Thomas TrackMaster Playdate

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fisher-Price for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Oh, the woes of the only-child! I admit I am not a great only-child parent; there is a lot of mommy-and-me time around here. But when I was given the opportunity to host a playdate with lots of Thomas & Friends™ TrackMaster™ fun, I had to take it. The Boy loves Thomas! I love that he loves him because my sisters and I loved Thomas when we were young too. Plus, it was a great opportunity to get him together with other kids.

 

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Thomas & Friends™ TrackMaster™ sets are so fun for a big group of kids! To be honest, I was pretty nervous about keeping all of the kids entertained in my home, (only-child mom problems) but it ended up being zero work on my part. Those kids were glued to the tracks! They loved watching them climb up the hills and chug down line. The redesigned motorized engines practically climb straight up without slowing down. The kids really loved this Avalanche Escape set, because the trains would get launched across a “ravine” after finishing a huge climb to the top.  

 

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Of course I needed a little snack to keep the kids going. Although none of them wanted to stop playing to eat anything(whatever, more Oreos for me!). 

 

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  The Boy especially loved putting two trains (Thomas and Percy are his favorites) on the track together to make them “chase” each other. It was hilarious watching him shriek with glee and jump up and down as they got close to each other on the tracks. 

 

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Our house was literally a Thomas world for a few hours, and the kids loved it.

 

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I love that the tracks are compatible with older sets so they can all go together. Nothing is more fun than one, huge track!

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Check out the new Thomas & Friends™ TrackMaster ™ Online and build your very own track design! Little engineers can build an amazing, virtual track for more Thomas adventures.  Plus, don’t miss the release of a brand new Thomas DVD, Tale of the Brave, coming out in early September. 

 

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Do your kids love Thomas as much as mine? 

 

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Whale Book Ends {Anthro Knock-off}

I have been cruisin’ the internet looking for some cute ideas for my son’s new room. Now that he will be the big brother, we are working on getting him a big boy room. Dallas has promised to build him (me) a cute platform bed frame, and I found an adorable, vintage bedside table that I am dying to refinished as soon as I get a color palette picked out. When I stumbled on this adorable whale bookend set at Anthropologie, I fell in love! But knew I would never spend $70 on a room accessory, so I decided to try and make them myself. 

I had big ‘ol plans, but when I was finished, these bookends ended up being less of a knock-off and more of a creation based off an inspiration. 
 

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It only cost me $4, a far cry from $70!

When I started out, I considered using polymer clay. I decided against it simply because a brick large enough to sculp this whale would be quite expensive and I was trying to keep the costs low. 

I ended up using a simple salt dough. It was fine (and dirt cheap) but it dried out quickly, and for someone without much sculpting talent it was a lot of pressure! The “texture” that my finished whale has is just the cracking of the dough as I tried to keep molding it while it dried out; I don’t hate it, but you should definitely use a different clay recipe if you prefer the smoothness that the Anthro version has. 

Here is my method: 

I started on the head; because a sperm whale’s head is square-ish, I started with a rectangle shape and rounded the top corners. 

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Next, I made the mouth by using a butter knife to indent the dough. 

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I made the eye by squishing a little ball into the side of the head. I also ended up cutting off the end. I thought the ratio of length to height was a bit off, plus I wanted a nice, clean edge. 

 

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The tail, which I thought would be the easy part, proved to be a bit tricky. I tried several times to get the tail correct. The salt dough ended up being problematic because it is a heavy, dense dough, but not stiff enough to hold its own weight. So after several attempts, I decided it was much easier to made the end of the body and the tail fin separately. 

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After the pieces were (pretty much) the way I wanted them, I heated the oven to 200º and baked the pieces for several hours. Because the pieces are rather dense, they seemed to never completely dry. The paint did not seem to be affected, so don’t stress if you feel like your dough isn’t 100% dry. 

I then “welded” the tail piece onto the body end with lots of hot glue. 

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Then I molded some unused dough around the glue to cover it up. I wasn’t able to achieve the same texture, darn it!

 

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I put it back in the oven for a hour or so to dry the patched tail. 

Then, I added some paint. I did two coats of gray acrylic paint and carefully painted the eye over the gray.

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They might have been fine like this, but when everything was said and done, they weren’t as big as I have envisioned them to be. I added a bit more stability by gluing the pieces onto 5 x 5 wooded plaques that I had finished in a clear varnish. I also covered the whales pieces in a glossy top coat, but I do like the look of the matte as well. 

All in all, my bookends ended up okay! Halfway through, I was sure that I was working on a huge #craftfail…

 

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Matching Little Sister, Big Brother Shirts

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This is completely crazy, but I haven’t made Little Cricket a single thing yet! Not one pair of booties and not one hair bow. Well, I finally got around to doing a cute project for her. I love this one because I was also able to finish the first item that will be in The Boy’s Big Brother basket: matching big brother, little sister shirts (well, her’s is a onesie). 

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This was my very first heat transfer vinyl project and I am pleased to say I only ruined ONE onesie: second time is the charm. They literally say “Older brother” and “little sister” just because I liked the wording for “older” better. 

There are lots of great tutorials on how to use heat transfer vinyl, but I thought I would give a few tips for a newbie like myself. 

