Cat in the Hat Name Practice Activity

Kindergarten registration is quickly approaching. I am not ready. My summer baby is not completely prepared academically, either. Oh, I think she will be fine and I don't expect as much out of her because she is younger than the other kids. Still, I am feeling like a failure for not doing a better job of preparing her. I mean, it is the new standard for preschoolers to be enrolled in music, gymnastics, karate, ballet, swimming, art, yoga, and intermediate accounting classes. And speak 3 languages. Mine just stays home with me and makes messes.

I am probably wrong, but I am not pushing her too hard. I want her to play and have fun at home while she still can. Without making messes, of course.

Her name only has 3 different letters in it, though. Seriously. I think we could work on that.

Side note: We once considered the name Dominique but I pictured trying to teach a 4yo to write that and scrapped it from the list. #lazyparenting

Also, I haven't made any new busy bags for awhile. They usually keep her occupied so that she makes less messes. Double win.

 

Since Read Across America Day is coming up and I appreciate a good Dr. Seuss book, it gave me a starting point for some new busy bag ideas. This one is just strips of card stock with letters written on in Sharpie. On the back sides, I did a dotted version, then laminated the strips with packaging tape to make them dry-erase marker friendly. I even made an extra set for my nephew 'cause I am awesome like that and had extra paper strips.

If y0u want to pin it for later...

Here are some more busy bags I have made if you are looking for more ideas:

Use plastic eggs for a simple busy bag or learning center activity matching upper and lower case alphabet letters!

Felt Deer Mask

The clock is ticking, but I haven't started any Halloween costumes yet. I need to get the kids to make final decisions and lock them in soon. Instead, I am still blogging about the last-minute costumes I made last year! This is actually my favorite of the costumes. My daughter wanted to be a deer. She just wore brown leggings and a brown sweater with a furry scarf and leg warmers, plus black flats for her "hooves". It was not totally deer-accurate, but still very cute and cozy! All I had to do was create a mask for her to wear. We were going to add antlers, but she was a girly deer, so we skipped that.

Easy Last-Minute Deer Costume for Girls

I even used glitter!

Pretty felt deer mask for a girls' costume

I feel the need to clarify that this mask was inspired by one that I saw on Pinterest, from etsy. I made quite a few changes to her design and she is not selling them anymore. (Hers were much nicer!)

Anyway, here is a little look at the behind-the-scenes process of how I made mine...

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I made a template for the pieces that you can download HERE. Just make sure that you print it in "actual size" for an older child. Just head to Pinterest for a tutorials for the felt rose. They have lots of them!

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At the very last minute, I made a felt tail to pin to the back of her sweater. I just cut a deer tail shape and glued some fuzzy white yarn to one side. No pics of that on her, cause I am not photographing her behind. That is weird.

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I think I prefer my newer method of adding simple accessories to regular clothes for an easy costume. It is more comfortable for the kids and when we are at our family party they can easily take them off to play. I am really hoping that they choose easy costumes this year!

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Painted Bug Rocks

How is your summer vacation going? Ours is going OK. Some days are better than others. Some days we have a lot of fun, but some days I am at my wits end because they are fighting and making messes all of the time. Some days I can't believe how productive I have been around here, but most days the house seems completely trashed. Some days we do fun things and some days they binge watch Netflix or play on electronics.

Social media would have you believe that everyone is having these fabulous summer vacations filled with educational trips and activities, siblings playing nicely together, and never any screen time. I call bologna on that. I have worked in the schools enough to know that most kids are just as bratty as mine. When I was a kid, hanging out at my grandparents' pool and watching excessive television was enough. My IQ didn't suffer. Kids need time to unwind, too. It feels like there is so much pressure on parents these days to make everything Pinterest-perfect. (If you are able to do that, rock on, but if your summer vacation looks a little different that what you see on Instagram, that is OK, too!) Yes, there are a select few who will judge you, but admitting the imperfections can be absolutely freeing on both sides.We are only showing our highlight reels. I posted fabulous vacation pictures last week, but no one got to see all of the work that went into packing/unpacking, the fighting in the car when we got lost, the sunburns, the plans that didn't work out, the car problems, etc. I am sure that everyone has some behind-the-scenes stuff, so I just want to keep it real.

On good days, the girls and I do a lot of craft projects. This one was really simple, but the girls enjoyed it! We grabbed a bag of rocks from the Dollar Tree (I didn't feel like searching for smooth rocks in nature) and painted them to look like ladybugs and bumblebees. The girls and I each painted a few of them. They aren't perfect (some of the ladybugs are sideways!) but they are a genuine kids craft. :)

Dollar store rocks are perfect for kids to paint!

Let kids paint simple bee rocks for a fairy garden.

Easy kids craft- ladybug rocks!

Ladybug and bumblebee painted rocks for an outdoor tic tac toe game

We made both ladybugs and bumblebees so that they could play tic tac toe on the stepping stones outside of the playhouse. When they aren't being used to play, then can hide in the flowerbeds.

