Friday Finds: Art Supply Storage

Kids + Stuff = Mess
Kids + Stuff + Art Supplies = Possibility for HUGE Mess
If you have kids, especially kids under 5, you know everywhere you turn there is going to be stuff.  Toys, games, stuffed animals you name it they are in every corner of your house.  There are a few categories of kids stuff that you really want to keep organized and in some cases put up unless they are playing with it.  Art supplies fall into that category.  

While you want to encourage your child's inner Picasso you don't want to encourage it on your walls or living room furniture while your not looking.   Here are a few DIY kids art supply storage ideas, that will keep materials accessible and organized and not all over your house.
Muffin tin/ Plastic Cup Organizer @ familyfun.go.com
A six cup muffin tin and a few plastic cups will keep art supplies organized as your child is working on a project and is easy enough to throw on top of the fridge when they're done. 

Plastic Storage Bin with Chalk board Paint
Pick up a plastic storage bin from any home store and add a little something extra with chalk board paint.  Keep your kids art supplies organized and all in one spot pull out anytime they're ready to work on a project.

Paint Bucket with Tool Organizer as Art Bucket
Fun take on Dad's tool bucket, pick up supplies at any hardware store.  Love that this art storage idea even has a space for coloring books and/or paper.  Handy to tote around to any room of the house.

 Curtain rod holder with metal tins
A bit more of an initial project, this DIY idea will keep your kid's supplies easily accessible and organized.  This would be fun to pair with a chalk board wall or paper roll attached to the wall.

Have fun organizing & here's a few more tips for art clean up:
 Invite your kids to help organize their own art supplies, let them take ownership of their materials and how to take care of them.
- Let them wash out paint brushes as they wash their hands 
- Remind them if they don't put the caps on their markers the ink will dry up and no more markers!
- Show them how and where to hang up their finished pictures so everyone can enjoy them and they don't get ruined if they're left out

Always remember to create, have fun and EXPLORE ART!


Parenting Thursday: Chores

A couple weeks ago during our lunch break we got unto the topic of children and chores.  Two co-workers, both who have grown children, were talking about chores that were expected of their children when they were younger. The basics setting the table, picking up your room, putting away dirty laundry or clean clothes.  All things most of us had to do while growing up in our parent's house.  
But can you remember at what age certain chores were expected of you?  One co-worker went on to tell about her neighbor who stopped to ask her how to get her 19 year old, who doesn't help, to start with chores around the house.  Long story short the three of us with a few laughs summed up she should have started a long time before he turned 19!

Cy at Christmas when he was 2.... he was so excited to get his own vacuum cleaner!

But wow, that made me stop to think.... I have a 4 year old that yes will help out here and there but for the majority of the time does not have a lot of responsibilities around the house.  Could he turn into the 19 year old who doesn't help at all? 

I know a bit dramatic, plus I think my husband would have a fit if he were a 10 year old that didn't help or have any responsibilities.  So with panic mode subsiding I do still think it's time Cyrus has a few chores he is expected to help with daily or weekly. 

Cy in his Easter picture at 2 years old, during his cleaning phase he loved spray bottles with water to do his own cleaning!

We've been working on making our own bed and putting away dirty clothes after mommy helps get us dressed in the morning.  I haven't pushed getting dressed by himself, he usually is happy to do so if he can put all his clothes on inside out or backwards.  Self expression or just being defiant, who knows?
We're working on it slowly but surely, and I'm sure all the chores you had as a child you weren't given all in one day or even one year.  I did enjoy this post from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking, Seven Chores Young Children Can Do.  It touches upon the basics picking up toys, making beds, the table and laundry.  

But she went on to make several very important points: you have to TEACH your children chores, do not just expect them to know what to do, be a good EXAMPLE, don't expect PERFECTION, and don't do it YOURSELF because its faster. 

All very good points that I'll have to keep reminding myself on those days my house is turned upside down with toys!

And sometimes you need to settle for imperfect because it holds so much more.  When they fill their tents with every toy they own and sit in there to look at books you have to just smile and realize kids will be kids.

Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.  ~Author Unknown


Homemade Play dough Tutorial

Homemade Play dough

I haven't met a kid who doesn't love play dough.  And sometimes your best art materials and mediums are those kids feel comfortable with and things that you have right at home! 
So here's a tutorial on how to make homemade uncooked, salt play dough colored with crayola kids paint.  Hope you have fun, we sure did.  

