DIY Heart Breaker Valentine’s Day Cards

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‘Tis the season for roses, hearts, Cupid and the age old tradition of spreading love with thoughtful Valentine’s Day cards!

Avery is currently obsessed with decorating herself in adhesive bandages, like they are a fashion accessory – so I picked up some holiday themed bandages to use for her classroom Valentines (one of many amazing finds at the Target Dollar Spot!). I created and printed the below Heart Breaker Valentine’s Day Cards and attached the bandages with double-sided tape.

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Click HERE to download free printable.

Now my adorable little heart breaker is ready for her 1st Valentine’s Day celebration at school.  🙂

Related: Mermaid Valentine Printable
Related: Unicorn Valentine Printable

Color-Coded Beginner Piano Sheet Music

color-coded-beginner-piano-sheet-music-free-printables-projectsinparenting

The other day, Jacob was jamming away on his toy piano singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ – eyes closed, head bopping, slamming random keys on the key board…  I loved the enthusiasm and figured the boys are probably old enough to start reading beginner sheet music, so I decided to put together a few songs for them.

I am by no means a musician, but I did play piano back in the day and remembered some of the basics. I wanted to keep it simple with what I feel is a reasonable goal for toddlers and preschoolers: Find Middle C and play a simple song with one finger (not at all insisting on proper finger placement). I’m not trying to raise Mozart – I just want them to have fun and become comfortable with the basics of sheet music while doing so.

POST UPDATE: I originally cut down circle dot labels I had on-hand (as seen in my photo below), then upgraded to these Color Coding Dot Labels which coordinated perfectly. Once we upgraded from their Fisher-Price Keyboard to an electronic piano, I created these Removable Color Coded Piano Key Labels – Now the colors coordinate exactly and I love that they have a less harsh, easily removable adhesive.

Using the color-coded labels, I created coordinating sheet music for a couple of their favorite songs. Click on below sheet music image to download a FREE printable.

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For more song selections and coordinating color-coded sticker labels, please visit my Etsy Shop.
9 song pack

As simple as that – now my boys understand the concept of reading and playing music on the piano. With or without an accurate rhythm on the keyboard, watching their faces and sense of accomplishment after completing a song is absolutely priceless!

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Related: Star Wars The Imperial March Beginner Piano Sheet Music
Related: Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book

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DIY Lion Guard Costumes

diy-lion-guard-costumes-projectsinparenting-com

Months ago, Jacob told me he wanted to be Kion from The Lion Guard for Halloween. To no surprise, Evan and Avery wanted to team up with him as Beshte and Ono to help defend the pride lands!

For Kion and Beshte, I used orange and grey footed pajamas from footedpajamas.com (while also scoring a 15% off coupon from Retail Me Not – deals rock!). I attached red and black craft fur that I got from Michael’s Craft store (also available online at Amazon or Walmart) for hair, and used fleece fabric to sew on ears and a tail.

For Beshte, I designed a mask and created this TEMPLATE to make it into a fabric mask using felt squares and Stitch Witchery. Seriously, this stuff is AMAZING! All you have to do is cut the Stitch Witchery to shape and iron your fabrics, bonding them together – no sewing required! (Note: I cut the eyes out after bonding all the materials together to make sure the fabric was even)

For Ono, I purchased a white leotard from Amazon and created wings and a tail, using fleece fabric (Fleece is great for this purpose since it does not fray at all). The leotard fabric and skinny arms were a bit difficult to work with, so I chose to use a combination of Velcro and sewing to attach the wings. To give the tail a more 3 dimensional look, I sewed in pipe cleaners between the two tail fabrics.

diy-ono-costume-wings-and-tailSimilar to Beshte – I designed an Ono mask for Avery and created a TEMPLATE so I could make a fabric mask, using felt squares and Stitch Witchery.

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diy-ono-costume-frontdiy-ono-costume-back

To complete their costumes, The Lion Guard needs their badge of honor – so again I used my trusty Stitch Witchery to fuse the symbol (from felt squares) to each costume’s left arm. Tip: After printing out this TEMPLATE, I cut out the shapes with an X-ACTO knife, and chalked out a mirror image as a stencil.

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Now my little protectors of the pride lands are ready to roar on Halloween!

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Related: See Paw Patrol and Ghostbusters costumes.

