Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Craft with me, 1, 2, 3....Gobble Gobble turkey craft

Happy Thanksgiving!  In your rush to get your turkeys thawed, potatoes peeled, pies baked (or as in my case, purchased) why not take a break and celebrate the season with a delightful turkey craft?

Greta's finished turkey
 You can pretty much use whatever you have lying around, but our list included a big piece of poster board (a July 2010 calendar from my mom's 3rd grade classroom), some fall-colored tissue paper, brown paint, googly eyes, feathers, sequins, and glue.

I first cut out shapes for the turkey bodies, and while the girls painted those brown, I cut out a rough shape for the turkey feathers then traced the same shape onto the tissue paper and cut that as well, then we used a glue stick to paste them together.

They then adorned their turkeys with feathers and sequins, and Gracie also decided to use markers to make hers "the most beautiful turkey ever."

They added googly eyes, and I cut out beaks and wattles.
Gracie's finished turkey
My turkey with her turkey

We also have been reading The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy Skarmeas to help explain why we celebrate Thanksgiving.  I think it is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and has just the right amount of information for them.  We will worry about historically accurate accounts of Thanksgiving when they get older :)

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for healthy children, active grandparents, a great husband, financial security, fun and supportive friends, and a relevant church that motivates me to be a better person every week.  What are you thankful for?

Linked to:
No Time for Flashcards 
Tot Tuesday

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Letter of the Week.....F

Another edition of Letter of the Week for your reading pleasure!

F is for......a lot of stuff.  We I couldn't decide.

The best part about being on the letter F is that we got to read a lot of Fancy Nancy books, which are tres popular in our house. (tres....that's fancy for "very")


And here are the girls being fancy:

F is for Fall

 This was SUPER easy and designed with an almost 2 year old in mind....however it did not meet his approval but his mom thought it was awesome and happily took over :)  I cut the tree out of brown construction paper, stuck it to a piece of contact paper, then they covered it with torn paper "leaves" and then we stuck it to another piece of blue construction paper.  They are still hanging up in my kitchen!

F is for Feather

F is for Funny Faces

And more Funny Faces!

All week we talked about words that start with the letter F and there are surprisingly a lot of them that came up naturally in our conversations......we did a lot of pretending to be frogs, drawing flowers, playing with our friends, talking about our faith......having FUN!!

Linked to:

Preschool Corner

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Letter of the Week.....E is for Elephant

Hello blogland!

Imagine for a moment the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell..."

Now put it to these words:

"The e says eh, the e says eh, Every letter makes a sound, the e says eh."

And now imagine substituting every letter in the alphabet and repeating over and over again for 35 minutes.....congratulations you have just watched Leapfrog's Letter Factory!  And this new twist on the alphabet song will be stuck in your head for.....The. Rest. Of. Your. Life. 

We recently ordered this Leapfrog DVD and Gracie loves it and it truly has helped her with all of the letter sounds.  Who says television is bad for children.....

I'm told this also comes in the form of a refrigerator magnet, maracas, and a plethora of other types of handheld toys so you can hear this song any time of day, no matter if you are at home, in the car, or in line at the grocery store.  Woo hoo!  Get mama some earplugs!

Now that I'm done with my Leapfrog plug, let's move on to the Letter of the Week!

E is for Elephant

A couple of the books we read....

Eddie Elephant's Exciting Egg-Sitting was great for Gracie because it was a funny story and was specifically written to emphasis the letter E.  It also had "elephant facts" in addition to the fictional story.  This is apparently one in a series called "Animal Antics A to Z" and I've not ever seen these books before but I will definitely seek them out at the library now.

Elmer the Elephant is a sweet, sweet story about a multi-colored elephant who doesn't like to be different.  It's got a great message as well as fantastic illustrations.  My mom pulled this one out of her schoolteacher stash and even had an Elmer template for us all to color.

Gracie's Elmer

Greta's Elmer (with a little help from Grandad on the trunk)

Mommy's Elmer (if you can't tell, I REALLY liked this project...)

We also made elephants out of construction paper.  I cut out Greta's shapes but just drew them for Gracie and she cut them out herself.

This SUPER fun game was a huge hit with all the kids....Elefun!

But E is not just for elephants......

E is for exercise!

E is for eyes! (this was a confusing one...I've definitely had better ideas...hello let's travel over to....EARS?  EEEars??)

And of course....

E is for ELMO!

3 cheers for Elmo!

And lastly here is the E page from Greta's ABC book...

Happy ABC'ing!

