Penny Pinching Peach

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Don’t Cut Your Pumpkins!!

Kiddos With Their Pumpkins

Kiddos With Their Pumpkins

Don’t cut your pumpkins!!!

If you are like me, you don’t look forward to trying to carve pumpkins into jack o’lanterns. In fact, I am totally paranoid about using sharp knives and carving instruments with my little ones. So, to satisfy their desire to decorate pumpkins while keeping my anxieties quiet, we just don’t cut, carve or otherwise mutilate our pumpkins.

Do decorate your pumpkins!

You can do so many things with them without cutting, and they should last all the way until time to decorate for Christmas! I love to do a pumpkin with a thankful theme. My children like to make pumpkins representing themselves. We have also done pumpkins that were just randomly decorated. Be inspired by what you like! I’m more about making fall decorations with my pumpkins and less about making them holiday oriented. Most Halloween themed things don’t pass my rules, anyway, since I don’t allow witches and wickedness in our dĂ©cor this time of year.

Big Sister Pumpkin

Big Sister Pumpkin

Be creative and have fun!

My kids chose their pumpkins this year. They each chose a small one to represent themselves, and my oldest daughter picked a miniature one to represent their baby sister. They wanted to do their own decorating of their own pumpkins, and to give me ideas of what they wanted me to do for baby sister. 🙂

We used materials we had on hand. My deceased mother in law absolutely adored Halloween, and we wound up with some of her craft supplies. I allowed my kiddos to choose some items from those as part of their pumpkin decorating. We wound up using sequined candy corn and stars, googly eyes, ribbon and paint on the bigger munchkins’ pumpkins in the designs of their choosing and creation. I helped very little, since they were having fun and I wanted them to have pride in creating their own. We used smaller googly eyes, a real piece of candy corn for a nose, raffia and pipe cleaner for the baby’s miniature pumpkin.

Big Brother Pumpkin

Big Brother Pumpkin

Have a safe and happy autumn!!!!

We managed to decorate these with no booboos and minimal stress. My biggest concern was making sure the paint and glue stayed on the newspapers I laid out on the kitchen floor where we were working!

What kind of decorations have you done this fall?

Check out our No Carving Pumpkin Family! I think it’s pretty stinkin’ cute for fall dĂ©cor!!!


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Paper Plate Pumpkin Masks

Paper Plate Pumpkin Masks

Paper Plate Pumpkin Masks

Need an inexpensive and easy fall craft for kids? Try my upcycled paper plate pumpkin masks!

I try to do a craft of some sort at least once or twice a week with my children, mostly using items we have on hand or that will cost me very little to get the supplies for. This was one of our recent projects, using only items I already had in my cabinets. These masks were pretty quick to pull together, as well as lots of fun for my little ones to help make and play with when they were finished. If you need a simple and cheap autumn craft for children, this is for you!

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Want to know how to make your own paper plate pumpkin mask? Keep reading!

Pumpkin Mask Supplies

Pumpkin Mask Supplies

First, gather your supplies. In case the photo isn’t enough explanation, here’s your crazy long list of things you need:

Yep, that’s it! Think you can handle that? 😉

Next, let your kiddos color the middle round part of the plate orange (or another color, if they’re feeling funky). Cut the round center part of the plate out.

Hold the cut out near your child’s face and put a dot on the plate where the eyes and mouth should go, then draw the shapes they want them to be. I scored the lines with my scissors and then went back over them with a knife to cut them the rest of the way out.

Poke a hole in each side of the pumpkin mask for the ribbon to go through. Have your child hold the mask up and then wrap the ribbon around from hole to hole to figure the length. You can do the strap one of two ways. Either two pieces of ribbon you tie on (my choice) or one solid piece they slide on and off their heads. I wrapped it behind and added enough length to tie through the holes as well as tying a bow in the back, which was a few extra inches. Cut and tie the ribbon through the holes.

Paper Plate Pumpkin Mask

Paper Plate Pumpkin Mask

Your child will be ready to go crazy as a walking jack o’lantern!

For a fun story time activity this fall and Halloween, check out The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster! If you want a safe alternative to carving jack o’lanterns, try my No Carving Pumpkin Family!


