Valentine Marshmallow Treats

Who doesn’t love a marshmallow treat? (Well, my man wouldn’t because marshmallows kind of make him gag, but anyway!) And who says rice cereal has to have the market cornered on those chewy, yummy treats? I just happened to have some berry flavored Kix hanging around and thought they might make a good substitute!

I just followed the basic marshmallow treat recipe…

3 Tbs. Butter

1 bag of mini marshmallows

6 cups of cereal

Just melt the butter over a low heat, add the marshmallows and stir until they are melted and gooey…

Marshmellow Heart Treats Butter and Marshmellows

Marshmellow Heart Treats Melted MashmellowsMy little helper helped measure out 6 cups of cereal, which we added to the now melted fluff…

Marshmellow Heart Treat Measure the Berry KixMarshmellow Heart Treat Mix in the Berry Kix We mixed it well and let it cool just a bit. Being February and near Valentine’s Day, we decided to dive into my momentous cookie cutter collection and find some hearts to make some heart shaped treats…

Marshmellow Heart Treat Heart Cookie Cutters

I didn’t really think these would be easy to cut through with the cutter, so I decided to “stuff” the cookie cutters with the cereal, and just use them as a form, like so…

Marshmellow Heart Treat Fill the Heart with Kix Mix

I did spray the heart with a little non-stick cooking spray (as well as my hands) to keep things from sticking. My little helper stuffed the hearts as well…

Marshmellow Heart Treat Three Sizes

Many hearts later, it was time to enjoy!

Marshmellow Heart Treat with Berry Kix

Marshmellow Heart Treat Taste Tester

Marshmellow Heart Treat

Yummy, gooey and crunchy!

What treats have you made lately?

;-) Anna-Leigh

 Linked up to The Sunday Showcase, Today’s Creative Blog

 

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Mod Podge Valentine Canvas {Fun Preschooler Craft}

Do you hear crickets chirping?

I think it sounds more like summer time cicadas, silence then a deafening rrrrRRRREEEEEE….

It’s been pretty quiet over on the old blog, and not for lack of inspiration or ideas. Since the beginning of October we’ve bought a house, moved, discovered the wonders of home ownership (with an assortment of old house problems). Our little bird found out she’s going to be a big sister come June! Then once the holidays hit, everyone came down with some form of nasty sickness.

It’s been quite a whirlwind of crazy if you ask me!

With the new house has come a lot more wall space to cover with family photos and fun art.  Being that it’s the first day of February, and we love Valentine’s Day around here! I thought I would share a little project we worked on last weekend.

I was showing my girl how to cut paper hearts (a great fine motor project), which turned into an hour long project! Many, many paper hearts later we had to figure out some way to decorate with them!

Paper Hearts

I found some blank canvases while unpacking my craft stash, and thought it would be fun to have my girl paint the canvas, then use some Mod Podge to stick the the hearts down.

So here we go!

I brought out an 11×14 canvas and some acrylic paints, hand picked by the wee one of course…Paint the canvas

 I showed her that if you mixed a little water in with the paint you could thin it out and make the colors lighter and more transparent, like a water color.

So she painted away, then we let it dry. Once it was dry we arranged the paper hearts on the canvas where we thought they would look best…

Position the hearts on the canvas

And now the messy part. We smeared some Mod Podge on the backs of the hearts to adhere them to the canvas, then smoothed them out as best we could with a sponge brush…

Mod Podge the hearts to the canvas

Once the hearts were on the canvas, I applied a layer of Mod Podge to smooth it all out and seal it all down and give it a nice glossy coating…

Mod podge the whole canvas once hearts are down

We left it to dry over night. In the meantime, my girl worked on a smaller canvas to go along with it. She was very proud of her painted hearts!

Painted Valentine Heart Canvas preschooler activity

Once everything was dry, I found the perfect spot on our living room wall to put them up along with a couple other photos…

Valentine Hearts on Canvas Project

So there you have it!  A fun and easy Valentine craft that your preschooler can do together!

So what have you all been up to lately?

