It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day and we created a Hand and Heart Sign to celebrate this great man.
This MLK Day craft also gave Mila and me the time to sit and talk about the importance of MLK’s mission. We’re always in the lookout to talk about diversity, antiracism, and love.
With my parenting, I make it a point to talk about big issues with Mila. Civil rights for everyone no matter their race, gender, or socioeconomic standing is something I believe Mila should grow up understanding. Making sure I keep the conversation age appropriate is just as important too.
To begin our conversation this year about MLK, I had her watch MLK’s ‘I have a dream’ speech. She loved watching him talk and it gave her a sense of knowing him.
Then she did a MLK coloring page from The Letter Vee. She had a picture of him up while she colored it in.
Winter is here and for us, it’s time to stay inside when the temps are so low. To bring the magic of snow inside, we created these adorable Popsicle Stick Snowflakes
They’re easy for toddlers and preschoolers to create and make for an adorable craft as well.
If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you can tell I’m trying to get better at taking videos. They’re fun to make and post as reels too. It gives people who don’t have a lot of time to read a quick glimpse into the crafts and activities we do.
With that said, I forgot to take pictures while making this craft… oops. No fear though, I posted the video below.
Here’s what you’ll need to make these adorable glitter snowflakes.
Modge Podge )you can DIY this with glue and water)
For the first part of this craft, snowflake assembly is required. I would suggest an adult to do this. Personally, I used hot glue for this to be sure the snowflake will stick together. You could use other glue, but I’m unsure how it would hold up in the long run. If your child is comfortable using a hot glue gun, then they can go for it.
The actual snowflake uses four popsicle sticks. Just keep layering them so you can see the ends of the popsicle sticks. The video shows this really well.
After the glue is dried, your child can paint the snowflakes.
Mila chose the colors of her snowflakes. Of course she went for pink, light blue, and silver. She wishes that there were pink snowflakes. Wouldn’t that just be magical?
While they’re painting, I put a little tray underneath so nothing got on our countertop. These snowflakes get a little messy, so protect your area if you need! Mila couldn’t really hold and paint, so her brush kept going on the tray. Just a little heads up.
Now on to the best part: GLITTER!
Before the paint dries, sprinkle glitter over top of the snowflake. This way it gets stuck in the paint. If the paint dries beforehand, you can use modge podge to get it to stick too. I think it takes away an extra step just putting the glitter on the paint. You get similar results.
After the paint and the glitter is dry, use modge podge to seal in the paint and the glitter. If you don’t seal it, you’ll have glitter everywhere.
Once everything is dry, you have your beautiful, popsicle stick snowflakes!
They’re a lot of fun to do and easy to assemble. As you saw in the first picture, I attached them a shelf, but we want to make more to create a snowflake garland. You can potentially make and show these off in a variety of ways.
I also think they’d look cute as a car mirror decoration, but we’re definitely doing garland!
What ways would you show off these Popsicle Stick Snowflakes? Or let me know what snow or winter inspired crafts and activities you do during winter in the comments.
What’s more fun than reflecting on the last year? Going back to that year ten years down the road with a DIY NYE Time Capsule.
In my DIY Mini Cardboard Memory Book post, I shared that I was going to do something special with it. I’ve decided to make another new NYE tradition by doing a time capsule every year. We’re gong to fill it up with a lot of things that made the last year so special. Then, in ten years, we’ll open it up and walk down memory road.
Sometimes I can’t believe how fast time has went since Mila has been born. She is ALWAYS asking what she was like when she was a baby. I feel like she just was a baby and I blinked and there’s a little girl in front of me. Plus, this year has seemed like the fastest yet. She has grown so much and I want to treasure how little she is with what goes in our NYE time capsule. Hopefully she won’t be too embarrassed by her answers when she’s thirteen… let’s get real, she’ll be annoyed with everything then.
Almost everything was easy to put together and I found the worksheets online! Everything else is easy to make at home and it’ll bring up fun conversations amongst your family.