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Pompom Pickup

Pompom Pickup

Pompom Pickup

Pompom Pickup 2My little guy loves activities that require hand/eye coordination and concentration. I am constantly coming up with quietly stimulating little things for him to do while my daughter is doing her kindergarten, and that’s one category I focus on. This activity is perfect for keeping him engaged for a good period of time, at least until he picks up every single pompom. He’s very goal oriented, and cannot stand to quit before every pompom is conquered! 😉

You don’t need much for this. A container (a plastic jar or a clean empty apple juice container works well for me), a bunch of pompoms Pepperell Assorted Pom Poms, Standard Colors, 300 Per Package
(cotton balls would work, but colorful pompoms are more fun) and a pair of tongs of some sort will do it.Pompom Pickup 3

Give your munchkin the pompoms and container, then demonstrate how to pick up a pompom with the tongs and place it in the container. Watch him try until he succeeds, and praise him profusely, then challenge him to see if he can get all of the pompoms into the container all by himself.

My son loves this activity so much, he asks for it. He’s so very proud of himself when he gets all of those pompoms in the container, he goes charging around the house bragging about it. 🙂

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Edible Jewelry

Cheerio Bracelet

Cheerio Bracelet

This is one of my go to easy peasy portable activities for toddlers! I often pack a kit for these in my busy bag!

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Does anyone remember those candy necklaces like these Candy Necklace (24 Count) that were so much fun as kids?

I loved those, and they gave me the inspiration for this idea after my husband bought one for our daughter awhile back and I saw how much she enjoyed it, just like I did. 🙂

My kiddos love to create things, and to play dress up.

After a few incidents with little miss curious putting beads where they did not belong, like….say….her nose and ear….beads are banned from our house for the undetermined future of little kidliness. They absolutely love stringing things and making jewelry, though, so I came up with a safer alternative for them.

I give them each a bowl full of dry cereal, like multigrain Cheerios (preferred over regular because of the multi colors that go along with the multigrain) or Fruit Loops (which we never have, because of the dyes and sugars, but are much prettier for the purpose…LOL). I make a loop on the end of a pipe cleaner Chenille Kraft Big Box Of Pipe Cleaners – Jumbo Stems Assortment Idea Book, 150-Piece for each of them to string their cereal on. They then proceed to make patterns to their little hearts content, until they pretty much fill their pipe cleaner and I tie it off to the loop for them.

For my portable bracelet making kits, I grab a sandwich bag, throw in a big handful of Cheerios and a pipe cleaner with the loop already in it. Tada! Quick and easy busy bag!

When finished, my little ones have cute little bracelets they can wear, and they can eat them, too!

My five year old rarely eats hers, to be honest, but my two year old absolutely LOVES to nibble on his creation. He thinks edible jewelry is awesome, because he made it and because it’s edible. 🙂

Need more fun and easy preschool activities? Check out 10 Preschool ActivitiesUsing Household Items!


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Cloud Dough

So much fun!

So much fun!

Has anyone made their own play dough? I hadn’t, but I was looking for a new project for little miss creative when I saw a recipe for something they called “cloud dough”. It looked so easy, fun and super duper cheap to make, I had to give it a try.

The recipe? Two parts corn starch to one part hair conditioner of choice. I let my little one pick one that was pink and she liked the smell of. Mix until it’s all combined. It will be the roughly consistency of play dough, smell like conditioner, and have a soft fluffy feel to it ( hence the cloud part).

My daughter loves this stuff! She says it is even better than regular

Glittery Dough

Glittery Dough

playdough, because it’s soft and makes her hands smell yummy. We keep it in a Ziploc bag between playing. Our first batch kept for several weeks, then we made a second. It takes very little time or money, and scored high points for Mommy. It has kept her busy for hours, and I even let my little guy play with it some, if I am able to stay by them to watch closely.