Let kids paint cute, little bug rocks to decorate the flower garden!

Ladybugs and bumblebees painted on rocks- great summer kids craft!

Painted rocks to brighten up the flowerbeds!

In all fairness, these rocks took a few days to make and I had my teenage stop and buy more yellow paint on the way to an auto parts store. Not everything went smoothly, but they are still cute.

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Summer Kids Craft- paint rocks to make ladybugs and bumblebees, then use them to play tic tac toe!

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Wow! Look at this toy doghouse makeover!

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Fun Washi Tape Ideas for Kids!

Mod Podge Toy Doghouse

My parents have a great tradition with the grandchildren. When they reach a certain age, they are treated to a birthday dinner out/shopping spree/sleepover. My kids really enjoy it. They love having some one on one time with them and getting a break from their siblings! Last year, my dad helped my 9yo build a toy doghouse for some stuffed animals she chose on her shopping spree. She brought it home to have me help her decorate it. We finally got around to it a year later. I am going to let her tell you about it!

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Scalloped Mod Podge roof made from scrapbook paper circles

Cut out flowers from scrapbook paper to use in mod podge crafts!

Cute kids craft using paint, scrapbook paper, and mod podge!

Wood play doghouse with removable side

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Hi! I'm Lydia. I have 2 stuffed dogs named Sky and Rose. My Pappy and I built a doghouse for my dogs.

Wooden Toy Doghouse
 

Then, my mom helped me decorate the doghouse and it was looking pretty good! First, I decorated the roof. We punched circles out of scrapbook paper. Then, we used Mod Podge to glue them on the roof.

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Some of them stuck out over the edge so we had to sand them off.

Sand paper edges when using Mod Podge!

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Next, I painted the outside of the house red and the inside aqua. Then, we cut out windows, flowers, and butterflies from the leftover paper. We used Mod Podge to put them on, too.

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Last, Mom painted grass, stems, and leaves on the sides of the house.

Use floral scrapbook paper to create flowers with Mod Podge!

My doghouse turned out beautiful!

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Kids craft toy doghouse makeover

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Thank you, Lydia! The before and after is pretty impressive. I was glad that we could work together on this. It is sometimes hard for me to let go of my perfectionism and let the kids have control of the craft projects. She did a great job!

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Wow! Look at this toy doghouse makeover!

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July 4th Home Decor

I do seasonal decorating around here. I am sort of undecided about home decor ideas- most things I really want to do require major renovations and a large budget. Instead, I do some smaller things to try to brighten things up around here. Seasonal decor fits in well with my "undecided look." I leave my patriotic decor up from late May to early September; it covers Memorial Day to July 4th. Then comes fall, which seems too early to start in the August heat. My living room still isn't finished (is anything ever finished around here?) so the best place I have to decorate is a corner shelf in our dining room. I don't particularly love that shelf, but I don't have anywhere else to put our landline phone. I have to put something else on those shelves or it looks stupid.

I like to use a lot of family pictures when I decorate. I love pictures!!! Last summer I used masking tape to paint stripes on a $1 wood frame from Michaels. (See the tutorial for the dresses in that picture HERE!) I also cut out that number four from 2x6 scrap wood and painted it to match something I saw on Pinterest. (I made my own stamp for the stars from a foam sticker.) A little red and white baker's twine pulls it all together.

Use masking tapes to paint stripes on a wood frame!

On the next shelf, I added some rustic Americana decor I had hanging around from the early 2000s when that was really popular. I made another frame with scrapbook paper and tied on more baker's twine. (I have a tutorial for making the frames HERE. You can see the dresses in the picture HERE.)

Mod podge picture frames to make seasonal decor!

I can't take credit for this one. One of the homeroom parents came up with these fun handprint crab canvases for the Kindergarten picnic/fun day. I thought it matched nicely and added some of my 9yo's shell collection.

Adorable handprint crab kids canvas painting!

Finally, I made a chalkboard countdown block from scrap wood that can be used for various events. This is just an example. A few years ago, the girls and I made 3D stars out of cereal boxes so these added some red, white, and blue to this shelf.

Use chalkboard paint on scrap wood to make a countdown block for any occasion!

It all goes together nicely. I just need to do something about those phone wires.

July 4th home decor on a corner shelf

I also have a few chalkboards in the dining room. One is above my desk and also has a wire basket I use to hold pens, pencils, highlighters, etc. (One jar broke and I didn't replace it yet.) I was super cranky one night so I redid the chalkboard patriotically as a way to relax.

July 4th chalkboard art

Last summer, I taught a class to make these cute flag boards, so I have some July 4th decor outside, too. My daughter actually painted this one. (Pic from last year because my flowers are not so nice this year.)

Rustic flag board porch decor for July 4th

So, that is about it as far as my July 4th decor this year. I also have my patriotic bunting hanging in the window (see it HERE.) Happy 4th of July!

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