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what I love about Sculpey/Filmo

I will admit to never having bought into the play-dough “extras”.  The ‘hair salon’ or ‘road builder’ or ‘baking’ plastic making machines that made tiny pieces that you needed to put together meticulously.  Painful.  Hard to clean up.  Yelch. The most fun part for us (or maybe more me?) has always been making the actual play dough. I wrote about it last year with an easy recipe.

Our kids are good with the cardinal rule of colour separation in the play dough world and they like to create with it – but they never want to put their creations away.  So we have zip lock bags (keeps the dough from hardening) of little masterpieces and half containers of colours…  I will often find rotting play dough (the home made kind does rot after a time) and that’s not any more fun than finding the lunchtime surprise that stayed in the bottom of a backpack for a week too long …

Which brings me to my love of Sculpey.  You can bake it and it hardens to become a fun creation that turns a crafting moment into a pretty fun playmate (and doesn’t rot).

sculpey elephant sculpey unicorn turtle design

On this particular day Matt was on a sea animal bent – and this was his sea turtle (having already completed a whale, shark, sting ray and dolphin) and the girls wanted to make unicorns and elephants.

Filmo or Sculpey (I don’t have a personal preference over brand) are great – but much harder in texture than play dough. It requires kids to roll the clay in their hands in order to soften it enough to mold.  The whole rolling motion (and the patience factor) can be a learning curve but they sure are proud of themselves when they get the hang of it.  It’s a good little skill builder.  I think it’s still a little tough for a 3 year old to roll and warm all the colours so I help the girls by making balls for them and then they shape them into heads, bodies, feet, eyes, unicorn horns etc.  They pick the colours and body parts and they shape and stick together – I’m just the grunt work girl.  Matt will not have any of his mom’s interventions … his creations are all him.

I showed you our veggies that we made using FILMO last year for our veggie garden signs.  And this year we’ve made little bugs and butterflies for barrettes, tons of animals and recently some bunnies and duckies.  Matt’s is the bunny in the middle below.  The girls wanted nicely rolled balls to work with and make their faces and bellies and ears etc – Matt just took a hunk and went and built his own bunny. I love all three and how they each represent our kids’ personal styles (Kate has the bent ears and Charlie’s are straight with perfect little pink inserts in the ears)

bunnies

Packages of Filmo and Sculpey say different things about cooking temps and times – but I follow one simple rule of thumb when baking 275 degrees.  15 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness of your creation.

After we finish and bake them – they cool really quickly and the kids will often play with their newly created pals.

Just an idea if you’re looking for some spring break indoor play.  It’s great for a rainy day – and I think girls and boys love it equally as long as they get an idea to make something really cool that appeals to them.  You can get clay like FILMO or Sculpey at almost any craft store.

Tomorrow while the girls and I make beads from clay, Matt is determined to make a hockey player… we’ll see how it turns out!

sculpey play

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proud momma

I think every parent has those moments.  The ones were you feel like your heart might explode out of your chest with love and pride for that kid.  It’s the same kid you were yelling at yesterday to clean up his toys or move a little faster or not to hit her sister. In that moment, there is just this overwhelming feeling of HUH.  We either did something right, or this kid is turning out okay despite us, or something.  It’s your kid.  And she rocks.

It’s funny how those proud moments are rarely for the things you expect, or plan out in your brain (or at least that’s how it goes for me).  I am glad that our kids try new sports, are able to sit and be creative quietly, are interested in learning.  But I’m PROUD of them when I watch them share with each other when they think no one is looking.  When they pick each other up, cheer each other on, and respect each person’s need and right to be included and loved.

