We’re having a ….

Ha ha ha! Yes, I’m very thrilled to have another boy–I love my first one so much and he brings me so much joy, how could I not?! I mean, am I disappointed that I won’t do smocked dresses or be able to actually shop in baby boutiques (let’s be honest, they’re not made for boys)?! Of course! But I love the idea of two little rascals.

I have this feeling that this new boy will be the complete opposite of Jasper–dark haired, solemn, shy, obedient…hahhaha! We shall see!

How’s the pregnancy going?

Well, thank you for asking! I had a terrific pregnancy with Jasper so I expected the same, but it has been different. Thankfully, I’m not super sick (except the typical first trimester nausea), but this time around, I have the weirdest symptoms.

For one, I didn’t want sugar until like last month. What a blessing! No treats. I wish it would have lasted. But the desire is back and I’ve since made up for lost time.

Second, and for those of you not interested in female anatomy and systems, tune out, my pelvic floor is not being nice to me. I’ve had problems since Jasper was born. I couldn’t walk and certainly couldn’t run. I tried to do a race in October and the day of the race I could hardly walk. Every time I mention it to my doctor I’m told the same thing (do you kegels) but that hasn’t worked and I have a hunch there’s something more to it.

Then all of a sudden two weeks ago I could hardly walk again. I’m definitely a stereotypical waddler who looks very pregnant, but again, I have a hunch is treatable. Anyone know of an awesome pelvic floor doctor? TMI????? I know.

Lastly, NOSE BLEEDS. What the heck? I’ve never had them before but I have had them nearly every night for like three weeks. So stinking weird.

Other than that, this pregnancy has flown by but mostly because work is insane–especially the the Great Artists! course–renovating a house, and trying to move in tomorrow. Am I going insane? Yes. Most definitely. Send help.

Gender reveal balloon arch

On another note, because of the upcoming baby boy, we made a new balloon arch kit in shades of blues for your own gender reveals (nothing is worth detonating fire over!) and you can find it in the shop now!

Love to you all!

Our Great Artists! Course is live now!

A tool for parents and kids

If you’re like most parents, screen time is both your saving grace and your worst enemy. This Great Artists! Course is the perfect after-school activity that can replace some screen time while still allowing you to get some work done. Or if you are homeschooling, this course can be your art class! I have so much respect for teachers and parents who are homeschooling, and I’m eager to help out in the best way I can: by taking something off your plate. 

This hands-on learning course is full of crafting based projects, videos, printables and more that will simultaneously keep the kids creative and busy. The Great Artists! Course will teach them basic art principles and art history, all while making truly beautiful art for your home. The course program is so in-depth that you can honestly just log your child in and let them learn. All of the teaching components are done in the course itself (featuring a guest teacher, yours truly). You can be as involved as you want! If you’re a working parent, let your child’s Great Artists! Course time be time that you can use however you need to. If you’d like to be more involved, the classes are honestly engaging enough that you’ll learn something new. Honestly, you might even make something you can be proud of!

The Details

When we started out planning the Great Artists! Course, we designed it with kids ages 6-13 in mind. That’s a pretty wide age gap! We are confident that the projects are realistic and simple enough for young kids, but interesting enough to engage the older kids too! All of the projects are customizable. So if you need to tweak things a bit for your classroom, feel free to. It includes instruction on six famous artists, projects, supplies, and so much more. As we were planning this course, we wanted to make this a real resource you can feel good about. Because of this, we designed it with essential Learning Objectives in mind.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

In the Great Artists! Course, your child will:

  • Develop a love of art and history through relatable hands-on projects
  • Learn basic principles of art and design that they can apply to their own artwork/projects
  • Create multiple art pieces that develop fine motor skills, color pairing skills, concentration, and listening
  • Study Art History, including the lives of artists from different cultures, backgrounds and art movements
  • Develop a greater understanding of global cultures 
  • Be encouraged to think introspectively about their own lives, homes, and passions to help them cultivate self-understanding to expand their creative mind
  • Learn to initiate creative play

Art is something I feel really passionately about. Art can be therapeutic, it can train critical thinking skills, and help your child visualize creative solutions to problems they face. Art became real for me in my childhood classes about great artists, and led to my life-long creative projects.  Which is why I feel so passionate about offering this resource to your family! Whether or not you are an art-lover or a professionally trained art teacher, the Great Artists! Course can help your child develop the tools they need to enjoy art and make it.

FAQs about our Great Artists! Course

Click here to find answers to all of your questions, including what the course cost covers, what artists the course includes, and more!

Back to school supplies for every kind of school year

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Resources for whatever the school year is throwing at you

Recently on Instagram, I asked whether you are sending your kids back to school, trying online classes, or making your own homeschool plan for the first time! With all these options and so many pros and cons, I get that this new school year is throwing a lot more at you than just dodgeballs at recess.

