Building our first Gingerbread House

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

The holidays are fast approaching and my mind is about to explode.  Please SLOW DOWN!!  Wishful thinking, I know.  Anyway, the other day we went to my mom’s house and I decided to take a gingerbread kit, which I bought at Ikea (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90218783/), with us because we’ve never constructed a gingerbread house before and I thought my girls and I would have a lot of fun putting it together with Grandma Rose.  That was an understatement because we had a BLAST!

Along with the kit I also bought a bunch of decorating goodies:

Marshmallow fluff

Mini marshmallows

Mike & Ike candy

Fruit Snack Gummies

Twizzlers

Mini M&M’s

Skittles

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The laughter was non-stop between my youngest licking her fingers (germs galore, yikes!) and dealing with the stickiness of the marshmallow fluff.  We did our very best to stack the house, decorate it, and keep it in tact, but…

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…it didn’t work.  By the end of the night, one side of the roof was falling off and the fluff was melting causing the candies to fall down with it.  Oh well, we still had so much fun building it and then eating it.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

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Happy Belated Halloween 2013

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

This year for Halloween the Mercado household dressed up as…

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…Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi from Super Mario Brothers

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I so wanted to recreate that picture above with the stuff toys, but a certain little girl/Yoshi didn’t want to cooperate and get into the costume my talented husband created, so we went Yoshiless.  My oldest daughter, Olivia, was Princess Peach (costume gown and crown bought early at Target.com), my husband was Mario and I, as you can see, turned into Luigi.  I couldn’t smile comfortably with that darn moustache on my face.  🙂

We bought the white gloves, blue suspenders, and moustaches at Party City.  I ordered a set of Mario and Luigi hats through Amazon, but unfortunately they didn’t arrive on time so I took matters into my own hands…

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I took hats that we already owned and using felt, tape, glue, safety pins and a sewing needle I transformed them temporarily.

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This idea popped into my head the day before Halloween so I had to hustle in order to have them ready for pics and trick or treating, which only my husband did with my oldest ’cause turns out my youngest was running a fever that night and I had to stay home with her.  That’s why she was refusing to cooperate.  She wasn’t feeling well.  😦  I was able to put a costume on her in the morning when we took her sister to school.  At that time she was okay.

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My little forest fairy!

Several days later I was able to make Yoshi come to life…

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…here’s Sophia in a homemade Yoshi costume.

My husband purchased a green t-shirt and felt (white, red, orange, and green) at A.C. Moore craft store.  He made the shell using red and white felt and sewed it together.  He stuffed it with polyester fiberfill (Sophia can use it later as a small pillow).  In front of the shirt, he sewed a white felt circle and then attached/sewed the shell in the back of the shirt.  He constructed the head-piece on his own, using green, orange, and white felt.  He drew the eyes and nostrils with a sharpie marker and to make the nose prominent he used a little of the fiberfill and sewed it up.  There you go, it’s Yoshi from Super Mario Brothers!

I hope your Halloween for 2013 was fun and safe.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Bats, Banners, and Door Monsters…Oh My!

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

October has definitely rolled in and I’ve been busy decorating my home for Halloween.  I try to put things up in the night while the girls are asleep so in the morning they’ll have a spooky surprise.  We’ve also been brain storming on how we’re going to put together our family costumes because we’ve chosen a group theme this year.  So far, my oldest daughter is the only one who has her costume already (bought it online a while back).  I just need to buy some white, long, satin gloves and take some major wrinkles out of her dress…that’s all the hints you’re going to get.  🙂

Here’s a look at some of my Halloween decorations either taken out of storage or recreated:

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I had some bats stored away, but since I like them so much I decided to make some more.  I simply used a bat template, printed on cardstock, and then traced with a pencil on black construction and cardstock paper.  I taped them up on several walls in my living room as well as the entry wall.  As soon as you walk in your eyes simply get drawn to them.

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I made this pennant banner last year!  I placed it in the hallway outside my front door.

