28 October 2011

{this moment}

Joining Soulemama's {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

23 October 2011

Homemade Sidewalk Paint

Not only did this sidewalk paint whip up fast, the kids had almost as much fun making it as they did painting with it. It only has three ingredients: corn flour, water, and food colouring. Aside from those, the only other things you will need are some containers to put it in, (with lids if you want to store it,) and paint brushes. Oh, you may want to add some kids, too.

Mix together approximately three parts corn flour to one part water. Our first batch was pretty experimental, but this is the ratio we ended up being happiest with. I unthinkingly mixed each colour batch on its own the first time, and it was a bit frustrating trying to get everything from the bottom of the small containers combined well. The kids ended up stirring for awhile, then handing me each conatiner to finish. In future batches, we mixed the corn flour and water in one large bowl, then poured it into separate containers to add colour, which is much easier. Once you have the base ready, add food colouring. We made red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, and turquoise.

 Paint away! Kaia had a 12 year old friend over when we made this batch, and she had just as much fun with it as my little ones did.


As a side note, it is also great for painting your body with, or to use as finger paint. ;) It has a really interesting texture that little Katalin was quite fascinated with.

Somehow I forgot to take even a single picture of the products of their various painting sessions, I have no idea how! But we have made it again, and again. The kids have a blast every time, and it rinses out of the containers in a snap. It comes right out of clothes, even when it has been liberally applied and caked on an inch thick.

Oh, and you see that fantastic tie dyed rainbow shirt Katalin is sporting in the last photo? It was made by my friend Jen at Twirlytoes Wearable Art. She is one amazing mama, and you should totally check out her scrumptious shop.

21 October 2011

{this moment}

Joining Soulemama's {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

20 October 2011

Homemade Baking Clay - With a Halloween Twist! (And a Tutorial)

Usually when we make our homemade baking clay, we paint it afterward. This time around, I decided to break up the batch and colour it, like we do our playdough. Now I'm not sure why we've never tried that before! Not that Kaia doesn't enjoy painting her creations, but she had far more fun playing with, and making her clay things this way.

For the sake of making things easy, I'm including the recipe and directions for the clay in this post, too. Easy is nice. Like this clay recipe. It is ridiculously quick and easy to throw together.

Baking Clay

Mix together:
1 C salt
1/2 C water
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Add: 2 C flour
Work together well.

If your clay is crumbly, add small portions at a time of water and / or oil until it is smooth and holds together well. If your clay gets sticky, or thin and gloopy, just add a little more flour until it stiffens up and doesn't glob all over your fingers. Make things! You can use it uncoloured, or do as we did this time around and divide the clay up and add food colouring, kneading it into the clay. If you do not fancy having rainbow coloured hands for awhile, wear gloves. I go for rainbow coloured hands.

When you are all done, line a cookie sheet with tinfoil, and bake your creations at 250° Fahrenheit for several hours. Check on them periodically to make sure they don't burn, especially if you have smaller things. Tiny things, like the candy corn, (there is a short tutorial on how to make those at the end of this post,) may only need an hour or so.

We wanted to make Halloween decorations, so we coloured the largest portions of our clay orange, green, black, yellow, and white. The white is simply uncoloured, and black... well, that was a bit of a project. I'm sure there is black food colouring out there, but I couldn't find any at the few stores I checked. First I tried some black cake decorating gel. The clay turned slightly grey, and quite a lot sticky and nasty. I added more flour to ungross it, and then tried dabbing in some watercolour paint. It got darker grey, but we weren't getting anywhere fast. I got impatient. I got out my bottle of india ink.

While this worked really well, I am still shocked. I am only going to recommend using it with extreme caution, despite the total lack of disaster we experienced. I remember it not coming out of anything. I expected to have pitch black palms for days, but it washed completely off my hands in seconds. I expected it to stain our skin and the counter tops when we played with the clay, but, again, it did not. Not at all. We had no problems whatsoever. However, if you decide to use it, be careful. It's sneaky stuff. Possibly it was only trying to lure me into recommending it to you so that it could strike at even more unsuspecting clay makers. You never know.

Kaia made a "globlin", as she calls them, a witch, some ghosts and pumpkins, and then, good natured as she is, she made them some balls to play with, and a black globlin cake with a red cherry on top to eat. She had more fun with the coloured clay than she ever has with our clay before, although she occasionally forgot that it wasn't playdough and smashed her creations before I could remind her that we got to keep them. She worked late into the night, until I finally had to pack it up on her despite her protests. (It will keep for quite awhile in an airtight container, e.g, jars, tupperwares, ziplock bags.) She was back at it again the next morning, the second breakfast was over.

At 15 months, Katalin was amused with the clay alone for a much shorter time than her sister. She squished it a bit, then tried eating it. While it is, technically, entirely edible, it is crazy salty and apparently more disgusting tasting than anything else at all. Okay, that may or may not be true, but it is the only thing that I have ever seen the kid immediately spit out after shoving in her mouth. She looked quite grossed out, so at the very least, it must taste worse than candles, crayons, sticks, rocks, mail, dirt, toilet paper, sand, chalk, paint, and aloe plants. To list a few. Anyway, she did have fun for awhile cutting it up with a (safe) knife, but I suspect she was mostly pleased with the amount of mess she was capable of making that way. Eventually, I pulled over some of our little pumpkins, and stuck a couple pieces of clay to it. That was a hit. She spent the rest of the evening decorating the pumpkins with clay.

I'm not sure what determines which is a globlin and which is a ghost, but the one on the left here is a globlin, and the other two are ghosts.

Here is Kaia's globlin cake, play balls, pumpkins, and also what she declared was a pumpkin patch.

This is a globlin and a witch.

