Classroom Bean Bag Toss Valentines Game

So I’ve been volunteering in Peanut’s classroom on Fridays for the past few weeks. I’ve mostly been helping the struggling readers, which is surprisingly rewarding, but yesterday was the big Valentines Day party, so I was asked to make a game. After looking around Pinterest at all the great ideas (and there are plenty!), I just wasn’t finding what I wanted, so I decided to make my own! A bean bag toss!

The construction is simple. We just went by a local furniture store and grabbed a box out of their recycling (after calling and asking, of course) that seemed big enough. We painted one side pink (some leftover house paint, but acrylic would do) and let it dry. Then I cut out hearts with a box cutter and Peanut painted those while I painted around the rims. I cut off the top of the box so that we could reach the bean bags easily and I used one of the pieces to make the legend on the side (really only necessary for the more advanced game, so if you’re making this for a toddler you can leave this out). I hot glued the legend and all the hearts on. For the bean bags, I followed this basic idea, but left out the sewing around the edges because I didn’t care if they looked pretty.

If you’re making the game for a toddler or preschooler, you can stop here. My friend’s almost 3 year old came over right after I finished making it and he had a ball just throwing the bean bags through the holes. For Peanut’s kindergarten class though, I made this worksheet to do some math while they played. In the hearts you write the number of points scored for each toss (total of 4 tosses), then add them up. Repeating shapes mean that you write the number again so you can continue adding and get your overall score. It ended up being too complicated for kindergarteners though (Peanut could do it at home when I tested, but I didn’t account for the fact that there would be 5 different kids needing help adding at the same time), so I modified it on the go. I had them do one round of everyone just tossing the bean bags, then I started calling out colors for them to aim at while tossing. The kids really enjoyed the extra level of it.

Happy Valentines Day!


Toddler-made Bookmark Christmas Gift

This year, Peanut learn to sew on the machine (with help), so she’s been really excited that she can so things for people as presents. She decided that she wanted to so her sister a pillow for Christmas out of an old shirt on our mending pile. We did so and she’s crazy excited to give it to her. This created a bit of a dilemma for me though because, generally, when you give a present you expect one in return. And I knew that Twig would be upset that she didn’t have anything to give to Peanut too.

So I went searching online for something Twig could make mostly by herself to give to Peanut. I found this post with a bunch of ideas and thought the bookmark idea would be easy, cute, and useful (Peanut has been reading through the How To Train Your Dragon series with dad, so bookmarks are definitely useful!).

I changed thing up a bit though. I wanted Twig to feel like she had made this for Peanut, not like mama made it and put her name on it. Plus I wanted to use supplies we already had around the house. We accomplished both those things and I thought we’d share in case anyone else wants to do something similar. So here’s what we did!

First, here are the supplies:
Scrapbook paper (you could use printer or construction paper if that’s what you have, but this is more sturdy), paper cutter (or scissor and a mama who can cut straight lines), letter stickers (or you could write the name on if you don’t have these), shape cutter (whatever you want, or you could have the kiddo cut out some shapes or confetti), tape to secure (not pictured, oops!), scissors, contact paper (you can get this at big box stores and it’s an amazing alternative to laminating).

First we cut two bookmarks the size of another bookmark we have, which is 2″ by 6″. One piece of scrapbook paper was 12″ so it worked perfect for making two out of the same line.

Next we added embellishments. This is the big part that Twig was involved in. She chose where to put big sister’s name, what color to cut the elephants, cut them with help, then where to put them. Mama actually secured everything.

Next we cut out two pieces of contact paper for each bookmark, leaving plenty of extra paper all the way around the bookmark. Twig helped me place the bookmark on the first piece, then I put the second piece on. This stuff is crazy sticky so know that once it’s on, there’s no turning back.

Lastly, I cut the contact paper around the bookmark. I originally planned on leaving a bit of contact paper all the way around, but I accidentally snipped too close on one spot so I went right up against the bookmark. I’m not sure if it’ll stay together as well, so I’ll try to update after the bookmarks have had some use.

And that’s it! Super easy, super cute, super useful. Twig had so much fun making these and is crazy excited to give them to Peanut. And all this took maybe 15 minutes total, so it was great to throw together while big sister was in school. Be sure to share in the comments if you try this out! Happy Holidays!

Peanut’s Frozen Birthday Party with FREE Printables

It’s been 9 months, but I’m finally getting around to posting about Peanut’s birthday party. A lot of my ideas were taken from other places (I’ll provide links as much as possible, check out the board for anything I missed), but a couple of things came right out of my brain. Yay creativity! For more ideas that I didn’t use, you can check out my Pinterest board.

