Halloween Cards/Gifts for our Family

Baking Cup Flowers with Treats
Today Hazel and I made some more cards/gifts for our family. We experimented with four different paper baking cups in Halloween colors and making them flowers. Then we added pipe cleaner stems and stickers and centers. Some have Hershey kisses (Hazel overfilled the centers with kisses), some pom poms ans some stickers and/or googly eyes.
Our First One Where We Experimented
Our Last One--Hazel did the pom poms

Typical Hazel One

We also added stickers to our ghost cards.

Now I need to work on our costumes and pull out our Halloween decorations and we will be all set!

Children's Halloween Books and Crafts

Toilet Paper Pumpkins
Today I thought I would share with you some of the Halloween books we have been reading and some of the Halloween crafts we have been doing (some tied into the books and some not). This morning we started our crafts with our toilet paper pumpkins. A tutorial can be found on The Sweet Life. These were easy enough for Hazel to be able to do and they look so cute. We have them on a window sill in our family room.

Vampire and Ghost
Mummy, Bat and Witch
I know I mentioned in a previous post Erica Silverman's book, The Big Pumpkin. This is a story about a witch who grows a pumpkin to make pumpkin pie, but the pumpkin grows so large she cannot get it off the vine. Along come a ghost, vampire, and mummy who each try, but cannot do it and then along comes a bat (much smaller than the others) who has the idea of working together. Then they have pumpkin pie at a Halloween party. It is very cute and in no way scary. Hazel really doesn't know what a witch, vampire, ghost, or mummy are, so she has been asking us all sorts of questions about them. While we had the book out of the library we read it at least twice a day. I had needle felted her some of the characters, but we also made the characters out of toilet paper rolls. We started with the bat after I saw the idea on Living, Loving, Learning Naturally. (Another great bat idea can be found on Reading Confetti--Handprint bats without the toilet paper roll.) To make the witch we painted the toilet paper roll green (well actually we had done this to make Christmas napkin rings last year, but we had one left over). Then we put black paper around the bottom and cut out a witch hat from the black paper. We added eyes and for her nose we cut a Christmas tree confetti in half and glued it on. Then we added a mouth. For the vampire, we covered the tube in white and then dressed in black and added hair and face. For the mummy we covered it in white and then added eyes and then covered it again in white strips. For the ghost, we covered it in white and then used a white paper towel over it and of course added eyes. Hazel loves having the characters from the book even though we no longer have the book at home.

Another story we like is Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Van Rynbach. While reading blogs the other day I saw this neat craft to make a puppet for the story on Family Ever After. She had a guest blogger from Delia Creates. You can also get a copy of the story from DLTK's website. She also has feltboard patterns there. And today, another of my favorite bloggers posted another craft for this story. Check out Rachel's craft at I Heart Crafty Things.

A few more of our favorite Halloween books are The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing. It goes along like The Night Before Christmas, but has to do with Halloween and the monsters, ghouls, witches, etc. preparing a party for the trick-or-treaters. Again, not scary for a toddler.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams is a great book to read aloud. It has different things (mostly clothing) trying to scare the little old lady when she is walking home through the forest in the dark. All of the actions can be acted out so we have fun with it. It has a very happy ending, so I enjoy reading it to Hazel.

Trick-or-Treat, Smell My Feet! by Lisa Desimini is a great story about witch twins who terrorize the kids of their town. However their Halloween spell backfires. It is suppose to make the children unable to say "Trick-or-Treat" and instead say "Smell my feet!" However they make a mistake when they are laughing at the kids and become babies again. Hazel loves it and I certainly don't mind reading it over and over.

The newest book we have taken out is The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey. This story is one of those that the dog who is always picked on for how he looks becomes the hero of Halloween night. And then is big enough to help his "friends" even further. Needless to say a very happy ending and a great book about friendship and dealing with bullying.

We have also been enjoying It's Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall. This book goes from kids planting pumpkin seeds to carving the pumpkins on Halloween and putting out the Jack-o'-lanterns before going trick-or-treating. It is a great look at pumpkins in a simplistic view. I like it because I plan to cut open a pumpkin and bake it in the next week or so with Hazel and talk more about pumpkins.

Spider toppers
Our Bat Toppers

Bat Topper
There are a few other books we have been enjoying, but these are our favorite Halloween stories. A few more Halloween crafts we did today: pom pom pencil toppers as found on Boredom Busting Mommy.