All of these options have even affected our priorities here at Lars. At the beginning of the year, we made a sudden turn and started focusing on #QuarantineCreativity and how to keep your hands busy and your mind clear despite the craziness of 2020. Projects like these, and our 78 homeschool activities for social distancing have kept us sane (so far.) And THIS WEEK we will be launching our biggest and most colorful resource yet! Our first ever kid’s course, all about great artists. More info will be dropping on the blog and instagram all week, and our newsletter subscribers will get exclusive early access to the course at a big BIG discount.

Whether you are sending your kids back to school, thanking the heavens for online classes streamed from the teacher, or creating your very own homeschool curriculum this year – WE SEE YOU. You are working so hard, and you are doing amazing! We hope any resources we are working hard to share can lighten the load even if just a little.

Kid’s face masks for back to school

If you are sending your kiddo’s back to school, you might need some help with the mask situation. A fun new kid’s face mask will be much more likely to make it through the school day!

If you are a teacher or parent in need of your own face mask, you can find our list of our favorite adult masks here!

The importance of learning

Starting a new school year is about a lot more than back-to-school shopping. “It’s about learning, obviously!,” said the imaginary reader of this post in my head. One of the most important processes I learned at school is something I hardly think about anymore: reading.

I bet that most of you learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, and haven’t thought much about it since you left elementary school. The act of reading at this point is close to second nature. You do it without even acknowledging it. Street signs, menus, text messages, even microwave messages are presented before my eyes. And through some miracle that started with a kindergarten teacher, I comprehend that a specific combination of twenty six scribbles (letters) means that my microwaved popcorn is done. Just think – sending your kid back-to-school means they could means they could make YOU a snack instead of the other way around.

For a long time I didn’t recognize the importance of being able to read until I became friends with someone with serious undiagnosed learning disabilities. Despite his challenges, he learned to read in high school. His world exploded! I met him a few years after he learned to read, and it was obvious how much this skill changed his life. 

Respect the process

This story is important for a couple of reasons. One reason is to make you consider the importance of something you do without thought, and appreciate it. Another reason is to acknowledge that learning takes time, and everyone goes at their own pace. This super relevant and encouraging as an adult. It feels like there is a socially-appointed time to learn, and once you pass that time, you’ve missed your window. That rhetoric is so not true!!

I had a class in college with a seventy-eight year old woman, and boy oh boy, she was determined to graduate. We studied together for a test once, and I can guarantee she did better on it than I did. If you are going back-to-school yourself, be proud!! If you have a child starting school again, don’t be upset if they didn’t master times tables or if you weren’t the perfect remote-teacher. No one was!

That is actually one reason why the thought of trying out homeschooling this year could feel like an excited new adventure instead of a last-resort you would never consider if it weren’t for a world pandemic.

Homeschool organization supplies

Have fun, duh!

Of course, learning at school is so important. But it also is supposed to be fun! I have a friend who moved states during the middle of lockdown, and her son has been in desperate need of a friend his age. He started school last week and had an incredible time! He was so tired after playing with new friends that he contentedly fell asleep in the car ride home. That is the dream. 

While you can’t exactly follow your child around the playground all day, you can help them feel loved, special, and excited about the new school year. One easy way to do this is to involve them in back-to-school shopping!! I loved it as a kid and love it still. A fresh pack of crayons is therapeutic, I swear. Sometimes we all need a little push to feel excitement. You, my dears, are perfectly situated to help your kids out in that category. Check out our back to school roundup of products we love for kids (and grownups) heading back to class!

Supplies to make learning fun

Books, games, and other colorful supplies to make learning exciting! If you have pre-school age kids to engage too, check out what books I am reading to my toddler right now.

 

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Other colorful back to school supplies

Backpacks

Notebooks

Lunchtime

 

 

DIY Apple Paper Lunch Sack for Back to School

Show your love with this DIY teacher’s gift

Did you ever hand your schoolteacher an apple? I don’t actually think I gave them apples, but I definitely did my fair share of brown-nosing teachers when I was in school. For most of the sixth grade, I ate lunch in the teacher’s lounge. I thought I was so cool. Those of you adept in middle school sociology know that this made me very uncool. Regardless, thanking the teachers in your life is an important thing to do! They do an incredibly important job, and now more than ever I recognize their value. Maybe you can send Junior to class with a teacher’s gift in an adorable DIY Paper Lunch Sack.

DIY teacher's gift for back to school

Homeschool? Hooray!

Shout out to any parents homeschooling for the first time this fall. Your students are certainly the apples of your eye, and they couldn’t have picked a more loving teacher! If you’re hesitant to dive back into the fray, relax for a moment with the kids and make this easy DIY Paper Lunch Sack! The activity itself is fun, relaxing, and great for connecting as a family. An added bonus is how excited you all will be to whip out your custom lunch bags!

