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Happy Summer!!

The kids are all out of school!! Which means only one thing – IT’S TIME FOR SUMMER! Ready or not. :)

Here is wishing all of you a HAPPY SUMMER! What kinds of fun things do you have planned? What are some of your favorite summer things to do?

One of ours, apparently, is to wear goggles around the house.  Or our brother’s goggles, when he isn’t looking. Whatever the case may be. :)

 

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go – Future Graduation Gift Idea

Since the end of the school year is FAST approaching (hooray!), I wanted to implement and pass this awesome idea along. This one comes from Denise @ A Sprinkle of This. I LOVE it. Seriously, this ranks high up in fun gift ideas in my book.

For a baby shower gift, she gave the Mom-to-be a copy of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” for the Mom to give to the future baby as a graduation gift. Her idea was to have the Mom sneak the copy of the book to all of the child’s teachers from Pre-K through high school and have them sign a quick note, and then the parents then give this almost as a “teacher yearbook” to the child. That is so cool.

Also, if your kids (or grandkids) are already later in their school years, you could get some of their favorite teachers and some of their friends to sign it. I think that would be an awesome idea too.

I’m taking this idea to use for MY kids right now, but I may use this as a baby gift in the future as well (think nieces/nephews/friends/grandkids/etc.). My oldest is in 2nd grade and we have lived in the same place since he was in pre-K (miraculously enough), so I think I can still backtrack for his teachers. My middle one is in pre-K, so it will be easy to start this with him. And my youngest still hasn’t started school yet, so we should be good to go for her.

I just ordered three hardcover copies of the book (one for each child) from Amazon for $10.79 each (no, I don’t get anything if you buy from the link – I just wanted to make it easy for you to find). This qualified me for the free shipping, which saved me over $26 over buying it at the normal price with tax at the store. Good deal!

Thank you, Denise, for making a graduation gift that much easier for me to figure out. As long as I don’t lose the books along the way…… :)

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BEST Playdoh Ever. Really.

The other day as the kids were playing with Play-doh and I was weeding out the Play-doh that had dried out from the Play-doh that was still good to use, I sighed to myself and wished that I could find a recipe to make playdoh that would yield results like the good, soft, freshly-bought Play-doh from the store.

Then I got my lovely recipe holder from my 5-year old, and the recipe that his pre-K teacher had attached was one for Kool-Aid playdoh. She had very thoughtfully also put a packet of Kool-Aid on the recipe holder as well, so we were set to make some playdoh at home.

A lot of the recipes I have tried before either are really salty and leave your hands dry, or the playdoh ends up dry and flaky – no good. This one was a little different than the ones I had tried, and it was SPOT ON. Wahoo!

Ingredients

1 c. flour

1/4 c. salt

2 T. cream of tartar

1 envelope Kool-Aid

1 c. water

1 T. vegetable oil

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar, Kool-Aid and water in a medium saucepan. Stir in the oil.

Mix over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the mixture forms a ball in the center of the pan. This took me the full 5 minutes, and it takes stirring the whole time or it gets selectively clumpy – just a heads up there.

Remove from pan and knead until soft. I was afraid the dough would be hot, but it was just very warm and I could knead pretty much right away.

There you go! Awesomely perfect homemade playdoh. And the Kool-Aid packet makes very vibrant colors. I love preschool teachers – thank you very much!

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Cloud Dough (Homemade Moon Sand)

For those of you who have wanted to try Moon Sand, but maybe have wondered about the mess and have sat on the fence about it, this is a great way to try it out at home. I got this idea from Juggling with Kids.

Here is all you need:

4 cups of flour

1/2 cup of baby oil

That is IT, my friend. It makes a pretty good-sized batch, so you could even halve it if you don’t have a big container for your kids to play in.

Just mix them together in a large bowl, and you are good to go!

I was really impressed at how well this held up – when it was formed together, it stayed together really well, but it still held a good “powder” form when it was broken apart. My 5-year old actually wanted to make it all into balls at the very end when we went to store it in a gallon ziploc, and none of them broke on the way into the cabinet OR on the way out when he wanted to play again, until he was ready to break them apart.

Super fun! I will warn you, though, it can make a bit of a mess, so either have a sufficiently large container (mine was not deep enough t0 contain some of the overspill) OR just be ready to sweep up a bit at the end. To me, the idea of an “indoor dry sand” is totally worth having a bit of a mess at the end – my kids will play for a long time and love it, and that is awesome.

Enjoy!

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Finger Paint in a BAG

I decided that I wanted to try to find a good fingerpaint recipe. I was only able to find essentially two recipes (here and here), and I was not terribly impressed with either of them. They were both waaaaaaaay too sticky. The kids tried playing with the finger paint and ended up washing their hands within a minute of getting it on their papers. So, I am still in the search for a good recipe – when I find it, I will happily share it. If you have tried either of these with success, I’m happy to try them again because there is a chance that there was some human error. OR, if you have a different recipe, I would love to have it to try! :)

BUT, in the meantime I remembered seeing this idea from Amy @ Let’s Explore. She took finger paint and put it in a gallon-sized baggie so her toddler could work on writing letters. I love that it also means NO MESS. Best idea ever. I took the finger paint from the first recipe (the one with corn starch) and plopped it all in the bag and this is what I got:

Pretty good! I think it would be even easier to use with better finger paint in the bag – or tempura paint, as Amy suggested as an alternative. I think either way, my 2-year old definitely likes to not have gloppy fingers, so this is a good solution for her. The older boys are easily entertained either way.

**Note: I hot glued the top shut too. After the bag was zipped, I just glued the very top pieces together. It has stayed put nicely, even when kids were chucking it around the house and using it as a hat.

 

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