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!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Letter of the Week.....A is for Apples Apples Apples

Just wanted to post a quick look at what we've been up to the last couple of weeks with the letter A and of course APPLES.....tis the season!

Practiced writing and recognizing the letter Aa for Tinkerbell: (worksheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler)

We started ABC books and we're going to have a letter of the week that coordinates with what Tinkerbell is doing at preschool.  Tinkerbell's has both uppercase and lowercase.  They can color them, use stamps, stickers, etc. 

The Bear's (and the other 2 year old I babysit) have just uppercase, with a coordinating "things that start with...." page.  They LOVE having "school" time when the baby is napping.  They love love love using stickers, stamps, and anything involving glue.  Tinkerbell is doing a "things that start with...." page like this for homework each week for preschool, so we are not repeating it in the ABC book we started at home.

 For storytime during "school" we read Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss.

One afternoon after a trip to the apple orchard, we did an apple tasting experiment- Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Fuji.  Before slicing them we talked about their different colors & sizes, how different trees produce different apple varieties, and where they were grown (Minnesota, Washington, and New Zealand.)  

As they tasted them, we talked about how they tasted "sweet" and "spicy" were the only words they could come up with they learned a new word, "tart" :)  Tinkerbell also ranked them with smiley faces and circled the one she wanted to make sure we get at the grocery store next time (Fuji).  We also counted the apple seeds and talked about how seeds --> trees --> fruit.

 Tinkerbell played a math game on this magnetic white board and had to put "apples" on the tree when she rolled the corresponding number.

We also of course did a couple of apple craft projects throughout the week.  This one was based on Psalm 17:8...Keep me as the apple of your eye.

And how can I have an apple-themed week without some apple-printing!!  I think we had at least 3 kids here making apple print wreaths who did not belong to me :)  We cut apples in half, dipped them in paint, then made green thumb prints for the leaves.  After they dried, we cut them out and glued them to a paper plate with the center cut out.  So cute!

 I am kind of sad that September has come to an end already......however with October comes Halloween, only some of THE best crafting of the year!!  I am ridiculously nerdy, I know.  Thank goodness I at least have kids now so I have a valid excuse to have an endless supply of construction paper, Elmer's glue, stickers, and glitter.