Regardless of how your family approaches education, many of you are heading back to the books in the next few weeks. I apple-aud you! (If you are still deciding what to do, our 78 favorite homeschool activities might help you decide!) After the never-ending summer of heat, I’m tempted to head to a classroom myself for a dose of that frigid A/C. I hope this cute bag we came up with will make the first day of school special. And it’s honestly so simple and affordable. It’s super easy and is a great way to get into the school season. I’ve also used these DIY Paper Lunch Sacks as custom gift bags for teachers, friends, neighbors, whomever! We even have a cute video on our YouTube Channel to show you the ropes. (Have you subscribed yet?!) How ya like them apples?

DIY apple lunch sack for back to school

We were partly inspired by Rebecca Thuss’ cute paper cherry to create the adorable leaf perfect for topping the bag.

How to make your DIY Paper Lunch Sack

Materials:
Instructions:
  1. Draw an outline of an apple near the base of the lunch sack
  2. Fill in outline with red acrylic paint
  3. Add a curved line to look like a shiny reflection on the apple with white acrylic paint
  4. Cut out two leaf shapes from white crepe paper
  5. With black acrylic, paint leaf veins on both white crepe leaves
  6. Glue both crepe leaves together with floral wire sandwiched in the middle. Makes sure to leave enough wire on the bottom to poke leaf into bag
  7. Twist top of lunch sack and insert leaf
    DIY apple lunch sackDIY apple lunch sack for back to school for a DIY teacher's gift

Photography by Anna Killian

Special delivery (again!)

We originally made the video for my first pregnancy, which resulted in a miscarriage. So then we used it for Jasper (see here!) and adjusted the month. This time around, we don’t have to adjust the month! Bonus! (unborn baby–I still love you even though you’re already getting hand-me-downs!).

If you’re interested in seeing the making of this video, you can see it all here!

The video was done by stop motion wizard, Trisha Zemp (she even has a stop motion school now!) and the lettering by Jill DeHaan and the illustrations by Lexi Nilson and flower illustrations inspired by our coloring book here.

Behind the scenes of our birth announcement video

Having a baby during COVID

Having a baby during COVID-19 hasn’t been much of an adjustment for me other than I try to stay even more away from people because I’m high risk. I’m also finding that I’m in good company with a lot of friends who are also having babies during this time (thank you stay at home mandates 😉 Yes, I can’t bring anyone to the doctor with me, but there’s nothing that has been too crazy…yet.Behind the scenes of our birth announcement video

High Risk Pregnancy

As you might recall, Jasper’s birth was a bit of an adventure. Long story short, which you can read here, I got eclampsia during the birth (seizured!) and so I’m just being MUCH more cautious this time around by going to a high risk OB and taking a baby aspiring a day, which pretty much is the only thing that doctors suggest in this situation to help mitigate it from happening again.

How am I doing right now?

So far, my energy is GONE! Like, really gone. I used to be able to work at nights and now it’s REALLY tought to stay awake past 10:30. My other two pregnancies I saw a lack of ambition and motivation during the first trimester and the same thing definitely applied during this one–but add that to a pandemic and being a business owner, buying a house, renovating a house, and I’m DEFINITELY running on survival mode. Thankfully, the nausea ended two weeks ago so at least there’s a silver lining!

As for that good parts–we are thrilled to be expecting a baby! My hunch is that it’s a girl, and everyone I’ve talked to has mentioned the same thing. I don’t know if it’s because they know how much I’d love one…probably…but I still have the hunch, and usually my hunch is correct so we shall see!

ANYWAY, that’s our happy news. Which might explain why I’ve been MIA on Instagram and such. Stay tuned for lots of baby design on the way!

What children’s books I’m reading to my toddler right now

 