 

1. I used a 6 blade depth to get it to cut all the way through, deeper than the 2 the Silhouette Designer recommends. 

2. Always remember, shiny side DOWN

3. Mirror your image

4. Take the time and iron twice 

5. Let it cool down before trying to remove the plastic backing

6. Do separate pieces one at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once, even if the pieces don’t overlap. 

 

For this project, I used this mustache set, this bow set, and the Janda Stylish Script font. At first, I struggled trying to figure out a way to type the french accent marks, because I also couldn’t figure out how to paste onto a new project. So for those who don’t know how to do that, you have to draw a box first, then paste inside the box. I pasted the words “petite sœur” (little sister) and “frère aîné” (older brother). 

 

 
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I was so worried that tiny script font may have been a bad choice, but I got the heat transfer vinyl at  Pick Your Plum and it worked perfectly! I even threw the onesie in the wash and it came out completely unscathed. 

 

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So I have the first item for The Boy’s Big Brother basket ( and a start for my baby’s collection of handmade goodies). Do you have any other ideas? 

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Cloth Diapering – Oh My! (Guest Post)

Today, I am excited to introduce Shonee from Hawthorne and Main! She will be giving you the lowdown on cloth diapering. I have been considering it for our second baby, but am a bit confused about how it all works. I am so glad she is willing to share her experiences with us!

 

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Hello Whistle and Ivy readers! My name is Shonee and I am so happy to be here today!!   You can usually find me blogging over at Hawthorne and Main where I share about all the creative adventures we have in updating our old 1950’s home as well as other crafty tutorials. Today we are going to be talking about “poopeee” well not exactly, but sort of.  When I had my little girl last year I decided that in order to save some cash, the planet and my baby’s bum, I decided to try CLOTH DIAPERS.  Oh my gosh, you must think I am crazy.  Well, I am, a little, but at least hear me out.
 

 

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I am usually not really big into researching products because we have some really good friends who are big into researching.  We usually just copy them and buy whatever they find to be the best products.  This time though, I was on my own.  I literally researched for months reading tons of reviews; I even joined some diapering online groups.  I was invested in finding the perfect diapering system, if it existed.  The problem with cloth diapers is that there are soooo many brands and styles.  While I know everyone’s lives are different I will show you the system that we chose,  as well as some pros and cons.  

Drum roll please,  the diapering system we chose is called gDiapers.  The original reason that I decided to choose this system was because it was the only diaper at the time that was considered a hybrid.  Meaning you could use a cloth insert or a disposable insert.  Once I looked into gDiapers more and more I knew they were the ones for our family. Ok, ok let me show you what I mean and it will make more sense. 

 

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Each gDiaper has 3 parts with an optional 4th:

Soft Cloth Re-usable Diaper Covers- The outside of the diaper, which is washable.  They come in sizes NB, SM, MED, LG, XL and a variety of colors.  My favorites are here,
here,
here and
here. Oh I love them all!  
 

Breathable Waterproof Pouches
– These are washable and they have snaps so you can easily remove them.   They come in two sizes, small and a larger size that accommodates all Med/Lrg/XL
 

Cloth Inserts
OR Disposable Inserts ( remember I said hybrid) – cloth is washable of course and the disposables are quick and easy.  Read on their website how you can compost their disposable diapers.   

OPTIONAL:

There is an optional Cloth Diaper Liner which is essentially a thin liner that goes on top of the cloth diaper to better catch solids. So that might me a little bit confusing because I am trying to show you without the diaper in front of you.  It really is a very simple system to use. Head over here to see a bunch of video tutorials on how to get one set up.  Now that you know all of the parts let me, for a moment, give you my personal perspective on these diapers.

 There was a little bit of trial and error on getting the perfect fit.  After my little one wore them a couple times I found that the diaper leaked.  I realized that the cloth insert was too close to the Breathable Waterproof liner and it sort of broke the seal.  After that short trial period we have had smooth sailing.  She rarely has leaked.  Another trick I learned from watching their videos is that you DON’T want to put the diaper on really tight, just snug.  If it is too tight then the seal again is broken and leaks will occur.

PROS:

-diapers are easy to use once you get the hang of it

-you can use the same Diaper Cover and Waterproof Pouch for multiple diaper changes

-they come in awesome colors

-they are eco-friendly

-they are easy on the babies bum- she has never had diaper rash

-one set of diapers can last through multiple children

CONS: 

-baby needs more frequent diaper changes

-you must wash the cloth diapers- that is for another post

-they are sort of pricy
In all of my research I found that some people did not like the gDiapers brand of cloth inserts.  I followed their advice and chose to purchase mine elsewhere.  If you go to Green Mountain Diapers I  got the Cloth-eez Prefold Diapers: White.  For a newborn I would go with size preemie.  For older babies you can start with newborn size.  They run big when used for gDiapers, at least that has been my experience.  Also I ended up purchasing 24 cloth inserts.  I feel that I could use more.  I end up doing laundry about once a week or sometimes twice.  The more cloth inserts you have the less laundry you need to do.  I have tried the gDiaper liners before and I found that they were very stiff and we decided that we did not need the extra cost of a liner.  I have also tried the disposable inserts and I found that again cost was too much for me.  I would rather just use the cloth.  They did however work really well and it was a super easy diaper change to just throw away the disposable insert. 

 
 
Here are a couple pictures on my little one wearing her gDiapers!!

 

 

 So glad that I got to hop on over here today to meet all of you!! I would love for you to stop on over at Hawthorne and Main to say hi.  If you actually decide to use cloth diapers and you have questions please email me, I will do my best to help you out!

hawthorneandmain(@)gmail.com

 
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