Linked to:

Preschool Corner

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mama's Gotta Craft

I love me some kid crafts but I have been on a "grown-up" craft kick lately too.  Kids in bed, kitchen cleaned (well....most some of the time)....time for mama crafting.

I think I'll call this collection "While They Were Sleeping" :)

For a friend who recently had a sweet baby girl and was looking for a travel wipes container.

This started as a standard plastic Huggies travel wipes container with the pop-top.  I traced the shape directly to the reverse side of this patterned felt (making sure to leave a little extra for the sides) and glue-gunned it to the container.  I didn't have to worry about being too pretty about the cut/shape because the ribbon goes all the way around the edges and covers the felt borders.  I covered right over the pop-top (so it can only be opened in the way that you would normally refill the wipes.)  Then I glued a thin ribbon around the edges of the container (being careful to not glue it shut!) and after that I decided to decorate the front a little more with a bigger ribbon and a little embellishment that I found in an abandoned scrapbooking box.  My technique definitely has room for improvement- I later came across this tutorial from Make it and Love It which is AWESOME....I will be attempting this for future babies! (friends' babies, that is!!)

And speaking of Make It and Love It, I also came across a great idea for holding and organizing the bazillion little girl barrettes that float around my house, car, purse, and pockets on a constant basis.

Same idea as a ribbon photo board which are available at every craft show and Target in America!  I found a photo board made with elastic instead of ribbons (on clearance at Target for $4) so I didn't even have to do the hard part of preparing the board itself...just cut off the elastic and cut and attached my own ribbons- with an office stapler!  It took me about 15 minutes.  Here is a picture of it in the girls bathroom in all its glory:

I also took a piece of the elastic that I had removed from it initially and attached it to the bottom so they could hang at least a few headbands on it too.  It is a fun addition to their very boring bathroom walls!

And since we're still in the aftermath of Halloween, I'll throw in a picture of my very simple, very homemade Cookie Monster costume :)

I found the hoodie and pants on clearance at Target and I was SOOOO excited because it was the perfect color and cost $11 total.  The rest of the supplies were scrounged up around my house....ping pong balls, a black sharpie, glue gun, felt, and needle and thread.  I wasn't sure what to stuff the cookies with and was too lazy to go downstairs to sift around in my craft room so I instead shoved some dryer sheets in them!  Nice, fresh scented cookies.  I sewed the cookies to the arm of the hoodie and attached a little fabric "ring" to hook the cookies to the back of my hands.

Yesterday I snipped the cookies off the arms and tore the eyes off the hood- the arms have no lasting effects but the glue spots on the hood remain- no biggie, as I wouldn't normally be wearing the hood up, unless I was trying to duck and hide after a grocery aisle disaster involving glass spaghetti jars and a tile floor.  Not that that's a real scenario.  Three cheers for a new mom-i-form to add to my collection- ha!  Look for a crazy mom with dirty hair, dressed in a blue sweatsuit, pushing a grocery cart with two little girls probably fighting over who gets to hold the shopping list.

Until next time!

Linked to:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letter of the Week.....D is for Dinosaur

I have been slacking in keeping record of our goings-on but wanted to write a little something about some of the letter-of-the-week things we've been doing in the last couple of weeks.

Greta has been interested in dinosaurs lately....one early morning coffee run (meaning- we roll out of bed, I pour two sippy cups of milk- one white, one chocolate- and we pile into the car in our PJs and head to the neighborhood gas station that I covet only because I like their Coffeemate dispenser and the fact that coffee tastes soooo much better when someone else brews it.)  On the way to fetch mama some coffee we passed by a construction zone with some big cranes that Greta noticed...her imagination went into overdrive and she said "Mommy, dinosaurs!!!  Dinosaurs BIG!!   (whisper)Dinosaurs scare me....(now loud) Dinosaurs eat my sissy RAWRRR!!!"  Silly bear.

Tangent aside, Greta's interest in dinosaurs corresponded nicely with the letter we were on that week, D.  So we schlepped ourselves to the library and found some great dinosaur books like-


I read these first two books over....and over...and over....the third book was fun because it shows you how to draw different dinosaurs using shapes.  Gracie and I had fun with that- we both drew the T-Rex a couple of times but she really liked coloring mine and naming the shapes as she colored.

After they got tired of drawing/coloring the T-Rex, we made a stegosaurus out of construction paper.  It was great for Greta because is too little to attempt the drawing of the dinosaurs.  I cut her shapes out and she named them as she glued them into the likeness of a stegosaurus (with a little guidance!)