favorite books for toddlers

My 31 Favorite Children’s Books for Toddlers

  1. King Bidgood’s In the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood. This one was gifted to us as a baby shower gift but it might be my favorite children’s book. Or one of my top 3. I LOVE reading it to Jasper. There are so many fun characters to play and it’s such a clever book. There’s always something to find hidden in the illustrations.
  2. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. We bought this one at the local used book store and I love the message. It encourages kids to go to sleep but in an empowering way.
  3. Moomin series. Jasper’s especially loving Moomin and the Wishing Star right now by Tove Jansson. Moomin books are all about a whimsical and Jasper
  4. Anything Dr. Seuss. We picked up a few compilations from Costco while we were on a grocery run and there are some unfamiliar stories in there to discover (some of them are a little odd or outdated so I get why they aren’t the most popular ones today, but Jasper still likes them!). The Big Orange Book of Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss and The Big Green Book of Beginning Books and The Big Red Book of Beginning Books by various authors.
  5. My First Book of Patterns by Bobby and June George and art by Boyoun Kim. This is a board book that is great for babies and growing toddlers , but I think it’s such a great way to introduce anyone to the elements of design.
  6. Curious George anything! Jasper cannot get enough of “ooo ah ahs” (aka: Monkies)
  7. Rex vs. Edna by Douglass Rees and illustrated by Jed Henry. This one was illustrated by our friend so we were lucky to snag a copy, but Jasper LOVES it. I mean, he loves dinosaurs in general but this is a funny t-rex story with a twist. For some reason I imagine Edna’s voice as Wanda Sykes.
  8. The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. LOVE this book. I love that it’s based on a true story. The rhyming is clever. And I really love the page where you have to find all the animals on one page. It’s so clever! Jasper loves pointing them all out!
  9. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Jasper is starting to want longer more narrative books so books like this one are great!
  10. Silly Sounds: Ready, Set, Go by Liza Lewis. We also picked this one up at Costco awhile ago, mostly because I wanted to see how Jasper would react to sounds book. He loves it! The story isn’t as prominent. It’s mostly for identifying the right buttons to press.
  11. Babar Learns to Cook by Laurent De Brunhoff. This one was one of Paul’s as a child and Jasper loves it!
  12. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. A personal favorite 🙂
  13. My First Book of Feminism by Julie Merberg and illustrated by Michele Brummer Everett and My First Book of Feminism for Boys. This series of books was illustrated by my dear friend (and Picture Hope illustrator.) and they’re fun to read together.
  14. Lola Dutch When I Grow Up by Kenneth and Sarah Jane Wright. This is another book written and illustrated by dear friends. It’s such a good one for encouraging imagination.
  15. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. Jasper’s babysitter got him this one and it contains all of Jasper’s favorite items: bananas, monkeys and a funny moment. It’s fun to read!
  16. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. It’s a little too long to read so I skip some pages still, but he loves looking at all the machinery.
  17. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. We have the slide and view version that he loves to interact with!
  18. Animals by Ingela P. Arrhenius. This one was a baby shower gift and I LOVE the illustrations and how large it is. We use it to identify animal sounds because it’s quite simple. If you’re looking for cheap artwork you could even cut out the pages.
  19. Alexander Girard Colors. I picked this one up when I was visiting the International Folk Museum in Santa Fe, which has a huge Alexander Girard room. Jasper loves identifying the colors.
  20. Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin. Such a beautiful, whimsical read!
  21. Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. OK, I hadn’t heard of this one before we bought it in Jackson Hole (we try to pick up a children’s book in whatever city we visit.) But I think this might be my favorite book ever. The pictures are amazing and the story is so good. It’s fun and meaningful and. I’m going to go leave a review on it!
  22. Where the Wild Things Are by Mauric Sendak. Jasper lOVES the monsters!
  23. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. A Jasper favorite.
  24. Are you My Mother? By P.D. Eastman. Another Jasper favorite.
  25. Good Night Baboon! By Sabrina Moyle and illustrated by Eunice Moyle. Great for identifying animals and also, Jasper is on a numbers kick right now.
  26. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. I didn’t super love the book until I listened to this song and now we love it!
  27. Baby Astrology: Dear Little Aquarius by Roxy Marj. My friend, Roxy Marj, just released this new collection of astrology children’s books. And even if you’re not into all the kumbaya stuff of astrology no need to fear. It’s a sweet book that identifies the wonderful qualities of each sign. Roxy was sweet to send us the collection and I had wanted to give them out as gifts. However, Jasper is obsessed with each one!
  28. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Ok, Jasper could spend SO much time looking for Goldbug and at each car and truck. It’s like this book was made for him! However,  I made the mistake of putting it in his crib last week so he’d have something to look at in the morning. Aaaand it kept him so occupied that, when I went in that morning, he had ripped up the book and it was completely shredded. I think my son is a nordic god.
  29. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury. Jasper can’t get enough of this one. He loves placing his fingers and toes on each page!
  30. Woody Pip and Hazel by Elsa Beskow. Once again, Jasper can’t get enough of this one!

DIY Block Printing with a Potato

DIY block printing stamping art with potato

Perhaps our favorite thing about this project is it is just as fun for kids or adults! The short material list and simple shapes make it a very kid-friendly craft. However, this is just a starting point for any design you want to try! Try out more intricate design at any skill level.

How to stamp with a potato

Supplies:

  • Potatoes
  • Acrylic or fabric paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Fabric or paper surface you want to print on

Steps:

  1. Cut your clean potatoes into the shape you would like to stamp. We used half circles but you can stamp in any shape!
  2. Apply paint evenly to one edge of potato stamp
  3. Press firmly down on your paper or fabric surface
  4. If you would like to combine two potato shapes to make one full color-blocked circle, place both potato stamps before lifting the first, as shown below.
  5. If desired, fill in design more fully after stamping the basic shape.

DIY block printing stamping art with potato DIY block printing stamping art with potato

What to block print on to

We choose to block print onto a canvas art supplies portfolio, we have holding our coloring pages and supplies!

In the past we have also stamped onto bandanas, napkins, wrapping paper, and more. The options are limitless! If you chose fabric, just make sure to use fabric paint.

