Friday, August 21, 2009

Last Craft of the Summer

School starts next week, so this is our last craft of the summer. Here is a list of what we used for this craft:
mod podge
magazine clippings

First I cut out a bunch of colors from the pages of magazines. I separated them into to piles: warm colors and cool colors.

Then I drew the shape of a fish on the canvas. When it was time for the craft, the mermaids painted mod podge over the canvas and started pasting the magazine clippings to the canvas.

I told them to use the warm colors for the fish body and the cool colors for the water.
After the canvas was completely covered and there was no white showing, the they spread mod podge over the top.

The mermaids enjoyed this craft a lot, and I am going to put a black frame around these fishes and hang them in my bedroom.

Have a great school year, and we'll see you next summer!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


For the past few months I have been saving cereal boxes to make "giant blocks." The mermaids had some mer-friends over last week and it was finally the perfect time to bring the "blocks" out.

First they made a tower to see how high they could stack the boxes with out it falling over:

Then they made a mansion. They took their dollhouse furniture and set it all up inside to make it nice and cozy. This was fun for all five children, and they could all play at the same time. The mer-boy was especially enthusiastic about this project and kept adding new "additions" to the mansion. It was played with for quite a long time.

Cost: $0.00

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind...

Okay, this isn't really a craft you can do with kids from beginning to end, but the blue mermaid did help me lay out the squares, and the red mermaid helped me cut the runaway threads. This is a rag quilt that I copied from one I saw at my sister's house. It is sooooo much faster to make that your standard pieced quilt. And the there is lots of room for error since its raggedness adds to its charm.

This little quilt is for the mer-baby when he is born. If you look close you can see the Boy Scout fabrics I added. Maybe while he's wrapped up in this blanket some of those good Boy Scout qualities will seep into his personality.

One can hope.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Gift You Give Your Friends

I teach the girls that a party is a gift you give your friends. The mermaids were so excited for their birthday, and I think what made it more exciting was that they were able to be involved in so much of the planning and preparation.
Here is the red mermaid tieing up the paper flowers that she made to the treehouse stairs. Here is the tree house decked out in its party glory. Makes me wish I was turning six, too. Or it makes me wish I was a treehouse. One of the two.

In addition to the paper flowers the girls made the pinata. At first they wanted a mermaid shaped pinata, but after realizing they'd be hitting the mermaid with a bat they changed their minds to making a fish. Which made me happy because a mermaid pinata would have been a little....tricky to make.

The girls had a wonderful party. Thank you to all the kids who came. We hope you enjoyed our "gift" to you.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Cake Without Cake

The red mermaid has never been a fan of cake, so last year we discovered an easy way to make a birthday cake without it.
We got this recipe from a friend of mine who dubbed it Redneck Ice Cream Sandwich Torte. Pretty fancy, eh?

First you mix up the icing. The mermaids call this the "glue."

Then you lay ice cream bars on a pan/platter/cake stand. Or if you really want to be redneck, on some cardboard covered with tin foil.

Ah...sorry about the sideways photo. Put the "glue" on the first layer of ice cream bars. Then add more bars. You have to work fast! Mmmmm...

Cover the entire cake with cool whip and put it in the freezer until it is time to decorate for the party. This was such a big hit last year that the blue mermaid decided she wanted one this year, too. So we made two.

Here is the official recipe:

from Metta Prieto
1 c. coarsely chopped creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (i.e. Oreos, about 10)
1/2 c. milk
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding
1 container (12 oz.) frozen whipped topping (i.e. cool whip), thawed
12 frozen rectangle ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped
2 T. semi-sweet chocolate morsels, grated or multi-colored sprinkles

Instructions 1. Coarsely chop cookies. Combine milk and pudding mix; whisk until mixture is smooth and begins to thicken. Immediately fold in half of the whipped topping and cookies; set filling aside.2. Working quickly, arrange six of the ice cream sandwiches side by side on a Large Platter. Spread filling evenly over sandwiches. Top with remaining ice cream sandwiches, forming a rectangle-shaped torte; smooth sides. Spread remaining whipped topping over top and sides of torte. Grate chocolate over torte or use sprinkles. Freeze at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.Yield: 16 servings