A fun change up is one we just tried yesterday. I sprinkled a tiny bit of gold glitter on the table and let her roll the

dough in it, then she squished the glitter all up in it. Now she has sparkly cloud dough, which she calls her sparkly fairy dough. 🙂

Pink Cloud Dough

Pink Cloud Dough

Updating to share yet another twist on this fun dough we make regularly! 🙂 If you’re like me, and don’t keep dyes around on a regular basis, but do

Green Cloud Dough

Green Cloud Dough

keep sugar sprinkles for decorating baked goods, this one is for you! My kiddos had been arguing over what dough was whose, so I was brainstorming for a way to differentiate. I reached for the green and red sugar sprinkles in the spice cabinet and mixed a generous amount into each of their batches separately. My girly girl Princess Peachy wound up with a beautiful pink to make her little heart smile, and my dinosaur loving Bambam got a soul satisfying light green. No more fussing!! 🙂

Who wants to whip up a batch of this stuff? It is super simple, inexpensive and smells wonderful! 🙂


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Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

Baked Ornaments

Mommy's Ornament

Mommy’s Ornament

One of my favorite traditions I’ve established with my little ones is to make new tree

Jingle Bell Ornament

Jingle Bell Ornament

ornaments each year and to make some sort of fun & yummy Christmas treat together every year. Last year we made Beaded Christmas Ornaments. This year I decided to try the classic salt dough ornaments, which was a first for both me and my five year old daughter. They are simple to make, and so much fun! If you choose to do these, allow for at least an hour to mix and knead the dough, cut the shapes and then let them bake for 30 minutes. You’ll need to allow them to cool, and if you won’t have time to paint then, just put them up to paint another day. I’ll share the link to the recipe I used at the end of the post.

First, we had fun measuring, mixing and kneading that dough.

Shaped ornaments

Shaped ornaments

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Next, we enjoyed choosing the cookie cutters to use and pressing out all the fun shapes

Snowman and Stocking Ornaments

Snowman and Stocking Ornaments

we’d chosen.  This set gives a great variety to choose from Set of 6 Christmas Cookie Cutters
! I rolled a little ball and pressed it on the face of one snowman to see if it

Christmas stocking ornament

Christmas stocking ornament

would turn out okay as a nose, and it really did.

We wound up with so many shapes already, I molded some various fun figures with the leftover dough for a second batch to cook up. I also pressed each child’s hand into the dough and cut out the print, which is probably going to be one of my favorite keepsakes for the tree.

Once the ornaments were baked and cooled, I set out newspaper, paints and

bowls of water. I let my little missy paint hers however she pleased, as you can see from the various pictures. (Washable Kid’s Paint
is your friend!) I painted one with her, which made her really happy, too.

 

Painting ornaments

Painting ornaments

Once they were dry, I let her glue shiny shapes onto a couple of her ornaments, and she thought that was quite the fancy touch.

We were supposed to seal them, but I don’t have any sealant, so they are just going without for now. I want to get some Mod Podge Sealant
before we put them up so they will last.

I had some gold cord already in my craft stash, so I just cut lengths of that and knotted them, then let my little girly girl hang them on our tree. She was over the moon with the results. She also said making ornaments with Mommy was one of her favorite things she’d done in a long, lonnnnnng time! Good enough for me. 🙂

What shapes would you want to make your ornaments in? Here is the recipe we used:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ornament-Dough/

Here is a fun little ebook about Christmas crafts for kids: Christmas Crafts for Kids: Easy Christmas Crafts Your Kids Will Love Making!

If you don’t have a Kindle, but want to be able to read e-books like the one above, here is a free app that will help you out: Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

 

Flower and Cowboy Hat Ornament

Flower and Cowboy Hat Ornament


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Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

 

Upcycled Thanksgiving Turkey

Upcycled Thanksgiving Turkey

For our preschool the other day I decided to make it all about Thanksgiving.

First, I told my daughter the 4 year old comprehensible version of the first Thanksgiving and we had a discussion about the things we are thankful for.

She was especially thankful for her mommy, daddy, baby brudder, all her animals and food. 🙂

Next, I sent her into the yard to gather leaves while I got together craft supplies for her project of the day!

