PRESENT DAY MOMS

Dreamcatchers

Emily DaFoe
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Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved Dreamcatchers.  My big sister bought me a little one and I placed it above my bed, and it kept me safe (or so I believed). I loved the history of the dreamcatcher and what it represents. Apparently, it is a piece that represents the circle of life and how forces like the sun and moon travel each day and night across the sky. The dream catcher web catches the bad dreams during your sleep and cast off with them when the day arrives. I mean, who doesn’t want one of them above their beds! 

There are many ways to make Dreamcatchers and similarly to our fingerprint, a cobweb or a snowflake, there are no two alike.  That means it is foolproof; the kids can make mistakes and the finished product will be perfectly imperfect! The threading also helps children with coordination, focus and creativity. You can add beads and rhinestones, and for the tassels you don’t need feathers but can find old ribbon and string laying around the house!

METHOD

STEP 1:

Tie one end of the embroidery thread around the top of the dreamcatcher.

STEP 2:

Bring the broidery thread around through the inside of the hoop, over the top of the hoop, and back through the loop just made by the embroidery floss. (See the photos for clarification)

STEP 3:

Continue this motion around the hoop, until you have wrapped it around the hoop 8 times and are back at the top. 

STEP 4:

Do the same thing again around the hoop, but instead of wrapping around the outside of the hoop, you will wrap around the middle of the embroidery floss loop.

STEP 5:

Keep wrapping around and around, pulling a little tighter with each pass around. For anyone feeling crafty and wanting more of a challenge, you can add beads at any point during this process. (Depending on the size of the hole in your beads, you need to use a needle to thread them onto the embroidery floss.)

STEP 6:

Once you have gone around as much as you want, pull the end of the embroidery floss to tighten the web and tie with a secure knot.

STEP 7:

 Grab your thread and ribbons, and pre-threaded beads. Fold in half and place over ring and then thread the ends through the loop to create a larks head knot. Add as many as you’d like onto the dreamcatcher along the bottom.

STEP 8:

Hang your beautiful unique piece above your little ones bed or around the house to ward off bad dreams.

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For more fun dreamcatcher ideas, head over and check out our Pinterest board here!

 

Mess Free Stress Balls

Emily DaFoe
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You might not think of stress balls as a kid thing, but let me tell you, they are. 

These super cool squishy balls are perfect for fidgeters, children with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, anxiety, and probably every child we know. They stretch, they squeeze, they are so much fun. 

This DIY stress ball has a squishy soft texture that kids will love squeezing to calm down, soothe themselves, or just play with. Oh, and these aren’t just great for kids, my husband, and I are addicted to these squeeze balls too!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Funnel

  • Balloons

  • Rice, Cornstarch or Flour

  • Scissors

  • Bowl

  • Spoon

COST

  • Approx .50c each ball

  • AGE

  • 2+

METHOD

STEP 1: 

Spend about 30 seconds stretching out your ballon, then put the balloon opening around the funnel opening. Try to get the funnel as deep into the ballon as you can, so the balloon doesn’t come off.

STEP 2: 

While still holding the balloon opening around the funnel, use your spoon to spoon in your flour ( cornstarch or rice). Carefully pull down on the bottom of the balloon and jiggle the contents so that they fall into the balloon. 

STEP 3: 

Once you have put as much flour as you can into the balloon, carefully take the funnel off and pinch the neck of the balloon. Try to get as much air out of the ballon by pinching the neck and pulling the balloon down. As it comes back up, release a little of the air, and then quickly double knot the ballon. Pull your knot as tight as possible and cut off the excess balloon.

STEP 4: 

Toss them in a basket or bucket, and your kids will have fun playing with them throughout the day.

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Brass Ring Leather Bracelet

Emily DaFoe
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How many of you loved making jewelry as a kid? With a room full of arts and crafts, it’s easy to whip up some fun jewelry. If you don’t happen to have a craft box, head to your local hardware store and pick up some easy essentials that will offer hours of fun and creative thinking!