Monday, July 20, 2009

Peanut Butter Treats

These candies are a family favorite, and the gween mermaid helped me make them. They are easy and quick and have lots of protein, carbohydrates and calcium.
Instructions: Mix equal portions of peanut butter, powdered milk, and honey (this is a great way to make good use of your food storage, as well.) Spoon the mixture out onto wax paper, cut the paper into individual candy wraps. Then put the finshed candies in the fridge or the freezer. (They are too sticky to eat at room temperature.)
This time I used two cups of each ingredient and it made about 50-60 candies.

Butterfly Thank-you Cards

For this craft I bought a butterfly punch from the craft store ($9.00) and used some old blank stationery that we had in a drawer. You can get blank stationery from or at xpedx paper supply. I'm pretty sure Office Max carries them, too. This was a great activity for the girls, and the cards will be perfect "thank you's" for after the party.

Message in a Bottle

Here are our invitations to the mermaids' birthday party. They are turning six, so they are allowed to invite six friends. They had a great time making these and an even better time delivering them!

Cost: The bottles were about a dollar each, and the shells cost three dollars. So the invitations were under $10.00.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pinata Fish Part 2

The fish is dry and packed full of treats. Now it is time to paint!

The girls wanted to make a mermaid pinata at first. Unfortunately Mermaid Pinatas do not fall under the catagory of "simple crafts." Besides that, who would want to swing a bat at a mermaid? It didn't take me long to talk them out of that.
The fish will do.
Cost: I'm not sure how to figure in the three to four cups of flour, but the water was free, the newspaper was free, I used craft paints I already had, so the pinata was FREE. The pinatas at the store cost $15.00-$20.00.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pinata Fish Part 1

For the mermaids' birthday party we decided to have a pinata. We looked at the pinatas at the store, but we decided to try to make one ourselves. If it doesn't work out we'll go back to the store.
First the girls tore up strips of newspaper.

Then we made a mixture of flour and water.

Then the girls layed the gooey paper across a balloon.

The red mermaid was pretty grossed out by the whole process, but she was a good sport.
Tune in next time to see the exciting conclusion to our pinata fish.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mexican Paper Flowers

This was our best craft yet!

First cut tissue paper into 10 x 10 squares and make a stack (about four squares in each stack)

Then fold it into a fan.

Pinch the fan in the middle and twist the end of a pipe cleaner around it to hold it in place and to make the stem.

Gently pull apart the petals to reveal...a butterfly!
Just kidding. This blue one needs a little more fluffing.

The fruits of our labors:

The mermaids are going to use these flowers to decorate the treehouse for their birthday party.

So why was this our best craft yet? One reason might be because my five-year-olds could do this without a lot of help from me, another reason could be that the finished product is so big and beautiful, and another reason could be because it didn't take very long so they were engaged the entire time (it took us about 30 minutes). But I think the real reason why this craft was so fun and successful was because the gween mermaid was taking her nap. :)
Materials: tissue paper ($2.79) pipe cleaners ($3.00) Total: under $6.00

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Homemade Blocks

Ingredients for homemade blocks:

Blocks cut from untreated wood scraps (these are left over from the tree house)

Paint, mod podge, all sorts of brushes, stencils, etc.

One or more excited children

And here is the result:
That looks pretty easy, eh? Well, here is what happened behind the scenes: This project was very fun for about 45 minutes. After that the mermaids got tired of it and wanted to do something else and so I finished the rest. While I was absorbed in finishing the rest of the blocks, a gallon of orange juice was brought up the stairs, red crayon was drawn all over my kitchen cabinets and all of my jewlery was pulled out and strung around my bedroom. Then my children really got bored and started giving me "wet wilies" in my ear. So my advice to you is to let the children do three or four each and then do the rest yourself when they are sleeping.

Cost: wood-free, craft paints-about .75 cents each (but I already had a bunch), package of paintbrushes $4.00, stencils $4.00 Total: under $15.00

By the way, my children are for sale.