Simple Father’s Day Bow Tie Card

Father’s Day is this weekend! To celebrate Father’s Day this year, I wanted to share a simple and fun card idea Hudson and I did together this week! It involves colored pasta, which we played with before putting the card together as a way to review our colors.

How to Dye Pasta

This was our first time dyeing pasta and it is super simple. It is a fun morning activity to have your little one help with.

All you need is:

  • Bow tie Pasta (we just used a total of 16)
  • Rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover or vinegar (ideally vinegar, but nail polish remover was the only thing I had on hand)
  • Food coloring
  • ziplock bags (one for each color)
  • one mason jar

To dye pasta, simply put the amount of pasta you wish to dye that color in ziplock bag. Place bag in mason jar (see picture above). Then, put one tablespoon of liquid (we used nail polish remover) and as many drops of food coloring. The more drops of food coloring, the more vibrant the color on the pasta. Seal bag and shake and incorporate the color throughout the pasta. Repeat this for each color.

Set pasta to dry on a piece or parchment paper or wax paper. Let dry for 3-4 hours.

Bowtie Father’s Day Card

For the card, all you need is:

  • White card stock
  • Construction paper to cut out “big” shirt for dad and “small” shirt for child.
  • Glue
  • Marker
  • Photo cut out of head of dad and child
  • Glitter (optional, but fun for decorating)

As Hudson was taking his nap, I setup everything for the card. I glued the shirts, glued the photos, and wrote a Father’s Day message.

When Hudson was up, he got some time to play with the colored pasta and we worked on sorting the pasta based on color. This was a fun way for us to review colors!

Once he was over the pasta, I let him choose the bowtie he wanted to give to dad and himself. He chose red and so then he found the matching red bowtie and placed it on his shirt. I helped him glue the pasta on the shirt. Then, he decorated the shirts with glue and glitter.

This was super simple, but the perfect card! I love how it incorporates a matching photo of my husband and son (they are both wearing Yankee baseball caps!). The red bow tie pasta is also a really fun and unique touch.

Hope everyone has an amazing day celebrating all the amazing dads out there!

And to Lance, thank you for truly being the best dad to Hudson. You love our son so well and I am so thankful!

Happy Father’s Day!

Hudson’s 2nd Birthday Party: Trash Truck Theme

For Hudson’s 2nd birthday party, we celebrated just with family at our home.  Before the pandemic, I had grand plans of throwing him a party at an indoor soccer facility and inviting lots of people and planning lots of things.  Of course all of those plans in my head did not happen, but the result was actually much more enjoyable for us all. 

We had a small gathering with family spread out throughout the day.  I bought most of the decorations at the Dollar Tree and barely did anything homemade.  This was quite the contrast from his first birthday party, which was baseball-themed and I spent way too much energy, stress and time on little details that ultimately did not matter much.

This year was different.  2020 will forever be the year that changed everything.  While some of the changes have been hard to swallow, there have been some changes during these times of quarantine that have actually been very good for my own soul. The elimination of elaborate party planning has definitely been one of those good things for me personally. 

Hudson’s 2nd birthday celebration was not elaborate or costly or extravagant.  It was simple.  It was small.  And it was good.  I enjoyed myself so much more with this type of celebration versus his first birthday party where I was so concerned that everything had to be perfect.  I am learning that the small, casual gatherings, filled with love are actually the types of parties that our children prefer!  

With that said, I wanted to share some of the fun details from Hudson’s trash truck-themed party!  Even though I kept decorations to a minimum, I had a lot of fun with this trash truck theme! 

The Invitation 

There are a ton of cute trash truck invitations out there, but since we were not throwing a big party, I did not want to use any budget on invitations.  So instead, I quickly designed a PDF invite that I texted to family members.  I am by no means a professional designer and it is not perfect, but I thought it was a fun (and free) way to invite family. It is also something for me to keep and remember from his 2nd birthday.  

