Popsicle Stick Valentine Frame

Popsicle Stick Valentine Frame

A simple DIY toddler project for Valentines Day!

A while back I was charged with the love and care of several little ones every Sunday while their parents attended various classes.  I absolutely adore my littles and, as you guys probably already know, I love figuring out little projects for them to take home, especially during holidays. So, For Valentine’s Day I decided to put together little popsicle stick frames they could decorate with stickers. I mean honestly, what toddler doesn’t love stickers?! I must say, it was a smashing hit. Not only were they covered in sweet valentine stickers, but so were their frames. Plus clean up was a snap, which is always a major bonus when dealing with toddlers.

Even my six year old enjoyed making one, or four. Now my fridge is super festive with their latest creations and I love it. Who says crafts have to be complicated? Bring on the simple!

Let me show you how I set things up.

Supplies:

  1. Large Popsicle sticks
  2. Glue (hot glue, Elmer’s glue, any glue will do… Ha! That totally rhymes.)
  3. Magnet strips (you can find these at Michael’s or any craft store)
  4. Valentines Stickers
  5. Glitter glue pens (optional). You can also use Sharpies.

How To:

  1. Assemble your frame by gluing the popsicle sticks into a square with two popsicle sticks on top and bottom                                  
  2. Depending on what magnetic strips you bought, it may already have an adhesive backing. If so, peel and stick the magnet to the back. Or glue it.                         
  3. Write l-o-v-e on the bottom corner with either a glitter pen or sharpie.  However, usually I gotta have a little glitter.                             
  4. Let littles go to town with stickers!

I mean honestly, does it get any easier? A little prep work gluing the popsicle sticks is all you need. Also, these would make a fun non candy Valentine if you feel the urge to glue…a lot. Plus, now you have fridge art. If you’re anything like me, my fridge is super full of astounding works of art already, but hey, now they’re framed!

If you want another great idea for a simple valentine, try these Melted Heart Crayon Valentines. They come with a free printable, because I love you.

10 Ways raising toddlers is like being on the Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones: Toddler Edition

As I sit and watch the Game of Thrones I can’t help but relate some of it to my life.  I know that sounds odd because if my life is anything like the Game of Thrones I’d better duck and cover and hope George R.R. Martin has no idea who I am let alone where I reside. However, the daily insanity of raising toddlers and a preschooler has surprising similarities to a world full of war, underhanded scheming, magical/mythical creatures, and family devotion.  Here are 10 ways raising toddlers is like being on the Game of Thrones.

1. Our official title is:  ( Insert name ) of the House Toddlaryen, First of Her name, True born queen of the Vandals and the First Toddler, Khaleesi, Breaker of Cheetos, The unkempt, Lady Regent of the seven tantrums, Protector of the Breakables, and Mother of Toddlers.

2.  Toddlers too, can lay waste to a city or, at the very least, a living room. Have you ever seen the destructive powers of a toddler on the rampage? It is an awe inspiring sight. Toddlers have no sense of honor, nor do they obey direct commands.  Releasing them onto a population of slavers and slaves alike would prove disastrous for all. If we were to unleash a sea of toddlers against the unsullied, I’m fairly certain toddlers would win.

3. The Rains of Castamere can be heard in your home as your toddler destroys things you love, out of nowhere.  Have no doubt that toddlers are secret ninjas and murderers of all things precious to you.  They will manage to find a way to destroy something you once valued.  That one dress that makes your waist and legs look amazing? Beheaded by smears of peanut butter.  Your nice stereo system hooked up to your brand new receiver? Slaughtered by  insane amounts of button pushing.  A beautiful piece of furniture you’ve had in your family for years? Massacred with permanent marker that you honestly have no idea where they found.  Mothers of toddlers never know which beloved item is next or when the execution will be carried out.

