{Mama Pea Pod Necklace - Giveaway!}

Sweet Peas in a Pod Necklace

I recently passed the 300 Facebook 'likers' mark - quite a milestone for little old me! To celebrate and to show my appreciation, I wanted to have a special giveaway. But first, let me tell you how I found this beautiful gift.

A couple of months ago, just as I was preparing to go back to work full time and feeling very sorry for myself about having to leave my little peas all day long, I came across this featured guest post at Delicate Construction. The guest being featured was Amy of One Artsy Mama. I clicked on over to her blog and immediately noticed this picture of a pea pod necklace from her etsy store.

Well, of course I fell in love with it immediately and needed to have it! (I am Mama Pea Pod after all, right?) And I thought it would be the perfect way for me to 'hold onto' my little peas all day long throughout my workday.

So I ordered myself one to try to cheer myself up. It arrived very quickly (shocking for the Hungarian postal service! And even unopened!), all wrapped up very sweetly. I was so excited to get it; I just LOVE it!

In fact, I'm going to order the matching earrings for myself and another necklace for a friend for Christmas (ssshhh, don't tell!). The prices are super reasonable and One Artsy Mama even offers free shipping to select countries!

So when it came time for an extra special giveaway, what better way to show my appreciation?

** Lovely Amy kindly agreed to let me host a giveaway of one of her beautiful jewellry pieces for Mama Pea Pod readers! If you win, you can choose a piece for yourself (or as a gift? Holiday season is coming soon, you know!).

All you need to do to enter is visit the One Artsy Mama Etsy store, browse around, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which piece you would like to win.

(If you'd like to also follow us, please feel free, but it's not mandatory for entry and will not increase your chances of winning. If should choose to, however, you can follow One Artsy Mama on GFC, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, and you can follow Mama Pea Pod on GFC on the sidebar, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.)

Now, because this came about because of reaching a milestone for my facebook page, I also want to show you that I 'like' you too! So if you have a facebook page of your own, please leave the link with your comment and I will 'like' every page linked here, too (if I haven't already).
The winner of the giveaway will be selected randomly through Random.org.

If you'd like additional entries, you can mention this giveaway on twitter or write a blog post linking to it. Please come back and leave a separate comment for each entry (and a link to your post).

Contest is open to US/Canadian/Hungarian addresses. Contest closes November 6th, 2011, 11:59pm GMT+1.


{Last Minute Halloween Craft: Little Monsters!}

I've been meaning to write this post for weeks as we made these early in the school year, and I haven't gotten around to it 'til now, but here it is - JUST in time for a last-minute Halloween craft. No worries, though, as you most definitely have everything you need to do this in your house right now!

We made these ones in my first grade EAL class. The kids LOVED making them (and the 4th and 5th graders were quite envious when they saw them in my classroom!).

They couldn't be easier to do. All you need is a cardboard box from the recycling bin (we used mostly tissue boxes and cereal boxes); some paint (or you could wrap them with paper instead); bottle caps; googly eyes if you have them (but no worries if you don't, we ran out and the second group just used markers instead); various craft odds and ends (we used pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, bits of craft foam, buttons, and yarn); and some kind of glue (some kids used glue sticks, others used white glue).

Hand all these supplies over to your kids and tell them to make a monster! That's it! (I did have to show them how to poke the pipe cleaners into the box by stabbing a hole through first with a sharp pencil. The boys especially loved doing that part!)

(If you're wondering what all this had to do with EAL, we were learning body parts and they used them to make comparisons between their own body parts and their monters'!)

last minute halloween craft little monsters paper box

Pretty cute, aren't they?

For more ideas for what to do with a tissue box, see the Tissue Box Challenge at JDaniel4'sMom!

For more seasonal inspiration, see my Halloween and Fall pin board.


May contain affiliate link. 

{Outdoor Play Linky Party is Back!}

Yay! We're back! Use the share buttons below to spread the word, invite others, and come link up your ideas for getting your kids to PLAY OUTDOORS!

We have a new cohost joining us, Kierna from Learning for Life, so be sure to drop by and say hello to her. She teaches in a wonderfully enlightened preschool where the kids go outside to play in any kind of weather. As their motto says, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather!"

Abbie of Greening Sam and Avery is back, too. If you haven't visited this green mama before, do pop over and see how she is raising her two sweet girls to appreciate nature and the outdoors.

We also have a new Outdoor Play Party Pinterest board, where we will be pinning all the great ideas submitted!

So, why do we want you to get your child PLAYING OUTDOORS? Read this for some great reasons!

My own girls have been loving playing in and with the Autumn leaves! Before the weather turned cold, they spent many days gathering them up from all around the garden and making their own sensory play experience - crunching and crumbling the dry leaves in their hands, listening to and trying to imitate the sound they made.

