Last night, Kinley and I made a Wendy's run for dinner because, after a long day of cleaning and reorganizing, even this SuperMom didn't feel like cooking. Why am I mentioning this, you ask? Because our trip to Wendy's was a drive on snow-covered, slushy roads. On March 29th. In Ohio. Enough already, Mother Nature. We need spring desperately. 


I realized this morning, as I was trimming SuperBaby's toenails, that I hadn't done any footprint art with her since Halloween. How am I supposed to remember how tiny and cute her feet are if we don't make footprint art?! 

When I was working at daycare, I made a binder full to the max with art projects and ideas, songs, and patterns for each of the 52 units I worked on with my Baby Bear class. Almost every unit has a footprint art project idea because footprint art is the only kind of art tiny babies can do, and everyone had to be involved in the action.


I know what you're thinking. Seriously, Cara? Another Easter egg wreath? 

Yes, it's true that it is another egg wreath, but this one is way different cause it uses hot glue. And plastic eggs. And doesn't involve any littles hollering cause they have glue stick on their fingers. This is a grown-ups only wreath, and it's easy and super cute, and even better, suuuuper cheap!

I know it looks like a million bucks, well at least $20, but it wound up costing less than $4. That is not a misprint. Haha.


I know you've been dying for another Big Adventure slide show since you finished reading my post about all the fun we had in Cincinnati, right? Well, good news friend. Kick off your shoes, grab some chips, and relax. I'll try to edit all 350 photos of our trip to the World's Coolest Science Center down to just a select few. ;)

CoSI stands for Center of Science and Industry, which means awesome place to play and hands-on-learn about a million different things at the same time. The building looks like a giant cement caterpillar to me and it's right in the heart of Downtown Columbus which gives it automatic cool points. I love driving down there with all the skyscrapers and honking...it's like a miniature version of my favorite city on Earth: CHICAGO.

Kinley and I met one of my best friends, Nicole, and her 2 year old nephew, Cameron, down there for an awesome field trip play date. I hadn't been to CoSI in over ten years, but Nicole goes all the time with the boys she nannies for and knew exactly where to take us. 

We went quickly through a few rooms, but I'm gonna focus on the best places for littles: Kidspace and Ocean.


I've been so inspired by all of the awesome spring and Easter art on Pinterest and No Time For Flashcards' link party. I have to admit, I was getting a little tired of green St. Paddy's Day art. With spring there are so many options--flowers, butterflies, sunshines, baby animals, and of course, everything Easter.

There are a ton of ideas floating around that use these adorable paint chip eggs and I thought Kinley and I definitely needed to get in on that free and cute action. 

Dave just happened to be making a run to Home Depot on Thursday, so Kinley and I invited ourselves along. When we got there, Dave went to go find his random screw and Kin and I headed over to the paint department.

I feel so guilty about taking paint chips. I mean, we do buy all of our paint there and it's definitely not cheap, so maybe the cost of the paint chips I take is built in to the cost of all of those gallons of paint? Just let me think that. It helps me sleep at night. ;)

So, picture us. I'm holding Kinley and handing her one paint chip after another until we have a whole beautiful stolen rainbow. She insists on holding them ALL, and squawks loudly when I take them to straighten them out, which luckily doesn't catch the attention of the paint guy. I grab one last paint chip to complete our collection and notice that Kinley is laughing and doing her charming beauty pageant wave over my shoulder. Uh oh. She has just made friends with the assistant manager. Story of my life. That should teach me to bring my daughter along when I'm stealing, right? Thank goodness SuperBaby is cute and her wave is so charming...the assistant manager just gave us a wave and a smile, no interrogation with a light shining in our eyes. This time.


It was one perfectly gorgeous day here in central Ohio. We went outside and enjoyed every minute of it, too. We went for a wagon walk around the block, played with Kinley's little pink car, blew bubbles, ate Popsicles on the front porch and took a nature walk around the yard. 

