Keeping Boys Busy: The One With Play Dough and Puppets

Hey there!  What have you been up to?  Us?  Oh, just the usual fun, keeping boys busy…

Don't you just love Play Dough???, keeping boys busy

Don’t you just love Play Dough???

Never mind.  I hate Play Dough., keeping boys busy

Never mind. I hate Play Dough.

Yup, so that’s pretty much what we’ve been up to.  Clean the Play Dough up.  Get the Play Dough back out.  Clean it up.  Get it out.  Clean it up.  Say were not going to get it out.  Cry about it.  Get it out.  Cry about cleaning it up.  Clean it up… but somehow it’s never quite gone.  Look, I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I SWEAR that the bits of it appear on the floor overnight while we’re sleeping.  Even though I swept before bed, in the morning I will inexplicably find the kitchen sprinkled with colorful bits of dough.  How did I miss them?  Were they stuck to the ceiling with gravity slowly working them back to Earth?  Or is Dash up during the night playing while we sleep???  Hmm… it’s not an implausible theory…

Anywho…  I promised you all pictures of our Sea Animal Stick Puppets project, and I know you were just waiting on the edge of your seat to see how they turned out.  No???

seapuppetscollage, keeping boys busy

Hey, is that Manty-Manty?  Or Manty-Manty-Manty???  It’s so hard to tell.

Aren’t they cute?  This is what we used to make the puppets:

  • Poster board
  • Felt
  • Google-y Eyes
  • Yarn (for walrus whiskers)
  • Glitter Glue
  • Wooden Dowels
  • Tongue Depressor style sticks

Additional supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Pencils

This is an easy peasy project!  First:  draw animals with pencils on poster board, cut them out.  Next: trace poster board animals on felt and cut them out.  Hot glue the felt cut outs onto the poster board cut outs.  Hot glue eyes and decorations (like walrus whiskers and manatee snouts) onto the felt.  Let them dry a bit, turn over the puppets and glue tongue depressors on the back, along with wooden dowels on the larger puppets.

Notice in the bottom right photo we had to touch up the glue where Dash was already tearing his apart.  Perhaps these puppets AREN’T two year old proof.  But really, what is???  Lastly, we decorated with glitter glue.  Okay, that was just me and my mom, getting carried away with decorating the turtles.  Even grown ups gotta have some creative fun, right?

Well, that was last week’s art class!  Everyone enjoyed it!  This week, the boys drew tree houses, which of course included things like laser beam security systems, elevators, and walrus pools.  Because if there’s one thing we’re good at around here, it’s Thinking Big.  And thinking about walruses.  Yeah.

Well, I’ve got plenty more big thoughts to share with you all, even some that aren’t about walruses. 😉  But right now I’m going to check the ceiling for Play Dough.

Talk to you soon,






Year of the Manatee

Hey, all!  So here we are, almost through the first week of March.  The good news is I got through Spendthrift February without going over budget.  More or less.  I think…

I did buy a little something for the boys; a purchase necessary to return peace to our home.  Awhile back, I told you how Beau acquired a stuffed manatee in Florida and his brothers were OBSESSED with it.  They each had the opportunity to choose a souvenir, but it soon became painfully apparent that Beau’s choice was just so cuddly and covetable.  Everyone loved Beau’s Manty and it was a source of constant contention.  I thought the novelty would wear off, and all too soon Manty would be forgotten about.  But after THREE MONTHS of breaking up daily Manatee battles???


So I found Ron Jon Surf Shop online and ordered two more “Mantys”.  Or Manty’s?  Manties?  I guess I don’t how to make made up words plural.  How about Martinis?  Now that’s an idea…


Meet Manty-Manty on the right and Manty-Manty-Manty on the left, who is just called Manty for short. Got it?

Trust me, it was money well spent.  Manty, Manty-Manty, and Manty-Manty-Manty have taken over the place.  They are the stuffed animals of the hour.  The IT Toy.  They’re EVERYWHERE.


If you take a picture, expect a Manty to photobomb it. Manty in a popcorn bag?  Like I said, they’re EVERYWHERE.

SO… since the Manty trio is indeed EVERYWHERE, we decided to seize the moment and learn a little about Manatees.  For example, our  National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia informed us that “Sea cows” (you know that’s another name for Manatees, right?) “eat a lot- up to a quarter of their body weight in plant material each day.  The gas produced by their digestive systems makes them very buoyant.”  As you can imagine, the fact that Manatees are gassy makes them an even bigger hit with little boys. @_@

We also downloaded this book from on Kindle for iPad:

Aren’t they just as cute in person???  Umm….

A Manty or two is bound to appear in our art projects as well.  My Mom has been organizing an art class for the boys once a week.  The last project was a crayon resist undersea picture.

manatee unit study, crayon resist

Note Manty on the cruise ship drinking lemonade.  Hey, can you spot Finn’s camouflaged whale?

manatee unit study, crayon resist

This is Beau’s fantasy world where his favorite animals (Manatee and Walrus) meet in the deep sea.