 

Weekly Calendar

Weekly Calendar Banner 2 - projectsinparenting

Shortly after the boys turned 2 years old, they started finding Cory or I in the mornings and asking, “Is Dad home all day?”. If the answer was “no”, I often times had two crying kids on my hands. Understandably (in their minds), they were upset that Cory had to run off to some unknown “work” place, instead of staying home to play with them. Unfortunately for me, I had to break this news to them every Monday through Friday and they would be super angry with me – like it was MY choice which days Cory went to work.

While it was neat watching them realize the concept of days, I wanted to avoid the unnecessary tantrums and help them understand their schedules better. As a visual person myself, I decided to put together a weekly calendar *showing* them which days Dad was “home all day” (by putting a picture of Cory’s face on Saturday and Sunday). I printed out the calendar, put it in a sheet protector, and hung it on their bedroom door with a clothespin to mark the current day. Each morning, they would wake up and move the clothespin to the new day.

Both Jacob and Evan responded to the calendar extremely well, so I started adding images for almost everything – doctor’s appointments, swim class, holidays, etc. The boys quickly started understanding weekends vs. weekdays and were excited when something new would pop up on their calendar. Although our weekly events pretty much stayed the same, when I knew a holiday or special event was coming up, I would print the future week in advance and simply slide the sheet behind the current week (in the sheet protector) so that it was ready to go.

Avery is 2 years old now, and starting “toddler school” this week, so I started using the weekly calendar for her. She is loving the new responsibility of updating her marker for each day, and super excited for her 1st day of school. No more tantrums and full cooperation for the day’s activities (well, most of the time anyway). Either way, a definite WIN!

Weekly Calendar - Thumbnail Weekly Calendar Clipart - Thumbnail

Related Posts:

DIY Magnetic Daily and Weekly Chore Chart - projectsinparenting.com   Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book Banner   Encouraging Kindness with Bucket Filling Gem Jars

“December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss

DIY Children’s Artwork Canvas Tote Bag

DIY Childrens Artwork Canvas Tote Bag

Homemade gifts are the sweetest and it doesn’t get much more adorable than children’s artwork – so this year for Mother’s Day, I worked with my sister in-laws to have each of the 8 grandchildren create a special piece for their Nana.

Each drawing/painting was created in a square format. I then took a photo of each masterpiece (Note: For best results, shoot outside in full sunlight), and used Diptic to group the photos into two sets of four with equal dimensions. This app also makes it super easy to create a fun colorful border, complimenting the kids’ artwork.


After combining the artwork into two collages, I printed each as a MIRROR IMAGE onto Fabric Transfer Sheets, then ironed them onto each side of a Canvas Tote Bag. (I stress “mirror image” because, regardless that it’s clearly on the instructions, I have forgotten this step on numerous occasions – trust me, you’ll want to save yourself the frustration)

Voila! Straight from a child’s heart and imagination… A one-of-a-kind, reusable tote, made especially for Nana. 🙂

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.”

To all the amazing moms out there – you are loved and appreciated today and every day… Happy Mother’s Day!!

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Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page

Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page Free Printable

It’s time to celebrate our real life superheroes – teachers! With Teacher Appreciation Day just around the corner, I wanted to come up with something the boys could give to their teachers at preschool. I thought it would be nice if they had a hand in creating it with their own personal touch – so I designed a coloring page with an option to add a statement about their teacher/classroom.

Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page Teacher Appreciation Helping Me Grow Coloring Page 2

Click HERE for Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page. (Also great for nannies and child care providers)
Click HERE for Teacher Appreciation Coloring Page with Questionnaire.
Click HERE to see my latest post and NEW coloring page with full page questionnaire.

Looking to give your teacher a little something extra? Below are some fun ideas:

  • Colorful Pencil Personalized Notepads:
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  • Flower Pot Amazon Gift Card:
    81fMZOZ7A4L._SL1500_
  • Sticky Note Dispenser:
    61qPqZV-nbL._AC_SL1500_
  • Tape Dispenser:
    71fG9tVrY5L._AC_SL1500_
  • Apple Personalized Notepads:
    71W31DtlL4L._AC_SL1500_

Thank you to all the hard-working teachers! I appreciate your dedication to making a difference, while inspiring curiosity and knowledge that ultimately shapes our children’s future.

“It takes a big heart to shape little minds.”

