Father’s Day Gift

This post is obviously coming well after the fact, but I still wanted to share the Father’s Day gift the kids and I put together for Ryan. I wanted to do something special for Ryan, something thoughtful that included the kids. I had seen this picture frame idea on Pinterest. In each frame, is one of our children, holding the letters to spell DAD, which makes for a very sweet and unique gift. I made it a little more personal, however, by staging each picture and child in some attribute of Ryan’s personality.

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DAD Picture Frame:

  • two white poster boards and an art medium if you want to decorate
  • camera / prints
  • triple opening picture frame (preferably landscape orientation)
  • willing participants

First, I made the DAD letters. Honestly, I just free handed them, using a serving tray to get the curve on the D. They by no means have to be perfect, just big. I got three letters out of 2 poster boards.

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Once they were cut out, I let the girls paint and color their letter. For Reuben, who is not yet trustworthy with crayons, I painted his little foot and did footprints all around.

For the pictures, I decided on three personality traits of Ryan and staged each child accordingly. I just had their letters standing up as a part of the picture, rather than having them hold the it just right. This made the picture-taking process go much smoother.

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Evangeline, our own little bookworm, took a scholarly picture.

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Felicity, always the party animal, set up a drum set and went to town.

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Little Huckle-Buddy Reuben, surveyed the homestead for his picture.

I ordered prints and bought the frame from Wal-Mart. That, plus the poster board came to about $10 total for the gift.

Later I got the girls to color on some computer paper I taped together as a banner. Then I added “We <3” and taped the DAD letters underneath. I set it all up late Saturday night to surprise Ryan when he got up Sunday morning for Father’s Day.

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This was a fun and easy gift to put together. It gave us the chance to spend some time thinking about Ryan and what he would enjoy. The girls are at such a great age where they like giving gifts, especially gifts they’ve made. I was surprised how co-operative Evangeline was, especially during the picture taking part. Once I told her it was a gift for Daddy (and that it was a secret) she was so excited to help!

I figured this would be my last year to be able to do this gift, unless I want to wait and see if a Carruth baby #5 comes along to be able to spell out DADDY. As is, I’m glad to have done it now. I’m also glad we got to celebrate Ryan for a day. Especially since I went into the hospital the next day in preparation for having Genevieve! At least Ryan got that one day. It’s 2 and a half weeks later and the banner and letters are still up in the kitchen. I guess someone liked their gift 😉

DAD Picture Frame

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Ready or Not, Here Comes Baby

So I’ve been writing about our baby preparations — my carefully scheduled order of events that would have the house completely ready to bring Genevieve home by my 38th week of pregnancy. And things were going great, as I’ve posted before. That is until…

Genevieve was born 5 weeks early!

We had some concerns from the very beginning of this pregnancy. Baby and I did great all the way into our third trimester, but by Father’s Day weekend, it seemed Genevieve would be healthier out than in. So we had a baby!

It’s been a hell of a week to be sure, but Genevieve made it through beautifully and is doing wonderfully well. She was born 6 pounds and 18 inches with a full head of hair. Despite being only 35 weeks, her lungs and heart are strong and we were able to bring her home with only one extra day in the hospital. I am still going back and forth to the doctor for follow ups, but I’m glad to be home.

As you can imagine, bringing home a surprise premie baby is very hectic. Nothing was set up for her and we still had a lot of things up in the attic. The only thing I had done was her laundry, but then little-miss-I’m-so-different-than-my-sisters was born too small for the clothes we already had.

My grand plans for having our room streamlined, organized and peaceful for when she came home were thrown out the window. We are functioning now, but the more time I spend in bed recovering, the more projects I have in mind to make our room better. Right now this is our set up.

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Not exactly a calming environment for an anxious person like myself. But we’re all here and we all have a space to go at night, so it works. Plus with the unending needs of four small children, it may be a while before things get back to organized around here.

The Carruths are officially a family of 6!

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More Toddler Crafts!

Our Spring Gallery Wall stayed up through Reuben and Felicity’s birthday party.  Shortly thereafter, I took all but the butterflies down so we could start our Summer Gallery Wall.

Spring Gallery Wall

The summer wall isn’t finished (we still have a lot of summer left), but I wanted to share some of the crafts we’ve done thus far, what worked and what didn’t with my 3 year old Evangeline and 2 year old Felicity.

“Stained Glass” Circles

The first is a tutorial I found on Pinterest for stained glass crosses. The mom who posted it said it was great for kids of all ages but apparently not all toddlers are created equal because this was a big bust on our end.

The jist of the project is to rip tissue paper into small pieces, then glue them in between two pieces of wax paper. Once dry, glue on a shape outline, cut out and voila. The idea is great, and seemingly simple, but we had a few problems with this one.

Stained Glass CirclesEvangeline and Felicity were too excited to start gluing to rip the paper. I gave them smaller pieces that they would just have to rip 3-4 times, but nope. They just balled them up and said “all done, can we glue now?” So I ripped up all the pieces. The original tutorial didn’t give any guidelines for how much glue to use. When you spread glue on wax paper, it starts to bead up. We ended up using so much glue it some how seeped through the wax paper and dried onto the counter top. Ooops. I think part of our problem was that we were covering too big a piece of wax paper. If we did smaller “batches” I think it would have been easier to manage. As is, it took forever to dry and I’ve been scrubbing Elmer’s off my counter for a few days now.