Kin was feeling brave today and touched the rough treebark, picked up sticks in the yard, laid on her tummy and caressed the still-dead grass, and ripped moss and dirt out of the ground with her tiny fingers and fingernails. As I was brushing the dirt off of her hands and saying, "Yuck. Yuck. Yuck." for the 12th time, I had a flashback to an art project involving mud that I used to have my daycare babies do and realized it would be the perfect project for my very own dirt-lovin' gal.

So, it's not real mud, it's way better. Delicious chocolate, super messy mud...pudding! 

Warning: Try this project indoors only if you are a mom who doesn't mind cleaning up extra giant messes as long as your tiny human has fun while making them. If this doesn't describe you, try this project when it's warm enough to turn the sprinkler on and have your kiddos work on it outside where they can hose the chocolate off without making a huge sticky mess in your house.

If you hadn't noticed already, I am the fun-messes-are-worth-it kind of momma, so we went for it!

Here is what you need:

4 googly eyes
Pink construction paper
Brown construction paper (we used a 12x12 sheet of brown cardstock)
Pink marker
Glue stick
A sugar-free chocolate pudding cup (sugar-free is much less sticky than regular, but use what you have.)

Cut out your pig stencil and trace it twice on your pink construction paper with pencil. Cut out the piggies, draw their snouts on with your pink marker, and glue them to your brown background paper.

Get your kiddo's paint shirt on, batten down the hatches, and plop some pudding right on the piggy paper. You may want to don safety goggles, because once toddlers figure out that paint is pudding, things get crazy really fast! 

K was completely covered, and couldn't have been any happier. She splashed in the pudding, and smushed the pudding between her fingers, and finally used the side of her hand like a squeegee to scrape off as much pudding as she could to transfer to her mouth. She had a blast!

I've learned from experience to wait until all the painting is done before sticking on the googly eyes, otherwise they just look like bumps under the pudding. I did this part for Kinley. You usually don't even need a glue stick if the pigs are good and covered with the sticky "mud."

Kinley tried to help clean up...

She may have missed a few spots.

I used to do this project every year during our farm unit, and aside from a few babies with sensory issues, all of the babies I took care of over the course of almost 7 years had fun with this one. The only drawback is that once they figure out that this paint tastes good, they try to eat every paint they come in contact with after this one...nothing like scraping black paint out of a whole bunch of unhappy little mouths. Good thing fingerpaint is non-toxic.

I've got another chocolate pudding paint project and a couple of butterscotch pudding paint projects up my sleeve, so if your kiddo likes this one, stay tuned.

Bonus, this project is sensory and art rolled into one super fun, super yummy mess! I hope you'll give it a try, it's totally worth the scrubbing, I promise. And another bonus, you won't be able to resist snuggling your slightly chocolate scented kiddo.

Have fun!!

P.S. My dad sent me the link to an article about the importance of sensory play...thought it was pretty interesting and wanted to pass it on to you: 


Oh my gosh! I am sure I'm not the only one who couldn't be happier that it's finally spring. I love the winter and snow and being cozy, but after months and months and months of snow and freezing, I always yearn for leaves on trees and flip flops. 

Plus, I am so sick of wrestling with coats and car seats I could scream. I read an article about how you're not supposed to put your kid in their car seat with a coat on, and after reading it I felt too guilty to ignore it. So since then, I put Kinley's coat on and take it off and repeat for every stop we make. 

Grrr. I. Hate. Coats.

We hosted my little sister's 20th birthday dinner at our house last night. Kinley and I blew up a few balloons for the front porch and went outside to tie them to the banister and she was the happiest little baby with the spring breeze ruffling her hair. When I took her back inside, though, she just stood at the door and screamed, cried real tears, and pointed her little finger outside. She was so sad that I gave in and took her back out on the porch to color Sam's birthday sign. Even Baby K has spring fever! 

So even though the forecast on our security system screen said 30% chance of snow, I decided no matter what we were working on a spring project today. Don't try to hold us down, Mother Nature. It's a waste of time. Out with the cold, in with the dew (just made that up, whaddya think? Haha)

Why not kickoff our spring celebration with a cute little yellow chick day? Kinley had sooo much fun putting this project together, which was probably due, in part, to the fact that she was allowed to stand on a chair again. She is so busy these days, my options are getting limited in the stay-in-one-spot-and-focus department. 