4.White walkers have nothing on us.  If you’ve ever experienced a particularly challenging day with your toddler, you will be able to relate to this one for sure.  A toddler has the ability to turn us into demonized frost creatures of myth who roam the woods looking for something to slaughter or maim.  There comes a point, after the umpteenth tantrum over the wrong sippy cup, the soul shattering screeching, the destruction of yet another room you just finished picking up, or the  300th cry of “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom!”, that your mind will snap, your eyes will frost ice blue, and your countenance becomes ice cold.   After this phenomenon has occurred all bets are off as to whether anyone who crosses your path lives or dies.  Your sour mood infects all who are in proximity thus making your house a haven for all beings arctic, dead, and disastrous. True Story.

5. Our banner that we fly into battle (aka bedtime)  looks like this:  The silhouette of a woman with two children clinging to her legs holding high a hair brush and a mixing bowl. The background is a beautiful gold fabric smeared with jelly, mac and cheese, and applesauce.  To complete our banner, our silhouetted woman is scribbled over in pen.

6. We love our family.  No matter what insane things our toddlers throw at us, and despite our complaining, we will always love and protect them, murder for them, plot for them, and overthrow kingdoms for them.

7. Some days facing the day with toddlers is a lot like being paralyzed from a long fall out of the window of a high tower.  Before we had children life was full of possibilities. We could frolic and play.  Climb whatever vertical obstacle opposed us, and carry on with a summer child-like countenance.  Then came the toddlers.  Our summer quickly turned to winter as our precious babies transformed into those adorable, hell raising toddlers. Our once carefree existence came crashing down on us and we find ourselves confined to the structure, needs, and demands of our little ones. It can feel paralyzing and suffocating at times. To those of you with young babies in your arms, just remember, Winter is Coming.

8. Valar Morghulis. I am almost certain that all toddlers have secretly been trained by Jaqen H’ghar (if you don’t know/remember him, he’s probably one of the best assassins ever and he can literally change his face).  They can murder and destroy something in seconds without a second thought, and then completely change personas into  sweet, loving, and adorable cuddle machines.  What the hell Jaqen!

9. Wildfire seems an appropriate cleansing agent.  After a long day running around chasing your little ones, you will turn around and actually look at the state of your house.  It is true that you did, in fact, pick up all day long, but it looks as if you just sat around all day eating bon bons and binge watching Netflix while you let your toddler run amok. I’ve been there (I reside there still) and I’m fairly certain that instead of trying to continue with the insanity of cleaning with children we should, instead, just throw a pot of wildfire on it all and watch the beautiful green flames cleanse the hell out of our house.

10. We too, live at The Wall.  Harsh conditions, demanding superiors, exiled from life itself, sentenced to a life of hard labor with no conjugal visits?  Sounds like a typical Tuesday to me.

There you have it!  Life with little ones can be exhausting, gruelling, and jaw droppingly surprising, but we soldier on in the face of daunting challenges nonetheless. And we can’t imagine life without them (ok, we can, but it doesn’t last long).  Now, time to binge watch the last 4 seasons at 9:00 at night while the little ones sleep don’t ya think?

 

The Twinkle Diaries

Shopping with toddlers is like being a contestant on a terrible game show

Shopping with toddlers is like being a contestant on a terrible game show

Supermarket Madness

Have you ever looked through your fridge or pantry and realized that you desperately need to go grocery shopping, but the idea of hauling your little ones to the market is worse than that tuna fish and peanut butter sandwich you’d be forced to eat if you didn’t?  I have!  Trying to go grocery shopping with toddlers is much like being a contestant on a horrible game show. There are always obstacle courses, an audience, and horrible announcers in your head that sound a lot like the hosts of Wipe Out:

BUZZ BUZZ (the starting alarm)

“And she’s off like a shot! All three kids are crammed into that shopping cart, but where will the groceries go Bob?”

“I don’t know Mac, but it looks like one of the kids is already squirming to get out.  She’d better reign those little ones in or it’s a penalty.”

“She’s made it to the fresh produce and it looks like Alisynne, the resident 4 year old, wants to be mommy’s little helper. Can she pull off putting in only 5 apples?  Yes! She does it!  5 Bonus points for the correct amount.  But wait, are you seeing what I’m seeing Bob?”

