Spooky Fog Machine Effect

This weekend we finally got up all of our Halloween decorations.  Well, almost all.  It’s never fully done until the big day.  And if you have ever visited us IRL you know that we go all out for Halloween.  Well, my husband goes all out.  He creates his own little mini-haunted house in our front yard.

Part of our front yard set up

Part of our front yard set up

So why am I bragging to you about this?  I wanted to share our cool fog effect because it was super easy and makes the yard super eerie.  Basically you are making the fog cold so that it will float along the ground instead of just billowing up into the air.

How cool does it really look?  You can see a video of our front yard with the fog floating along HERE.  Or scroll down to the bottom of the post.

Materials:  Styrofoam cooler, plastic mesh, adjustable rain gutter extension, duck tape, fog machine with liquid fog, optional paint

All the necessary supplies assembled

All the necessary supplies assembled

Directions:

Start with the cooler.  It needs to be stryofoam so that you can cut holes in it.  We picked ours up from a convenience store and then painted it gray to camouflage it.  You are going to cut holes in either side to allow the fog to travel through the cooler and cool down.

The cooler cut and painted.

The cooler cut and painted.

Use the plastic mesh to make a tunnel instead.  You want it to be mesh (instead of a more solid material) so that the ice can really cool the fog while leaving a path through which it can go

Plastic mesh to make the the tunnel

Plastic mesh to make the the tunnel

The mesh tunnel placed inside of the cooler.

The mesh tunnel placed inside of the cooler.

Then use the plastic extendable rain gutter to make the outer tubes.  You can pick this up from the hardware store and just cut it in half.

Extendable rain gutter prepped for the project

Extendable rain gutter prepped for the project

Attach a piece of the rain gutter to the holes on either side.  One end will hook onto the fog machine for the fog to enter and then the other piece is where the chilled fog will exit.

With the rain gutters added to each end

With the rain gutters added to each end

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The rain gutter attaching to the fog machine

And here is the finished product.  It really is quick and easy to make.  It also is sturdy since we’ve been reusing it each year.

The finished set up

The finished set up

Huge thank you to my friend Kendra who discovered this on the internet and sent it our way.  We’ve tweaked a bit and this is what has worked for us.  Enjoy!

Foam Animal Pets

foam lizardHave you seen those foam animals on the wire leashes that you can buy at the fair?  (Our county fair is going on right now.)  My husband loves them.  He’ll deny it but he does.  Unfortunately our dog also loves them.  Instead of shelling out the money for a foam animal that our dog might easily destroy, Ed decided that he would make his own.  The girls joined in and we happily added two more pets to our family.

Supplies: foam sheet (for a seat cushion, available at a fabric store), wire hanger, paint, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, twist tie or rubber band

  1. Draw the body for your animal.  Ed started with a template made of cardstock which he traced onto the foam.  The lizard and the snake both used essentially the same body.  Then cut out the foam body.P1020705
  2. Paint your pet.  The foam will suck up the paint so just know that you will use a lot and it will take awhile to dry.
  3. Once dry, use the twist tie or rubber band to separate out the head.  Add the googly eyes and other decorations.  If you are making a lizard.  Add the pipe cleaner legs–just bend them to leg shape and wrap them onto the body.  We doubled up on the pipe cleaners to make the legs even stronger and next go around will probably use 4 pipe cleaners twisted together to make the legs.
  4. Stretch out the hanger and attach it to the neck piece.  You can also attach the hanger directly to the leg pieces (this is what we’ve done on our second bath of lizards).  Ed cut down the hanger to make it fit the girls’ size.
  5. Enjoy making your new pet walk or slither around!

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Turkey Tiara

I love our Thanksgiving tiaras!  These were actually inspired by Fancy Nancy Our Thanksgiving Banquet.  (We love Fancy Nancy in our house!)  They are festive and fun and pretty easy to make.

Supplies: headband, felt–brown, mustard, and red (for the red use the stiff, sparkly felt), googly eyes, red feathers, ribbon

To assembly the pieces you want to start with the face.  Layer the two circles together and then add the red felt wing bits.  For the red piece, I used the stiff, sparkly felt to give the piece a firmer structure and a little more pizzazz.

Once all the felt parts are together you want to glue it onto the headband.  I attached it a little at the side because you don’t want it right on top of the head.  And then add the real feathers.  If it’s already on the headband it is easier to be sure pieces aren’t poking into the head.

For the headband piece I covered mine in ivory ribbon.  We had cheap colored ones and this made it look nicer and match the girls’ outfit.  You could just as easily by a nicer headband with which to start.