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I went to the craft store and found these small foam cutouts, in packs of five, and just taped them up in my living room.

I searched for ghost templates and printed these cuties out on cardstock and just added googly eyes.

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And last, but not least, my door monsters.  Last year, I was inspired by a picture on Pinterest and decided to make my own.  This year, I decided to make two of them.  One on the door in my living room and another on the small closet door in my office space/playroom.  I used party streamer paper and paper plates for both monsters.  My girls absolutely love these guys and so do I.

Happy decorating!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Fourth of July Flag Craft Project

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

The Fourth of July is a couple of days away and I wanted to find a craft project for my daughter, Olivia, to do for this day.  I found a great project with craft sticks and here’s what we did:

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You will need the instructions (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/july4/craftstickflag/), craft sticks, glue, blue paper, white stars (I used a small star puncher that I have), paintbrush, and red and white acrylic paints.

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We painted the sticks, let them dry, and then glued one long stick in the back and broke another in two and glued those in the middle and on the other side of the craft sticks to make the flag sturdier.  I didn’t have enough craft sticks that were required in the instructions, but we were still able to make the flag.  No biggie!

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Olivia glued a small blue square to the corner of the sticks and then glued on the stars.

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We glued the final craft stick to make the handle longer and I also used masking tape on the back of the flag and the handle to secure it better.

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Happy “Early” Fourth of July

from the Mercado household and themercadoproject.com!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

DIY Father’s Day T-shirt Idea

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

Since my dad is not computer savvy and I’ve asked my husband not to look at my blog until after Father’s Day, I can share with you a T-shirt that I’ve made for them as a gift.  They always wear them so it’s great to come up with new ideas and see their faces light up once they receive this personalized gift.

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I took pictures of my daughters making silly faces and smiling.  Then I googled for photo strip templates and chose this design.  Using Word, I inserted the pictures that I wanted and printed it out on iron on transfer paper.

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I love the final result!  Just make sure you position the image better than I did, it’s a little lopsided, before ironing it down.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

The State Museum of Pennsylvania

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

We spent our Memorial Day week-end visiting family in Harrisburg, PA.

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My daughters were very happy to see their Grandma Lucy, Auntie Vera, Uncle Alex, and little cousins A.J. and Victoria!

My mother-in-law barbecued some great food, little cousins played, laughed, bickered and made up together, and we got a chance to visit a great museum.  If you’re ever in the vicinity you should really check this place out.

http://www.statemuseumpa.org/

The main entrance is on Third Street and we immediately made our way to the CURIOSITY CONNECTION section of the museum.  This place is awesome for kids five years and under.  It’s a hands on play area.

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We were totally over the moon with this GIANT chick.

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Sophia loved petting the pigs as well as sitting on top of them.  There was a neat play room with a tunnel that led into the enchanted forest where you could read books sitting on top of mushroom stools and hear an owl hooting nearby.  Such a magical and endearing place.

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Olivia played in the build your own truck section while Sophia picked apples from the tree in the farm section.  The apples and the tree had velcro on them.  Too cute.  There was also fabric covered carrots that you can pick from the ground as well as cabbages.  The kids took turn acting like a farmer and taking the produce to the pick up truck.

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Olivia turned into a flower fairy and made music stepping on a big floor piano.  She had a lot of fun!  There was also a section that had lincoln logs, toy cars, and Lego parts to build whatever your heart desired.

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After we bid adieu to Big Chick and pigs, we explored the rest of the museum.

We were greeted by a big statue of William Penn.

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A.J. really wanted to show us the dinosaurs and the bones of a massive Mastodon.  It was very impressive.

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At the Man and Machine: Industry and Technology Exhibit we saw cars, planes, and trains.

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The following day we visited a playground called Possibility Place. This is a wonderful place where the kids can play (swings, fort, slides, mini rock climbing wall, monkey rings, rope bridge, etc.), ride their bikes or scooters on the nearby path and you can even have a picnic at the benches, which is completely shaded!  There are clean bathrooms and when it’s really hot outside there’s a sprinkler door frame to cool the kids off as well as the adults at the playground.  We love visiting this place.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/possibility-place-harrisburg

We had a wonderful time visiting great places and spending time with our beloved family members.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Egg-celent Day!

