Thursday, June 30, 2011

Squishy Fishy

Want a fun, simple summer project to do with the kids? Well, we have a project that you can make using ONLY items found right in your home!
The Squishy Fishy!
{Translation: a no-sew bean bag... that is much cuter/quirkier than a bean bag.}


To get started, you'll need:
Socks {new or used}
Dried beans
Pea sized gravel
...and that's it!

We'll make a few decoration suggestions as we go, and you can pick and choose projects based on what other supplies you may or may not have.

The most important thing is to have fun with your kids! At the end of this post, we have a few easy suggestions for games you can play with your squishy fishy bean bags.

Simply fill a sock with your filler of choice, tie the end off into a little tail {cut off the excess if it's a tube sock} and voila! You have yourself a bare-bones squishy fishy. Now, if you want to give it a little flair... read on!
One step above bare bones, would be to bust out a few sharpie markers and give your squishy fishy a face, or some scales, or any fun design you can dream up.
Another option is to draw designs with a black sharpie, then use Crayola Washable Watercolors to create a tie-dyed effect. {Simply take a paint brush, dip into the water and then the paint, and then blotch random patches of color into the white sock. The sock readily soaks up the watery-paint.} 
For this squishy fishy, we used:
A black sock
Acrylic paints
The eraser on the back of a pencil

Just dip the eraser into the paint and use it to make the polka dots. Be sure and re-dip the eraser for each dot so the paint will show up nice and dark. Then glue on some googly eyes or buttons, and your fish is complete!

This Fishy? {Above}
Old white sweat sock
Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush
Googly Eyes

And this fishy?
Funky sock {Walmart}
Silk flower
Funky buttons


Now, to have a little fun with your squishy fishies, try one of the following simple games:

Toss Game
*Round up laundry baskets, pots, tupperware bowls and anything else you can think of.
*Spread them out over the lawn.
* Write different point values on paper plates and attach them to the "targets". {Higher point values should be assigned to smaller targets that are further away, while smaller point values are assigned to easier/larger targets.}
* give each child a certain number of fish and then see how many points they can earn!

Hot Potato
*Pass a squishy fishy around in a circle as fast as you can to music.
*When the music stops, the player stuck holding the fishy has to run a penalty lap around the circle.

Fish Out Of Water
*Set a small blue object out in the yard, or at the far end of your living room. This object represents a pond.
* Stand behind an established line on the opposite end of the yard or room.
*Have each child take a turn tossing a squishy fishy across the room in an attempt to land it as close to the "water" as possible.
*The child who lands their fishy closest to the pond wins.

Any bean bag game your kids like to play will work just as well for your squishy fishies.
So make some fun memories with your little ones today!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Bucket List


Today we are putting together a 
Summer Bucket List. 

Have you heard of these?

It's where you make a big old list about all of the awesome things you definitely want to do this summer, cut the list into strips, put the strips into a BUCKET, and draw out an activity a couple of times a week.

Then you go and do whatever activity you pull!
How genius is that?
Love, love this idea.

(If you aren't exactly the spontaneous type, and you need some extra time to pull your activity together, you can always pull the activity the night before so that you can plan for it. It's always fun for kids to have something to look forward to.)

Here is the list of things that our family came up with:

Go to the Zoo
Go to Discovery Gateway
Go to the Aquarium
Go to Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum
Go to the Bean Museum
Go to Seven Peaks Water Park
Go to Lagoon

Go Bowling
Miniature Golf
Go on a picnic
Go to an outdoor movie
Go out for ice cream
Visit a new playground
Visit a new playground
Visit a new playground
Go to the Art City Museum
Go to an activity day at the library
Visit Krispy Kreme
Fire Station Tour
Go to yard sales
Go berry picking
Have an art party
Roast marshmallows
Have a backyard camp out
Make popsicles
Make s’mores
Make wind chimes
Go to the duck pond
Go to the Reservoir
Go to a fun Swimming Pool

What activities are YOU going to be adding to your summer bucket list?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

fun with cookie cutters.

Make lunch time interesting this summer with the help of your stash of cookie cutters. Kids love seeing their food take on different shapes and personalities, and hey, with an eater as picky as mine, it's all about doing what works.

You can use  cookie cutters to shape watermelon, jello, toast, and even your kiddo's PB&J. I used mine to make fun turkey and cheese sandwiches today and the kids loved it!


This crown cookie cutter is great for making your daughter princess for a day, and also would be fantastic to use when serving little sandwiches as a princess tea party.


Rooster toast was a hilarious addition to our breakfast table. {Goes great with eggs!} The toast pictured below has cinnamon and sugar and would serve as a great mid-morning snack!


Watermelon is fun, but messy, so you may want to "cookie-cut" your watermelon slices outdoors so kids can just have fun and won't have to worry about making a mess. Simply cut watermelon into large, round slices and dole them out to the kids. They can also carve their own designs with a butter knife for one of a kind creations!

