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Monday, December 10, 2018

Spelling Printables and More

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ways to Teach Kids Writing Skills

Monday, November 26, 2018

Stocking Stuffers for Kids who Like to Chew

Stocking Stuffers for Kids who Like to Put Things in their Mouths // In Our Pond // autism // sensory processing disorder // oral sensory needs

*This is a sponsored post.  I was given free product in exchange for my honest opinion.  Ark Therapeutic also provided a free necklace for a giveaway to help me promote my blog.  The gift guide is my Christmas bonus to them.  All pictures come from the Ark Therapeutic website and belong to them*

Skimmer (age 6) loves to put things in his mouth!  He chews plastic and metal, rips things with his teeth, and gnaws his fingers.  He has many other sensory needs, but the oral sensory seeking can be the hardest to meet.  We have found that certain crunchy or flavorful foods are helpful, but there are often times (like in church) when eating noisy foods is not polite.  Enter- the silicone chew or chewelry.

Chewelry is kid-safe jewelry made out of food-grade silicone, which is meant to be chewed.  It's designed to meet the oral sensory needs in a safe way!  It comes in necklaces, bracelets, hand-held objects, pencil toppers, and more.  Some chews are shaped to meet different types of chewing needs, whether front teeth biting or back teeth gnawing.  They also come in several types of hardness for chewers from toddler to adult.

A blogging friend tuned me onto Ark Therapeutic early this past year.  i fell in love with the company as soon as I went on their website.  They're a family-owned company in the USA, who manufacture all of their own chewies locally.  A speech-language pathologist and an engineer got together to build the tools that occupational therapists (and all similar fields) and parents need for their special needs kids (or themselves).  All the products put out by Ark Therapeutic are medical grade, USA-manufactured, FDA compliant, and free from all sorts of bad stuff (BPA, PVC, lead, phthalates, and latex).  I feel great buying from this company and recommending it to everyone I know.

As I mentioned in the disclosure, Ark Therapeutic sent me free products to test out with my kids in exchange for this blog post.  Everything they sent to us, all my kids loved and used.  Even as I was putting together this blog post, they were giving me their wish list.  We have chewelry in the house, in the car, during homeschooling, and in my purse.  When I see my son start to get anxious, chew his fingers, or gnaw on toys, I pass him a chew.  The chewelry is much better for his teeth than anything else he could bite.

Ark Therapeutic also gave me one free chewelry necklace to giveaway to my readers  (scroll down to enter)  Since we're getting into Christmas time, I talked to the company about putting together a gift guide for them.  Chewelry makes great stocking stuffers and are fun enough to be exciting for kids to get as gifts.  Here are some of my family's favorite chews.  Which one is your favorite?

Stocking Stuffers for Girls who Like to Chew // In Our Pond // autism // sensory processing disorder // oral sensory needs

All links go to the Ark Theraputic website and are NOT affiliate links

Krypto-Bites- These long ones are good for people who like to chew with their back teeth.  I've also noticed that my kids suck on them a bit.

Smilie Face- It's not that emojis are particularly feminine, but I decided to include them in this list just for fun.  The round shape fills up the mouth and allows for chewing with a variety of teeth.

Pizza Slices- I love that you could put these slices together to make a whole pizza.  The shape reminds me of sleepovers and parties.  Great for a group of friends.

Diamond Necklace- Perfect for front teeth chewers, this diamond shape feels like princess jewelry while meeting a real oral need.

Best Friends Hearts- Designed with friends in mind, these front chewers are fun and functional.

Heart Chew- These hand-held chewers are adorable and perfect for the little darling in your life.  Great baby gift too!

Sidekick Chew- This big chew is about the size of an adult hand, making it a great choice for younger kids.  It's shape is really fun and has lots of places to hold onto it, too.

Fairy Princess Wands- I love that this super girly chew can be used for both front and back teeth chewers, making it a great option for a first chew.

Brick Pencil Toppers- Does your kid chew the top of their pencil at school or during homework time?  Do you?  This is the chew you need

Brick Fidget Spinners- How awesome is this combination between a chew and a fidget spinner!  I love it, and I know my son would as well.

