Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sink or Float?

On our walk back from releasing Sprinkles the fish into the pond by our house, the kids discovered some rocks. There were normal rocks, and there was pumice. I told them each to pick one of the types of rocks to bring home. They were very excited and hardly ever need encouragement to bring rocks home. Once we got home, I asked that they look through their treasure boxes for things from nature. They brought back a shell, fools gold, quartz, agate, 2 other normal rocks, pinecone, bead, and a marble. Okay, so not all of it was from nature, but it was a good variety of things. I got out a sheet of paper, and made a chart. We made predictions on if the item was going to float or sink. On some of the items, the kids were split, so I made sure I recorded that as well. After we were done with our predictions, we filled the kitchen sink up with warm water, and pulled up the chairs. Each kid was allowed to gently set their objects in one at a time, while I recorded what the outcome was. I have to say there were some surprises! We thought for sure the bead and pumice would float, but they didn't!

Afterwards we added a dry peach pit, a penny, and a wooden napkin ring and the only one to float out of those was the napkin ring. Again, shocked! The kids really enjoyed this experiment, and plus it was easy and cheap!!!

Lavender Picking

Right before D's birthday, we headed up to Michigan to pick lavender and visit with some lambs with the moms group. The ladies there were nice enough to bring our a baby lamb that was only 2 weeks old, for us to pet. The mama was very close by, stamping her foot, and talking to the baby, letting us know she wanted her back. We made sure to be very careful and gentle, and it was a great hands on expierence for the kids. We then were able to walk carefully into the fields with scissors and a twist tie, and cut our own lavender to take home. The kids did a great job of holding it as I cut it. The farm also has a great little shop that smells like heaven and sells everything you could need of lavender. From soaps, to oils, to sachets, and cooking dried lavender, they have it there for a reasonable price. Interested? Check them out here:

We plan on making another trip up before the season is over!

Week's Vacation

Right before Adam was going to take his vacation, we found out that my aunt and uncle that live in Australia were in town, and that my aunt that lives in Boston was coming to town as well. Perfectly they were all going to be in town together, when we had free time. The last time they were all together was 22 years ago! I just had to get us out there! So we packed up the family, stayed at my dad's house, and got to visit with family. It was an amazing 3 days. Lots of laughs, food, drinks, and memories. On the way out there we stopped at White Castle. I have grown up with the stuff, and gotten Adam hooked on it. Well where we live, there are none. So we make special trips (like Valentine's day past years), and we needed to stop for a special Fathers Day lunch! We came back home the night before L's birthday.

 The day after his birthday, I woke up to find a quiet house, and a note. Adam and the kids were gone about 5 hours that day, and they came home with a small blue gill in a juice jug. D named him Sprinkles and L named the worm inside the jar George III. We set them free at the pond by our apartment. The kids want to go visit them every day.
 Another morning, after breakfast, we put together these fun wooden dinosaur puzzles that Adam picked up for the kids for their birthday. It took some time, some tears, but we got them all together!
And later on that day we made "clean mud". You simply tear up 1 whole roll of toilet paper (that takes some time), grate in 3 bars of soap, add glitter, and hot water, and mix! It was a very strange texture, but the kids really had fun playing in this.

We capped the week with having friends over for a cookout today. What a fantastic week vacation, I know tomorrow will be difficult for all of us to get back into our daily life.

L turned 6!!!

My little boy just turned 6. I still can not believe that I have a 6 year old already! He is getting ready to start the first grade, he is working on reading, math, and LOVES science experiments. Right now he wants to be a Mythbuster and a Paleontologist.  For his birthday activity he picked Chuck E. Cheese. Now, I personally can't stand the place, but am I going to deny it to him for his birthday because of that. No way! I found some great coupons in the paper, and when we walked in he proudly announced that it was his birthday and scored some extra free tokens. We were able to get a large pizza, 4 drinks, and 75 tokens for around $30. Not bad! Plus we got there early so it was practically empty! For his present, I painted him a set of superhero peg dolls, and we finally got him the grow a butterfly kit. He has been asking for that for years, which he reminded us of when he finally opened the gift. Every day now I am being asked if the caterpillars are here yet. Not yet dear, not yet....

Loving the games!

