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crafts for the kids | Smiling Watermelon
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A mommy daughter outing

by Juliemara

Sunday mornings are tricky for activities. Not much opens before noon on Sundays and if its too hot or rainy the park is out. This past Sunday we took part in a fundraiser a dear friend told me about. It was held at a local art studio for kids. Talia and Jordan were probably a little young for it but don’t tell them that, they didn’t notice. They had a great time. They painted and stickers and colored and glued until they were covers to the elbows in shmutz (and some in their hair). Then when the art was done they lived the play section with the chalk wall, train table and bins of dinosaurs. During the arts and crafts segment I was so busy trying to keep paint out of hair that I wasn’t able to get many photos but I’m so happy I got a shot of my little peanuts in their art smocks.








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DIY Kids Body Paint

by Juliemara

















It’s known that toddlers love making a mess. It’s how they learn. I love watching my girls making a mess, I can see their little brain wheels spinning with delight as toys, food, water, pretty much anything goes flying in every direction. These two are all about a new adventure and experience and get into anything they can with a fierce passion. So when I saw this post on Modern Parent, Messy Kids blog, I knew this would be a perfect activity for my girls.

What you’ll need:

-a six muffin tin or something similar for the different colors.

-Corn Starch

-Food Coloring

-1 Inch Paint Brushes, I got these, they worked great and are easy to hold and clean.

-Warm Water

I recommend you have:

-An outdoor space


I loosely followed this recipe from the blog post but left out the milk. Here is how I did it, step by step.

Step 1 – add two drops of gel food coloring to each muffin tin section. Mix colors for additional variations. Here is a color mixing guide if you aren’t sure what colors make what.

Step 2 – in a separate bowl mix corn starch and water until you get desired consistency about three cups total is needed for six colors, I used approx 1 1/4 cup of corn starch to 1 3/4 cup of water.

Step 3 – Pour the corn starch mixture in to each muffin tin section , fill about half way, mix together with food coloring.

Step 4 – Have Fun.

Step 5 – Hose your children down before bringing them in the house.

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DIY Vintage Ruler Height Chart

by Juliemara

I’m big on tradition and memorabilia. I have fond memories of hunting though boxes in the basement looking for relics of the past. Toys from my Dad’s childhood, pictures from when my parents first met, a 1970’s Pyrex juice craft, crochet baby blankets that could have belonged to any one of my sisters or me. Sometimes I save things just so that my girls can find it one day, I call it organized hording. They probably won’t remember being a part of this project, but it’s one that when they are grown and it has been put away for a decade or so. I’ll pull it out and we will look at the dates and the tiny numbers, they’ll laugh at the though that they were ever under two feet tall and I’ll blink back the tears thinking how I couldn’t always tell them apart by only seeing the tops of their heads.

I discovered this DIY Vintage Ruler Height Chart project on Pinterest about a year ago, added it to my Kid Stuff board and hoped that one day I would create it before they outgrew it.

I did, and here’s how. I went to home depot and bought a pre – cut 6′ tall and 10″ wide board, a 220 grit sanding block, Minwax wood stain in Honey and a spray polyurethane top coat. At Micheal’s I got a large black paint pen.


I put a drop cloth under the board in case the stain dripped

After brushing on the stain with the paint brush, wipe it quickly with a clean cloth to even out the stain


Once i was done I realized there was an x in the wood, so I had to stain the other side


It took me three evenings to complete it, about two hours each evening. You can read a full tutorial on the project from the blogger who created it first here.



I love how it turned out.


I must say, this is one that I wish I had finished before they learn to stand on their own. According to their 9 month appointment they were 27 1/2inches, I could mark the chart but that would be lying and I would remember that I cheated every time I looked at it. So the first mark is from January 17th, 2012. the girls were 15 months old and 30 1/2 inches tall. Getting them to stand thier long enough to make the mark was quite a challenge, getting them to stand there long enough to take a picture in front of the chart, impossible. Heance the lack of the picture.

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Happy Purim – Chag Sameach

by Juliemara


The Girls nanny finished their Purim Costumes in the nick of time. Here’s my little double rainbow!