Guitar Chew- This chew is specifically for babies to help them with their teething.  Of course, any music lover would benefit from this adorable chew.

Stocking Stuffers for Boys who Like to Put Things in their Mouths // In Our Pond // autism // sensory processing disorder // oral sensory needs

Not affiliate links

Brick Stick- My kids love playing with Lego and think these brick sticks are amazing.  They're thin enough to be used as a back and front chewers.  The bumps are very nice to run across your fingers or other body parts if tactile input is what you seek.

Bite Sabers- Fans of Star Wars will love these fun "light saber" chews.  Great for kids who love to gnaw with their molars.

Dino Bite- This meaty dinosaur chew is perfect for kids who love fossils or even as a special souvenir for a trip to the museum.

Saber Tooth- The curve of this chew is great for lining up along your teeth.  On most kids, it reaches from the front to the back to give a lot of sensory input.  Plus, it looks cool.

Super Star- The star on these dog tags reminds me of Captain America.  If you have a kid who loves super heroes and bites with his front teeth, this is the chew for you!

Spider Bite- Another super hero themed chew, this one is good for Spiderman fans (like Tadpole- age 5).  The round shape fits the mouth well and touches many front teeth.

Ninja Star- This round shape has holes in it, which is great for kids who like to poke their fingers through things.  The non-solid shape would also be good for tongue poking.

Dino Tracks- This chew is good for dinosaur fans and front teeth chewers.

Bite Saber Pencil Toppers- Gear up a for a light saber battle and meet a sensory need to chew with these fun pencil toppers.

Magic Wand- This Harry Potter style wand is great for a back teeth chewer.

Original Grabber- With a special loop for gripping, this chew

Mega Brick Stick- This 6" Lego brick is great for babies and older chewers.

Overwhelmed by all the options?  Ark Therapeutic has awesome customer service!  Contact them on their website for individual help to meet your child's needs.  The company is family owned and family oriented, and I know they'll serve your family well.

Ark Therapeutic has graciously given me one chew necklace to giveaway to my readers!  And the best part is that you, the reader, get to pick out whichever one you want!  Gift has not cash equivalent and the giveaway is only open to residents of the USA.  Prize will be mailed from Ark Therapeutic.

Enter in the box below!  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Stocking Stuffers for Kids who Like to Chew // In Our Pond // autism // sensory processing disorder // oral sensory needs

These Water Bottles are also Great for Kids who Chew

Monday, November 19, 2018

DIY Miniature Nutcracker Dance Studio

Nutcracker Dance Studio Doll Room for Elves and Barbies // Free printables // In Our Pond

I've had this dance studio in process since last Christmas!  I did the printables for it last January, and just now got around to putting it all together.  I built this to use as a background for our Elf on the Shelf, JOY, when she teaches us about the Nutcracker like she did last year.  With the new Nutcracker and the Four Realms movie out in theaters now, this is a great year to introduce your kids to the classic ballet.

To allow the ballet studio to be easy to store, I used a Small Tri-Fold Presentation Board, which stands 14" tall and is 24" wide.  It's a great size for fashion dolls and elves.  First, I used plain computer paper and a glue stick to cover the edges of the board.  It creates a nice edge and gets you used to cutting and gluing on the cardboard.

Nutcracker Dance Studio printables for an Elf doll room // In Our Pond

Next, I used the wallpaper printable that I made to cover the inside of the board.  It took a bit of creativity to make the patterns match up, but it wasn't too hard.  If you had another scene on the inside of the tri-fold board, you could put just one wallpaper print on back of the board.  You could also add the wallpaper to both sides to make more than one room.  I made the printable 8.5x14" (legal size) so the pages should fit well on the tri-fold board.

Then, it's time to decorate!  I've included several fun signs that you can attach to the walls or make freestanding.  I intend to add a fake mirror with scrapbook paper after a trip to the craft store.  Since I want the board to store flat, I decided not to attach anything bulky to the walls like a practice bar.  If you decide to make a free-standing bar or turn this into a box room, check out the ballet studio by My Froggy Stuff for an awesome tutorial.

Easy doll or elf costume for the Nutcracker // In Our Ppnd

You can make a simple ballet costume for your doll by adding strips of pink tulle to an elastic hair band.  For our JOY elf in the picture above, I also added a bit of lace to her crown for a Sugar Plum Fairy look.