DIY block printing stamping art with potato DIY block printing stamping art with potato

More block printing and stamping tutorials

DIY block printing on bandanaDIY block printing stamping on linen napkinsDIY block printing stamping art on ceramic plates

Read our interview with one of our favorite professional block print artists, Jen Hewett, here!

Once you start stamping you won’t want to stop. We know from experience. Though block printing is probably our favorite method, there are plenty of other fun ways to make your own design. Try this method for stamping onto a ceramic plate.

What other unexpected supplies have you used to block print? We would love to hear! Comment below

DIY Painted Blocks for Kids

Did you catch the #toddlertemptation I did with Jasper this weekend on Instastories? (You can see it saved in highlights) I set out a plate for his dinner and left the room for a bit (2 minutes max?) and asked him not to eat anything until I got back. Of course, I recorded the whole thing. Well, that little sneak totally snuck soooo many bites! He was very stealthy about it so I don’t know whether to be impressed or worried! 

While I am a little heartbroken about leaving the baby stage, watching him grow is the most amazing thing ever. And truthfully, he gets more fun to play with every day! 

You might remember this old post about his nursery. It’s crazy to think that was more than two years ago!! It’s pretty clear that I love to decorate and craft and change things all the time, so it should come as no surprise to you that I add and remove things from his room constantly. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

One thing that I am introducing to his menagerie of toys are hand-painted blocks! This is a project that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile and I finally scheduled it to make it happen (one of the perks of crafting for a living!). In fact, for my sister’s baby shower, we left out a ton of blank wooden blocks and guests could add their own pattern to it so you get a variety of handpainted blocks from your dear friends. I’ve been wanting a set for myself ever since.

 There are tons of cute and trendy wood blocks for sale right now, but I wanted ones that were more specific and personal for him. If you read my piece from March, Why I Feel Called to Craft, you’ll get why I wanted to paint my own blocks. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

All of my life, I’ve watched my great grandma, grandma, and mom crafting. You’ll recall my family’s famous fridge quote that “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Right now, I find myself pulled by those two opposites – do I want my home to be tidy or do I want to play and craft? Sure, painting Jasper’s blocks myself might have made a mess, but I made memories while doing it. 

When I initially set about decorating his room, I stuck with moody-but-airy colors like muted blues, greens, and greys, with red providing the pop of color and energy. Remember, whimsical color schemes always need some neutral hue to ground everything! For the blocks, I decided to deviate a bit from my original color scheme and go with ~summery~ colors. Pinks and aquas and yellows were too hard to resist!

How to make your own painted blocks

I found this great blank set of blocks that wasn’t too expensive. In addition, it’s even nicely sanded and comes with a box to put them away in.

Materials:

  • Set of wood blocks from here
  • Acrylic or house paints in a variety of colors
  • Paintbrushes
  • If you’re worried about your children eating the blocks, add a child proof sealant onto the paint
  • Blue tape 

Instructions:

  1. Start painting some wood blocks a solid color. Or stripes, or whatever you’d like. If you want super straight lines (I wanted mine to feel more handpainted) use blue tape (and follow the instructions on the tape!) to block off your colors.
  2. After that, let the blocks sit for the allotted time drying time.
  3. Finally, use child-friendly sealant if you’re worried about your children eating the blocks. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

Color scheme ideas for your painted blocks

Here are some ideas of color schemes we love!

Jasper’s colors

 

Circus colors

 

Spring colors

 

Bold colors

Quirky colors

 

Hopefully, Jasper will have as much fun with these blocks as I did! I want him to look back on his childhood the way I do mine; it was full of life and color and creativity and inspiration from the people I love. 

That’s it! Would love to see if you make some! To be featured, tag us on instagram with #LarsMakes or #LarsKids so we can see them! 

Other wood blocks we love

If you would rather purchase some beautiful wood blocks instead of painting your own, here are some of our favorites!

 

Win a free year of our coloring page subscription!

How to enter to win

Every single person who signs up for the Print and Color subscription in May will be entered into a drawing. One winner will be chosen at the end of the month (May 29th). The lucky winner will no longer have their subscription charged – starting in June, and continuing for for the next year!

Follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for Print & Color, for your first month of your own monthly coloring page subscription (You can pause, edit, or end your subscription at any time when needed.)
  2. Keep an eye out on our Instagram on May 29th when we announce the winner!

It’s as easy as that! The winner will no longer be charged for their subscription, and will receive all of the monthly coloring pages for the next year, free of charge!

Please see our terms and conditions for entry.

coloring pages for kids and adults

Why we created our coloring page subscription Print & Color

Above all, we created Print & Color as a way for Lars Friends of all ages to discover their own creativity. Coloring pages are guidelines for whatever colors and style you can dream up. They are the perfect project for those discovering their own creative voice, or in a creative dry spell. We know from experience, starting the day with a coloring page warms up your creative mind and gets those juices flowing.

