Fall Toddler Crafts

The weather is consistently staying cooler not hot. We even had all the windows and doors open for most of this week. I think it’s almost safe to say, it is fall! Knock on wood. I posted before about some of the decorations we’ve put up around the house to celebrate. These were things I made very quickly and very cheaply just to have some fall color around the house.

There is another way we mark the seasons now, and that is our gallery wall in the dining room. Really it’s just an ugly blank wall that we’ve done nothing with in the nearly 3 years we’ve been here. One day I started sticking the kids’ art projects up there and just like that, we have a new tradition. We’ve begun our fall wall. It’s still a work in progress, but I wanted to show off what we’ve done so far.

Fall Tree

This was the first thing we did. I’ve been getting bolder in “designing” these walls. I thought putting up a tree would give us a lot of chances to add to it in the style of woodland creatures.

I found a roll of brown package paper at the dollar store. This turned out to be the easiest way to make the trunk rather than construction paper, poster board or anything that required painting. I taped up one long strip the height of the trunk I wanted. I then came back and cut slight curves on either side to make it look like a trunk and not just a piece of paper taped to the wall. We used some of the scraps to make branches.

I’m not crazy about the leaves, but they will do. I took pieces of red, orange and yellow construction paper and cut out random leaf shapes. Then Evie helped me tape them up. I had a pack of foam cut out leaves from the dollar store, so we filled in some with those. I feel like it could be fuller, but frankly, I don’t want to cut out more leaves, So it is what it is!

004

The first thing we added to our tree was bird nests. I took a small paper plate and cut it in half. Each girl colored their “nest” and glued on small twigs we found in the yard. I cut out little bubble bird bodies and the girls glued on googley eyes and the feathers. Once everything was attached and dry, we picked branches for them to rest.

008

This is my favorite! I may leave it up somewhere in the house after fall ends. At first I was going to do each of the kids’ foot prints on a separate canvas and make a sort of collage with them. But then when I found this canvas at JoAnn I immediately switched to this idea. I’m so glad I did, I love it!  I painted the whole canvas blue, then lightly sketched the line where the branch would be. That way I was able to more or less line up the kids’ feet.  Once the foot prints were dry, I went back and painted in the tree, branches, leaves, feet, beaks and eyes. I also took a slightly darker brown and wrote in the kids’ initials and 2014 on the tree as if it were carved in. This one makes me smile every time I go by it.

Fall Acorn Banner

What good is a fall gallery wall without a label? I used these two tone acorn foam cut outs from the Dollar Store. To make the letters, I wrote the letter on the acorn using a glue stick, then Evie spread glitter all over it. I’ll honestly admit, I am surprised it worked out so well.  After we did all the letters, I punched holes in the top of each acorn and Evie sewed jute string through. If you repeat this craft, word of advice. String the acorns *before* you do the glue and glitter. It seems so obvious now, but it wasn’t at the time…To finish off the banner, I tied some red gingham ribbon between the letters for a little added cuteness.

I’ve got some more ideas in mind, especially as we get closer to Thanksgiving. At least for a week or so, though, they’ll get put on the back burner since we’ve got a birthday party coming up next weekend. Sweet Evie is turning four and she’s so excited to celebrate (and have cake). So I’ll be distracted by that for the coming week. If the party turns out cute, I’ll be sure to share on the old blog soon.

St. Jude’s Give Thanks Walk

We didn’t make it very public but about 4 months ago, just after his first birthday, Reuben had a seizure in his bed. I opened his door, turned on the light and let his sisters in to wake him up from a nap. I heard them start a chant of “Benny wake up! Benny wake up!” as I walked to the laundry room to get him a clean change of clothes. I talked to Ryan for a few minutes before realizing that the girls were still chanting But I didn’t hear Reuben laughing. My heart dropped as I rushed to his room, knowing something wasn’t right.

He had a prolonged, a-typical seizure from an unknown cause. It took over half an hour for the seizure to stop, and even then, he remained  semi-conscience. In the ambulance ride to the hospital he seized again. It was at least 5 hours until he began to come around. I cannot describe the horror of seeing my child in such a state; I felt so helpless and scared as the doctors discussed CAT scans and Meningitis. All I could do was cradle my son and chant “Benny wake up. Benny wake up”

We are thankful every day that Reuben is still in fine health. All tests have been clear and he has gone almost 5 months without any further seizure activity. It is everyone’s hope that this was an isolated incident and will not affect his future health. At least that’s what the doctors say. As a parent, I don’t think I’ll ever get the images of that night out of my mind. I don’t think I will ever feel completely at ease again knowing how quickly something so serious can happen.