Over the weekend, we had all the kiddos together running around and playing, but for some of the older girls, I brought along supplies for them to make a back to school accessory, a brass and bead leather bracelet!

The best part about this craft is there is no right way to make it, since each can be creative and unique. Some of the girls made bracelets and a couple made key chains to add to their backpacks! However, here are the steps for the bracelet.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Leather Cord or Lacing

  • Wooden Beads

  • Embroidery String

  • Brass Rings

  • Keychain Hook

METHOD:

STEP 1:

Cut the leather into the lengths that are long enough to wrap around your wrist and brass ring.

STEP 2:

Feed the leather evenly and loop it around the brass ring. Add a bead on each side to secure the leather.

STEP 3:

Add a bead on each side to secure the leather. You may need to cut the ends of the leather at an angle to easily feed it through.

STEP 4:

Push the bead as close to the brass ring, and wrap your embroidery color to keep it in place. Leave a little room on the length of the string to tie it off into a knot. Dab a little glue and you are good to go!

STEP 5:

Tie off the ends of the leather and you are ready to wear it!

Here is a peek at the keychains and wrap bracelets a couple of the girls made! We love how creative they all got.








Upcycled Backpack!

Emily DaFoe
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We are very mindful in our household about recycling and consuming less. I recall as a kid, the excitement and anticipation of heading into the new school year with a new set of school items, and shiny new shoes. I still want my kids to head into the school year with the same enthusiasm, so they will no doubt get a few new school items. However, we also decided to up-cycle some of last year's items and give them a little facelift. 

Instead of buying new backpacks for the kids this year, we talked to them about what would happen if every kid discarded their bags each year and where their old bags would end up - in a landfill that pollutes the environment. So we mutually decided to redecorate their old backpacks and give them a new lease on life. And I must say - the kids were very proud of the outcome.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Backpack

  • Glue Gun & Glue

  • Tassels (pom poms, beads, ribbon)

  • Fabric

  • Iron-on patches

  • Iron

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COST

Approx $5 

AGE

6+

METHOD

There are so many ways you can decorate a backpack. We used beaded ribbon and hot glued it around the edges of the backpack. We then cut out my daughter's name in fabric and glued her name to the bag. We then sewed around the edges to secure her name firmly to the backpack. Afterward (with supervision), we strategically placed iron-on patches around her backpack and ironed them in place. 

Have fun with it, give your child creative direction and allow them to take ownership of their masterpiece. 

Backpack Charms

Emily DaFoe
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The new school year can be very daunting for a kid, so we like to bring the excitement of the coming year by crafting items that the kids can take along to school with them. 

Backpack charms are a cute and easy way for your kids to accessorize their backpacks with their individual style. 

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INGREDIENTS:

Figurines, Small Toys, Cars (we dug through our toy box and picked out a special car, along with some unique small toys) 

  • Drill

  • Wire

  • Wire Cutters

  • Beads

  • Ribbon or String

  • Key Chain Ring

COST:

Approx $5 

AGE

4+

METHOD

STEP 1: 

Have your child/children dig through their toy boxes and pick out a couple of small items that you can use as the main ‘centerpiece’ on their key charm. My kids chose a little toy car and small plastic animal figurines. 

STEP 2: 

Use a small drill bit to drill holes in your toys. (This requires supervision). 

STEP 3: 

Attach a piece of wire to your key ring, leave enough room so that there is a loop for the wire to move freely around the key ring. (You do this so the keyring can easily thread onto the zipper). 

STEP 4: 

Thread your beads and your toy through the wire. Leave enough space to knot the end of your wire by bringing it back up past two or three of the threaded beads, and twist the end around the wire. This will leave a small loop. 

STEP 5: 

Attach ribbon or thread to the loop that you just created to create a tassel. We circled a bunch of twine around our hands to make them the same length, we then tied one end of the bundle to the loop, and then we cut the other end of the bundle. By doing it this way, the tassel was an even length. 