In addition, Print & Color helps support artists all over the world. Unlike other kid and adult coloring books, which contain pages all in one style, each coloring page in our subscription is made by a fresh artist with a fresh view and topic. The coloring pages are designed by some of us here at The House That Lars Built, while others are contributed by guest artists.

Since the subscription is monthly, the pages are designed with the specific month as an inspirational theme! So in May, you’ll see illustrations about holidays like May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Teacher appreciation week, and other springy-things like flowers. June pages will be summery, July’s will likely feature some Independence Day illustrations, and so on. As a result, it will always stay interesting! 

Who are our coloring pages for?

The short answer? Everyone. Whether coloring is a new hobby of yours, a favorite of your children, your preferred relaxation method, or D: all of the above, sign up!! Each month you will receive essentially a new book’s worth of pages to explore. In addition, you can also gift a friend their own subscription! Consider a neighbor mom who could use some homeschool help for her kids, a teacher looking for fun new options in her classroom, your friend across the country who could use some stress-relief. 

Whether you sign up for your own subscription this month, or gift one to someone else, that enters you in for a chance win the rest of the year subscription for free! And even if you aren’t the lucky winner, you will only be charged $10 a month, for a creative outlet much better than your monthly Netflix subscription.

Once you have colored to your heart’s desire, post a picture and tag us! #ColoringWithLars. Your piece might just be featured on our social media 😉 

So, go! Subscribe! Print! Color! Tag us! Win! 

How to Display Your Picture Hope Coloring Pages

How to display adult coloring pages

How to spread hope

Join in the global cheering trends (clapping for healthcare professionals, rainbows in windows, etc.) with your own coloring pages from Picture Hope. Picture Hope is a downloadable/printable coloring book filled with inspirational artwork from artists all over the world! This global collaborative effort was inspired by the plight of children in need, and we have decided to donate all proceeds from this coloring book to charities. This time around, we’ve selected the humanitarian organization Save the Children. This excerpt is from their homepage: 

“The biggest global health crisis of our lifetime threatens children in every way. Your support can help children in unsafe households, help protect and prepare doctors and health clinics in refugee camps and help support distance learning in the face of school closures.” 

Try to imagine what this whole thing would be like without the internet. Now try and imagine it again without running water or a safe place to call home. Talk about perspective!! I don’t say this to depress you – rather, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that I need to turn OUT and show love however I can. For me, that means picturing hope. How to display adult coloring pages gallery wall

 

How to Picture Hope and Share:

Once you have thoroughly enjoyed coloring your masterpieces, the art of displaying them is a way you can spread some cheer! 

At home: simply the act of coloring by yourself or with family can be a way to relax, get some creative juices flowing, and spend quality time together. 

In the community: Share love with everyone who sees your pages! Tape them up in your windows, post photos online (tag us!), frame them on your gallery wall, send them to friends via mail (we <3 snail mail). This will spread encouragement to people who might not even know.  Trust me – they need it. We all do. 

Around the world: Your donations go directly towards helping children in desperate situations. Healthcare, safety, food, education, and more are threatened by the global pandemic and YOU can help without having to leave the safety of your home. 

We have made it easy – click this link, donate however much you can/want, starting at just $10, download the coloring book. Then, make your own masterpiece and the world a little brighter all in one fell swoop! Now that’s a way to spread some cheer. 

floral botanical folk art coloring pages

How to display your coloring pages

We want to challenge you to display your Picture Hope coloring pages in clever ways! Use #PictureHope and tag us so we can feature your ideas. This is about spreading the word and the HOPE as far and wide as possible. Save the Children is a coronavirus charity we are passionate about helping, and we can’t do it without you!

Here are some of our ideas:

  • Tape your coloring pages up in your front window for the neighborhood to enjoy!
  • Create a giant gallery wall you can add to all the time
  • Create frames for your coloring pages out of washi tape
  • Mix your coloring pages in with poloroids and photos of your other social distancing activities 
  • Compile all your Picture Hope pages together in a colorful book!

 

How to display coloring pages How to display coloring pages gallery wallHow to display coloring pages

We can’t wait to see what amazing display ideas you come up with!

Click here for other ways you can help Coronavirus relief charities.

