Archive for the ‘children’ Category

{Party Minecraft Style} Seattle Area Child Photographer

May 23rd, 2013

My oldest recently turned eight, and this year, he asked for a Minecraft themed birthday. If you’ve never heard of Minecraft, think back to those old, 80s style DOS games and graphics. Minecraft looks totally like that. Except, this game only came out a few years ago. The good thing about Minecraft is that it […]

 

My oldest recently turned eight, and this year, he asked for a Minecraft themed birthday. If you’ve never heard of Minecraft, think back to those old, 80s style DOS games and graphics. Minecraft looks totally like that. Except, this game only came out a few years ago. The good thing about Minecraft is that it is totally easy to recreate, as everything is made out of pixelated blocks. The basic premise of the game is that the main character, Steve, goes around and digs, or “mines”. There is dirt, coal, and eventually, diamonds. You get a pick ax. There are also monsters like creepers, zombies, ghasts, and these spider things which I hate. All in block form, which kind of make them hilarious. The great thing about Minecraft is that you can make it as simple or as complicated as you want to, because you can program your own world.  So for kids like mine, it’s a great game to flex out their computer programming skills!

I spent some time on the Internet researching “Minecraft Parties”, and it basically came down to two things. 1) there was nothing pre-made for Minecraft, unless I wanted to pay  big bucks on Etsy, and 2) it’s all about blocks and paper, and I could do it myself. So with three or four days of prep time, lots of printing, gluing, and taping, I put together a Minecraft party for my kiddo. We wanted it low key, so we only invited eight people since he was turning eight, had one scavenger hunt, one craft (freeze paper stenciling their creeper shirts to take home as their “favor”), and lots and lots of fun! I hope you enjoy the party!

Some specifics:

 

Some of the decorations. The happy birthday banner, and of course, creepers and ghasts. The boys cut out the square clouds for the background.

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TNT! aka licorice and juice boxes with red construction paper wrapped around it, and TNT printed in the Minecrafter font. You can see my minecraft paper blocks in the background. They were a huge hit.

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More ghasts. They’re a combination ghost/octopus. I made them from square paper plates, with crepe paper legs. Totally easy!

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These were the creeper plates. The green plates I glued the black construction creeper faces, then I glued a clear plate on top so people could actually use the plates to eat.

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And of course, we had creeper juice (water bottles with “creeper juice” in Minecrafter font on white paper labels) to go along with the food. Renaming the food with Minecraft labels was really fun. The kids totally loved coming back for more “creeper juice” or “coal” or “torches” instead of regular old pretzels and blackberries and water.

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My “coal”, aka blackberries.

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My “torches”, aka pretzels. I was cracking up,  since the kids had a blast with the torches. I also had raspberries on a separate plate. So kids were putting raspberries on top of the pretzels and telling me “look! it’s a lit torch now!” I had three separate kids tell me that, all at different times. :)

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What the final food set up looked like. (big thanks to L.Hong for providing me with this picture!) Besides the TNT (licorice), torches (pretzels), coal (blackberries), I also had chocolate cake with green frosting for dirt squares, and green rice krispie squares that they could stick together to make their own creeper. Also raspberries to light the torches. ;) For the grown ups we had Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, eggrolls, chips and hummus.

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The banner is made of foam, I cut out the squares on top to make it more “minecraft-y”. The letters are felt letters I bought at Michael’s. I stapled the whole thing to crepe paper, and was pretty amazed it held. My kiddo asked for it to stay up all week, and (knock on wood), it hasn’t fallen down yet!

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We also stuck some creepers outside. I made them from square plates. One plate for the head. I cut one plate in half for the body, and half of one for the feet. It was a big hit, different kids would run around with them in the yard, chasing each other.

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My husband had this great idea of making the kids do a scavenger hunt before they got cake. In the spirit of Minecraft, they had to find different colored blocks to make up different combinations. (We had a whiteboard listing all the combinations and rules, but the kids took it over during the course of the game before I could snap a picture). They could trade with each other to make their combinations, and get cake. In reality, we hide 204 of these one-inch foam blocks in our yard and let them go forth and find them. It was great fun! I’m not sure which was more impressive, that they spent so long finding them, or that we actually got all 204 blocks back at the end of the party.

