Fairy Doors and Gnome Doors (#2)

After making a fairy door out of sticks and hiding it in our neighbor’s garden last Summer, L and I thought we’d spread the fairy love a little farther this year…we’ve been making FAIRY DOORS and GNOME DOORS and hiding them all around town! It’s so much fun surprising the young and the old — just imagine the look on anyone’s face when they’re out in the garden and suddenly discover a teeny, tiny door that wasn’t there before. Ha! These fairy doors are so simple to make and all you need is rocks, paint and clear sealant (which is optional). To draw a little more attention to the fairy doors, we like to leave a tiny button or painted rock trail as well.


Materials needed:

  • medium-sized rocks
  • acrylic paints
  • clear sealant spray (optional)

After cleaning any dirt off your rock, start by painting on a door.

Next, add some windows, if you have room.

If adding any glitter paint, apply that next. We like to paint a little glitter over our windows.

Next, outline the door and windows carefully with black paint. Add a doorknob as well.



Now for my favorite part, paint connecting black lines on the rock, resembling a stone wall.

If you’d like to add a flower pot or lil window box, add one now.

Finally, finish with some green vines, leaves, and flower details.


Once all your paint is dry, you can spray the rocks with a coat of clear sealant to make the fairy doors even more weather resistant. Permanent paint usually doesn’t wash away, but I always like to add a coat of sealant just in case.

Now for the real fun…time to hide your fairy doors and gnome doors. (Gnome doors go on trees, generally speaking.)



I like making some of our fairy doors to resemble our neighbor’s front porches and gardens…







See also this DIY for fairy furniture!


Fizzy Ice Chalk Fun

After we made “Homemade Sidewalk Chalk” the other day, I couldn’t wait to make some FIZZY ICE CHALK as well! I looked around online and found all kinds of recipes and methods for ice-chalk and fizzy or erupting ice-chalk. L and I experimented and tried all the tricks…we added some of our own variations, and I’m happy to share those that worked best! I suggest making FIZZY ICE CHALK in the morning on a hot summer day, let it set-up for a few hours, and bring it outside to play with in the afternoon. We have a few batches sitting in our freezer right now, just waiting for a lull in the action so we can bring it outside to play with again. This time we made lots so there’d be plenty for the neighborhood kids to play with as well! We can’t wait!


Materials needed:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • food coloring (or tempera paint)
  • 1 cup water
  • measuring cup
  • silicone molds (or ice tray)
  • spoon
  • toothpicks
  • vinegar
  • spray bottle, squirt bottle, or infant medicine dropper

Using a measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup cornstarch with 1/2 cup baking soda. Mix together with a fork or spoon.

Add 1 cup water and mix gently, but thoroughly.

Next, carefully pour your mixture into the silicone molds or into your ice tray. If you don’t have either available, you could use paper cups as well!

Add a few drops of food coloring or a squirt of tempera paint to each mold. (We tried both…the food coloring mixed better, but both worked fine!)


Using toothpicks, carefully mix each color.


Put the molds into the freezer for a few hours, til they set-up completely.

Before bringing the ice chalk out to play with, prepare your vinegar. You can put it into spray bottles, into squirt bottles (empty dish soap bottles work great), or pour the vinegar into small cups paired with a medicine dropper. All are great for little hands and developing motor skills…L’s favorite is the medicine dropper method!

After the ice chalk is thoroughly frozen, bring it outside to play! One page online suggested painting the sidewalk first with water…we tried it, but didn’t see much benefit in having the pavement wet. We had more fun coloring with the chalk on dry pavement! Experiment with it though…see what works for you!







After the kids are finished coloring (if they can wait that long!), it’s time to bring out the vinegar. Spray or squirt the vinegar onto the ice-chalk and the ice-chalk pictures to watch it sizzle, fizz and erupt! This is definitely everyone’s favorite part!



Take a moment to talk to your kids about chemical reactions and the result of a base (the baking soda) and an acid (the vinegar) coming together. L always likes to taste how salty the baking soda is compared to the sour smell of the vinegar. Summer science fun…I just love it! Enjoy!!!

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk

Making SIDEWALK CHALK is so fun and easy, I doubt we’ll ever buy it from a store again! I’ve seen multiple DIYs on making chalk, but they all seem to use toilet paper rolls lined with wax paper or foil…some big complicated mess. I decided to use our silicone molds (the ones we only use for crafts) and the chalk popped out easily, plus it took on some fun and funky shapes! HOMEMADE SIDEWALK CHALK can be made in less than 10 minutes, but it takes 2-3 days to set completely…so give yourself plenty of time!


Materials needed:

  • Plaster of Paris
  • tempera paints
  • water
  • silicone molds
  • paper or plastic cups
  • plastic spoons or craft sticks

First, protect your working area with some newspaper.

The recipe for sidewalk chalk is pretty simple: 50% plaster of paris, 50% liquid (water + paint).

You can measure it out precisely: 1 cup plaster, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup paint; or you can do what we did and just “eye ball” it.

Fill up your disposable cups about halfway with plaster.

Add a good squirt of paint.

Then add water. And mix.


Once you have all your chalk mixed up, carefully pour it into the silicone molds.

If you want to mix colors, making a funky tie-dye effect, fill your mold about halfway with one color. Then carefully pour other colors on top.

Set your sidewalk chalk aside for a full day to dry. I suggest placing it near an air vent in your house to speed up the process.



