Our homemade costumes over the years

So to be honest, I don't really even like Halloween...but I really like being crafty! So here are a few homemade costumes from the past few years. 

I'm starting with this awesomeness because I just finished it and i'm oh so excited about it! We are going to a family party and we were asked to dress up. The kids are covered so the Hubs and I needed really inexpensive costumes stat! I was just going to be a 'nerd' and the Mr. Well we weren't sure. I turned to good old Pinterest and started searching and scrolling through tons of DIY costumes but again time and mula were short. I searched 'Pinterest costumes' and a few pins came up. One lady had a cork board around her neck with her 'pins' on it another had magazine pictures literally safety pinned to her. I have a 4 year old and 23 month way am I able to wear a cork board around my neck or have pieces of paper hanging off me with safety pins!!! I loved the idea though so I started to brainstorm. First I though maybe I could take screenshot of each pin then have the pictures printed, too big...maybe I could take a screenshot of my pin feed then print it out and cut out the, too small...
So I hopped onto Pinterest picked a board and hit print! The print box came up and I hit landscape mode then only selected a page or two to print (hint: in landscape mode they print bigger)......out of each page I only got about 2-3 complete prints so I selected a few boards, printed a few pages and then cut out the pins that printed fully on the page. Then I lined them up in rows and glued them onto the shirt. 

A little advertisement for my blog lol and a shout-out to my little man in the picture! 
So the Mr. is fully aware of my addiction to Pinterest he calls it "Mommy Porn" lol so when I got excited about this costume idea he said only other girls will "get it" ummmmm yeah....but they will get it and love it and fully appreciate it!!!!! 
Anyways, I told him he gets to wear whatever he wants he just has to let me tape "pin it" on him and an arrow!!! 
Shhhh...I might just have to stick this on his back!!!! 

Here are a few of my other homemade costumes but I don't have tutorials for them...I will briefly explain how I made them but if you have any questions leave it in the comments and I will respond to you!!! 

This year my super-hero crazed 4 year old boy said "Mommy, I want to be Stitch for Halloween!" I was in spider-man, iron-man, bat-man, thor-man!???!! lol What's even more perfect is our baby girl has long dark hair like Lilo! I was determined to make her a little Lilo costume! She's only 23months and doesn't really care what she dresses up as. (yes I know I might as well say 2.....but I just can't yet!!! I still have 15 more days of having a one year old, I'm going to saver them!!) 
Here it is!
For her dress I drew out a leaf templet on took me a few tries, they are harder than they look! Then I cut them out of felt and glued them onto a little red dress she already had. 
Scrump was a bit harder to figure out. I wanted to just buy a scrump doll but apparently unless your a Disney princess your murchandise gets discountined when your movie came out in 2002 & it's now 2013......huph!!! 
Basically I took some soft green fabric I found in the discount bin and drew a big headed gingerbread man then I cut around it leaving about a half inch or so. As shown below. I cut the hair out of felt and made the bow with felt as well. After I had somewhat of my concept I glued all the edges except for the top of the head. Once dried I flipped it insideout so I could no longer see my 'drawing' and I had a nice sewn seam. From there I sewed on the eyes and belly then stuffed it. Once it was stuffed I was able to glue on the mouth and stitches and glue the head together. 
The finished Scrump....our daughter loves this!!! Just my luck it will be the thing she wants to carry around with her everywhere LOL 
So that's this years crafting...hear are a few from the past few years.

I am a full-day preschool teacher and the curriculum we use this Owl "Ollie" is kind of like a mascot. So last year I made an Ollie costume to wear for our "Make Believe parade" (yep you guessed it, I work for a public school district so we have to be all P.C.about everything!!) 
For this costume bought a few yards of felt.....can you tell I like felt! I like it because when you cut it, it doesn't fray!!!!! 
Anyways I took maybe a half a yard??? I have no clue...folded in half on the folded side I cut a slit down the center. Now picture putting your head through the slit and have one flat panel on your font and a pancho!!! Is this making sense!!?! 
Then a cut tons of U shapes for the feathers and glued them down rows. For the head, I took my sweatshirt and laid the sweatshirt hood down folded and traced its shape, then I put it out and glued it together to make a seam, flipped it inside-out and glued on eyes and a beak also made with felt. 

The kids loved it!!! 

This  awesomeness I made when I was preggo with our second. I really wanted a shirt like this but a screen printed one was going for $30+ for just the shirt. So I took a long sleeve black maternity shirt I had and found a pair of cheap black stretch whole costume cost me under $10. First I put on the constume, then I took chalk and marked lines where the 'front' would be to draw the bones. I drew lines for where the ribs would be and so on. I took it off and pulled a few references up on the computer of skeletons. Then I just free hand drew the bones with white chalk. Once I liked the placement I went over the chalk in white puffy paint and then when it dried I painted the inside with white paint. (NOTE to self....don't use washable paint.) 

I loved how it turned out!!! Don't mind that horrible picture...It was my last day at work and I had our baby girl 11 days later...not my best pic!