“Oh no Mac.  One of the twins has escaped their restraints while mommy’s back is turned.  Will she notice in time? NO! He’s off like a rocket dodging carts and running to the pickles.  Nice moves little man.”

“It looks like Heather has finally noticed and takes pursuit with Alisynne, clutching a partially bitten apple, dashing close behind.  Will she make it in time before the pickle loving 2 year old pulls the giant glass jar onto the floor…….Yes!  But only barely.  5 points for speed, but a penalty of 8 for a runaway toddler.”

“It looks like she’s got everyone back in place and is actually grabbing a few items that are on her list.  That’s worth 10 points. She’d better watch out though…..”

“She’s pulled a classic mistake there Bob.  She’s let her cart slip too close to the stocked shelves and Emma, our resident 2 year old,  is now piling in massive amounts of chocolate chips.  Oh it’s a double whammy!  Ethan, the other resident 2 year old, is now dropping the chocolate chips onto the floor while Emma continues to maintain speed. ”

“It just goes to show that you can’t take too long to check prices, or you’ll pay a penalty.”

“She’s gracefully maneuvered around the seasonal aisle full of brightly stuffed bunnies, colored eggs, and abundant supply of all things sugary and colorful with everyone none the wiser.  Well done.”

“She’d better hurry Mac, the children seem to be fidgeting even worse.  She’s pulled out her emergency baggie of pretzels, but she only brought one bag!  That’s a terrible oversight and it’s gonna cost.”

“Ouch Bob! That screeching has gotta hurt. It looks like we’ve got some annoyed shoppers trying to peek at the disaster that is unfolding in the cereal aisle while the trio argue over who gets to hold the baggie.”

“The timer is running down now Mac and she hasn’t even come close to getting everything on her list.  It looks like she’s going to have to checkout before the tantruming trio create an even bigger scene.”

“Heather is coming up to the gauntlet now.  Can she maneuver her toddlers away from the brightly colored and easily accessible candy bars, lighters, gum, and chapstick that little hands just can’t get enough of at the checkout aisle? Or will she pay another penalty for the destruction of grocery store displays as she tries to unload her cart?”

“It’s a disaster Mac!  The twins have both managed to grab handfuls of gum packets and are trying to rip into the delicious yet sticky nightmare while Alisynne, the apple loving 4 year old, asks over and over and over if she can have a candy bar for being so good.”

“Oh no Bob!  We’ve got a wild card in play! Ethan has spotted the balloons from the florist section and desperately wants one.  He’s trying to wiggle away toward the floating wonders while Heather continues to try to unload her cart.”

“Heather has 10 seconds left Mac, can she swipe her card and dash for the door in time?”

 3…..2……1…….BUZZZZZZ 

“She’s done it Bob!  She’s made a grocery run!  What has she won?”

“A $250 grocery bill, a half completed list, and an anxiety attack Mac!”

 

Image courtesy of Buzzfeed

 

 

Toddler Talk Tuesday

Toddler Talk Tuesday

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Another week has passed and my children continue to elicit full belly laughter from all of us.  Alisynne’s questions and comments have become increasingly detailed, and just plain funny. Ethan is grasping language much quicker now and has started making comprehensive sentences, but still full of cute toddler phrasing like “wemope” for remote, or “fwying” for flying.  I’m certain he’ll start to be featured here a lot more fairly soon.  Emma is quick as a whip on the uptake of language.  She doesn’t ask many questions yet, but can tell you what she wants/needs/desires/ for just about anything.  I’m keeping my ears perked up for her funny little comments.  Without further ado, here are some of last weeks gems!

  1. As I was literally hitting finish on last week’s Toddler Talk Tuesday, Alisynne came over to the computer after having just gone potty to tell me this. “I went to the potty with my game (a kindle).  I was veeeeeery careful so I could be like daddy.”   It seems Alisynne has noticed a certain habit of her father’s.toddler talk potty quote
  2. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Alisynne has been asking a lot of questions about what happens to us after we die.  I believe Disney is to blame for the recent curiosity.  Have you ever seen a single Disney movie that doesn’t have someone die or is already dead right from the get to go? The answer is No. After explaining to Alisynne that after we die we go to heaven and get to be with Heavenly Father, Jesus, and other people we love she excitedly said, “I cannot wait to die!” I cannot wait to die quote
  3.  The other day Alisynne was feeling a little crummy.  She came up to me and said, “Mom my heart hurts.     Me: “What’s making your heart hurt?”        Alisynne: “I don’t know.  Maybe bacteria.”

