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After the first year present debacle of no paint and having to photo copy my baby I really wanted some thing cute. We made foot print Christmas trees and hand and feet reindeer. My favourite is the Christmas tree. Cakes had her feet painted green with red toes. She then glued on a photo of herself I had turned into a colouring-in sheet on the Crayola website and a few Christmas stickers (I had intended on her gluing on wrapping paper pictures though never finished cutting them out, in fact I am still cutting them now a few years later). The reindeer we printed with brown paint (I used adult paint I got for free at Uni and didn't realise, she had brown feet for days and there was a brown ring around the bath tub until May), then she added googly eyes and a pom pom for a nose, a few reindeer eyes were a bit skewy but everyone was so please she had done it 'all by herself' (her favourite words for sometime).
One tradition we wanted to start with Cakes was the use of an advent calendar though somehow involving her in the making of the calendar. I had scoured the internet for a few hours (I had not stumbled across pinterest yet) and couldn't find anything we had all the resources for and had to come up with something myself. We had some cardboard lying around (much to Daddy's disgust) so we turned it into a Christmas tree.
After I had cut the two triangle shapes out Cakes painted them both green on all sides. She did a very good job for a 19month old. Then she decorated the tree with stickers. She loved taking the paper off the back and making them sticky more than putting them on the 'tree'.
I collected 24 small toys, lollies and books (This cost me about $10 with small packets of things separated across several days for her to collect the whole set) and wrapped them all in wrapping paper and loosely tied them all on with ribbon. The last thing we attached was Cakes's letter to Santa in the hope he would leave some presents and a letter in reply. Cakes picked pictures out of the toy catalogues (that I had saved from the June toy sales) and I cut them out for her to glue onto her letter.
Cakes took a few days to catch on that this was a daily thing. She didn't once ask to unwrap a second present (which was great because I really though she would). I was more excited than she was each morning to unwrap a present. The few days I had a sleep in Daddy let Cakes remind him about the present and he even remembered to take photos for me (which was very unexpected seeing he doesn't value photos). I was a little worried what would happen after we had finished all the presents, though she knew it was all over. I am assuming the day she got a few extra presents from here, there and everywhere (Christmas Day) was a nice big finale for her. Santa even left her a letter in reply to the collage and food she left for him. Hopefully he is just as friendly this year (provided he can find us, we will be away for Christmas day this year). We are going to use the 'tree' this year as our holiday tree, looking forward to Cakes decorating it.
Cakes's little Pixie friend was having A Very Hungry Caterpillar party for his first birthday. I really like to try match the theme with part of the present if possible. As I cannot knit or crochet I had to enlist Nanny into helping us create this super cute puppet. I stumbled across a great tutorial that my clever Mum was able to pick up and follow. Since Cakes was born, Nanny cannot help herself and constantly knits and crochets, so the one puppet I requested turned into 2 large puppets and 3 small ones. The small ones were for Cakes, her little pixie friend and Big Cousin H. The two large ones were for Aunty Weeze and myself (not that I am complaining). First Mum made the crochet hand pieces, eyes and noses. Then they found their way back to our house where Cakes and I traced some circles and my finger to make the faces and antenna. These puppets are still a hit in our household and Aunty Weeze and Cakes's little Pixie friend seem to also.
In a few weeks Cakes's little pixie friend will be having his first birthday. The theme of his party is a Very Hungry Caterpillar. As his main present is large and not theme related we thought we would make the wrapping paper to match the theme. As this book is a very loved book in our house it was no trouble convincing Cakes to use the theme for the wrapping paper. We spent about an hour in total setting up, painting and cleaning up. Cakes wanted to change hands frequently however this had no effect on how the caterpillar's turned out as the thumb is not included in any of the prints. For the face we painted her hand red with two purple fingers for the antennas and for the body we painted her hand green with four blue fingers. After some research (after we did the painting) I discovered that caterpillars actually have 16 legs and after they turn into a butterfly they have 6. So we had one set of legs not enough for each caterpillar. Although the illustrations in A Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle he only has 12 (well in some pictures it is 6 but seeing he is 2 dimensional I will assume it is 12). To add to the blank sections of the paper we stayed in the theme of the book with dots of colour though as I did not have a circle stamper nearby we used little cups to get some circle prints, with yellow and circles being Cakes two favourite things you can see that many yello circles were printed.
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With Cakes interest in colours extending into how secondary colours are made we needed to find an activity that allowed her to mix colours in her own ways. We usually buy fairly ordinary paper towel however this time the paper towel was on special and we got the good stuff. It was fantastic. Cakes did a great job of folding it, with one fold and a scrunch and a twist (it still worked fantastically). She took her time and concentrated on what she was doing and following my steps. I was very pleased that I was able to control myself and allow her to do it her own way.
