Toddler Activities: Non-Toxic Homemade Finger Paint

Hello. My name is Erin, and I am addicted to Pinterest. Anyone feel me? Anyway, I am on Spring Break, and I wanted to find some inexpensive activities that I could do with my 21 month old. So to Pinterest I went. After scouring many sites, I was armed with lots of ideas for this week, and the first one I decided to try was making my own finger paint.

Here’s what you need:

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1/2 cup cornstarch

3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cold water
food coloring

Directions

In a medium pan, mix all the ingredients together to make the finger paint. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring the finger paint mixture until it is smooth and thick. After the finger paint has thickened take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool.

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After cooling, divide the finger paint into storage containers depending on how many colors you would like. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container. Stir the coloring in to the paint to determine the shade of color. You’re ready to finger paint! Cover tightly when storing.

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When this was ready, I stripped the boy down (forget the smocks), and we headed outside for some fun.

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In hindsight, I would probably ditch the paper, and just paint straight on the table. Then, when the “masterpiece” is finished, make a print with the paper. The way I did it today, the paper was so soggy, I ended up just throwing it away afterwards.

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We started out using paintbrushes, but he was losing interest, and I wanted him to feel the paint and have fun getting messy. So I dipped his hand into the paint, and he took it from there.

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I loved not being worried when he decided to taste it since I made it and knew what was in it!

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We also experimented with painting his tummy, which he thought was excellent.

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Elijah had tons of fun, and it was a really easy clean-up! Will definitely be doing this again!

 

Toddler Activities: Non-Toxic Homemade Finger Paint

Hello. My name is Erin, and I am addicted to Pinterest. Anyone feel me? Anyway, I am on Spring Break, and I wanted to find some inexpensive activities that I could do with my 21 month old. So to Pinterest I went. After scouring many sites, I was armed with lots of ideas for this week, and the first one I decided to try was making my own finger paint.

Here’s what you need:

Image

1/2 cup cornstarch

3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cold water
food coloring

Directions

In a medium pan, mix all the ingredients together to make the finger paint. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring the finger paint mixture until it is smooth and thick. After the finger paint has thickened take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool.

Image

After cooling, divide the finger paint into storage containers depending on how many colors you would like. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container. Stir the coloring in to the paint to determine the shade of color. You’re ready to finger paint! Cover tightly when storing.

Image

Image

When this was ready, I stripped the boy down (forget the smocks), and we headed outside for some fun.

Image

Image

Image

In hindsight, I would probably ditch the paper, and just paint straight on the table. Then, when the “masterpiece” is finished, make a print with the paper. The way I did it today, the paper was so soggy, I ended up just throwing it away afterwards.

Image

We started out using paintbrushes, but he was losing interest, and I wanted him to feel the paint and have fun getting messy. So I dipped his hand into the paint, and he took it from there.

Image

Image

I loved not being worried when he decided to taste it since I made it and knew what was in it!

Image

We also experimented with painting his tummy, which he thought was excellent.

Image

Elijah had tons of fun, and it was a really easy clean-up! Will definitely be doing this again!

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Little Dresses for Africa

Months ago, I mentioned that there was a mission trip to Ethiopia that I was interested in joining. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go on that trip. Well, that group of people have been in Ethiopia for the past week and a half and just returned today. They saw over 1,000 people in medical clinics, trained over 300 pastors, and held sports clinics for hundreds of children. Three people (that we know of) accepted the Lord as their Savior, and hundreds were baptized! God is so good!

Since I wasn’t able to go (this year), I still wanted to do something to support the cause for Christ in Africa. I was recently invited to join a group at my church called “Common Threads,” a sewing group that works on sewing projects for missions. The girl who leads the group, Jenna, found out about an organization called “Little Dresses for Africa.” This group is located in the U.S. and makes pillowcase dresses and shorts for the children in Africa and sends them over. When she called to find out how our group could be involved, they informed her that they already have 400,000 dresses. But the challenge comes in sending them to Africa. It costs $100 just to send one box over.

This is where our little group comes in. We decided that we would still like to make the little dresses, but that we would gift them to people who would like to make a donation of $15 or more to the “Little Dresses for Africa” organization.

So here is the dress that I made and would like to gift.

Little Dress for Africa

So, if you are interested in donating to the organization, please leave a comment below with your email address, and I will contact you about getting you your gift! Additionally, I had such fun making this dress that I’d like to make more. So if you have a fabric idea that you would like, perhaps something Christmassy, and would like to donate to the cause, then indicate that and we can discuss those possibilities!