;-) Anna-Leigh

Linked up to TuTus and Tea Parties, The Sunday Showcase, Mad in Crafts, Today’s Creative Blog

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Green/Active ~ Nurture Photography Challenge Autumn 2013

Green/Active ~ Nurture Photography Challenge

We’ve finally had a little taste of fall her in South Carolina, and I am ready for it. The leaves haven’t started to change yet, so it is still pretty green. But I’m sure our yard will be full of crunchy leaves very soon.

I’ve been trying to be more active lately. I could use time as an excuse for not getting more exercise, but lately I’ve just been lazy. We’ve had so much going on with the start of school, and for those of you that don’t know, we’ll be moving very soon into a new home. So my mind has been elsewhere for sure.

But the last couple weeks I’ve managed to meet up with a friend at a nearby park (I think I mentioned this in my last post), and get a couple miles worth of walking in. The fresh air and company have been very nice. Yesterday morning it was pretty foggy, so that made for some fun light.

IMG_20131004_093723 We always manage to see some pretty cool wildlife on these walks. There are tons of birds, especially early in the morning. This particular morning, there was a great blue heron sunning itself on the bank. It looked like a statue, not moving a feather. This is not the best photo, as I had to zoom waaaay in with my phone, but I dig it nonetheless.

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I’m linking up this season again with Live and Love Out Loud and Bumbles & Light for the Nurture Photography Challenge.

Click on over and check out some of the other swell photography. You’ll be glad you did!

;-) Anna-Leigh

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Learning to See ~ How My Camera Phone Keeps the Memories Real

I have commented before with friends and fellow bloggers how great it would be to be able to take a moment from your day, and snap a picture for your mental database. That nanosecond that your kid made that face. Or that moment you saw something so fantastic, or even so awful, you could never describe it, but a picture would be worth a thousand words. Cliche maybe, but I think we’ve all been there. We all have wanted to remember.

I think I have a fear of losing my mind at some point and forgetting everything and everyone. I think that is why I document the way I do. I don’t know that something like those new Google glasses is totally necessary. I can tell you that having my phone handy to snap what fleeting moments I can, is worth every bit of teasing I get from my man about snapping photos…which is a lot.

This last week was a bit nutty. Meetings and thinking about serious stuff too much and sickness all through the house, gah! Before a meeting I had a few quiet minutes to waste, I was standing near one of the old cemeteries downtown and spotted a beautiful flower blooming by an old head stone…

Flowers in the Graveyard

So I snapped it, then had a  little fun with the shot later in an app I use called Pixlromatic. I wandered a little further through the graveyard, the light was just perfect peeking through the old magnolias…

Downtown Charleston Graveyard

Photo time is like decompression time for me…

A few days prior to this, a friend and I were walking the trails at a park near our neighborhood. A glance out over the lake showed this…

Morning Spider Web

Yes, I will stop mid-exercise to take a picture ;-)

A beautiful spider web! It truly is amazing what is out there if you just let yourself be aware of your surroundings. My friend mentioned when I took this shot that she never would have noticed that if I hadn’t pointed it out. I’m thankful that I have the ability to play with light, and lucky that I had my phone handy to capture it!

I must say there will be no shortage of memories for us, my friends.

What are your favorite moments to capture?

;-) Anna-Leigh

Linked up to Simple Things SundayLife Rearranged, Photog Show and Tell

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After School Play and Snacks #LunchablesJrTeam

Disclaimer – I was given free samples of this product via Crowdtap and Lunchables to share. All opinions are 100% my own.

When you have a small child and are on the go a lot, it’s helpful to have a variety of snacks in your arsenal and ready to go. I had the opportunity to try a new snack product that is now on the market. I was sent some samples from the new Lunchables Jr. line of snacks to try and share with a friend. Hey, any excuse for a play date!

One day after school we got together with a friend to play, blow off some steam, and try some new yummy treats!

Sit n Spin #LunchablesJrTeam #shop

It wasn’t long before they were hungry and wanting something to munch on.

Mom to the rescue!