Here’s what we’ll be seeing on NYE 2031!
Year in Review Worksheets
I found the worksheets we used in our time capsule at @whimsicallywonderful on Instagram. Her printables are adorable (and free). I’m pretty sure I’ve shared them on the blog before. Anyways, I was planning on making our own sheets to write on, until I saw the ones I printed off.
Even though these sheets are girly, she also has ones with blues and greens in them. They’re so cute, just a different color scheme. You can find them at Whimsically Wonderful under the Whimsical Prints. It’s the last section on the page. Trust me, if you’re planning on doing a time capsule, these are such a great option!
I printed off:
My Magical Year
Top 5 Best Moments
My Feelings about 2021
There are more options on there too; like handprints and a letter to a future self.
She also chose to do a glitter handprint. We made a little craft with her hand being the 0 in 2022. We traced it out, added glue, and then a bunch of glitter! It’s still drying after twelve hours, but I’ll make sure to update about it on one of my socials.
If it never dries, she also traced her hand on the back of the family drawing too!
A Letter from Mama to Mila
Letter writing is so therapeutic and if you’ve followed my story for a little while, you know I write a lot of them (you can search letters if you’re interested). I actually used to write letters to Jensen every day when I was pregnant with him up until Mila was born. So, it sort of makes sense that I would include a letter in here too.
Honestly, one of my biggest fears is something happening to me and her being without a mom. I want to make sure she knows how much she means to me and maybe I can throw some wisdom in there too. It sounds cheesy, but maybe it’s the last letter or words she would ever get to me. That thought alone makes it important to me to write about this year and how much her at three or in 2021 meant to me.
Again, we’re also going to be opening this up when she turns thirteen, I may need that extra support… I’m joking.
If you do do a time capsule, this would make a precious memory for your child.
On Mila’s papers, it asks to write her weight and height. Even though I can easily write that down, I want to be able to visually see it.
Although I’m not going to add bags of rice in her memory box, we collected her height in a ribbon. I just placed one end of the ribbon on her head and then cut it at her feet. Then, I made a little tag saying what the ribbon was for and connected it with a clip.
I love this idea because I can unravel it and actually see how tall she was.
Again, this is a super simple and easy idea you could do too! It wouldn’t even have to be a ribbon, yard or string work well too!
Pictures and Miscellaneous
Since we take thousands of pictures each year, we had to add a few in the time capsule.
The DIY Mini Cardboard Memory Book is snuggled tightly in there. I’m still obsessed with how it turned out. We’ll also be taking Instax pictures on NYE to add to the capsule as well. Maybe I’ll even let her take whatever pictures she wants. This way we can check out how her photography skills have changed too.
Some other items we’re adding are a New Years necklace, a craft, and maybe a toy or trinket. I haven’t totally nailed that last part down.
When we open it, I just want to be blasted back to 2021 and have this magical feeling.
As pretty as everything is out of the time capsule, it’s perfect inside too. We added a ‘Do NOT Open Until NYE 2031’ on the lid too. Just in case I need some motivation to wait!
Even though I bought a pretty jar for this time capsule, you can easily upcycle items you have around the house. I’m thinking mason jars, pringle cans, or even old tupperware containers you don’t know what to do with anymore. You could be as creative as you want to be and even make this a fun part of you time capsule too. For some reason, I’m thinking of a VHS or DVD case. It would have been so clever 30 and 20 years ago.
Anyways, I’m really happy to be starting this tradition with Mila and see how it evolve over the next few years. I hope you enjoyed it too and maybe want to start this with your family.
If you do this tradition or plan to, let me know what other things Mila and I should add.
With the year coming to an end, it’s a fun time to look back on our favorite memories. To keep and showcase them, we made a DIY Mini Cardboard Memory Book. Ours is perfectly pink and full of all the pictures we loved from the last twelve months.
The plus side, this easy craft is fun to make and you can personalize it however you’d like.