Chag Sameach – Happy Purim

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Favorite Find – DIY Clothes for Kids

by Juliemara

A quick background, I am a designer for Carters, the baby clothes company. Which means I draw tops and bottoms then I color them in. Specifically little boys swim trunks and matching rash guards, the coordinating hats, sunglasses and flip flops.


Then for the winter season I do the same with coats and cold weather accessories and shoes.
Yes, I have a really fun job. I color all day. Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that, but only a little. I’m sure you are imagining me like this…



but no, I do all my drawing and coloring on the computer.

Part of my job is to research new ideas and inspirations, in magazines, in stores, but mostly on line. Sometime I stumble across things that I love not just for inspiration for work but for being a great idea! The designer in me is always looking for fun ways to get my girls to think creatively and to create on their own.

I love getting ideas from two of my favorite bloggers who I follow Ashley Ann, who has five kids and created a whole studio just for creating and crafting with her kids.





And Joel, who has two kids and creates fun craft projects for his kids from items found mostly around the home.



Today I stumbled upon Gio Kit. It’s DIY clothes for kids. A garment with an outlined drawing and fabric markers. How fun!



It will be a little while before my girls are old enough to tackle this art project, but in the mean time they can practice on plain white t-shirts.

I’m ordering these markers and shirts from amazon today and will share their masterpieces with you soon

Don’t forget there is always a carters coupon link on the right side bar for you to print and use. If it is ever not updated please send me a message and I will update it or send you a coupon asap.
here are two current ones
20% off $40 or more
15% off everything
Please vote today and once everyday on Top Baby Blogs. The more votes I get the higher my ranking stays, help us be #1!
Thank you

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Busy Toddlers

by Juliemara




It’s no joke when people talk about toddlers being busy, they are non stop! Talia and Jordan are really good at doing activities. They will sit and patiently participate in any activity they are presented with for all of about three minutes. So if they are awake for 9 hours, eating for about 4 of them that leaves 5 hours for activities. Getting out of the house is always fun, there are plenty of places to go, the park, Target, grocery store, the mall, music class and story time. But I don’t like for the girls to be in the car all day. Between Yael (the girls nanny) and I, Talia and Jordan have a wide variety of activities that they do each week.


Some include coloring, finger painting (with paints or pudding), tracing, flash cards, stacking and sorting are a popular one. But five activities is about 20 minutes of playing, then what? Sit and watch TV, nope, don’t think so. Even that only lasts about five minutes. This is where Pinterest comes in. Enter “keep toddlers busy” into the Pinterest search bar or click here, and walla dozens of ideas for keeping toddlers busy. Here are some of my favorites I have come across recently and as these activities become appropriate for the girls we will do each one. And I will keep checking Pintrest and and my Toddler Busy Book for new ideas.

Get a kids to sweep up the mess they made by making it a game!I just need to get some cute kids size brooms!

This next activity was created by one of my favorite bloggers Young House love for their three year old. This can easily be homemade for about $20, just requires a trip to the hardware store. I do really like the neon touch they added to this one.


And while you are at the hardware store grab a few sets of paint swatches to create this fun matching game. The clothespins can be purchased at any craft store or Walmart for about $2.paint-swatch-matching-game


Have fun playing!


Please remember to vote for us for Top Baby Blogs, Thank you!


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Finger painting with pudding

by Juliemara


Toddlers are busy little people, they move from activity to activity in a blink of an eye and then back again. They get bored and fussy quickly so having a pocket full of activities to do on a moments notice is a must.

There are great go to activities like stacking blocks or the shape sorter that hold their interest for a few minutes, but to keep them occupied for a little longer try a yummy and fun new activity like finger painting with chocolate pudding.
This activity was introduced to me by my good friend who also has a one year old little girl.

I like to have the girls do really messy activities like this one in their highchair a, it helps to keep the mess contained.
Mix the pudding according to the package directions. Remove all clothing from your baby or toddler or clothe them in stuff that can get dirty. This is a very messy project. Tape a large piece of construction paper to the highchair tray.