I like re-using random items in our crafts, so I grabbed part of a thing cardboard insert I’d been saving from a box of drinks  (an old cereal box would work) and cut pieces to make a turkey body and head, cut a slit in the neck and chest to be able to stick them together, trimmed an old Reeses’ candy eggs box, then laid them out with her crayons and markers so that she could decorate her turkey however she wanted, and got some googly eyes to glue on when she was finished decorating. She had a blast! When she was through, I couldn’t find any clear tape, so I just used masking tape to tape the cardboard pieces around the box “stand”, put the head on and helped her tape the leaf tail on the backside. It would’ve been prettier with clear, obviously, but Princess Peach is pleased as punch, and that’s what counts. 🙂

Thanks for Turkey?

Thanks for Turkey?

Once the turkey was proudly perched on our windowsill, I wrote out THANKS and TURKEY on two pages, had her point out all of the letters and we talked about the words. Then she did her best to copy the words out. She also made a picture with her two hands traced and the word THANKS at the top later that day, because she enjoyed her Thanksgiving theme so much and didn’t want to be finished with it. 🙂

What kind of fun Thanksgiving themed things do you do with your little ones? Try my Free Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Craft!



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The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster

Halloween book

Halloween book

We were given a few of the best Halloween books from my mother in law’s expansive collection of all things autumn.

Halloween was her favorite holiday, by far. We lost her recently, so even though I don’t generally go all out for this particular holiday, I decided to do a Halloween themed story time with my munchkins in her honor, complete with a craft, game and treat. She also loved all things crafty, and was a retired Head Start teacher, so I know that she would have enjoyed it.

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I chose the book  The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster by Kay Winters for our fun Halloween themed activity time.

It’s quite the cute little book, and not the least bit scary. My little girl is strongly opposed to all things “creeeeepyyyyy”, as she says, so that was a must. 🙂 This book and activity would be fun any time of the year, but especially for fall and Halloween. I love that it fits the season without being too scary for little kids.

Pipe cleaner arms and legs

Pipe cleaner arms and legs

First on our agenda are ghost and monster puppets!

To make these, you just need craft sticks like Loew Cornell 1021254 Woodsies Craft Sticks, 1000-Piece (or popsicle sticks),  Crayola Construction Paper, Assorted Colors, 240 Sheet (99-3200)or cardstock, pipe cleaners like these Creativity Street Stetems/Pipe Cleaners 12″ X 4mm 100-Piece Assorted Colors, tape and something to color with. I sketched the requested outlines for their ghosts and monsters, but if you don’t have a knack for drawing, just print or trace the outlines. While I let my five and two year olds loose to decorate their respective puppets, I grabbed a couple of pipe cleaners and snipped them into four pieces each for the monsters’ legs and arms. You need one pipe cleaner per monster.  I just twisted loops at one end of each to make hands and feet. Once they were finished coloring, I cut out their creepy (bahaha!) creations and helped them tape the arms and legs on the monsters and the craft sticks on all of the puppets. See? Super simple, easy peasy!! As I mentioned, even my two year old could participate in this activity.

If you don’t want to bother making your own puppets, this set of teeny tiny finger puppets is super inexpensive and awfully cute  Monster Finger Puppets – Collect all 8!

Halloween Monster Back

Halloween Monster Back

Below you see my munchkins proudly displaying their one-of-a-kind ghosties and monsters. Quite the colorful creatures, aren’t they? 🙂 They get all the credit, since Mommy literally left them to it while she finished the legs and arms and worked on dishes.

Monster and Ghost Puppets

Monster and Ghost Puppets

Now for the next part of our freaky fall fun fest!! Halloween storytime, with a game!

I settled them down in our oversized chair, and instructed them to hold up their ghost puppets when they heard the word “ghost” and their monster puppets when they heard the word “monster”. As you can see, they had to concentrate to hear those key words, but they did really well and thought it was the neatest way to read a book together.

Halloween Game

Halloween Game

We weren’t ready to be finished with that, so the kiddos put on a Halloween puppet show for me using their new monster puppets.

While I won’t pretend that the script was riveting, they were pretty doggone cute in their attempts at a story line. My two year old really didn’t get it, and wound up watching his sister’s puppets more than doing anything with his own, but they had a blast, anyway. Puppet time is great for creative children!