Here’s what you’ll need to capture your memories of the year:
Scrap Cardboard Pieces
Honestly, this took me a little while to make, but I’m glad I did it. A little hard work goes a long way!
First, I cut out seven, small cardboard squares to make the pages. You could easily make these bigger, I just want to use this book for another project I’m sharing this week. Then I made little holes on one side of them. I couldn’t find my hole puncher, but I made them with scissors.
After, I painted a little area on the squares pink and let them dry.
While it was drying, Mila and I picked out one picture from each month, besides two months… you’ll see why. Then, I just printed them on stock paper I had at my house. When they were all printed, I just cut the pictures out.
Once that was done, I pulled out MIla and I’s favorite stickers, some glitter markers, and got to work!
Like any type of scrapbooking or picture books, it just takes time. I had a lot of fun looking back at all our favorite memories from the year. With every page, I made sure to write the month out and add relevant stickers. I think they all captured the feeling and emotions of every month. Mila had fun helping me with the stickers as well.
On the back cover page, I had her write down her name with little hearts. Just so I always have her writing. She draws hearts on everything to show love. Just something I always want to remember.
Just to share our pages incase you need some inspo, here’s ours and why we chose them for the month.
January and February
In January, MIla did a fun glitter shoot and they’re one of my favorite pictures of her! She seriously looks magical. Then in February, we made one of my favorite DIYs: I love you frame. It’s one of the pictures from that day and always makes me smile.
March and April
Last March held Easter. I laughed so hard when Mila took off after getting one ‘good’ picture with the Easter Bunny. The running shot is hilarious and I had to add it. April is our big birthday month. Jensen’s is on the fifth and Mila’s the fourteenth. We picked a picture from the day she turned three.
May and June
One month that we look forward to every year is May. We get to go on vacation AND school is usually out too. That means summer! This picture is of her in Myrtle Beach in her yellow polka dot bikini. In June, we went to our local waterpark so many times. I had to capture one of those moments.
July and August
In July, Mila and her friends won the Fourth of July talent show in our town. It was a big moment for them (and us moms). I’ll never forget that day and will always tell Mila the story of what she did after… I’ll make sure to share one day on here. At the end of August, we got Toby! Mila chose this picture since she loves her puppies so much!
September and October
September was a huge change for the both of us. Mila started preschool and has been learning so many new things. Believe me, she tells me all about it. It was also the start of me posting a picture every day of Mila’s outfits. Since we’re obsessed with Halloween for all of October, Mila requested that I added all of this year’s costumes.
November and December
Of course we had to celebrate the holiday season with these last two pages. We still love her turkey headband from Thanksgiving and that Santa picture showcased how December felt all month long.
Back Cover Page
Like I said above, I had Mila add this page. I think it’s a sweet touch to wrap the entire year and how she’s growing up. Makes my heart smile.
I really feel like this will be a yearly tradition from now on. It’s such a cute and quick way to reflect on all the years. Plus, when you see my next NYE activity, you’ll think it’s even more perfect for the mini version. Stay tuned to see.
What are some ways you like to reflect on the year during New Years? Or do you have any NYE traditions you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.
Looking for a different way to make your Christmas gifts even more special? Try this DIY Wrapping Paper. I promise your family and friends will love getting their gifts wrapped in paper that’s made with love. And… your kids will be really proud of themselves when they show it off to them too.
Making our own wrapping paper is a big Christmas Bucket List item for us. We did it her first Christmas and now it’s become a fun tradition. I know my parents always look forward to seeing her wrapping paper. This year, she made it for her friends at preschool. I’m sure we’ll be doing this Christmas Activity more than once this year.
Maybe this can become a fun tradition for your family too! Here’s what you’ll need to make your own wrapping paper:
Brown craft paper
This activity is super simple in the best way. You get to let your child be as creative as they want to be. PLUS, they get to be messy too! I think all kids like that aspect of that.
To set up, all I did was lay out brown kraft paper, pour paint on a separate paper plate, and laid out her tools (paint brushes, cookie cutters, bingo daubers). She did everything else all by herself. I would also suggest laying trash bags down if you want to keep your surface clean.
