Nov 28, 2011

Christmas Countdown Board

You probably didn't see this, but about a week or two ago I guest posted on Sugar Bee Crafts. (exciting!) So, I am reposted my project for all my favorite readers! and you get to know a little tidbit about me too...bonus!

Hey everyone! This is Jen from lil Mop Top. As you can assume, I am super excited to be guest posting today at Sugar Bee Crafts. {yay!!} So before I show you to make a Christmas Countdown Board for your own family, let me tell you a bit about myself.

I am lucky enough to be married to my best-friend, Brad, and we have two precious baby boys. (I can call them babies forever, right?!). John John turns 3 next month (be sure to check out his birthday party on my blog cute!) and Matty B is 16 months. They are both the sweetest and cutest boys EVER! I was a high school math teacher for 8 years and decided to stay home with the boys when Matthew was born...and I am LOVING it!

I am always gathering ideas around the internet to do activities and fun stuff with the boys, so my Christmas Countdown Board is perfect for our family. I used library card pockets and library cards to make a different activity each day for us to do in December as we countdown to Christmas. Here is how I made mine, but of course you can vary this in so many ways to fit you perfectly!

All of the supplies I had around the house so you could do this project for 'free' using things around your house.

First I took a thick black poster board and painted it white. I wanted it to look a little distressed so I painted it unevenly because I didn't know if I could sand poster board. (Hind sight, I wish I had painted this green or red, but too late now!)

While the paint was drying, I used Christmas scrapbook paper to cut out small pieces of paper to cover some card pockets I had in my stash. I cut each piece 3.5"x2.5" but you would have to cut yours to size.

Then glue a piece of cut paper to the front of each card pocket. My favorite helper (Brad) glued while I stuck the paper on which made this part of the project take about 1 minute.

Then I printed and cut the library cards.

Once the paint on the board was dry, I laid out the cards how I wanted them (eyeballing my spacing because I am too lazy to get out a ruler and do the math...but I COULD do the math if I wanted because, remember, I was a math teacher!) Then I stuck the card pockets on the board (they were the self-adhesive kind...awesome!).

This looked pretty plain the way it was and I didn't have an actual frame to put this in. So, I found a spot in the house where I had a mirror hanging above a painted dresser. (My sisters painted the dresser and I love it! Check out their blog, Refreshingly Chic).

I used tape to hang the the board on the mirror so it looked like it was being framed. Right now I don't have my holiday decorations out, but it will look super cute when I get all my junk out of the attic. :)

Like I said, this is very easy to vary to put your own creative spin on it. I thought about making it into a banner for the mantel, but since the boys are so young, I didn't want them pulling it down. If you have 25 Christmas books, it would be SO cute to put a card pocket in each book and the kids pick a new book each day and the card has the activity for the day after reading it. I bet you can come up with something really cute!

I have a document HERE with the library cards with my activities (I found most of them at various sites such as The Activity Mom) and I also have a blank library card HERE if you want to add in your own activities.

Thanks again to Mandy for letting me invade her space at Sugar Bee Crafts! Be sure to stop by my blog at lil Mop Top where you can find a variety of fun crafts such as...

Easy Fabric Roads:

Cozy Flannel Blanket:

and lots of ideas for learning activities/lessons for toddlers such a feeding Cookie Monster during our baking themed week:

Please be a fan of lil Mop Top on facebook!!

Nov 14, 2011

Unique Wedding Present- Deep in the Heart of Texas

Over the summmer, Brad and I were lucky to be able to attend a wedding of our friends, Chad and Caitlin. We had a great weekend with all our friends celebrating the newlyweds in Austin. I FINALLY finished their present over the weekend and I LOVE how it turned out! More importantly, Chad and Cait Cait loved it too!

Not to toot my own horn, but they did say it was one of the best gifts they got. (toot toot!) This sign was about 12x14 so it was a good size for displaying at their house. I used the same steps as when I made the Family Tree Subway Art poster for Brad.

Please be a fan of lil Mop Top on facebook!! I link up to these parties!

Nov 8, 2011

Toddler Art Tuesday - Leaf Wreath

Now that we are past Halloween, I will be doing fall and Thanksgiving activities with the boys in tot school. So, our toddler art date with my sweet nieces was to make leaf wreaths.

We first took a walk down the street to hunt for leaves. The older kids used pumpkin buckets while the younger kiddos took a ride in the wagon (pulled by strong boy John!). It was so nice to be able to do something outside for a little while!

Then we took our treasures inside where I had cut the center of paper plates out to make paper wreaths. I mixed up brown paint and glue for John and Bella to paint the wreaths. While the paint/glue mixture was still wet, they attached their pretty leaves. I was surprised the leaves actually stuck to the wreath but the glue/paint mixture actually worked!

I think they had a good time with this project and their wreaths are simply gorgeous. :)

Please be a fan of lil Mop Top on facebook!! I link up to these parties!

Nov 2, 2011

Look What I Got!!!

About two months ago, I was so excited when I got all these goodies shipped right to my doorstep:

This was sent to me from the sweet sweet people at Thanks guys!! There are so many fun things I can use these craft materials for so I am super excited! I happened to go shopping at Walmart after getting this box and they have a whole big aisle of craft stuff that would be perfect for those at-home craft projects. You should check it out!

The first item I used was the finger paints for a quick painting session with Matthew. He really enjoyed the painting and REALLY enjoyed putting the containers in and out of the packaging. I wish the paint was a tad thicker (it was more gel like so it doesn't have a super saturated color) but it washes nice and clean off clothes which is really important to me with messy boys!

Isn't his artwork pretty?!

Stay tuned for some more projects that we have done using these items! And be sure to check out for even more crafty goodness!

**Remember, I got this package of stuff for free from Everything I am writing (or will write) is my opinion on the products!**

Please be a fan of lil Mop Top on facebook!! I link up to these parties!

Nov 1, 2011

Toddler Art Tuesday - magazine collage

Last week I did an impromptu craft with the boys. I took a Pottery Barn Kids catalog and used it to cut out pictures from their Halloween section. Then each boy got a sheet of colored paper and a cup of glue with a q-tip. John was able to mostly glue his pieces on his own (great practice in fine motor skills!) but I obviously had to help Matthew glue his pieces.

Matthew actually did really well with putting the paper glue side down on his paper...even though he kept trying to pull the pieces back off.

Here are the finished products:



This was really easy and a great way to reuse all those catalogs that show up at your house! I am already saving the pages with Christmas pictures. :)

Please be a fan of lil Mop Top on facebook!! I link up to these parties!