Party in the Playroom: PLAYHOUSE!

We moved into our house about a year ago.  It's a charming little "cottage" built in the 1950's.  It has a very unique floor design and we love everything about it.  It is perfect for us right now.  

But I almost freaked out when we were signing the papers to purchase it and I realized
 our house doesn't have a playroom!
Hello! We have 3 kids!  No playroom?

 Then I realized that we could use the space in our sunroom as a playroom-whew!

So today is the first part of our transformation from sunroom to playroom that we've been making this summer.

I wanted to make a fun play space and we had this strange little jut in the sunroom that I knew would make the perfect playhouse.  But actually, you could use the same idea with a closet or even a bedroom door frame.

So I started with this space:

Then I hung this sheet with an expandable shower rod to get an idea for the size of the front of the house.  Yes, this playhouse is made from a sheet!

Then I added some ruffles, cut a window, and made a door in it to get it to this point:

And now we have 3 happy kids with a playhouse in their new playroom!

{This Little Project} isn't quite finished.  So be sure to check back for more.

We keep thinking of one more fun thing to add...

More fun things like:

Is our play space a house? 
or a restaurant? 
or a store? 
What should we name the restaurant?
What kind of sign should we put up?
And what (pretend) food should we serve?
Where should the mailbox go?
And how do we serve the food?
And how to take orders?
And what friends to invite to come PLAY!

Part of me wanted to wait until Christmas to do {this little project} for the kiddos, but honestly I'm so glad I didn't wait.  Watching them help me dream it up and anticipate each part of {this little project} has been half the fun!  We've been having quite the planning party!

This has been the perfect summer project!

  I hope your summer is flying with so much fun too!

More details coming soon...

Talking about France Today

I'm over at today.  

abc button

Come on over. I'm writing about Music and Movement in France for kids.

Blueberry Lemonade

So, remember how we went blueberry picking last weekend?  Well we picked 11 pounds of those beauties!

Little miss Ellie is showing off our loot:

There is something so fun about picking your own fruit.  I think watching the kids gorge themselves on blueberries while they pick is definitely a highlight of picking them! Picking blueberries is something we've done as a family for 3 years now.  We also love raspberry and apple farms.  If you are wondering about farms in your area, the pickyourown website may be a good start for locating the kinds of things you like.

Seriously, look at these huge blueberries!  You can't find this goodness at the store!  Oh, and a bonus: often picking your own means it costs less than the store too.  Our 11 pounds of blueberries were about $18.

One of our favorite summer drinks is Blueberry Lemonade!

If you want to try this yummy {little project} here's the how-to:

1- Start with 3 cups of lemonade in (in your blender)
2-  Add 3 cups of ice cubes
3- Add as much fruit as you can fit in your blender (a cup or two)

Blend it well and you get the summer tastiness of Blueberry Lemonade!

It's not been even a week and that 11 pounds of blueberries is gone.  It's been so hot and we've had a lot of Blueberry lemonade-and blueberry everything else!  Oh, and the blueberries are also perfect with my favorite granola (recipe here).

I guess we're going to have to fit some more blueberry picking into hanging out at the beach this weekend...

Sprinkle Ice Cream Sandwiches!

You may remember that I have a thing for sprinkles. Well, I have a thing for ice cream too. I shouldn't admit this, but my husband and I (without any help from the kids) ate well over 100 ice cream sandwiches last summer.  Now, that was a tasty {little project]!

In celebration of National Ice Cream Day (TODAY!) I'm combining the two to make Sprinkle ice cream sandwiches.  Sprinkles make everything more fun!

To make {This Little Project}

1- cut your ice cream sandwiches into bite-sized pieces

2- pour sprinkles into a shallow dish

3- dip ice cream sandwich into sprinkles
{little project} tip: the edges that you cut are the easiest to dip because they are flat.  So you can decide if you want to just sprinkle 2 sides (the flat sides you cut) or all 4 sides.  It gets a little crunchy if you go for all 4 sides-but it's cute to look at ;)

4- eat them before they melt!  Yum!

The month of July is National Ice Cream month 
so you still have plenty of time to celebrate, lol!

Elspeth (an ice cream expert) and I have shared some ice cream projects in the past. We both have and love this ice cream maker:

Ice cream is done in just 30 minutes in this beauty!

Need some ideas for homemade ice cream flavors? Check out our list here!

Want our basic recipe, check out this post!

I'm hoping to find a winning recipe for homemade ice cream using coconut or another lactose-free milk for my Jay.  It's hard to do his homemade (though I'm grateful I can buy it!)  

If you have any ice cream favorites or secrets, please share with a comment.  So many ice cream flavors to try....I can't wait!

Oh, and we're off to pick blueberries with friends today.  So of course, we'll be making homemade ice cream and a blueberry treat tonight together.  Seriously, summer doesn't get any better than this! 

A Story in a Bag

Have you ever wanted to climb inside your child's head and watch their imagination go and remember what that was like as a child?  

