Art History Projects, Fine Motor Fun

Fine Motor Friday, Scissor Fun with Matisse

We continued our Art History Projects by combing a fine motor activity with an art lesson by exploring Henri Matisse. We had recently been at our local art museum were we had been able to see several Matisse works. As my little one is also discovering and enjoying scissors I thought this would be a fun project for her.

Since we had been so busy we had been unable to make a trip to the public library to borrow a copy of Henri’s Scissors but fortunately I was able to find a video of it being read on YouTube and we pulled it up on our Smart TV and I let her watch while I set up the materials. After that we also watched an episode of Art with Mati and Dada on Matisse in order to try and interest her more in the topic with the fun and brief cartoon. Click on the red YouTube button below for a link to the video.

Needed Supplies:

  • Construction Paper
  • Glue Sticks
  • Scissors-My recommendation for toddler scissors and the ones that she is using in this picture are below. Click on the image if you wish to purchase from Amazon.

As we already had all the needed supplies this was once again a “free to me” art activity. I essentially just set out the supplies and let her go to town. I found that doing it this way was a little bit more difficult for her as she was only mainly able to cut rectangles. Here is her finished product.

As you can see she got a little over zelous with the glue stick. That’s one reason I make sure and always have several at the house!

I decided that we would repeat this activity again in a few months and see how her scissor skills have progressed. Currently she had more fun practicing using her glue stick. Our next planned artist is Monet. Do you have any other artists that you think we should explore? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

Toddler Toy Recommendations

What We’re Playing

Recently my daughter has started to really get into playing games and will frequent ask us to play. While she doesn’t always completely understand the point of the game I think that playing games helps to reinforcing things like taking turns. The other day she received the game The World of Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar Spin & Seek ABC Game from a friendly friend.

Click on the image below to check it out:

I like this game for a few reasons:

1. It includes one of our favorite book characters and I like anything that calls back to reading.

2. It contains an educational component that directly reflects back on things we have been learning, namely matching up letters.

3. Moving around the game board also allows us to practice her counting.

All in all it is an easy, no prep activity that makes learning her ABCs more fun for her and let’s mom feel good that she is learning something while playing.

Does your little one like board games? What is your go to game that you can pull out for a little undercover learning? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Thrifty Florida Mom Money Saving Tips

10 for $10

Right now is one of my favorite times to go secondhand shopping as my local Once Upon A Child Stores have all of their clearance merchandise discounted to $1 if you purchase 10 items this weekend. This is when I stock up on basics for my little one at a price that can’t be beat. I also like to use this clothes for day care as if they get lost, ripped in a fall on the playground, stained with pasta sauce from lunch or covered in paint at art time it is not a big deal.

I will normally buy clothes in the next two sizes if I need another piece or two to get enough things I like to get to 10 or 20 items. Today I found brand new blue jeans with the original tags from Belk, a brand new blue jean top from Cat & Jack as well as items from Gap and crewcuts in excellent condition.

When buying clothes ahead of time from a secondhand store I look for neutrals that are in good condition from trusted brands that I know will wash well.

So, if you are a parent that likes a great deal and doesn’t mind second hand make sure you check out your local Once Upon A Child’s social media to find out what the current clearance deals are in your area.

Do you purchase secondhand clothes for your little one? If so what secondhand stores are your favorite? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

What We're Reading

Traveling Around the World with Reading

In addition to the books that we have been reading that help reinforce our letters of the month, we have also been reading books about different continents/areas of the world. This month I selected some books about Africa, Australia and Antarctica to correspond with one of our letters this month and to interduce my little one to the idea of different parts of the world. (Prior to this she would only refer to Florida and then to areas where family members lived).

I started out by selecting a book to try to help me introduce the idea that where we live is only one small part of the world as a whole. The book I chose was Maps & Globes by Jack Knowlton and Harriet Barton. (Click on the image for a link to Amazon for more information).

Below is the rest of what we are reading:

We checked out a few more recommended books about Antarctica but found that they were too difficulty for her current level and had far too many words per page. My plan is to seek out additional books and try again with Antarctica in the future, maybe focusing more on animals (penguins, seals, killer whales) as the books about animals from Australia and Africa seemed to hold her attention better.

Do you have any books that you recommend we try out? Leave us a comment below and let us know. We would love to know what you and your little ones are currently reading at home. We are always looking for new books to try.