After a day has passed and the chalk looks dry, gently flip the molds over and release the chalk onto some wax paper. (If the chalk is still moist, you can try drying the chalk with a hair dryer too.)

Once the chalk has been removed from the molds, put it aside for another day or two for the chalk to set-up and dry completely. (As you can see, our yellow mixture may have been a little too moist on our first try…it was still sticky when we took it out of the molds. We let the yellow dry for a day longer than the rest, and it colored just fine!)

Now, time to play!!! Aren’t the colors beautiful? Brighter than any sidewalk chalk I’ve ever seen!






DIY Pocket Parachute

What kid doesn’t love throwing a toy parachute around?!! And what parent doesn’t love a toy that costs nothing, takes less than 5 minutes to make, and entertains your kids for hours on end?!! I made this DIY POCKET PARACHUTE for L on a rainy day last week…as soon as there was a break in the weather, we were out the door throwing the parachute all around town. L dropped the parachute off the steps of the old courthouse, a church, the library, a little pavilion stage, and she climbed up a tree and dropped it down as well. This pocket parachute is so simple, so easy, and so much fun!!!




Materials needed:

  • plastic bag
  • food pouch cap
  • string
  • scissors
  • an awl (or screwdriver)

If you don’t have a food pouch cap, a toy wheel, some safety pins, paper clips or a wine cork could be used as well…get creative with what you have on hand!

First, cut the plastic bag into a square at least 12×12 inches.

Cut your string into 4 equal pieces, all approximately 15 inches long.

Using the awl, carefully poke a hole through the center of the food pouch cap.

Also, poke holes into each corner of the square you cut from the plastic bag. Make each hole 1/2 an inch from the edges.

Tie a piece of string onto each corner, using a double knot.


Next, gather all the strings together and tie them together with one overhand knot, about 3 inches from the end.


Thread two of the strings through the center of the food pouch cap and thread the other two through the side. Tie the ends together with a double knot.


Too easy, right? Now time to play!!! It’s just as much fun trying to catch the parachute as it is to throw it!








If your kids are older, they can experiment by making various parachutes…some out of bigger pieces of plastic, longer strings and cutting a hole in the center parachute as well. Enjoy!!!

Patricia Polacco’s THUNDER CAKE RECIPE

“Grandma looked at the horizon, drew a deep breath and said, ‘This is Thunder Cake baking weather, all right. Looks like a storm coming to me.'”


If you haven’t read the book “Thunder Cake” by Patricia Polacco, get yourself to the library or a local book store and get your hands on a copy pronto…you and your kids will love it! The story centers around the author and her grandmother (her Babushka) and the summer storms she feared as a little girl, at her grandmother’s farm in Michigan. I’ve loved reading this book ever since I was a little girl and now L adores it as well.

With the summer heat and thunderstorms we’ve been having lately, I decided it was definitely time to try our hand at baking some real Thunder Cake for ourselves! It’s fun to make memories with your little ones and read this book as your Thunder Cake is baking in the oven…the perfect activity for a lazy, stormy, summer afternoon. It really seems like magic to smell the chocolaty cake baking in your own home as the little girl and her Babushka are putting theirs into the oven as well!

The recipe calls for 1 cup of shortening; we used what we had — 2 sticks of butter  — and the result was still wonderful! With the secret ingredient of pureed tomatoes, the flavor of this chocolate cake is very unique, but very moist and delectable as well. I suggest serving your Thunder Cake with extra strawberries…they pair so well with the hint of tomato and make the desert complete!

As instructed in the book:

Cream together, one at a time…

  • 1 cup shortening (or 2 sticks of softened butter)
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs, separated (Blend yolks in. Beat whites until they are stiff, then fold in after the tomatoes.)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup fresh, pureed tomatoes

Sift together…

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (We used all-purpose, Gluten Free flour.)
  • 1/2 cup dry cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix dry mixture into creamy mixture.
Bake in two greased and floured 8 1/2-inch round pans at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Frost with chocolate butter frosting. Top with strawberries.


We used this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe because I had all the ingredients on hand and it was quick and easy. Feel free to use your favorite chocolate buttercream recipe in its place!


Polacco, Patricia. “Thunder Cake.” New York: Scholastic Inc., 1990. Print.


Glow-in-the-Dark Bath

A couple weeks ago L and I walked down the street to check out a kids’ festival going on in town. Our favorite part was some “Glow-in-the-Dark Yoga” going on at a local yoga studio. While the kids danced and froze into yoga poses with their glow bracelets on, the skies opened up into a torrential downpour outside. (I thought we’d need a canoe to get home.) Of course L and I embraced mother nature as we danced and splashed the whole way home. Cold and muddy, our next stop was a hot and soapy bath…with the lights off and our glow bracelets still on!!! It was silly, but so cool…I don’t know why I never thought of it before!


While lil ones love the idea of glow sticks, our kids are rarely up late enough to play with them in the dark. Turning the lights off at bath time and adding some glow sticks and glow bracelets to the water is perfect! Glow sticks only cost $1 to $2 dollars for a pack of 5-10.

Many bathrooms don’t have windows, so a glow-in-the-dark bath can be done at any time of day.


Make sure you keep an eye on your children while taking a glow bath, many glow sticks suggest kids be at least 8 years old to play with them. You definitely want to make sure your little teethers keep them out of their mouths!


You can even add some “glow-in-the-dark bottles” to the mix as well! Enjoy!!!