Friday, 22 March 2013

Carry Along Car Track

There have been many moments when I have seen something amazing that some else has made and have thought to myself,  "I could definitely make that." But alas, never actually do get around to making it. Check out my Pinterest for a thousand examples of this.

But the Carry Along Car Track  was something I knew the moment I saw it, that I had to try to replicate.

I was at a retreat with my church. There were kids racing around everywhere, mostly bored and all chaotic, including mine. Except for one little boy sitting contently at a table next to his mom and dad driving his little cars around a magical black strip of material. From time to time, I glanced back over at him amazed that he was still sitting there playing with those cars, driving them around and parking them in the slots.

As soon as I got home from the retreat, I began to experiment and it was surprisingly a lot easier to make then I expected it to be. I have made five of these car tracks now and each one looks better and took less time to make then the first.

Avalanche just loves hers. I actually made it for Cyclone never expecting her to be interested in it, but of course she proved me wrong and the first time we took it out, spent the whole 15 minute wait at the doctor's office playing with it. I carry it with me in the bag I take with extra diapers, snacks and such and it is a must now when we go to the doctor's office, church or visitng relatives that don't have toys.

Since I know many of you would be interested in making one, and since I don't want you to have to trial and error it like I did. Here are the steps I use to make them.

1) Cut out two pieces of material into a rectangle 22 inches by 15 inches.

2) Cut out a long thin rectangle measuring about 22 inche  by 4.5 inches     . This will be the pocket for your cars. Sew a piece of bias tape over the top edge for a nice finished look. Or fold the top edge over and sew it down so it doesn't fray.
3) Fold a piece of black felt in four and cut a round track that will fit unto the large rectangle you made minus the size of the car pocket. The first car track I made I used black material and sewed in the edges. It was a lot harder to work than felt but completely do-able.
4) Pin your track unto the large rectangle that you cut out for the inside and sew it on. I used black thread so it wouldn't show.

5) Pin on your car pocket and sew 7 cm or 8 cm pockets down the length of the material. I used a fabric pen with disappearing ink to make the lines straign and even.
6) Cut out a piece of material the same colour as the outside piece for the velcro strap. About 5 inches  by 5inches. Fold it in half and on one of the outside sides, sew a piece of velcro unto it. Then fold it in half inside out and sew around all the side, except leave the bottom open. Turn it inside out and iron it down.
7) Place the two large pieces of material with the outsides facing each other. Place yoour velcro strap with velcro facing the race track on the inside leaving about 1/2 inch outside. Sew around the edge of the entire thing, leaving a few inches to turn it inside out.
8) Turn it all right side out. Take the blunt end of a pen and smooth angle out the corners. Iron it all out flat.
9) Fold it all up with cars inside to figure out where the other piece of velcro needs to go. Pin it on and sew it on.
10) Sew around the entire edge to finish the hole that was left for turning it right side out.
And that's it. You have a portable car track great for taking with you anywhere you go where you need a child distractor. They also make great gifts.

DIY Cadbury Creme Eggs

One of my ultimate favourite treats at Easter is Cadbury Creme Eggs. They bring back so many yummy memories from my childhood. So with Easter only just around the corner, I decided it was time to do something Eastery and by making my own Cadbury Creme Eggs I not only did an Easter activity with my kiddos but also fulfilled a pregnancy craving all at the same time.

I headed over to a site called Raising 4 Princesses for the recipe and tweaked it a bit. Here is my new and improved version of the recipe.

I was surprised by how easy and kid friendly this activity was.

First we mixed the ingredients all together. It was a pretty small amount for my big mixer, I think next time I would just use my hand held mixer.

Then dyed some of it with yellow food coluring.
Avalanches favourite part was flattening out the white "pancakes" and putting the balls of yellow in the middle.

The consistency of the dough is like play dough so it was very easy to roll into balls.

Avalanche and Cyclone both got their own little piece of dough to "roll" out. But it ened up that they spend a half hour playing with their pieces and were quite content to do that while I finished the eggs.  Avalanche even made a snake out hers. Their favourite part was eating their dough at the end.

Over all it was a easy, fun activity but the eggs were not as yummy as the real ones. Don't worry Cadbury you haven't lost me as a customer. The DIY ones were very sweet so make sure you make them small.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Crazy Easy DIY Play Dough

Daddy has been working some late nights lately so needless to say, we have been getting creative with how to pass our times in the evenings. Last night we went down to bike around the cows in the barn. Tonight we opted to stay in. So off I trudged to Pinterest  and came across this recipe. Avalanche loves to bake anything so this was a huge hit. I was surprised how easy and mess free it was to make. The greatest thing is that they have been playing with it non-stop for the past hour.
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1tsp. baby oil (optional)

*food colouring (I used 4-5 drops)
  1. Dump all the ingredients into your pot and stir it all together until it is smooth and gooey.
  2. Cook it on medium heat, stirring constantly until it forms a ball.
  3. Set out on wax paper and start to kneed it as soon as you can stand to touch it.
* I think you are supposed to add the food colouring in the pot but I wanted four different colours. I divided my play dough into four balls and dropped 4-5 drops food colouring unto each ball and kneaded it into the ball for my different colours. I ended up with very colourful hands for a while but it was worth it. I also added a tsp. of vanilla food colouring for a nice smell. :)
Cyclone likes to put the play implements in his nose and mouth more than he actually plays with them in the play dough.
Avalanche's new favourite trick is to make snakes.
Cyclone with his dirty chocolate face.