30 Sidewalk Chalk and Hose Activities

Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Sidewalk Chalk Activities

  1. Yellow Brick Road – Jasper adores this one! He takes some of his pull toys down the windy road and even stops for bugs.
  2. Color match rainbow – We gathered all his toys in baskets and lined them up according to color on each arc. Admittedly, he likes to bulldoze them more than anything…he’ll get there. This one might be more fun for me.color match your toys to the rainbow with sidewalk chalkcolor match your toys to the rainbow with sidewalk chalk
  3. Add your own pizza toppings – This was fun for mimicking shapes. I drew a “pepperoni” and he immediately followed suit…kind of! I was impressed!add toppings to your pizza with sidewalk chalk
  4. Add your own ice cream sprinkles – This one might be better for older kids. Draw the shape of the ice cream and have them draw in their own flavors and toppings.
  5. Picnic Table – Jasper has a TON of fake food and we set the table and ate a meal. It was also good for food identification. draw a picnic table with sidewalk chalk
  6. Superhero photos – Draw a city landscape and put that cape to use! Mostly fun for us moms who want a cute photo.make a skyline superhero with sidewalk chalk
  7. Holding balloons – Draw a set of balloons and have the child extend their arm to reach them. A classic!draw balloons and pose for a picture draw balloons and pose for a picture
  8. Silly walk zone – Anyone familiar with Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks? Same idea, but spelled out in chalk. Fun for funny prompts!
  9. Leap Frog – Draw out some lily pads and jump like a frog.draw a leap frog on your sidewalk
  10. Crab walk – Get down on all fours!draw a crab walk on your sidewalk
  11. Butterfly wings – Another Instamom moment that we live for.butterfly wings with sidewalk chalkdraw butterfly wings on your sidewalk
  12. Paint a bouquet –  A little twist on sidewalk chalk, especially for those who don’t like the chalky feel. Combine cornstarch, water, and food coloring in a cup and grab some sponge brushes. Get outside and paint a little bouquet. Paint anything really, but flowers are always lovely.make your own sidewalk chalk
  13. Ice Cream Stand – Leave out chalk for passerbyers and have them add in their own flavors.draw an ice cream parlor on your sidewalk
  14. Classic hop scotch – Can’t go wrong with a classic!
  15. Mow the lawn with your hose – Draw some green grass and have the hose mow it down with the water.draw a lawn with sidewalk chalk and mow it with your hosedraw a lawn with sidewalk chalk and mow it with your hose
  16. Road map – Jasper’s favorite thing right now is cars or “vrooms” and so we had to draw a city map for them. He took to it immediately!draw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalk

Once you’ve “erased” your drawings from the sidewalk with your hose, it’s time to get wet! Here are some of our favorite activities using a hose.

Hose activities

In my growing-up years, a hose was an incredible toy/tool that could be anything – except when temperatures were soaring and the rubber hose was too hot to touch, burning little hands, or when it was too heavy for my little-kid arms, or when the hose would kink, stopping the water flow ending the fun (which happened all the time). Kids these days need never experience these pain points with the old yard hose; new technology from Gilmour solves these hose challenges with its ergonomic design, collapsible tubing, and kink-resistent hose.

My household has a busy toddler who is constantly on the run and two adults trying to #WFH, so our lightweight hose has been indispensable. Keeping everybody happy and engaged is no simple task. Here’s a list of ways you can use a hose to play, clean, and learn. Have some fun!

PLAY

  1. Water hose jump rope – use the water as the rope. It only requires one person using one hand to swing the hose around, and it will keep big kids and little kids entertained for as long as they can jump! This is a great way to wear the kids out without getting too worn out yourself.
  2. DIY Splash Tub – many community pools are currently closed, but you can still go swimming! Find a large container like a storage tupperware, add a little water, and let your swimsuit-clad splash around. You’re the coolest parent of the year. This is also a great way for kids to learn some swimming basics, like how to hold their breath underwater, how to blow bubbles, and the mechanics of swimming strokes in a safe environment. Never leave your kid unattended.
  3. Draw with chalk – then erase again and again! If you are feeling water-averse, this is one fun way to use your hose and not get wet. Today, we drew castles and flowers and bugs and cars, then washed it away so we can draw again tomorrow!
  4. Water tag – is great fun and WILL tire out rowdy people. Designate one person as “it.” Give them a hose with the mandate to “tag” someone else by spraying them. Whoever gets tagged is now “it!”
  5. Limbo – hum the little tune and hold the hose level! The stakes get higher when there is a threat you might get wet. You’ll find “How low can you go?” gets pretty intense.
  6. Watergun carnival game – even though summer carnivals might be delayed this year, you can throw the best bash in your own backyard! Set up a series of items on a flat surface outside and take 5 steps back. Grab your hose, and knock down as many items as you can in 30 seconds using only the water spray!
  7. Slip-n-slide – take a tarp and lay it out on a smooth area. Place the hose at the top of the tarp and squeeze out some dish soap to lubricate the homemade slip-n-slide! The AquaArmor hose shines when used here, as it can go from round to flat in an instant. This means if you slide over it, you won’t get hurt and the hose won’t kink.