STEP 6: 

Attach the key charm to the zipper of your child’s backpack. 

TIPS

Let your creativity run wild. We used recycled beads and recycled toys. You can find most of the items in your home. 

Macrame Palm Leaf Wall Hanging

Emily DaFoe

This project is one for the older kids. I would say 8 and above. It’s a great way for them to practice mindfulness without even knowing it, as you really have to concentrate on what side you are weaving, as each new line alternates. Not only is it a really calming craft to do, but it’s easy and looks super cute on the wall.

MATERIALS:

Three different colored cord. We love these three-color combos, but you can choose whatever you like or even do a monochromatic one.

Method: 

For a larger sized leaf, you’ll need the following precut cord.

·      1 x 30" strand for the center of leaf

·      12 x 16" strands for the top

·      10 x 14" strands for the middle

·       8 x 10" strands for the bottom

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STEP 1:   

Fold the 30" strand in half. Loop it around the gold craft circle so it is laying over the top. Tuck it into the back of the circle to make the loop secure to the circle. The is your inner part of the leaf the runs vertically downwards.

STEP 2:   

Now take two of the 14" strands, fold both in half.

STEP 3:   

Take one and tuck the loop side from the left under the spine to the right

STEP 4:    

Now you need to the same thing with the other piece in the opposite direction.  Pull both ends of the strings on. opposite directions to create a square knot around the back bone of the feather.

STEP 5:    

The macramé is back and forth of direction of the knot. So, grab another 2 x 14" strands, fold one in half and insert it to the back in the opposite direction of your first row (to the right). Pull it through and lay it horizontally.

STEP 6:    

Now you need to the same thing with the other piece in the opposite direction (to the left).  Pull both ends of the strings on opposite directions to create a second square knot the sits below your firsts.

STEP 7:    

Push the strands up to tighten and be sure to push the strands up. 

STEP 8:    

Keep repeating until all the pieces have been used – making sure you always start the next row on the opposite side as the one before.

STEP 9:  

After all of the thread is used, give it a trim to make the shape of a leaf. 

STEP 10:

Now it’s time to brush out the macramé cord to make it ‘leaf’ like. We use a good old cat brush. Making sure not to catch the backbone of the leaf or to pull any of the strands off, we gently brushed out the cord. The best thing is to do smaller sections holding the knot with two fingers and brushing the leaf part. You can also do this on a flat surface like a craft table or on the kitchen counter (just make sure it doesn’t scratch your marble!) It takes a while but be patient you’ll soon have your first leaf.

STEP 11:

Now, repeat the steps to make a few more leaves of different sizes. Follow the above suggested framework of pieces but with smaller leaves you’ll obviously need less. We did 4 leaves in total. 1 large, two medium and 1 tiny one.

STEP 12:

Now it’s time for the fabric stiffener. We first used a starch which didn’t work and moved to a hardier fabric stiffener which did the trick. We sprayed a thick layer on the table leaves so they were drenched. We then brushed them gently into position. Let the leaves dry overnight just to be safe.

STEP 13:

Time for another trim to get rid of any stragglers. Because the leaves are hard now it’s much easier to get a sharper outline. So, place on the table and gentle cut the edges.

STEP 14:

Your Macramé Leaf Hanging is ready to hang and enjoy by all the family! Just watch as everyone comments are your little handmade Macramé piece!

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Pinecone Bird Feeder

Emily DaFoe
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We are lucky to have a lot of trees in our yard, which means a lot of squirrels and a ton of birds! A while back we made a homemade bird feeder with some remnant wood, but since the pine tree has started dropping pinecones everywhere, we decided to make something different. 

 Using a few key staples from our pantry, we were able to make a tasty treat for the birds to enjoy.

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 Ingredients:

2-4 pinecones – or you could use a paper towel or toilet paper roll!

¼ cup of seeds – I chose chia, flax, and pumpkin. Or use premixed bird feed.

