Happy Family Times #6

Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts and I run a link party to share your family times every Tuesday. Please link up below and visit Happy Whimsical Hearts to read about her quality family time!
Daddy tying Hazel's shoe

Well if you read my post on Sunday about my issue with my mother-in-law not listening to what Hazel and I wanted. Well, as I expected we paid for it on Saturday. Steve and I had planned to take Hazel to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield mostly because Hazel and I are starting a class there on Wednesday and I wanted to make sure I knew how to get there. We were all set to go on Saturday morning however while Steve got ready Hazel wanted to play outside with me, which is what she wanted to do on Friday. Needless to say once we got outside she said, "I don't want to go to Popsfield. I want to stay home and play outside." (She decided Topsfield should be called Popsfield in honor of her Pop, my dad). There went our plans for a nice family nature walk. Instead we all played outside. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera out with me and I missed the good pictures of the day while I ran in to get it.
Hazel showing us her truck and telling us a story about it
Hazel had us pushing her on her swing, chasing her and playing with her, but I got pictures of us watching her more than anything. Sorry!! It was also a bit cold out so eventually we dragged her back inside for lunch. Then we went for a drive to Topsfield which of course Hazel fell asleep in the car before we got to the Wildlife Sanctuary so we didn't get out to walk around. Oh, well. We still had a nice time playing together and watching her play. What did you do as a family this week?

Now it is your turn to share how your family has spent some quality time lately.

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Ok, now for our PARTY!! Please share your FUN Family Times!!

Multicultural Monday: Meet DARIA

I have always had a strong belief that everyone is equal and should be treated equally. As a high school teacher I found a great way to support this believe through advising diversity clubs, GSA's (Gay, Straight Alliances) and going through on many diversity/multicultural trainings. I have decided to try to do a weekly multicultural post with some educational part to it for all of you who are teaching your children. I have many resources to pull from and am finding more all the time.

Recently I was contacted by Daria an amazing musician. Here is her official blurb: Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has five cd’s that have won national honors.  She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace.  Her website; located at, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content. You can find a complete list of her musical crafts and coloring pages at:

Daria asked me if I would be willing to listen to one of her amazing CD's (ok I'm the one calling it amazing) and make one of her musical instruments with Hazel and blog about it.She would send me the supplies for the instrument of my choice and the CD. Needless to say I said yes. The hardest thing was choosing a CD. In fact I think I'm going to go purchase a few more of them. I decided to get what I thought I would enjoy most and not what I thought Hazel would enjoy most and picked her I Have a Dream CD. Daria mailed it to me so quickly and I love the music and so does Hazel. I finally have something I can play besides Elmo in the car and make Hazel happy. Plus I enjoy listening to the music even without Hazel in the car. I also found some of the songs so moving that I actually loaned the CD to the Christian Educational Director at my church because I thought there might be some songs on there that she could use in Sunday School.

Needless to say I highly recommend this CD and I am going to purchase at least one more of DARIA's CD's. 

Then I got to choose an instrument for us to make. If you visit Daria's website you will see she has many crafts and instruments on there for you to do/make at home. She also gave me the choice of a quilted rainstick. Ok, Hazel has played with a rainstick at the Peabody Essex Museum and loves it (actually she loves any musical instrument) and I like to quilt. I figured this would be a perfect instrument for us to make. (For more information on rainsticks visit Daira's post on Making Multicultural Music.) Daria again sent me the supplies quickly. She however was still working on the instructions, so I had to wait. This week I got the instructions and we made our rainstick. Hazel loved it even before we decorated it. It was relatively easy to make. Daria sent us a mailing tube with wire and pipe cleaners. I gave the wire to Hazel to bend and kink up. She did an ok job at this, but I had to add some to it and then we put the pipe cleaners on to it. Then I taped the wire into the tube (making sure it went all the way through). Then we added some beads and sunflower seeds to make the noise. I played with the wire and what we put in it to get a noise we liked. You can watch the video to hear her play with it.
Hazel playing with the undecorated rainstick
Then we waited a few days to decorate it. To make it quilted we just glued fabric squares on to it. Since I had some pieces leftover from Hazel's quilt, I used them. I let her do most of the gluing so it is not perfect, but we like it. 
As soon as the glue dried she wanted it. She loves playing with it.The fabrics add such nice color to it.

Now I need to thank Daria, not only for the CD and supplies to make the rainstick but also for motivating me to blog about multicultural topics. If it had not been for her, I probably would not have explored this route and share one of my passions with you. So thank you so much, Daria!! I hope you will go check out Daria's music and her wonderful resources she has on her site and if you get a chance to see her in concert definitely go--I know I'll be jealous!!