I used Canva to design this.  Canva has a free option and it is a really great tool for design, especially for non-designers.  If you would like me to send you this trash truck invite PDF, enter your email below, and I will send you an editable PDF version so you can quickly make your own changes! 

Send Me Editable Trash Truck Invite for FREE!

The Birthday Shirt 

My mother-in-law found this shirt for Hudson from Etsy and it came right in time!  It was perfect and a fun way thing for him to wear all weekend long as we celebrated trash truck-style.

The Decorations

This year, I decided to not do a million DIY decoration projects and I was so much happier.  I found this amazing trash truck birthday banner on Amazon and it was perfect.  Since most of the party was held outside we hung it outside on our house wall.  It was the perfect addition for the theme and it required no extra work on my part- it was even pre-strung!  

For balloons, I just did a small order of a few green balloons and a big gold “2” foil balloon!  Party City delivered it directly to our house, which made the whole balloon process even simpler and less stressful.  I also got a smaller 2 foil balloon to put on our mantel.  I had leftover banners from last year’s birthday so made a simple, “Hudson is 2” setup.  This was a nice spot to get photos of H and for people to put presents.  

All the other decorations, were from Dollar Tree.  I got strung green pom-poms, which made a nice touch by where all the food was.  All paper good (plates, napkins, straws) were also from the Dollar Tree.

To top it off, I put out a couple of Hudson’s toy trash trucks, put straws and utensils in little blue bins (these were perfect and dropped off by our local trash truck company), and blew up a few extra balloons for the floors.  It was all super simple, but it still felt festive and very on theme!

The Cake 

I had grand plans of making a homemade chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting.  As I was making this cake the day before his party, the whole cake literally began to crumble as I was frosting it.  Hours of work in the kitchen literally crumbled before my eyes.  After shedding a few tears of frustration and stuffing my face with chocolate cake, I realized a store bought chocolate cake would be just fine.  

Even though the cake was store bought, I made it still feel homemade by:

  1. Putting it on a pretty cake platter
  2. Topping it off with a toy trash truck and lots of candy, which was supposed to look like “trash” coming from the truck!  

Even with the cake fiasco, this alternative, turned out really cute and was a fun centerpiece to have out on our living room table! 

The Piñata 

This was all my mother.  She spent weeks making this handmade trash truck piñata for H!  It looks just like the trash trucks in our neighborhood!  It was such a sweet and unique decoration for his party.  It of course was a big hit for H, as he got to pull the string from the bottom, and let out all the balls and candy!

The Gifts

Every holiday and birthday, I always make sure one of the gifts is a book.  This year, we got him The Wheels on the Garbage Truck by Jeffrey Burton. I was not sure if this would be a hit, but Hudson loves it.  It goes to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” and it points out all the different parts of a trash truck!  This is a new favorite.

The night before his birthday, we let him open one present.  It was trash truck pajamas for him to wear that night!  He of course does not get super excited over clothing, but they looked so cute on him. They were perfect for the next morning when all the trash truck drivers in our neighborhood stopped by to wish him a happy birthday! He wore the pajama bottoms with his birthday top! 

Hudson’s 2nd birthday was so special and one I will always remember.  The thing that put this birthday over the top was the kindness demonstrated by our trash truck drivers.  On the morning of his birthday, which happened to fall on trash truck day, all three drivers stopped by to wish H a happy birthday.  They did not merely honk and drive away.  They stopped and chatted and let Hudson hop up on the truck and pull the horn!  They went above and beyond to make this trash truck-loving birthday boy extra happy!  

This year as I planned Hudson’s simple trash truck party, I was reminded of a few things.

  1. Store bought cake is not the end of the world
  2. A simple call (in my case, calling the department of sanitation for our city) can be the thing that really makes the birthday extra special
  3. Big parties are overrated

Happy partying!