{This Little Project} has that kind of fun!

This is our Story Bag:

Want to play?

Each person takes a few items from the Story Bag.  

Then you take turns telling a story that uses those all your items.  

Of course, you could also take turns telling different parts of the same story and you have to add your item into the story. 

 {This Little Project} would also be great for a long car ride.

I picked up some shaped wooden pieces at the craft store, but we've also thrown in lego pieces, toy cars, dolls, etc.  You can put all kinds of things in the bag to make the Story Bag fit all kinds of ages.

Should I mention all the great language skills and thinking skills that this game strengthens...

{This Little Project} will make your imagination go wild!  And bonus: your child will tell you what is happening in hers.  Very fun and it turns out different every time!

Friday Favorites and Freebies

I hope you are having a fabulous Friday!  I have some fun things to share with you:

I like making soaps and trying different ways of doing it.  Here is a recipe for how to make your own dishwaher soap.

I think I'm going to have to get a couple of these solar power lanterns.  They are the perfect combination of cute and cool for our backyard porch!

Solar LIDS Mason Jar Solar Light Lids 2 Handmade Upcycled Solar Lights, Weddings Garden  Nights ORIGINAL Design by TreasureAgain

I love the Smart Summer Challenge going on at Naturally Educational.  There is even a great calendar of activities that they've created to follow along that you can print out.

Speaking of fun things to do with your kids, I love this list from Whip Up of 80 things to do with your kids!

I have one more favorite shop to share with you: LilyGene has the cutest Map gifts!  I have been working on a map shelf for one of my {little projects} lately and she has great designs.  Check out this fun anniversary one!  I love the circle stamp!
Custom Wedding / Anniversary Map and Stamp 11 x 14

Have a great weekend!

Music at My House: Fiddling with Kids

One of Jay's and my summer {Little Projects} is fiddling together.  If your kids take music lessons you know that it can be a challenge to keep up with their practicing during the summer months.  As a kid, my violin teacher kept our interest by declaring summer months the time for fiddling around-literally!

For those of you wondering what the difference between a violin and a fiddle is...well, there isn't any difference. A fiddle is a violin and a violin is a fiddle. It's all a matter of the style of music and playing you do.

One of my favorite artists that I've bumped into lately is Aaron Ashton. His style is a like the title of his album, "About That Place between Violin and Fiddle" His website lets you listen to a bunch of songs from his newest album

I just downloaded his album here:

I have fond memories of our Fiddle Fests that I did as a kid at the end of the summer where all the student's families brought picnic blankets and joined us at a park to hear all we had learned to fiddle that summer.  There was always food and friends and fiddling.  It's a great combination!

Jay is finishing up the first Suzuki book and I was probably looking forward to fiddling more than he was-I've missed it! 

I'm too lazy to put a video up of what we've been doing-sorry just a photo!  But this little guy is kinda similar to where Jay was with his his fiddling at the beginning of the summer.

"Orange Blossom Special" is just classic fiddling tune and it's fun to see a child playing it!

In case you are interested in violin and/or fiddling, I'll share the books we're using right now. 
 If you have had a child learn violin and/or fiddling and have suggestions for fun music, please share!

This is the first book we started with.  Jay listens to the CD each night when he goes to bed but we don't follow strictly Suzuki.  I found that using only the music in this book did not keep Jay's interest well enough.  There is much to be said about the Suzuki method though and we do follow the theory of the Suzuki method, we just don't strictly keep to just this book-which I think is very much in the spirit of what Suzuki had in mind when he created his method, actually.

I picked this one up for me!  It comes with a CD of the tunes that are sure to inspire!  Irish and American fiddling are different and wonderful in their own ways!  I was an Irish Step Dancer for many years so this is very fun for me.

Duets are a fun way to encourage practicing and Jay and I are having fun with these.  They are simple tunes and simple duets.

Jay just started using this book.  He has loved it.  Until this summer he has worked entirely by rote (listening, not reading music).  This book is great for introducing both basic rhythms and beginning note reading for the violin.

This book starts out with Twinkle on double stops.  It's automatic fiddle sound and a great place to start.  I think we will be able to use this book now and for future fiddle summers.

This book also comes with a CD.  It is a great companion to the Suzuki method and can be helpful for parents too.  Kay loves to listen to the CD but I've been surprised at how little we've used it.  I would say that's it's not because it isn't great that we haven't used it.  I think I just need to get it out more maybe.

I got this book to accompany the I Can Read Music Book above.  It has short exercises with fun pictures that kids would like.  We haven't started it yet, but I can see it being good for us soon.

This is an example of Irish fiddling.  I love the feel and sound of Irish fiddling too!

Fiddling has been a really fun {Little Project}.  Since I teach Jay the violin/fiddle myself for now we will probably just invite a few friends over and have our own Fiddle Fest in a few weeks!

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs Add to Technorati Favorites Share/Save/Bookmark