Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stirring My Brew

Witch's Apothecary

pretend kitchen play, dabbling in chemistry, creative thinking, Halloween fun.

A while back - at the beginning of the Halloween season, I came across some "specimen jars" used for decoration. I loved the spooky, eerie thought of these but didn't want to spend the money on them for decoration - maybe some day if we had a party. I "banked" the idea as I do with so many things that inspire me...

Last Thursday during the bitter cold rainy days I had to do something to keep Buga occupied inside to keep us all from going crazy. I remembered I hadn't yet taken out the Halloween Sensory Bin supplies so I quickly gathered them, some rice, and a HUGE metal mixing bowl - we are talking about 2.5' in diameter. I just loved the way the rice sounded as it rustled against the metal bin. We listened to Halloween music while Buga pretended to "bake", make "potion", and "stir her brew".

Fast forward to this week. I was in Michael's perusing - looking for some supplies for the shop when I happened upon the "organization section" of the store. Drool. My house is not organized, but it's not from a lack of my trying. And I do so love organization. Anyway, I found these cute plastic scrap-booking jars on clearance (and I had a coupon)...and I thought, oh, I know these could be SOMETHING.

Continuing on my shopping journey I came to the Martha Stewart Halloween Crafts section (which was on sale / clearance because the holiday is so close) and I came upon these magnificent specimen "labels" for a Halloween party. I loved the look of them so much that I decided to head back to the organization section and pick up those bottles. (This picture is actually them, but smaller...I had to copy and resize them to fit the bottles. But now I have the originals I can use for a party sometime, too.)

When I found these, I had a plan. All of the dots connected to make a pretending
game / kitchen / store I thought would be so much fun. It just hit me and here are the fruits
or toadstools of my labor of love....

Here are the bottles, all labeled. Now for the fun part - deciding what would go inside. I wanted all of the items I found to resemble somewhat the labels...not to be too small, so we could add them to our "mixture" and still take them back out again (for sorting purposes) and restocking purposes...and to be spookily fun.

I turned an old wooden cooking spoon into a cooking "broom" with a little left-over chocolate colored yarn.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that and an Apothecary Shop I made. I scrounged up an old witches hat and cauldron from the basement. Some leftover styrofoam "meat" trays from the grocery store to use as "plates".

I gave it to Buga this afternoon to play with. She sure did fancy her new role as witchress in the brewing kitchen. She played with it for a couple hours today which made me totally happy. She loved discovering what was inside each of the bottles. While we cooked we sang the song....

Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew.....wooooooohhhh.
Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew.....wooooooohhhh.
Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew.....wooooooohhhh.
Tip toe. Tip toe. Tip toe. Boo!!

She insisted she was a good witch and refused to put in the "skulls" -- arsenic -- as she didn't want to hurt anyone. She said the Eyes of Newts helped people and loved the Frog Slime (which I was fluff for stuffed animals...I wish there had been a spider's web label or swamp fog).

Needless to say, I totally enjoyed making it. She totally enjoyed playing with it. And it is a little play set I will be sure to keep in our Halloween bin to use again next year.

What did the Dum Dum want to be for Halloween?

What did the Dum Dum want to be for Halloween?

Why a Ghost, of course!

I always loved this simple craft for Halloween. Buga loves lollipops - she doesn't get them often, but maybe that's why she loves them so much. I decided that it would be fun to turn these little Dum Dums into Ghosts for the holiday. Buga loved seeing the transformation.

It was a little tricky for her to do by herself, but we worked together and there were definite tasks she could do on her own - put the napkin down; put the lollipop inside; gather the napkin around the lollipop; add the eyes.

Her little works of ghoulish art.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Haunted House Project

A Haunted Halloween Project. Buga and I made this Haunted House project (Thanks, Mom!) as one of our Art projects. There were two sections to color - the top of the house and the bottom. Buga REALLY wanted us to color the house, together - which I try not to do because I like her art to be her own (I love when it's all hers) but she insisted on working together. I wasn't going to turn down an act in cooperation (or coloring, for that matter!), so we worked together. I tried to let her make as many of the coloring decisions as possible so it was still hers...I was just the helper. We did this project while Boo was sleeping so it really was a peaceful coloring kind of project.

When we were done coloring I cut each window/door around three of the sides so they would lift "open" and then we glued it on a bigger sheet of white paper.

She drew whatever she wanted inside the windows (This part she did all by herself...I LOVE her little drawings). While she drew I was talking to her about what was going on in her picture. She narrated what she was drawing and I would write it down on a sheet of paper so I remembered all her stories. As she was telling me about the characters and what they were doing I turned each sentence into a rhyme and created a little Halloween poem out of it. Every line in the poem is based on what she told me - modifying a word here or there so it would fit in rhyme and rhythm. She wrote all the lines, in concept, except the last one which I did as a way to wrap it all up and give it an ending. I am kinda proud of our collaboration <3

Eye Spy...

A witch named Seussy behind the door.
A dog flying high, about to soar.

A crescent moon hung in the sky.
A ghost out front, just passing by.

A spider is hiding where no one can see.
He creeeps out at night to try to scare me!