First off, this was a surprise party. Peanut specifically asked for a surprise party for her birthday, so she didn’t get to choose the details. I almost didn’t do a Frozen party because I knew that I got to choose, but it’s just too much fun planning parties, so I went for it! I’m happy I did because she loved it. Here are the invites:

I got the idea for the invites from a surprise birthday party invite I saw online, then put them together myself. I just used different fonts and positioned things until I got it how I wanted it.

Next the decorations:

I put this on our front door a couple week before the party “for fun” so Peanut wouldn’t be suspicious when she saw it. I just printed and cut out this and printed out the quote, then cut it into a sound bubble.

My brother made this amazing banner. Free printable below.

I got all the things hanging from the ceiling at a local party store. The snowflakes are from this tutorial. I put these all over the three rooms we were doing stuff in.

Next the food:


My brother made all the food labels. Free printables below. This one is “Anna’s Roast Beef Sandwiches” since she mentions they’ll eat roast beef at the wedding.

Olaf Noses with Peppered Slush (carrots and ranch).

Melted Snow (my brother made these labels too, free printables below). Idea from here.

I was planning on hanging these (like seen here) from the ceiling as “icicles” (and we actually made some ourselves that we hung, which was fun, but didn’t work out very well). I couldn’t figure out a way to get them secure, so they went on the table instead.

Sven’s Carrot and Spice Muffins. These were delicious. Recipe here.

Kristoff’s Ice Cubes (blue jello that I failed at making, should have been cubes like here).

And the cake! I just took some white frosting and swirled some blue food coloring into it, leaving some white spots on purpose. Then the Anna and Elsa are from Target.

Next, the activities:

When the guests arrived, they got to color in these books. I found free Frozen coloring pages online and printed them (check out my board for some of them). Then for each guest I made a cover that said “Princess NAME of Arendelle” in a fancy font. They got to take these home.

Then Peanut arrived! Here’s a cute picture of her being surprised.

Next we made ribbons for their hair. I just cut up ribbons in the same colors as the party decorations and bought some hair clips from the dollar store. I had the girls choose three ribbons, then bring them to me so I could hot glue them on. They wore them in their hair for the rest of the party and got to take them home.

Then we played Pin the Nose on Olaf (idea from here, my brother drew Olaf for me). Everyone got to color a nose (printables on the same link) and cut it out before playing.

Next we played Throw Snowballs at Marshmallow. I liked this idea, but decided that they should throw them at a “bad guy” and made the snowballs out of pom poms. The kids really liked this one.

Lastly we had dancing like in the coronation scene. I just put on the songs from Frozen and everyone danced around and had a ball.

Now for the printables! Thanks again to my brother for making all these and allowing me to share them with ya’ll. Happy Birthday Banner. Melted Snow Water Bottle Labels. Olaf Noses with Peppered Slush. Sven’s Carrot and Spice Muffins. Anna’s Roast Beef Sandwiches. Kristoff’s Ice Cubes. Obviously, don’t use these to make money for yourself or try to pass them off as your own. That’s just rude dude.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to comment if you do your own Frozen party!

The Perfect Halloween Candy Bags

Peanut’s bag was a fishbowl when she was The Cat in the Hat.

Every year I’ve tried something different for a candy receptacle when trick-or-treating, but nothing has been quite right. The ones you can buy at the store are crap (we actually had some of those this year that were given to us and two have already broken just from carrying around at a short trunk-or-treat). I’ve made ones out of felt that are super cute (I may be biased), but I can’t ever get them big enough that we aren’t constantly dumping them into something else. We’ve tried old pillowcases like I used as a kid, but they’re too long and the girls end up dragging them.

So this year I’ve put my mind to it and I think I’ve combined ideas to finally find…

The Perfect Halloween Candy Bags

First, we start with a pillowcase. I got some from sheets we no longer use that I plan on being on keeping as our candy bags for every year. You could also check your local second-hand store for some cheap pillowcases.

I had Twig hold one up and I marked it in a spot that keeps it big enough to hold a good amount of candy still, but not so long it drags on the ground. I flipped it inside out and did a basting stitch (for sewing novices: this is when you turn the stitch length all the way up so you have really long stitches that are easy to pick out later, also don’t do your finishing stitches on either end) at the marked height so that we can take it out to lengthen it for future years when they’re taller.

Then turn it inside out and just tuck the extra fabric inside.