Related Posts:

Happy Father's Day Free Printable Questionnaire, All About Me - projectsinparenting.com Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book Banner dinosaur t-rex valentine banner

Paw Patrol Family Halloween Costume

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Since my Ghostbusters Costumes / DIY Proton Pack has been receiving the most amount of blog traffic, I thought I’d throwback to 2014 and share details on how I made our Paw Patrol Halloween costumes as well…

With Jacob’s obsession for the color red, it was no surprise he wanted to be Marshall the fire pup! I purchased a toy fireman hat and red t-shirt from Amazon. After cutting off the sleeves to the t-shirt, I sewed on arms and made pants by using white fleece fabric and attaching black felt spots with Stitch Witchery (a no-sew/iron-on fusible tape – LOVE this stuff!). I hot glued ears to the helmet, added a collar with yellow strapping, and finished it with the final touch of his pup badge (from the Action Pack Pup & Badge toy) and Paw Patrol hat sticker (printed on sticker paper).

Marshall Paw Patrol Halloween Costume 2 - projectsinparentingMarshall Paw Patrol Halloween Costume - projectsinparenting

Evan wanted to be “Rubble on the double!”, so I purchased a toy construction hat and yellow t-shirt. I cut off the t-shirt sleeves to sew on arms, and made pants by using  fleece fabric. I created his ears with the same fabric, and gave them dimension by using Poly-fill and pipe cleaners. After attaching the ears with a glue gun, I added the Paw Patrol hat sticker (printed on sticker paper). Using black strapping, I added the collar and attached Rubble’s pup badge (from the Action Pack Pup & Badge toy) to the shirt.

Rubble Paw Patrol Halloween Costume 2- projectsinparentingRubble Paw Patrol Halloween Costume - projectsinparenting

It was only appropriate for Avery to be Skye (this was before Everest was introduced), so I purchased pink aviator goggles, sewed ears using fleece fabric stuffed with Poly-fill, then attached the ears by sewing them around the goggle straps (leaving flexibility for all sizes to wear – even adults!). I already had a pink aviator-style hat from GAP that worked perfectly (it is now sold out, but Amazon has a similar one), and I kept it simple with a pink long-sleeve onesie and black pants. And of course, can’t forget the pup badge!

Skye Paw Patrol Halloween Costume 2 - projectsinparentingSkye Paw Patrol Halloween Costume - projectsinparenting

As male leader of the pack, Cory dressed up as Ryder, wearing a red puffer vest that I found on Amazon (the exact one I used has since been discontinued but they offer other options as well, like this one). They also offer kid puffer vests, (option #2) as well as fleece vests for a lower cost option. I used white, yellow and blue duct tape to create the illusion of Ryder’s vest and added a badge (printed on sticker paper) for more authenticity.

Ryder Paw Patrol Halloween Costume projectsinparentingRyder Costume projectsinparenting

Don’t lose it, re-use it! I decided to be Rocky, so got myself a green shirt and trucker cap. Creating simple ears using felt, I attached them to the cap with hot glue, then added the Paw Patrol hat sticker, and attached Rocky’s pup badge to my shirt.

Rocky Paw Patrol Halloween Costume projectsinparentingRocky Skye Paw Patrol Halloween Costume - projectsinparenting

It’s Paw Patrol, we’re on a roll!!…

Marshall Rubble Skye Paw Patrol Halloween Costume - projectsinparenting

Over a year later, the boys still cram their heads through these 2T neck holes, just so they can team up and pretend to save Adventure Bay!… Pretend play at it’s best.

Related: DIY Lion Guard Costumes

Color-Coded Beginner Piano Music Book Banner

 

DIY Super Hero Valentine’s Day Cards

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It’s that time of year – spread the love by giving thoughtful cards to your friends, family and classmates!

While Valentine’s Day cards are nice – As a toddler, receiving ones with little favors (glow sticks, stickers, candy, etc.) are much more enjoyable, so I wanted to make something fun for the boys’ friends. With Evan being really into Batman right now, I created these Gotham City inspired cards and stapled on Batman tattoos I found at Party City. (Note if purchasing this specific tattoo pack: The label states “16 tattoos” which is essentially 8 perforated squares, with 2 tattoos each – so you can make 8 Valentine’s Day cards per pack)

DIY Batman Tattoo Valentines CardDownload FREE printable HERE.

For Jacob, I stuck with the super hero theme, but included Avengers tattoos.

DIY Super Hero Tattoo Valentines CardDownload FREE printable HERE.

Stay super and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

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Constellation Sticker Craft

Constellation Sticker Craft - projectsinparenting

All things outer space has been a huge interest of the boys lately. They enjoy star gazing, identifying planets in the sky, and were thrilled to see the Super Blood Moon this past summer.