I played Christmas music and had Mila explain to me what she was drawing. The one section was a whole scene with people. It’s fun to hear their thought process.
After they’re done creating, just let your wrapping paper dry.
Then, just wrap your presents like normal. I tried to get Mila to paint more in the middle so you could see the design. We also love to add yarn and ribbon to make presents even more special.
Mila was super proud of her wrapping paper. It’s so unique. We’ve done it every year and each year it looks so different. It’s a great way to capture her growth. It also feels like a present within a present when you give to others. I love gifting her artwork and this is a fun way to do that while being useful too!
Even though we normally do this for Christmas, I’d love to do it for different birthdays or holidays.
Let me know in the comments…
Have you ever made your own wrapping paper? OR what recycled products do you use for wrapping paper?
Halloween crafts and activities do not have to be complex. My preschooler’s favorite Halloween Craft are these Googly Eyed Monsters! Not only did she have a spook-tacular time making them, she loves making sure everyone sees them when they come in our home.
The best part about these monsters, you only really need to go buy googly eyes. Everything else are pretty common household items.
To set up this craft for Mila, I cut some squares from old cardboard boxes. We love to upcycle and reuse items. If we can make memories by doing that, I’m all for it!
Then, I put out the colors of paint she wanted to use. I tried to persuade her to use more Halloween colors. She insisted on blue though, but I think it turned out super cute even though it’s not a traditional color.
I let her free paint and do whatever she wanted. They didn’t start off as monsters, just as big blobs.
If you have older kids, they’ll be able to do this next part on their own. I went in and drew outlines of monsters with her blobs. She might be able to do it now, but I just follow her interest and patience level with these types of activities. There’s no right or wrong ways to outline them. Just let their artwork speak to you!
When the monsters were finished and dried, Mila put the eyes where she wanted them to be. Let your child pick out how many eyes and the eye color they think they need. It’s so cute to see how they end up seeing their monsters.
Then, you can hot glue a pipe cleaner on the back of the cardboard pieces to hand them. This is an optional step, but I love it.
I love this little progression picture. This activity came out so adorable and I’ll definitely be hanging these up throughout future Halloweens. At first, Mila was afraid of some of her pictures. Now she thinks they’re cute. She’s really getting in the spooky mood!
Another week, another activity box for Mila to explore. This week is a Mermaid Activity Box. Since summer is still here and she loves the beach, I thought it was a perfect time to do this theme. It’s fun, education, and a hit with Mila.
Although I over-themed it for mermaids, this could easily be altered to be more about sharks, fish, or any other ocean creature too.
Like the Dinosaur Activity Box, the Mermaid Activity Box is filled with sensory items, toys, books, and educational activities for toddlers and preschoolers. All of this fits inside a book box from Target so it can easily travel from place to place.
These boxes are such an easy way to help promote learning for you little ones with multiple family members and friends.
Every time Mila sees me start to take items out of the box and put new ones in, she gets so excited to see what she’ll be working with. I think by just getting her to sit down with the sensory toys, books, and activity worksheets, it’ll help her prepare for preschool. it can be a huge adjustment to start learning how to sit down for crafts and activities the first time they go to preschool.
Anyways… here’s what’s all in the Mermaid Activity Box.
I’m a big supporter of Mila reading books every single day. Even if she’s making her own words up with the pictures. Books help kids understand concepts, worlds, and places they don’t have the opportunity or option to explore.
These four books are amazing. I’ve definitely showcased three of them on past posts before. They’re just that good!
In all of these books, we love the stories, but the illustrations are just gorgeous. I think they really capture the ocean vibes with all the blues. Mila’s favorite for a long time have been the That’s Not My… series. She loves finding the mouse and learning new words that describe what the books about.
I’m always on the look out for more books too. If you have fun ocean, sea, or mermaid inspired books you think we’d love, let me know in the comments.