We brought some inside and Sweet Pea made a leaf collage - her first time using glue! 
(She was so proud to be allowed to use her big sister's glue stick!)

Then Sweet Pea and I went out on our own for a leaf hunt. 
The idea was to find some leaves to use for making rubbings ...

but instead it led to the discovery of three large mud puddles!

She was most interested in the leaves that were in the mud puddles 
(and fascinated when one fell off the tree in front of her and landed right on her playing in the puddle).

And pretty soon the 'leaf hunt' turned into 'play in the mud puddles' instead!
What fun she had splashing and swishing the leaves around!

The leaf rubbings will have to wait until another day.

How did your kids play outdoors this week?

Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every week! Here’s just a few guidelines for sharing.

  • Any kind of children's outdoor play is welcome. If it happened outside, then please link it up!
  • Please do not share any competitions, promotions, or posts that are not related to Outdoor Play.
  • Please remember to link back to this post and help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! You can grab my button from the sidebar. 
  • Each week we will feature an activity from the previous week. By contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished.


PS - Sadly, Kate from An Amazing Child is no longer blogging, but we hope she will be back again someday to share her wonderful inspiration with us all.

Linking to: Living and Learning Now, 1000 Homes of Happiness

{5-A-Day Books: Fall Break}

Our 5-A-Day Books plan definitely fell by the wayside a while back. But this week we are on Fall Break from school, so once again I get to spend all day long with my little peas for a whole week. So I thought I'd try to do 5-A-Day Books for this week at least, with no plans to try to keep it up after I go back next week - trying to set realistic expectations here!

Since Princess Pea does not have Fall Break at her preschool, I'm planning to do it just with Sweet Pea (now aged 19 months), and if Princess Pea is around for some of the readings, all the better.

So this week I've selected books with Sweet Pea in mind:

Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr is a fun Thanksgiving-themed book that we got out from the school library.

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri is another Fall book that we got from the school library. It's a great discussion starter about the Autumn season and hibernation (for Princess Pea more than Sweet Pea). And there's a fun little squirrel to find in the background on each page. Both girls love it!

Night-Night, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton is a favourite in our house and we've had it on our 5-A-Day list before I'm sure. But we haven't read it in a while, so I thought I'd throw it in there for some rhyming good fun.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. has also been on the list before (I think twice) but somehow always gets left by the wayside.

And finally, 'Nyuszi Almos' ('Sleepy Bunny') by Julia Donaldson for our Hungarian story of the week. I don't actually know this book at all in English, but anything by Julia Donaldson is brilliant. And it's a lift-the-flap book which Sweet Pea loves. Daddy will be in charge of reading this one :-)


Linking to: 5-A-Day Books

{Outdoor Play Linky: Coming Soon!}

Brought to you by:

I'm very pleased to announce that the Outdoor Play Party will be making a comeback very soon! We have a new logo, a new cohost, and we're getting pumped to see all the new outdoor play ideas that you have to share with us! So stay tuned....


{Jelly Monsters}

*Update: ^^^ This year (2013) we made them using silicone cupcake cases and store-bought candy eyes. Cute, aren't they?

Last week Princess Pea and I made jelly monsters for a special dessert!  

halloween treat jelly monsters jello

I made a double-pack of green jello in a large, rectangular dish. Then I cut it into rectangular blocks with a knife, but left the blocks in the dish (not sure if it might have been better to take them out first, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to get them out at all without breaking them, so I thought we'd better make the monsters first so Princess Pea wouldn't be disappointed if it didn't work out and she couldn't do the monster part.)

We used tubes of black, purple, and orange gel icing to make monster faces on each block, and little balls for cake decorating as the eyeballs. The purple gel icing didn't turn out very well, though, and looked green against the green jello.

We were able to get them out (mostly) without breaking by taking out the corner block first to make space to get a wide spatula in there, then very carefully taking out each block.

The icing tasted gross, but it was fun to do and the green jello was delicious! (I'd forgotten just how yummy jello is!) And, of course, the kids thought they were hilarious! (Sweet Pea enjoyed smushing hers all up and eating the green goop with her hands! She does always love to play with her food!)

Looking for more seasonal inspiration? Check out my Halloween and Fall pin board.


This post may contain affiliate links. 

{Googly Eye Stick Monster}

halloween creative kid-led monster craft googly eyes

Every kid loves googly eyes! This is as true of my 5th grader students as it is of my preschooler at home!

Working with googly eyes makes for great fine motor skills practice for preschoolers - they are small and fiddly and not easy to glue on. Princess Pea usually gets easily frustrated with fine motor tasks. But there's something inherently motivating about googly eyes!

