Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And Then There Were Three...

My sweet daughter arranging furniture in her brand new cardboard
Barbie doll house.

My son loves nothing more than to take hours setting up his toys in some elaborate scene. So it should come as no surprise that he gets very put out when his little sisters "rearrange" things for him. As the G.I. Joe house has become more and more elaborate, the girls' fascination has grown. They will sneak into his room when he is watching TV and play and play (or as he sees it, mess and mess) with his awesome G.I. Joe house.

Now we've long had a rule that the girls were not allowed in his room. This began as a precautionary measure (many of his toys are choking hazards), but ended up as a way for my oft-neglected son to retain some autonomy and personal space in the chaos that has become our lives since the birth of the twins.

This evening, after I presented my son with his new G.I. Joe pastries (see previous post), the girls were so excited, they really REALLY wanted to play with his toys. He really Really REALLY didn't want them to. Mom's solution? We whipped up a new cardboard dollhouse.

I have no illusions that this dollhouse will be properly cared for. It probably won't last the week. But we have plenty of cardboard lying around. Someone gave me the construction paper. The only real sacrifice was the rest of my Elmer's glue, and I can buy more of that the next time I'm at the dollar store. (What is this, another excuse to go to the dollar store? Alright!)

All 3 kids participated. I cut the flaps off the boxes and taped and glued them together. The girls picked out the colors for the walls and floor that we covered. My son used his safety scissors to cut the paper to size. It was some good family time. And after the dollhouse was completed? I think the kid who was most excited was big brother. Ahh, well... I'm sure the girls will get some use out of it, especially once we have it furnished. If not? Well then, maybe the Joes will have a new neighbor. Either way, it was fun to put together, and for the time we spent (about an hour), I think it turned out pretty well.

High Tea in the G.I. Joe House

I stopped by the Family Dollar today to pick up diapers on the way home from work. Now, you know me... I'm incapable of running to the shelf to grab what I need and checking out. I like to linger. I like to explore. I like to check out the clearance rack, look down the toy aisle, and get ideas. While my budget does not particularly approve of my little compulsion, my kids are okay with it. Here's what I found today:

These little Disney tea sets are the perfect scale for G.I. Joes or Barbies.
And at $3, you can't really beat the price. These were key chains, so you'd
have to remove the chain, but that would be simple enough. Although
my son's G.I. Joes love to have tea parties, I did not purchase the Disney
Princess tea sets today. (The Joes already have a couple nice porcelain sets.)

These little guys were also the perfect scale for the Joes. I can just imagine
the Joes skate boarding in their pink Chuck Taylors. Unfortunately, I think
my 5-year-old lacks the manual dexterity to operate the tiny screwdriver
that comes with this set. Maybe next year...

These are some of those collectible erasers that you see everywhere. They
are also the perfect for a G.I. Joe tea party (see above). What is high tea
without pastries?

These packages were only $1 each, so I got all 3 varieties. (Is it bad that I
got my son dollhouse accessories at the dollar store, and all I got for the
girls--besides diapers--were Matchbox cars?)

Hannah Montana is certainly enjoying her cake. And no, I didn't buy Ms.
Montana for my son--she belongs to his cousin. I draw the line at tween

What's this? Little Kelly has found a tray of dessert set out for the party.
I'm sure no one would miss a strawberry or two... 

While we're on the subject of Kelly, I just wanted to show you this. This
is from a previous shopping trip to Goodwill with the kids. The wooden
rocking horse is some kind of Christmas decoration, but it is the perfect
size for Little Kelly. And on that trip, the girls got new shoes, so hopefully
I'm not totally gender-confusing my kids. ;)
What kinds of cool things did you find today? Post pictures on the Facebook page! I'd love to hear your ideas. Have a great day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Summer-izing the Kids' Wardrobes

Since we skipped winter, went right to spring, and now it's
feeling like summertime outside (it was in the 80's all week),
my kids needed some more warm-weather wear.

In typical fashion, I forgot to take any before pictures. These
were both long-sleeved shirts. Both are made of a light-weight
woven cotton, perfect weight for warm weather.

I thought I would like the purple shirt better (it was cuter to
start out with), but I think now I like the little white flowered
shirt better. It looks better as a short-sleeved shirt than it did
before I altered it.

This was an easy alteration, I just cut the sleeves and left about
3/4 inch seam allowance, turned it under, and ran it through
my sewing machine. Note: if you are cutting down a long-sleeved
t-shirt or something knit, you don't even have to hem it.

Now these sassy little girls are ready for the warm weather!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Cardboard Craze is Catching On!

Hmmm.... Cardboard dollhouse. What a great idea!