 

Bacteria quote

 

4.  Ethan loves to use Joe’s dog tags as a whistle.  Unfortunately they don’t make any sound. So, what’s a toddler to do?  Make the sound himself of course.  Out of nowhere and at completely random times of the day we will hear a high pitched (like impressively high) and incredibly loud, “Woooooooooooooo! Wooooooooooooooo! Woooooooooooo!”  Then he’ll appear with a huge grin on his face, sucking/blowing on Joe’s dog tags.Woooooo toddler talk quote

Toddler Talk Tuesday

Toddler Talk Tuesday

Welcome to Toddler Talk Tuesday!

Toddler Talk Tuesday is a new section of my blog inspired by Alisynne who has been on a question asking, fact finding, knowledge dropping spree.  She is full of hilarious questions, anecdotes and advice that I feel must be shared with you, if only to make you smile at the world seen through the eyes of a 4 year old.

If you remember reading in the About page, Alisynne has zero tolerance for mean words, yelling, or any act she deems rude or upsetting.  A few days ago I had gotten angry with Ethan for chucking my Kindle across the room because the battery had died.  In my frustration I yelled at him (I know I know, I’m working on it) and told him how naughty that was.  That triggered my little Alisynne into action.  There is a large picture of Christ that hangs on our living room wall.  With gusto Alisynne pointed her finger directly at the picutre and said, “Mom!  We do not yell! Yelling makes Jesus very upset!”

Toddler talk tuesday quote #1

Having gotten dressed in every Hello Kitty item she could find, Alisynne came tromping down the stairs to announce, “Mom, I’m a Hello Kitty Mess!”

Hello Kitty quote.  Toddler talk tuesday

 

After watching a cartoon show on Netflix about a cat who uses a hot air balloon to get around, Alisynne, with a very distraught look on her face, concluded,  “Mom, I just wanna float”

toddler talk tuesday quote #3

 

Oh children. Aren’t they the best?!

Baymax Rice Krispie Treats

Baymax Rice Krispie Treats

 BAYMAX RICE KRISPIE TREATS: A FUN HOW TO FOR YOU AND  YOUR TODDLER

Baymax Rice Krispie Treat at One Crazy Ride

Baymax rice krispie treats, toddler project

With Big Hero 6 being released on dvd recently, our house has become Baymax central.  My children LOVE this movie and I’m sure we’ve watched it at least 15 times by now.  I was thinking of ideas for our next family fun night when it dawned on me!  Baymax head rice krispie treats!  Delicious and fitting for our recent obsession.  I did a test drive with the kiddos and they had a blast putting these together.  So, without further ado, here’s How to make Baymax rice krispie treats for toddlers!

Supplies:

  1. Rice Krispiessupplies for baymax rice krispie treats
  2. marshmallows
  3. butter
  4. crisco
  5. Mega M&M’s
  6. Hershey’s bar
  7. small bowl
  8. wax paper

 

How To:

1.  Make your rice krispie treats.  If you need a recipe just snag this one here.

2.  Before the rice krispie treats cool too much, fill your small bowl full and push down.  This makes sure they retain their shape once you pop them out.  It’s less sticky if you coat your hands and          bowl in crisco.

.20150227_102705

3.  Pop out your molded heads onto wax paper

4.  Once they’ve cooled just slightly cut a slit into the middle of the head and insert a square of the Hershey bar. This will be the line that connects Baymax’s eyes. You can have your little helpers do this too (not the cutting obviously).