Thrifty Florida Mom Money Saving Tips

How We Save Money at the Happiest Place on Earth

Like a lot of Florida residents we enjoy vacationing in our own state. With beautiful beaches and warm weather it’s like our own little slice of paradise. Also, like a lot of other Floridians we enjoy spending time at the Home of the Mouse, Walt Disney World. As we feel our little one is a little too little to really enjoy Universal Studios, Disney has become our go to for theme park entertainment.

As many of you are probably aware, depending upon what you are doing and enjoying at Disney World the cost can add up quickly. Here are a few ways that we try to stretch our money while enjoying a trip that can quickly add up.

  • Take advantage of Florida resident pricing. Disney does run specials that apply only to Florida residents and are a significant discount. In the past we have taken advantage of the half day pass, which allows admission into the park after noon. When doing this we select the park that is going to be open the latest that day and skip the afternoon nap/break to allow for at least 8-9 hours of in park time. Currently Disney is running a promotion for Florida Residents for 4 days for less than $200 which isn’t bad as a one day admission can run upwards of $100.

  • Bring your own food! We routinely pack and bring with us all our own breakfast food, snacks and drinks. We utilize large water bottles in order to keep our drinks cool while avoiding the high price of soft drinks in the park. We eat breakfast in our room almost always which also helps us to maximize the early morning time trying to get on as many rides/attractions as possible as it seems the waits always increase as the day goes on. The only exception to this rule is if we splurge on a character breakfast as the breakfast price can be considerably cheaper compared to the dinner price. If we do this we like the family style/all you care to enjoy selections in order to fill up and then normally only eat a snack mid day and then a smaller dinner.

  • Book hotels through Priceline and Hotwire. We have saved as much as 75% by booking through third party blind sites. With Priceline narrowing it down to three selections we were able to with 100% confidence book a Disney Partner hotel which still allowed for 60 day prior fastpass booking and save $116 dollars a night compared to the cheapest available on site Disney resort during that same time period.

  • Purchase Disney merchandise/souvenirs prior to entering the park. I have bought gently used Disney toys from second hand stores prior to our trip and then presented them to my child upon arrival. She has been just as excited as when we have purchased items on site.

  • Get your Princess dresses/costumes at Target after Halloween. My little one has a selection of Disney princess dresses that I have purchased for significantly less by picking them up at Target for 70% off after Halloween. She is happy to be dressed like a princess but at prices as much as 90% less than the average cost in the park.

Stay tuned for further money saving tips and tricks to avoid #mostexpensivedayever.

Thrifty Florida Mom Money Saving Tips

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…to Start Christmas Shopping

So, though it may seem a little premature to say the least, this is the time of year that I start Christmas shopping. Why you may ask? Well, because of the deep clearance discounts that you can find at this time of year, especially for children’s toys. As we have about 15 children that we routinely shop for each year I find that I can get the biggest bang for my buck by looking for deep discounts on clearance toys following the Christmas season. Here’s how I do this:

  • Follow discount sites like how post the biggest discounts that they are finding. I then search locally using
  • Walking the toy aisle every time I visit Target at this time of year. If there is something in particular that I am looking for I will visit every Thursday night to do my grocery shopping as this is the day that my local Target makes new mark downs on toys. Also, not all Targets clearance the same. Therefore I have identified the Target in my area that tends to discount the most items (as it is in a more seasonal area and therefore historically has more items available longer) and no, I won’t share where this one is located because then I will be advertising one of my friend’s best kept secrets.
  • Identifying which items prior to Christmas that I would like if they go on clearance and then periodically searching for them on to see if they are marked down.
  • For Christmas books I always visit Homegoods or TJ Maxx on December 26th or 27th as they immediately discount all Christmas goods the day after Christmas and this includes children’s books.

Here are a couple of good deals that I have seen personally:

Disney Frozen 2 Ultimate Arendelle Castle Playset with Lights and Moving Balcony, 5 Ft. x 4 Ft. Originally $200.00, now $49.00 at Walmart

PLAYMOBIL Noah’s Ark Originally $69.99, now $49.67 at Walmart

Melissa & Doug Deluxe One Stop Shop Play Store Set – 63pc Originally $179.99 now $89.98 at Target.

Rock And Roll It – Rainbow Piano Originally $59.99, now $19.99 at Michael’s.

When do you start your Christmas shopping? What else would you like to now about starting early? Let me know and leave a comment below.

