{DIY} Skeleton Flamingos

DIY Skeleton flamingos, Halloween decor, lawn art
I think I’ve found the silver lining to our current COVID situation: quality time with Michael.

We are spending a lot of time together: between “Mom School,” “Zoom school,” and the shortened days of “in-person school,” it’s all Megan & Michael time. All. The. Time.

While Michael works on his school work and crafts, I’m trying to not be on my phone all of the time, so I’ve been finishing up some in-process crafting projects. (Our school room is the craft room, after all.)

I found an image of skeleton flamingos on Pinterest and I thought they were fun, decorative, and not too scary.

So, I bought some flamingos from Amazon. Do note: these are “mini” flamingos and much smaller than I had expected. 

We had some leftover matte black spray paint, so I set up a spray paint area and went to town.

DIY Skeleton flamingos, Halloween decor, lawn art

DIY Skeleton flamingos, Halloween decor, lawn art

Fast forward a few months, and I finally had the time and tools to finish the project!

DIY Skeleton flamingos, Halloween decor, lawn art

What do you need? 

  • Matte black spray paint (We used Rustoleum’s High Heat spray paint, leftover from painting our fireplace, likely purchased from Home Depot)
  • Plastic flamingos
  • White oil-based paint pen (I think I got mine from Michaels, medium tipped)

That’s it!

I searched a few images on Pinterest and just started drawing. The paint I used dulled my white pen a bit throughout, so I wiped off the tip and kept going.

It took just a few worksheets, crafts, and PlayDoh sessions and I was done! These actually took less time than I expected.

DIY Skeleton flamingos, Halloween decor, lawn art

Our flock!

DIY Skeleton flamingos, Halloween decor, lawn art

If you decide to follow our lead on these non-spooky skeleton flamingos, please tag me in your photos or post pictures here!

Happy haunting!

 

 

 

School at home set up {Kindergarten}

It’s hard to believe that it’ll be September next week. And even crazier to believe that the week after that, Michael will start Kindergarten!

With the pandemic still raging across the US, we’re pretty lucky here in New York that our community spread rates are very low and Michael is able to experience some semblance of in-person school this year.

His hybrid schedule will include a few days a week of in-person instruction, a day of virtual instruction, and two days of “independent learning” (which for a kindergartner likely won’t be all that independent).

In an effort to make his learning space a learning space, I cleaned up the playroom and added a learning wall (which was previously blank, and used as a back drop for my Little Britches Bakery diaper cake business).

Here are the resources for the learning wall, so you can make one for your back-to-school’er!

Presenting, our new learning space:

Our new learning space

Target and the Dollar Tree were used for most of the wall coverings:

USA Map, $1 — Target One Spot (or whatever it’s called now)

Alphabet cards, $1 — Target One Spot (or whatever it’s called now)

These were glued to a piece of poster board, $0.69 from Target.

Blank calendar, $1 — Target One Spot (or whatever it’s called now)

Glued to a piece of poster board, $1 from the Dollar Tree. I also printed out numbers, months, and holidays on 100 lb card stock for the calendar. These will be Velcro’d on to the calendar with Velcro from Dollar Tree. The unused holidays will be Velcro’d into the blue space so we don’t lose them. 

The calendar headers came from Teachers Pay Teachers. And the numbers and holidays came from A Little Pinch of Perfect

Alphabet border, $1 at the Dollar Tree

Michael’s animal art was created last week at school, and framed in these 9″x 12″ frames from Michael’s.

The table is one of the first pieces of furniture I ever bought, and it’s moved with me four times since 2004. Best $79 I ever spent. The price has gone up, but it’s still very affordable at $129. Available at IKEA.

And the close-up

I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest since March, trying to keep Michael engaged, learning, and moving forward since the pandemic hit. Most of my “Homeschooling” board on Pinterest is aimed at Kindergarten through first grade, trying to both meet him where he’s at and challenge him.

The three “reference guides” below the alphabet squares were a free printable from Miniature Masterminds. I printed them on 100 lb card stock and backed them with colored card stock.

The three phonics lessons under the calendar came from Whimsy Teaching Workshop on Teachers Pay Teachers. These were printed and glued to poster board (Target, $0.69) and bordered with accents from the Dollar Tree ($1).

We’ll also add this Season Spinner to the wall, once Michael colors it. (Probably on the first day of school!)

We’ll also add a clock in the room, so we can start learning time. It’s a little early, but Michael has been very eager to learn now.

Our crafting tables

As Michael continues to grow, he’s quickly growing out of “his” crafting table (The Latt, from Ikea, $29) that I painted and topped with a piece of Plexiglas years ago.

