Baby Finger Paint

 

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Decker has been so busy lately! We have been taking advantage of the warmer weather (but wishing there was snow) and going outside every day, and that boy still has more energy than our little apartment can handle! So today we went through the Pinterest board again and decided to try out finger painting. I remember my mom letting us finger paint with pudding as kids and we loved it! But I am trying to help Decker learn that not everything gets to be eaten, so I wanted a baby-safe, but not tasty paint.

I found this recipe from Powerful Mothering. It was perfect! So easy to make and I used the neon gel food coloring so we got amazing colors this time!!! This recipe made a LOT of paint, so after I colored it I separated it into three different trays to save some for another day. (These are the Baby Bullet trays I use to store homemade baby food.)

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I set Decker in the bath so that he could paint the sides of the tub and so we had easy clean up. You could easily do this activity in a high chair, but I didn’t want Decker to think this was a snack. He was a little unsure at first probably wondering “where is all the water mom?” but eventually he figured out what we were doing.

 

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Can I really make a mess mom?

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What is this stuff!?

And of course he had to see how all of those bright colors tasted.

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Hey that’s not bad… 

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Don’t you just love that little tongue hanging out!

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He loved squishing that paint between his little fingers, but he wasn’t so sure he wanted Mommy painting it on his belly. This paint had such a good texture and consistency. As I was showing him how he could scribble his fingers in the paint I was so tempted to jump in and join him! This activity kept him busy for a whole 30 minutes. And then we ran the bath for a super easy clean up! This is an awesome activity for so many different ages!

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Sensory Play-dough

My little one year old is BUSY! Everyday he wanders around exploring everything he can, which isn’t much in a tiny two bedroom apartment. And some days it is so hard not to constantly tell him “NO”. No you can’t get tangled in daddy’s computer cords, no you can’t grab everything out of the trash, no you can’t put anything in the toilet…..He of course has tons of toys to play with, but this boy gets bored fast. So I decided to come up with more activities I could say “YES” to. I am not a big fan of “screen time” especially for babies, and with a mom who is a preschool teacher I knew I wanted learning activities, not just something to entertain my kid.

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I looked on Pinterest for activities for one year olds and quickly put a board together with tons of fun activities. Sensory play is so important to help children develop so I wanted our activities to focus on multiple senses.

Today was the first time we tried a planned sensory activity and Decker loved it. I had read about lots of different recipes for play-dough and finally decided to go with one from “Fun at Home With Kids”. This baby-safe play-dough was easy to make and safe if babies put it in their mouth. Which of course Decker did. However it did NOT taste good. Which I wanted to help Decker start to learn the difference between meal time and play time. However that did not stop him from constantly tasting it…

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At first he really wasn’t sure what to do with the play-dough. I showed him how to smash it down, press cookie cutters into it, and squish it between his fingers. He just wanted to eat it.

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Eventually I got him to drop pieces into the muffin tin, which he proudly clapped about.

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He kept trying to walk across the play-dough to let me taste some (I about gagged it was so gross) so I decided to let him play in it naked so he wouldn’t get it stuck in his shoes. He wasn’t so sure about it on his toes at first but eventually he dove back in, literally.

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Overall the play-dough was a huge hit. We played with it for about an hour and would have kept going if I hadn’t had places I needed to be. Of course the fun different colors I had made eventually turned into one green blob, but he still liked seeing the different colors at the beginning.

The dough was slightly greasy and the colors weren’t as vibrant as I wanted. I’m sure some of that could have been the amount of food coloring I put in. The longer he played with the dough the stickier and greasier it got. But after being in the fridge for a while it got firm again and was ready to go for another day. This recipe worked well, but I will probably try a few other recipes to try and find the best one for us.

Crochet Santa Hat

I LOVE Christmas. I love the homemade treats, the lights, and the giving. I love the excitement of something new and seeing that excitement in others. One year as a little girl, all I wanted for Christmas was a Santa Hat. I’m not really sure why my heart was so set on it, but it was. And I was ecstatic when I got it and I wore it almost every year after that. So this year I new that my sweet baby needed a Christmas hat, because he is my perfect reminder of selfless giving.

