Hi friends. I’m excited to share that I’ve partnered with Foodstirs to give away both my book Playful: Fun Projects to Make With and For Kids, and their amazing baking kits to 3 lucky winners! You’re in for a really fun and yummy time! Just follow me @mer_mag and @foodstirs, then tag 2 friends who would want a book and a kit too! All 3 of you may win! Winners will be selected on Friday morning. This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. (more…)
I love celebrating Valentines with toddlers/preschoolers. When we lived in Cali we used to take the boys to a little kids Valentines exchange where the little ones got to make valentines for their friends and pass them out. I’d love to do something like that with Miss M this weekend. Just maybe invite over about 4 friends and make some cookies and give away cards. And the cards are fun but I’ve always been a big fan of the boxes that the Valentines go in (hence our mailbox from a few year ago). And like our mailbox, I love it when they can be used for pretend play or decorative storage later on. So this year we made a black swan from a tissue box. Turned out to be an easy project with a lovely result.
To make this box you’ll need:
- one tissue box (horizontally oriented)
- black cardstock
- a large cereal box
- glue gun and glue (use low temp if a child is helping)
Making the Swan Box:
- Paint your tissue box black
- Cut out two wing shapes in a sort of oval shape (see drawing above)
- Cut out several feather shapes
- Glue feather shapes onto wings starting with the back working towards the front of the wings
- Glue wings onto each side of box
- Cut out swan neck and head shape from cereal box like in drawing above
- Paint swan head (or cut out two swan head and neck shapes from paper and glue on to either side of cereal box shape. paint beak and eyes)
- Cut slit out of one end of tissue box
- Insert head into box.
- You swan box is now ready to take to a Valentines Day Party!
We unintentionally started a pony collecting fever when we made our DIY cardboard and duct tape stable awhile back. We started with three Breyers horses and have since added to the collection with various thrifted finds. Just recently we added a large pony to the mix and we’re all smitten with him.
And living a historic home during the winter calls for snuggle blankets, sweater and bonnets indoors (which i Luuvvvv) and this bonnet from Briar Handmade is just the sweetest ever.
Last year, soon after we had first moved into the Banister House, I made a few goofy and silly best buddy Valentines with my oldest son and I thought I’d share a few more photos from that time with you today.
I remember the day was especially stressful for some reason and my son and I were butting heads. When we first started making these we were both a bit uptight but as the process kept going we both mellowed out and had a lot of fun together. He made the silliest faces and we giggled, and had an overall great time of it in the end.
I find this to be the magic that happens when creating together. Life is so hectic, we all have things we need to do, want to do and really it can feel hard to carve out meaningful time with each other. But I’ve found that it doesn’t have to be tons of time, just a half hour even if that’s all you’ve got, to really have a memorable moment with you children or those you care about. And it doesn’t have to start out perfect with amazing feelings of togetherness either. If we waited for that, well we might never create together! Craft can have that magical effect that calms us and brings us together (yes it can also be a challenging frustration at times and depending on the project – which is a whole other aspect of crafting that I also think is good, but I’ll save that for another post ;)).
I’m just grateful for this particular Valentines creative memory with my son. He’s already a year older and completely growing up all too fast. But forever he will be my best buddy Valentine.
We’re always on the hunt for yummy wholesome snacks so when we heard that Annie’s came out with their new organic fruit tape called Really Peely we were thrilled!! Like stock our cupboards and always have a stash in my purse thrilled.
If Miss M had her way, she would be peeling and eating these all day long (and i’m sort of in the same boat, I sneak a few too!). The new snack is available in two varieties, including Bendy Berry & Swirly Strawberry. The best part? Real fruit juice & fruit are the first ingredients in both.
We love Annie’s mission to help parents & families #ChooseGood and as you know here at Mer Mag we’re all about being kind to our environment and recycling boxes by turning them into super fun crafts and toys! In fact, we were thrilled to discover that 90% of all Annie’s packaging by weight is recyclable! So of course we had to turn our Annie’s boxes into goofy monster puppets. And the kids we’re completely into it!