Indiana Trip: Church, Naps, and Last Minute Fun!

Sunday was our last full day in Indiana. *Tear* I was actually looking forward to this day, though, because I was eager to attend Bachelor Creek Church of Christ, my Aunt’s church. I had attended there when I came up two years ago and was happy to get the chance to go again. I really enjoy the worship, and the preaching is really good as well.

The neat thing about this church is this is the church where my Grandpa Graham, my dad’s dad, used to preach. Obviously, the building is new, but they still have the bell from the old church. Very neat.

After church, we went back to the house and (*gasp) took naps! It was so nice. The house was quiet and peaceful for the first time all trip. We really needed that time of resting. When the boys woke up, they had some fun playing together, and then I took them out to the porch swing. 

Since we were all well-rested again, we felt like we needed one more excursion into downtown Wabash. We first headed over to Modoc’s Market for some pictures on the elephants out front. Then it was back into the candy store for some last minutes sweets.

After getting our sugar fix, we went over to Charlie Creek Gardens, a beautiful little park dedicated to the study of all kinds of plants. There is a lovely waterfall and a bridge that Colin adored. He really enjoyed throwing Indiana rocks off of the bridge and into the creek. There is even a labyrinth to find your way through. This was such a nice, relaxing time with my family.

Back at the house, we put the boys to bed and then played Euchre with my aunt, eating goodies, and talking and laughing until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. It was a sweet close to a wonderful visit.

Indiana Trip: A Visit to the Amish

Saturday was a day I had been looking forward to all week. We were heading up to Shipshewana, an Amish town a couple of hours away from my aunt’s house. It is pretty touristy, but the restaurants are excellent and the shops are neat and full of Amish-made goods. I spent a lot of time trying to get pictures of the buggies, but my dumb camera kept focusing on the squashed bugs on the windshield, rather than on what was outside. Annoying! Notice on the Amish farm picture, there are no phone lines. Just free, open space. :)

We started the day out with (what else?) eating! We ate lunch at this amazing restaurant called Das Dutchman Essenhaus. It is located in Middlebury, Indiana. It is not only a restaurant, but a bakery and an inn. The food was excellent. My parents and Aunt Berti had the baked steak, which was delectable. Heather had extremely moist fried chicken, and I had the Manhattan, a hot turkey sandwich smothered in gravy and served with mashed potatoes. Yum!

After lunch, we wandered around the little shops and bakery associated with the inn and took a few pictures. I picked up this adorable book called Jesus and the 12 Dudes Who Did, which teaches all about the 12 disciples. Love!

Then it was off to Shipshewana. We first stopped at a furniture store so that my mom could look for little rocking chairs for my niece, Arianna. Happily, we found one, so when that was done, we loaded up the car and finally headed into the town for some shopping. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, there was only an hour left of time for shopping. So I made a beeline for Yoder’s Meat and Cheese Shoppe. I love this store. There are tons of cheeses, and you can sample them all. They also have lots of meats that you can sample as well. I loaded up on Amish Apple Butter, and even found some pumpkin spice candy corn and pumpkin spice cappuccino that will be great for the fall!

Finally, I hit up a couple of other shops, grabbing some old fashioned Cream Soda and kettle corn for munchin’ on the way home.

If you ever make it up to Indiana, you must make a day trip over to Shipshewana. Good times!

Indiana Trip: We’re Going to the Zoo!

When we first planned our trip to Indiana, we had decided that we wanted to go to the Indiana State Fair. That was before the over 100 degree temperatures. So when we woke up on Friday, and my dad was sick with a migraine and would be staying home, we began to evaluate the choice. The heat wasn’t so much a factor, but it was finding something that would be fun for two little ones to do. And the State Fair is cool, but not as much for the little guys. So instead, we opted for a closer distance and a more kid-friendly location: The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

Man. Was that a great idea. The boys just loved it. It was such a neat museum because there were tons of hands on exhibits that the kids could do. Colin was hilarious because as soon as he got his fill of a particular animal exhibit, he would turn to Heather and say, “Wanna see sumpin else, Mommy.” It was so funny and cute.

There were monkeys, tigers, and the baby twin lemurs were especially cute.

There was even a red panda. Oh so adorable.