Week of Play: The Color Blue

This week we learned all about the color BLUE!  It was a week full of the ocean, Cookie Monster, and denim.  Blue is just one of those colors that bring a sense of peace.  For me, blue always brings me to the ocean, the sky, and the lovely outdoors.  While H is still a bit stuck on the color green, he slowly warmed up this new color as I introduced some fun, hands-on blue activities!  

Week 5: The Color Blue

This is what our week of blue looked like: 

Blue Books of the Week

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle 

This is an Eric Carle book that I was not familiar with at first, but I love this story for teaching not only about the color blue, but also about creativity.  The story is about an artist who paints animals different colors.  All the colors he paints the animals are not typically how that animal is portrayed. 

The horses are blue and the lions are green.  This is an excellent story to teach little ones about the importance of creativity and thinking outside of the box.  It is also the perfect book to pair with a painting activity: “Paint the Horse Blue” (activity description can be found below). Read-aloud can be found here.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle 

This is a classic and another perfect book for blue week.  There are lots of books in this series, but I am linking to the original one.  This story is perfect for teaching animal sounds!  Hudson especially loves how little blue truck goes “beep!” 

Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton 

Boynton is one of my favorite children’s authors.  Her stories are perfect for baby and toddlers. They typically are not super wordy and have super fun and engaging illustrations.  Even though it is perfect for little ones, I always find her books to be deeply entertaining.  This particular book is excellent not just for the color blue, but also for teaching all colors and clothes!  Throughout the simple story, it follows a confused turkey that has trouble figuring out how to properly put clothes on.  This is a good one.

Thomas & Friends

If you have a train-obsessed toddler, like me, reading some Thomas the Train books is a must during blue week.  I am linking to an electronic reader book set we have that is intended for slightly older children; however, we don’t use the electronic part.  I just read some of the different stories to Hudson, and he really enjoys them!  This set will eventually be helpful when he is beginning to learn to read on his own.  

Blue Sensory Bin

There were a lot of fun things in our blue bin this week that made playing even more fun.

This week’s bin consisted of: blue trash bins, big legos, foam shapes, blocks, train tracks, Thomas trains (lots of them), letters, balls, envelopes, wooden blocks, daddy shark puzzle piece, popsicle sticks, pom poms, and a few other random things.

We had so many Thomas trains that we played a lot with trains in the morning time.  We built tracks using only the blue pieces and had the Thomas trains race down! 

Monday: Paint Cookie Monster Blue + Cookie Counting Activity

To start off blue week, we did a couple activities around our favorite blue, cookie-loving monster…Cookie Monster!

For this paint setup, all you need is:

  • Coloring sheet of Cookie Monster (we used this one)
  • Blue paint
  • Paint brush
  • An easel setup (optional) 

Once H painted Cookie Monster as much as he wanted, I helped him fill in the white spaces.  Once it dried, I cut it out so he could hold and play with it. 

In the afternoon, we continued with the Cookie Monster theme and did a really simple counting activity.  

For this cookie counting activity, all you need is: 

  • Blue cupcake liner
  • 2 big googley eyes 
  • Black construction paper cut out like a smile 
  • White card stock
  • 4 small cookies (I use the ones from the tub at Trader Joe’s) 
  • Blue marker 

To construct this simple Cookie Monster craft, glue a blue cupcake liner on left side of card stock.  Glue eyes and mouth on top.  With the marker, write out numbers 1-4 (or whatever amount you would like to work on with your little one). 

Before I brought out the cookies, I explained to H that we were going to spend a couple minutes practicing counting.  I clearly told him he had to first practice with me and then he could eat the cookies.  This definitely grabbed his attention and made him much more invested and excited to get the counting done, so he could gobble up the cookies. 

At this age, it is important to keep learning super fun and light.  We ran through the numbers 1-4 a few times as we counted the 4 cookies on the paper.  I then let him eat them! Fun and simple and a great way to introduce counting.  

