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Monday, August 25, 2014

Peacock Puppet Craft + Elmer's Early Learners Prize Pack and $25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Elmer's Early Learners Academy. The craft tutorial and all opinions expressed are my own. 

My older boys started back at school this past week. I sure miss them during the day but I also enjoy all the quality time I get to spend with my little preschooler. With some of our one-on-one time today we tried out some Elmer's Early Learners Products and created this Paper Bag Peacock Puppet. Then we played and giggled with them to our heart's content. Enter to win a $25 Visa gift card plus an Elmer's Early Learners Prize Pack below!     

  • paper lunch bag
  • blue, green and yellow construction paper
  • Elmer's Early Learners Glue Stick
  • Elmer's Early Learners Gel Pen
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • googly eyes
  • 1-2 small blue fluffy feathers
  • gold and teal sequins (not pictured)

Before having my daughter start her craft, I did some prep work (Note: Depending on yours child's skill level, they may be able to do some of these steps on their own):

-- Start by cutting off three (3) inches from the bottom of your paper lunch bag. You can throw away the cut off section as you won't be needing it.

-- Measure and cut two rectangles out of your blue construction paper to fit the bottom of the paper bag (peacock head) and the front of the lunch bag (peacock body).

-- Cut two triangles out of your yellow construction paper for the peacock beak.

-- Take your lunch bag and lay it onto your green construction paper. Use your pencil to draw light markings on the paper of where you want your peacock feathers to lay around your bag (see picture above), and then cut out the shape from your green construction paper. 

Now you're ready for your child to make their Peacock Puppet!

1. Use your Elmer's Early Learners Glue Stick to add glue to the bottom rectangle of your lunch bag and attach your small blue rectangle. Now add glue to the front of the lunch bag (you'll have to lift the flap slightly) and attach the larger blue rectangle.  One of my favorite features of this Glue Stick is it's triangle shape. Not only does it help encourage children to use the tripod grasp, but it never rolls off the table!

2. Use your Elmer's Early Learners Glue Stick again to glue on your yellow triangle beak. Glue one of the triangles on the bottom of the small blue rectangle, and the other one underneath the flap, directly underneath the other triangle.   

3. Next glue your green construction paper feather shape onto the back of your paper bag.

4. Use your scissors to cut small feathers all the way around the green construction paper. This is great scissor practice for a preschooler! You can see my daughter pictured above, using Elmer's Early Learners Scissors cutting her feathers. I cut my feathers extra small and crinkled them a little to give my Peacock some extra texture.

5. Glue on your wiggly eyes and your small blue fluffy feathers with your Elmer's Early Learners Gel Pen. The Gel Pen also has the triangle shape so it doesn't roll AND it has a sponge tip which makes for much less mess!

6. Lastly, add dots of glue onto the Peacock's green feathers with your Gel Pen and add gold and teal sequins to make the fun designs on the feathers. Once your glue is dry have fun playing with your new Peacock Puppet!

Here is a side by side of my puppet next to my daughter's who just turned 4 years old. I love bonding with my children through arts and crafts. It is seriously the best! Check out the Elmer's Let's Bond Pledge for information on how important crafting with your children is and ideas on ways to nurture cognitive development through crafting.   

Win an Elmer's Early Learners Prize Pack which includes the Elmer's Learns Glue Stick and Glue Pen, together with a $25 Visa Gift Card for all your crafting needs. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter Form below.

You must be 18 years old to enter. Prize can be shipped to US addressee only. The giveaway ends on September 3, 2014 at 12:00 am (MST).  Winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond to the email with their mailing address. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Apple Craft

Apples are one of my daughter's favorite snacks! She loves when we slice it open and she sees the fun star seed shape inside, so we decided to make this darling Apple Craft that gives a unique focus on the insides of an apple. The use of a clear plastic drink lid helps achieve an awesome dimensional look to the craft.