On top of the “kids” table, you’ll find a new caddy (Target, $3), new markers, crayons, liquid glue and glue sticks, a bingo dabber, and a book and index cards, from Target.

I bought several other great supplies at the Dollar Tree: a finger pointer (for word and calendar work), a lot of math, reading, and writing work books, and more banners for our work space.

Our playroom

Our playroom / craft room / learning space has it all, including a tent, kitchen, easel, a zoo full of stuffed animals, and lots of diaper cakes.

The tent was a first birthday present made by my parents, the “zoo” was an idea from Pinterest, and the easel, kitchen, and artwork hangers across the window all came from IKEA. The wall shelves are from IKEA. The diaper cakes are creations of mine, available on my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BritchesBakery.

Our playroom / craftroom / kindergarten room

Some of the ribbons and supplies I use for our epic craft projects and my diaper cake creations.

More IKEA resources here: the shelf and storage containers. The peg board came from Home Depot, and I painted it and hung it. While it looks unruly, it’s a genius way to store all of the materials I use often for crafting and “cake” making. Plus it kept sharp things out of reach for little hands.

Our playroom / craft room / learning space hasn’t been this clean in a long, long time and probably won’t be for awhile, once all the fun starts!

Questions? Drop them below!

Fall bucket list {2020}

It’s almost finally fall: sweatshirts, sun, and a chill in the air!

It’s half-way through August, but the sun is going down earlier and earlier each night and the other day there was a chill in the air. And I already saw Christmas cards at the store, so it’s time to switch seasons.

Because of COVID, no one has any idea what Kindergarten will look like this year, I’m running out of TV shows to watch with no hope of new shows on the horizon, Michael’s birthday plans have been re-tooled over and over again, and our weekends will now be football-free, much to Brandon’s chagrin.

So I’m going to focus on something near and dear to me: the changing of the season and our fall bucket list.

Make our scarecrow. I’ve had the stuff since 2018 and this year we’re finally going to make it!

Decorate for Halloween. Michael is taking after me and loves Halloween too! With COVID what it is now, I don’t think trick-or-treating will happen, but we’ll still buy some candy and indulge. I think Michael is going to be Martin Kratt of the Wild Kratts for Halloween, since he will already have a costume. (He’s having a Wild Kratts-themed birthday in mid-Sept. and will receive a Creature Power Suit)

SPOOKY!

Boo! These cheesecloth ghosts were a new addition last year.

Apple picking! Maybe we’ll have weekdays free. Maybe we’ll visit on a weekend. Who knows. It will be a fun time, regardless. So far this year we’ve picked strawberries and blueberries.

Visit a pumpkin patch. There are so many farms here. We’ve visited Greg’s U-Pick Farm for the past three Falls, so we will be there again to take a photo of Michael in this pumpkin house. Maybe we’ll even go on a socially-distant hayride! I usually go for the imperfect, warty pumpkins. I don’t see that changing this year. After a visit to a really cool corn maze in Ohio last October, Michael is really excited to find more mazes here too.

Three years at the pumpkin house!

I prefer the unique, warty pumpkins.

Carve our pumpkins. Maybe Michael will even help de-gut them this year? We can roast the pumpkin seeds, eat pot pie, all of the things.

PUMPKINS!!

Bonfires! We just bought a Solo Stove and I can’t wait to use it for a toasty fire and s’mores!

My birthday! I don’t have plans yet, but it’ll likely involve some corned beef (my favorite!), one of these big cookie cakes, a great bottle of wine, and some quality time at home.

I’m planning on one of these for my birthday… plus a few years!

It’s only right that I memorialize (mourn?) some of our favorite Fall traditions that aren’t COVID-friendly: 

  • School? Who knows. Our school district is such a hot mess.
  • A really big birthday party for Michael and a visit from Grandma & Boppa.
  • College (& NFL?) football.
  • Trick or treating
  • Hockey lessons
  • A night on the town to celebrate our anniversary (#9 this year!!)

Pumpkin picking at the pumpkin patch

Read our 2018 list here… WARNING: it’s pretty similar.

Construction FOURman

Michael turned four this past September and we celebrated with friends, family, a bounce house, pinata, and an epic cake.

Of course, I spent a considerable amount of time planning the party. (Thanks, Pinterest!)

Our invites were amazing — Michael’s construction hat came from Home Depot and I taped on a few layers of foam I cut out. His shirt was from Old Navy. We were lucky to find a torn up parking lot at our swim school: the perfect photo backdrop.

DUMP EVERYTHING! Michael is turning FOUR!

And I designed some great signage. (Download the set here!)