As I was working with Sweet Pea on her Jack-o-Lantern Suncatcher, Princess Pea was busy by herself with some popsicle sticks.

And here is her creation - a googly-eyed monster! I was quite impressed that she did this completely independently - from getting out the supplies of her choice to deciding what to make with them, to attaching all the pieces together!

The only input she had from me was when she asked me to choose how many eyes the monster should have - I said 5 but it ended up with 8 anyway! (Lol! Perhaps we need to do some more preschool math play!)

More Halloween fun posts! And even more seasonal inspiration is available on my Halloween & Fall pin board.


This post may include affiliates links. 

{Pumpkin Decorating with Gel Window Stickers}

pumpkin decorating toddlers gel stickers

Looking for a super simple, alternative way to decorate pumpkins with babies, toddlers, or preschoolers that are too young to carve jack-o-lanterns? (Or maybe just to try something different?)

After our little peas decorated the windows for Halloween with these fun gel window stickers, they decided they wanted to transfer some of them to a pumpkin instead! Easy enough for even the youngest of peas!

And these gel window stickers are so fun to touch and play with, they make for a great sensory experience to boot!

Looking for more Halloween fun ideas?

And be sure to check out my Halloween & Fall pin board, too, for more seasonal inspiration.


This post contains affiliates links. 

{Pumpkin Suncatcher Jack-O-Lantern Play}

*Be sure to check out all the Halloween fun we have for you!

halloween pumpkin jack-o-lantern play sun catcher

These jack-o-lantern suncatchers are so easy to make that our 19 month old made this one, and it even has moveable parts so that the face can be re-made as many times as she likes!

draw a pumpkin shape on black craft foam

First I drew a pumpkin shape outline onto black craft foam...

cut out the foam pumpkin shape

.... and cut it out.

tape contact paper to the table

Then I cut a piece of contact paper (the sticky-backed, clear plastic stuff you put on book covers) and taped it sticky side up onto the table to hold it in place.

(I can't remember where I first got the idea of using contact paper from, but there are some lovely contact paper craft ideas here, and here. You could also do a laminated version instead.)

young child making a tissue paper sun catcher craft

Then Sweet Pea and I tore up some orange crepe paper into small pieces (she loved helping with this!). Tissue paper works too, but crepe paper is thicker so makes a more vibrant orange colour.

orange tissue paper sun catcher

Then Sweet Pea covered the whole contact sheet with pieces of the orange crepe paper. I had to fill in a few holes at the end, but otherwise she did it by herself. The pieces of paper overlap slightly, which gives the pumpkin a textured appearance. Then I put another piece of contact paper on the top (sticky side down).

double sided sticky tape on craft foam

Next I used double sided tape around the foam pumpkin to attach the contact paper 'sandwich' and trimmed the edges.

pumpkin tissue paper sun catcher

 I just taped it onto the window, and the sun shines through the crepe paper, making it 'glow' orange!
It makes a great Halloween or Thanksgiving decoration as is, or you can take it one step further...

jack o lantern face on tissue paper sun catcher

Finally, I cut out a few foam shapes and let her use water to stick them on to the contact paper (as we did with our foam window clings). They can easily be removed and reattached with just water!

Endless jack-o-lantern play!

For more seasonal inspiration, follow my Halloween and Fall pin board.


This post was featured in the Inspired By Family magazine!

{Halloween Gel Window Decorations}

*It's HALLOWEEN WEEK here at Mama Pea Pod - be sure to check back every day this week for more Halloween fun!

halloween gel sticker decorations for playLast summer I got some fun Halloween-themed gel window stickers on sale super cheap at Michael's. I almost forgot about them, but this morning I found them as I was rummaging around in our big art box for something else.

The gel is sticky and gooey and stretchy, and is fun to play with (for all ages - me included, hehe!). They can be removed and stuck back on again infinite times (in theory, anyway - in reality they do eventually get too dusty and fluffy to stick anymore).

So glad I found them, as they've provided a good hour's entertainment for my two little peas so far today!

For more seasonal play and crafting inspiration, follow my Halloween and Fall pin board.


Contains affiliate links. 

{Giveaway Winner! My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking}

We have a winner!

But before I announce who won the free copy of the My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software (a $40 value), let me remind you that if you didn't win, you still get the special discount for all Mama Pea Pod readers! If you use the special promotion code below, you will receive a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - that's a $20 value! Just copy and paste this code at the checkout when ordering the software for download from the My Memories Suite online store: STMMMS98286

And the winner of the FREE software is entry # 6: Brooke of Let Kids Create! Congratulations Brooke! Can't wait to see what creative ideas you come up with!