Google+

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunshine Award!

I have been honored to receive the Sunshine Award from Jenny over at The NY Melrose Family! She has a wonderful blog that I have gotten to know thanks to Sharing Saturday!

"Friends are the sunshine of life."   John Hay

  As a recipient of this delightful award, I have a few rules to follow:
  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog.  See above.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself.  See below.
  • Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers.  See my list below.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated. So happy to share the love!
  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you.
Ten Sunshine Award Questions (and answers):
Favorite color: Pink! I have always loved pink things. In fact I still have a poem I wrote in third grade about pink things.
Favorite animal: Ok, I guess it would be a cat (I've always had one in my life), but I also love giraffes and lions. I can honestly say that Simba, the cat we put down in July, was my absolute favorite ever, but I had him for 17 years and a good portion of those were when I was single so he was the only one I was living with. He was always getting into my things. You can see a bit more about Simba here. And of course I love our other kitties--Fluffy and Pumpkin very much! I just have to share them with Steve and Hazel so it is a bit different.
Simba checking out the printer
 Favorite number: 20--don't know why, but it always has been.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Water--I drink it all day long. The only other thing I drink is chai lattes and tea some times.
Prefer Facebook or Twitter?: Facebook. I have not adventured into Twitter and really don't have desire to.
My passion: Hmmm...equal rights for everyone. It is what I feel strongest about. I guess it was the years of teaching and advising the diversity clubs and Gay Straight Alliances. (Other passions of course include crafting!)
Prefer Giving or Getting Presents: Definitely giving. I'm always so excited to give presents. Opening them isn't nearly as fun as watching someone enjoy something I picked out or made for them.
Favorite Pattern: Don't really have one. As you can tell from my many changes to my background here.
Favorite Day of the Week: Sunday--to me it is still a day to slow down and spend with God and family. I hope to always think of it that way.
Favorite Flower: Pink roses--I absolutely love them. But I love most flowers as well.
OK.  So now here is the fun part – here is my list of blogs that regularly bring a little sunshine into my life.  In no particular order:
Toys In The Dryer







Marie has such beautiful needle felted work. She is truly an inspiration to me.

Tippytoe Crafts
Betsy always has wonderful ideas for crafts with young children. I always am trying something from her blog.


April's Homemaking

April's Homemaking




Mama Mia's Heart2Heart




Silly Eagle Books
Silly Eagle Books

Happy Whimsical Hearts



Creating a Family Home
Kelly always has beautiful knitted crafts as well as the simple life in the country. I always find it inspiring to read her blog.

Easter/Spring Buckets--Dollar Tree Crafts

Getting some inspiration from Pinterest, I decided to go to The Dollar Tree to see if I could gather some supplies to make similar things. The first inspiration was from The Sweet Survival. It is a Hydrangea Covered Easter Egg. I had trouble finding a reasonably priced large Easter egg (Michaels had them for $10 or more) and The Dollar Tree had none. However I love hydrangeas so I still wanted to use them. (Hydrangeas were the flowers at my wedding.) I also saw these cute baskets at AllYou.com Kids flower crafts. I liked these ideas but wanted to do them differently.

I found these green buckets at The Dollar Tree as well as a faux hydrangea bunch and faux forsythia branches. I bought two of the forsythia branches and one hydrangea bunch and two buckets, so a total of $5 plus tax. Since I wanted Hazel to help me with it, I did not use the hot glue gun. I used tacky craft glue. However, this did not work well. We did start to take the center parts out to make them smooth to glue better. We also found we needed to work sections with it laying down on a side and let it dry completely before trying another section. I will touch them up with some hot glue later. I'm also thinking of adding a ribbon around them.Or maybe we will continue with our gluing and cover them completely. We may make a few more to give to the family or at least grandparents who we will see at Easter.
We also started on the pink pail that I bought for Hazel's kitchen in which to keep her cloth napkins and napkin rings. She got bored part way through this one though. She did say she wanted to put both types of flowers on it though. So stay tuned for what we do with this one.