Construction Party signage

To feed our guests, we went with really large “party pizzas” from our neighborhood pizzeria and made our own cake out of FOUR boxes of cake mix and FIVE cans of frosting. (And it was delicious!)

Dig in: Party pizzas

Construction site birthday party dessert table

The dessert table

Construction site birthday cake

The delicious birthday cake

The pinata was great fun. I made a “4” out of card board, tape, and crepe paper. Tutorial coming!

Party pinata

Party pinata

Michael helped me fill it with construction-themed bracelets, temporary tattoos, suckers, tootsie rolls, and construction trucks. We passed out mini bags from Amazon for the kids to collect their pinata droppings and had the kids decorate plastic construction hats. (Hats & bags sold together here.)

My pinata filling helper

Construction site birthday party decorations

So many hats and letters!

The kids whacked and whacked the pinata and it finally broke. I might have built it a little too well. Oops.

Pinata time!

Construction birthday party

Pinata recovery

We had such a great time celebrating our little FOURman!

Large bouncy house

We rented the perfect bouncy house– and they let us keep it all weekend!

Hanging the pinata

Inside the bounce house. Michael means business!

Happy Fourth!! {Larger than life number sculpture at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor}

So much delicious cake!

Construction everything! Additional party decor

Such a happy Birthday Boy!

What stinks in here?

Alternative title: why do all of Michael’s favorite things focus on poop?

I’m hoping that it’s normal that a 4+ year old boy is obsessed with farting and poop. They are, right?

Whoopee cushion to computer: everything is flatulent.

Our most recent find comes from Nat Geo Kids: the Dung Beetle Derby game. He’s obsessed. Players have to solve a series of puzzles and games to allow the poop ball to reach the dung beetle who then takes it to the next level. Sounds great, right? We worked together and beat the game in a little more than an hour. The game is fun and tricky.

One of many great NatGeo games

Of course we discovered a great new book: F is for Fart. The alphabet AND animals AND farts? A winner.

It really rounds out our collection of poop books… Everybody Poops, What is Poop, and the classics Toot and Potty.

Our favorite books of late

So what great poop and fart “resources” have you found?

We’re familiar with the What’s inside your butthole? “music video” (thanks, Uncle James), but I’ve opted not to share it here.

Please tell us other books we should be reading and games we should be playing!

Happy Earth Day {2020}

Every day is earth day in our house, but on Wednesday we went a little more intense than normal.

Michael took an Earth Day Pledge and has since failed on his “shorter showers” promise. Otherwise, he’s doing great.

Earth Day pledge

We made some amazing cookies that were SO EASY. We picked a sugar cookie recipe on Pinterest (this one!), separated the dough into two bowls (go a little heavier for one of the bowls), and added food coloring (one bowl green, the bowl with more, blue, since Earth’s surface is 71% water). And mix, mix, mix.

Earth Day Cookies

Once you’ve got your colored dough bowls, pinch pieces of each dough color, combine them, (see below) and roll them lightly. If you roll them too much they’ll get marbled. Just a quick roll to combine should suffice.

Pinching cookies together

Bake per the recipe’s instructions…

Earth Day cookie dough balls

And, voila! Delicious and festive.

Earth Day cookies finished

Some of our other fun resources for learning about Mother Nature: (no affiliate links, since I can’t figure out how to do that…)

What did the tree wear to the pool party? — Swimming trunks. This and may more Earth Day jokes.

Nature Activity Book

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Animals (My Very Important Encyclopedias) 

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs: Discover more than 80 Prehistoric Creatures

Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World

Gross as a Snot Otter (The World of Weird Animals) 

What else should we be reading? How did you celebrate Earth Day/Week? Tell me below! 

Halloween recap {2018}

What a Halloween!

We dressed up, paraded, trick-or-treated, and ate and ate and ate.

Most of my creative juices went to Michael’s Mater costume, which was a work of art.

From the front:

Mater costume

And from the back… a working tow hook!

Mater costume

And let’s not forget the working headlamps once dusk hit! (Don’t you just love the pie tin radiator/candy dish!?)

Mater costume

Mater was WAY too big to wear to school for Michael’s class parade, so we pulled this Captain America costume out of the closet. Look at these little super heroes!

Apparently Michael grew a bit… Look at his shoes and fake shoes.

Little super heroes

Brandon and I phoned in our outfits, thanks to Target. They were fun and easy– fine by me!

Waldo Halloween costume

Of course we had some festive eats too… Our many-layer dip was so easy and paired perfectly with orange and black chips from Wegmans:

Halloween seven layer dip

And some sweet treats, “blood” courtesy of food coloring and corn syrup, applied with an infant medicine dropper, edible axes made by Wilton, bought by me:

Bloody ax cupcakes

We carved pumpkins too. All around, the perfect holiday!