¼ cup of peanut butter

Kitchen twine or yarn

METHOD:

STEP 1:

Take a heaping spoonful of each of your seeds and mix together. Add as little or as much as you want depending on how many pinecones you would like to make

STEP 2:

Scoop out a couple large tablespoons of peanut butter and start applying it evenly throughout the pinecone to coat it.

STEP 3:

Sprinkle the seed mix on the pinecone, or roll it in the bowl of seeds.

STEP 4:

Cut your twine and tie it around the top of the pinecone to hang.  Place it in your favorite tree and wait for the birds to come!

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4th of July Pom Poms!

Emily DaFoe
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This simple, and fun 4th July patriotic parade wand will leave your kids feeling extra PROUD as they cheer along the 4th July parade. 

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INGREDIENTS:

COST

Approx $5 

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AGE

2+

METHOD

STEP 1: 

Cut your ribbon into equal lengths.  Once you have a large pile, fasten them to your dowel using a large piece of duct tape. 

STEP 2: 

Use a thick piece of duct tape and twist it from top to bottom of the dowel so that the entire wood is covered. Then use the thinner duct tap and repeat the step, leaving enough gap in-between loops to see the colors of the larger duct tape pop through. Cut the ends, and the parade stick is complete!

TIPS:

If you do not have ribbon, you can use paper cut into strips! 

Little Hands Keyring: Father's Day Gift

Emily DaFoe
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I don't know about you, but every time one of my kids comes home from a trip to daycare, and they do arts and crafts with their little hands, my heart absolutely swells. I always look at photos of their feet or hands as babies (yes, I know, I'm meant to always be in the present lol) and just wonder at how much they've already grown. The feet and hands are markers of the rapid growth we make as little people into bigger little people, into teenage years and into adulthood. And how many cute quotes have you seen over the years about tiny feet and hands? So understandably I thought it would be sweet if we made something with your little people's hand (or footprints). I came across this Shrinky Dinks craft a year ago on a friend's keyring, and I've been wanting to do it since. It's super cute, super easy and the kids loved it, and I'm sure their daddy will too.

NOTE: This craft is done over an entire day.

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MATERIALS

•    Shrinky Dinks

•    Stamp Pad for kids (under 4) or Paint

•    Paintbrush

•    Sparkling Embossing Powder

•    Permanent Marker

•    Hole Punch

•    Scissors

•    Oven

•    Spatula

STEP 1:    

Gather all your materials on the table. 

STEP 2:    

Pull out one sheet of Shrinky Dink plastic for each child doing the activity.

STEP 3:    

Have the child place their entire hand on the Stamp Pad, or if using paint, grab a paintbrush and paint the color you want onto the child's hand (or foot). You can use one color or get as creative as you want. 

STEP 4:    

Once the entire palm is covered in paint or the stamp, be very careful to press the whole hand onto the Shrinky Dink. Take your hand and apply light pressure to your little one’s hand so that all of the paint or stamp comes in contact with the plastic. Little people need a lot of help as they really want to drag their hand across the plastic. Well, mine did anyway.

STEP 5:    

Sprinkle embossing powder over the wet paint or stamp. Hold the plastic flat and lightly tap under the plastic to bounce the powder across the handprint. 

STEP 6:    

Go outside, or over a garbage bin, turn the plastic over and shake off excess powder.   Let the paint dry completely. I left ours for 8 hours.

STEP 8:    

Once dried, turn over the paint side to face the table and write their name and age with a permeant marker on the base of the hand. 

STEP 9:    

Very carefully not touching the paint (it never completely dries until cured in oven) cut the outline of the hand.

STEP 10:    

Hole punch a hole on the middle finger.

STEP 11:    

Turn the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.

STEP 12:    

Place in oven and bake for 1-3 minutes.

STEP 13:    

This is where it can get more complicated, sometimes the fingers of hands will curl depending on oven and consistency of heat in there. Take out and press the entire hand down with a spatula. You have to be super quick so have the spatula ready to go. You literally have to pull from oven and press to make flat. Shrinky Dinks can be reheated in the oven if you need to. Most of ours worked out well except for one that we needed to reheat and press with spatula.

