Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

What a process this has been! After trying two different ratios and a struggling with a wonky gas oven, we finally have some success! I am beyond thrilled with how they came out. 
Baby Rex's little (I mean HUGE) feet make the most adorable penguins and reindeer I've ever seen. We made some at a play date with our best bud Little Bear too. I can't wait for his mom to see them!

Recipe: 2c flour, 2c salt, 1c water
Bake at 175 for 5-6 hours
Use all purpose flour & table salt
This makes enough dough for a full cookie sheet of ornaments.
I am making a ton for a completely toddler friendly Christmas tree. 

Tips & Tricks:

  • Bake at 175 if the oven gets too hot your ornaments will start to rise and you'll lose the print impressions. 
  • Keep ornaments 1/4 inch or thicker. When you press in hands & feet it will thin out under the imprints. Too thin and their toes will come out the bottom.
  • Flour your rolling surface, rolling pin, & spatula when picking up shaped ornaments. 
  • Use a sharp knife to cut around ornaments
  • Smooth out edges before baking
  • To reuse scraps or redo an imprint, wet your hands a bit and knead dough well to start again
  • Use a straw to make holes for hanging before baking (or hot glue ribbon later)


  • Let ornaments sit for a day or two before painting
  • Use acrylic paint (I used gloss)
  • Use real brushes for a smooth finish - not your kiddos chunky one
  • Do several thin layers, allow to dry COMPLETELY in between 
  • Don't forget to seal them (I used mod podge but you can also use spray sealer or polyurethane)
  • Seal the back too

Merry Christmas!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tub Paint

Finger painting has quickly become a favorite activity in our house. Baby Rex just can't seem to get enough. He LOVES LOVES to paint in the tub. This gives him the freedom to explore using his whole body any way he chooses. I am a fan as this keeps the mess to a minimum. 

I started out having Z-Rex sitting on a towel. I figured that this would give him a safe place to sit that wasn't so slippery. 

Baby Rex wasted no time at all diving into the paint. He was very intently studying the paintbrush bristles.

Z-Rex was all about the body paint this evening. 
I just can not get enough of those little TOES!

In theory the towel was a good idea for Rex to sit on. However it lasted about 4 minutes. He had other ideas of how bathtub painting should go...

Rex decided to was much more fun to crawl and spin all around in the tub. Every once in a while I'd add few more squirts of paint until eventually him and the tub were just completely covered.

I LOVED watching Baby Rex paint in the tub. He was clearly having the time of his life. He was babbling away and making some of the FUNNIEST faces I have ever seen.


Clean up was really, really easy. I let the water run while I scrubbed the tub with a washcloth and a dab of baby shampoo. Baby Rex LOVES running water so this was a special treat. After the tub was fairly paint free I tackled Rex, it was tub night any how.

Happy Painting!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Window Gellies

Last weekend we made window gellies - I have no idea if there is an actual name for them, lets just go with window gellies for now :) 

The Setup:
I made sensory bags using clear hair gel, a little water, and gel food coloring. Then duct taped them to the sliding glass door. We only get direct light early in the morning so I made these the night before. Ready for action as soon as Baby Rex wakes up!

Baby Rex getting his first look at the window gellies :)
BEAUTIFUL in the morning light.
I put them at different levels to encourage Z-Rex to stand & reach or sit when he was tired. He is working on standing without assistance and cruising along furniture. This was a great way to add in gross motor development to our activity.  

This was a perfect morning activity for Rex. It was exciting enough to peak his interest, but quiet enough to allow him to feel in control.


After giving him a few minutes on his own to investigate, I doodled on the window gellies. We drew letters, shapes, and a smiley face. Even though he is only 10 months old, I am always looking for ways to bridge hands on activities with academics. 
My hope is for Rex to develop a passion for learning that will carry him well beyond his finger painting years. 

I left the window gellies up for Baby Rex to come back to and explore in his own time. They are still up a week later, still intriguing  :)

Z-Rex has entered into "monkey see monkey do" phase. He quickly perfected the finger poke and doodle. 

Often throughout the week, Baby Rex has simply sat by the window gazing at the colors, deep in thought.  

Tips & Tricks:
  • Use double zipper gallon freezer bags. I only had quart :(
  • Duct tape the bag sealed before taping to window/door to help prevent leaks
  • Add glitter, beads, small toys, or foam shapes 
  • Bridge academics - draw and talk about letters, colors, shapes, etc.
  • Verbally illustrate child's actions & feelings to help build vocabulary and awareness. 
  • Let your child lead the activity, offering suggestions as he or she has a natural lull in play
  • Have fun & be creative!

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Mmmm Blackberries

Trying new foods can be a fabulous sensory activity. Z-Rex reminded me of this when he had Blackberries for the first time at a little over 8 months old. 

He is lucky he is so cute with all this energy waaaay to early in the morning!

Baby Rex was very content and focused on examining the blackberries. His favorite thing to do with new food is to smear and scrap it across his highchair tray. 

Z-Rex played and explored his blackberries for a long time. He was fascinated by their texture and taste. These blackberries were big and super juicy, perfect for little hands.

WHAT do you mean there are no more blackberries?!?!


I am looking forward to introducing more new foods to Baby Rex in the coming months. My hope for him is to build a life long love of adventurous eating with a wide variety of flavors, textures, and colors.       

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Jello Safari Tub

With Z-Rex teething like crazy and not feeling the greatest, napping in his crib has become a luxury for me. After a run of several bad nights in a row, Baby Rex finally slept well and took a nap in his crib to boot! I felt like a new woman, with an amazing new rush of energy. To celebrate I created a super fun sensory tub for Rex when he woke up.

I used washable Crayola paints for the grass and trees, allowing for dry time before Rex woke up. Added a few safari animals, lime flavored Jello and downloaded some fitting nature tracks to the iPod. 

This was the first time playing with our Safari Animals.
Baby Rex was very intrigued and inspected each one. 

I of course took this opportunity to work on perfecting my animal sounds. Daddy makes the best elephant sound :)

Z-Rex was fascinated by the Jello texture. He amused himself trying to pick up globs. 

I think next time I will follow the directions for Jigglers to give him a different experience. 


Baby Rex quickly went from exploring with his hands to crawling all over the tub chasing globs of Jello. 

Rex says Hi and hopes you will enjoy a Jello tub of your own soon.
  Next time I am using TWO boxes of Jello :)

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Bubbles make it Better

Z-Rex has cut 4 teeth in the past 3 weeks, with 2 more about to poke through. As any parent knows teething babies are fine one minute and crazy the next. On one particular afternoon Rex was having one of those days. Nothing seemed to hold his interest, he was a MAJOR fuss bucket. What's a Mama to do? 
Just remember, everything is better with Bubbles :)

Filled up the play pool on the patio then cranked the bubble machine and the tunes to full blast.

Rex LOVED the massive amount of bubbles floating around. He has always enjoyed waving his hands at the bubbles. As he has gotten older I have tried to encourage him to clap his hands or use an index finger to pop bubbles.  

Bubbles are magical. They are great for children (and adults) of any age. In all of my experiences working with children, bubbles have always made a rough day better :)

Even I got a kick out of the floating bubbles.

Insider Tip:
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Gazillion brand bubble solution. I have used others but this is my all time FAVE and well worth the few extra dollars in my opinion. I came to this realization based on three important factors to me:
1. They photograph like NO other, check out all those colors in each bubble!
2. They are SUPER easy for younger kids to blow. 
3. Work great even when using homemade and other non traditional bubble blowing tools (like your hands!)

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