Be honest - which ones are YOU guilty of? Check out these "10 Ridiculous Things All Parents Do" on the Tampa Bay Moms Blog!

Friday, June 5, 2015

How to Make a Cheap and Easy Homemade Gift From Toddlers

With Father's Day approaching, many busy moms are scrounging for last-minute gift ideas. When you have toddlers, it can be even harder to come up with something they can give to dad. I ran into this problem last Christmas and found the perfect solution: homemade picture frames!

I'll preface this by saying I'm not a big Pinterest person. Any attempts made at recreating the adorable projects found on that site are more likely to resemble what are commonly known as Pinterest fails. I'm creative, sure, but not necessarily "crafty" when left to my own devices.

So, for all those not-so-crafty parents who want to create a heartfelt gift that the kids can give to dad (or mom on another occasion), follow these simple steps and you'll love the result.

Step 1: Materials

A quick trip to Walmart will provide everything you need for this project (and most items only cost a few dollars). Head over to the wooden crafts area and grab: a wooden picture frame ($1); a bag of wooden letters ($3); some painted wooden animals ($0.57 each); tempera paint; a hot glue gun; a roll of wax paper; a paint brush; and a photograph.

Step 2: Layout

Let your toddler choose the colors, the wooden animal, and where they want to attach the animal. I spelled each child's name, but you can write whatever you like. Set everything up the way you want it so you have a blueprint to use.

Step 3: Paint

Place the letters and the picture frame on separate pieces of wax paper (I found them easier to move this way). Be sure to completely coat the top and all sides of the letters - once the paint dries, you'll really notice any missed spots. After you've painted your frame and letters, set them aside to dry. (Just to be safe, I let them dry overnight.)

Step 4: Glue

Once the paint is completely dried, use the hot glue gun to attach the letters and the wooden animal to your frame. (If you're like me, you may want to read some tips on how to use a hot glue gun before you get started. If you're more visual, this video is helpful, too.) Make sure the glue is completely dried before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Handprints

Once the glue is completely dried, recruit your toddler for handprints (or footprints or fingerprints - whatever you want). Let them choose the paint color and where they want to smear their little mitts. Set the frame aside to dry. (You don't get a photo of this step because, if you have toddlers, you'll understand that once I finished this part, I sat in the corner rocking myself back and forth trying to regain my sanity. Just kidding. Kinda.)

Step 6: Photo

Cut your photo to fit the shape of your frame (I found a 5x7 print worked best as the 4x6 was too small and left a gap in the heart-shaped cut-out). I created a cardboard template to trace the shape onto the picture before cutting. For added protection, you can then secure that cardboard piece behind the photo.

That's it! Now you have a cute, heartfelt, and inexpensive gift for dad from the kids. This also works well for Mother's Day, Christmas, and birthdays. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Happy Birthday, Bailey

True, this post is a little late, but I did say and sing "Happy Birthday" to my daughter multiple times on the actual day. That's got to count for something, right?

I remember looking back on Bailey's first year in awe of how much had happened and how much she had grown in 12 short months. Now, I'm stunned at just how much can change from one toddler birthday to the next.

From a tiny little bobble-headed newborn to a beautiful, funny little girl, this kid amazes and impresses me daily. At newly 2, she was just learning to connect her words and expand her vocabulary. As a 3 year old, she can not only string together a sentence like nobody's business, but she also creates stories, makes up songs, and tells jokes. She's even been known to play a trick or two on unsuspecting parents.

She's a great big sister (when she doesn't have her little bro in a chokehold) and she's smart. Her sense of direction is better than mine - I don't mean better than mine was at her age; I mean it's better than mine is now.

This year will be filled with laughter, accomplishments, frustrations, and fun alike. I'm excited to watch my sweet daughter continue to learn and explore her personality. I love you, Bailey. Happy birthday!