Big Wheels


I have been enjoying Kids Craft Weekly for a few months now. Each e-issue Amber puts together a theme of activities for the preschool set. Past issues have included mail, transport and food. The issues are always filled with easy, crafts that kids can really do. You should all go check it out because there are so many great ideas. Amber has a spot where you can sign-up to have your blog featured. Well I sent in my blog and I am the featured blog of the issue, Wheels. I thought maybe I should plan a related activity for the girls to post on the blog. So here are our Air-Powered Big Wheels.

cylinders (we found out later that the smaller ones worked better)
plastic tops
paper to cover
crayons or other to decorate
hot glue gun
tape or glue for the paper

Start by choosing your cylinder..


Cover your cylinders and tops with the paper and decorate. Choose tops for your cylinder that are larger in diameter.


Mom or dad should use the hot glue gun to glue tops to the cylinders, think Star Wars Tie Fighters.

Hot glue gun

Once you have your big wheels you need something to propel them. We tried out a couple different air movers.

Air power tools

A folded paper fan, a paper plate, a book, a balloon pump and Annie made her own little green air mover.

Now for the real fun. Set up a track. We put down tape about 8 feet apart on our hallway floor.

Air Powered wheels 2

Pick your big wheel and air mover.
Ready, Set, Go-Blow.......

Air powered wheels

Using a Book

We had a great time racing each other and trying out all the different big wheels and air movers.

Big wheels

Hope you have as much fun with this as we did.

Some of the things keeping us happy....


Record Playaer

I picked up this little record player for a few dollars at the thrift store. I forgot to check if there was a needle-nope, so after much searching online and a few more dollars we were up and running. Annie kept trying to put Cd's on it. Getting the needle made me all nostalgic for the days when we would hop on our bikes with a case of Pepsi bottles on each handle bar to return at the drugstore. We would then take the money to the Radio Shack so that we could buy a new needle and check out all the electronics.

We have been picking up albums at the thrift store for under $1.00 each and the girls love it. There are bunches of Sesame street albums and all sorts of little activity song albums that are great for interpretive dance. Check one out for yourself on eBay.


A few years ago, before Annie, I picked up a vintage Mouli Salad Shredder at an estate sale. It sat in a box in the basement until a few weeks ago. Yesterday was the perfect day to break it out and use it to shred some carrots for carrot cake. The grater worked great and the girls got a little workout turning the handle. When I pulled the box out I noticed that it was in it's original packing with all the shipping details including the C.O.D. fee- 30 cents. It even has the mailman's handwritten note that says "Notice left 11.21.55" Love it!

The carrot cake was wonderful, here is the recipe found on

Best Ever Carrot Cake

6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 10 inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Did ya notice the pictures in the post? Yep, a new camera for me. Yahoo. I tried to fix the broken one and ended up fixing the original problem and breaking 2 other parts. So a bit early happy birthday to me.

Hope you find something to keep you happy.

Sisters and friends.


Annie and Maddie sleeping
Surprises are fairly commonplace around here. Finding Maddie standing on the kitchen counter in search of a sucker or in my bedroom with a gallon of milk asking for a cup, pleaseeeee are just part of our day. The sheer speed with which toddlers and preschoolers grow and change means that each and every day is an adventure. I myself very often looking at Dan with a shocked grin and a shake of the head. All of those little surprises can be challenging yet bring so much whimsy and laughter to our lives.
What has really bowled me over as a parent are the big surprises, the moments you look at your child and discover not just something about them or being a parent but about humanity itself. My first experience with this was when I stared at Annie as a babe in my arms and felt that over powering sense of love, that knock you over wow moment you have with your first child. What came next was the realization that my parents loved and love me the exact same way. It was a pretty powerful moment to realize that I am that loved.
Recently Annie and Maddie have become more than sisters, they have become friends. They have their own relationship that exists apart from me. I hear them playing in the next room, they may be off to New York City in the Cozy Coupe or discussing how big a giraffe really is. Annie fields questions from Madison and answers with such authority, and Maddie trusts each and everything she says.
While they sit on the couch Annie reaches to hold Madison's hand. I remember doing the same thing with my little brother Nick. It has been so joyful for me to watch this relationship grow.
Family to me is always just that family, you lives are tied to each other in some inexplicable way. We don't always like each other but we do always have love for each other. In watching the girls' journey as sisters I am better able to understand my own family ties. One day I will watch the girls head in their own directions but I will always remember them being this close.

Hubby day off means sewing for me.


