Monday, September 8, 2014

Passing on a Treasure.......but which one?

I've always loved to read and I have a lot of favorite titles.  I have a niece who loves to read and I really want to share my love with her......but which one?  The BIG question!  There are so many options and to me, they aren't just something to wrap up, they are very personal gifts, that get in your head and in your heart and stick with you.  so, whatever I offer to her....has to be special!  Now, I know there are probably a hundred top 100 lists out there, but please........just because some weirdo teacher somewhere decided books like......Pilgrims at Tinker Creek ought to be required reading and suddenly it hit a best seller list somewhere.......does not mean every single student forced to ingest that crap-ola did not suffer.  (sorry, if you liked probably also enjoyed Siddhartha with all those men's yams!), what would be on your list of 'must gives'?  Last year, i went with Anne Frank.  This year.......who knows.  BTW, she's 14.

-  Hatchet
-  Little Women
-  Here's to You Rachel Robinson
-  To Spoil the Sun
-  Number the Stars
-  To Kill a Mockingbird
-  The Secret Garden
-  Bridge to Terabithia
-  The Giver (along with all 3 accompanying titles "Gathering Blue", "Son", and Messenger)
-  The Ranger's Apprentice Series - this was a suggestion, and in a way a gift, to me as an adult (thanks, Tim!)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rainbow Birthday Party

Evie turns 1 next Friday, but we did her birthday party a little early.  We kept it simple: streamers on the windows and door, cupcakes in a rainbow, rainbow wands, and a cute tutu.  Hope you are inspired!

streamers on the windows

 Cupcake rainbow

Outfit 1 - homemade tutu and tie-dye onesie


Rainbow wands

Outfit 2 - after the icing

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Garden Update: Stuff is Growing and Such!

Well, nothing we experimented with actually grew.......but we're sitting pretty on cucumbers, watermelons, pumpkins, beans, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini (kind of)...something seems to be eating my zucchinis.......have only gotten 2 and the stem is chewed to pieces.  also, if you recognize what kind of watermelons i have, could you tell me if they are ripe yet?  i had a bunch more growing, but they are all done.








Saturday, June 14, 2014

Faerie Garden: Community Planning

The project continues.....last night, I made my first house.  I think I did OK considering I have never done one before.  I youtubed a bunch and pretty much broken most of "the rules"......oh well.  I used what I had that was of 'natural' material.........a Popsicle stick is wood after all and used up what i had left in my hot glue stick stash......I'm not even sure the last time i had to buy glue sticks.  The roof is completely useless for a shelter.....will have to do something about that.  Once the ground gets a little dryer maybe i can find some nice moss or bark.

Then we went flower shopping...thank goodness for the woman in the nursery section who had a clue what i was talking about when I said "I'm making a faerie garden and need.."  she finished my sentence "ground cover?"  HALLELUJAH!  I figured i was doing OK.......then came the actual planting....and planning.....let's just say it's a good thing I didn't attempt a career in community engineering or whatever the real name is.  Probably totally screwed up where I'm going to be able to put little structures and such.  Also, i purchased based on color and, we'll see.  The one thing we (the hubby came out and made a suggestion) planned well for is the river.  We have a section across the back that gets the runoff from the house.  it doesn't floor the rest of the garden but definitely leaves a long deep, I'm going to make it a bona fide river with river rocks and probably a little boat house to accompany it.  ta-da!  Wish me luck on the "structures".  I always forget that when i start a project to do 'with the kids' that the kids will eventually get into it and actually want to participate and then i end up with all sorts of stuff that wasn't in my the little leaf 'signs' you see strewn all over the place.  I love them so much!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Superhero Training Academy 4th Birthday

All I can say before I start is that I am SOOO glad the weather held up!  This by far our best attended birthday party yet!  21 kids total!

So, as usual, I had Jackson choose his birthday party theme somewhere near the end of last summer so we would have plenty of time to plan and purchase toward his party.  He wanted Superheros and later I came up with a Superhero Training Academy.......well, i came across this theme in my searches and made the suggestion.