STEP 14:    

Let it cure for an hour, so the embossing powder sets completely.

STEP 15:    

Once plastic sets, place keyrings ring through the hole in the hand and then you have a gorgeous Father's Day gift that will literally make his heart swoon.

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Flower Pressing

Emily DaFoe
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I have very fond memories of warm spring days, wandering around the local neighborhood with my big sister, scissors in hand, cutting little ferns, and weed flowers for our homemade flower press: the yellow and white pages, big heavy phone books which are now are a thing of the past. We used newspaper as blotting paper and waited and watched patiently as the weeks past until we knew the flowers would be ready for whatever craft we decided to use them in.

It’s no wonder that when my daughter got a vintage flower press for her Birthday from Grandma, I was over the moon, and way more excited than she was.

Now we used a flower press for this activity, but you really can make your own press at home using heavy books, blotting paper, and pre-slicing a recycled cardboard box. Flowers or leaves or ferns for pressing should be fresh and dry to prevent mold.

Materials:

•    Flower Press or Heavy Book

•    Absorbent Paper such as blotting or parchment

•    Scissors

•    Cardboard

Method:

STEP 1:

Go out with your little one and gather your perfect flowers, vegetation, leaves or ferns. My daughter and I had a great morning picking and cutting wildflowers. We literally drove from farm to farm walking around and just connecting with each other and nature.

TIP: Keep them away from direct sunlight to maintain their freshness and try and not bruise or overhand the fragile future artwork.

STEP 2:

When you get home, layout your selection of dry flowers and leaves ready for pressing.

STEP 3:

Place the flowers and foliage face down in a heavy book lined between two pieces of blotting or parchment paper. Depending on the size of the book, you can press multiple flowers at once. Be sure to space them out a little so that the moisture from one flower doesn’t transfer through to another.

STEP 4:

Arrange them how you want them to look when dried then close the book and either weigh down with a few other heavy books.

STEP 5:

Change the blotting or parchment sheets every few days. Leave for 2-3 weeks. After this time the flowers will be dry.

STEP 6:

Check back in a few weeks to Present Day Moms, to check out our next installment of Flower Pressing where we make gratitude cards to help spark even more mindfulness with your little ones

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Paper Plate Butterflies

Emily DaFoe
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The challenge for a lot of parents is how to do fun things with the kids without breaking the bank. Today the girls and I collected some odd arts and crafts materials we had lying around decided to make something around that. We grab some paper plates from a BBQ we had the week before, old glitter piping from a previous craft we decided to reuse, a gold card from a birthday card we wanted to recycle, some craft tape with white polka dots, paint and glitter. I asked the girls what animal we should make. "Lion, Kitty, Rhino, Flea (yes, a flea) and Butterfly!!!!!" were shouted out loud with passion. Looking at the goodies we had in front of us, we decided on making the butterflies (can you believe I gave up the chance to make a flea?).

The girls loved this project and the painting part was easy for my two-year-old, so this is a good one for little ones. Some of the parts I managed and had the girls assist like the craft glue and the eyes for the butterfly. 

The next day, I decided to sneak out and pin the butterflies to a tree, so when we walked outside later in the afternoon we saw them magically perched on the tree. All in all, this was an engaging craft and the result was beautiful.

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Materials:

Craft Glue

Kids Paint

Paint Brush  

Glitter

Paper Plates

Glitter Piping 

Gold Card (or any other Card)

Dots for eyes (you can use a black marker, but I decided to get creative and use the polka dot tape) Sticky tape (to hold paper plates together while drying)

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STEP 1:

Set up the paint and brushes. Create lines of paint across the paper plates.

The little ones I just let do their thing. Let the paper plate dry.

STEP 2:

Meanwhile, take two glitter pipes. Twist the piping together making sure to leave enough room (2"-3") for the butterflies' antennas.