And, in the attic, the pink cat takes a nap
While the wind howls outside and the windows tap tap tap.

Hush now, Sweet Dreams, on Halloween Night.
Tomorrow will come with November's light.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do the Monster Match

With Halloween quickly approaching I thought it would be fun to have fun with Monsters - the Cute, Friendly Monster Kinds. See, Buga is actually afraid of monsters lately. She thinks they live in our house and in her room. She conjures up these stories about them all the time and instead of telling her "there are no monsters" (because I feel like the Monster could just be a face to a real a representation of something deeper), we ask herabout them. What color are they? What are they doing? There are nice monsters. She has a nice Monster - his name is Stako. He often climbs her wall. She is always laughing at him and telling him to "come down off that wall". She thinks he's silly. And now, sometimes she even invites him into bed with her at night to cuddle up and sleep. Sometimes she even tucks him in.

In an effort to continue "playing with her fears", when I found this cute Monster border at the Dollar Store I had to buy it. First, they are super cute. Second, I thought it would be a good way to play with something she's afraid of -- to see them in a different way. The game is simple. We did the Match...we did the Monster Match. I cut up each of the monsters on the border and enlarged them. It was her job to match the little guys with the big guys. We also talked about labels, categories, similarities, and differences. We put them in groups based on a characteristics - like 2 legs or tentacles. I think I will make a couple more sized version of one or two of them so we can put them in size order : smallest --> largest or largest --> smallest.

I made some "Monster Masks" with some printed Monster Mouths...added popsicle sticks so you can hold them up. Throughout the day we used these to try to scare eachother or just pretend to be monster friends. She LOVED doing this - she loves pretending in general lately.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Surprise Favors

While in the bathroom at my parent's house, I noticed a ton of empty toilet paper tubes.....and inspiration struck! I know, an interesting beginning to a craft story....

Anyway, I remember seeing / making "poppers" - goody favors inside a toilet paper tube, twisted with tissue paper to look like an unopened piece of candy or something. They were always festive and fun....I mean, who doesn't like to receive a little package of mystery? With Halloween so close I decided we should make "pumpkin"poppers. I headed to Target to find some fun goodies to fill them with (I tried to add more than just sweets). Here's what I came up with: Halloween fruit snacks, a little pad of halloween paper, a bubble tube, a sheet of fall leaf stickers, and a pumpkin straw (which I really lucked out on finding because the straw itself was GREEN like the stem of a pumpkin - fun and practical!)

I stuffed them into the toilet paper tubes - strategically.

Are you beginning to see why that green-straw was a total score?

Buga helped my open the napkins.

You layer two together and place the toilet paper tube in the middle.

Then gather the napkins up around the straw at the top of the tube.

I tied them with curling ribbon to look like pumpkin vines.

I think they looked cute just like this, but Buga wanted to add some faces so....
I printed out some jack-o-lantern faces onto sticker paper and cut them into strips.

Then I circle-punched the faces out.

Buga wanted to count the number of pumpkins so she lined them up.

Then we stuck them onto our pumpkins.

Pumpkin Perfect.

Friday, October 21, 2011

School Days

I am a big believer in "Meet your child where's she at." In my case, this meant enrolling my 3-year-old in PreSchool. Sure, I chose to stay home to be with her...but she really needs this space to socialize, interact, and explore without Mama at an arm's length. Maybe Boo will need this early enrollment too...maybe not. But Buga certainly wanted to be "at school". For about a year it's all she's been talking about. And in all seriousness I would have done it a lot sooner had I found somewhere near us with a part time schedule. I did choose to stay home with my children for a reason and I don't need or want someone else taking care of my little ones all day long (though sometimes that does sound appealing). I just wanted somewhere she could get away a couple hours a day, only a few days a week, to be with "friends"; to do something independently; and to see teachers (other people) as an "authority" to respect. This program was a great start for us. And the best part, Buga LOVES going. It's not very high tech but it covers the basics and the teachers, students, and parents are nice. The first day I dropped her off Buga was a little nervous (who wouldn't be?)...but we had gone there to play and check it out a week before school started to familiarize her with the setting. Which I definitely recommend.

...We get there and she is super excited to see her friends. Hangs her backpack and jacket on the hook. Takes some pictures. Sits at the table to color with her friends. I'm about to leave. She gets up, walks right over to me and softly kisses me right on the lips. I love you she says. Then goes back to her coloring table. I love you too, Layla. Always and forever. No matter what. Have fun with your friends. I will see you soon...

Needless to say she barely says goodbye to me now...which both makes me sad and warms my heart at the same time.

Here is are some photos from the past few weeks of her on her way to school. I am documenting this for me and forher. Never let your excitement for learning fade!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Farm

Every Fall we go to the Pumpkin Patch to pick a pumpkin. It just so happened to be one of the most amazing, feels-like-spring-not-like-fall kind of Saturdays this year. I imagined what it would be like if my family lived on a Farm. I could definitely see us living on a Farm. Buga fit right in. Boo is so incredibly content to be outside. Maybe someday I will be blogging from our very own pumpkin patch...or barn....