Fingerprint Watermelon


We call Isaiah the bottomless pit, because he eats so much watermelon.

I’m not kidding, I’ve never seen anything like it. He could probably eat a whole one if we let him.

So yesterday, I decided to surprise him with an impromptu Fingerprint Watermelon craft.

To make, you’ll need paper plates and paint. (We used Chinet plates because their thickness responds better to paint, and regular Crayola finger paints.)

Honestly, this project was so easy…a “how-to” seems kind of silly. But just in case:


Just start with your plate, and cut in half. We also added bite marks for fun.


Paint the center of your plate pink (we mixed our own colors).


Then paint the outside green. Give it all some drying time, then it’s time to add your seed fingerprints.


Isaiah’s turned out waaaaay better than mine. As usual. What is it about kids’ art that is infinitely better than anything we adults could ever create? I think the secret is in the imperfection.

Isaiah had fun pretending to eat his…


And naturally, we had to have a watermelon snack immediately after.


Our watermelons are on our fridge now. But I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things you could do with these!


  • Make a whole watermelon, then cute for a simple math lesson
  • String several together to make a summer garland
  • Or how cute would these pay as a place setting for a Summer BBQ?



¬†And now I’m off to make more..

Crock Pot Applesauce (No Peeling, No Sugar)


Anyone who’s spent time with Isaiah knows that he’s obsessed with apples. He eats them whole…core and all.

Actually, remember this article that came out recently? It was no surprise to us, because Isaiah had already figured it out.

Add Isaiah’s love for all things ‘apple’ to Samuel’s current stage in baby food, and I figured it was about time for me to make my own applesauce. That, plus, we’re single handidly keeping the squeezable applesauce company in business. So the savings would be nice.

I’d been seeing a lot of “crock pot applesauce” recipes floating around, so I decided to give it a whirl. Believe it or not, I actually flew blind on this one–so I wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out (the only thing I looked up was how long to cook the apples).

I knew a few things going in: a)I wanted to use the peels (because I’m lazy AND that’s where most of the fiber comes from) and b) I wanted little no sugar. So with those two things in mind, I got to work.

And guess what? It turned out AMAZING.

Here’s what I did:

Start with 10 washed apples (and of course, you can double the recipe). Chop them up into 1 inch (ish) pieces, peel and all. Throw them in the crock pot with 1 cup of water, 3 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tbsp REAL maple syrup. 

Then cook on low for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, mash the apples with a potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. Note: you can also pour into a food processor if you really want to grind up the peels as much as possible. Personally, I like the chunkier texture. 

I also think the word “chunky” should be removed from the English language. Just sayin’.

That’s it. It’s really that simple. You can serve it cold, or warm. And it would be SO GOOD over vanilla bean ice cream.

Or…buy these re-usable squeeze containers and take it with you as a snack.

It’s official. I’m never buying applesauce again.

Cinco de Mayo Fun

It’s Cinco de Mayo! Well, not quite. But it’s coming up on Monday. 

We’ve got a pretty hectic week planned, so we decided to celebrate a bit early. And by celebrate, I mean “learn about the holiday” while Mommy was wishing she had a frozen Margarita. (Because honesty is the best policy, right?)

We wanted to do something quick and fun with items we had around the house. So we decided to make paper plate sombreros and Easter egg maracas.

I can actually remember making these in elementary school. They’re super easy and FREE if you have extra party utensils laying around (which most of us do).

 You’ll need:

  • a paper plate
  • a plastic cup
  • four spoons
  • two plastic Easter eggs
  • decorative materials (pom poms, glitter paint, etc.)
  • decorative tape
  • hot glue gun

For the sombrero, just hot glue an upside down party cup to a paper plate. Then let your kids decorate. We used pom poms, Sharpie and glitter paint.

For the maracas, fill a plastic Easter egg with dried black eyed peas (or beans). Seal the egg and hot glue between the two plastic spoons. Then finish by wrapping the handles together with decorative tape.

All done–and ready for a FIESTA! Get ready for noise. Lots of it

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Nature Month!

Okay, I’ve taken enough “time off.” It’s time to get back to it, and you won’t hear me complaining. I’ve missed our theme months so much. But now that things are leveling out around here, and Samuel is sleeping more consistently through the night (hallelujah)…I feel a little more equipped to tackle the planning.


We’re going to do things a little differently.

I started to realize that while the activities were fun and easy, it was POSTING about them that was dragging me down. I’ve always said that I blog primarily for fun. I love to do activites with my kiddos FIRST, and write about it SECOND. The last thing I want is to let the latter affect the former.

So I’m changing things up.

Rather than announce our theme month, and then post about each project we do…I’m going to share our plan at the beginning of the month. And that way, others can join the fun as we go. (Honestly, we’d LOVE for you to do these projects right along with us.)

And the best part? There’s no pressure. I’m listing a project a day, for every day of the month (and they’re all super easy–with minimal materials). But if we only get to five of them? Who cares. The plan is there when we need it or want it. And when life gets in the way, or more exciting opportunities arise, we’ll roll with it. Links are provided for some of the activities, and others are so basic that no links are necessary (hint: those are my favorites–they’re the best for memory making).

We’ll be posting pics of our activites on Instagram along the way. You can follow me @alliaars or we’ll also be hash-tagging as we go (ex. #naturemonth).

So. Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls (drumroll please…)

It’s Nature Month!

Nature Month (May 2014):

5/1 Do a raindrop activity
5/2 Go on a nature walk
5/3 Fly a kite together (learn about wind)
5/4 Make a rain gauge
5/5 Have outdoor story time
5/6 Play with water
5/7 Collect bugs in a jar
5/8 Paint the sky
5/9 Go cloud watching
5/10 Paint a birdhouse
5/11 Do a nature scavenger hunt
5/12 Camp out in your backyard
5/13 Plant something together
5/14 Start a rock collection
5/15 Play a “leaf matching” game
5/16 Find a pond and go fishing (or pretend fish)
5/17 Study the Moon
5/18 Make butterfly art
5/19 Play “I Spy” in nature
5/20 Go on flower hunt (search by color)
5/21 Make a cloud in a jar
5/22 Search for fireflies (or make your own)
5/23 Make nature art
5/24 Watch a sunset together
5/25 Make a backyard bird feeder
5/26 Paint with flowers
5/27 Go bird watching
5/28 Jump in puddles (even if you have to make your own)
5/29 Make a constellation flashlight
5/30 Paint with mud
5/31 Go stargazing

Whew. How about that for a theme-month plan? And it’s starts today…

Happy Nature Month!

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Isaiah turned three last December, and ever since he’s been cracking me up–pretty much on a daily basis. I thought he was funny at TWO. But lately, he’s been taking it to another level.

At first, I told myself I’d remember every little “ism.” But let’s be honest, I’ve usually already forgotten them by the time Michael gets home from work.

I was trying to figure out a way to collect his phrases all in one place, when I remembered a special little project I made a few years back.

I used to nanny/babysit for a lovely little family with three boys. I still think about them often. In fact, I’m convinced that God gave me that job so I would have a crash course on all-things-boys.

Let’s just say I learned several lessons that have come in pretty handy as of late.

Anyway, one Christmas I made them a keepsake book–full of ‘sayings’ from their boys throughout the year. These boys were so very precious, and I wanted their parents to remember their funnies for years to come.

So why have I not made one of these for me, yet? Your guess is as good as mine.

Suddenly, I was on a mission.

I picked up a cute little notebook at Target, and made it all my own. Actually, I got three. One for Isaiah, one for Samuel, and one more for good measure. (Never can tell, right?)

Then I got to work writing in Isaiah’s book. I scribbled every little “ism” I could remember.

And now? I keep it right on top of my desk, for when the next hilarity hits. And I write it down IMMEDIATELY. I call it his “babble book.”

A few of my fav’s, just for giggles:

me: No, Isaiah. You cannot have cake for breakfast.
Isaiah: Mommy, I don’t think you are making very good choices.

me: (explaining marriage) You see, when two people really love each other, they promise to love that person forever.
Isaiah: Oh, okay. So I’ll marry Lionel then.

me: Hey, Isaiah. You wanna watch Frozen?
Isaiah: Ooooh, yeah. But Mommy, can you let THEM sing this time?

And today, after cleaning out my closet…

Isaiah: Mommy! You’ve made a BIG MESS in your room. You need to clean it up. And can you tell me you’re sorry?

Such an easy little project, and one I know I will treasure for years.

Dollar Bin DIY: Chalkboard Camera

Staying at home means the budget is TIGHT.  And because of that, I have two new loves: the dollar store, and dollar bins. 

Seriously, do you have a dollar store near you? I just recently discovered ours and I could practically live there. It’s amazing. 
So I’ve decided to start doing “Dollar Store DIY’s”. Not only are the deals spectacular, but the things you can turn them into? Even better.
Today’s DIY is from Michaels, where I do A LOT of my craft shopping. And have you checked our their dollar bin? It’s dangerous.
I’m not even sure you could call this project a DIY, since it merely involves spray paint. But hey, roll with it.
I spotted this sweet little camera cutout in the woodworking section dollar bin, and I just had to have it. 
One day later, with a little chalkboard paint and some chalk wording, it was Isaiah’s new obsession.
Aside: Why are the simplest toys (i.e. cardboard boxes, gift wrapping, etc.) always the most exciting? Isaiah has two kid digital cameras. TWO. And so far, he’s most enamored with this one.
Wanna know why? Because IMAGINATION trumps all. 
And I’m glad it does.
Moral of the story: Go check out your nearest dollar bin. And let your imagination run wild. 

DIY Leprechaun Beard

Happy St. Patty’s Day! Well, almost. But it might as well be since today is the big Dallas celebration. We get to celebrate twice, here.

I’ve been trying to explain St. Patrick’s Day on a three-year-old level, which as it turns out, is pretty hard to do. (Really, you try explaining Leprechauns to a toddler without making them sound scary.)

So to have some fun with it, we made this quick little Leprechaun beard. We used craft sticks (got ours at Michaels) and regular construction paper, because that’s what we had on hand. You could use cardstock, felt, or even get something laminated.

I free-handed a beard with sideburns (you can use my drawing as a template, or draw your own to-size) and cut it out of burnt orange paper. Then we simply attached the craft stick with durable tape, and we were ready for goofy fun. You’ll want your camera ready, for sure.

We’ve got more celebrations in store for Monday, but this was a great little start. At least, Isaiah thought so. ;)

Here’s to a luck-filled weekend!