Superhero peg dolls and gift all ready to be opened


D turned 5!!!!

I just can not believe that my little girl is 5 already! Where has the time gone? Pretty soon she will be starting school, making new friends, being away from me, and possibly loosing a tooth. I'm not too sure I like this. We were able to celebrate her birthday this year the day before Father's day, just like we did when she was born. For her birthday, she picked to go bowling. The local bowling alley is all black light, and fun! Plus they have ramps for the kids too little to pick up the ball properly. For presents from us, I had painted her a set of princess peg dolls, and we found a kid's flower press kit. I figured she would love it since she is always collecting flowers and leaves and such. When she opened it, she didn't look to excited. I explained to her what it was, and still no excitement. It took big brother picking her a 3 leaf clover to get her excited and wanting to press it. We have since taken it with to 2 of the grandparent's houses, and a great grandparents house, and have pressed flowers and leaves as we go. She is now very excited about it.

A few days after her birthday, she decided it was time to cut her hair. She had been going back and forth for some time now. One day she wanted it cut, the next it was to grow as long as Rapunzel's! So I guess after 3 very hot windy days, she had had enough. It looks super cute on her, I can still pull it into tiny piggy tails, and she is very happy with it.

Not too sure about the flower kit

Peg princesses, and her pretty present

Happy girl bowling with a glowing pink ball

before cut

after cut

Rainbow Fish

We have been very active in our local libraries summer reading program, and I thought it would be fun to include a craft with some of the books we have been reading. I wish I could for all of them, but there are just way too many! So we just recently read the story Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. A cute little story about a fish with shiny scales on his body. Well after digging around my art stash I remembered that I had bubble wrap. Perfect way to use it up!!!

Supplies needed:
bubble wrap for each fish (I found a roll at Dollar Tree)
fish shape cut out of cardstock
blue, green, purple, white, and black paints
foam paint brush
egg carton for paints

I started out by drawing out a fish shape and having it cut out for each child. I layered newspaper on the table to protect it from the paint. Next up we mixed our paints. In the story the fish is all shades of blue, green, and purple so I thought it would be fun to mix up some new shades. I made sure there was a spot of the plain color first, next I mixed each color with a little white, a little black, and a little of each of the other colors (like blue into purple, purple into blue, blue into green, and green into blue). The kids really thought it was neat to see the different shades. Next, cut out the bubble wrap just a little larger than your paper fish cut out. Show the kids how to dab on paint of different colors all over the bubble wrap. It doesn't matter if your colors mix, it will all come out great! After the bubble wrap is covered in paint, lay the paper fish on top of the paint and smooth with hands. Slowly pull the fish back up and flip over! Before the paint dries, sprinkle with glitter to give the fish some shiny scales.

The kids had a blast with this one!

A Backyard Bug Birthday Party!

A few months ago, the kids and I started to talk about their birthday party. You see, if you are new to this blog, my kids were due the same day 2 years in a row. But L was born 3 days after his due date, and D was due the day before, making them 4 days shy of being exactly 1 year apart. (In fact, that means they are the same age for 4 days!) So, because their birthday usually fall on the same week, and the same week as Father's day, we try to have their party the Sunday before. In past years they have had 2 different themes for their party, but this year I told them I was done with that for now, and we were just doing 1 theme. There was a little arguing over that for a few min, until I suggested a bug theme party. They were both in agreement, and then I showed them some ideas for the party. That sold that idea to them!

So I present to you, our bug birthday! (Any inspiration links will be provided at the end of the post)

Dig A Bug
We started with some fun things for the kids to do. I dyed rice in shades of brown, orange, and black, and poured it into a shallow plastic container. I then hid plastic bugs in the rice. (bugs found at Target and Wal-Mart in the party section) I added some magnifying glasses that I found at Dollar Tree, empty clean baby food jars with holes punched in the top to collect the bugs with, and brown paper lunch bags with the kid's names on them to keep everything together. This would also serve as the kid's party treat bag!

 Build A Bug
I had saved up a bunch of my empty egg cartons, and cut them up into sections. I have single cups, 2 cups, and 3 cups, and then painted these with acrylic paints. The single cups were red, 2 cups were black, and the 3 cups were green. I punched some holes in each grouping for legs or antenna. Lastly I laid out different colors of pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and Elmer's glue. Kid's were encouraged to make as many bugs as they wanted and put them into their brown paper lunch bags.