The invitations:

For each child i created a logo, printed it on printable iron-on paper, and then ironed them onto capes i made from a poly-blend.  The poly-blend material can be cut without fraying, so you just cut and go.  Hint, though, the printable iron on stuff only works correctly on white or light colored fabric.  All the store had was black that would work for everyone and when we did the transfers, everyone ended up with just a sparkly shape that showed no color.  I also got sheets of fun foam and cut out a mask and wrist bands for each child.  Some elastic and stick-on Velcro dots and you are good to go.  I also put each set of items in bags to be given to parents so they could help give the kids their items as they earned them.

Decorations:  I used the birthday boy's superhero's signature color of green and made the cake in the shape of his logo which was a green lightening bolt.

Food:  I did a 2 pm party so just did bowls of snack food and some green punch

First i welcomed the kids to the Academy.  Then i introduced each of them to the class and gave their superhero names and powers.  Then our villain (a friend's daughter in a black mask) ran through saying she was going to ruin the party and dumped a bunch of bombs (black balloons).  I told the kids to think quick and defuse the bombs (pop them).  Then they were awarded their write bands.
Then we did a physical strength training with an obstacle course.  When completed, they earned their capes.
Then when we gathered up again, the villain came back and dumped 'ice-omia' (reusable ice cubes i picked up at 5-below) around their feet.  I told them to be very careful and pick them up and put them in a cooler i had so everyone would be safe.  i thanked them for their bravery and awarded them with their masks.  
Finally, i told them i had one more tool for them (silly string).  They had a few moments to practice before the villain came back and they got her.  I didn't have someone to act like a cop so we decided the villain would say sorry and say she just wanted to come to the party and no one invited her.  So, Jackson said she could stay at his party and everyone cheered.
then we sang happy birthday, blew out the candles, opened gifts and had cake and ice cream.  As kids left they got to choose from either a superhero washcloth cube that expands in water or a superhero coloring book.  that's it.  Minimal mess and lots of activity.  short and sweet.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

End of Year Teacher's Gifts...Done!

Found a cool Pin!


2 terracotta pots and bases
2 glass bowls
2 wooden balls
Hot Glue

I painted the pots.  I decided to go with the school themes.  my oldest son's school's mascot is an Alligator and their colors are green and orange.  So i painted the base color as orange and then did green dots and little alligators around the bottom.  My youngest son's school is Red Apple, so i painted it white and painted little red apples all over.  These are a little heavy, though.  I may transfer the candy into zip-lock bags for transport, so they aren't quite so heavy!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Fairy Garden Begins!

So, I have a girl now!  Not that should really dictate one thing or another, but it just makes we want to do certain things that I didn't really have the desire to do with the boys.  I'm building a fairy garden!  It's always been in the back of mind and then a friend on FB made one of those little fairy houses and, well, now I have started.

Today, I build the box....this box is based on a box that my grandfather once built.  I think he saw it somewhere and just.......did well.  I couldn't find anything like it on Pinterest, either, so I did my best in the design.

Started with a scrubby little piece of grass in front of the house that I'm not sure why it was there in the first place.....

Then i built a diamond.  And filled it.  I used the brown paper method for weed control again since it worked so well in the veggie garden.

I forgot to take pictures in between each level, so, sorry.  I build two more levels.  Second level is a rectangle (obviously), third level is another diamond.  If you do this; make sure to take out the inches used up by the box before the one you're doing.  My first diamond measured out perfectly......the rectangle had to be shortened and so did the smaller diamond because i forgot the the level before it would take out an inch or more on either end (if that makes any sense).

So, hind sight.........i should have framed in the whole area and then built up from there, but i tend to be a person who get s a concept, does some measuring, buying, constructing, and then......repairs.  I blame it on the fact that i have too many ideas going on to always have a TOTAL concept from the beginning... so, instead of leaving nasty grassy corners......i went back to HD and bought some slightly narrower pieces and framed in the corners.

Next step is flowers and decorations!  I bought my first gnome and Mikey gave me a little stepping stone for Mother's day!  I'm thinking I want to add teeny tiny little steps for the fairies to get from one level to the next.......... :)

So excited!!!!