This is where I link up...

Felt Wreaths for Spring

So on Friday, I had a regular doctor's appointment. I had mentioned it to my mother-in-law in passing and she jumped at the chance to have Hazel over. I thought it was just for the appointment and that day she let me know she wanted Hazel for the day. So much for my plans for the day. It caused a bit of friction, but our relationship is rocky to begin with so I didn't want to make it worse. I decided I should do something for myself instead of just doing one of the many chores on my to do list. The night before I had seen a great project on Pinterest. I traced back the original to Loopy Loop Creations (not sure how I missed the original post). Here is what I made.
Hazel loves pinwheels so I thought this would be perfect for our front door. I followed the tutorial on Loopy Loop Creations for the first one, but I got to thinking since I was pinning the pinwheels on why not make a red, white, and blue one for the summer holidays and also made one for our friends who had their daughter Memorial Day weekend and her first birthday party is red, white and blue themed this memorial day. For these I decided to sew the pinwheels instead of hot gluing. It took a little longer, but I like them better. Using the hot glue you could easily do these out of paper and onto a paper plate ring.
To sew the pinwheels start in the same way with a 4 inch square with slits on the diagonals.
With a needle and thread stick it through the middle of the square and fold one corner onto the needle.
Then fold the next corner onto the needle.
Repeat with the other two corners and take a small stitch.
Then sew a button onto the middle of your pinwheel. (Sorry for the blurry picture.)
Now you pin them onto a stryafoam wreath in whatever order you want. I found that I used 18 pinwheels on the 9 inch wreaths. Then you can change it to whatever colors fit the season.
I had some extra felt pinwheels so I pinned one onto an unsharpened pencil for Hazel to have one. It doesn't twist real easily, but she likes it.
This is where I link up...

Sharing Saturday #17

Wow, with Earth Day on Sunday, we got some amazing Earth Day ideas as well as many other ideas last week!  If you haven't checked them out you really should. Also have you seen Happy Family Times yet? Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts and I have started a new type of link party on Tuesdays to inspire more quality family times for all of us. Go check it out. It is open Monday evening-Saturday morning (EST). There are always so many great ideas especially for getting your family outside.

The Star Princess

Lately Hazel has been afraid to sleep alone and is afraid of the dark. At bed time she likes me to read her three books (well I chose three as the number) then I sing her a song and tell her one story--sometimes one I made up or sometimes a shortened version of a fairy tale with much of the scary stuff softened up for her. The other night when she seemed really afraid, I made up this story and sewed her a doll as the Star Princess.

The Star Princess
Once upon a time there was a little Rosebud Fairy who was a bit afraid of the dark. She knew when darkness fell the adult fairies did their magic, so she was home alone at night. What she really feared is being alone in the dark. The other young fairies made fun of her for her fear. They could not understand how any fairy could possibly be afraid of the dark when it is the magical time for fairies.

One day she told her mother about her fear.  The Rose Fairy, her mother, knew exactly how to help her daughter. She told her about the Star Princess. 

The Star Princess lives in the night sky. Her job is to shine light on the earth so little ones (girls, boys or fairies) are not afraid to be alone during the night. When her light is shining on earth the little ones are not alone. She watches over all of them while they sleep and are alone.  Every night she always shines her light on earth so little ones are never alone.

After hearing the story the Rosebud Fairy asked her mother if she could meet the Star Princess. Being a fairy, the Rose Fairy arranged for them to meet at a party the next week. It would be the first party the little Rosebud Fairy would attend. 

At the party the little Rosebud Fairy wore her best rose petals. She was so excited for the party and even more excited that she would meet the Star Princess. When she arrived at the party she knew right away who the Star Princess was. There was a beautiful creature with silver sparkling hair dressed in golden color--star shaped, of course, with one of the arms of the star being her hat. And the light from her lit the whole room. She just simply glowed for there is no better way to describe it.

Little Rosebud Fairy asked her mother to take her over to meet the Star Princess right away. Her mother obliged. The Star Princess was one of the nicest people the little Rosebud Fairy had ever met. After spending the evening with the princess, the Rosebud Fairy knew she would never need to fear the dark or being alone again. Any time she feels alone she remembers that the Star Princess is always watching over all the little ones who are alone in the night and feels so much better to know her friend is there.
jpeg version--feel free to download

Of course I couldn't find Hazel's pink rosebud fairy to make the story scene complete. Every other fairy was around except the rosebud. Oh, well. