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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Marshmallow Flower Bouquet!

My Aunt Lorraine makes amazing desserts.  They taste delicious and look beautiful.  The kids LOVED the marshmallow treats she made for Easter.  I asked her if I could take a picture and post.

This is what she did:

  1. Place marshmallows on a large stick (you can find the white ones she used in the baking aisle). 
  2. Dip the marshmallows in water (wipe of excess water - not dripping, on a paper towel). 
  3. Dip the damp marshamallow into different colors of sprinkles.
  4. Punch hole into a mini cupcake liner and move it close to the marshmallows.
  5. Place floral styrofoam into a decorative pot.
  6. Push the sticks into place.
  7. Fill in the spaces with Easter grass.
  8. My aunt tied a a pretty ribbon around the pot to finish the look.
You can always make your own sprinkles:  bake sugar mixed with food coloring in the oven (muffin tin)  for about 5 min at 350 degrees.  Check out the post on Love Monster Marshmallows for complete directions.

These were a perfect treat for Easter but I think it would be adorable for any type of family gathering or shower.  Thanks Aunt Lorraine!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Well Wishes

Express your LOVE and concern for family and friends by sending "Well Wishes."  Instead of throwing out your chicken and turkey wishbones,  use them to decorate a personal gift made especially for them!

This is what I did:

  1. I washed and saved turkey wishbones.
  2. When dry, I spray painted them white and sprinkled them with glitter while the paint was still wet.  You can also use glue to make the glitter adhere.
  3. I tied the wishbones to my gifts with a small note.  I used jute for one and ribbon for the other.

I made my favorite homemade turkey noodle soup for one of the gifts and put the soup in a canning jar.  When I bring a meal to someone ill, I like to use containers he or she may keep and not worry about returning.

For my other gift, I filled a decorative jar with colored Epsom salt. A favorite recipe I LOVE to use is: 
  1. Combine two parts Epsom salt with one part sea salt
  2. Add two or more drops of food coloring to get desired shade
  3. Add a few drops of essential oil
  4. Stir and fill container
Ready made bath salts work well too or you can simply use Epsom salt alone.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Toilet Paper Tube Rocket!

We up-cycled toilet paper tubes into rockets!  The boys LOVED painting the tubes.  It was fun to paint on something other than paper.

This is what we did:

  1. Paint the outside of toilet paper tubes with blue tempera paint.
  2. Cut out and paint 3 fins from a cereal box to use on the bottom of the rocket.  Make sure they are relatively the same size.  I traced the first one to make the other two.
  3. Cut 3 slits in the tube evenly spaced out.
  4. Cut a small slit in each of the fins.
  5. Fold the fins in opposite directions just where you cut the slit.  You're creating flaps to attach them to the tube.
  6. Insert the folded fins into the slits on the tube and tape down.
  7. Make a semi-circle.  This is going to be the top of the rocket.  The easiest way to do that is:  measure the circumference (outside) of the tube with a piece of string.  Tie the string to a pencil.  Holding your string at the midpoint, draw a semi-circle with your pencil. 
  8. Fold the semi-circle into a cone shape and staple, tape, or glue together..
  9. Tape long strips of construction paper to the inside of the cone. (nearest to the point as possible.  This is the exhaust from the rocket.
  10. Insert the construction paper strips into the tube.  They keep the cone in place!
  11. You're done! 
This was a fun little project for the boys to do.  It took us about 30 minutes!  I think they would look cool if we decorated them with stickers or flags.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spray Bottle Painting

The boys LOVED that this project combined a couple of their favorite things:  spray bottles and paint!  We made Tie Dyed Easter eggs but the colors are fabulous and could be used to make any shape!

This is what we did:

  1. We prepared our surface by laying down wax paper over the counter.  (If I do it again, I'll probably use an old tablecloth that I don't care about because it will make clean up a lot easier but I'll still lay down the wax paper).
  2. I cut out oval shapes  to (kind of) look like eggs.
  3. The boys used a white crayon to color designs on the eggs. (The designs didn't really show up - we might skip this step next time)
  4. I dripped food coloring on the eggs.
  5. The boys used a spray bottle (filled with water) to make the color run.
  6. We dumped the excess water into a small bin.  Have a container ready!
  7. We repeated the process until the entire egg was covered.
  8. Wait for your pictures to dry!
The last egg pictured was NOT made using food coloring.  Instead we used Dot Art.  It prevented a lot of the mess, but didn't run like the food coloring did.  I think the end project looks just as nice though. 

This project can get really messy.  Make sure you stay by your kiddos until you know that they aren't going to get food coloring everywhere!  I'm pretty sure the food coloring will stain clothes! 

Don't let the possible mess scare you!  The boys really LOVED this project.  I'm going to try to come up with more projects involving a spray bottle.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Last Supper Lesson Plan

Today in Sunday School we learned about the Last Supper.  We LOVE Jesus!

This is what we did:

We began the class with the sign of  the cross - just like we do every Sunday.  The kids are getting really good at it and most will stand up in front of the class to demonstrate!  Its so cute.

Our puppet, Sotty the Lion, brought a spoon and fork hidden in his bag.  The kids were all able to guess what he had this week.  They Loved that!  He brought the spoon and fork because he wanted us to learn about the Last Supper.

I used a children's bible that has awesome pictures to tell the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem and then eating his Last Supper with the disciples.

The kids took off their shoes and socks.  I gave them each a hand towel to wrap around their shoulders. We walked around the room and our feet got very dirty.  We pretended to walk "upstairs" to the Upper Room for the Last Supper.  The kids sat down at the table and said, "I'm not going to wash your feet!".  I took my towel off my shoulders, wrapped it around my waist and proceeded to wash all of their feet. (They loved this part).  The kids put their socks and shoes back on and then sat at the table.  Each child got a Nilla Wafer and some apple juice.  I acted out the scene of the Last Supper where Jesus shares His Body and Blood.

Then we practiced "going to communion".  The kids folded their arms, bowed, and I placed my hand on their head and said "Jesus Loves You".

We used the Last Supper Craft from the Catholic Icing:  Last Supper
She has great instructions and printables.  This is what I would add:
1.  My kiddos are little (4-6 yrs. old).  The can't possibly cut out the people.  I cut them for them.
2.  Plan in advance.  You need 2 egg cartons for each kid.  When cutting the egg cartons, I found it was easier to use a serated kitchen knife instead of scissors.  Also, not all egg cartons are the same!!!  You need to match up similar egg cartons and you might need to cut off part of the bottom of the egg carton after you make your slits to get it to lay flat.
3.  Hot glue gun the egg cartons together.
4.  Put numbers on each of the apostles with a permanent marker and then write a number for where each apostle should be placed on the egg carton.  That way the kids can put them in the same spot as DaVinci's painting.
5. I used card stock.  I think it made it easier to color (since they were coloring fairly small peices of paper).

I made the example you see above.  The kids weren't able to color the disciples to look just like the picture - but that doesn't matter!  It doesn't even  matter if they have the disciples in the same order. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Plan An Easy "Grand" Kids Sleep Over

I LOVE being a Grandma and I LOVE spending time with my "Grand" Kids.  So with Spring break upon us I seized the opportunity to schedule a sleep over with my four oldest.  It went very smoothly and the Kids had "a blast."  With a little preparation and past trial and error, our 24 hour "sleep over" was truly "quality time" together.

This is what they brought and this is what I recommend: 

Stuff - A lot of Stuff!
  1. Sleeping bags and pillows
  2. Pajamas, slippers, and robes
  3. Change of clothing
  4. Pillow Pets or favorite night time friend
  5. Dream lights (They each have one and they're really cute.  The lights make designs around the room and they can change colors.  They were purchased from Borders).
  6. Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  7. Combs and/or hair brushes
  8. Outdoor clothing (Their snowpants, jackets, hats, mittens, and boots are not on this photo because they were already drying in the basement after playing outside).
This is what I had on hand:
  1. Favorite foods and snacks  (I made Rice Krispie Treats with rainbow sprinkles.  I also bought pizza, yogurt and strawberries, Mac and Cheese, salami and cucumbers, VFusion, ice cream, and of course, popcorn).  For breakfast we had French Toast,  flavored oatmeal and cereal. 
  2. Batteries, all sizes.  We've needed them on more than one "sleep over," usually for the dream lights.  It truly prevents tears.
  3. Arts and crafts supplies
  4. Movie videos
  5. Extra hats and mittens for when they're wet or misplaced
  6. Needle and thread for repairing broken zippers, clothing, and/or night time friends
  7. Non spill drink bottles for bedside water during the night
This is what we did:
  1. We dug a fort in the snow and took a short walk.
  2. We made a video (The kids interviewed each other and they danced and sang).  The kids LOVE replaying it - lots of giggles and laughs, and I have a wonderful keepsake!
  3. We colored Easter eggs.
  4. We watched two videos in the evening.  Each "Grand" kid picked a favorite and then we drew names for the ones to watch.  NOTE:  This works so well for us.  It prevents a lot of unnecessary discussion.  We also drew names for who sleeps where.
  5. We made crafts

My "Grand" Kids enjoy beading so I always have some on hand.  We also made extras to take home for younger brothers and sisters.  NOTE:  If you don't have beads and lace on hand, no problem.  String and old buttons work too!