I was browsing the shelves at my local pharmacy today, waiting on my prescriptions to be ready, when I happened upon this beauty. Could it be? It is: a cardboard dollhouse, complete with paper dolls and furniture. This little guy is $20 (that's 20 times as much as the one I saw at the Dollar Tree the other day), but it does come with markers. That's a $19 value, right? What's that you say, you can also buy markers for $1 at Dollar Tree? And dollhouse furniture too? You don't say... (I guess the folks at Roseart gotta eat too.)

This may not be the most cost-effective cardboard dollhouse I've ever seen, but I must applaud their effort. In all honesty, though, I bet the box this comes in is sturdier than the dollhouse inside. The more I think about it, the more my initial excitement upon finding this wears off... and the more I want to dig out my box of dollhouse items, collected over the years from dollar stores, clearance bins, thrift and antique shops, and scraps destined for the garbage. (I thwarted destiny when I gave them a new life as furniture and accessories.) 

Maybe that will be my next post... We'll see. Have you come across anything interesting and unexpected at the store lately? Post it on my Facebook page for everyone to see!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Your Steampunk Moment of Zen

This is the ultimate in Steampunk decadence: a mechanical corkscrew that also pours a glass of wine, all with the turn of a crank. I think I could probably operate a traditional corkscrew a little more quickly, but this one gets the cool (translate: nerd) points for sure. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Planning A Circus

My daughters' birthday is coming up (May 11), and I am in party planning mode. You know how I love a party, especially one with a theme, decorations, games, etc. This year we're going big: Circus! I figured it was appropriate--3 Ring Circus for my soon to be 3-Year-Olds.

I've been brainstorming and keeping my eyes open at the dollar store for circus-y items. Menu should be easy: think concession stand. I'm going to try to do hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, cotton candy... all the classics. And I've decided that nothing would be more perfect for treat bags than animal crackers.

Carnival food -- Yum! Anyone have a funnel cake recipe? :)

I saw some invitations that I might pick up (if I can remember where they were). These looked like those little red carnival ride tickets. If I can't find them, I can definitely make some. "Admit One" invites should be a snap. I didn't do invitations to the last party, but I think I will try it again for this one.

My mom bought some large party tents a few years ago when my little sister got married, so I'm going to steal one of those and decorate for the "big top" feel. I found some awesome multi-color flag garlands at the Dollar Tree (for $1, of course). I think adding lots of balloons will go a long way, too.

Nothing like colorful banners to add a
festive ambiance.

I decided also to try something new with this party. My kids have lots of aunts and uncles and grandparents, but not very many cousins and friends their age, so generally their parties have had more adults than kids. I plan to make use of all those adults and see if I can get them to participate in the circus-y fun. My sister painted "tattoos" on the kids at my son's pirate party, and so I have her lined up to do face painting for the kids. I have discovered that my brother-in-law has a hidden talent: making balloon animals. He has agreed to ply his trade for us. I have even lined up my kids' gymnastically talented cousins to do an "acrobatic" show. I'm trying to convince my father-in-law to come as a clown; he has the shoes and red nose from last year's Halloween, and I have a giant tie and purple suspenders--I'll let you know how that goes. Now, to figure out what I can rope the rest of them into...

I would love to have a petting zoo for the kids as well, but not sure that's in my price range. More research is needed here.

Wouldn't this be fun?

Obviously I don't have all the details worked out yet (hello, cake?), but I'm pretty excited about this one. Oriental Trading has an entire section on circus/carnival themed items, so even if I run out of ideas, I can cheat.   Speaking of ideas... if you have any, feel free to toss them my way. Also, feel free to use any of mine in you own circus party! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dollhouse Finds at the Dollar Tree

Today I was naughty. I stopped at the Dollar Tree on my way home from work to pick up a few items, and I lingered in the toy section when I should have been rushing home to relieve my babysitter. (Sorry!) I had a lot of fun though. I get excited when I find something that would be perfect for a dollhouse or one of my other projects. Check out what I found today:

The first thing I saw when I walked in the door at the
Dollar Tree today were these ceramic TVs. Perfect scale
for a Barbie or GI Joe house.

This is a new item! The Dollar Tree has had some pretty nice
little wooden doll furniture before, which I prefer to plastic,
but this is a kitchen sink, table and chairs, and desk and chair,
slightly different items from what they normally carry. And
each comes with a little doll. I couldn't resist.

This is a cardboard dollhouse kit for $1!
I didn't buy this item, but was excited to see that the idea of
a cardboard dollhouse doesn't stop here! You can't really beat
a dollar for price, but you can certainly make a sturdier version
out of a corrugated cardboard box.

Happy crafting, everyone! (And happy shopping too :)