Demonstrate with a small amount of pudding, how to use your finger to color the paper. Don’t lick your finger! Let them figure tht out on their own.



Happy painting

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Thanksgiving Day

by Juliemara

I love Thanksgiving, it’s probably my favorite holiday. 20121122-202628.jpg20121122-211013.jpg20121122-211029.jpg


20121122-211107.jpgI love it for several reasons, since its not a religious holiday there are no services to attend. It’s not that I mind the services, it’s just nice to get to spend the whole day off enjoying free time with family. And it’s a great excuse to dress babies up in their fancy dresses from Safta. They are from Zara (similar here).20121122-202357.jpg20121122-202651.jpg20121122-202603.jpg20121122-202416.jpg20121122-202758.jpg20121122-202738.jpg20121122-202428.jpg20121122-202453.jpg20121122-202618.jpgAnother reason Thanksgiving is a favorite of mine is because we spend it out in the country at my sister lake house, which is beautiful and relaxing and always one of my favorite places to be. OK, its not exactly out in the country, its more like a country club, but the town is far away from a big city. 20121122-202815.jpg20121122-202440.jpg20121122-202348.jpg20121122-202323.jpg20121122-202329.jpg

20121122-211018.jpgThen there is the fact that Thanksgiving is always within a week of my birthday, so I always get to celebrate my birthday with my family.

And last is the deserts! 20121122-202259.jpg20121122-202306.jpg20121122-202312.jpg20121122-211024.jpgI love pumpkin and pecan pie, whip cream in anything is perfect and there is always enough chocolate left over to last for days. The actual meal is always tasty too, but it’s the deserts that keep bringing me back each year.

So that’s a wrap for thanksgiving 2012, let the games be watched.
I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and spent it in company that you enjoyed. I hope you ate enough gravy to last you until next year and I hope that each day you remember that you can be thankful for the people who make your life special.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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A Birthday Party Favor

by Juliemara

1st_birthday_party1st_birthday_partyThinking of a birthday party favor for one year olds is not an easy task. It’s not like you can give them a bag of candy and send them on their way. I wanted to give the kids who came to Talia and Jordan’s first birthday something they could and would use, in some form now and to play with for years to come. My goal was to give the birthday party a vintage shabby chic theme I thought chalk boards, like the ones kids use to use in schools way back when would be a cute, fun, useful and theme appropriate gift. I found these really nice wood framed 5×7 chalk boards on Walmarts website,

but they were unavailable for order and I couldn’t find a Walmart in town that carried them. I’m sure if I had actually gone to Walmart to find them I could have eventually, but with early fall being my busy time at work I had no time to be diving around running errands of any kind. I made it an absolute goal in planing this party to order as much as possible online and have it delivered to my door.

Eventually I found these, faux (plastic)wood framed chalkboard sets complete with two piece of non-toxic chalk and an eraser from Oriental Trading, a dozen for under $10, perfect.


When they arrived, I understood why they were so, um, inexpensive. The faux wood was orange, very orange, it looked nothing like wood. But the party was in two days so I made due. I unpackaged the little chalkboards.

Used some twine and a handy glue gun to give them a rustic feel. I cut a piece of string about 10 inches long and glued each end to “back” of the top edge of the chalk board frame. These chalkboards are double sided so either side can be the back.


Then a friend helped me write all the kids names on the chalkboard signs. Thanks Teresa!


I created some cute little tags and tied them on with the chalk and the little sponge eraser.


I love how they came out. For an inexpensive but fun party favor I think they were perfect.

chalkboard_sign_favorchalkboard_sign_favorchalkboard_sign_favor If I had had more time I would have like to have painted the wood frames with the same heirloom white paint I did the dresser in. Next time.


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Birthday Party Pics!

by Juliemara

We celebrated the girls 1st birthday with a big party at our home yesterday with lot of family and friends. I worked really hard to create a beautiful scene for the party and my husband worked really hard to creat a beautiful and tasty food spread.   Everything was great and I am really happy with how it turned out. The girls had a great time and our new deck proved to be the ultimate party place, save for a few black and yellow striped friends that we could have done without it was a great afternoon.




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