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

Today was the first day of my daughter’s Spring Recess and to kick it off, I decided to dye our first eggs at home.  Yes, it’s another egg story.  🙂 I took their yellow Little Tikes table to the kitchen because it’s the brightest room in the house plus the cleaning supplies are there too, just kidding, not really.  Yesterday, we purchased this kit at Target.

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I chose the Marble Magic effect.  Inside you’ll find an egg dipper and color tablets.  Instructions are on the back of the box.

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I chose to add vinegar to the tablets for a more vibrant color per the instructions.  I hard-boiled four of the eggs.  The other two were emptied out by my husband the day before.  I dissolved the tablets and got green, blue, and pink.  Then I added ½ cup of water to each.

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We dipped the eggs and my oldest daughter decided to use her M & M’s toy fan to speed up the drying process while my youngest was fascinated and kept looking into the cup.  I had to watch her closely in case she decided to take a sip.

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We dipped some of the eggs into two colors and achieved somewhat of a marble effect.  It looks more speckled to me, but the girls were happy with the results and that’s all that matters.  The Peter Rabbit egg holders were very handy.  Aren’t they adorable?

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Olivia took her markers and got even more creative.  It’s a girl holding a basket with an egg.  Love it!

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She also used glitter glue to decorate the eggs.

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Here’s the Peter Rabbit basket made out of cardstock.  It was super easy to make and absolutely adorable.  I glued the characters to the basket, but used masking tape for the basket itself.  If you want to make one for your kiddo click here http://www.nickjr.com/crafts/peter-rabbit-egg-basket.jhtml

I had a lot of fun dyeing these eggs with my daughters and we’re going to be making more because my husband was working today and missed out.  We Skyped him at his job, once we finished, so he could see the results and he was super happy to see us and our marbled/speckled eggs.  This will be my last post on eggs, I promise.  I do hope you guys enjoyed our adventure in egg land.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

DIY Easter Decorations

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  I love making my own decorations for the holidays, especially when there’s a ton of ideas online.  I’m currently decorating for Easter and found a great banner idea as well as adorable DIY paper carrots.  I combined those ideas and included some plastic eggs and created this banner for the hallway outside my door.

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You can see the instructions and printable template for the easter egg banner here http://www.creationsbykara.com/2012/03/easter-craft-easy-easter-egg-banner.html and pictures of the paper carrots here http://www2.fiskars.com/Crafting/Projects/Holiday/Easter/Easter-Egg-Hunt#.UUiNKlqMHUM

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I used card stock to print out the template for the easter egg banner.  I then used several decorative papers for the banner and used construction paper for the carrots.  To hang these up I used pink and white baker’s twine.

At nickjr.com, there’s a whole bunch of crafting projects and I made the peter rabbit holiday garland (http://www.nickjr.com/printables/peter-rabbit-holiday-garlands.jhtml) because my youngest likes Peter Rabbit.  I also printed out egg holders (http://www.nickjr.com/printables/peter-rabbit-easter-eggs.jhtml) and an egg basket (http://www.nickjr.com/crafts/peter-rabbit-egg-basket.jhtml) for when we start dyeing our easter eggs at home.  Since my daughter dyed her first eggs at school, she’s super excited to do it again.

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When I picked her up from school yesterday I brought her a basket so she could carry home her masterpiece dyed eggs.  She’s in love with them and wants to keep them forever.  🙂

There’s definitely more egg stories to come.  I’m also planning my youngest daughter’s birthday at a snail’s pace.  So far, I only have a theme, Nickelodeon’s Bubble Guppies, and I’m planning on using the free printables on nickjr.com to decorate.  Again, I’m leaving everything for the last minute, but isn’t that how it’s really done?

Take good care all.

Until next time…