Carving pumpkins

It’s been awhile…

One of my 2020 goals was to write more often on this here blog.

Four months in and I’ve failed miserably.

So, it’s time to remedy that– you know, with all this quality quarantine time on my hands.

(Just kidding. Homeschooling + 4.5 year old + working from home = doesn’t work. My “free time” consists of the hours of 8:30 – 11:30 p.m., when I get to enjoy catching up on work, TV, and “me” time. That’s a whole 21 hours a week assuming I don’t fall asleep on the couch! YES!)

I have several catch-up blog posts that I’m looking forward to finishing and posting in the coming weeks. So look forward to a rapidly-aging Michael and some really great adventures!

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaack!

Love your Elf on the Shelf!

It’s already mid-November, which means in a few short weeks our Elf on the Shelf Train will be returning from the North Pole, to make sure our sweet boy actually stays on Santa’s “nice” list.

We met Train last year, shortly after my son’s third birthday. It was the perfect age to begin.

24 days of new Elf activity is a lot of work.

To prepare, I did my homework and created a calendar for our Elf. The hour or so I spent on Pinterest and creating the calendar was totally worth it.

I have a tendency to doze during my son’s bedtime, so the calendar was a guide to help my husband and I both to place Train, even if we didn’t want to.

I bought a couple of items to ensure our Elf’s success: a package of cotton balls, a dry-erase marker, a couple of cheap gifts (stocking stuffer type things) found at the Target One-Spot or Dollar Store.

Read our 2018 calendar here. (This includes a weekend trip to NYC, so some hotel Elf action)

Read our 2019 calendar here.  (This includes another quick trip, this time to Seattle)

Here are some of my favorite Elf poses from last year. This year I’m most excited to use the leftover spider web from Halloween to have Spider-man suspend Train.

Elf on the Shelf with North Pole breakfast

Train with his North Pole breakfast

Elf on the Shelf visits the Sprinkle Spa

Train visited the Sprinkle Spa. So relaxing!

Elf on the Shelf coloring

An easy one: your Elf can be coloring or practicing their letters!

Elf on the Shelf "Chilling" out

Just “chilling” out in the snow (cotton balls)

Elf on the Shelf reading to his dino friends

Reading a new train book to his dinosaur friends

Elf on the Shelf in the tree

Another easy one: suspended in the tree!

Elf on the Shelf racing stuffed animals

Are they racing or is the T. Rex going to eat the deer!? Elf attached with unscented floss.

Elf on the Shelf calling Santa

Uh oh… Santa wants to talk. Another easy one!

Elf on the Shelf just hanging out

Mr. Bedhead found his Elf, just ‘hanging out’

For more ideas, visit my “Elf on our Shelf” Pinterest board.

Happy Elf-ing!

There’s always the Elf Surveillance Camera if you’re not interested in the Elf.

{2019-2020} Fall TV is BACK!

Oh, hi. It’s been a minute.

I couldn’t miss a new season of television, so I’m back!

(How else would I program my DVR next year if I didn’t have this post to look back upon!?)

New shows that have caught our* attention: 

  • Righteous Gemstones (HBO)
  • Bluff City Law (NBC)
  • Almost Family (FOX)
  • The Unicorn (CBS)
  • Stumptown (ABC)
  • Perfect Harmony (NBC)
  • Evil (CBS)
  • Nancy Drew (CW)
  • Lincoln (NBC)

“Our” returning favorites:

  • PLL: The Perfectionistas (Freeform)
  • The Goldbergs (ABC)
  • Schooled (ABC)
  • The Rookie (ABC)
  • FBI (CBS)
  • Single Parents (ABC)
  • New Amsterdam (NBC)
  • Modern Family (ABC)
  • How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)
  • Superstore (NBC)
  • Succession (HBO)
  • Bull (CBS)
  • Good Girls (NBC))
  • Riverdale (CW)
  • Simpsons (FOX)
  • Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
  • Last Week Tonight (HBO)
  • Succession (HBO)
  • Ballers (HBO)
  • The Detour (TBS)
  • Jack Ryan (Amazon)
  • Barry (HBO)

“We” also liked quite a few summer/off-season shows that I hope will come back next year: 

  • BH90210 (FOX)
  • Grand Hotel (ABC)
  • Blood & Treasure (CBS)
  • The InBetween (NBC)
  • The Bold Type (Freeform)

I started this post while watching the Emmy’s and realized that I should add a couple of new shows to my watch list:

  • Fleabag (Amazon)
  • Ozark (Netflix)

What else should “we” be watching??

(*Brandon is only supportive of a handful of these shows.)