Here is your supply list for this craft:

A full sheet of yellow construction paper
A full sheet of green construction paper
A half or quarter sheet of orange paper (I had a scrap that had already been doodled on)
Green marker
Glue stick
2 googly eyes

I made a stencil for you with all the chick parts--beaks, legs, bodies, and wings. I will upload it ASAP. All you have to do is print it out, trace them on your colored paper and cut them out. I did the tracing and cutting while Kinley napped, but if your kiddo is learning to do these things, just let them take over those steps.

You'll need:
2 chick bodies
2 wings
2 sets of legs
2 beaks

I did a cool trick with the legs. Seeing it may be easier than an explanation:

So, I traced the leg pattern with the top of the leg on the crease of a piece of paper folded in half, cut them out, spread the legs apart a little and made a new crease. If you think this is too much, you can just cut two separate legs, I just thought having one piece to stick on instead of two would be helpful with Kinley's super short attention span.

Now, all of your stuff is ready. Let's get crafting!

Step 1. Use your green marker to color some blades of grass on your green paper.

Step 2. Glue all of your chick pieces to the grass paper. I put glue on the backs of everything for Kin and she had so much fun sticking them and resticking them.

The sticking things wherever she wanted was definitely her favorite part. Well, favorite part next to licking the glue off of the googly eyes. Blech.

Here's her finished product:

We were so inspired by our chick project, we decided to read a chick book for our mini circle time (just sign language flash cards, singing, and stories.) My aunt Lis sent Kinley some books that my adorable and super smart cousin Henry had outgrown, and this one was perfect for today:

The pictures are adorable and the story is pretty cute, too. It's about all the animals on the farm meeting the new little chick. They each tell him something that's so cute and little about him, and he tries to show them that the things they admire actually aren't cute and little, but so big. Perfect for spring and perfect for reading to kiddos who are in the "I'm not a baby, I'm a big kid!" phase. ;)

Kinley couldn't have been more proud of her abstract baby chick masterpiece! As soon as her daddy stepped in the door, she yelled, "DA!" and ran pointing to the cabinet where her picture is hanging. And when he told her what a great job she did, she insisted on standing on the counter and pointing to each chick part.

I haven't decided if tomorrow will be a flower day or a bunny day or a lamb day, but whatever I choose, it will have absolutely nothing to do with winter...yay, spring!


All of the details for making our favorite sensory bottles have moved over to our brand-new website! They are in a list of our top ten ultimate fave

See you over there!
xo Cara


Wow. What a completely terrible day. St. Patrick's Day 2014 was a complete bust, with the exception of our new play dough recipe. Everything else, not cool. 

We started the day with a torturous photo shoot. I don't know why I insist on continuing this tradition. Holiday photo shoots were great last year when I could just lay my sweet tiny baby on a blanket and she would just stay in one spot and coo and smile. This year, I have to wrestle my crazy toddler into festive clothes, put her someplace where she can't possibly get hurt or break something and then fake sneeze 42 times in order to get a semi-smile, all the while snapping 100 pics a minute, hoping when I look at them later there will be at least one that isn't a complete blur because she doesn't stop wiggling for even one second. I managed to get one today that wasn't completely blurry, and we turned it into a Facebook and Twitter message:

Speaking of Twitter, I'm trying it out. I feel like I need a mentor on that crazy network. I find myself googling everything that happens, like "What's a retweet?" and "What does 'promoted' mean?" It's a whole new world. I followed a few of my favorite celebrities, because it forced me to, and most are no longer my favorites. How do people have time to tweet every thought that enters their minds? And why do they want to? And, even more importantly, why would anyone want to read all of them? I have a feeling it's going to be a big fail for me.