Now you can stop here if you want, but if you’d like to cute it up too, add something that’s along the theme of your costume! Peanut is being Merida from Brave and Twig and Banana are being two of the little brother bears (I’m the mama bear and my husband is King Fergus). There’s a third brother bear though, so Twig’s pillowcase gets a bear! Then Peanut’s has a horse like Angus. I just cut the shapes out of felt and then hot glued them together, then pin them onto the pillowcase with safety pins.

And here’s Twig’s pillowcase in action! Happy Halloween!

My New Business Venture (AKA Buy My Diaper Covers!)

It occurred to me not long after Twig’s birth that, Wow! Wool diaper covers are crazy expensive! And as time as passed this fact has been confirmed over and over again. People asking me the absolute minimum amount of wool covers they can get away with. People using non-wool covers in conjunction with wool to offset the price. Even people not using wool at all because the prices are so inhibitory.

I was luckily in that I know how to knit. I was able to knit up lots of covers with cheap yarn and save a boatload of cash. Though I know knitting doesn’t come naturally to everyone nor do many people have the time to knit.

So for the last year or so I’ve had the idea bumping around in my head about selling wool covers on the cheap. I really want to make wool accessible to the masses. Still, I wasn’t so into the idea of starting up my own shop. Not too long after my initial idea, my lovely friend Jillian contacted me about doing the very thing I had been thinking of.

So we decided to team up and give the internets the chance to buy hand knit wool covers for reasonable prices through Jillian’s already thriving business, Pretty Paisley Productions. Yay! And they’re super cute too (if I do say so myself)! I can tell you from experience that these yarns I use, while affordable, work great. They’re what I use on my own kids! We’re even planning on adding one-of-a-kind hand dyed (by Jillian) and then hand knit (by me) diaper covers at some point in the future. I’m so excited!

As a special announcement to my covers launching on Pretty Paisley Productions, I’m giving away one of my covers! Size to be determined by you, made in the super cute Thanksgiving-y yarn that this cover to the right was knit out of, and pretty design elements to be chosen by me. 🙂

So who wants to win a cover?!? Here’s how:

Mandatory first entry: Go to the Pretty Paisley Productions site and check it out! Leave a comment here telling me what you like most about her new site. Be sure to use an email you can be contacted at in case you win!

1 entry: follow me on Twitter. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

1 entryfollow Pretty Paisley Productions on Twitter. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

1 entry: Tweet about this giveaway (leave a link to the tweet in the comment). You can tweet about this giveaway once every day for an entry. That’s up to 15 entries just from tweeting!

2 entries (don’t forget to comment twice!): follow this blog by email (or other following mechanism of your choosing).  If you already follow, you still get an entry!

2 entries: become a fan of The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, you still get an entry!

2 entries: become a fan of Pretty Paisley Productions on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, you still get an entry!

1 entry: Write a post on your Facebook page about this giveaway! Make sure you link to The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook and Pretty Paisley Productions on Facebook in the post and leave a comment here each time you do it. You can do it once per day! That’s up to 15 entries!

3 entries: blog about this contest (leave a link the comment). Once per giveaway.

The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, August 26th extended to Thursday, August 28th at 10:00am Mountain Standard Time by random. The winner will be emailed and must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck everyone!

The Best Breastfeeding Basket

I’ve been doing these baskets for quite a while and I feel like I really hit a winner on this last one. A lot of it was dumb luck, like being able to find my two absolute favorite books to put into a basket for cheap second hand. Some of it is just figuring out over time what works and what doesn’t. This one was made on the fly because my friend Stephanie had her baby over 5 weeks early and I wanted to get her the basket ASAP since those early days are the hardest. We took her the basket while she was still in the hospital and I feel like it did help her a lot. She’s already told me about multiple items that she really likes in it (like the My Brest Friend I got on Kids Woot!), so I feel like it was a real success. Since we were in a hurry though, I didn’t do the burp cloths I normally do.

This basket contained:

  • My Brest Friend nursing pillow
  • LLL info sheets for general breastfeeding info
  • LLL info sheets for common possible issues
  • LLL meeting info card
  • Chocolate Oatmeal Fantasy Cookies (normally I don’t make fresh cookies since baby showers are much earlier than baby’s arrival, but this time that obviously wasn’t the case)
  • Leg warmers I knit from a friend’s pattern
  • Mother’s Milk tea
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
  • The Baby Book
  • Cloth nursing pads
  • Disposable nursing pads
  • IBCLC card
  • Waterbottle (not a reusable one because, like I said, I was in a hurry!)
  • All in a bit plastic tote with a lid to use for storage later!