PDF download

> >  > Click Here to Download the Printable < < <

> > > More Elf Stuff Here < < <

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Friday, November 16, 2018

DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves

DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves // In Our Pond // 1:6 scale // Barbie dollhouse // Doll Crafting

I've been busy filling up my Elf Suitcase House with handcrafted decorations.  I wish the pictures were a bit better- maybe I can reshoot them next year when the sun shines again.  For now, hopefully these cell phone snaps from my shadowy bedroom will be enough to get a good idea of what I've done.  Most of the craft supplies with a few exceptions are basic and things I already had around my house.  I've included complete supply lists for your convenience.

Elf House in a Suitcase // DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves // In Our Pond // 1:6 scale // Barbie dollhouse // Doll Crafting

Peppermint Vase
- empty glitter jar
- fake candy canes
- peppermint nail art pieces

I first arranged the candy canes in the jar to get them the way I wanted, then I added a bit of hot glue in the middle of the to hold them to each other.  I lifted the bundle of candy canes out and added the peppermint candies.  A dab of hot glue in the middle of the candies came next, and I pushed the candy canes down on top while the glue was still hot.  When it was all assembled, I hot glued it in place on the shelf.

Free Printable Christmas sign // DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves // In Our Pond // 1:6 scale // Barbie dollhouse // Doll Crafting // Peppermint // Candy Canes

Smell the Peppermint and Hope Signs
- free printable
- scrap of white foam board
- red craft paint
- paintbrush
- glue stick

I designed the sign art after browsing Pinterest.  The words "stop and smell the peppermint" came from Yellow Bliss Road (her design is better and perfect for your kitchen) and really spoke to me since I love peppermint!  I cut out the sign and traced it onto the foam board (paperboard or cardboard would work too).  Then, I painted the foam board with red paint on the sides.  After it dried, I used a glue stick to attach the printable to the board.  With a dry brush, I added some red smudges, then added a small piece of foam board to the back as a stand.  It's also hot glued onto the shelf.

> > > Click Here to Download the Free Printable < < <

Peppermint Jar
peppermint nail art pieces
- little jars from nail art glitter

This one is super easy.  I just added the peppermint candies to the empty glitter jar, which I got at the Dollar Tree.  The tiniest dab of hot glue keeps the candies from falling out.  So cute.

Wrapped Trees
 - scrap of white foam board

First, I cut a scrap of foam board into a 1 inch square.  Then, I shaped and cut a scrap of paper into a tiny cone, using a glue stick to secure it.  Next, I wrapped the yarn over the cone, gluing it as I worked.  The truck of the tree is a piece of q-tip hot glued into the cone.  I used regular hot glue to attach the tree to the foam board.  For the snow effect, I broke out my second glue gun and used white glue stick to make drifts.  Once the glue was cooled, I brushed the snow and one of the trees with glitter nail polish.

- free printable
scrap of white foam board
glue stick

I talked about the assembly of these little books on my Elf Books blog post.  For these books, I wrapped the covers around scraps of foam board and secured them with a glue stick.  Then, I hot glued them to each other and to the shelf.

DIY Mini Doll and Elf Books with free printables // In Our Pond // Christmas // Elf on the Shelf // doll miniatures

Snowflake Trophy
glitter nail polish
snowflake buttons 

I painted the snowflake and the piece of foam board with glitter nail polish.  Then, I hot glued them together.  Easy as pie.

Nutcracker Dolls
- free printable
- hot glue sticks
- scrap paper
glue stick
- paper q-tips
- mini pompoms

The printable Nutcracker from My Studio 3D is designed to go around a Pringles can for holiday treats.  I used my computer to resize it to be about 1 3/4" tall.  After printing and cutting, I used the doll wrap to measure the correct height on a glue stick and on the scrap piece of paper, which I cut into strips.  Starting with the glue stick as the base, I began wrapping the paper, gluing every inch or so to keep it wound tight.  When my inner paper tube was the size I wanted, I attached the printable with a glue stick.