So today, at our parent teacher interview for Matty, who is in kindergarten, I was surprised by what got to me.  We’ve been working hard on reading and his prayers and math and his french – so I thought I wanted to hear about his progress and what he needed to work on.  In reality I just needed to hear that his teacher gets him, and sees some of what we see in him.  I was proud beyond words when she spoke of Matthew’s character, his kindness, and his inclusive disposition.  His little report card was awesome.  But my favorite part wasn’t getting all the right ticks in the boxes – it was this:

matt report card

I’m also weirdly proud of him for how much he loves to play with boys, AND girls. Because he doesn’t judge.

matty unicorn

I’m proud that he finds so many situations to wear his hockey helmut, and feels that it’s totally appropriate to do so.  Because that speaks to his individuality.

matty in hockey helmut matty hockey hemlut2 matty hockey helmut

I’m proud that he explores, asks questions (a LOT of questions), and always has the time to explain things to his sisters.  Because that means he is curious and open to new possibilities.

matty experimenting

So much more – but we could all gush forever and I will spare you.  Thanks for sharing this proud mom moment with me.

xo

 

what’s a couple of months between friends?

Hi again. I hope you’ve had a great couple of months.  I dropped off, quite honestly, because I had a bit of a shift in priorities after Christmas.  We went away in search of sunshine for a bit, and the preparation at work to get away, together with new programs for the kids, coupled with a desire to eat and be healthier meant the months flew by.  Unfortunately the only bits of time left in my days to collect myself for planning better meals and working out were the scraps I used to use for trolling creative sites and writing this fun little blog.  Two months in, and I think I finally have the hang of it all – so I’m back – and soooo happy to be here.  I’ve missed being creative, and have missed writing.

We went to Hawaii.  This is our second trip to the same place – recommended by wonderful friends.  This year we were lucky enough to overlap with those friends, and then with 3 sets of other great buddies that we had in turn recommended the place to.  My mom came and joined us for half the trip and Matty even had school friends staying just up the beach – it was awesome.  So family friendly, quiet, relaxing and fun.  I won’t go on about it but if you want details pop me a note and I’m happy to pass along.

girls hawaii

Did I mention the turtles?

turtles

The kids and I continued our crafts, and built some pretty cool new art pieces along the way – and Matty developed a big love for science so we have been experimenting quite a bit as well.  I’ll try to share some of the cooler pieces this week and maybe pass along some ideas for Spring break if anyone is home with kiddos over the next couple of weeks.  We’ve been playing a lot with filmo/sculpey, making erasers and crayons, drawing animals and dinosaurs, and we have plans for making bouncy balls and paper-mache masks next week.

I know I’m turning back time here but I didn’t share our Valentines this year – and I really wanted to show you how they turned out.  For the girls – I wrote the alphabet out in a heavy black font except for the letters “I” “O” and “U” which I wrote in red, and switched the “O” to a heart.  I printed on kraft paper – 2 up (they were 4×8) and then the girls helped cut them.  We ordered chocolates from the oriental trading company (crazy good website – thank you Lori for recommending it!) and put a picture of the three kids on it with a Valentine message around the outside.  The girls had fun sticking the sticker-pictures on each of the chocolates and then attaching them to their valentines.  It was a fun way to share the valentines spirit with their preschool in a bit of a home-made fashion.

valentines  chocolates

 

For Matty we did a few different things.  For his class we bought some little mazes and attached a “You aMAZE me” note to them that Matty signed.  I found this idea on pinterest .   It was okay, but neither of us were in love with it.  So we made a different one for some very close buddies and his cousins.  We bought some pull-back trucks and he helped me design tire tracks on a 4×8 (2 up) template – using very basic power point.  We wrote out a few messages but the coolest one was “I like the way you roll”.  We got plastic bags at the dollar store and attached the trucked inside, taping the back with some cool washi tape.

roll cars car

 

I hope you felt loved this Valentines day.  And I also hope you’re seeing signs of Spring, wherever you are.  We have crocuses and tulips and have been lucky with the sunshine for the past couple of weeks.  I’m so glad to see spring on it’s way.  The kids are outside more, chalk art on the driveway, hair blowing in the wind, and their bikes and balls are everywhere in a happy mess.  I drive to work in the dark still, but at least it isn’t dark again by the time I get home.  I’m not a big winter girl.  Bring on the sunshine and the soccer games, the smell of fresh grass and the warmth of the sunshine on your skin.

It’s nice to be back…