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The kids had to have six blocks in different color combinations in order to get cake. Here’s some of the different combinations they came up with during the scavenging.

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CAKE! I just had the cake made with green grass on top. There is a little Lego Steve and Lego creeper there as well from the Lego Minecraft set.

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Since it was my son’s 8th birthday and not my birthday, I didn’t stress too much about planning games or entertaining the kids. They ran around in the yard, played in our tree house, and fought with the paper plate creepers. :)

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Instead of party favors in a bag, we had everyone make their own Creeper Shirts! (we used the freezer paper method). I did two groups, the “happy face” creepers, and the “frowny face” creepers. The shirts were $3 at Michael’s, so very cheap, and the kids LOVED them! It was also a VERY EASY CRAFT to do with a large group of kids.

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Overall, there was a lot of prep work in the few days before the party (especially in regards to all the paper crafting), but it was a lot of fun. Because in the end, it’s just about a bunch of blocks. :) PARTY ON, I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and got some good ideas about any future Minecraft parties!

 

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{Wordless Wednesday} Seattle Area Child Photographer

May 21st, 2013

  this post is shared with: Wordless Wednesday at The Jenny Evolution Wordless Wednesday at In The Moment  

 

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{Cornstarch Painting} Seattle Area Lifestyle Photographer

May 16th, 2013

If you’ve visited my blog  before, you should know that my boys love art, especially painting. Buying paint all the time for projects can get pricey, so when I saw this easy way to make my own paint from just stuff I had at home, I was all over it. It takes cornstarch, water, and […]

 

If you’ve visited my blog  before, you should know that my boys love art, especially painting. Buying paint all the time for projects can get pricey, so when I saw this easy way to make my own paint from just stuff I had at home, I was all over it. It takes cornstarch, water, and food coloring to make your own paint. You have to play with the ratio of cornstarch to water. I think our ratio was one tablespoon of cornstarch to one cup of water. I started with one tablespoon of cornstarch and added in water until it got to a watercolor-paint like consistency. If you want a thicker consistency like tempura paint, I would go with 1/2 or 2/3 cup of water. Then, since it was a beautiful day, I set the boys up outside with butcher paper laid out on the driveway, and let them go to town. They had sooooo much fun. I was pleasantly surprised at how bright the colors in the cornstarch paint turned out. In the end, the boys ended up mixing all the colors together to a muddy brown, ditched the paint brushes, and painted with their hands and feet.  Overall, it was fun, messy, creative, and colorful. We hung up the finished painting in the garaged and labeled it “Our World”.

What You’ll Need:

  • cornstarch (arrowroot powder may work as well, but I haven’t tested it)
  • water
  • food coloring
  • paintbrushes
  • some sort of cup to hold it
  • **optional** muffin tin or other holder to hold it for transport

Again, our ratio was 1 tablespoon cornstarch : 1 cup water. You can play with the ratio to the consistency you desire.

 

We mixed our cornstarch paint in cups, then I put the cups in a muffin tin for easier transport. Look at the colors!

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I was amazed at how vivid the colors showed up once the boys started painting. Look at the tasty watermelons.

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Of course, then they started to experiment with painting with their hands as well.

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It made for great sensory play!

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It was a warm weekend, so perfect for some outdoor painting. I laid out a big roll of butcher paper outside for them to paint. I also stripped them down for easier clean up afterwards. They were totally into the process.

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My oldest just started dipping his hands into the cup for full immersion. I think he was starting to channel his inner Jackson Pollack.

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Then, they both got into the full body, painting action. Overall, it was an easy, cheap (!), and fun way to paint! Happy painting!