To make these puppets you’ll need: (more…)
It’s been snow for days here. And while it’s pretty and lovely it’s keeping us indoors more than I’d like so to make things more playful inside we brought out table tent from my book Playful: Fun Projects to Make With and For Kids. Miss M has been playing picnic with her dolls and Little O asks if he can sleep here at night. Tons of fun.
And speaking of fun, I thought I’d share a few images take by Nicole Gerulat that never made the book. They are so fun and playful I just couldn’t keep them to myself.
I wanted to share with you my theme for this year. I’ve had some loose ideas mulling around for a while but a concrete idea finally came after watching the beautiful French film Marie’s Story with my mother over Christmas. It’s a lovely story about a young girl who is deaf and blind and responds to the world in a scared and feral way until a nun has a connection with her and decides to take her in. In addition to the beautiful location (weathered French hutches and tomette tiled floors galore!) I was really touched by these two and their story. I was reminded of what can be done when a person invests in another person. I feel like that idea is not as prevalent these days as were so much about climbing ladders and achieving our dreams here in America. Don’t get me wrong, dreams are great and I sure love having mine, but I think using our time and talents to also really invest in others is so key. Key to our own happiness & in our world. And REAL honest change can happen when we believe in, cultivate with love, consistency and determination. We will make mistakes, do it wrong more than once, but persistence, faith and patience are key. A combination of providing fertile ground to grow while also recognizing thistles are all part of it. This chapter in my life with my children the ages they are is ripe for this. And it’s important for me, & for them that I take time to cultivate. To invest in them. I’m still learning what that looks like for us, and I definitely don’t think it means me standing over them at their beckon call at all times. They need to forage and find (I’m huge into teaching children independence) and I need to work, but they also need the backbone and they need the investment. Like all things organic, people are not meant to be forced, but rather given opportunities to grow and even face weeds.
So you might say my theme this year is to “invest”. To go all in. But not only with my kids but my marriage and myself too. I’ve been thinking a lot about what investing in myself would look like and I see a lot of changes I want to make. I’m planning on working on the things that I genuinely want but either scare me or seem like too much work. I want to work past the things that are holding me back so that I can achieve more real success in those areas. So this year I expect struggle – we’re born for it – but I also plan to to thrive. And I plan to help others thrive too.
It’s so easy, we made it with pipe cleaners and glitter card stock.
I basically started with two pipe cleaners and twisted two end together. I then measured the size of her head and twisted the other two ends together where it fit snuggly.
I then bent 6 other pipe cleaners into triangles and twisted their ends together onto the crown base (starting with the center triangle and working out from there).
I then cut out 6 stars from glitter card stock (you could also cut out form regular card stock and have your little one decorate with glitter and glue) and glued them on with hot glue.
I let everything dry and then the crown was ready to wear!
And wear this crown she did. This little lady is actually quite a ham. And we love each and everyone of her performances.
We made (yes another) set of wings for the nativity this year. I think it definitely has been the year of the wings for us. ;). This time we didn’t do cardboard but instead went for a pair of pillow wings. Perfect for her dress wardrobe gift this year.
Merry Christmas friends!
This year we decided to do the three wise men gift tradition (the one where kids receive only three gifts similar to the three wise men bringing three gifts for the Christ child). So we’re doing one from Santa, one from mom and dad that could be from a store and one from mom and dad that is homemade. The kids have really gotten into it and were very careful and selective about what they asked Santa for. So with only three gifts per kid (we’re still doing a few big family gifts and large stockings full of treasures) I really wanted the gifts to look and feel really amazing when they walked in on Christmas morning. So I came up with a few ideas such as this cardboard box snowman.
This guys is super easy to make. I just found some blank white boxes from a local paper store but you could wrap up any box in white paper (I might suggest poster paper – the kind they sell on rolls for schools, etc.). Or you could quickly paint a few brown boxes too.
I had fun taking a few photos in our living room which is under construction. I kind of like the weathered unfinished look of things (as unrealistic as it is). We’re now working our tail off trying to get this living room done by Christmas day! So close now!