Tuesday: Ocean in A Bottle 

The ocean is definitely one of our favorite blue things.  After a morning visit to the beach, I set up a ocean in a bottle activity for H in the afternoon.  It is really simple and results in a fun sensory play for little ones to shake and play with after.

All you need is:

  • Empty water bottle
  • Water dyed blue (I used a blue bath tab
  • Sand and shells we had lying around (optional)
  • Blue pom-poms (we pretended these were fish) 
  • Glitter (optional) 
  • Funnel
  • Tape for sealing 

This is a good activity to have setup before your little one is up!  It is also a great activity to practice pouring skills.  With a little help, H used the funnel to pour the blue water into the water bottle.  He then threw in the different items he wanted in his bottle.  Once he was finished, I put the cap back on and sealed it with tape.  Then, your little one can shake and play with the bottle! It turned out really pretty and it was fun to watch the sand flow throughout the blue water.  

Wednesday: Blue Sand Art 

With some of the extra sand I had lying around, I decided to dye it blue.  This made for a really fun sand art activity.  

For this activity, all you need is: 

  • Sand 
  • Blue Dye 
  • White card stock 
  • Glue 
  • Spoon

To make the sand blue, simply place sand in sealed zip lock bag, add a few drops of blue dye, and incorporate dye into the sand.  Keep adding dye until the sand is the color blue you prefer.  

H really enjoyed playing with the blue sand.  I let him play with it a bit and then, using the glue I made a wave design on the paper.  H really enjoyed using the spoon to scoop the sand onto the paper.  This is a great activity to practice transferring skills.  

The end result of our blue sand waves turned out really fun!  

Thursday: Paint The Horse Blue Activity (based off of an Eric Carle book) 

For this activity, we used the Eric Carle book I mentioned in the book section, The Artist Who Painted A Horse Blue.

This was an Eric Carle book I was unfamiliar with, but we both really enjoyed it.  The blue horse is the familiar horse from the beloved Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  

For this blue horse activity, all you need is: 

  • The book (we were not able to get a copy in time, so we listened to the read-aloud version on Youtube). 
  • Printer paper
  • A copy of the book or Brown Bear, Brown Bear (use the book to trace the horse)
  • Blue paint
  • Paint brush 

Friday: Blue Chia Sensory Play with Boats 

Chia seeds make for really fun sensory play!  The texture is slick and slimy, without all of the mess and stickiness of regular slime.  

For this sensory bin, all you need is:

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 4 cups water + a little extra to top it off
  • 12 drops of blue food coloring
  • Toy boats
  • Bowl of water

Simply, combine water, chia seeds, and food coloring in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (ideally overnight). Take out of the refrigerator and fill the mixture into a tray for your little one to play with.  Place a bowl of water and the boats out for little ones to use for play.  I added a bit of extra water to make the chia mixture more ocean-like. 

H really enjoyed moving the boats through the chia!  He especially enjoyed the bowl of water and spent most of his time sitting in it!  The chia can stick on hands, so the bowl of water was helpful for this.  

This can get messy, so be be careful with clothes! This is a good activity to do in diapers or bathing suites.  

Saturday: Blue Collage Activity 

To finish off our color week, we always make a collage of that particular color.  

For this collage we used the following blue materials: letter and number stickers, popsicle sticks, foam shapes, envelope, construction paper cut into squares, pom-poms

Earlier in the week, H painted blue on blue construction paper. To reuse this piece of art, I cut it into squares and put it out as a collage material option.  This is a great way to use excess art you do not have a place for!  

I was making a sign for H’s birthday and had blue letter and number stickers out.  H got a hold of these and decorated most of his collage with these stickers.  So, this collage has its own unique look!

Blue week was a lot of fun. This a great color to explore during summer…it is perfect for water play and the ocean! Next week, we will be reviewing colors and doing some birthday-themed activities! My baby turns 2 this week!

Happy Playing!