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{Tulip Town 2013} Seattle Area Lifestyle Photographer

May 10th, 2013

Every year, we take a trip up to Skagit Valley to visit the tulips. You can check out our trips in 2010 and 2012 and see how much the boys changed (and how little their love of mud puddles have not changed This year the weather has been perfect, so I bundled the boys up […]

 

Every year, we take a trip up to Skagit Valley to visit the tulips. You can check out our trips in 2010 and 2012 and see how much the boys changed (and how little their love of mud puddles have not changed :) This year the weather has been perfect, so I bundled the boys up and we went for a day trip. I love going to the tulips because it reminds me of when I was pregnant with my oldest, and waiting, and watching the flowers bloom as I waited for my little guy to appear. Plus, they are just beautiful, and we have FIELDS and FIELDS of them here in Washington. If you haven’t made the trip to visit the festival, it runs through the entire month of April (depending on bloom), and it’s awesome!

 

No, this isn’t Holland. It’s Mt. Vernon, WA, U.S.A. :)

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Welcome to Tulip Town! My oldest had to jump in order to be tall enough to be in the picture on the left.

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I spy with my little eye, a hidden preschooler.

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We visit the tulip festival every year, since it occurs around my oldest’s birthday. Look at how much he has grown! :sniff:

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Stand by the tulips and pose, boys. This is the best that I could get.

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Mainly, they were way more interested in the mud, and mud puddles, than the tulip flowers.

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I wonder what made these kid size boot prints…

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If only there was some clue to tell me.

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Splish splash, some one took a mud bath.

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If you are local and haven’t been up here, go! It’s so beautiful, and the festival runs the entire month of April.

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Pretty, pretty tulips!

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Up close and personal with a tulip.

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Sometimes, you just gotta let them lecture you, and try not to laugh at the expressions on their sweet faces.

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Happy, happy kiddo.

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I let my oldest have my camera, and he took this shot! Proud mama right here, such a nice capture!

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My youngest thought he was so sneaky making faces while we were taking pictures.

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My favorite picture all day. I usually only get serious looks from him, I was so glad to be able to capture a real smile for once.

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If you look closely, my oldest is holding up his little brother in order to make him tall enough to fit in the face hole for the picture. Awww……

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They even had face painting inside the barn!

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At the end of the day though, it was mostly two little boys doing this.

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And this.

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{Wordless Wednesday} Seattle Area Child Photographer

May 7th, 2013

        This post is shared with: The Jenny Evolution

 

 

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{Snowmen In Seattle} Seattle Area Lifestyle Photographer

March 5th, 2013

Unlike most of the United States, our region is having (what a local meteorologist calls) the most boring winter in Seattle history. What this means to a seven and four year old boils down to: The Winter Without Snow At The House. This is a major tragedy in their lives, the inability to throw snowballs, […]

 

Unlike most of the United States, our region is having (what a local meteorologist calls) the most boring winter in Seattle history. What this means to a seven and four year old boils down to: The Winter Without Snow At The House. This is a major tragedy in their lives, the inability to throw snowballs, build snow forts, or even make a snowman. To alleviate their disappointment, we’ve been doing some snow and winter themed crafts at our house, to bring the outdoors, inside. We first drew snowmen pictures using chalk (you need dark construction paper for the chalk to show up). Then, we did a more sensory based art project using salt as snow. This was a bit more messy, as both my kids liked playing with the “snow” with their fingers before deciding on what kind of design they wanted to glue.

What You’ll Need:

  • black or dark blue construction paper
  • chalk (we used our regular sidewalk chalk; you can use school chalk as well)
  • salt
  • glue (stick glue was better for the four year old; my seven year old preferred the delicate lines of the Elmer’s bottle)
  • optional: glitter

 

First off, here’s our sidewalk chalk! You could use smaller, school chalk. But who are we kidding, we love sidewalk chalk at our house.The boys were so excited to be able to use it inside the house!

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My oldest working on his snowman picture.

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My youngest working on *his* snowman picture. Yes, pink is his favorite color.

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Snowmen at night!

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Our next snowman art project was much more sensory based, and it included every kid’s favorite, GLITTER!

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I had the boys’ mix it in with some salt to create glittery snow.

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Then, they used glue to outline out their snowman and snow decorations before sprinkling the glitter and salt “snow” onto the paper.

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I thought the salt made very lovely, realistic looking “snow”

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My youngest on the left, with glitter “stars”, and my oldest on the right with glitter candy canes. Overall, fun snowman projects!