STEP 3:

Grab something around the house the diameter of approx. 2" to trace on the card to make the butterflies face. Cut around the circle. I did this because my girls are too small yet for real scissors. 

STEP 4:

I cut two black circles from the craft tape around one of the white circles to make an eye. You can use a white card and simply add a dot of black marker. Or use craft eyes – they are awesome! Glue onto gold card. Let it dry.

STEP 5:

Once the paper plate is dry, grab the craft glue again and carefully make 4 circles on each side of the wings. Mirror each circle. It doesn't matter if the circles don't hold shape. That's what makes each butterfly so vibrant, unique and beautiful. These circles will be each butterflies eyespots; the circular, high-contrast marks on a butterflies wings.

STEP 6:

Carefully sprinkle glitter onto the glue circles. I suggest helping your little ones with this step.  I let glue dry overnight as it was a thicker application.

STEP 7:

Once the glue is dry, cut the wings down the middle so in two halves. I let my four-year-old use her craft scissors. I then cut a small diamond to create a wing shape. See photographs.

Place the two curved wings together using craft glue on the backside, connect by slightly overlapping. Use sticky tape to strengthen the bond while it dries.

STEP 8:

When dry (I waited 4 hours) we placed the antenna down the center of the butterfly.

The first time I used craft glue, but it didn't cut it, so we use super glue and stick tape again to strengthen the bond. (I didn't let the girls help with that as obviously super glue and kids is a disaster waiting to happen!)

STEP 9:

After everything dries, another 2 hours, feel free to hang your butterflies from anywhere your heart's desire.

I feel like my girls always have such a good time while crafting, and the beauty of this project is that no matter how they put the paint on the plate, each butterfly turns out so interesting and unique. Just like in real life!

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Bath Salt and Potpourri

Emily DaFoe
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The end of the school year is marked by an abundance of flowers and roses as spring slowly creeps into summer. What better way to give thanks to your child's teacher or caregiver, by creating this easy POTPOURRI and BATH SALT combo from your very own garden. 

INGREDIENTS:

COST

Approximately $5-$10 per jar. I was able to find a lot of the items at home. 

METHOD

STEP 1:

Harvest your garden. You can use most flowers, herbs and citrus fruits. However I chose smells that would go well together like roses, lavender and rosemary. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees.

STEP 2:

Place parchment paper on your sheet pan, cut the stems off your flowers, and put your flowers onto your pan. You can also include the option of sliced citrus, bay leaves, herbs and spices. 

STEP 3:

Add water and essential oils to your spray bottle. I used a ratio of approximately 10-15 drops to every teaspoon. Spritz the potpourri ingredients and then place in the oven for approximately 1-2 hours, or until the flowers are brittle - be sure not to burn them!

STEP 4:

When your flowers are ready, remove them from the oven and give the potpourri another spritz with your essential oil / water mix. 

STEP 5:

You now have your Potpourri ready to bag! Use any remaining potpourri for your Bath Salt. 

STEP 6:

Shred the potpourri into small pieces with your hands and combine 3 cups of Epsom salt with half a cup of your shredded potpourri into a bowl. Add extra (undiluted) drops of essential oil into the ingredients and mix. 

STEP 7:

Use a spoon or funnel to transfer the mixed ingredients into a jar. Don’t forget to label your jar!






Calm Jars

KIDS CRAFTSEmily DaFoe
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CALM JARS 

Picture this, you’ve just entered the supermarket on a mission with your toddler to get the weekly essentials and your child walking alongside starts throwing goodies into the cart;  a Peppa Pig complete hair and body wash set, 4 lipsticks for her make-up collection (ummm she’s 4!), sparkly hand wash, a men’s razor, and other random and unnecessary objects into the trolley. You gently remove the contents ‘not this week honey, mommy doesn’t have the money for it and you really don’t need all those things’ ‘but MOOOOOOM, I need that lipstick and, and, and, ANDDDDD the next minute she’s crying and making a scene as she drops her little body onto the floor. As you try and calm her (or him), the panic and emotions escalate until you feel yourself also about to lose your cool.