Summer Art


Looking for something unique and creative to do with your kids during these long summer days?
Get artsy with these fun ideas:

Art picnic in the park:
1. Go to your local library and check out books about all different kinds of artists.
2. Pack a small picnic with snacks, art supplies, easel, art books, and a blanket.
3. Go through the art books with your kids. Teach them {briefly} about the impressionist and abstract styles using examples from artists like Monet and Picasso.
4. Encourage your kids to try creating a painting using the styles they have just learned about:

What would this duck pond look like if it was painted by Monet?
Can you make a self portrait in the style of Picasso?

Sidewalk Chalk:
Take to the driveway and let your kids' imaginations run wild with a little help from mom and dad. Ask questions like:

1. What would you look like if you  had the hands and feet of a giant?
2. How many different kinds of bugs can you draw?
3. Can you draw the four seasons?
4. If you were a superhero, what would you look like? What would your powers be? Can you draw a picture of you using your powers for good?
5. Can you make up a game we can play on the drive way? What are the rules?

{Of course, these exercises can be done with markers, crayons, paints etc. Use whatever medium your children prefer, or try all sorts of different ones to find out what they like best!}

{Sidewalk chalk art ~ in the style of Monet.}

Thursday, June 2, 2011

VIP Plate

Enter to win a FREE marker plate kit!
Update: And the winner is... Rayburn Memories!
{we will be contacting you via email for mailing information.}
{Details at the bottom of this post.}


As two VERY busy moms ourselves, we know that parents today are swamped. So our goal here at ifamily is to bring you simple, creative projects and ideas that are achievable within small increments of time while also using supplies that are easy to access.

In keeping with that theme, today we’re going to share a wonderful family tradition in the making, and all you need to get started, is a plate!


These days, parents are busier than ever. We have jobs, errands, sporting events, dance classes, birthday parties, school projects, and “TO DO” lists that are NOT for the faint of heart. With all of this hustle and bustle, we sometimes struggle to find time to connect with our kids and make sure that they feel special and celebrated when they experience even the smallest victories.

That’s where the VIP plate comes in. But how does a simple plate serve to bring your family closer together?
The VIP plate provides a daily opportunity to celebrate your child’s accomplishments, and reminds frazzled, busy parents everywhere to slow down and celebrate the small things.

The premise is simple. When one of your children accomplishes a goal or makes a good choice, they get to use the VIP plate that night at dinner. From being a good sport at their ball games, to working hard in school, or even showing kindness to a sibling and completing a task the first time mom asks, there are dozens of small things to celebrate every day. And take it from us, this small gesture WON’T go unappreciated.

We wanted to share this tradition with you because both of us have nostalgic, happy “VIP plate” memories from our childhoods. The VIP plate truly is a tradition that your kids will remember fondly for years to come.

And the best part is, it’s so simple that many of you can start this tradition by dinner tonight.

There are no rules when it comes to acquiring your family’s VIP plate. If you’re an avid crafter, you can easily design and create your own!

Glass Etching
You’ll need:
a clear glass plate
a paintbrush
contact brand vinyl {but we have a cheat if you want to use a stencil you already own}
a jar of glass etching cream


Cut out the stencil letters and any designs you plan to use, then use Elmer's Glue {our "cheat" item}to secure them onto your plate. {You don't need to let it dry AT ALL! In fact it need to be wet so you can rinse it away after the etching process is complete. We just didn't want to splurge on contact vinyl {because we're cheap}so we used the Elmer's Glue as a sealer to keep the etching cream from bleeding outside the lines of the stencil.

Once your stencil letters and designs are secure, take your paint brush and stroke a heavy layer of etching cream over the stencil.

Let it stand for five minutes, and then rinse with regular tap water.

{Don't touch the cream with your bare hands! It will eat the skin right off of your fingers!}

As always, follow the specific instructions on whatever bottle of etching cream you purchase.

Marker Plate
Another great idea is a marker plate. This one is so simple and safe that your kids can help. {That is, if you're the carefree sort...} You can find kits for these at just about any craft store. Draw, design, and let it dry, and you’ve got a one of a kind celebration plate for your family.


Another fun take on this theme is to let each child design their own plate, OR have mom and dad design special plates for each child with hand-drawn images of their interests and favorite things.

Thrift Store
And if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body – don’t sweat it. You can still have a special V.I.P. Plate ready by dinner time tonight. Just visit your local thrift store and pick up the brightest, funkiest plate you can find. That way, it will be different from the rest of the dish sets you have at home, and shouldn’t cost you more than a dollar or two. You can even use something unique out of your own kitchen cupboards.


You can also purchase a "You're the Best" plate here. 

Zoom (2)

So try incorporating the VIP plate into your family traditions today.

And  you don't  have to call it a "VIP" plate either.

“You’re the Best!”
“You are Special.”
“Good for you!”

or any other encouraging saying will work great!

Enter to win a free marker plate kit!
*For ONE entry, leave a comment complete with your email address.
*For TWO entries, become a follower of our little blog.
* For THREE entries, share this post on facebook. {It's super simple, the little "f" icon thingy is right below!}
*Leave a separate comment for each entry.
*Don't forget your email address, and good luck!