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{LOVE Painting} Seattle Area Lifestyle Photographer

February 8th, 2013

This was one of the very first pins I ever pinned on Pinterest, was this preschooler masking tape painting. I loved the simplicity, I loved the texture, I loved the art. Having two art loving boys, this was a really fun project for them to do together, and create something beautiful and  permanent for their […]

 

This was one of the very first pins I ever pinned on Pinterest, was this preschooler masking tape painting. I loved the simplicity, I loved the texture, I loved the art. Having two art loving boys, this was a really fun project for them to do together, and create something beautiful and  permanent for their room. It’s one of the most remarked on pieces of artwork, and they proudly tell everyone that “I made that!” when people ask about it. Due to the layers (and layers, and layers!) of paint, it took a few days to dry, but totally worth it.

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • canvas (I used a 12×12)
  • acrylic paints
  • masking tape or painter’s tape
  • baby wipes (to help clean up your children, and anything they touch, afterwards)
  • plastic sheeting or something on the floor as the painting area

 

I took the canvas and taped out the letters to the word LOVE. I was cute and made the O into a heart. 

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Then, I put different colors of acrylic paints in paper plates, and let the boys go to town. I did regulate it, one color out at a time. (otherwise, you just end up with a big brownish blob).

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They really enjoyed the feeling of the squishy feel of the paint between their hands.

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Then, they put their handprints all over the canvas. 

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Handprints!

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Finished with the layers of handprint painting! I loved the bright colors so much. You can see the edges of the tape slightly under all the paint. It took a couple of days to dry since there were several layers of paint.

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I then peeled off the tape to uncover the L O V E, and let the boys put a final handprint each on top after everything had dried. 

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Here it is displayed in their room. They are proud of their artwork, and I love how it looks.

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{Heart Stick Arrows} Seattle Area Child Photographer

February 6th, 2013

Often, it can be challenging finding crafts that will withstand brother battle attacks, cardboard box forts, and just plain old fun. When I found this link for these arrows of love, I was quite intrigued. (be forewarned that the Krokotak site is in Bulgarian, but it’s a goldmine of interesting and FUN crafts!). Plus, it […]

 

Often, it can be challenging finding crafts that will withstand brother battle attacks, cardboard box forts, and just plain old fun. When I found this link for these arrows of love, I was quite intrigued. (be forewarned that the Krokotak site is in Bulgarian, but it’s a goldmine of interesting and FUN crafts!). Plus, it is a very simple craft. All I used were sticks from the yard, craft glue, and felt. The original site called for yarn as well, but since i didn’t have any on hand, I just cut up longer strips of leftover felt to tie on the ends of the arrows. Did I mention this craft is 1) SIMPLE , 2) HARDY and 3) FUN. What more can you ask?

What You’ll Need:

  • Sticks (we got both long and short, fat and skinny sticks)
  • Felt
  • Craft Glue (I used Aleene Tacky Glue)
  • Yarn (optional)

 

First, gather up your four year old. I mean, gather up some sticks. Cheesy four year old is optional.

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Next, cut out some felt hearts.  I found it was best to cut out hearts that had a deep V in the middle. You’ll need two for each side. (this is actually my older son. I just wanted to give him a shout out. :)

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Put down one felt heart, some glue, then your stick. You want to glue your stick on the rounded side of the heart, away from the pointy end.

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Next, put more glue on the side of the stick and on top of the stick (if you really like glueing, feel free to put it all around. My kids are glue minimalists though.) Then, put the matching heart on top and leave to dry for a few hours.

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I cut strips of felt and tied it to the other end of the stick to make the arrow “fletching”. EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY.

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Voila! Heart stick arrows. These were made with our “big” branches.

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How cute are they? Yes, we definitely could have used more glue, but they have been holding up with over a week of play, so I think we’re good to go.

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Here are the ones we made from little sticks (and little hearts). I think we’re going to put these on strings with Valentines attached and give them to our neighbors. Aren’ they adorable?

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My little one loves them as well. My boys and I give this craft six thumbs up! As a bonus, when you are struck with one of these cupid arrows, you fall in love. :) I hope you enjoy making them as much as we did!

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