DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

Ever since volunteering at the art table during a Real School Gardens event, I’ve wanted to do this craft with Jason and Jenna. It’s messy, but the results are awesome and I love how these stepping stones look in our yard.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We started by letting the kids select their favorite materials from a huge batch of stones, beads, marbles, buttons, glass rocks and other leftover craft materials I had on hand. We didn’t use any Legos (because I didn’t think of that), but my son commented that we should use Legos next time … as if we don’t already step on enough Legos around here.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

Mixing the concrete is the hard part. We used Quikrete and mixed it into a bucket without wearing any gloves. FYI, I highly recommend using gloves if you’re going to mix the concrete by hand. Once the concrete was mixed, we poured it into shoe boxes and other similarly-sized boxes that we saved.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We let Jason and Jenna decorate the stones by pressing the materials they had selected into the wet concrete. You don’t need to press it in very far for it to stick, so this part isn’t messy and can be done without gloves.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We let our stones dry overnight, but it seemed like they were fairly dry within a few hours. Once they were completely dry, we placed them in the yard and let the kids start stepping, jumping and running on them.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

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Looking Forward To: Jason & Jenna’s First Garden

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

I’ve always wanted to start a garden with Jason, and I think this year he is finally old enough to help with some basic tasks like putting seeds in the ground and picking veggies off the vines. And judging from our garden craft a couple of weeks ago, he definitely has the interest. So last weekend we started small by planting a few sunflower seeds. In only a few days, several little sprouts have started to appear. I hope Jason and Jenna enjoy watching our veggies grow and flowers bloom as much as I do. But my guess is that their favorite part will be the harvesting and eating.

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden at the Texas Discovery Gardens

This weekend we went to the Texas Discovery Gardens in Dallas. What better place to spend a cold winter day than a 90 degree indoor garden filled with waterfalls, flowers and colorful butterflies. As a reminder of our weekend fun, we created butterfly collages out of the pictures we took and paper butterflies.

Jenna's Butterfly Garden Collage

Jenna’s Garden Party: Getting Started

Lollipop Cake from marthastewart.com

Lollipop Cake from marthastewart.com

The inspiration for my party theme was a lollipop garden cake that I saw on marthastewart.com. It’s very girly and whimsical – and it looked like it doesn’t require a great deal of cake decorating skill – so I decided to create a theme around it.

I started out by researching my party idea on the web, hoping that someone else had already planned and documented such an event. But I didn’t have much luck, and most of the stuff I found was intended for an older audience. Our party will have attendees ranging in age from 4 months to 6 years, with most of the children being under 3.

So, my first step was to list ideas around 3 categories: menu, decorations, and activities.

Decorations:

  • Vintage-looking linens
  • Paper flowers
  • Paper butterflies
  • Potted plants
  • Flowers in vintage-looking vases
  • Outdoor canopy with large blanket underneath for a baby playing area

Activities:

  • Make a paper flower
  • Paper flower and butterfly collage
  • Bubbles
  • Flower beanbag toss into large pots

Menu:

  • Mini Quiches
  • Cheese-Filled Crepes (probably cut into spirals)
  • Finger sandwiches (cut into flower shapes)
  • Fresh fruit (maybe small fruit kabobs)
  • Butterfly and flower cookies
  • Cheese and crackers (butterfly crackers)
  • Mimosas (for the parents)

Next, I made a list of all of the things I need to purchase and/or find around the house (excluding groceries). I also decided on a pink/pale green color palette and a vintage, mismatched looking approach to the decorations.

Things to Buy/Find:

  • Decorative paper (for flowers, butterflies and invitations), floral tape and green pipe cleaners
  • Butterfly paper punch
  • Cards and envelopes for invitations
  • Cake stand
  • Flower and butterfly cookie cutters
  • Pots for plants
  • Buckets for beanbag toss
  • Beanbags that I can modify to make look like flowers or material for making flower beanbags (I should mention that I’m pretty crafty with paper, but I can’t really sew)
  • Vintage-looking linens in a floral motif
  • Vintage-looking serving dishes and vases in floral, feminine design (I’m a minimalist so my own dishes and serving pieces don’t work so well with this theme)
  • Round cake pan
  • Lollipops
  • Dessert plates for brunch (I decided to use our fine china for the meal and then paper plates for the cake)
  • Paper plates (for cake), napkins, forks, spoons
  • Bubble-blowing machine
  • Large white sheet for outdoor children’s canopy and blanket for underneath (some sort of system for holding the canopy up, not sure what that is yet)

I made a list of the invitees so that I would know how many people I’d be planning for along with the age of the children in attendance. I also set a budget of $350:

Food & beverages: $125,  Decorations: $175, Activities: $50