Spider Hand Prints for Halloween

Halloween Greetings to all! We created some spooky artwork last week gearing up to celebrate Halloween. This was definitely an art project that focused on the art process - it took three days, but was well worth the wait. Any project that helps a three year old work on patience gets a thumbs up in my book.

Day 1 - Claire drew a web in white crayon. The idea was to get some lines on the page, this is Claire's work so I wasn't preoccupied with the perfect web shape. Claire filled the entire page with purple liquid watercolors and any puddling was quickly absorbed by the paper and wound up looking mottled - very cool indeed. We kept a wet rag handy to catch any spills, these paints are sure potent!

On day two we moved onto the spider hand prints. I painted Claire's fingers and most of her palm (her giggles were hilarious) and helped her press each hand onto the web we painted the day before.

I suppose at this point you could have glued the googley eyes on while the paint was still wet, but I wanted to stretch this out as long as possible. We hung the eyeless critters up to dry and called it quits.

On day three we talked a lot about spiders and their eight legs (and eyes!). I poured some glue into a spoon for her to use and gave her a paint brush to apply it. This seems to be one of the neatest ways for Claire to use glue. We put eight eyes on one of the spiders but it just didn't look right. Maybe if we had a few different sizes we would have been more successful. We stuck with the cartoony spider version and just used two. Of course I forgot to snap photos of the eyes actually glued on...but there are a few photos in the slideshow of our glue-spoon contraption. Have a spooky-fun Halloween!

For those Mac folks without the capability of playing flash - here's the link to the album: Spider Hand Prints there are a few more of cutie-pie Claire and her artwork there.


DIY Wrapping Paper

Good friends of ours are expecting their first baby and I made a diaper cake filled with goodies for their shower. In the past I have wrapped diaper cakes in cellophane or brought them "naked" if they were serving as decoration. This time I enlisted Claire's help.

While this looks like an extremely messy project, I assure you it wasn't. In fact until we arrived at the shower and the dry paint began chipping off the plastic tablecloth, there was no mess to speak of (unless you count Claire herself who washed up just fine in the tub). Large scale painting is definitely in our future, but I think we'll be sticking to fabric.

From Diaper Cake


Future Foodie?

Meet Claire, the tomato loving toddler! I grew more then a dozen tomato plants this year in a variety of hues. Some I nurtured from seeds and others I grabbed on markdown from a local farmer. All thrived. The tomatoes survived drought, neglect and most importantly - deer.

We had a real hodgepodge out there, but it allowed us to sample a lot of different flavors. Please note that none of the cherry tomatoes actually made it into the house because Claire snagged them off the vine as soon as they ripened. You have to watch this kid closely, she stalks those plants for any hint of red!

The season is winding down and I decided to slice up some different tomatoes for Claire to taste side by side. We tried the yellow "Sungolds:, the green "Mr. Stripey", and a cherry tomato whose name escapes me. I tried using words like "tangy" and "sweet" but Claire simply replied they were "yummy" or "squishy." We're working on it...

The one that earned Claire's thumbs up approval was the green Mr. Stripey. It seems to have been everyone's favorite this year. Sweet and tangy at the same time and a very nice texture.

Coming Soon to a table near you...

Meatloaf is not my strong point but last year I saw NotMartha's monster meatloaf and had to give it a try. Of course I was lacking in both a freaky gelatin hand mold and decent meatloaf recipe. So I winged it.

Meat, oatmeal, onions, carrots, zucchini, eggs, spices, ketchup, tomatoes...why oh why did I not write down what went into this DELICIOUS creation?! My best meatloaf ever and no way to recreate it. Ugh.

I covered my free-handed hand (get it?!) in ketchup and provolone cheese and served up the gruesome feast to Claire and Dan.

Clapping hands followed. Ok. I'll stop now.

We'll also be revisiting the witches fingers recipes. I am totally adding some of our homemade strawberry jam to the nail beds and "stumps." We brought some of these down to the "Grands" last year and although the looked rather disturbed eating them, the plate came home empty.