We also made some pom pom pumpkins.

Today we also visited a friend's store, Village Art, which is unfortunately closing at the end of November. The owner is a friend from elementary school (and we both had last names that started with E so we were always in home room together in high school). While I shopped her closing sale, Hazel did some art projects. (See above)

And finally we will share a preview of the Halloween cards we are sending to our family. Since I took this picture we added eyes and a mouth to each footprint ghost. I saw this idea somewhere, but can't remember where exactly (or should I say where I saw it the first time as I have seen it in several other places). We did the footprints yesterday pre-bath. I figured since she already needed one, we might as well have fun.

Nature Art and Activities

Hazel's Pine Cone Fairy
Today was a fun packed day at our house. Hazel did not take a nap, so it was also a long day. We started our morning with an early play date, though both kids slept in so it was later than usual. During which we played inside and outside. Hazel wanted to take a walk with her little wagon so she could collect nature treasures. Of course to her all the leaves are treasures so we didn't get very far.

After our playdate Hazel and I headed over to the Farmer's Market. I promised to buy her some apple cider doughnuts and some apple cider. It was the last week of the Farmer's Market in our town, so it was our last chance. Then we came home and had lunch and tried to nap. I almost fell asleep, but apparently Hazel didn't want to and decided she wanted quiet time today instead. Quiet time is at least half an hour of alone time in her room. She can play with her dollhouse or read her books in there, but shouldn't call me unless it is an emergency. She is getting much better at this. I feel it is important for each of us to have a little down time in our day and a change of pace as well as time to be alone.

Acorn and Pinecone Paintings
Then we started to do some crafts. (Well actually I guess we continued to do crafts since we had done some before our playdate this morning.) These crafts however were done in the garage. I would have done them outside, but after our Father's Day experience outside crafts do not work for us. We started with the acorn painting similar to what I saw on Tippytoe Crafts. However I didn't look to see what they did in awhile, so I went with my own intuition. We also did not have many complete acorns so we threw in some pinecones. We put a piece of white paper in a shirt box and then dipped acorns, acorn caps, and pinecones into fall colored paints. The result was interesting.

Hazel's Fall Treasure Wreath
My First Nature Person
Next we took some of those leaves, pinecones, flowers, acorns (well mostly caps) and glued them onto paper and a cut paper plate wreath.

My Maple Leaf Fairy
Our Oak Leaf Fairy
Then we decided to make leaf people which we then made into leaf fairies. Oh, and Hazel decided to use a pinecone instead of a leaf for one of them.

Then Hazel really wanted to go dig in the garden, so I let her. Yesterday she got to dig to help plant fall bulbs. And I was very glad she wasn't worried about getting dirty like she use to be.

Hazel's Digging Adventure

After digging, we decided to try some more painting. This time we used flowers, leaves and anything we could find as our brushes. We had a great time. Hazel got sick of the flowers, etc. and decided to use her fingers and hands.
Choosing a flower
Dipping it
The Result of Flower Painting
Painting with her hands

Her hands and painting
While she had her hands in the paint I pulled out more fall colored paper and got her to do her handprints for handprint turkey cards for Thanksgiving. I will stash them away for a bit. Then I hosed her off. She somehow ended up with orange paint in her hair. It was definitely a bath night tonight. We did some more painting and crafts, but we will safe those for another post. I figured while she was already dirty to do footprint paintings too. They are our Halloween cards. I'll share our Halloween crafts tomorrow.


Halloween Children's Book and Needle Felted Characters

21 Days left until Halloween
Last night I made Hazel four characters from Erica Silverman's book, Big Pumpkin. When we had this book out of the library we read it at least three times a day. It is a Halloween story with a witch, ghost, vampire, bat and mummy, but is not scary at all. The overall story is the witch plants a pumpkin seed so she can make pumpkin pie for Halloween. Her pumpkin grows and grows, and when she goes to pick it hours away from Halloween it is too big for her to pick. Each of the other characters come along and try and only the little bat comes up with the idea that works (working together). Then they all enjoy her pumpkin pie at her Halloween party.