Materials you will need:
  • Clear Plastic Drink Lid (I treated my kids to a McDonald's smoothie to get our lids. If you have a large class, maybe they would be willing to donate some lids. Or ask parents to save lids from smoothies, Starbucks and coffee drinks that use these types of lids, etc.)
  • Elmer's School Glue (make sure it says on the bottle that it dries clear)
  • red tissue paper squares
  • white tissue paper squares
  • small black circles made from hole punch
  • brown paper
  • green paper
  • scissors

1. Lay your drink lid on the table with the top laying down on the table. Use the X shapes from where you insert the straw as markings of where to add your apple seeds. Put a dot of school glue at the end of each straw line marking and add a black circle.

2. Next add school glue all the way around the outside rim circle of the plastic lid. Crinkle up red tissue paper squares and push them down into the rim of the cup. (I added glue all over my lid when I made mine as you can see pictured in the middle below, but I would recommend doing it in sections to make it easier for kids.)

3. Add school glue to the remaining middle section of the lid and lay the white tissue paper squares all over the lid. Make sure to tuck the tissue paper around all the edges of the cup so it adheres to the glue and lid.

Pictured below (left) is what the back looks like after adding the white tissue paper. When you flip it over you will see that all of the white school glue shows through. Don't worry! If you used the kind of glue that says "dries clear" it will dry clear.

4. Cut a small stem and leaf out of your brown and green paper and glue them to the back of your apple. Let it dry completely. It may require overnight drying depending on how saturated you put on the school glue.

When it's all dry, flip it over and you are left with a window peek of the inside of an apple. Pretty neat huh?!!

You could also ditch creating the inside view of the apple and just use red tissue paper for the entire apple. Then hang them up on a window to create a stained glass effect with the plastic lid. Lots of fun possibilities!

Looking for Apple Books to go along with this craft? I love this list of 13 Picture Books About Apples from No Time for Flashcards.

Coupling this craft with creating Apple Prints and Patterns like seen on Buggy & Buddy would also be perfect!

Also, check out these 15 Fabulous Apple Tree Crafts!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Cooking with Ruthie Giveaway --Everyone's a Winner!

We're celebrating around here today! Whoot-whoot!
It's Cooking with Ruthie's 3rd birthday party and we're so happy you came :)
Our fabulous group of bloggers and y'all are here to get 'jiggy with it'.
The best part is... EVERYONE'S a winner!

Everyones a Winner Birthday Giveaway! on

Image Map Everyone's a Winner: FREE itunes download of Cooking with Ruthie's Family Favorites Cookbook!!
Grand Prize: $300.00 IKEA gift card
First and Second Place: $100.00 Amazon gift card
Let's get this PAR-tay started... just fill out the Rafflecopter entry below and then download your free cookbook. YAY!
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Image Map   *This promotion is sponsored by the above specified bloggers and IKEA and is in no way affiliated with Amazon, Pinterest, Instagram, google+, or Facebook. We hereby release Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and google+ Inc. of any liability related to this promotion, the receipt of prize winnings, etc. The giveaway will run from Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:01 AM MDT and ends Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at midnight MDT. Once the giveaway ends, winners will be chosen using and contacted via e-mail within 24 hours. Winners will then have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to US residence only except where prohibited by law. Winners must be of full legal age in the jurisdiction in which they live. This group of bloggers are only responsible for sending out the prize. They are not responsible for loss, damage or theft once the prize is shipped. Participants will be responsible for any taxes, tariffs duties, etc. due upon delivery of the prize.

Everyone's a Winner Birthday Giveaway on

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Contact Paper Sticky Wall Fall Tree

We have grown very fond of Contact Paper Sticky Wall Activities this past year. With the Fall season upon us we took some time recently to create a beautiful Fall Tree out of a Contact Paper Sticky Wall. Not only did my daughter love the activity, but it turned out to be a lovely work of art on the wall!

Materials you will need:
  • clear Contact Paper (can be purchased at Walmart)
  • scissors
  • washi tape or painters tape
  • brown packaging paper (or brown lunch sakes) OR brown tissue paper
  • red, orange, and yellow paper
  • circle hole punch (we used a 2" circle punch)
1. Cut a sheet of contact paper from your roll, remove the backing and tape it to your wall with the sticky side facing out. We wanted more of a square shape so we ended up using two sheets and overlapping them in the middle.

2. Get all of your tree pieces ready. First I cut pieces for our tree. We used some brown packaging paper that we had from a package that was mailed to us, but brown lunch sacks or brown tissue paper would work just as well (if not better). I cut a large piece for a trunk and several small strips in varying lengths for the branches. Crinkle all of them to give them more of a realistic look.