We made Grandma rocks - no pun intended :)  We used permanent marker on some rocks I bought from the Dollar Store.  The Kids drew faces and designs on one side and I had them put their names and ages on the back.  When weather allows, I plan to spray them with acrylic to preserve their works of art, another wonderful keepsake!  When we do this again, I will be better prepared and have a variety of colorful markers on hand.

Even though I kept my "Grand" Kids busy (it helps prevent boredom and phone calls home to Mom and Dad) they also had enough unstructured play to keep our "sleep over" fun.  But just in case, I had a backup activity in mind - dot art.   We had our Bingo markers and plenty of white paper ready to go! If you plan ahead, you can purchase dot art sets from Toys R Us and other stores where they sell kids crafts.

TIP:  Have Moms and Dads call in the evening to say goodnight and always give your "Grand" Kids the option to go home if they choose (no matter what time it is). This rarely happens but it's good to have parents on "standby" to avoid traumatizing Kids who are not quite ready to be separated from Mom and Dad overnight. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brighten Your Outside Table

I LOVE family celebrations (which always involves food) and I LOVE spending time outside.  So when the weather finally warms, I wash the table, put up the umbrella, and light the candles.  My family fills their plates and we all head outside for the patio - only to find that my candles have blown out.  So when I recently saw a pin of a table centerpiece with holes drilled in driftwood for tea lights, I got an idea to decorate my table and solve my windy day problem.

This is what I did:

I found a piece of slab wood (30" long) with natural bark, but any piece of wood would work and any length to fit your table.  It would look nice with Spanish moss glued to the surface.

I had my husband drill five 1 1/2" holes in diameter evenly spaced approximately 1/2" deep.

I hot glued two air plants in small shells and placed moss around them to help keep the plants moist.  I then hot glued them in two of the drilled holes.  I chose air plants because they do not require soil and can flourish in small containers when watered and/or misted weekly.  My small shells fit nicely in the drilled holes.

I hot glued shells to the driftwood and placed battery flickering LED lights in the remaining three holes.  It was fun to display my small collection of shells - a reminder of warmer days ahead!

Flower Garden

We enjoyed a spring craft party this morning.  I LOVE the energy so many kiddos bring into the house!  16 kids and 7 mommas made 2 crafts:  Hatching Easter Grass and a flower garden made from coffee filters and cupcake liners.  We had a good time!

This is what we did:

  1. We used 9 in. x12 in. paper.
  2. The kids painted the bottom of the paper with brown paint.  Then they sprinkled ground coffee into the paint to make it look like dirt.
  3. Glue a green bendy thing onto the paper (Elmers School Glue) for the stem.
  4. Use Dot Art dabbers to decorate coffee filters, and different sized cupcake liners.
  5. Glue the liners to the paper.
  6. Add other artistic elements! 
Before we made the two projects, we read the book:  Then Its Spring by Julie Fogliano.

Friday, March 8, 2013

paper plate bird/platypus!

My Little Guy and I were wandering around one of our favorite stores, Lakeshore Learning and spotted a bird craft made by a local kindergarten class hanging from the ceiling.  We headed home to try making our own version of the bird, turned platypus?  We think he's cute and we  LOVE it!

This is what we did:

  1. Fold a paper plate in half.
  2. Staple the edges closed.
  3. Dot Art the body of the bird.
  4. Stick feathers into the body in order to make a tail.  We stapled the feathers into place.
  5. Add chenille bendy things for feet. (We just taped them into place)
  6. Add a googly eye and draw eye lashes.
  7. Cut a triangle for a beak and glue it into place.
  8. Fold a peice of paper like an accordian and tape it into place as a wing.
The one we saw in the store was covered in tissue paper squares instead of dot art and both sides were decorated.  They were hung all over the ceiling.  It was really cute and I think, creative.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Salad Spinner Easter Egg Garland

We LOVED  the Salad Spinner Art Fun post by my sister.  We used it to make Easter Egg Garland. 

This is what we did:

  1. We cut egg shapes from art foam.
  2. Put paint on our eggs and spun them in the salad spinner.
  3. Poured glitter on the wet paint.
  4. Taped the eggs to ribbon.
  5. Put stickers on the ribbon.
  6. Hung in a row above our sliding glass door.
We used washable paint.  The paint did not stain our salad spinner.  I put it in the dishwasher and we will use it again for lettuce!  This was a great activity for a SNOW DAY!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Salad Spinner Painting Fun

I don't know about you but every time my kids ask me to paint I reluctantly go to the supply closet.  I try offering them other options because I hate how messy it is, and I hate the clean up!  Well, I found a solution to my problem - painting with a salad spinner!  I LOVE having little or no mess!