They also had an Indonesian rain forest exhibit that was really pretty, including old bridges and waterfalls.

Yet again on our trip, we came across giant misting fans, which the boys absolutely loved. We also got to see some sea lions being fed, and they put on a great show. The water looked so nice, and the sea lions looked so refreshed, I was wishing I could jump in that water with them.

There were wallabies and kangaroos, and even an exhibit where you could get inside a kangaroo’s pouch and pretend to be a joey (baby kangaroo). Fun!

My favorite exhibit was the Great Barrier Reef because it was inside, dark, and cool. Not to mention the jelly fish were so pretty.

By the time we arrived at the final exhibit, Elijah was alseep. Poor guy. The final exhibit was an Indiana farm, complete with cows, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, and chickens. Very fun, especially for Colin since he was looking for each member of the Hundred Acre Wood the entire time we were there!

It was a great day out with my mom, sister, and the boys.

As I reflect on this trip, I am reminded of not only how much fun we had, but of how wonderful and special my family is. I am really glad I went on this trip.

Indiana Trip: A Week of Cousins

Many of my dad’s family still live up in and around Wabash, Indiana, his boyhood home. So my Aunt coordinated for a bunch of his cousins to come and visit. On Tuesday, when Heather and I took the kids to the Colts Training Camp, my dad’s cousin Gary and his wife Linda met up with my mom, dad, and Aunt Berti, and the three of them went to lunch together.

On Wednesday, aka “Wabash Day”, my dad’s cousin Bob and his wife Dorthy met us for lunch at “Twenty.”

So on Thursday, we had our final day of cousins. But first, since Elijah has been waking up at 6:30 every morning, my mom and I decided to take an early morning walk and get this noisy boy out of the house. It was really so peaceful and nice, and the weather was finally cool in the morning. Ah. We wandered around downtown LaFontaine (just four blocks from my aunt’s house) and then up past her house to the old country houses and the corn fields beyond. It was fun letting Elijah pick the Queen Anne’s Lace. He thought it was quite tasty.

When we returned, the house was astir, and it was time for breakfast and showers to get ready for the final installment of Cousin Week. This time is was Mary Alice, Marjorie, Lilly Beth, and her husband, Tom. They met us at the house for a short visit, then we all headed into Wabash for lunch. The adults were headed to a fancy downtown restaurant, and Heather and I decided at the last minute to take the kids to a local pizza joint, called “Pizza King,” instead. It turned out to be a wonderful idea. Then the cousins could visit in peace, and the kids could be their wild selves. The pizza was really good, too! When we were finished eating, Heather and I walked down to “Paradise Springs” park. This was one of my favorite places in Wabash when I came two years ago. So it was neat to show Heather the log cabins from when the settlers had treaty talks with the local Native Americans and the old train tracks from when the train used to pass through town. There is also a pretty trail that goes down to the Wabash River. Colin and Elijah loved playing in the grass, again, and Colin especially liked seeing the log cabins and train tracks. My favorite part was walking down to the river. It is just so picturesque, not to mention nice and cool with all of the trees.

When the adults finished up at their restaurant, they picked us up, and we headed back to the house for this amazing dessert that Lilly Beth had brought. It was so fun sitting around and visiting with my family. It is neat because I have met them briefly in the past, and I am friends with them on FaceBook, but it was so wonderful to really get to know them now in person. I just wish we lived closer so these visits could be more frequent.

When they all departed, we had to decide what to do for dinner. My dad loves to watch Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” on the Food Network, and before we left Tallahassee, he had seen an episode of a cute little diner in Goshen, Indiana, just 67 miles from where we were staying. So that’s where we went for dinner. Let me just tell you, I love Goshen. It is pretty, and well kept up, and still so quaint and old-fashioned. The diner was called “The South Side Soda Shop and Diner.” In typical fifties-style diner fashion, the booths were red, and a juke box played in the background. I tried one of the food items featured on the show, the Philly Chili, which is their award winning chili served over egg noodles and topped with cheese and sour cream, served in a soda fountain glass. It was really cute and tasty, but a little hard to eat. :P

We all scarfed down some of their homemade pie before Heather and Mom each got a bag of 10 cent peanuts from a cute, old-fashioned peanut dispenser. Plus, Colin had ice cream, and hilariously, since it was too hard to “cut” with his spoon, he asked for a knife to cut his ice cream. It was so funny!

It was a relaxing, nice day.

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