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Although it would be amazing if the moon were really that huge, it’s enlarged for effect  🙂

Jacob’s favorite thing to wear are his constellation pajama pants (as seen above) and he’s always asking us to point out the Big Dipper, especially after reading Touch the Brightest Star – one of his favorite interactive books, where you trace the Big and Little Dipper with your finger as part of the story. (Great book for any toddler’s bed time collection!)

I wanted a fun way to teach them the basic constellations, and ones that are easy to spot in the sky, so I came up with the following craft worksheets…

Big Dipper WorksheetLittle Dipper WorksheetCassiopeia WorksheetCygnus Worksheet

LeoPegasusOrion WorksheetCepheusGemini

Click on individual worksheet above for FREE printable, or HERE for pdf with ALL Worksheets.

First I had the boys place star stickers on the grey dots, then using the picture as reference, draw lines to create each constellation.

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After learning the constellations, the boys got creative with their worksheets – connecting the dots without stickers, outlining the constellation in all star stickers, putting other stars in the sky, tracing the letters to spell the constellations, etc. I enjoy watching them explore whatever materials I give them. It’s fun when they think outside the box and come up with new ways to do things… A great hands-on way to learn while using imagination and creativity!

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“Don’t wait for the stars to align. Reach up, rearrange them the way you want them to be. Create your own constellation.” – Pharrell Williams

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DIY Disney Autograph Memory Book

DIY Disney Autograph Memory Book

The beginning of winter in Chicago can be quite exciting – the anticipation of snow, holiday season cheer, ringing in a new year… then BOOM – January rolls in and the magical part of winter seems to come to a screeching halt. Next comes months of frigid cold, making it seem as though spring is an eternity away. For me, winter sanity is planning something to look forward to – like a nice warm vacation.

We decided to book a trip to Florida and try our hand at Disney World for a few days. Cory and I have both been to Disney World when we were little, but this will be our 1st trip as parents… Although all the information for planning a “WDW” vacation can be overwhelming, and some websites even require a secret decoder ring to figure out their acronyms, I find most advise has the same staple suggestions. One of these recommendations is to be prepared with an autograph book for character photographs and signatures.

The Disney Store sells autograph books anywhere from $8 to $20, and customizable books can be found on Etsy for up to $75 (you read that right – SEVENTY FIVE!) To sell me on $75 I’d hope for them to be encrusted with princess jewels or sprinkled with Tinkerbell’s fairy dust, but my guess is they are not… I understand some Disney enthusiasts might be willing to fork over that kind of cash for a memory book, but I have 3 toddlers who – to my best guess – will develop stage fright and not even get close enough to the oversized, slightly terrifying characters for me to snap a photograph, let alone ask for an autograph… Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about keepsakes. But if I can create a quality, personalized version myself and save money, I’m definitely going to choose that route.

To keep the cost of their autograph books at a minimum, I scoped out Hobby Lobby’s 40% off Art Pads & Sketchbooks sale and purchased  6″ x 6″ Master’s Touch Wire Bound Sketch Books for $2.99 each. Here is a similar Wire Bound 6″ x 6″ Sketch Book from Amazon.

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I created my own image featuring the kids’ favorite characters/movies…

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Click HERE for editable PDF (accurate print size for above sketch book) or HERE for jpg format.

I then personalized each cover using a free New Waltograph font I found on Fontspace.com.

Disney Memories.jpg

If you have a Mac — After downloading the New Waltograph font, you can open the PDF file in Preview and follow the below steps to add your text:Editable PDF Steps

Step 1: Select the Edit button  from the toolbar at the top of the Preview window.
Step 2: Select the Text tool add text tool showing text within a box.
Step 3: Select the color [white], [Waltograph] font, appropriate size – I used [48 pt], and [center] alignment.
Step 4: Click on document and type name / text. Note: You may have to do this a few times to get accurate placement.

Printing the images on card stock looked fabulous, but for an extra crisp result – I had them professionally printed online using matte photo paper (Note: Maintaining image size to scale is extremely important). I then trimmed the images with a paper cutter (leaving a white border) and used spray adhesive to attach each design to the kids’ autograph book covers.

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This photograph shows image printed on card stock.

We are now prepared for character autographs… Take us to the mouse!

WANT MORE COLOR OPTIONS?? SEE MY NEW POST!!
DIY Disney Autograph Memory Book – Multiple Color Options

Related post: Child Size or Small Wrist Magic BandsDIY Lion Guard Costumes

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“Today’s special moments are tomorrow’s memories.” – Genie, The Return of Jafar