The goal was not to be scientific, okay? 😉  Speaking of goals, the goal when you’re doing a crayon resist is to do lots of bright colors and get a really thick layer of crayon.  Then you go over top of it with water color paint.  We used large sheets of watercolor paper, but in retrospect, smaller sheets would be better.  That way the kids don’t get too tired of coloring before the crayon layer is heavy enough to really resist the paint.  It was still a lot of fun and they turned out great.

Looks like the Manty’s, er… Manatees, aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.  In fact, I caught Finn making Manty graffiti in his Bible study book.  He wrote “2014” with a Manty face in the zero.  How did I know it was a Manty face?  Trust me, I’ve seen a few of them.

manatee unit study

If you’re doing an animal unit study, why not design a logo featuring your animal?  You don’t have to commit to a full year. 😉

You might be wondering if Beau was okay with Finn and Dash getting Manty-Manty and Manty-Manty-Manty, while he got nothing?  The answer is NO, he was NOT okay with that.  Turns out Beau got something too…

manatee unit study

You guessed it. Everybody wants a Tusky. Who knew a walrus could be so cuddly and covetable?

Well, I’ve gotta get going.  But the Manty and Tusky show will be back.  We’re making stick puppets today!  I’ll be sure and show you how they turn out.  Don’t forget to leave a comment and let Finn know if you saw his “camouflaged whale”.  Thanks for stopping by!

Linking Up with Happy and Blessed Home’s Family Fun Friday! Because what’s more fun than a Trio of Sea Cows? Pop on over there for more fun! Thanks for reading. 🙂


P.S.  If you are really coveting Tusky, you can get your own Wild Republic Cuddlekins 15″ Walrus at Amazon.  He is too stinkin’ cute for $11.80, but I’m NOT buying two more!  REALLY.  Not gonna do it.  (BTW, I’m an Amazon affiliate, so thanks if you decide to shop through my links!)

Some Simple Joy For A Turtle Loving Boy

The boys have been REALLY into wild life lately.  I think it stems from watching Wild Kratts, which is a great show.  They are getting pretty intense with their love for animals and the environment… extremely intense actually.  For example, the other day we went on a tour of a baseball stadium.  You would think they would be pretty excited about such a thing, but there was a fair amount of grumbling about how many “animal habitats must have been destroyed” to make this place.  Really, I have no idea where this all is coming from.  Have they gotten a hold of some Green Peace literature?  Seriously, though, I’m proud of them for being so passionate, and at the same time just a little bit wishing I had someone else to blame for it.

So, long story short, we’re trying to give them a balanced view of the World Issues at hand, while also taking the opportunity to learn about their favorite animals.  For Beau, that means Walruses.  I think it’s inevitable that we’ll be talking more about the Walrus obsession, but today we’re going to talk about Finn and his love of Turtles.

Now, I am sure that if I looked at Pinterest I could find some really cool Turtle projects.  And then I could spend hours gathering supplies and notebooking pages and making 3D sculptures and not getting a shower for three days to do it all.  So instead, I took the course of least effort; watching National Geographic Kids videos and downloading a book on my IPad.  It was free at the time and Finn got a huge kick out of the picture of the tiny turtle next to a raspberry.  (Awe!)

One morning Finn was super grumpy.  I knew I needed something to cheer him up… something Turtley.  That’s when I came up with Turtle Toast.  It ain’t fancy, but it was a huge hit with Finn.  And good thing it’s easy, because yes, I really do make it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

easy turtle projectWith the Turtle Obsession in full swing, Finn was inspired to make his own turtle craft project!  See, Moms Who Aren’t Good At Coming Up With Crafts?  Leave them to their own devices, and they just may have the creativity to make their own.  Works for me!  Anyways, Finn wanted to share with you how to do it, but he also did not want to be in pictures today.  So, Beau, always one to be in front of the camera, volunteered.

Here is Beau, recreating Finn’s Paper Plate Turtle.

easy turtle art project

 How To Make A Simple Paper Plate Turtle

Supplies:  Paper Plate, Construction Paper, Scotch Tape, Markers, Scissors, (+ Water Colors and Googley Eyes optional)

1)  Cut out 5 rectangles for head and feet  (I was informed that the front feet are bigger than the back, who knew?)

2)  Turn the plate right side up and attach the head and feet right at the edge of the plate with tape.

3)  Flip the plate over and decorate with markers.

4)  Optional:  Paint the shell and add googley eyes

The Turtles can also pull into their shells by flipping the head and appendages under.  Cute, right?

After Finn was done he declared “Now I’m going to make him a habitat out of Legos!”, and with that, he and his Turtle were headed off to recreate whatever environment Paper Plate Turtles live in.

So, that’s it, Folks.  While we may be simple and Un-Pinteresting, we are having a good time.  No one can be sad when there is Turtle Toast for breakfast, actually, it’s sounding awfully good for a midnight snack… Oh dear, time for bed before I get myself in trouble.

We hope all you fellow Turtle Fans enjoy our ideas, and Finn says “Don’t be a Turtle Killer, Don’t Pollute!”  Got it?  Okay!  🙂