Even though this has been a warm winter, I am starting to want the spring weather already. I love seeing flowers this time of year. I often buy flowers for the table to keep remembering spring is on the way. Here is a rose from a bunch I bought over a week ago. They still look beautiful. (I have not had much luck with the spring flowers lasting--tulips, daffodils.)
The Bunch after a week

I guess this post is appropriate today since we are suppose to get snow tonight. I hope you are having a great day!

Pin away


There have been many posts lately about pinning on Pinterest and needing permission. For more information you can check out this post at Corkboard Connections. I am happy to grant such permission. Please do not pin anything from a Sharing Saturday since those are not my pictures to share and I would ask that you not pin a picture with my daughter in it. Otherwise I'm happy to allow anything to be pinned.

I know I use Pinterest instead of bookmarks now. Being able to see a picture of the item makes it so much easier to find what I'm looking for. I really use it for inspiration and new ideas. After reading some of the legal stuff, I question some of my pins and from now on will look for a permission to pin from sites before I do so. Corkboard Connections provides the red button with Permission to Pin on it and is having a link party of blogs that are doing a post like this to grant permission.

So Happy Pinning!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Ant and The Grasshopper and Prayer Bracelet for Lent

On Sunday, one of the crafts at the Lenten Simple Soup Supper was to make The Pearls of Life bracelets to use in our prayers. Each bead means something. Starting with the gold one which is to represent God. The clear oblong ones are for silence. The white pearl is the I bed. The white bead is the baptism bead. The brown bead is the desert bead. The blue bead is the serenity or calm bead. The red beads are for love given and received. The three small white beads are the secret beads. The black bead is the night bead. The translucent circular bead is the Resurrection bead.  For more details about the meaning of each bead check out here. For a bit about the history of them read here. Personally I like to wear it especially during Lent to remind me to prayer and to bring me closer to God.

Sharing Saturday is still open through tomorrow. Please go check out the amazing projects people have shared. There are many for celebrating Dr. Suess' birthday on Friday as well as St. Patrick's Day and more! And I hope you will follow me at Facebook!! And voting at Circles of Moms is still open. I'm at number 34 and could use some more votes. You can vote every 24 hours.
One of our favorite books to take out of the library lately is Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray. So today, we began to work on some ants and grasshoppers. We also plan to make Ant's house out of tissue boxes. Hazel has already included Ant and Grasshopper in her daily activities of shopping, etc. when she plays. She also repeats some of the things Ant says in the book. I for the most part made both of these, however Hazel is working on some as well. We will share those when they are finished.
The story is a take off of the Aesop Fable. Ant is rich and has a big house. He likes to count the food he has collected each day. Grasshopper sings and plays the fiddle in Ant's yard and bothers Ant while he is trying to count. As fall comes Grasshopper tries to come into Ant's house and get fed and Ant laughs at him and turns him away. One night Ant wakes up and finds Grasshopper on his stoop nearly frozen to death and covered in snow. He brings him in and saves his life. There are so many lessons that can be taught from this story. The Grasshopper is homeless. Ant admits in the story he wishes he could sing. And the last line is my favorite: "'Everybody counts.'"
I used pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes and felt for the grasshopper's wings. Hazel is painting some egg cartons for them and I have a great grasshopper out of TP roll pattern I found in several places when I searched grasshopper crafts. Here is one location. Another with a template is here.

We will share more of our ants and grasshoppers and our Ant's house soon. Hope you are having a lovely day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lent and The Big Wide Mouthed Frog

Our Lenten Table
Close up of our Lenten Tree
So Lent started last Wednesday. I was away and didn't really do much for it (except stop eating candy) until yesterday. Last night my church held a Simple Soup Supper for Lent. It consisted of soup, rolls, drinks and desserts (potluck style on the desserts) and crafts. We went, but I brought a hot dog and mixed vegetables and blueberries for Hazel since she doesn't do too well with soup yet. One of the crafts was a Lenten Tree. It was a cardboard tree trunk and branches and you added leaves. The directions said you should cut out 40 leaves and write things to do to celebrate lent (like do something nice for someone else) and then put all the leaves in a jar and have one person pick one each day and then try to do that thing during the day. This is a bit beyond Hazel's comprehension so we cut out 40 leaves and colored on six of them (for the six days that have already gone by) and I wrote words like Jesus, God, Love on them. Then we glued those six on. Now we will do one each day until Easter when we can decorate our tree with yellow or gold ribbon. I put our tree (and extra leaves) on a table in the living room that we covered with Hazel's purple play silk (it has red undertones which came out in the picture) along with a cross I received when I was young, and a purple candle. This will be our Lenten table. We will add more to it as the season goes on. And I will let you know some of the different Lenten activities we do.