Lunchables Snacks #LunchablesJrTeam #shop

I have to tell you, the Teddy Bear Picnic pack went pretty quickly! I mean, who wouldn’t like to dunk a yummy sweet graham bear into peanut butter? The Cheez-its and mini Nilla wafers were a big hit in the Blueberry Bonanza pack!

Friends share some playtime and #LunchablesJrTeam snacks #shop

And of course, we all know food isn’t fun unless you can play with it, right?

I think the girls were impressed with my art skills ;-)

Smiley Face Snack #LunchablesJrTeam #shopAnd a play date isn’t complete without a game.

Tic-tac-toe anyone?

Tic Tac Toe #LunchablesJrTeam #shopEveryone is a winner here!

I think the consensus was the snacks were quite tasty. The only thing my girl didn’t like was the blueberry flavored dried apple bits. She said they were a bit too sweet. But then, she can be funny about sweet stuff. ;-)

By the end of the play date, nearly everything was gone!

All gone #LunchablesJrTeam #shop

Give a kid a cookie and they are a happy camper!

What have your little ones snacked on lately?

;-) Anna-Leigh

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DIY Paper Mache Mermaid ~ Under the Sea Birthday Ideas

I have to say I’m pretty proud of the Paper Mache Mermaid I created for my girl’s fourth birthday party. The fish was easy enough, but how on earth do you make a body, with a tail, out of things in the recycling bin? I’ll show you how I did it!

After pilfering through our paper/cardboard recycling stuff, I found a couple items that I thought would work smashingly. I cut one large rectangular side off of a beer box (hey, don’t judge!). I then twisted it into a cone shape (to be part of the tail) and secured with masking tape….

Body of the mermaidI then grabbed an empty tissue box, and taped the tissue box to the inside of the cone piece. I angled the box just a bit, thinking about how it might balance if it was sitting upright. In essence, attaching the body to the tail…

Attach the body and the tail

 I then cut another piece from my trusty beer box to represent the tail and taped it the the pointy end of the cone. I also added a piece to the back to smooth out the transition from the body to the tail (pictured to the right below).

Attach the tail

 Up next, the arms!

I took two paper towel tubes and cut them along the seam which sort of twisted around the tube. I then twisted the now sliced tube to get something of a bent arm effect. I taped the “arm” to keep it in the shape I wanted, then taped it to the top of the tissue box, where you can imagine a shoulder might be….

Come on, you can see it, right?

Attach the arms and the head

 I then blew up a balloon to make the head and taped it to the very top of the tissue box body.

And now it’s time to get messy with the paper mache!

(For the paste I mixed about a 1/2 cup of flour to 3/4 cup of water, but you may need to tweak it to get the consistency that works for you. Thin pancake batter was the consistency I was looking for.)

Paper Mache the mermaid

 Two layers of paper mache, and one good layer of white spray paint later (tempera paint just wasn’t cutting it and the process was too slow) I now have Casper…I mean, a mermaid body!

;-)

Paint the mermaid

(Please excuse our monster recycle bin…)

Now it’s time to jazz her up! I Mod Podged some pink and green tissue paper pieces to her, pink for the head, arms and body, and green for the tail.

I ended up doing two layers of both to really make the colors vibrant.

Mod Podge the tissue paper

 Now for the final touches. I seriously pondered how to give our girl some hair and a face. Working with what we had around, I pulled out all the yellow and orange pipe cleaners I had (not many), and draped those on either side of her head. I then took my little girl’s swim cap and put that over top of her head to hold the pipe cleaners in place. I also secured the cap with some straight pins so it wouldn’t roll off her round noggin. I hot glued some seashells to her chest for her “bikini top”, slapped on some sunglasses and voila!

Paper Mache Mermaid at Under the Sea Birthday Party

 Our perfectly sweet little Paper Mache Mermaid!

She was quite a hit!

Mermaid is ready to party

 Now that was quite an engineering project for me! But I’m very please with her, and my girl just adores it! No building project is too hard…if you just raid the recycle bin!