Don’t like the showgirl look?  You don’t have to make it with the feathers and the sparkles.  Last year I forgot ours at home when we traveled to California so we had to make a quick detour by Walmart and borrow my grandma’s glue gun.  I just used dark brown felt instead of the bright red and no fluffy feathers.

 

Homemade Sensory Table

We recently made a sensory table for the girls to use.  Well, when I say “we” I really mean that I draw up a plan and then Ed did the actual building.  Sensory tables are a great place for your little ones to explore with their senses (hence the name) and for messy projects but they can be pretty expensive.  This design was relatively cheap, under $20, and didn’t take too long to make.  A huge thank you to my friend Kendra for the inspiration.

And here’s a picture of the girls enjoying their finished sensory table.  They were exploring volume using measuring cups, jars, and bottles with the rice and beads in the bins.

Another great part about this design is that it can easily be adapted to meet different size needs. You can build it to whatever size bin you purchase. You can also easily add more compartments, creating a square or a row of stations.

Supplies: 2″x2″ baluster (cheaper to buy in 8 ft segments), 1 1/2″ wood screws, lag bolts (heavy gauge screws with a hexagonal head for a ratchet/wrench), plastic bins, drill, sandpaper, spray paint

 

Measure according to the bins and cut the baluster wood to shape.  When measuring, just look at the sides, don’t include the lip of the bins since you want it smaller so that it hangs from the lip.

Use 1 1/2 inch wood screws to connect the pieces.  We made one large rectangle and then inserted the middle piece.  And use a miter box at a 45 degree angle for all four corners.

Choose the height for the table (we went with about 18″ plus the 2″ of the frame) and then cut the leg pieces also from the baluster.  Attach the legs with lag bolts (really what you want are large bolts that have a hex head so you can use a wrench or ratchet on it.  You will need to drill out the holes first so that you don’t split the wood.  Ed used a larger drill bit so that you can sink the bolts so that they are flush with the wood and don’t stick up.  (The center prong will create a guide hole for the hole you drill for the bolt.)

Sand it so that the wood is even and the corners rounded to make it safer/softer.  You can puddy in the gaps but on ours they were so small it wasn’t worth the effort.  Then paint it.

Drop in the buckets.  For the bins, try to get as flat a bottom as possible.

We’ve been having a lot of fun with our table.  Above, they are having water play with water beads.  They are beads used in floral displays that puff up with the water and are squishy.  They come in all kinds of colors, are fun to tough, and can squish into all kinds of bottles, etc.

Just to show how much money you are saving, here are some similar sensory table designs…

Days, Weather, and Feelings Calendar

We have been continuing to learn the days of the week and how time passes.  To help us, I decided that I wanted a calendar for the girls.

When I looked online for a calendar, I really didn’t like what I found.  I hated how so many included all the months and/or days of the week on the front of the calendar.  To me that was just tempting the girls to tear them off and play with them.  I also felt like having all the options on display made the calendars confusing and wasted a lot of space.  And I didn’t like how big some of the calendars were.  And some were set up to be specific to one child.

When planning out my calendar, I decided to include the day followed by the date.  Then I wanted the weather and feelings included too.  My husband designed all the images and templates for me (and you!) to use:

Days and Months

Weather

I’ve included the emotion cards in this post here.

I wanted to keep the calendar somewhat small and magnetic since that works well with us.  I bought the largest cookie sheet I could find.  To do the permanent lettering I used my cricut and vinyl but you could also buy letters to use.  I then printed out the changeable pieces on magnetic computer paper.  To cut costs you could also skip the magnetic paper and just attach small magnets to the pieces printed on cardstock.

Since I didn’t want the pieces all on display in the front, I decided to store them in the back.  It was one reason that I used a cookie sheet so that both the front and back would be magnetic.  But there are so many pieces trying to stick on the back that I worried they would fall off.  I made a backing using velcro and leftover fabric.  After cutting it to the size of the tray, I hemmed the top.  I then hemmed the sides and sewed the velcro to the sides.  Then I hot glued the opposite velcro pieces to the tray.  I also hot glued the bottom of the fabric to the base of the tray.  This way the fabric makes a pocket protecting the extra pieces that can fold down to allow easy access.

At the start of the day we do calendar time.  At the moment we are singing our Days of the Week song that we first learned when doing The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Here again are the words courtesy of Homeschool Share and to the tune of the Addam’s Family:

Days of the week (snap, snap), Days of the week (snap, snap)
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week (snap, snap)
There’s Sunday and there’s Monday
There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday
There’s Thursday and there’s Friday
And then there’s Saturday
Days of the week (snap, snap), Days of the week (snap, snap)
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week (snap, snap)

If you don’t want to make your own, here are some of the ones I had looked at:

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