Sensory Play Items
We love sensory play. There’s SO many options for kids to learn by feeling and exploring.
The beautiful resin letters are from Beags and Bubs. I shouted Danielle out last week for her letters and knew I had to showcase them for this activity box. She also created the seek and find activity too (the clear circle in the top left) and the sand play-doh. I would 100% recommend her to anyone. Her Instagram feed is beautiful and she can make custom letters that will be perfect for you child.
I also added her mermaid pop-it. Mila is just amazed by pop-its. Whenever she gets overwhelmed, i’ll give her one and it calms her. This one is adorable, but can easily be carried around too.
She also always loves slime and I gave her blue play-doh too. The seashells were included so she can make impressions in the play-doh. This will allow her to extend her play and be imaginative with the toys too.
I have a ton of different sticker and coloring books for Mila. She loves them both. For her sticker books, I usually have another page or cardboard for her to put them on too.
The two pictured above were found at Joann’s for cheap! The marker page was actually 70% off. Mila likes the way the black feels and I love that it’ll help her stay in the lines. I also have other coloring pages from older coloring books that she loves to color in.
Like with the Dinosaur Activity Box, I flipped through Mila’s workbooks and found mermaid and ocean themed pages for her to use. Usually preschool workbooks will have a huge range of themes they use in their books, which is awesome for using different themes!
Again, I love preparing her for preschool by giving her these pages now. It helps let her know that learning can be fun!
There’s also a ton of printables on Pinterest you can find for activity pages too!
Although they’re not added in this picture of the activity box, you can add so many other crafts and activities too. We’ve done so many ocean and mermaid themed sensory play and crafts that Mila has asked to do over and over again.
These crafts and sensory components can be put in bags or Tupperware containers to help organize them.
Wondering what crafts and sensory ideas you can do, check out this list:
S’mores are obviously a huge part of our summer. We have tons of fires and we’re always craving the gooey treat. Sometimes, you can have a ton of leftover marshmallows. Instead of just throwing them away before they get hard, try this Marshmallow painting.
If you’re by the campfire making s’mores, you have almost everything you’ll need.
To start this activity off, I had Mila go find sticks. It gave her some time to explore and find the perfect ones.
While she was doing that, I prepped the painting area. All you need to do is find a spot for your canvas, get a palette (I used old cardboard) to put the paint, and get out marshmallows.
Once Mila got back with the sticks, I stuck the sticks in the marshmallows to make a ‘brush.’
Before she started painting, I asked her to tell me a campfire story through her art. So, while she was painting, she was telling a big story. Everyone color represented something different.
The storytelling part of this activity is my favorite! People have been telling stories around the fire since the first humans.
I can’t remember exactly what Mila’s was about. There were a lot of details.
What I do recall is the story was about me, Mila, and Max. We rode on a bike to get plants and a tree. She was purple, I was pink, Max was orange, the plants and tree were green, the bike was blue, and there’s some colors she used again that I don’t remember why.
I should have been recording her tell the story, but I didn’t think about it until after. Either way, when I look at her little painting, I smile.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a little s’more and told more stories. It was such a fun activity to start our evening. Summer nights like these are my absolute favorite.
In the next week or so, I hope I can start writing down her stories. She’s been telling a lot of them and I want to make sure I always remember. When I do, I’ll make sure to write a post about it in case you’d like to do something similar.
Have you ever painted with marshmallows before? If not, what’s your favorite camping or summer craft you did as a child?
Here’s some other summer/camping crafts you might want to check out too!
Mila and I love watching birds in our backyard. After making DIY bird feeders, we thought it’d be fun to expand their spot on the tree. We created what I like to call a little birdhouse motel.
If you didn’t know, birds hold a special place in my heart. They remind me of Jensen and whenever I see a red or blue bird, I feel as if it’s him saying, “hello mom!” There are also birds on his urn. For some reason, his urn called out to me. It felt like it was a freeing image and after that, birds just felt right to celebrate him with. With that being said, we really welcome them in our backyard.