This is what you need:

  1. A salad spinner
  2. Kid friendly paint
  3. Paper
  4. Scissors

Here is what we did:

  1. I picked up an inexpensive salad spinner at the thrift store.
  2. I cut squares of paper that easily fit inside the spinner.
  3. We dropped a few drops of paint onto the paper inside the salad spinner.
  4. We pushed down on the salad spinner over, and over, and over, and over.
  5. We stopped the spinner with the button.
  6. We opened up the spinner to make sure we were satisfied with the spin art, if not we added more paint and repeated the steps.
  7. Once we were satisfied, we took out our artwork and hung to dry! 

My kids LOVE this activity and always ask to paint when friends come over.  Now I LOVE it too!

Crayon Bunnies

Easter is coming and as a concerned Mom I've been trying to come up with ideas for items to put in my kids Easter baskets that are not loaded with sugar. Easter Bunny crayons came to mind!  I remember doing this project as a kid, and remembered how much fun it was to color with crayons that are different shapes and sizes.  My three young ones will LOVE these!
This is what you need:
  1. Broken crayons (any color)
  2. A cupcake pan (I used one with bunny shapes)
  3. An oven
This is what I did:
  1. I preheated the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. I removed the wrappers from broken crayons I had on hand.
  3. I put the broken crayons in the cupcake bunny pan and filled them about half way.
  4. I baked them for 5-7 minutes.
  5. I cooled them for about 5 minutes and removed them from the pan.
This project was so easy and it was great to repurpose the crayons instead of throwing them away!


Hatching Easter Grass

My "Grand"kids LOVE crafts!  So  when they came over for a visit I had one ready for them to do.  With a little help from their parents they had fun creating a craft they could take home with them, learn from, and watch grow.  What could be better at Easter than "New Life in Spring!"

This is what we did: 

  1. I cut the tops off 2 liter soda bottles and then cut a jagged edge on each to resemble a hatched egg.
  2. I bought Easter stickers, and colored glass gems (from the Dollar Store).  I then cut coffee filters to fit inside the bottles and put the stickers, gems, and a coffee filter into a bag for each child. 
  3. I also bought Cat Grass seed packets (from Linders), and little foam stick eggs and plastic chick eggs (from the Dollar Store).  I had enough potting soil on hand so I didn't need to purchase more.
  4. We put their names on the bottoms of their bottles with a marker.

The children decorated the outside of their bottles with the stickers, put their gems inside the bottles (for drainage and they also looked pretty), then each put a coffee filter on top of the gems to hold the soil in place.

They added soil and sprinkled a generous amount of seed on top.  They then pressed the seed into the soil.  Each packet of Cat Grass seed was enough for two bottles.  I chose Cat Grass because it's pretty, it grows 4" tall, and sprouts in 5-10 days (not too long for them to wait, I hope).  The children then moistened their seeds and were instructed to continue watering them at home; but if they saw water in the gems at the bottom, they've over watered and should stop watering for a while.

My "Grand"kids finished their craft by adding their stick foam eggs and plastic chicks. They did a great job following directions and there was very little cleanup.  I LOVED seeing their proud faces!

The Prodigal Son Lesson Plan

Luke 15:  11-32 - The Prodigal Son/Lost Son/Forgiving Father

This is what we did at Sunday School to teach the lesson of the Prodigal Son:

Introduce the Lesson:
I usually start Sunday School lesssons with Scottie the Lion.  He is a puppet who carries a bag.  He puts something in the bag that relates to the lesson I am teaching.  He passes the bag around the circle and each child gets one guess at to what is in the bag.  This week it was a pig.

Share the Bible Story and Verse:
I read from the Bible - Luke 15:  11-32

I acted out the Bible story with little toys.  I used Little People farmers and animals to role play the story.

We played Hide and Go seek with the "guys".  The kids found a partner.  One partner hid a "guy" in the room.  The other person had to go find it.  When he/she found the guy the child shouted out:  He was LOST and now is FOUND!

Relate to their own Life:
I had the children stand in a line across the room.  I stood in front and told the kids that I was representing God.  I then asked the kids this question:  What are some things things that kids do that they need to say they are sorry for?  Every time a kid could come up with an answer they took a HUGE step backwards (away from God).  When they were on the other side of the room I asked them what they could do to get closer to God.  APOLOGIZE!!  When they yelled out, "I'm sorry", I ran towards them and gave each child a chocolate kiss!

We did a muddy pig craft.  The kids colored a pig, glued it to a big peice of paper, and painted mud all over the page. (The mud was brown washable paint and coffee grounds) It was super messy.  Be sure to have a sink nearby.

We ate dirt cake for a snack.
- crushed Oreos (20 oz)
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 boxes instant chocolate pudding
- 1 package of Cool Whip
- package of gummy worms

( Layer Oreos and the pudding mixture)  Hide worms throughout!