We had a nice selection of food, unfortunately the temps were in the high 90's, so nothing stayed nice for long. Oh well, roll with it, right? I made an Earthworm salad (spinach, carrots, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, broccoli), dirt pudding, hot dogs,  fruit salad in waffle bowls, grape caterpillars, bug shaped PB&J sandwiches,  bug shaped jello jigglers, potato chips, ketchup flavored chips, and pretzels.

I set out a jug of water, sweetened ice tea, iced coffee with creamer, and for the kids we had bug juice (blue colored lemonade with gummy worms frozen inside the ice cubes), and ladybug lemonade (pink lemonade with blackberries frozen inside the ice cubes). I also set out a bowl of gummy worms, and gummy butterflies that actually melted from the heat! Didn't see that one coming!!!

 L insisted on having a bug cake. So this cake is a chocolate layer cake in two different sizes. The filling was a milk chocolate frosting, and in the bottom layer I hid gummy worms as well. Frosted in a milk chocolate frosting, topped with crushed Oreo "dirt", gummy worms, mint gum grass, and candy melt ladybugs. This was very fun, easy, and yummy!!

D wanted ladybug cupcakes this year instead of a normal cake. I wanted to do something a little different since I have made ladybug cupcakes in the past. So we went with these pretty Wilton cupcake liners that I found on clearance at Meijer, baked vanilla cupcakes, topped with pink tinted vanilla frosting, and finished with a candy melt ladybug!
We also had a pin the wing on the butterfly that Adam created by just using an image he found on the Internet and Photoshop. The kids all had a good time playing this one!

 And lastly the kids insisted we have a spider pinata. Adam was in charge of making this one as well. He used paper mache to make the body and head just using the newspaper and diluted Elmer's glue. We made it a pull cord one instead of the traditional one. The normal ones are always so difficult to break open, kids are always upset that they weren't the ones that broke it open, and plus who really wants a bunch of sugared up kids swinging a bat blindfolded? So each kid had a string to hold onto and pull. Well, they pulled it off of the rope holding it up, but once it was on the ground and they pulled, it burst right open! They had a treat of dum dum suckers, spider rings (don't ask how hard these are to find off season!) and faux plastic cockroaches! YUCK! But the kids all really liked it.
Inspiration links:
fruit salad waffle cones
egg carton bugs
bug cake
grape caterpillars
dig for bugs and build a bug
bug juice

Friday, June 8, 2012

Eric Carle Day 2012

Yesterday I hosted my 3rd annual Eric Carle birthday celebration! I wanted to make sure we read different books and did different crafts this year, then in years past. So after scouring Pinterest, I found some!

First up was the book Little Cloud!
Supplies needed:
blue paper
paint brush
shaving cream
Elmer's glue
plastic bowl and spoon

First up, mix equal parts shaving cream and glue in the plastic bowl with the plastic spoon. Because we were in the park, I made sure to tape all the paper down so it didn't blow away. Then just let the kids paint or dab the "paint" on the paper. All the kids had so much fun, they didn't want to move to the next station. When this dries, it will stay nice and puffy. The kids and I have used this method to make snowmen in the winter!

Next up was Mister Seahorse.
Supplies needed:
coffee filters
washable markers
spray bottle filled with water
blue paper
Elmer's glue

First draw a seahorse shape on the filter with a permanent marker. Have the kids color inside the seahorse with all kinds of colors of marker. Have the kids then spray the entire filter with water and let dry. Once dry, cut out seahorse, and glue onto blue paper. The kids can then use markers or crayons to make a fun scene for the seahorse.

And lastly we read Mixed-up Chameleon.

Supplies needed:
different colors of paper
googly eyes
glue sticks

I traced the chameleon from the cover of the book, and made a pattern. I then cut out each section out of a different color paper. To make this even easier for the kids, I numbered all the pieces so it was more like a puzzle.  Top off with googly eyes!

Inspiration for these crafts comes from:
Little Cloud
Mister Seahorse
Mixed-up Chameleon

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