Art History Projects, What We're Reading


I chose Picasso for our next famous artist study. It was a great pick because it turns out my little one loves Picasso. I found a project on Pinterest from

Next we made a stop at our local library and found this book on the shelves.

I read the book to her and we had fun looking at the pictures and discussing the different periods or finding different items in the pictures. In particular she had fun looking at the Cubism paintings and identifying different items in them.

In preparation for this activity I had precut out a variety of shapes in different color construction paper. I did have to go out and purchase glue sticks as this was a new item for us. So this project did cost $2.89.

I set out all of the construction paper cut outs and let her self select and glue the shapes.

She enjoyed herself so much that she made several of them. She will even ask to read “Picasso book” when we are picking out books before bed time.

One of her finished “Picassos”.

Do you have any suggestions for other artists she may enjoy? Leave use a comment below.

Letters of the Month

Alphabet Magnet Match Game

As we continue to work on our letters of the month, I set my little one up with an easy letter matching game that I found on Pinterest from

Supplies Needed:

  • Cookie Sheet
  • Magnetic Letters
  • Alphabet written onto small pieces of scrap paper

This was another “free to me” activity as we had received the magnet letters that I used in this activity as a hand me down from a friend.

It is similar to this one that can be found on Amazon:

This activity did require a small amount of pre-planning as the night before I worked on writing out the alphabet on scrap paper and cutting out the pieces. I set my little one to work with an extra piece of paper to cut up with her plastic scissors while I was doing this so that she could feel like she was in on the planning and practice her fine motor skills at the same time.

Here is how I set it up:

One thing that I will change going forward is that I wrote out both uppercase and lowercase letters for her to match to her magnets. I found that this was frustrating for her as we do not own any lowercase magnets and she had more trouble recognizing the match. Next time I plan on sticking to just uppercase letters. Since this was our first time performing this activity I also made sure that I did not pick out letters to put into the pile that are more similar in appearance such as “B” and “P”.

Once again princess dress is optional during this activity.

What other activities can you think of that we could use our magnet toy for? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Fine Motor Fun

Fine Motor Fun

Today I am sharing a simple and easy to set up activity to keep your little one busy while they also practice their fine motor skills.

Needed Supplies

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Colander

This was a “free to me” activity as we just used my kitchen colander and we had a large package of pipe cleaners left over from another activity a year ago. I pulled them out and set my little one to work while I started some laundry. I simply showed her how to place the pipe cleaners and pull them through the holes in the colander.

Princess dress is optional lol!

What is one of your quick and easy go to activities that you utilize to keep your little one busy while you get work done around the house? Let us know in the comments below!

Art History Projects

A is for Art

As we continue our Letter A activities I decided that we would throw in a weekly art project and a brief lesson on a famous artist. I started by explaining to my little one that when some people go to work their job is to make art. While scrolling through Pinterest I stumbled across an art project that I felt my non-artistic self could handle, a stamping project about Andy Warhol’s famous Flowers painting from (An added plus was that as his name started with an A I could have my daughter “find an A” on the title page.)

Supplies needed:

  • Paper or Canvas (I had a few small canvases left over from a pack I bought for another project we did a few years back so I did let her use one for this project)
  • Paint (We used Crayola Finger Paints as that is what we already had. I mixed colors until I made black)
  • Half of a green bell pepper ($0.89 at Target and then we used the other half in a salad later that week)
  • Paper plate to hold the paint

Since we had all put the pepper already at home this project cost only 89 cents!

I had been busy and forgotten to look up/request a book from the library in advance so we wound up with the one book that was available at our local library branch, Fortunately I did include lots of photographs of Warhol’s work and several photographs of the work we were going to use as our inspiration. We looked through the pictures together and explained to my little one that we were going to try and make our own painting like Andy Warhol’s and showed her the pictures.

I stamped the first “flower” for her and then let her go at it from there. After repeatedly stamping her canvas she wanted to do more so I found a few pieces of scrap paper and let her stamp them as well. When she grew bored we set the paintings aside until the next day in order to let the black paint dry before adding color.

Dip in the paint…
…then stamp. Ta Da!

The next evening we came back to the project and I let her add color with a paint brush. She didn’t quite grasp the concept of staying inside the lines but had a lot of fun regardless. I am planning on repeating this project again with her next year to see how she grows and changes.

Adding color on the second day.