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I thought finding a crochet Santa hat pattern would be really easy, but I couldn’t find one the right size or right look, so I designed my own. I wanted this hat to be one that could fit him for MANY years so I made a child size pattern. It is big on my one year old and even fits me when stretched out. For a smaller fit you could just crochet a bit more tightly.

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Enjoy! and Merry Christmas!

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Crochet Santa Hat (child size)

  • hdc: half double crochet
  • dc: double crochet
  • ch: chain
  • sl: slip stitch to join
  • *repeat what is in the stars*

Tail:

  • Begin by making 6 hdc in magic ring. sl to join (6 hdc)
  • row 1: ch 2 in same space as join. 2 dc in each st around. sl to join(12 dc)
  • row 2-6: ch 2 in same space as join. 1 dc around. sl to join (12 dc)
  • row7: ch2. 2dc in same space as join, *dc in next 3, 2 dc in next* sl to join(15 dc)
  • row 8-12: ch 2, dc in same space as join and each one around, sl to join (15 dc)
  • row 13: ch 2, 2dc in same space as join, *dc in next  4, 2 dc in next*, sl to join (18 dc)
  • row 14-17: ch2, dc in same space and each one around, sl to join (18 dc)
  • row 18: ch 2. 2 dc in same space. *dc in next 5, 2 dc in next*, sl to join (21 dc)
  • row 19-20: ch 2. dc  in same space and each one around. sl to join (21 dc)
  • DO NOT WEAVE IN END! Continue on to hat.

Hat:

  • Round 1: chain 2, dc in first 6 st, 2dc in next, dc in next 14. join, chain 2 (22 DC)
  • Round 2: *2 DC in first, DC in next*, repeat around, join, chain 2 (33 DC)
  • Round 3: *2 DC in first, DC in next 2*, repeat around, join, chain 2 (44 DC)
  • Round 4: *2 DC in first, DC in next 10*, repeat around, join, chain 2 (48 DC)
  • Round 5: *2 DC in first, DC in next 11*, repeat around, join, chain 2 (52 DC)
  • Round 6: *2 DC in first, DC in next 12*, repeat around, join, chain 2 (56 DC)
  • Round 7: *2 DC in first, DC in next 13*, repeat around, join, chain 2 (60 DC)
  • Round 8-10: DC in each around (60 DC)

 

Fur Edging

  • I used Bernat Pipsqueak in Whitey White
  • Attach at the join mark from the previous round.
  • Row 1-4 – Chain 1, hdc in the same as the chain stitch and hdc around (60)
  • Join with a sl and weave in ends.
  • POM POM –
  • Wrap the yarn around your 4 fingers approximately 30 times. The more times you wrap it, the bigger it is.
  • Tie around the center of the wrapped yarn – make sure it is tied TIGHT (I like to tie it
  • a few times just to be sure!) Then cut the ends and trim it down to your
  • shape. Secure pom pom to the top of your hat, and you are done!

Premie Beanies for the NICU

I love using my talents and skills to help others, especially around Christmas time. So when I saw a 12 days of Christmas challenge to make 12 hats to donate to the NICU, I jumped on the opportunity to help sweet little babies.

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Some of these hats are made from the patterns available through the challenge and some are patterns that I already had on hand. Newborn and premie size hats are so quick to make up and don’t take very much yarn. They are a great in-between project to keep your hands moving, and a great way to practice new stitches.

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I have decided to take the challenge a littler further and will be doing a year-round NICU challenge by making a new hat each month, so that next Christmas I will have 12 hats to donate that I have made throughout the previous year.

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Check out Sunset Family Living to participate in this challenge (don’t worry there is still time!) You just donate the hats to your local NICU so that premies across the country can benefit from this awesome challenge!

Halloween 2014

There are a lot of things about Halloween that many people have come to dislike. Those are the parts I have always chosen to ignore. For me Halloween is about carving pumpkins, dressing up, party’s, and candy. I think that is all anyone should really focus on. So that is exactly what I lovingly made my family do this year. And it was awesome.