This stuff.....lets just say....if you don't know how to sew....which I DO NOT....this is your best friend!!! I made all of the above costumes using this!!!


ANYONE shopping on AMAZON this holiday season???

I LOVE amazon because lets face it....they have EVERYTHING!!!! 

My little ol' blog here is an Amazon associate and it helps my little blog if you shop through one of my links. So if you are planning on already buying something off Amazon if you could simply click through my blog link before you purchase it I would GREATLY appreciate it!! 

Happy Holidays!!! 

(you can click any link and purchase anything and everything that might be on your list!!)





Holiday Traditions

The Elf on the Shelf

I know there are a lot of different opinions about The Elf on the Shelf craze. Love it, hate it, don't get it...are usually the categories. I have recently had a change of opinion about Mr. Elf on the Shelf and it is because of reading an article about dinosaurs.  Dinovember to be exact. 

Do yourself a favor and go read this article. It will only take you a few minutes.

 Essentially they take their kids dinosaurs and set them up in different mischievous ways each night for their children to find them the next morning. Now what I liked about this was at the end when the writer says 

"Why do we do this? Because in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs.
Childhood is fleeting, so let’s make sure it’s fun while it lasts."

That summed it up for me! I want my kids to believe in the wonder and magic of things. I want them to imagine and dream and ENJOY being kids!! 

So with that here is our Elf on the Shelf story and a lot of other traditions we LOVE!!  

I bought our Elf in an after Christmas sale in 2010 with intentions to start the tradition the following year. At that time this little guy was hardly known I had to actually order it because several book stores didn't carry it. I attempted it that following year, our daughter Little S was just born literally weeks old and our son Mr. C was 2 years old, he could care less about the Elf.  Moving the Elf only lasted a few days then 'the Elf' just sat around until Christmas. Mr. C didnt get it at all but I am all about creating traditions for our family so I tried it again last year but I wasn't too sure about making this little Elf a permanent 'tradition'. He's cute but kinda creepy too lol anyways I figured we would try it out to see how it went.

I think the movie is adorable!!! Defiantly buy it!!! 

We watched the movie which Mr. C loved then I secretly wrapped up the elf on the shelf box in Christmas paper with a note: put it out front and rang the door bell. I had Mr. C open the door, found the package delivered from the North Pole he got to open the box and then together we read the story.

 He totally got it last year and loved it. I like how in the movie and book the Elf just 'moves' around but Pinterest has taken it to a whole new crazy level with these naughty antics lol to keep from going insane I did easy stuff most of the week (moved him around) then the more 'Pinterest crazy stuff' on the weekends. 

The night before Christmas Eve we have another tradition my kids get to open one present we give them and its always "new Christmas Jammie's" to wear that night to wake up in on Christmas morning and cookie mix or cookie cutters to make cookies for Santa....So last Christmas I combined the two traditions and gave them the present and it was from "Julian the Elf" (Mr.C picked the name) saying good bye until next year etc etc. it had their new Jammie's and cookie mix and a new cookie cutter and Mr. C said goodbye to Julian until next year.

 Now back to the top where I was trying out this Elf thing"before I commit it to a "tradition" welp just the other day out of no where Mr. C says..."Mommy remember Julian the Elf, he was so fun, I can't wait till he comes back" with that I give you our new tradition LOL weather I wanted it or not and honestly after reading the article above....i'm quite excited to bring Julian the Elf back each year!!!


I am a sucker for traditions especially holiday traditions!! Here are a few of the things we do each year that I get pretty excited about!! 
 (in no particular order)

We have done story and a craft count down in the past. This year I am going to wrapping up 24 books and the kiddos can unwrap one each night before bed and we can read it! Being a preschool teacher for so long I have so many holiday books to choose from each year!!

We always make a gingerbread house of some kind. Some years they are homemade other years they are store bought but we always make one together.

Advent activity Calendars: I made these cute little tags and wrote an activity on the back of each one. I numbered the clothes pins that way I could easily switch activities around last minute if I needed to. Examples of the activities: watch a Christmas movie, drink hot coco, decorate the Christmas tree, sing Christmas songs, go see Christmas lights, make a gingerbread house, bake cookies, take a picture with Santa, Watch Elf on the Shelf. I also look out for holiday events in our town and I will write down that activity for the day such as YMCA snow day or a Church Christmas bash etc.

This is one of my favorite traditions that I got from a family friend. She grew up with this adorable idea and does it for her kids and I loved it. So thank you Sara for sharing the love!! Take a large boot or shoe (aka the hubs) and put it into flour to create Santa's footsteps.                        (2011 and 2012)

Playmobil advent calendar...LOVE IT!! 
More on these HERE
Going to look at Christmas lights.....and sometimes dress in our best! (Costumes in our house are a 12 month a year occasion)

I grew up celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah and our kids celebrate it with one side of my family. I like to make matzo ball soup and letkes because its just too good not to!!!!

Reindeer food!