Dan had monday off of work and I got a day off. I spent most of the day upstairs sewing. I finished off a little art portfolio for the sweet little boy next door. I used the basic layout as the one for the swap but added handles and we included a cute little checker board. I think I improved on the last version.
After that I decided it was time to work on the handmade clothes for the girls I mentioned in my Uberlist #24. I started making a skirt for Maddie using this tutorial. I picked some light corduroy and a pretty pink flower fabric. It was suprisingly easy and looked great, Maddie refused to wear it but Annie thought it was great.
Feeling so very accomplished with the skirt I moved on to a pair of pants using this tutorial. I used a cheery red corduroy and the big flower fabric found on the little red bunny
They were a bit small for Annie so I had to take out the waist and do a bit of improvising. It was a great challenge and I can't wait to get working on more, especially fun pants for the spring and summer. If you give the pants a try make sure to give plenty of room, easier to take them in then let them out.

Here are some tutorials for other easy to sew kids clothes.


Jeans into skirt

Pillowcase dress

A simple idea


I didn't think I was asking for much, I just wanted to vacuum the upstairs, not even my room just the other 3. I gave up on the girls helping me pick-up so I could just get it done. I had Annie sit in her bed and play for the 5 minutes it takes to vacuum and Maddie had gotten into something so was in time-out in the chair in my room. I thought I was safe. I thought I would acutally vacuum without something being dumped out behind me. It was the last 2 strokes through the loft, Maddie comes running out of my room, "Mommy I pee-peed". I don't know why I even bother, had I just left all the crap and stray valentine's candy wrappers littered all over then I probably would not have to be washing the chair slipcover right now. Is it to much to ask for a clean house for just 5 minutes, it seems like such a simple idea.

Happy Valentine's Day!



We don't usually make a big deal about Valentine's Day. Dan usually buys me some chocolates and gets me a card. What I like best is that Dan always does something special for the girls. He lays treats out on the table the night before and they come down to their goodies, the best part is that he went to 2 stores looking for construction paper to cut out paper hearts for them. Nothing like a holiday that gets the hubby in the crafty spirit. What more can a gal ask for on Valentine's Day! Hope lots of hugs and kisses find their way to you today.

Mini Swap makes it to Seattle


Our Mini Swap package made it to Seattle! It seems everyone enjoyed their little goodies.

The little boy said He's "been wanting something like this for practically ever now."

artbookswap2 artbookswap

It is a sewn art folio with spots for colored pencils and notebooks. Annie drew a picture that we scanned and turned into stationary. We added some drawing paper and a few hangman games and dots games. My favorite part was the little pouch that held pennies and dimes for the tic-tac-toe board. The inspiration for that came while playing my first game of tic-tac-toe with Annie. I am so pleased it was just what B had been wanting for so long!

This was a gift for both kids, our own version of Animal Bingo.

It is one of our favorite games at home, I found a great site with animal clipart, sorry I can't remember where, and printed them out. Annie and Maddie helped with the cutting and gluing and then we had it all laminated. Annie did all the writing and it took quite a few sit-downs for her to finish them up.

The Mitten goodies

Our swap partners said that their little girl loves Jan Brett and Hedgie so I looked up the Jan Brett web site and found tons of great stuff. I decided to print up the animals from The Mitten, one of our favorite books, and make a little mitten tote for them to go into. I had been wanting to try printing on fabric after seeing these pillows all over at christams time and this over at Kiddley. It was so very easy and the little animals looked great. I just used the June Tailor stuff at Michaels. Annie did most of the embrodiary on the mitten and Maddie helped me stuff them all up, gotta put them tiny fingers of hers to work in the sweatshop, and Annie and Maddie ran them through their paces several times before we wrapped them up.

I included some Fannie May chocolates (very Chicago) and a little wrist cuff for the Mommy. It was really a great experience for all of us and it got me to look around the house and find things we already had that would make for great gifts. I am inspired to shoot for an entire year of handmade gifts......Hmmmmm.

Mini Swap is here.....


Yesterday our Mini Swap package arrived in the mail. We swapped with a sweet family that lives outside of Seattle. I saw the mailperson load the package in the box and booked outside so the girls could rip into it before nap time. Jen did a fabulous job knitting up little treasures for the girls. Here is Maddie showing off her sock bunny named Mike by their little boy. He sent along the sweetest little note along with the bunny and Maddie really loved the little bunny finger puppet. She has been carrying Mike around by his ear, makes a mama's heart ache.

Mike the bunny

Annie received the cutest set of little animal finger puppets.

finger puppets

There is a turtle, a blue bird (my favorite), a butterly, and a rose. A perfect fit for her little fingers and big imagination. They came all packed up in a cute little knitted drawstring pouch.

The package also came with some great postcards of Seattle (where Dan and I went for our honeymoon) and some yummy chocolates for mom. I did have to share one of the bars with the girls.

Chocolate for Mom

Here is the whole kit and kaboodle (sans chocolate, Maddie had hidden it from Annie)

Mini Swap goodies

We were so fortunate to get paired up with such a talented family. We can't wait for our package to make it out west. In the meantime Jen's beautiful sock knitting and knitted treats have motivated me to knit my first pair of socks. Look for pictures soon.