Back to the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad St. Paddy's Day. I stuck my finger in my poor K's mouth on Sunday to see why she was drooling so much and also chewing on everything from hair bows to Little People, and found not one, not two, but THREE molars making their way through her tender gums. That not only explained the puppy-like chewing of everything in sight and the gallons of saliva pouring out of her mouth, but also explained the serious case of attitude she'd been rocking for the past few days. 

When I was checking on the status of those big mean teeth, I found that the extremely sharp tips had come through and her gums were really swollen. Poor little baby girl! Welp, there went all the plans I had for our day of Irish fun. 

She didn't want to color her leprechaun hat headband. She didn't want to dig around in green Jello. She didn't want to dance a jig all around the kitchen with her momma. The only things Kinley was interested in today were whining, getting snuggled, lime Kool-Aid play dough, splashing in the germy food water in the dishwasher door while I loaded it, and putting everything she could get her mitts on in the garbage (unfortunately, nothing gets in the way of this girl's love of throwing stuff away.) Oh, and did I mention whining?

Now that would be enough to make this St. Pat's a bust, right? Well, there's more. Dave and I have been excited about corned beef and cabbage for a week. We got all the stuff for it at Meijer yesterday and I put everything in the crockpot as soon as Kin and I got up today and set the timer for 8 hours--an hour longer than the recipe calls for, because we had a piece of meat a pound larger than recommended. With an hour left, I rushed around and cooked Kinley a different dinner (fish sticks, peas, green jello, rice pilaf and a smoothie) because she's been super picky lately and I didn't want to clean her portion of our Irish dream feast off the floor. 

So, I plated up K's food and called Dave in to cut the meat. He informed me as soon as he cut into it that it was not even close to being done. And the carrots were still crunchy. After eight hours. Apparently our super old crockpot had kicked the bucket. Perfect timing.

I sat down with Kinley so she would at least have some company while she ate dinner and tried to decide whether I felt more like crying or shot-putting the crockpot into the neighbor's yard. She happily munched on her fish sticks, ate two bites of pilaf and launched her plate, quickly followed by her smoothie, off of her tray. Wow. This day totally did not sham-rock. It didn't even sham-meh. 

My sweet husband ordered me off to take a hot shower while he cleaned up our Goo and the dishes and put our dinner in a pot on the stove to actually cook. What a day. At least we have Kool-Aid play dough, and that play dough just happens to be awesome.


Surprise! SuperMom is here with yet another green St. Patrick's Day craft. I keep hearing good feedback from the art project ideas so I keep putting them out there, but I hope I'm not boring you. Kinley, I'm pretty sure, is completely over all things Irish. Today, when I squirted fingerpaint on her art paper, she just starting screaming and pointing her finger at me, which I took to mean, "You CANNOT be serious, Mom! Do we not have any paint left other than green?!" And then she just whacked her hand on her paper a few times and tried to climb out of her high chair. Lucky for her, and you, there are only a couple of days and a couple of green projects left. Hang in there.
This project is really simple. I saw it on Pinterest a few weeks ago and had to try it with Baby Kinley. The link from the pin was broken (don't you hate when that happens,) but it seemed simple enough so I just went for it. 

All you need for this project is:
A green pepper (get one with three points on the bottom if you want a shamrock stamp, or four points if you want a four-leaf clover stamp)
Green paint
Scotch tape 

First things first, cut the pepper. The bottom part of the pepper is going to be your stamp, so you'll wanna leave it tall enough to grab on to. I cut mine down the middle to see what I was working with and decided to trim off a little bit more so the stamp would look more like a four leaf clover.
Squirt some green paint on a plate big enough for your stamp to fit. Now, dip your pepper in and make sure the whole cut edge is coated with green paint. The time has come to get your stamp on! 