CLEAN

  1. Trick the kids into bathing more – if your youngins want to play all day and never come in for a bath, compromise with a waterhose shower! DIY your way into an outdoor shower head: poke holes into the bottom of a clean tin can or an old rubber glove. Tie it from a tree limb and put your AquaArmor hose spout down into the can or glove. Grab some shampoo and stand under the water and scrub-a dub dub!
  2. Keeping the lawn green – a certain little boy in my house loves to water the lawn! It’s the funniest thing – he will go play and pick up the hose (the AquaArmor doesn’t weigh much) and stare at the lawn as he waters like he’s the dad in a 90s sitcom. Boy Meets World, anyone? He also thoroughly enjoys chasing the dog with the hose on, watering the grass with every step.
  3. Pressure washing – the AquaArmor has a special nozzle that is designed for multiple uses, so you can finish up your spring cleaning with a splash! We haven’t gotten much rain lately so the sides of the house are preeeeetty dusty. Remind me to add this one to my “honey-do” list!
  4. Washing the car – is one of my favorite chores, and surprisingly, the fam likes it too! Use the hose frequently throughout the wash to keep your ride sparkling!

LEARN

  1. Water table diorama – if you’re up to it, here’s a science lesson for the family. Fill a tray or big tupperware with sand and water. Place the hose at different locations and periodically change the pressure flow. Observe how the sand erodes away and creates new shapes, rivers, and even canyons!
  2. Garden – simply buy some seeds or new plants, put ‘em in a pot outside, and make a watering schedule with your little ones. This simple task teaches responsibility, helps provide service for the family, and the experience of growing something totally counts as a science lesson. Toss in the word “photosynthesis” and you’re good to go.
  3. AquaArmor Mental Math – set up math problems that are appropriate for your child’s capability and write the answers on the sidewalk with chalk. If you have a little learner who is learning numbers, call out a number and have your child spray the corresponding chalk numeral that you have written in advance. This game works for harder math problems too! Even kids (and parents) who don’t like math can have fun with this crowd-pleaser.

Would love to hear your favorite activities with sidewalk chalk and a hose. Spill it!

This post is sponsored by Fiskars. Thank you to our wonderful brands who allow us to make beautiful, original content for you! 

How to Relieve Anxiety Quickly

Over the holiday season, a startling number of my loved ones had babies – they come in waves, you know. I couldn’t be there to support and celebrate with my friends and their new darlings, but I could create something for them. My gifts were simple patchwork quilts, but each fabric selection and design choice infused love into a gift for the somebodies I care for.

Making something tangible reminds me that I do have control over some things, and those are things to be grateful for. With this type of project, there’s a beginning, middle, and an end. I suppose that is true for everything. These days, I find a lot of comfort in knowing where I’m at in that process, trusting that whatever is happening will eventually come to a close. Until this is all over, turn to crafting!! Explore the list below for thoughtfully curated crafts designed to keep your hands busy and your anxiety at bay. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and follow the instructions (loosely or closely – you pick). The things you cannot control will melt away once your hands get going. 

Crafts involving repetition

The ultimate crafts for getting in the zone. After your get started your hands will quickly learn what to do. It is so peaceful to create something that takes just enough brain space to quiet your racing thoughts. But not so much focus it feels overwhelming.

Crafts involving repetition to relieve anxiety paper chain muralCrafts involving repetition to relieve anxiety embroidery thread color block wreath

Embroidery projects to do while watching Netflix

Most of our top favorite projects while staying at home have involved embroidery. It’s not messy, you can pause at any time and pick it up later, and any skill level can do it! The more we think about it, the more we realize embroidery is the ultimate craft!

Embroidery projects to do while watching Netflix to relieve anxiety Embroidery projects to do while watching Netflix to relieve anxiety

Crafts for your houseplants

Bringing new plant friends into your space instantly makes it more zen. Breath easier knowing you are growing right along with your houseplants. You know how talking to your plants is supposed to help them grow better? We’ve heard hand-making a new home for them has the same effect.

Anxiety-relieving crafts painted pots for houseplantsAnxiety relieving crafts houseplant vases with recycled egg cartons

Crafts with anxiety-relieving textures

Nothing is quite as satisfying as molding clay with your hands over and over. Ditch your phone screen and laptop keys for a while and pick up something more textural.

Crafts with anxiety-relieving textures DIY clay hair clips Crafts with anxiety-relieving textures rope necklace

Other ways to relieve stress

If your hands start to cramp or you’re just not feeling it, fret not! Lars is here to help with that too! In the last few weeks, I’ve picked yoga back up and it has done wonders for my state of mind and my mobility (I see you, fellow couch-dwellers). Pick up a new yoga mat and get started exactly where you are! 

 

If getting out of bed is too much some days, consider investing in a weighted blanket. Think of it as a remote hug from us to you, minus the sweat of this budding summer. 

For some extra relaxing cozy time – check out our list of 50 movies to watch while social distancing.

If coloring books are just your speed, check out these beauties! We are firm believers that everything in life should be lovely, and these designerly coloring books are proof. You can stop stealing Junior’s coloring books – join the party and get your own! 

 

No matter how you handle the curveballs of life, enjoy the game. The House That Lars Built is happy to help – we, like you, get by with a little help from our friends!