Monster and Ghost Puppet Show

Monster and Ghost Puppet Show

For the grand finale, I brought out their trick or treat buckets from the fall festivals we attended the other day and let them both pick out a sweet treat. As you can see, they were quite pleased with that finish! 🙂

Do your little ones enjoy books and puppets? What are your favorite books for autumn? For a fun pumpkin activity to do with your little ones, try No Carving Pumpkin Family!

Story Time Trick or Treat

Story Time Trick or Treat


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Getting Artsy With D, E, and F

Tracing "D" With Pompoms

Tracing “D” With Pompoms

My newly turned five year old and I are continuing our fun journey into reviewing the

Tracing E With Pompoms
Tracing E With Pompoms

alphabet and adding in the phonics side of things as we go.

She looks at school time as one of her favorite games, since Mommy is playing it with her and she is actually learning. I’m lucky that my kiddo inherited my odd fascination with learning new things, so it makes homeschooling her (thus far) more of a joyful journey than a chore.

This lesson is one we did several weeks ago, and is all about the letters D, E, and F. We did all of the activities over the course of a couple of days, along with other things we were working on. My little peachy princess really enjoyed all of the things I came up with for these letters! 🙂 I’m not going to list these alphabetically as much as by activity, to keep it from being too befuddling.

Tracing F With Pompoms

Tracing F With Pompoms

My little girl loves colorful pompoms and art projects, so it was easy to dream up this first activity! I filled an empty wipe box with multi colored pompoms Pepperell Craft Making Assorted Pom Poms, Standard Colors, 750 Per Package and wrote the letters D, E, and F in large print on three pieces of paper. I had her trace each letter using the pompoms, talking about the sounds each letter made as she traced it. She was very pleased with the results, and wanted to glue them to show off later, but we didn’t have enough pompoms for all that. 🙂

D is for Dog and Disguise

D is for Dog and Disguise

Next, we talked about what words started with each sound. She was delighted to realize how

E is for Elephant

E is for Elephant

many words she could come up with beginning with each sound. From there I asked her to draw or color a picture of something she really liked starting with each letter sound. She chose to wear a “disguise” while coloring a picture of “dog” biscuits for the “D” sound, to draw a picture of an “elephant” for the “E” sound, and to draw a picture of her daddy, the firefighter, for the “F” sound. She was so proud of her artistic abilities, and learned to write some new words. 🙂

F is for Firefighter

F is for Firefighter

For some outdoor educational fun, we went on a hunt for flowers to go along with the “F” sound. Since we were still enjoying ourselves so much, we created a beautiful letter “F” on our back deck using some of our flower finds. My peachy princess was fascinated with her floral creation! 🙂

How have you been having fun with your alphabet lately? Here are some fun activities for ABCs!

F is for Flower

F is for Flower

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Egg Carton Flowers

Egg carton flowers

Egg carton flowers


I had a stack of egg cartons piling up, waiting on some inspiration, and my daughter brought them to me wanting to do a project. I came up with egg carton flowers. She was thrilled! Since my little princess enjoyed her new project, I thought I’d share it with other folks who might want something new to do to keep their munchkins happy. 🙂

We gathered together our supplies: An egg carton (of course! 🙂 ), then some scissors, markers, marker stampers and some stickers that aren’t pictured below.

Egg carton flower supplies

Egg carton flower supplies

First, I cut the top off of the egg carton, then cut between the cups. Next, I cut the cups into a smoother rounded shape around the top. Last, I went snippety snip around the cup to make the petals. The different stages of development in the picture should help fill in any confuzzlement left by my description. 🙂

From there, it was up to Princess Peachy to finish up. She smashed the petals flat with her little hand, then got to work decorating. She had a good ol’ time being creative with decorating them all sorts of different ways with the supplies we had on hand. When she was finished, we arranged them in a flower shape on a green piece of construction paper. You could glue them on, if you want, but my little one enjoyed rearranging them too much to let me glue them on.

What household item do you have overflowing, but don’t want to throw out because you think you can find some nifty way to upcycle it? Maybe I can come up with something. 🙂