Step 3 of Baymax rice krispie treat tutorial

 

5.  Melt a couple pieces of chocolate in the microwave on about 50% power for a minute.  Stir the chocolate until smooth and melted. Go another round in the microwave if you need. This will act as the glue!

step 5 Baymax rice krispie tutorial

 

6.  Add “glue” to the back of a brown Mega M&M.  My toddlers loved this part.

step 6 in Baymax rice krispie tutorial

7.  Attach both eyes to your head at the end of your Hershey bar.

Finished Baymax head for rice krispie tutorialchildren making Baymax rice krispie treats

Tada!  A very simple and fun way to dress up your rice krispie treats! These would be great for a Big Hero 6 party, or just for the fun of it.  My kiddos enjoyed making these (heck, I enjoyed making these!) and I’m sure you will too!  As an added bonus we made a whole Baymax out of rice krispie treats, cause why the heck not?!

Full Baymax rice krispie treat

 

 

No Pants Allowed

No Pants Allowed

no pants allowed

No Pants Allowed:  A clash of the titans

Any parent of a toddler can tell you one of the joys of toddlerhood is the awe-inspiring meltdown they can achieve in 0.1 seconds flat. It is truly remarkable.  There is no discrimination on what a tantrum can be thrown over either.  It can by ANYTHING!  Take Emma’s (my 2 1/2 year old) epic throw down this morning.  In recent weeks Emma has grown a distaste for pants and all things pants related; shorts, tights, leggings, etc.  She prefers a dress nowadays.  While perusing her closet to find something to wear she decided against every dress she owns.  Nothing would do, so she scampered off to the toy room to play in just a diaper.  It was a little cold this morning so I decided a dress wouldn’t suffice.  I have found that I can actually dress her rather peacefully if she is distracted with something.  So, while she was immersed in her pile of dolls, I simply started putting items of clothing on: one unicorn t-shirt, and one pair of pants.  All went according to plan.  She was dressed, happy, and playing.  I left her to play and turned my attention to dressing Ethan (my other 2 1/2 year old), putting in a load of laundry, cleaning up a massive pile of spilled rice krispies from breakfast, you know, the usual.  The morning flew by and it was time for lunch. Lunch and a show….

Alisynne and Ethan were sitting at the counter waiting for their peanut butter and honey sandwiches with oranges, when down comes Emma.  She made it halfway to the counter when the truth of her situation dropped on her like a ton of bricks.  She was wearing pants.  PANTS!!  The garment forged from Satan’s hellfire was encircled about her legs.  She launched herself onto the floor screaming, what I imagine to be, a slew of toddler profanities. In her own way, I’m sure she was cursing Adam and Eve for their part in her having to wear pants.  She ripped at her button trying desperately to undo this horror, but it was iron clad.  With the realization upon her that she was stuck in her pants, the acrobatics took on a new level.  The arching, wrenching, and twisting of her little body was akin to a cirque du soleil performance.  Add some bright feathers, jewels,  and  a foot stomping tune, and we’ve really got a show. If only there were some way to transfer the energy of this tantrum into something useful like powering a city block for a good 7 minutes or, at the very least, enough power to pop some popcorn for this pageantry.

Along with the olympic level gymnastics came the ear splitting screeching.  This child should be strapped to a tugboat and used as a foghorn on those particularly foggy nights.  She may have even matched Mariah Carey’s infamous garage door opening pitch.  When the next epic tantrum hits, I believe I will record the shrieks of disdain, save them, and in the future, when teenage Emma needs to be taken down a notch, I shall insert the recording into her alarm clock, and wait.

The spectacle continued on for about 12 minutes.  Emma and I battled wills over who would be the first to break.  Could I ignore her carryings on, or could she muster up every ounce of strength and stubbornness she possessed to break me?  Emma won.  I swooped up her little body and angrily stomped my way upstairs where I placed her on her bed, told/yelled that she had to stay there until she calmed down, shut/slammed the door, and huffed downstairs in frustration. Not my finest hour.  There is something about 12 minutes of blood curdling screaming that seems to worm its way into your head and makes you rather savage yourself.  It took about 5 minutes for both of us to calm down.  I trudged upstairs in shame at my own outburst to my 2 year old, opened the door, and gave her a big hug.  She accepted my apology gracefully, smiled, and took off for her lunch, pantsless.