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Tempera paint
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. First mix water, salt and vegetable oil.
(Note this makes a big batch you can either add your paint now to color your play dough, which is a lot less of a mess.  Or do as we did later in the tutorial, separating the dough and adding colors.)

2. Once mixed start to add in your flour and cornstarch gradually...

Until it is mixed well and starts to clump.
At that point we took in out and kneaded it like bread dough.

3. Next get bowls ready with gobs of paint in them to mix your dough in.  We divided the dough into three sections and used a good tablespoon of paint for each.  You can always add more paint as you are mixing.

Get your dough right in the bowl with the paint and mix.  We found getting right in there with your hands was the easy way to go.

Now I warned you this gets a little messy....

But keep going and knead the dough for a few minutes in your hands until the color is mixed all the way through the dough.  At this point you will be able to tell if you need to add more paint for color. 
Wash your hands and the paint will come right off.
** I did love this recipe because after it was mixed well the paint did not rub off later as Cy played with it**

There you go, easy peasy.... we made 4 colors with this one recipe.
(we took off extra dough from each 3 sections we originally separated and had plenty!)
Now get out some cookie cutters, rollers, play dough tools...
whatever and have fun!

 Cy got right to work.....

this entertained him most of the afternoon; he even got it back out after dinner.  The play dough stored well in an airtight container for a couple days.

Make sure and stop by next week for Robert Indiana play dough project.  Illustrating how art can be accessible with everyday kid's materials and things you have right at home.

Have fun, get messy, EXPLORE ART!


Fresh Summer Salad Recipe

Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad
This is my summer pick for the perfect dish to bring to a picnic or potluck.  It's quick and easy, great when opps you forgot you have to bring something or its way too hot to turn on your oven.

Here's a recipe on womansday.com, pictured above.
But make it even easier by grabbing a bag of salad mix, arugula or I've used arugula/spinach mix, slicing watermelon and sprinkle with feta.  Really its that easy. 

Top with a vinaigrette or try a lemon poppy seed dressing.
This salad has a little of everything, its light, refreshing, sweet, salty and a bit tangy.  Mmm...

 Have to give credit where credit is deserved original recipe womansday.com  but I fell in love with this salad when one of our book club ladies brought it to our June meeting.  
Thanks for sharing I've definitely been passing this on! 


Weekend Adventures & Business is Family

someone loves trucks!
 Last weekend we bobbed at home, well talk about the other end of the spectrum this weekend we soared and set off on a few adventures.  A couple long walks that inevitably led us to the neighborhood playground, which included a perimeter check of the new construction site as we walked the orange fence naming different equipment.
Cy loves the horse ride at Big Lots, it even plays a little tune
Grocery shopping, popping in and out of a few stores price checking that alone with two kids is an adventure all its own.  Most people were probably glad to see us checking out in Sam's Club, although scoring of the biggest bag of dino nuggets I've ever seen was worth it.    
Sage enjoying a little bit of everything at chinese buffet

Did I mention REALLY enjoying it....
 Saturday we ventured into Pennsylvania, or as Cy calls it TransylBania, for the best Chinese Buffet.  Sage was amazed by the streamers and lanterns hanging from the ceiling, Sean and I were amazed at the man who choose to rock the plaid pajama pants with a dress shirt, the lady without a bra and her 8 foot tall husband. 

Our night didn't end there with those wonderful sights.  A friend of Sean's sent him a message that he'd spotted an old Jones' Bakery truck out by Stedman Corners, mind you we were still in PA.  I could see it in Sean's eyes that our road trip wasn't over. 

Twenty minute drive back to NY, across town and back out on 86 we made our way towards Stedman Road.  We found it and wow does it look like something right out of history.  I snapped a few shots from the car with Cy crawling in and out of my way.  

But is this not nostalgic?  Compared to this shot of Sean's grandpa circa late 1940s.  Amazing.

Not the best image, a picture of a picture using my phone

We're not quite sure if it is an old bakery truck but Sean can't wait to find out.  If nothing else it's one of those great stories you can tell your kids about when they're older.  Our adventure through the woods to that lead us to this great find, that might possibly be part of our history.  

Our business is our family, and that's the way its always been at the Bakery.  So many Joneses grew up and spent their lives in and out of the Bakery in some way or other. This is my boys' life.

Cy was there from day one, taking the for rent sign off the window.

Helping out, or maybe just staying out of the way during construction.