This is the box I wrote about above it's one of my favorite traditions. The Christmas Eve box! It first started out because in my family we got to open one gift on Christmas Eve, so I started that with our kids but the gift was always new Christmas Jammies to wear to bed. Last year this little tradition expanded and I made the Christmas Eve box as a good bye gift from Julian the Elf from Elf on the Shelf. (More on him further in this post) So in the box is new jammies to wear to bed and wake up in on Christmas morning. Cookie cutters and cookie mix. We always spend Christmas Eve with my Dad and his side of the family so we get home late. Hence the easy quick cookies.

I found this last year and I liked the idea of it. We live in an apartment and there is no fireplace so this is a key to let Santa in. I want to make a cuter handmade one but this one worked for last year.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season filled with love, family and lots of traditions!!! 


must have gifts for preschoolers

It's official as of today: Only 46 more days until Christmas!!!! 
Over the years I have had parents of my preschool students ask for gift ideas for their kiddos. So I thought I would put together a list of my favorite toys for preschool age kids!!!! 

In no particular order here are some of my favorites. These are toys that day in and day out have held my preschool kids interest throughout the whole year. Most of these are great for open ended play and great for strengthening those fine motor muscles!! 

If I had to pick my absolute must have toy it would be the magna-tiles!! It doesn't matter if you have a girl or a boy, kids LOVE these!! They are awesome on a table, the carpet and even cooler on a light table!! My preschoolers get so creative with these!! They love making cubes and putting other small objects in them. They make house, castles, robots, rocket ships. These are taken out by choice in my classroom EVERYDAY!! The magna-tiles are what I have been saving for to get our son this year for Christmas!


I hope some of these inspired you to think outside of the basic toy isle. Every child has certain characters that they like but you can only have so many of one type of toy! I wish more children had more basic open ended toys to allow them to learn and grow and create while having fun!!


DIY Grocery Store!!

Our up coming unit in our curriculum is about 'Our Community' and the dramatic play area calls for a grocery store. I promised myself I would NOT spend any money to transform our dramatic play area into a grocery store...NOT even at the 35dollar store.....I mean the dollar store ;) We asked our families to bring in/donate their empty boxes, containers, old receipts, coupons, old wallets or purses to help create our store. 

So here it is!! And I didn't spend a dollar!!! 

I turned around our fridge, stove and sink from our home center and taped up some grocery store ads  to the back.

 The green basket has grocery bags and coupons in it.
For the checkout stand I used our table and put a box top on a doll changing table to create the 'conveyer belt' 
A prop box with an apron for the checker, purses, money and a few credit cards (it's amazing how many children know 'credit or debit?') lol 

They quickly got a routine down: the customer put their groceries on the conveyer belt and the checker would scan the item "beep" and put it in the bag next to the table. It was fun to watch and guide them through play. Our amazing Speech Pathologist happened to be in our room and she was talking to them and asking great questions like "How do we behave in grocery stores? Do we leave boxes of food on the ground? How should we put the eggs in our bags? Gently or throw them in? What would happen if we throw the egg carton in the bag? It brought up some great discussion throughout the remainder of their play. 
Our home center is not huge so while some children were 'shopping' at the shops-a-lot store others were cutting coupons to get ready for their turn to shop! (Great cutting practice!!!) 

This unit in our curriculum is 4 weeks so we will have lots of fun learning through play! We will add props and expand on concept through play such as: 
•Money and counting
•Taking turns in the different roles
•What are fruits and what are vegetables?
•What do you buy from the refrigerated section? 
•What are healthy foods and not do healthy foods? And so many more!! 


Fine motor fun

We have been working on some fall themed activities and I wanted to share a few. 

Our wonderful Miss D. brought in these fun bug catchers and we put them to use in a few different ways. 

First we used them to pick up pom pom balls and then I introduced corn kernels in this invitation to test their skills picking up something smaller.

Miss D. got these bug catchers through oriental trading company but I was unable to find them on their website but here are the same ones on amazon! 
We did some counting with pumpkin seeds...

and put our fine motor skills to the test by putting the spider rings on the dowels.
We also used our patterning trays with our spider rings.

We used our fingers to form and roll out play-dough...

and made silly faces.
For this project we filled our bags with shredded paper and tied them tight with a pipe cleaner...
We painted them orange
and made some adorable pumpkins.
We displayed them on our wall.
We did apple tasting and created our own unique apples.
Miss D. and the kids created these awesome trees by painting the trunk of the tree with a paint brush and then using pine needles to paint the branches!! I love using new materials to paint with!! They added some tissue paper to create their apples.
We made some corn for our corn stalk by gluing on corn kernels.

Each of these activities are great to strengthen those fine motor muscles to help with writing and cutting!!

A few other fun projects we did over fall break. (we are year around)

 Growing Indian Corn

Did you know Indian Corn grows... Awesome right! After last years fail of not taking pictures, you can see that post here 
I was determined to document our Indian corn this year!!! 

Day one: planted in soil.
Week two: We keep this in our classroom and put it out in the sunlight each day so I had to take the pumpkin out because it began to mold.
Week three: The kids are loving it!

Look at our corn now. !!!! 

Hope you all have a great weekend!