You will also need to use your circle hole punch to cut out circles from your red, yellow and orange paper. Cut out as many as you would like. Kids love to help with this part! We cut out around 60, but I think our tree could have used even more.

3. Now comes the fun part of assembling your tree. Start by putting your trunk on your sticky wall. Then add all of your branches. My daughter asked for some help with where to place the branches. I let her guide the activity though and only assisted when she asked.

4. Add all of the leaves onto your tree branches to finish your tree. We of course had some falling off the tree and on the ground.

Even big brother got in on the fun on this one. It's pretty hard to resist! When we do these sticky wall projects I almost want to make my very own sticky wall so I can play all by myself.  :)

The crinkled brown paper popping off of the contact paper really adds dimension to this tree. I am love with it's beautiful fall colors!

Note: We had a couple of our branches that had a little trouble staying on our tree. It might have been the weight of the packaging paper we used. We were able to just stick them back on and press them firmly on the contact paper, but the more lightweight material you use the better on these sticky walls. Lunch sacks and tissue paper would be a great tree base material.

Check out another fabulous idea for Circle Punch Art from Craftulate. 

You might also enjoy some of our other Sticky Wall Creations!

Sticky Wall Butterfly, Sticky Wall Heart Collage Art, Sticky Wall Ocean Scene

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Animal Jam Review and Giveaway

Full Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Animal Jam. Animal Jam provided me with compensation for this post, however all opinions expressed herein are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support I Heart Crafty Things!

Last year when my oldest son was in 3rd Grade he came home from school very excited one day to tell me all about a game called Animal Jam. He heard about it from his classmates and asked me if he could set up an account to play the game online. Initially I was leery because I didn't like the idea of my child having a username and password to an online gaming community at such a young age, but I decided to see what all the hype was about and checked out the game for myself.  

My first impressions of Animal Jam were fantastic given the fact that as soon as I set up an account for my child, I received an email to my personal email account. I quickly learned that Animal Jam is all about online safety and because of that, parents have their own Dashboard where they are able to log in to control their child's chat settings, their ability to trade or gift items, and are even able to see a complete history of exactly when your child logs in and out of their account to monitor their time spent on Animal Jam. Although Animal Jam monitors the chat within the game, I have opted to not allow my children to chat because it's not something that I'm comfortable with. I like that as a parent I am able to make those choices within the game. 

So what exactly is Animal Jam??

Animal Jam was created in partnership with National Geographic for Kids. It's an exciting online playground for kids who love animals and the outdoors. Players create and customize their own animal characters and dens, chat with friends, adopt pets, team up for adventures, and feed their curiosity about animals and the natural world around them.

Animal Jam features classic playground role playing with life sciences. Players can collect fun facts in their Journey Books, learn about Animal Conservation in Kimbara Outback, and ask real scientists questions, like herpetologist Dr. Brady Barr and marine biologist Tierney Thys.

When you first start out playing the game you get to choose your own animal and then go in and customize him. This is one of my boys' favorite parts! You can go in and change your animals color whenever you want and you can purchase accessories with the gems you earn to customize your animal even further.

To be completely honest, my kids love to play the games more than anything else, but there are educational videos you can watch and I love how they throw in educational facts about animals when you play the games. Several times my kids have taught me facts about animals that they learned from playing Animal Jam.  

The game itself encompasses this fictional World where you can visit all the different sections to find various games and shops. My boys' favorite destination is the arcade where you will find the majority of the games. I've even caught my husband sitting and playing a game or two with my boys on occasion. ;)  Here's a little peek at what it looks like to be in the game, in the arcade section. All of the arcade games you see are different games you can click on to play. You earn gems by playing the games which helps you buy accessories for your animal and den.

My boys have had a great experience playing the game without paying for a membership, but to unlock even more fun like additional animals, accessories, dens, den items, and more games, you can purchase a membership for $5.95 per month or even less if you purchase a 6 or 12 month membership.

I asked my boys what they liked about Animal Jam and here are some of their responses:

"It's fun!"
"I like to play games in the arcade."
"I like how you get to make your den how you want it to be."
"It's fun to adopt pets because you always get to design them and feed them."