Even with someplace to go he makes sure to help even if its just seasoning the croutons.

Helping to wash up he jumps right in.

Now Sage, poor kid.  No ones broken the news to him that after he turns 1 he'll have to do more than just eat the danish.  But for now he does a pretty good job at that.

We're gearing up for the Jones Reunion this Sunday.  It's only the 96th Reunion!  Above is a shot of last year's cousin party we hosted Saturday evening at the Bakery, I don't think downtown had ever seen that many Joneses in one place. 

We saw this great T-shirt at last weekends Swedish Festival, and I think it's my motto for the weekend:  Swedish by Marriage


EXPLORE ART projects: Homemade Ice Cube Watercolors

Homemade Ice Cube Watercolors and Painting Tutorial
inspired by Parents magazine August issue

I came across Ice Cube Paints- Make It, in  August's Parents magazine (part of time for fun news towards the back)With a 4 year old that loves to paint and the summer heat really setting in making for some hot days, I thought this would be a fun and literally cool project for Cy.  

Materials: an ice cube tray, it calls for tempera paint- I used crayola washable kids paint with 10 colors, water and something thin to stir with, like a bamboo skewer or toothpick

Instructions are broken down into 3 simple steps, and yes it really is that easy!  Credit is given to Jessica Okui and the bottom of the article, which I cut off in the picture.

Step 1: put a teaspoon or dollop of each paint color in its own ice cube tray section.  I didn't measure just poured it in, less mess.

Step 2: pour water over each paint section, filling to the top.  Next stir up each color with your bamboo skewer or toothpick.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes stir each color again to mix up any paint that has settled.

Place full and stirred ice cube tray in the freezer.

Step 3:  Pop frozen ice cube paints out of tray and begin painting.

It really was that easy, I was amazed!  Here's a short critique on how they worked with a few pointers.

The ice cube paints slid out without much effort.  I brought them out right from the freezer to work on outside since it was a pretty hot day.  Next time I will set them out for 10-15 minutes prior to having Cy paint with them, they were hard to work with at first and Cy got a bit discouraged.

They were a little too frozen at first and it was hard to get them to leave any paint markings.

We decided to let them sit out for a while so they could start to melt and be easier to work with.  Cy was trying to help the process as he mashed a few colors with his kid's scissors.

This seemed to be the trick I was able to pick up the ice cubes and paint with them.  NEAT ALTERNATIVE TO PAINTING WITHOUT A PAINT BRUSH!

Cy made a few ice cube paintings, before we had cousins stop over for a visit.  The tray ended up sitting out for a little bit but then all the kids spotted it and wanted to paint.

So we got out more watercolor paper and paint brushes at this point because the ice cubes melted into regular watercolors.

And all the little artists got to work on their masterpieces.

Overall this was a fun project.  Keep a few things in mind: make sure to use watercolor paper its thicker and more durable for little artists,  let your ice cubes sit out about 10 -15 minutes so they aren't too frozen and hard to work with.  Remember you can continue the fun even as your ice cubes melt, place them back in the tray and grab a paint brush to work with. 

Have fun, stay cool this summer and find time to EXPLORE ART!


Mexican Corn on the Cob Recipe

Summer Recipe
Nothing is better and more a treat in the summer months as fresh corn on the cob.  But even those special summer delicacies can use a little boost every now and then.  Here's something quick and easy to kick up your summer corn on the cob:

Mexican Corn on the Cob
Side note I saw this recipe somewhere, I believe Martha Steward Everyday Food but did not come across it again in my web searching. It's not an original but as with anything tweak it to make it your own.

Get your corn on the grill and get out the following ingredients:
Parmesan Cheese
Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper if desired

Grill corn with what ever else is for dinner that night.  
We happened to be having BBQ pork. 
I was even doing the grilling..... ladies you know your husband is tired if he lets you touch his grill!

On a plate sprinkle about 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and a couple teaspoons of chili powder that you will be rolling your corn in.  I only rolled a few ears, if you're planning on more than 3 or 4 add more cheese and chili powder.  

Once your corn is grilled, put an individual piece of corn on your cheese/powder mixture plate and coat each side with mayo while turning the ear of corn so it gets evenly rolled in the cheese and chili powder.

That's it!  Told you it was quick and easy, now go enjoy your meal.

BBQ pork and beans with Mexican corn.  
Mmmmm.....great picnic meal!


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