Friday, November 26, 2010

thankful and infested

who loves thanksgiving? we do!! yesterday was one of those minor miracles of timing and teamwork. somehow, despite raging eye infections, subfreezing temperatures outside, and a little don't-feel-so-well crankiness here and there, we managed to pull off a yummy dinner at a reasonable time with all parties present and awake. amazing. oh, and i even got a shower, so it was a special day indeed.

hear ye, hear ye! tell us what you're thankful for! eric: my toys, my food, and my family. leif: my family, lindsay and joe: our healthy family, sam: well, he kept that information private this year, but we can tell by his content nature he's pretty thankful for everything.

after dinner, i got to sit back in the rocker by the fire and just take it all in. watching the action in slow motion, full and happy. family all around in a warm house. we are so very fortunate...eye infections and all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the good stuff

play-dough is one of my least favorite kid activities, and one of their most requested activities...coincidence? i think not. what i hate about play-dough (the store stuff) is that it smells yucky, it lasts about a second before it gets all crumbly, and it makes a horrendous mess. i love the creative, artistic potential of clay and dough, of course, but play-dough? icky. i've been curious about making some of the homemade stuff, but had never tried...until today. hip, hip, hooray. i'm officially converted. this recipe from is awesome. it was easy & fun to make, did not have the stink factor, and stayed soft the whole time the kids played with it. plus, it was a nice hand warmer on this cold, cold day as we kneaded it.

we added food coloring to make our colors. here the boys are kneading it in.

we used old play-dough containers to stash our new, homemade supply. here, eric is officially hoarding a batch, which he is preparing to put in the truck to take it to the store to sell. you can also see a plate of his play-dough (old icky kind) noodles which he kept bringing me to eat. "it's kinda like a loop!" he said. "you give me the dough, i make the noodles and bring them back to you to eat!" yes, and now i can pretend to eat them all up without that remarkable stink!

when leif came home, he was delighted to find full containers of soft, fresh play-dough. he got busy right away with cookie cutters. if his poor little eyes hadn't been bugging him, i think he would have stuck with it a lot longer.

Friday, November 19, 2010

doodlebugs 11.19.10, 1st anniversary extravaganza!

today we celebrated doodlebugs' one year anniversary! 34ish meetings, loads of paint, a good dousing of glue, many busy hands, plenty of smiling faces, and enough awesome works of art to fill a gallery... here we are! it also happened to be the 2nd birthday of one of our regular artists, so there was plenty to celebrate!

we made crowns with the paint daubers and fancy scissors,

we frosted & decorated nilla wafers with frosting & peanut butter (what kid doesn't love edible art?!?!),

and we continued our work on the "thank you" banner for the upcoming ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new playground.

we're still playing with the open format of multiple activities, and it seems to be working well for keeping everyone engaged a bit longer and stretching our creativity. here's to another year full of more art, different ideas, new friends, and lots of fun!

Friday, November 12, 2010

scenes from a birthday (mine!)

for some, moving the paint from place to place is just as exciting as using it.

painting penguins, polar bears, and peach orchards.

soothing a cold. we're all under the weather.

eric's works, from left to right: a squirrel in a peach orchard. see the varying ripeness? ;-), a penguin diving into the water headfirst (because that's how they always do it, you know), and a penguin portrait with eric's signature across the top.

downtime. don't we all look energetic?

the map fascination continues.

waiting for the....


a happy, mellow day at home with family. just what this birthday girl wanted.

Monday, November 8, 2010

handprint turkeys with eric

last year, about this time, i suggested making some handprint turkeys. leif was up for it, but eric lost interest after i traced his hand. the little turkey leif made has hung above his bed ever since (well, until recently, when an unfortunate jumping incident removed him from his delicate perch). sam loved that feathered friend swinging from the ceiling and was always eager to give his hellos at bedtime/storytime. so we'll have to make sure sam gets to make one, too. but today, it was eric's turn. while leif was at school and sam slept, eric and i got busy tracing hands, cutting out feet and beaks, and applying feathers. eric was pretty enthusiastic, making both a boy and a girl. he then wondered aloud about making a cow next. hmmm.... a cow.

well, we squished his fingers a little closer together, and voila! a cow - complete with black spots, horns (one got ripped off by the same turkey molester mentioned above), and a tail.

after leif got home and saw eric's turkeys, he set to work completely on his own to make one. i visited with a friend while he traced, cut, and glued solo style. i still didn't get to make one with sam...unbelievable! he'll be first in line to make the handprint santa, okay?

Friday, November 5, 2010

doodlebugs 11.5.10, open format

today we went with a new plan to shake things up a little, to give kiddos even more choice and creative freedom, and to maximize time actually engaged in creating art. it was magic to behold! i set up three stations, and as soon as kids arrived, they were invited to get started at the spot of their choice (instead of gathering for an opening story).

one station included mini "canvases" (paperboard from boxes in the recycling with white paper glued on top...leftover from a previous project), glue, and the ever-popular box 'o treasures (all the fun, random bits left over from previous activities).

another station offered permanent markers (probably the #1 most requested material by my munchkins) and water colors.

the last station included tempera paint (could offer these every time and everyone would be happy as a clam) and large white construction paper.

it was fascinating to watch which activities children chose first, how they approached the materials with little to no direction given by adults, and how they decided how long to spend at a various spot.

looking to move on, i do believe...

and inevitably, materials started moving from one spot to another (with some help, of course). and that was what i loved best. the freedom the kids felt to switch things up, pick & choose, and create new combinations. love that.

here is an interesting progression from eric. after watching a little creation by my sister (pictured above, third from the left), he was inspired to create a series of his own. instead of heart cheeks, he opted for little guys with light sabers. he also tried his hand at some new shapes for eyes and mouths. pretty cool, eh?

three cheers for creative freedom! rah, rah, rah!!! (and thanks for enduring all the pictures...i just can't help myself!)