Don’t forget to check out my girl’s Under the Sea Party, and see how we made the Paper Mache Fish!

What’s the craftiest thing you’ve made lately?

;-) Anna-Leigh

Linked up to It’s a Mom’s Life Link Up, Mad In Crafts Mad Skills Party, Glued to My Crafts: Crafty Thursday Obsessions 

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The Last Day, the First Day, and a Gift {Back to School Gift}

In wrapping up our Summer Bucket List, I mentioned that my girl started school.

My sweet little bird, baby squirrel, my doodle. (She’s going to kill me over those nicknames one day!)

I decided that the day before her first day of school, she could pick out what she wanted to do for the day. She decided that playing in the spray and play fountain (which was on the bucket list) and running around the park would be the best thing ever.

So here she goes…

We had the spray and play all to ourselves!

At the spray and playJumping and throwing shoes

(yes, her shoes are flying through the air!)

Looking through the water spray

Just a swingin Being goofy at the park

Climbing up the wall

Playing at the park head shot

And so the last day of summer vacation, as we’ve known it, is done.

And now onto the next chapter.

We have a little school girl! Sweet niblets, where did the time go?

Ready for the first day of school

She really was less than thrilled (if you couldn’t tell by her face) when I snapped that shot. She was nearly in tears all morning, and all I could do was try and jazz her up, and be excited…and try not to tear up myself…

Walking into school she was a little more confident…

Walking into school

She’s starting in a pilot Montessori program, which is proving to be quite an adventure…

Finding the cub for class Fogging up the lens

(Yes, she got close enough to fog up my lens!)

But it’s awesome, because her teacher is very welcoming, warm and caring. Which is great, because our girl burst into tears on the first day during lunch :-( Her teacher emailed me before the day was even over to let me know what happened, but that all was well.

When we picked her up on the first day she was pooped and slightly overwhelmed, but overall said she had a good day and made some new friends.

How was the first day

Let me just say, that the first week and half of school was rough. She cried before bed about going, she whined when she woke up in the morning about going. It didn’t help that after that first week she came down with a fever, then eventually strep throat :-(

As excited as she has been all summer to start school, I really thought the transition would be fairly easy. But leading up to that first day of school, I knew she might be a bit skittish. You know, being a mama’s girl and all…

A friend on Facebook had posted over the summer a photo of some mother/daughter bracelets and a poem, basically saying that by wearing the bracelets they were always together.  Being the sentimental girl I am (I am a Cancer after all), I thought it might be fun to find something special like that for my girl. I found something perfect on Etsy!

(Just FYI, I was not paid or compensated for this, I just really dig the dudes jewelry and customer service ;-) )

That morning of the first day of school I gave her two little boxes with our necklaces in them and a card. I made up a poem and printed it out to put inside the card (which was blank and had actually come with the gift from the seller).

I personalized the front of the card with some stickers…

Good Luck Card

Then trimmed the poem and used stickers to mount it to the inside of the card…

The Squirrel Poem

She was very excited to have her own special piece of jewelry!

And let me just tell you that getting a photo of the two of us where you can see the necklaces has been impossible. But they are so cute! Here are the mama and baby squirrel…

Mama Squirrel NecklaceBaby Squirrel NecklaceMama and Baby Squirrel NecklaceI truly think having the necklace near helped her those first few days.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it helped me too ;-)

Growing up is hard, but I think watching your little’s grow up is harder.

Slowly we’ve settled into a routine, and the school days are getting easier. Now she’s excited to see what the new school day will bring…all the while, counting down how many days she has until the weekend! I suppose we’ll have many more years of that!

So tell me, how has this school year been for you so far?

;-) Anna-Leigh

Linked up to The Simple Things Sunday

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It’s the End of Summer and the End to Our Summer Bucket List #happyfamilysummer

 Summer cannot be over! I mean really, it is still nearly 90 degrees here, so how can it really be over?

I suppose in the sense that our free wheeling, all sorts of free time having, do whatever we want when we want moments are done, maybe it’s over…school has started after all.