Have I mentioned Claire wants to be a ghost for Halloween? Is it wrong to send your kid out wrapped up in a blanket? It IS what she wants...but I had grand plans of turning her into a tree with the miniature birdhouses we bought. She was admiring a pair of brown cowgirl boots at Old Navy today, maybe we'll go for a cow girl look!


Reading...or listening as it may be!

Claire is devouring books lately, and while I adore reading to her I was happily surprised by the selection of audio books for the young child at our local library.

We've been listening to a fantastic recording of Winnie the Pooh narrated by Judi Dench featuring Stephen Fry as Pooh. There are a bunch of other well known British actors involved in the reading and it is so well put together, the actor reading for Christopher Robin has the sweetest voice and Eeyore, and his eternal misery is captured perfectly.

Since I've only seen the cartoon version of this tale myself (Disney?) I've been cracking up at the witty language...why was this all taken out?! We've been having great car rides listening along to the adventures of Christopher Robin and his "Edward Bear." I can't wait to see what else we dig up in the the coming weeks.

I've also been checking out read-a-long stories. I set Claire up at the kitchen table in the evenings and she is happily occupied for half and hour "reading" along with the narrator of various stories. Clifford is a big's short and sweet and Claire knows just where the repeat button is. Would you like me to recite "Clifford Takes a Trip?" Heehee! I remember cramming into the library audio booth at Elmont's public library on hot summer days sharing a headset with Michael Ponticello and listening to a bunch of stories. What fun!

I just wish some of the publishers would re-record many of the classics onto CD...the old magnetic tapes are worn out and there's nothing to replace them. The children's librarian shares the same sentiment...we might have to start a campaign! Move aside LeapFrog! We want our stories read by humans - not machines!

Because I've been told I'm not allowed to write posts without photos of Claire - here's a picture of her in our own hundred acre wood.


Three Years Old?! Tomorrow?!

Wow. Time flies!

Does this kiddo look suddenly older, or is it just me?



I know Claire looks half asleep in this photo but there is something about it I like! Maybe it’s the color or the way she’s flaring her nostrils like her Daddy, heehee!



Autumn Artwork - Exploring Leaf Rubbings


DSC_0905The air is crisp and colorful leaves are dotting the trees – it appears autumn has arrived! Last week Claire and I grabbed some crayons in fall hues, gathered a few leaves from the front yard and sat down to make some rubbings. As I expected, Claire found this project magical! The veins and edges appearing as she rubbed different colors thrilled her and the end result was really beautiful.

We have quite a few species on hand in our front yard – rhododendron, maple, hosta and the teeny-tiny leaves of the impatiens in the planter. We tried some coleus leaves but they were too “juicy” and Claire’s enthusiastic rubbing turned them to mush before they left much of an impression on the paper.

I found using crayons (unwrapped of course) split in half were easiest for Claire to handle. It took a while for her to get the hang of holding the crayon horizontally and pushing it to get a rubbing. The result was a frustrated soon-to-be three year old who was bummed out about less then perfect attempt. I love her pouty face, but I’m glad it turned into a smile when she finally figured things out!

"I'm mad so I'm crumbling my paper and making my "pouted" face. Go 'way Mommy."
We worked with regular computer paper, but I hope to try again soon with the rhododendron leaves on watercolor paper. With the sturdy veins and stiff leaves, hopefully they’d show right through and allow us to create some watercolor resist artwork.

Our final product? Hanging proudly on the fridge (and displayed here) until I can frame it. Enjoy!



A Swimming my crawl space.

We have a crawl space under our house where our furnace (and many families of cave crickets) live.

It flooded in the wee hours of the morning and since we didn't hear the alarm going off until 4 am, it continued to fill up drowning our furnace.

I hope all of our early morning efforts getting the pumps back up and running help save the furnace (and by "our efforts", I mean Dan - I stood in the rain offering encouragement and hot cocoa and admiring my hot pink and polka dotted rain boots...Target clearance $3.24, woot!).

I'm grateful that at least it's warm enough that we won't need the heat today. Of course there is no hot water either...but maybe one of my blog readers will let my stinky self (and daughter) bathe at their place.