And here is Gracie's stegosaurus (with a pterodactyl flying overhead, and the stegosaurus is about to eat that poor little mouse.)

But D is not just for Dinosaur.....it is also for Drum!  This is one of our regulars at the library- the way it is written is perfect- has the beat of a drum to it and makes them want to parade around the living room.  I had a couple of old oatmeal canisters saved, and we made them into drums so they had a prop to go with the book.

Lastly, just a picture of the D page in Greta's ABC book.

Linked to:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DIY Halloween decorations

Oh how I loooove Halloween and all the fun things that come with it.  It is virtually impossible for me to walk into Target, Michael's, even the grocery store and be able to resist at least some sort of festive purchase.  I am aware that Halloween has very ugly roots and I respect people's decision to ignore it completely, but my belief is that this is one Americanized, Hallmark'ed "holiday" that I can really get behind and I fully support the commercialism keeps the wheel of Halloween turning.

We didn't carve pumpkins yet because last year we did it too early and they were rotten by the time Halloween night rolled around.  So this year we decided to postpone carving and in the meantime did some pumpkin painting.  I saw some "chic" Halloween decorations in some random waiting room magazine in September and felt inspired.  So here is our take on black and white chic for Halloween:

Black and White Halloween
We used acrylic black and white paint on a standard carving pumpkin and two gourd-like squash(es?) Gracie picked out some purple rhinestone designs in the clearance bin at Michael's which I didn't think was very festive at first but I loved the end result.  And our squash goblins are super fun.  I also sprayed them with an acrylic sealer when we were done.

One more shot of the reverse side of the squash:
Black and White Halloween

Another Michael's clearance bin finds were these cut-outs....it was a huge pack of a variety of Halloween images, and I have NO idea what I am going to do with all of them but at $2.99 for the pack, I will not be crying if I have to part with some of them unused.  I grabbed a sitting-empty frame from my basement and put together a little "family portrait" which I think is so cute, and took me all of 5 minutes to put together.

My apologies for the blurry image!  It was dark when I took the picture and my un-fancy camera doesn't do well with no flash, and the frame was too shiny to use a flash, so this is the best I could do!
Don't be surprised if these little monsters show up again on this blog.....

Lots of time has been spent in our house making Halloween cards and pictures, using stamps, stickers, and glitter galore.  I neglected to take pictures of many of them but here are a few examples- classic, easy, and not too original!

Glitter Jack

Marshmallow Ghosts (from No Time for Flashcards)

Pumpkin Man (for some reason my personal fave!)

And one night after Baba (grandma) was babysitting, I came home to these fun monster treats.

We must be on a monster kick at our house, and Grandma Fancy was in on it too.
Play-Do monsters!

And just because it's my favorite, here is a picture of the Bear last year in her Halloween costume:
Yoda Bear

As I'm writing this I'm a little sad that we only have 5 days of left of Halloween themed snacks, crafts, songs, etc.....until next year.  But I can't wait to post new pictures of the girls in costume.  Assuming no dramatic change of events, I will be showcasing one cowgirl and one Elmo.  Mom & Dad TBD.
Happy Halloween!

Linked to:

Today's Creative Blog
 Life As Lori
By Stephanie Lynn
Red Ted Art

Friday, October 15, 2010

Letters of the Week.....B is for Butterfly and C is for Caterpillar

Just thought I would keep posting our "letter of the week" activities.  The last couple of weeks we were working on B and C.

Worksheets for Tinkerbell from Confessions of a Homeschooler

And here are samples of the B and C pages from their ABC notebooks (VERY popular with the 2 year olds, by the way! In addition to loving everything having to do with stamps, stickers, and glue, they are so proud of their books and love to look at them.)

And some of our B and C projects:

B is for Butterfly
C is for Caterpillar
...but C is also for Car!

And my personal favorite- B is for baking brownies!

But when B is for Butterfly and C is for Caterpillar, how can you skip Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Presenting....our Life Cycle of a Butterfly book
("large rings" dried pasta)
(Three cheers for more gluing! Also talked about patterns)
(a couple of stretched out cotton balls wrapped around a caterpillar)
(more gluing! this time with tissue paper)

Side note: I love me some Eric Carle but it totally bugs me that he uses "cocoon" instead of "chrysalis."  Cocoon = moth, chrysalis = butterfly.  Right?  At least that's what I remember from Mr. Grage and 7th grade Life Science?

And finally, after a busy day, B is also for Barney :)

And Happy Anniversary to my dear husband!  5 years, 1 dog, and 2 kids later.....I am one lucky lady.  

p.s. Halloween crafts coming soon!!!