For the hair, I pulled the cotton off q-tips and hot glued them in place.  The arms are wrapped around the stick part of the q-tips and hot glued to the body.  The hat and gloves (on the fatter one) are mini pompoms hot glued to their place.  The fatter Nutcracker has 4 pompoms on his hat, because I didn't have a large one to put there.  Like everything else, they're hot glued onto the shelves.

Paper Tube Nutcracker // DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves // In Our Pond // 1:6 scale // Barbie dollhouse // Doll Crafting

Gold Candle
snowflake buttons 
- glitter hot glue stick

I painted the snowflake with gold glitter polish like I did for the snowflake trophy.  The candle is a piece of glitter glue stick that I cut to size and added more gold nail polish to the sides.  Then, I hot glued the candle to the button.  Dragonfly really wanted this addition, so I knew I had to include it.

- evergreen pipe cleaners

One of the easiest parts of the decor.  I wrapped one piece of evergreen pipe cleaner around itself to make a hoop.  I'd like to add a gold bow, but I don't have anything to make one with at the moment.

1:6 Scale Christmas Treats // DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves // In Our Pond // 1:6 scale // Barbie dollhouse // Doll Crafting

Cake Pops
- miniature cake pops
scrap of white foam board
white hot glue

I absolutely love these cake pops from Sweet Pea Toy Miniatures!  They're so detailed and adorable!  I stacked up layers of white foam board to make a cake stand and added a few holes to help the cake pops stand up.  Then, I added the pops one at a time, securing them with white hot glue.  After all the main glue had cooled, I added blobs of glue to the rest of the stand to make it look like snow or frosting.  (oops- I just noticed that the gingerbread man has glue boogers on him)

Ornament Vase
- 6 mm red and white beads
empty glitter jar

Another super easy one to make.  I just took an empty glitter jar and added the beads to it.  A bit of hot glue kept them from spilling.  Then, I hot glued it to the shelf.

Coffee Cup with Whipped Cream
- free printable
- brown craft paint
peppermint nail art pieces
- modge podge
- white craft paint
- corn starch
- paint brush

I featured the basic coffee cup design and free printable on my Doll Coffee Shop blog post.  The directions for assembly can be found there.  I saw an amazing craft whipped cream tutorial from My Froggy Stuff the other days, and I had to try it.  In a small bowl, I mixed up modge podge, white craft paint, and corn starch together until it made stiff peaks.  I used the back of the paint brush to mix and to add a dollop of whipped cream to the top of the coffee.  A tiny slice of peppermint nail art completed the adorable peppermint latte.

Barbie-sized Peppermint Latte and Whipped Cream Cake // DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves // In Our Pond // 1:6 scale // Barbie dollhouse // Doll Crafting

Peppermint Cake
- Barbie plastic cake
peppermint nail art pieces
modge podge
white craft paint
corn starch
paint brush

I had a cheap, plastic strawberry cake that I bought as part of a Barbie accessories pack.  Since I had so much fake whipped cream left over from the coffee, I decided to use it to "frost" the cake.  It's not the most beautiful cake, and I'm still trying to decide if I want to add more to it, but I like the way it turned out.  Like I did with the coffee, I added peppermint slices to the cakes.  Have I mentioned how much I love peppermint?  Yum!

Easy Paperboard Gingerbread House // DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves // In Our Pond // 1:6 scale // Barbie dollhouse // Doll Crafting

Gingerbread House
- paperboard
scrap of white foam board
white hot glue
- gingerbread man button
peppermint nail art pieces

This gingerbread house was one of the first things I crafted this year.  I started with four pieces of paperboard shapes for the walls and a scrap of 1x1 inch foam board for the base.  Using my favorite white hot glue, I began assembling the house like you would make a real one, one side at a time, adding glue frosting at each join.  After the house corners were cool, I added a rectangle for the roof.  The next part was the hardest because I had to be patient to not put my hand in the glue as I worked.  Slowly, I added hot glue to the base of the house, the joints, the roof, and around the door.  I added a gingerbread button and peppermint candy to the front of the house to finish it.

Which one is your Favorite?  Comment below!

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DIY Mini Christmas Decorations for Dolls and Elves // In Our Pond // 1:6 scale // Barbie dollhouse // Doll Crafting