While we didn’t mark everything off our Summer Bucket List this summer, we tried our best and really did so much fun stuff! So here’s the last of the last!

Earlier in the summer we got to see our local baseball team play, and they always have fireworks on Friday nights after the game. Awesome fireworks! When you think of summer and fireworks together though, I think the Fourth of July usually comes to mind.

Now, there are fireworks displays all over the Lowcountry, and if you were to find yourself on the top of a parking garage downtown on the Fourth of July, you could probably see four or five different displays, albeit tiny, but you’d see them. Up until this our girl has been a bit skittish when it comes to fireworks. But she was all jazzed up to go see some. So I decided to take her downtown to see the show over Patriots Points.

We had to park wherever we could because it was so packed, so hiking downtown was involved. We had given ourselves plenty of time, so I detoured to the Haagen Dazs ice cream shop and scored the best milkshake ever!

Little girl didn’t want to give it up!

Best milkshake ever

 I was not prepared with the proper firework watching from afar type camera lens, but I did manage to get a few shots. We have some friends downtown, so we crashed their blanket spot on the waterfront and ooh’d and aah’d with the crowd…

Fireworks over the Cooper River

 Earlier in the summer, we had s’mores when we went camping. One of the Summer Bucket List Challenges later in the summer was to make s’mores with the family. So I busted out the marshmallow stash and made them the way those of us who don’t like to be attacked by mosquitoes like to make them…in the oven!

And yes, those are Peeps ;-)

Peep Smores

 Lastly, we managed to knock at least three more things off our list – picnicing, hula hoop, and ice cream from the ice cream lady. We went with some friends to our local grape stomp. It was so lovely out in the vineyard where they make several varieties of muscadine wine…

Muscadines My girl in the vineyard

In the vineyard

Muscadine in her hand

 There were several food trucks there, so we picnicked on the lawn. I enjoyed some shrimp and crawfish etoufee, shared some pecan praline beignets…

Etouffee and Bignets

 The wee one however was feeling less adventurous and devoured a hot dog…

She had the hotdog

 She got her hula hooping skills under control…

Hula Girl Hula Girl Instagram shot

During the spring the ice cream truck would come down our street just about every weekend. She must not have gotten enough business, because she didn’t make it down our street all summer long :-(

But we found redemption with the ice cream lady that was at the grape stomp. That strawberry shortcake ice cream went down almost as fast as the hot dog!

Finally got some ice cream from the ice cream lady

And just because I thought it was funny, I thought I would share a shot of the Lucy look alike contestants, and Ethel too. Aren’t they all just lovely, uh, ladies?

Lucy look alike contest

 Now our summer is done. But I think we’ll just roll some of our missed activities over to our fall shenanigans!  We are already busy busy, and do you know why?

This one started school…

Now she's off to schoolThat is another story…

So how was your summer? Did you do everything you wanted?

We can’t wait for next year and the adventures that come. I’m so glad we got to be a part of The Happy Family Movement’s Summer Bucket List Challenge. We’ve had a blast!

I’d love for you to share your summer adventures with me! What was your favorite part of summer?

;-) Anna-Leigh

Linked up to Live and Love Out Loud

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Droid Friday ~ End of Summer

It’s been a while since I posted for InstaFriday over at Life Rearranged. Seeing as how I just unloaded some 300 + phone pics to my computer the other day I’d say there’s been no shortage of shooting on my part. Just been slack in the sharing department!

So here we go, let’s bring back the fun! A few summer photos for you perusal ;-)

In a nut shell, the summer looked like this…

These boots make me jealous. My girl loves Jessie from Toy Story, so Grandma hooked her up for her birthday. They are red and shiny and awesome!

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Summer was full of new things. Little one saw me stitching up one of her dresses and just had to try sewing herself…

IMAG1535

She loves it. I just wish I was as skilled as my grandmother at sewing and could teach her more…there may be a sewing class in my future ;-)

I am a total dork, but my kid thinks I’m cool…

IMG_20130704_142243

We got to visit with good friends…

IMAG1583

Once a princess-faerie-cheetah, always a princess-faerie-cheetah…

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My baby started school {insert sad face here}

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And it hasn’t been the easiest transition, so our Elf Molly decided to visit and make sure everything was all right!