From start to finish, it took a long time and the girls ultimately didn’t get to be all that involved in making them. They liked sticking the paper to the glue, but that was where their involvement ended. When it was all said and done and we hung them on the window, the girls were less than impressed 😦 As the person who ended up doing most of the work, I was disappointed that they weren’t more excited about it. I have seen a few tutorials for melting craft beads into stained glass looking window art. We may give that a go.

Cloud with Rain Drops

Originally this was meant to be a big white fluffy happy cloud, but we ran out of cotton balls, so we added rain drops, painted it grey and now it’s a rain cloud.

Rain Cloud and drops

The cloud part is simply white poster board cut into a bubbly shape. I poured Elmer’s glue on a plate and let the girls dip their cotton balls in the glue then stick them onto the poster board. Evie did great, Felicity ended up looking like cotton candy. But both had fun.

When it became clear that I had cut too big of a cloud for the amount of cotton balls we had, I switched gears to make it a rain cloud. Using grey craft paint, I filled in the bare spots to make the whole cloud dark.

Then I took some scrap white poster board and let Evie paint it blue. I happened to have two shades of blue — one light and one dark — so this turned into a little art lesson as she played around with mixing the colors and seeing how many shades of the same color she could make. It also added a pretty cool effect to the rain drops. If you want to simplify this step, you can simply use blue poster board or construction paper.

When the paint was dry, I free handed rain drop shapes on the back of the poster board and cut them out. I made roughly three different sizes. Then Evie helped me line up the drops into 5 lines. We measured fishing line and taped the drops to it. And finally taped each line to the cloud itself making it look as though the drops are falling from the cloud.

Rain Cloud and Drops

It turned into more work than I anticipated and it took like two days longer because we had to wait for paint dry, but it was still a lot of fun. I’m sure there are simpler ways this could be done, we just made it up as we went along using what we already had on hand.

Hand Print Sun

Continuing the weather theme, we also made a sun to go with our rain cloud. For children in south Louisiana, this is not a confusing concept ha ha. For this, I used yellow and orange construction paper, a pencil, scissors and an orange crayon.

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I cut a circle out of yellow construction paper (tracing a plate) and Evangeline drew a smiley face on it. This was the center of our sun. I then traced Felicity’s hand about 12 times on yellow paper. I let Evangeline trace her own hand on orange paper. This was a lot of fun for her; she’s just figured out how to trace and I had a hard time getting her to stop after 8 or so. I cut all of the hand prints out and fanned them around the circle, using Felicity’s smaller hands first, then putting Evie’s larger hands behind.

I honestly can’t remember, I think I started with tape then ran out and used a glue stick. Or the other way around. Either way, both Scotch tape and glue stick held the hands in place well.

American Flag Banner

My creativity is wanning and I’ve been hard pressed to come up with any more summer-but-not-beach-theme crafts. So I’ve moved onto Fourth of July ideas. I figure it’s close enough, right? This was another simple construction paper craft. I used white computer paper, blue and red construction paper, silver star stickers, twine, glue stick and tape.

American Flag Banner

To make 10 flags, I cut 5 pieces of white paper in half, one piece of blue paper into 4 strips then cut each strip into thirds giving me 12 squares, then cut 3 pieces of red paper into strips.

Evangeline went completely solo on this one because I let her use a glue stick (for like the first time ever). I showed her where on the white paper to put the blue square and how to line up the stripes then she just went to town. For Felicity, I put the glue on the blue square and the red stripes, then she put them down like stickers on the white piece of paper. When our flags were assembled, the girls put silver stickers on the blue squares.

American Flag Banner 2

I considered hanging each flag individually, but decided to tape them all to a line of twine and make it a banner. Since these are just made out of construction paper and aren’t very heavy, Scotch tape is sufficient to hang them on the twine with.

Footprint Sun Canvas

This final craft isn’t on our summer wall, but it’s still summery and I love a good homemade piece of art.  The lettering on this one didn’t quite turn out as I imagined, but I still love it lots. I used a 12×12 stretched canvas, grey, white, light and dark yellow craft paint, fine tip black Sharpie and a white paint pen.

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First I painted the whole canvas with a mixture of grey and white. I then used a plate to draw a semi circle in the corner. I used the line as a guide for where to put the girls’ footprints and did not paint it though until after the footprints were dry. I used one shade of yellow for Felicity and the other shade for Evangeline’s feet. I did Felicity’s foot first leaving gaps to come back and add Evie’s. Once the footprints were done, I filled in the semi circle with the same yellow paint as Felicity’s foot completing the sun.

I let everything dry well for a few days, then came back with stencils and added the wording “you are my SUNSHINE”. I used a pencil to outline each letter then came back to fill in each letter with a white paint pen. When I was satisfied with the letters and the paint was dry, I traced around each letter with a black fine tip Sharpie. I used stencils I already had, but I wish I had found some slightly bigger. Either way, I love the way it turned out and how it looks hanging up in our living room.

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We still have some more crafts to add to our Summer gallery wall and I’ll be sure to keep you updated as we go along. I also have some pretty fun family updates and I hope to be able to post about them soon.

How is your summer going? How have you been keeping your little ones busy? Can you think of any other toddler appropriate summer crafts to help a very tired, uncreative mama fill up the days?