We picked our pumpkins fresh from Papa Macdonald’s garden and carved them with the Pray’s. Nick was extremely ambitious as he began his pumpkin carving…. I went a little more simple while still avoiding the standard Jack-O-Lantern. Even Decker got to have a cute pumpkin 🙂

My Maleficent Carving

My Maleficent Carving

Nick's Spider Man

Nick’s Spider Man

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Decker’s Mummy

Dressing up is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it is for going on a date, to the ballet, a party, or Halloween, you can bet I am going to take the time to get all dolled up. So this year, while my opinion can still count more than Nick and Deckers…..I decided that we would all dress up together. I had Decker’s outfit planned out for months, but I just wanted something quick and easy for Nick and I. So I got creative and came up with this…

The Pray Family Zoo:

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Nick got to be our Zookeeper. His costume was so easy to put together! I grabbed a few things from his closet, made a few patches and I was done.

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Mine was also very easy, but slightly more time consuming. I made a tulle tutu, added some peacock feathers, glued feathers into a fancy hair piece, spent much longer on my hair and makeup than planned… and boom an easy peacock costume.

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Decker’s of course took much longer. I made his lion costume from the McCalls 6105 pattern, but changed the ribbon for the mane into faux fur fabric for a much cuter more convincing lion. I even went above and beyond making little mittens for his hands and a bag to collect candy in. 🙂

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Overall I think the costumes were a huge success.

And what would Halloween be without cupcakes!?

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I had made these Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes for a Ward Party the week before, but thought they needed some tweaking. So I adjusted the recipe and came up with this for Halloween.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes (makes about 15)

Cupcake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs

Filling:

  • 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup (12 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
  • In bowl of an electric mixer, beat filling ingredients together on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugars, vegetable oil and eggs.
  • Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
  • Scoop a spoonful of batter evenly into the muffin tin, about half-full. Drop about a tablespoon cream cheese filling into the center of each cup.  Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  • In bowl of an electric mixer beat butter, cream cheese, and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, beating just until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes.
  • Frost the cupcakes and top with crushed graham cracker crumbs.

Adapted from recipes from Damn Delicious and The Capitol Baker

A perfect end to an awesome Halloween 🙂

Crochet Panda Hat

My little brother loves Kung Fu Panda. When he saw I crocheted Decker a giraffe hat he told my I should make him a Panda hat. I put it off for a while so I could make Decker a matching one that would fit for the fall.

IMG_0430bI couldn’t find a pattern that I loved so I decided to make one using a bunch of variations of patterns from Repeat Crafter Me. Her patterns are easy to follow, she has great tips, and she has such cute designs! Make sure you follow the link to the base hat patterns I used for the abbreviations, size guide, and tips to hide your seams.

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Here is the pattern for how I made the Panda hats, I crochet a lot tighter than Sarah so I added a few more rows than her original patterns had.

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Size: 9-12 Months (Should fit up to about 16 months)(This is the Puppy Hat base if you want a different size)

In White yarn:
Magic ring, 11 DC in magic ring, join to first DC, chain 2
Round 2: 2 DC in each around, join, chain 2 (22 DC)
Round 3: 2 DC in first, DC in next, repeat around, join, chain 2 (33 DC)
Round 4: 2 DC in first, DC in next 2, repeat around, join, chain 2 (44 DC)

Round 5: 2 DC in first, DC in next 10, repeat around, join, chain 2 (48 DC)

Round 6: 2 DC in first, DC in next 11, join, chain 2 (52 DC)

Round 7: 2 DC in first, DC in next 12, join, chain 2 (56 DC)
Round 8-14: DC in each around, join, chain 2 (56 DC)
Switch to Black yarn:
Round 15: DC in each around, join, chain 1 (56 DC)
Round 16: SC in each around, join, chain 1 (56 SC)
do not fasten off, begin on earflap as written below

Earflap 1: 
Chain 1, SC in next 10, chain 1, turn
Row 2: SC decrease, SC in next 6, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 3: SC across (8 SC)
Row 4: SC decrease, SC in next 4, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 5: SC across ( 6 SC)
Row 6: SC decrease, SC in next 2, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 7: SC across (4 SC)
Row 8: Make 2 SC decreases, chain 1, turn
Row 9: SC decrease, fasten off, weave in ends