As a mom I’m sure you’ve experienced difficulty helping your children to control their emotions. Tantrums, being difficult, sulking, anxiety, aggressiveness:  are all behaviors that occur when a child experiences strong, raw emotion they can’t control. Whilemany children misbehave because it gets them the golden egg —a present, food, candy or simply attention— other kids have trouble staying serene as they are highly sensitive beings.

Wherever your child falls on the above spectrum a great way to help them stay omni-present or to cut a tanty in half is with the Calm Jar. I made this with my first child when she was about 2 and every six months or so we’ve made a new one. When she’s having a moment, we get our calm jars and shake them, then sit and slowly watch the glitter settle to the bottom. I’ve explained the glitter represents her mind and when she gets angry or frustrated her emotions swirl around, but if she just breaths and stays present in the moment, sitting still, that like the glitter falling into back into place and gently settling, so will her emotions. 

TIP: I suggest using plastic bottles for little ones and supergluing the top to the bottle to ensure a nasty little wet glitter bomb eruption does not occur all over your beautiful white bedspread. Just sayin’.

MATERIALS

  • Recycled Plastic or Glass bottle (depending on your child’s age)

  • 6 ounces of glitter glue (pick your kids favorite color)

STEP 1:   

Firstly, I set up the table for the girls and set out all the glitters and materials. Because this project uses boiling water, I need a distraction while I’m doing that part, so I let the girls play with the glitter. We lay out an old sheet under the table and let them pour out and play with extra glitter later during the craft.

STEP 2:   

Pull the plastic wrapper from your chosen recycled bottle. I soak mine in soapy warm water for about an hour beforehand, remove the sticker and then scrub the leftover sticky residue off gently with a scourer.

STEP 3:   

Once my bottle is ready, I then have one of the kids help me squeeze the entire contents of the glitter glue into the calm bottle. This takes some balancing so if one can hold the bottle and the other squeeze the glitter glue you can manage to transfer it from the glitter glue to the plastic or glass bottle with little overflow.

STEP 4:   

Wrap a dish towel around the plastic or glass bottle. Carefully, pour boiling water into the plastic bottle. I typically do this away from the girls as you can never be too careful. Fill the boiling water to the top. Most plastic bottles will morph shapes with the heat, so make sure the dish towel stays but. 

STEP 5:   

Carefully stir the glitter glue through the hot water with the chopstick to break up the glue. This will make sure it isn’t clunky and you will get a nice separation with the water when you shake it later when its finished. Make sure you stir it well.

STEP 6:   

Let the water cool before you bring it back to the craft table so the little one can add the fine glitter particles.

STEP 7:  

Once they have added the glitter, add a thin layer of superglue to the top of the bottle and screw the lid on tightly.

STEP 8:   

Let the superglue dry for about 30 minutes and after that your little one will have their very own CALM JAR, to shake whenever they need to and help stop a tantrum in its tracks!

Naturally Dyed Eggs

KIDS CRAFTSEmily DaFoe
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Easter is a fun and exciting time to get creative and maybe a little messy with your little ones. I love this natural dye recipe as it is non-toxic but also teaches your kids the age-old techniques of making home dyes…. And these very easy steps do not have to be limited to just dying eggs, they can unearth a bounty of other activities for you to do with your kids… but that’s another post for another day! 

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INGREDIENTS

METHOD 

STEP 1:

Create your natural dye by adding 2 cups of water to each ingredient and bringing them to boil, and then simmer for 1 hour. Strain your dyes, add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to each dye and allow to cool. 

STEP 2:

Blow out your eggs by using a pin to make a hole in the top and bottom of the egg.  

STEP 3:

Cut your feathers or quills into different forms. I put a small and large pin into two pencils, these will become your tools to dip the heated wax in. 