Kinley had fun, but she got a little frustrated. It was hard for her slippery little fingers to pick the pepper up off the paper. It didn't help that the paint kind of made the stamp into a suction cup. I've been trying to think of ways to fix this problem and the only thing I've come up with is to make a handle somehow. My idea was to stick one of those Popsicle sticks that come in the DIY Popsicle molds into the bottom of the pepper. I'm not sure if it would slip out? I wish I would've come up with this solution while we were actually doing the craft, but of course it didn't come to me until a few hours later. If you think of a better idea or try the Popsicle stick thing, pass it on, please! :)
I sometimes feel like I am on a timed game show when I am doing art with my girl. Like the minute I get her art shirt on, the timer starts and I'm racing around and showing her what to do and constantly telling her what a good job she is doing and making sure she's not ingesting too much paint. A few moments of fun pass...and then she's completely over it and wants out of her paint shirt right this minute, and I've got approximately 3 seconds to get that green goop off of her fingers before she will make my naptime project wiping it off every surface within her reach. Wipe, wipe, wipe. Hug, congratulate, hug. Annnnnnnnd...TIME'S UP. Wipe sweat off brow and collapse on the couch to catch up on Grey's Anatomy. Well, dream of collapsing anyway. 
Her little smile when she's so proud of her art, that adorable giggle when she tries something new, and all the memories we have already made in the middle of these chaotic, nutso art projects make every pulse pounding second worth it. I'll be honest, I start planning the next one just as soon as one is done. That's the whole beauty of being a stay at home mom--projects and fun and spending every second soaking up my sweet messy baby time.
Here's her finished product:
If your artist is older, you could add stems or smiley faces or glitter...endless possibilities. 
Have fun, get creative and make some messy memories of your own! :) 

**UPDATE** My aunt Becky tried his project with her smallest cutie pants, Weston, and she said the handle method worked great!

My dad also came up with two new ideas for making the pepper easier to hold: cut finger holes out of the pepper -or- just cut the whole bottom off of the stamp to eliminate the suction cup effect.
Thanks, you guys!


My aunt Becky is a true SuperMom. She is my Yoda and Mr. Miyagi, my mentor and hero. She has been an amazing stay-at-home momma of 7 awesome kids for the past 18 years, during which time she has done countless crafts, kissed bajillions of boo-boos, home schooled, read thousands of stories, and cleaned more stains out of adorable outfits than she cares to remember, I'm sure. 
When I first became a momma, she passed on a laundry secret that she had only just recently accidentally found. That no-fail stain remover, miracle in a bar form, super cheap and super old school tip was Fels-Naptha. Becky originally bought the soap to make her own laundry soap (I told you she is amazing,) like the Duggars, but decided to try it on a particularly tough stain and, voila! Gone like magic. 
I've tried this stuff on every kind of stain--baby poop (anything that removes baby poop deserves it's own post, right?) berries, blood, chocolate, carpet stains, paint, you name it. It's even worked on a few stains that I didn't notice until they had already been washed and dried. It's seriously a miracle. And if you have a Kroger near you, it's in the laundry soap aisle for less than $3. I've been using the same bar at least once a week since my aunt Bea told me about it over a year ago. 
Wanna see it in action? Kinley just happened to smash some of her breakfast yogurt on her sweatpants this morning, which made me think to pass on this tip. Thanks, SuperBaby. I just buy her the organic french vanilla whole milk yogurt in the giant container and mix in different fresh or frozen fruits myself, which is usually handy and perfect, but on blueberry yogurt day she always manages to mush at least a couple of those super-stainy things on some part of her outfit.
So here's her breakfast pants:
I just keep a little square container in the bathroom at all times with a scrub brush and my bar of miracle soap. The only thing I do is get the stains wet under warm water and rub the bar vigorously on them until they are saturated with soap. Sometimes the stains change color, especially on white clothes, which seems like isn't a good sign, but I've never had one that changed color not come out, so don't panic.
Now, just plug up the sink and let your stained things soak with the soap all mushed in them. I find it requires less scrubbing if you use enough soap to make the soaking water murky, like this:
You can let it soak for as long as you want. I've left things for hours when I've gotten busy and forgotten about them, but I would say you probably wouldn't wanna do it any less than 30 minutes. When you get back, the water usually has a film on top. Not sure why, looks gross, but again, it's not a bad thing.
Just wring them out and take a peek. If you still see any staining, just repeat the process and this time scrub the stains with a nail brush or something like that before soaking again. These pants came out perfectly without extra scrubbing, which is usually the case. TA-DA!!
After you are satisfied that the stain has been obliterated, just throw them in the wash with everything else. Easy-peasy. 

