when you do not use a ruler and your 2 year old is trying to “help” give you nails. The term “straight as an arrow” does not apply here!

Instructions

  1. Use the template or ruler to lightly draw your design on the wood. It worked well to put the template (if using one) over your board, then take one nail and make all the holes right through the paper. Once the holes were there, you can take the paper off and see exactly where all the nails need to go!
  2. Next, hammer away! Put the nails in where the holes were marked (or where you had drawn). Make sure the nails are in far enough that they won’t be pulled out easily.
  3. Use the string (bright colors make it fun!) and start with tying a knot around one of the nails. Wrap the string around in any type of pattern you choose! I found it is best to “fill in” with the string first, then at the end, go around to make an outline and define your shape more.
  4. Use paint to decorate more if desired!

 

We had a blast chatting, eating, and hammering! It was a little bit of a unique way to celebrate a baby, but we all enjoyed getting the week’s frustrations out with some good hard swings!

All different designs, but they all turned out great!

And the best part of all: the newest baby girl of our life group was born a week later! She was happy and healthy, and mom did great!