Next she dipped it a corner in one corner and looked for confirmation she was able to double dip. We do lots of things with primary colours and I can be slightly controlling when it comes to the colours touching. As she dipped into the second colour there was lots of "ohhing and ahhhing" as she saw the colours change. "Look Mum, I did make Orange. Wif the yellow and Red. It is Orange" said Cakes. She did so many of these that we had to use the drying rack and the nearby floor. After many attempts she realised she could not make black, and the closest she could get was brown. The final product was many outstanding bright coloured paper towels. We used some to wrap a present for Cakes's Nagymama and a few butterflies for her room.
Cakes has been interested in shadows for sometime. We often stop and look at how our shadows are positioned and see how we can make them move (usually getting them to wave back at us). Cakes had noticed while on the trampoline that her shadow moved a bit funny when she jumped. "It taller me Mummy" she said, describing how it lengthened and didn't disconnect from her. This started a discussion about how our shadows do not like to leave us and are always attached. She became concerned once inside that her shadow didn't follow, this made for an interesting conversation about sunlight.
Once Cakes was standing still long enough I traced around her shadow. She thought it was brilliant that she could see the outline once she moved away. It then was my turn. With Cakes casting her own shadow on my shadow she became a little frustrated though in the end she was very happy with the outline she had created of me.
We both laid down in the outline to see if the shadow was a good representation of both of us. Cakes said "it little bit okay, but you too big for shadows". Good to know my shadow was a little smaller. We discussed the movement of the sun and how as it moved our shadows would grow and shrink and be cast in different directions. We used meal times as the time keepers so straight after lunch she wanted to see if the shadow had changed direction, it hadn't though our shadows became much much smaller. Again later in the day we made our way back out and the shadows had change direction. Often now she asks which way the shadow will face before we get outside and is pleasantly surprised every time.
We got these awesome shot glasses with a short stand for $2.50 for about 50 at Reverse Garbage a few months ago and never got around to using them. When looking for something different to use for our painting Cakes decided circle printing was what she wanted to do. She was very excited every time she made a print "Yay another circle". Even Grandad got in on the action.
Ever since Cakes played with the light table at the State Library of Queensland we have both wanted one of our own. With these things costing hundreds of dollars buying one was not an option. Making one however an option cost and time still came into it. I searched high and low for a small box with a flat lid that was see through for some time, until it occurred to me the acrylic on the real ones are slightly hazy and finally spent a whole $2.50 on a container at the Sams Wearhouse. I rushed home to try this with the christmas lights as I had already spent so much money I didn't want to spend any more (haha). Though this was extremely unsuccessful as the string holding it all together was too long and took up so much room there was nowhere for the light to reflect. So back off to the cheap shop we headed, in The Reject shop we found a set of three push lights (which I thought would be good for button games when Cakes is a little older) for $3.50 though I didn't like that they took AAA batteries so we travelled to the other two cheap shops in our shopping centre, Target and Kmart and nothing suited. Back home we went and left it again for another day. While at Soccer class (funded by the shopping centre) the following day back to The Reject shop we went.
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Cakes has been obsessed with colours well and truly before she could name them. She gave each of the primary colours it's own name using words already in her own vocabulary. With yellow being her favourite colour it was named "mine", red was given the name of "mummy" maybe because I always have a red can of coke and blue was named "Daddy" maybe because he has a blue drink bottle. To continue her exposure to colours and to allow constant access to paint it was necessary to contain it. Having seen paintless art on pinterest I thought it best to have this somewhere Cakes could always use it.
Finding a clear space in the games room I filled three sandwich bags with paint. One for each primary colour. Then I placed a small piece of white paper behind each one and using electrical tape I taped each one to the floor. The paper behind the bags allows the spaces created to show up in the paint much easier.
Cakes used her hand to smudge it, her finger, paddlepop sticks and cotton tips to make marks. We made squiggles, straight lines, shapes, letters, numbers and drew a few pictures also. This has now been set up on the floor for 6 months and is still used on a weekly basis. The only issues that have arisen is a small hole pierced in the yellow bag from overuse (nothing a little bit of sticky tape cannot fix).
Cakes enjoys art and makes lots at home, school and at any outing that allows it. Anything made at an outing or in a class is hung at her level in her room to spark conversation about what she has been involved in. This works well for all of us as she has a good memory and is able to recall (with visual prompting) great experiences and moments. This meant very few of her masterpieces were displayed for visitors to see. My husband discussed doing this for sometime (he hates any new project I suggest as I have so many unfinished at the moment) and he said if it was cheap and looked good the end of the hallway would be a good place. Now our house has many large Pearljam posters displayed in the hallway and this meant removing it and placing away (people said this would happen once we had children but I didn't believe them) which isn't a problem but felt wasteful. So down it came and the planning started. We initally chose using wooden clipboards spray painted though after much research the cheapest I could get them was $3.18 from Office works and then I would still need to buy paint. My husband liked these the best as we could clip any art on there even if it was 3D or bulky, howevre he was concerned this would become another unfinished project. In the interim I found A4 sized frames at Ikea for $2.49. So not only was I saving money I was saving myself on extra tasks. The plan is to add an art line above the frames at some stage for bulky pieces of art however that is yet to occur. Here is the final product, we are pretty happy with it though I find it hard to demote the art to add new art, maybe I should just get more frames.