Just a reminder that Sharing Saturday is still going on. Feel free to share a kid-friendly activity or craft with us and go check out all the amazing ones already shared! I also bit the bullet and started a Facebook page, so please come like me over there. And finally, please vote daily for me in the Circles of Moms Top 25 Creative Blogs. (I'm so honored to have been nominated!!) Thank you for all your help!!

A few weeks ago, Lorie over at Reading Confetti posted a great craft to go along with the book The Big Wide Mouthed Frog by Ana Martin Larranaga. I looked for the book at the library and we loved it. Instead of doing her craft, we decided to make all the animals.  I did some searching on-line for help. I found several at DLTK-Kids. I needed a wide mouthed frog, kangaroo, koala bear, possum, emu, and crocodile.
Our collection minus the crocodile
The wide mouthed frog is the main character of the book. He goes out into the world one day to explore and asks every animal he meets what they are and what they eat. Then he tells them he is a big wide mouthed frog and that he eats flies. He does this until he meets the crocodile who eats big wide mouthed frogs. So needless to say he was the most important animal to make. I found a great paper plate frog puppet template at DLTK-Kids. I followed it mostly except I used white pom poms and googly eyes for the eyes instead of the print outs.

The frog first meets a kangaroo. The kangaroo we made from a TP roll and followed the directions at DLTK-Kids. Next he meets a koala. The koala bear also is from TP roll and we used the color template and directions at DLTK-Kids as well.
Our Kangaroo and Koala

The third animal he meets is a possum (hanging upside down). The possum I had more difficulties finding. I found an interesting looking one at Danielle's Place but since I'm not a member I couldn't get the actual template and instructions, so I went from the picture and made a few changes. I used two pipe cleaners for the tail and used a TP roll to give the body some weight and steadiness. Then I cut the body from grey scrapbook paper and made a cone for the head from a grey beige paper. I added a small black pom pom for the nose and some paper ears and googly eyes. Overall, I'm happy with it.
Our Possum

The next animal he meets is an emu. I did a google search and found a paper plate one at MSSS Crafts. Changing a few things to go with the story and based on what we had available we came up with a pretty good one. We did glue feathers onto it instead of a paper bag. I also made sure his feet had three long toes since the frog calls him three long toes.
Our Emu
The final animal the frog meets is a crocodile. I didn't really like my options on this one that I found. DLTK-Kids had some TP roll templates but they were green and since the frog calls the crocodile a knobby brown log I felt it needed to be brown. Since Hazel is not great at coloring in lines, etc. I figured that might be too hard. I also wanted it to be bigger than the frog since it eats frogs. So, I painted a paper plate brown for the mouth. I stuffed a brown paper lunch bag with paper and plastic bags and glued it the open end around a paper towel roll for the tail. I then glued on the bumps from a cardboard egg carton to make it knobby and added some googly eyes. I also tried to shape the paper towel roll to be a bit pointed at the end. Ok, I probably should have given her some legs and feet, but this was good enough for us.
Our Crocodile
So now when we read the story we have all the characters to act it out with. What do you think? Hazel loves them.

Happy Monday!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekend Time==Cooking, Snow Angels, Lent Preparation

Coming home from my parents we rushed to the library for the Move and Groove program that we signed up for. Hazel loves it. While there we got a few new books. One of them is The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck.
This story is about a sister and brother who are very upset because their parents are working so much (out of need) and their grandmother keeps spending the night with them. They have been eating macaroni and cheese made by their father (which they claim is not as good as their mother's) every night. Their grandmother tells them a story about a young girl who had similar circumstances--her father was fighting in the war (World War II) and her mother was sewing uniforms for the soldiers and she was home by herself. When her father was home on leave he taught her how to make a snow angel the last day he was home and explained that snow angels are magical. They stay with the person you make them for and watch over them. Therefore, since he made one for her, she wouldn't be alone anymore. She no longer felt so alone when her parents were gone. The sister figured out the girl in the story was their grandmother. Then they talk about making snow angels for their parents, but their is no snow. The next morning the children surprise the parents with breakfast in bed and downstairs hung paper snow angel chains all around.