STEP 4:

Heat equal parts beeswax and white candle wax together. I recommend a half a tablespoon of each. You can heat the wax by bending an old spoon and fastening it to a bottle or object and then lighting a candle under the spoon.

STEP 5:

Dip your tools into your wax and then press gently onto the egg shells creating your designs.  

STEP 6:

Dip the egg into your dye, make sure your dye is cooled otherwise the wax will melt off. 

STEP 7:

Allow the eggs to dry and then place them into an oven for 2 minutes, this will melt off the wax. Use a rag to rub the wax off your egg, and you will find the waxed designs a vibrant white against your dyed eggs.  

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TIPS  

Many of the vegetables in your refrigerator can be boiled down to create natural dye, for example:

Brown - Onion skin

Orange - Carrots, orange sweet potato

Blue - Red Cabbage

Green - Spinach

Purple - Purple sweet potato 

You can create different colors and designs by layering your wax designs between dipping the eggs in colors. For example, to create a green egg, first dip the egg into the blue dye, allow to dry, scrape off your wax design and then dip in yellow dye. 

This is a messy project so we recommend doing it outside where your little ones can create a mess to their hearts desire. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to supervise the wax decorating and we don’t want little hands to be burnt by the candle wax or flame. 

COST

Approximately $10-$15. I was able to find a lot of the items at home. 

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Crafts and crowns

KIDS CRAFTSEmily DaFoe
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Crowns are a fun and whimsical way to get crafty with your kids. I love watching my daughter pretend play when she puts on a flower crown. It’s almost as if the crown has secret powers, trees become fairy lands, she becomes the princess, and I become the Queen (of course). The great thing about making crowns and flower crowns is that you can almost find everything you need at home. We collect feathers, shells, flowers, rocks and have little piles around the house. I rummaged through our Christmas decorations and gathered up our piles of ‘found things’ to create a crown fit for the princess of Neverland. 

My son is a real ‘boys boy,’ and declines to have flowers on his head. However, we were still able to create a magical crown for him by leaving out the flowers and adding more shells and feathers to his crown. 

INGREDIENTS

COST

Approximately $6 for the wire and ribbon

TIME

Approximately 30 minutes

METHOD

STEP 1:

Measure out your wire 2 lengths in diameter around your child’s head. 

STEP 2:

Wrap your wire around your greenery, adding to the greenery every few inches so that the length of your greenery lines up with your wire. Remeasure the crown around your child’s head and join the ends to create a circle.  

STEP 3 :    

For Girls: Start adding your flowers in little bunches. Use small portions of wire to hold them in place. Be mindful to keep the ‘pokie’ edges on the outside of the crown. During this process we used crystals (that were already attached to wire from last years Christmas wreath), and we added them to my bunches of flowers. We completed the arrangement with a peacock feather in the middle of the crown to give it more drama. 

For Boys: We pulled apart the same wreath making ornament and used its pre-wired gold leaves and positioned them around the crown. For the middle of the crown we made a feather bouquet and tied it with wire and then positioned it in the center of the crown. We then drilled two holes in a shell and thread wire through the shell to hold it in place. 

STEP 4:  

For Girls: Use your ribbon to tie a bow to the side of your crown and wrap the ribbon all around the back of the crown until it meets the other side and then secure with another bow. 

For Boys: Cut up your old t.shirt into strips, and tie the strips together to create a long ‘ribbon’. Thread the ‘ribbon’ through the holes of your shell, evenly distributing the ribbon so that the shell marks the half-way mark. Start wrapping the strips around the crown, and finish by tying a knot to secure your ribbon to the crown. 

TIPS 

Have fun with your crown, you can cover it entirely with flowers or opt to make a partial crown as I have. My kids don’t enjoy the ‘pokiness’ of crowns so I have learnt over time that threading ribbon softens the crown for their royal heads.

Start collecting ‘found items’ with your kids when you go on walks, and before you know if you will have an abundance of feathers, shells, rocks and gems to add to your crown.