Earflap 2:
See picture HERE for second earflap placement
Chain 1, SC in next 10, chain 1, turn
Row 2: SC decrease, SC in next 6, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 3: SC across (8 SC)
Row 4: SC decrease, SC in next 4, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 5: SC across ( 6 SC)
Row 6: SC decrease, SC in next 2, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 7: SC across (4 SC)
Row 8: Make 2 SC decreases, chain 1, turn
Row 9: SC decrease
SC around hat and earflaps, fasten off weave in ends. Cut 3 long strands of white and 3 long strands of black, pull yarn halfway through last loop of the earflaps (you now have 12 strands). Knot, braid and knot again at the end of your braid. Trim ends of braided tails so yarn is even. Do this for both earflaps
Panda Ears (make 2):
in black
Magic ring, chain 2 and make 10 DC in ring, join, ch 1
Round 2: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next (15 SC), join, ch 1
Round 3: SC in each stitch around (causing ear to curve in). Fasten off leaving long tail to sew onto hat.
Attach ears on side of hat with the top of the ear at about round 4.
Panda Eye Patch (make 2):
in black
Magic Ring, Chain 2 and make 8 HDC in ring, join to first HDC, chain 2
Round 2: 2 HDC in first two stitches, 2 DC in next 4 stitches, 2 HDC in last two stitches, join to first HDC,
Round 3: 2 HDC in first two stitches, 2 SC in next 3 stitches, 2 HDC in next stitch, 2 DC in next 4 stitches, 2 HDC in next stitch, 2 SC in next 3 stitches, 2 HDC in next 2 stitches.
fasten off leaving long tail to sew onto hat.
Attach patches to hat with the bottom of the patch just above the black line. Cut a round piece of white felt just bigger than the button. Sew the felt and button onto the hat.
Panda Nose:
in white
Magic ring, 5 SC in ring, continue to SC in rounds
Round 2: 2 SC in each stitch around (10 SC)
Round 3: 2 DC in first stitch, DC in next, repeat around (15 DC)
Round 4: 2 DC in first stitch, DC in next two, repeat around (20 DC)
Round 5: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next three, repeat around (25 SC)
Fasten off leaving long tail.
in black
Chain 5, SC in second chain from hook and the rest of the chains, chain 1, turn (4 SC) Row 2: SC in each stitch, chain 1, turn (4 SC) Row 3: SC decrease two times, continue to SC around edges of the nose. Make 2 SC in the corners. Fasten off leaving long tail to sew on to hat.
Sew the white circle onto the hat in-between the eye patches. Then sew the black nose piece in the middle of the white snout.
For the adult size hat I used the Minion Pattern base so that the crocheting was a bit tighter and didn’t leaver gaps when stretched over my brother’s head.
Size: Teen/Adult
starting with white yarn…
Magic Ring, chain 1, 9 HDC in ring, join, chain 1
Round 2: Work 2 HDC into each st around, join, chain 1 (18 HDC)
Round 3: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next, Repeat around, join, chain 1 (27 HDC)
Round 4: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next 2, Repeat around, join, chain 1 (36 HDC)
Round 5: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next 3, Repeat around, join, chain 1 (45 HDC)
Round 6: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next 4, Repeat around, join, chain 1 (54 HDC)
Round 7: HDC around, join, chain 1 (54 HDC)
Round 8: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next 8, Repeat around (60 HDC)
Round 9: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next 9, Repeat around, join, chain 1 (66 HDC)
Round 10 -21: HDC in each stitch around, join, chain 1 (66 HDC)
switch to black yarn
Round 22-25: HDC in each stitch around, join, chain 1 (66 HDC)
Do not fasten off, continue on earflaps as written below.
Earflaps for Child – Adult
Earflap 1:

Chain 1, SC in next 12, chain 1, turn
Row 2: SC decrease, SC in next 8, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 3: SC across (10 SC)
Row 4: SC decrease, SC in next 6, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 5: SC across ( 8 SC)
Row 6: SC decrease, SC in next 4, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 7: SC across ( 6 SC)
Row 8: SC decrease, SC in next 2, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 9: SC across (4 SC)
Row 10: Make 2 SC decreases, chain 1, turn
Row 11: SC decrease, fasten off, weave in endsEarflap 2:
See the PUPPY HAT PATTERN if you need help on where to place the second earflap.
Chain 1, SC in next 12, chain 1, turn
Row 2: SC decrease, SC in next 8, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 3: SC across (10 SC)
Row 4: SC decrease, SC in next 6, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 5: SC across ( 8 SC)
Row 6: SC decrease, SC in next 4, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 7: SC across ( 6 SC)
Row 8: SC decrease, SC in next 2, SC decrease, chain 1, turn
Row 9: SC across (4 SC)
Row 10: Make 2 SC decreases, chain 1, turn
Row 11: SC decrease, do NOT fasten off.SC around the entire bottom edge of the hat (including earflaps). Fasten off and weave in ends. Cut 3 long strands of white and 3 long strands of black, pull yarn halfway through last loop of the earflaps (you now have 12 strands). Knot, braid and knot again at the end of your braid. Trim ends of braided tails so yarn is even. Do this for both earflaps.
Panda Ears Adult (make 2):
in black
Magic ring, chain 2 and make 10 DC in ring, join, ch 1
Round 2: 2 HDC in first stitch, SC in next (15 SC), join, ch 1
Round 3: HDC in each stitch around (causing ear to curve in). Fasten off leaving long tail to sew onto hat.
Attach ears on side of hat with the top of the ear at about round 5.
Panda Eye Patch (make 2):
in black
Magic Ring, Chain 2 and make 8 HDC in ring, join to first HDC, chain 2
Round 2: 2 HDC in first two stitches, 2 DC in next 4 stitches, 2 HDC in last two stitches, join to first HDC,
Round 3: 2 HDC in first two stitches, 2 SC in next 3 stitches, 2 HDC in next stitch, 2 DC in next 4 stitches, 2 HDC in next stitch, 2 SC in next 3 stitches, 2 HDC in next 2 stitches.
fasten off leaving long tail to sew onto hat.
Attach patches to hat with the bottom of the patch just above the black line. Cut a round piece of white felt just bigger than the button. Sew the felt and button onto the hat.
Panda Nose Adult:
in white
Magic ring, 5 SC in ring, continue to SC in rounds
Round 2: 2 HDC in each stitch around (10 HDC)
Round 3: 2 DC in first stitch, DC in next, repeat around (15 DC)
Round 4: 2 DC in first stitch, DC in next two, repeat around (20 DC)
Round 5: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next three, repeat around (25 SC)
Fasten off leaving long tail.
In black
Chain 5, SC in second chain from hook and the rest of the chains, chain 1, turn (4 SC) Row 2: SC in each stitch, chain 1, turn (4 SC) Row 3: SC decrease two times, continue to SC around edges of the nose. Make 2 SC in the corners. Fasten off leaving long tail to sew on to hat.

 

 

Baby Sensory Bag

I saw a sensory bag on Pinterest and thought it was such a great idea!

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The gel itself is fun to squish and the different textures of the toys give it lots of variety. (Ya I played with it for a while before I gave it to him….) I got this idea from Plain Vanilla Mom. This is such a quick easy project to make and it doesn’t cost very much. You can get the little toys from a dollar store or in the party section at Walmart.

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As I was making this bag I wondered how strong the Ziplock bag really is. The freezer bags are stronger than regular bags, but I  think I would use edible Aloe Vera Gel instead of hair gel next time. That way if little teeth poke a hole in the bag it isn’t toxic. Thankfully Decker doesn’t have teeth yet, but it’s something I will keep an eye on when he plays with this.

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You need:

  • 1 quart size Ziplock Freezer bag
  • 1  bottle of Aloe Vera gel (about 16 oz.)
  • Duck Tape
  • Small toys (make sure they don’t have rough or sharp edges to poke holes in the bag)

Directions:

  • Squirt the Aloe Vera gel into the bag. (Add food coloring if the gel is clear)
  • Put a variety of small toys in the bag.
  • Zip the bag shut pushing out all of the air.
  • Duck tape all four sides 2 times for extra strength

And that is it! Super easy!

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