I folded some white paper like a fan (back and forth) and then sketched a snow angel and cut through all the layers. Then I tried folding it smaller and sketched half a snow angel. These are the chains on the top of the page. Hazel tried to cut some but had a bit of trouble so I helped her and cut it in half so she didn't have as many layers. Sorry the picture is a bit out of focus. (We also started some more crafts to do with books we have been reading, but we will save those until we are done.)
We also started our grass egg shells for Easter. Since Lent started on Wednesday and we were away, we started it a few days late. I had been saving half egg shells from whenever we used eggs. I washed them out and left them to dry. Then I used a safety pin to punch a hole in each one for drainage.
We lined them in a plastic egg carton (which we usually use to put Hazel's paints in when she is painting with different colors) and filled them with top soil. Hazel enjoyed this part and made a bit of a mess.
Then we put some grass seeds in each one (again Hazel had fun and dropped the handful in the middle so we had to spread them out). We added some more soil and water and placed them in the window. Now we need to check the water of them each day and look for growth.
We will share these closer to Easter when we hopefully have some grass. We did this last year and used them as part of our Easter basket center piece. Plus it helps Hazel learn about the growing process.

Yesterday morning we made pancakes. We decided on pumpkin blueberry pancakes. Hazel had a small breakfast with Daddy earlier, but she at almost four of these pancakes with me. Needless to say, they were a hit.
Mixing the Dry Ingredients
Dry Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
2 Tablespoons toasted oat bran (you can use wheat germ as well)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of ginger

Mix all together. Then set aside.
Beating Liquid Ingredients

Then we did the eggs. I separated the egg white and let Hazel crack the whole egg. Then let her beat them while I got all the liquid ingredients together.

Liquid Ingredients
1 large egg
1 egg white
1 can of cooked pumpkin (you could use homemade as well)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 cup fat free milk
Mixing all the Batter

Beat these together with a whisk. Then add dry ingredients and mix. Then add a cup or so of blueberries (we use frozen) and mix. (I find the blueberries hide most of anything you put in there.)

Then heat a pan sprayed with a cooking spray.  When griddle is warm enough pour batter on in small circles. Let cook until edges look a bit cooked and then flip. Press down with spatula to make sure insides cook. Flip a few more times pressing down.

Enjoy!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sharing Saturday #8

Photobucket

Thank you for all the wonderful entries we had last week!! I'm always amazed at the creativity everyone has. If you missed getting to see any of the 116 entries, please visit them. There are so many wonderful ideas!!

On a side note, I hope you will vote for me in the Circles of Moms Top 25 Creative Blogs. Just click on the button to the left and then click on vote for Crafty Moms Share. You can vote once a day for me if you will. Thank you!!

Our most clicked on entry was from Learning Ideas - Grades K - 8: Shamrock Clock


Our second most clicked on was from Frontier Dreams: Waldorf Heart Crafting

And a few of my favorites:
 From Jellyfish Jelly: Weaving Loom (when Hazel is older I definitely want to do this with her!!)

From Projects for Preschoolers: Make a Felt Pizza (another wonderful activity we will definitely try!)

Please visit my co-host, Mama Mia's Heart2Heart for more features!!

If you were featured please feel free to grab a featured button and display it proudly on your blog!


Photobucket

Button Code:

FROM YOUR HOSTS:
From Mama Mia's Heart2Heart: Cat in the Hat ABC Game

From Crafty Moms Share: Story Telling Picture

Now on to this week's Sharing Saturday!

There are just a couple of simple rules.

1)  Please follow both hosts via GFC.  
2)  Link any kid-friendly, child-centered post. Please no etsy shops or giveaways, etc.  Remember to link to your actual post.
3) Post the button on your sidebar or somewhere on your blog to help spread the word.