I hope you have fun with your clay, and if you'd like to make some candy corn of your own, this is how I made mine. Roll out orange, yellow, and white clay in separate tubes, approximately the same size.

Gently squish them together.

Then cut it into triangles, and smooth the corners and edges with your fingers.

I'm going to put a coat of Mod Podge over them to make them shiny, but I think they're cute as is, too.

17 October 2011

Glue and Paper Painted Fall Leaves

Kaia loves painting with some kind of resist, like watercolour over crayon, so I thought we'd try something slightly different. I used white craft glue to make leaf outlines on a variety of colours of construction paper. Since the glue dries clear, the colour of the paper will show through where glue has been applied.

The girls painted the leaves with watercolours. Because we would be cutting the leaves out, this was an opportunity to use up some odd shaped scraps of paper.

They used so much water that on the porous construction paper, some of the paint bled under the glue. It had a neat effect, though, and you can still make out the glue lines. On the bright red paper, they almost seemed to glow.

This was the longest Katalin ever painted without trying to eat the art supplies, and she had so much fun. I loved watching her really get into every step of the process, and just completely experience the medium. She spent quite awhile simply dipping her brush in the paint and swishing it clean again in the water. She got paint everywhere, it was great!

They each had a piece of paper towel for dabbing their brushes dry on, and when Katalin noticed the way hers picked up colour, she began stamping it in the paint and then on her paper, she was so thrilled with the results! ...And then she decided it would be a fun thing to do to her face, too.

When the leaves were dry, I cut them out around the outside glue edge, and Kaia helped me hang them up on the glass door. I had a very hard time taking a picture of them because of all the light behind the door when I decided to do my photographing, (I'm not always very patient...) but you get the idea, anyway. They are so colourful and pretty cascading down the door!

15 October 2011

(Vegan) Pumpkin Muffins

Well, they are only pumpkin in shape, and they may lean a bit closer to cupcake than truly muffin, but "Vegan, Pumpkin Shaped, Apple Spiced, Cupcake Muffins" seemed a bit lengthy of a title. We sort of made this recipe up as we went along... It's not a big, crazy stretch on your basic muffin / cupcake, but they came out sooo tasty, so I wanted to share. We used a a silicone pumpkin shaped baking mold that Kaia picked out at a thrift store, and Kaia of course added and mixed all the ingredients.This recipe made roughly 24 muffins.


2 C Soy Milk
•2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 C Sugar
¼ C Brown Sugar
•4 tsp Vanilla Extract
  C Canola / Vegetable Oil
•1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
•Pinch Nutmeg
¼ C Applesauce 
•2 ½ C White Wheat Flour
•1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
•1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt


  1. Preheat Oven to 350° F
  2. Mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar, then give it a few minutes to curdle.
  3. Into the soy milk and apple cider vinegar mixture, beat in you sugar, vanilla, oil, cinnamon, applesauce, and nutmeg.
  4. While mixing, add in slowly (or sift,) the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until relatively full.
  5. Grease up molds, (or use cupcake liners,) and fill to about ⅔ full.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until done.
  7. Let cool before icing.

I went light on icing, only adding faces and stems. They passed the kid test with flying colours, and disappeared far faster than I expected. We're going to make another batch or two for our upcoming Halloween party. :)

14 October 2011

{this moment}

Joining Soulemama's {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

11 October 2011

Tadpoles to Treefrogs

Well, it has been another long week. Or two. Or however long it has been. Who can keep track of time? Not me. We have a whole slew of projects going on at the moment, some we are picking at slowly, some nearly done, and a few that really are done, but I haven't taken any final pictures of yet. Too many other things have been going on these days. We've also started seriously working on our handmade holiday gifts, and I can't wait to share them. For now, however, you get tadpoles.

Kaia and I were watching tadpoles in a pond some weeks back, and wanting to give her a closer look, I captured a handful in a bucket. She immediately plunged both hands in, chasing them around, giggling, trying to catch them in her hands. It wasn't long before the unsurprising question came up. "Can we keep them?"

Here is a picture of one of the grown up tadpoles to keep you being scared off by too much text in a row. Anyway... I wasn't really sure what we had to keep tadpoles in, and told her so. She wanted to look. Fine. We poked around the barns and eventually came up with an old, large tupperware bin. Amazingly, it had no cracks or holes in it. We also found a beat up screen, which did have a few holes, but none as big as a cat or a toddler, which was my main concern. But wait! I don't know what to feed tadpoles. We don't have any tadpole food. Well.. actually we keep some frogs and newts in a tank inside, and when I checked their food, it turned out that we did, indeed, have tadpole food. I surrendered.

I rinsed out the tub, Kaia scrubbed the screen, and then we collected rocks to build some hiding places for the tadpoles, and somewhere for them to escape the water when they'd grown.

I poured the tadpoles into their new home, and filled it up with pond water. Kaia fed them, and sat and watched them come up to nibble at the food.

We placed the screen on top, and Kaia weighted it down with a couple more rocks. Rocks with which, I might add, I have twice managed to take in both shins as I stubble groggily out to feed the tadpoles nights when we've forgotten to earlier. Yes, I tipped the screen down and dumped one rock neatly into each shin. Twice. Anyway...

Kaia checked on them every day, watching them grow. Eventually they began sprouting back legs, which Kaia found to be the silliest thing in the world. She loved sticking her hands in and stirring them up.

With time, they began looking much more like tailed frogs, and we noticed that they all were developing sticky little fingers. Tree frogs!

Earlier today, Kaia joyfully released six new, tiny, sticky, tree frogs into the world. She cried when we released our butterflies earlier this Summer, (a post I still haven't managed to finish...) but she dealt much better this time. Though she did demand they come back to visit her. We'll have to see if they do. :)