Fels-Naptha has saved so many of Kinley's cute tiny little clothes over the months, it wouldn't be right to keep this miracle laundry secret to myself. I'm thinking about throwing a bar of it in every baby shower present I give from here on out. It's like my duty. Kind of like pay it forward in a poo/vom/blueberries removal way. 

Happy Stain-Fighting, Friend! 


Kiss me! I'm not Irish. But you would never guess that judging by how excited I get by all things green and rainbow-y, right? I just can't stop with the shamrocks and leprechauns this year. I've seriously got our whole St. Patrick's Day planned from top to bottom--food, activities, music. I'm a little holiday obsessed...just wait til Christmas!

After speed mopping the kitchen floor with a real mop for the first time in a month (after that long, the Swiffer is just wiping the dirt off the tile and into the grout), folding laundry, cleaning up endless toy messes, doing the dishes and making breakfast and lunch, I decided we needed a stress and, more importantly, mess-free activity. What better way to enjoy the sunshine from indoors where it's warm than to make a pretty suncatcher? 
Since Dave let me quit my job at daycare to stay home with our girl, I've felt like it's my duty to do everything on the cheap. I don't buy anything unless it's on sale or we have a coupon, and there is only one exception to that rule: Dollar Tree. I hadn't been in that store for years until I became a Pinterest addict and found all the great crafts that blogger geniuses had invented using only items from that store and a lot of imagination. So now when I go in there, I grab things that we can use in different ways for art and sensory time like pompoms, paper plates, doilies, and every single thing we used in this project! You read that correctly. The total cost of this beaut is $4 and it was worth at least double in fun value. :)

All you need is:
Rainbow colored tissue paper
Clear contact paper
Foam shamrocks (spontaneous addition, not in picture)
Clear packing tape

All I did to get started was cut a piece of contact paper to fit the window and stuck it to the window with the packing tape. Make sure your sticky side is facing out, not stuck to the window.

Next, I cut the tissue paper into squares. I just cut a strip about an inch and a half wide off the whole package of paper--you can see what I mean in the supplies picture. I didn't even use that whole chunk of paper. SuperBaby has a very short attention span and I didn't think we would need a ton of squares.

Time for Kinley to do her part: sticking!
She loved this even more than I thought she would. She got a thrill out of not only being allowed to stand on a chair (I stood behind her, of course,) but also being able to bang on the glass without getting hollered at. If I would've given her a handful of Garlic and Sea Salt Wavy Lays and a Sharpie, too, she would've been living a dream, I think.
I was trying to think of something that would put a little more Paddy in our project, and I remembered the shamrocks we used in our Shamrock Soup the other day. Kinley was thrilled to see those things again, and after tasting them, happily slammed those on the contact paper covered window, as well.
She stood up on that chair sticking the tissue paper on and peeling it back off, and repeating that process over and over for a good 45 minutes...wayyyy longer than I thought.
Here's her finished product:

I think when St. Patrick's Day (more like month around our house) is finally over, I'm gonna stick a piece of construction paper on top of her suncatcher so I can put it in her portfolio. Yes, she has a legit portfolio, thanks to my incredible Aunt Lis! At the rate we are going, she's going to need two or three of them by next year. :)
More Irish crafts coming tomorrow...same green time, same green channel.

Side note--we were listening to iTunes Radio again today, and I noticed that they added a new festive station called ShamROCK Radio. I clicked on it, of course. Irish Rock has got to be some of the best pounding-tissue-paper-on-windows music I've ever heard, however, after giving the lyrics a closer listen, you probably don't want to play this one with kids around who may repeat anything they hear. Yikes. It was definitely authentic pub music...gave me the urge to order a pint and punch somebody or break a chair. Maybe that kind of thing would get your family's creative juices flowing, but here at the House of Huff, we are gonna stick to the St. Paddy's Day Party station. :)