Photobucket
Button Code:


All right everyone... This is a party, LINK UP 
AND HAVE FUN!!!

Family Time...Nature Walks at Cape Cod

View from their deck
Well, Hazel and I returned home from my parents house at Cape Cod. It was nice and relaxing. We got out both Wednesday and Thursday for nature walks. It was not as warm as we had hoped, but it was nice. Of course we got to drive home through a wet snow/rain mix. Oh, well.
One of Hazel's favorite places to run
The best part for Hazel is she gets to spend lots of time with my parents. My father has amazing patience (funny I don't remember that growing up) and will play like a ____-year-old (fill in the age of his grandchild). So she loves to play with him.
Pop showing Hazel the blueberry bush--Hazel saying no pictures!
My father recently cut down a cedar tree and made some natural blocks for Hazel as well as some stumps for us to make a bit of an obstacle course for her.
Wood blocks and checking out the stumps
On Wednesday, my mother, Hazel and I went for a walk. (All of us were going to go to the Mass Audubon, but my father's stomach started not feeling well, so we changed our plans and stayed local.) On the Cape they have a bike trail from South Dennis to Wellfleet. It is an old railroad track that has been paved over. There are two parts near my parents' house. One takes us to the center of town and the other to Nickerson State Park. We drove over to near the trail (we could walk but we would have to walk on the streets with no sidewalks and it is a rather busy street). We parked near my mother's friend's house and went for a walk. The salt marshes are so beautiful to walk near. We of course also brought a pail to collect our treasures.
First Sign of Spring--Snow drops!
We walked quite a long way and Hazel got tired. Since it was not as warm as I would like I could only carry her for a short bit without my asthma bothering me. So I walked quickly to the car and left my mother and Hazel playing in the leaves to get the stroller.
The interesting moss we saw everywhere
Checking out some nature
Checking out the marsh
Checking out the view before we turned around
On Thursday, we went to the Mass Audubon. Hazel of course fell asleep in the car, so my father stayed with her while we went in to check it out. After a bit, we went out and woke her up and then went on a walk. We have a membership with the Mass Audubon since Hazel and I took a class for 2-year-olds and a guardian last year at Drumlin Farm. We highly recommend attending an Audubon program. It was wonderful.
Another sign of Spring--Don't know why it was in bloom, but it was great to see yellow in February!
Well when my mother and I went in we were told that there has been a very special visitor from Mexico. They did not know why this bird decided to visit them, but they were very excited. It is a blue bunting. Of course it did not make an appearance while we were in the Visitor's Center, but waited until we were on our walk and left before we returned. Oh, well. From the pictures they had, it looked more like this one, but a bit lighter. It was just starting to get its blue feathers.
Source: http://www.google.com/imgres

We however did have a lovely time. We walked toward Goose Pond.
Checking out the pond
The View of the Marsh and Cape Cod Bay
Checking out Goose Pond
The View and Wet Path (High Tide was Receding) from where we turned around
It wouldn't be a nature walk at an Audubon Society without some birds:
A Cardinal
A Chickadee under the feeder--I had seen some woodpeckers here but didn't take a picture
The One I was most excited to see---A Hawk (you can see his tail up there mostly)
We saw woodpeckers, sparrows (including I think they said a house sparrow), chickadees, finches of all types, doves, the hawk, cardinals and squirrels.

After our walk we went to Provincetown for dinner to our favorite restaurant--Napi's. We were in luck. Off season they have a Thursday night special of buy one get one free on most entrees. I guess it was actually a good thing our plans moved from Wednesday to Thursday for this trip.

My mother and I also did a bit of shopping. We stopped by my favorite store--The Priory at the Community of Jesus. It is such a lovely place to spend a bit of time with many religious books, handmade food (jams, granola), beauty products, candles, knitted ware and art. They always have beautiful music playing and it smells so lovely. I like to go just to relax. You can see the angel that watches over their new church from my parents' house.

Well there are our pictures of our week. Hope you had a good one.

Please, please, vote for me in the Circle of Moms Creative Moms Blog competition. You can vote daily!! And please join us later for Sharing Saturday!!

Oh, and an interesting article to share: How to Stop Your Kids from Stressing  from CNN.