I’ve been looking at different birdhouses to purchase, but have been so busy I’ve forgotten to order one. Thanks mom brain! When I last went to the dollar store, I found two little kits, so I had to buy them. Then I figured we could reuse something at home too.
Not everything has to look perfect or expensive, it still turns out cute when made with love.
As I said before, if I could do this again, I probably would have ordered a different birdhouse kit. Yet, this one worked out perfectly because it wasn’t so big that Mila lost interest.
For the kits, I followed the instructions on the back of the package.
Honestly, I threw away the wood glue and went straight to my hot glue gun. It went a lot quicker! If you’re up for the challenge and have the patience, you could try the wood glue.
After the hot glue was dried, Mila and I each painted one of the mini birdhouses.
She wanted to pick out the colors and of course chose purple and pink. They’re truly her go to colors! It makes me laugh that most of the crafts and artwork in our house are bright and girly. Let’s hope the birds like it too!
While Mila continued to paint her birdhouse (which she did all by herself!), I cut out a big chunk of the juice carton and then washed it out. I also cut two holes across the top to pull string through to hang. It would have really helped if I had done this before I painted, but… I forgot!
Afterwards, I ended up painted it black (against Mila’s wishes) with a purple little heart on it. When it was dried, I pulled the string through and tied a knot.
When the kits were done, I also tied the string and hung them all together.
Mila went to find some grass, small sticks, and a little bit of bird seed to welcome in our new friends. It was so cute seeing which objects she thought the birds would like. If I were them, I’d feel right at home!
I can’t wait until we can get more birdhouses and maybe do another DIY.
These two were simple enough for us to do it in an evening. As she gets older, we can definitely do more complicated things. For now, she’s in love with our birdhouse motel. I am so proud of how well she painted and worked on her little project.
Now we get to wait to see who decides to move in and benefit from the motel. Hopefully different types of birds will visit and maybe even a bluebird or two. Fingers crossed!
What’s your favorite type of bird? Let me know in the comments.
If you love birdhouses and want some other inspiration to do a DIY one, check out what these moms have done.
We love process art! With spring here, as well as the bugs, we had to find a creative way to make a unique piece of art. This time, with a flyswatter and a hyper toddler!
Mila has a love hate with bugs. On one hand, she’s afraid of most of them. Then, on the other, she likes butterflies and the ‘pretty’ bugs. She despises flies and gnats, but was pretty impressed last year when she was introduced to the flyswatter. It’s like she’s on fly patrol whenever she sees one.
To get her creative and being active (which she loves), I thought this activity would be fun for her!
Not only is it fun for Mila to paint and have fun with it, the texture the flyswatter made was amazing to me. It turned out to be a great project.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Canvas or paper
‘Bugs’ (aka paint)
I love activities that have an easy set up. It works for Mila’s patience level and if I just need a quick activity, it’s so nice. This one was just like that.
The only real planning we did was picking out paint colors. Mila, of course, went for her normal colors: pink, blue, and purple. We had everything else already on hand, but you can find all of these materials almost anywhere.
Then, I just poured little dots of paint all over the canvas. I told Mila to pretend they were bugs and to smack them!
She had so much fun hitting all the different bugs. If I do this activity again, I’ll have her hit the certain colors to practice color matching. It would be fun seeing if she or any toddler would try their best not to hit any other colors too.
The patter the lines on the flyswatter made were perfect. When she asked for more bugs, the layered look was so cute. Somehow, the paints didn’t all muddle together and you could see all the different colors. I was worried they’d just become a huge purple blob!
Mila had a ton of fun hitting the canvas and we ended up doing the same activity on a big wood board too.
I hope to finish her painting off with writing a quote on it in the near future. I love to combine her artwork with encouraging words! It just makes for a fun team project that I know we’ll enjoy for years to come.
Let me know in the comments if you like bugs or if you’re on Mila’s side of the flyswatter.
Check out how some other moms incorporated bugs and insects in their learning.