Since Reuben’s seizure, I have been more keen than ever to donate to children’s medical charities. I am thankful and relieved that our experience didn’t involve more than a single night of observation in a hospital. For many families, childhood sickness means so much more. A friend of mine from high school and college spent a few years working for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She could not say enough good and positive things about the organization and facilities. I was struck by the sincerity of her stories and I have come to respect St. Jude a great deal. She has been trying for years to get me to participate in their Give Thanks Walk and I’ve always had a pregnancy \ baby \ reason not to. But not this year! I’ve started a team to walk and raise money and I’m so excited to finally be *doing* something worthwhile to help. I’m looking for people to join my team to help raise money and walk with me on November 22. It is at the BREC park on Highland starting at 9 am.


You can follow this link to join the team or donate!  http://walk.stjude.org/TeamCarruth

Your donations help keep treatment, travel, housing and food free for patients and families. The research done at St. Jude is freely shared to doctors and scientists worldwide.

Thank you to everyone who wants to help!

Pinterest Challenge : Crayon on Wall

Three-year-olds! Am I right? So recently, Evangeline decided to play “teacher” with a black crayon and our lightly painted wall. Her penmanship was pretty impressive, I’ll give her that. I won’t admit to how long I left her art work stay on display, I’ll only say today I decided I could no longer live like that.

This went on for the entire length of the wall

So I did what any modern parent does when faced with a common problem, I went to the internet. I found a number of magic cleaning solutions promising to quickly and easily remove the crayon. Since I had a lot of space to work with, I decided to test a few of the different methods to see which worked the best. I discovered that no mater what, it was going to take some elbow grease. Our walls are moderately textured and, well, it’s was black crayon. I tried:

Crayon on Wall

Magic Eraser: This was one of my favorite methods. It did quickly and fairly completely remove the crayon with minimal scrubbing. It smeared a lot and I had to keep stopping to go rinse out the eraser and start again. I was using an x-brand eraser and it just fell apart entirely before I was finished. I’ve used both the name brand and the knock-offs and have found them to be pretty comparable. I can’t say for sure if the name brand would have held out better or not.

Baking Soda: I actually had high hopes for this one, I can’t tell you why. But I found that it did like nothing. I dipped a wet towel into a bowl of baking soda and rubbed the paste-clump into the wall. It barely lightened the crayon. After scrubbing harder, it started to come up and smear. It would have taken a lot of work for minimal results and it left all kinds of clumpy baking soda paste on the floor.

WD-40: It worked a little better than the baking soda, but Holy Accostic Smell Batman! Maybe if you were in a pinch and had a small area to clean, this would have worked well. After I sprayed and wiped my small test area, I just put the can away. I knew I didn’t want to use it to clean an entire wall. The smell would have been way too strong.

Toothpaste: The clear winner! I’m glad I tried this one after the WD-40. The minty toothpaste helped cover up the smell. I was really surprised how well this worked. I almost didn’t try it because, well, our toothpaste is kind of expensive to be smearing all over the walls. Luckily I found a small nearly full travel size tube of non-gel tooth paste. I didn’t have an old toothbrush so I used an all purpose scrub brush. On the one hand, the bigger brush was good since I had such a large area to clean. On the other, I think I ended up loosing a lot of toothpaste because it got pushed down so far into the bristles. Nonetheless, I wet the walls a little, then globbed on the toothpaste. I came back over it with the scrub brush and immediately the crayon came up. It took a bit of scrubbing to get all the little specks out of the texture, but the bulk of the marks came up easily. It smeared quite a bit and I had to come back with a clean wet rag to wipe the wall down.

toothpaste winner

Ultimately I used the toothpaste method on the whole wall, then went back with the magic eraser to help with the last lingering specks. When it looked good enough, I wiped the whole wall down a few times with a clean rag. I suspect I’ll still have some back smudges in the morning, but they should come up with just a wet rag. The only real draw back to this method was that it required more elbow grease to let Evie help with the clean up. Although I suspect it won’t be long and there’ll be more for her to clean.