Animal Jam also runs the premier online resource center Animal Jam Academy where you can download exciting activities to complete when you're not online. They offer Science, Technology, Engineering and Art Activities, including coloring pages that you can print off. They also have additional educational videos too which are fun to watch.

Animal Jam is graciously giving away a 1-month free membership to three (3) of my readers. For a chance to win one of these 1-month free memberships, comment and tell me what your favorite animal is and complete the Rafflecopter form below. 

You must be 18 years old to enter. The giveaway ends on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 am (MST).  Winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond to the email. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monster Slime

Welcome to another edition of the 12 Months of Sensory Dough Series. This month is all about Slime. I took a traditional twist this month and since slime tends to remind me and my kids so much of monsters, that is exactly what we created. 

This was our first experience making slime and I quickly found out it's not as simple as following a recipe. There is so much room for error and I found that each batch I made turned out completely different even when using the same exact ingredients. If you have never made slime before, or even if you have, you may find Fun at Home with Kids' How to Fix Slime Fails Guide a Lifesaver. I sure did!

We paired our Slime Monsters with the adorable book Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks. "Fum, foe, fie, fee, Monsters don't eat broccoli!" My daughter giggled every time I read that line in this story. This is a cute story about what monsters love to eat and you have to love the sneaky nutrition lesson they include in the book. I also love how the monsters aren't portrayed as scary creatures. After a small bout of my daughter being scared of monsters, we only allow happy monsters in our house. 

Monster Slime
There are several variations and recipes for making slime. We used a recipe that uses Elmer's Clear Glue and Liquid Starch. Find the full recipe and an amazing idea for making Ocean Swirl Glitter Slime on Twodaloo. This was my first time making slime and I can't entirely call it a success. While it seemed to start out right, once the kids started playing with it and stretching it, it pretty much melted in their hands and would not come off of their hands. It was pretty much a mess! Haha! 

The great thing about slime is that when you place it on the table or countertop surface, it melts down into this puddle-like thick substance that reminds me of a monster. It even forms some bubbles on the top adding to the monstery effect. I put some googly eyes and some white triangles cut out of white foam sheets in small bowls and let my kids create their monsters with their Ooey, Gooey Slime.

My daughter wanted a sparkly purple monster but my son went for the traditional green monster. 

All those googly eyes were starting to give me a little bit of a fright! Ha! I enjoyed watching my kids use their creativity to create the monster just how they wanted it. They continued after I stopped taking pictures and their monsters evolved into having arms and legs by stretching the slime out. Although handling the slime didn't turn out quite as fun as I had hoped, creating our monsters was definitely a success!

In case you missed any prior months of the series, make sure to check out our Cupcake Foam DoughDigging for Worms Cloud DoughBuild a Ladybug with Edible Play Dough...
Or our Making Lemon Trees with Scented Play DoughSmall Crab World with Moon Sand, Make a Banana Split Ice Cream Dough and Fizzy Dough Alphabet Ocean Hunt.

I invite and encourage you to visit all of the Co-hosts as each will have a different take on the dough and you don't want to miss out on all of the great ideas and insights! 

Meet the Co-hosts: 

Now it's your turn...

Do you have a favorite Slime recipe, activity or post you would like to share? We would love to see! Have you ever had a Slime Fail? We would love to see those too! Please link up your posts below in the link party. You can also post a picture on FacebookInstagramTwitter or Google+ with the tag #ilovesensorydough. 

Please read the following guidelines before linking up.
  • Share family-friendly posts related to the month's theme. Feel free to link old or new posts that highlight your favorite recipes for sensory dough. Failures and unsuccessful attempts are welcome.
  • We ask that no posts are linked with copy/paste recipes from other sources. If you use a recipe from another source, please link back to the original recipe.
  • By linking up, you give permission to share your post and one photograph in future posts and through social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that others have shared. Discover new ideas and meet new friends!
The linky will remain open for two weeks. On the 12th of each month, all co-hosts will post a new dough with their spin, and will pin each post to the 12 Months of Sensory Dough Board.

Don't forget to join us next month (September 12th) for No Cook Play Dough. 
To see the yearly schedule, go HERE.
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