I had already been contemplating knitting a sweater for her little boy also, so later we went and dropped off this outfit. I had leftover yarn after knitting the Puerperium cardigan and ended up picking these little buttons with bears on them, so I knit a bear hat!  Here’s a picture of little baby V wearing his outfit 5 weeks (adjusted age 0 weeks). It fits him perfectly and he’s so flippin’ cute!

Jack Skellington and Zero Halloween Costumes

Last year, Peanut decided that she wanted to be Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas for Halloween. Twig, being 22 months old, was happy to dress up as Zero to be her little side kick. I always love making my girls’ Halloween costumes because I think it’s a lot more fun and interesting than buying something off the rack (not to mention cheaper). I also don’t like just dressing up in a costume that looks exactly like a character, but rather turning yourself into the character, if that makes sense. I didn’t keep track of the complete numbers, but I seriously think I spent less than $20 on the whole thing. I used a lot of materials we already had (which is always best!). I’m really happy with how they turned out.

I wasn’t thinking ahead (more like thinking about actually finishing before Halloween had come and gone!), so I didn’t take pictures of the stuff as I was going. I’ll try my best to explain what I did in case anyone would like to re-create any parts of the costumes.

First off, the hats. Both of the hats are from this Barley pattern, which is free on Ravelry. I knit them both in a white yarn I already had from my aunt called Bernat Satin Solids. The Jack Skellington hat is just straight from the pattern. For the Zero hat, I knit the hat first and then laid it flat and picked up stitches about where I thought the ears should be. I had to experiment with this a bit to find the right positioning. I picked up 10 stitches and always knit on wrong-side rows. I didn’t write out exact directions because there was a lot of experimenting and ripping back. I started off with decreasing (knit two together) on the second stitch and increasing (knit two into one stitch) on the second to last stitch, then later when I was increasing the actual size of the ear I would increase on both of those stitches or when one side increases more than the other I just increased on that side.

Next, for the Zero dress, I just took an adult size shirt (large I believe?) and shaped it for a toddler. I put it on her and pinned so that the arms were tight against her and the part under her armpits was tight. Then I went out in a diagonal line from the armpit to the point where the dress was as wide around as I wanted. I sewed that (leaving a little give so it’s not super tight) and then just folded the dress in little pleats around to make it a bit shorter and sewed those. I also had to create a new neckline just by cutting and then sewing it.

With Zero’s nose, I used this tutorial to make a clown nose and modified it. I didn’t have any orange paint, so I ended up mixing up some orange food coloring and then dipping the nose in it, which worked really well. The egg carton material just soaked the dye right up. Then I drew a jack-o-lantern face on it, poked holes in it and put a string in each side (I just used more of the yarn from the hat) and hot glued it to the inside. Then it was tied around her head (which stays on a lot better than just making a loop that goes around their head, IMO). Pair all this with some white tights and shoes and there’s Zero!

For the Jack Skellington shirt, I took the black button-up shirt I wore last year when we were Mythbusters and modified it. I did it in the same way that I did the Zero dress for the arms, but then the sides went straight down instead of diagonally out. I cut a straight line across the front and finished the edge. As you can see with the picture on the right, Jack’s coattails are all jagged and ripped. I just cut the coattails to match this as best as I could and then left them unfinished so they’d look ripped. I left the bottom buttons functional for getting the shirt on and off, but the top ones I sewed down in a flared out position since in the movie his is more like a deep v-neck. I took a white fabric marker and made stripes down the shirt, as well as down a pair of black pants she already had. The lines didn’t end up perfect and I was originally upset with that, but then I realized it gives more of the un-perfect feel from the movie, so I was okay with it.

Lastly, I took a scrap of back fabric left over from cutting up the shirt and made it into a ball with stuffing. I secured the ball and then drew a bat face on it, then held the ears pinched while I sewed directly below them to make them into little points. I took some pipe cleaners and used those as the support for the wings, which were also scraps from the black fabric. I just used three that overlapped at the bat head and then went in each direction. I cut the fabric to a bat wing shape and then drew the lines on it. I hot glued the pipe cleaners to the bat wings so that the cleaner was at the tip of each dip in the wing, if that makes sense. I cut off the excess and there we had bat wings. They’re even positionable! I also crocheted a chain to use as the tie for the bat necklace, just so it was more secure than a simple piece of yarn. Put on a white shirt under the black “coat” and draw on the face with face paint and Jack Skellington is done!

I had a lot of fun making their costumes this year and they loved it. Most people didn’t understand who they were (unsurprisingly, the general population of adults hasn’t seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, at least not recently enough to recognize the girls as characters), but they didn’t mind. They were just a happy Jack Skellington and his ghost dog Zero.