I told Hazel that the Pumpkin Fairy must have left them. I'm not sure if she believes me or not, but she has been a bit afraid of fairies due to the toy fairy story, so I want her to see some good in fairies as well. To make the ghost, I started with a small bit of white roving and folded it up small. Then I needled it into a ball. Next I took pieces of roving and draped them over the ball. I needled them into the ball and shaped the ghost how I wanted it. I tried to turn the ends out so it could stand on its own. Then I took small pieces of black to be eyes and a mouth.

For the witch, I made a ball out of biege roving and then shaped a piece of it for her nose. I added green hair--needling it on. For the hat I spiraled the black for the bottom and made it as flat as I could then I used a styrafoam cone to help get the shape of the top, but in the end it was too big so I folded it over and needled it flatter until I was happy. Then I attached the two pieces and attached the hat to the head (with the needle of course). Then I made arms by folder a long piece of black over and needling it into the shape I wanted. Then I used the cone to help with the body. Attaching long pieces at the top and draping it over the cone. I attached the arms to the head and the body to the arms. Once all attached I made adjustments until I was happy. Again I tried to stiffen the bottom outward to make her stand. She is a bit tall to stand on the roving, but can a bit.

I did the bat in a similar fashion making a small ball out of black and the wings were similar to the arms but flatter.

For the vampire, I used white for the face. Then I used black and red for the eyes and mouth. I tried to add fangs, but they blended in with his face a bit. Then I did the arms and body similar to how I did the witch.

I haven't figured out a way to do the mummy yet, which is why she didn't get one. Still thinking about it.

Today I'm hoping to plant some fall bulbs and the lavender plant I bought at the farmer's market this weekend. I'm hoping to get Hazel out digging in the dirt with me. She hasn't been as afraid to get dirty as she use to be. Have a great day!!

Decorations, Giveaways and other things to check out!

Picture of Shadow--Taken from Little Elf Toy Shop
Natural Kids is giving away a needle felted black cat (see above) from Little Elf Toy Shop.

Tatertots and Jello summarizes 17 Halloween Countdown Calendars and Decorations.

Ghostie--Picture taken from We Bloom Here
We Bloom Here is giving away a Ghostie doll (see above) on Wednesday.
Autumn Cards--Taken from Creating a Family Home
Pouch Pattern & Yarn--Taken from Creating a Family Home
Yarn--Taken from Creating a Family Home
Fall Needle Felted Decorations--Taken from Creating a Family Home

      Creating a Family Home had a week's worth of giveaways. All are recapped on this post. See all four prizes (well actually five since the pouch is two different colors being given away) above.

R. Morales Mug--Taken from Earth Mama
Earth Mama is sponsoring a R. Morales Pottery Giveaway. See to the left.
Women Living Well
Check out Women Living Well's 31 Day Fall Challenge. Week 2's challenge just came out. What a nice way to refocus ourselves to what is important! Week 1's Challenge can be found here.

A craft we are definitely going to try soon from Living, Loving, Learning Naturally.
Toilet Paper Bat--Taken from Living, Loving, Learning Naturally
Toilet Paper Bats (with hand print wings)! 

Reading Confetti celebrates National Pizza Month--October--with a book and a craft.

Monster Pillows--Taken from One Artsy Mama
One Artsy Mama has a tutorial to make these adorable Monster Pillows.

The Idea Room has many, MANY neat oreo pop ideas for anyone having a fall party. (Bats, Frankenstein, turkeys, apples, eyeballs, Mickey Mouse and more!) Also a recipe for Homemade Slime! And a recipe and decoration ideas for Homemade Halloween Playdough--great for party favors!--By the way, Crissy's Crafts sent me to The Idea Room because she made some Mickey Ghost Oreo Pops for her Not So Scary Mickey Halloween Party.

I Heart Crafty Things has some great Halloween decoration ideas for kids to make--Haunted house displays, eyeball frames and more as well as a book to go along with the crafts.

Lil' Luna has a guest blogger with some great ideas for pumpkin decorating (the craft pumpkins)
Thanksgiving Wreath--Taken from Beneath the Rowan Tree

Beneath the Rowan Tree has a great tutorial for a Thanksgiving Wreath made up of scrap fabric. (Maybe I should send the link to my Mom since she is trying to figure out what to do with hers!)

Ok, I think I have caught up with all my blogging. Well now I have to go check all the linky parties I missed this weekend. Some of my favorite ones for kids' activities happen over the weekend.