IMG_20130829_115905

She cut short her surfing safari, so you know she was worried ;-)

Gratuitous creepy baby doll shot…

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And now for the family photo…taken while shopping for a new washer and dryer…

IMAG3078

Oh, and this front porch…it just might be ours soon ;-)

IMAG3055So there you have it, a brief, very brief, summary of our summer. I’ll be posting on our final Summer Bucket List activities soon. In the meantime, hop on over to Life Rearranged and see what everyone else has been up too lately.

;-) Anna-Leigh

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Swim Into Preschool Playdate with Disney’s The Little Mermaid #DisneyPrincessPlay #cbias

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. All opinions are 100% my own.

My sweet baby girl started preschool last week {insert boo hoo’s here}. I can’t say it’s been a totally smooth transition. To go from playdates when you please, to the somewhat structured school setting is quite a change. So when I had the opportunity to pick up some new Ariel toys, I thought it might be fun to have a Swim Into Preschool Playdate with Disney’s The Little Mermaid for my girl and her bestie. Both of them are huge Disney Princess fans and love Ariel!

Disney's The Little Mermaid Swim Into Preschool Playdate #shop

The girl’s playdate was set for after school, so I knew they would be hungry! I loaded up the “sea snacks” with goldfish crackers, Clam cookies and some cheese and crackers!

Clam shell cookies for The Little Mermaid Swim into Preschool Playdate #shop

I mean what could be more Disney than Mickey Mouse shaped cheese I found on my shopping excursion to Walmart?

Mickey Mouse Cheese and cracker snacks #shop I waited to put The Little Mermaid Castle together when my girl got home. I wanted her to see the boxes and be super excited…and she was! Little did I know that there were so many little pieces!

The Little Mermaid Castle had so many little pieces #shop

But in less than 15 minutes I had the castle put together and the Ariel Story Set out of the box and ready to go!

Finally got The Little Mermaid Castle together #shop

Our guest soon arrived and the girls very quickly put on their Disney Princess costumes for some great pretend play fun! My girl decided to be Princess Belle, as her best friend picked out her favorite Disney Princess costume from our collection, Princess Ariel, of course!

Dress up fun with The Little Mermaid #shop

I feel that pretend play is very important. The girls had great fun prancing around in their dresses and playing with the play set. They had a blast letting Sebastian and Flounder zoom down the slide, and Ariel and Prince Eric were dancing in circles on top of the castle. It was nice to just let them run around and have fun after school.

Disney Princess Snack and Playtime #shop

Little girls are just drawn to tiny toys, aren’t they? Ariel’s castle and play set are a great addition to our ever growing collection of Disney Princess toys. It’s so cute to see the girls act out parts of the movie, and then add their own little twist to the story.

Disney Princess toys are such a huge part of our toy collection. I don’t think there is a day that goes by that some form of princess play isn’t going on. And you want to talk about love for mermaids? My girl’s birthday party this year had something of an Under the Sea theme, and let me tell you, The Little Mermaid was definitely a part of the party!

Disney Princesses Ariel and Belle hang out #shop

Play time is a great time and there are so many great Disney Princess toys out there! It’s never too early to shop for Christmas, and it always seems to be someone’s birthday and time for gift giving. Did you know that The Little Mermaid Collector’s Edition BluRay/DVD is going to be available October 1st? I think I see a great stocking stuffer coming from Santa! ;-)

A Costume change then more playtime with The Little Mermaid #shop

The girl’s had a blast on their playdate, eating snacks and playing princess! Disney Princesses bring so much fun into our house! You can find fun play ideas on the Disney Princess Facebook page.

Check out the Under The Sea Pinterest Board for more great The Little Mermaid playdate ideas!

What have you done lately to encourage you child’s imagination? Do you have any Ariel fans in your house?

;-) Anna-Leigh

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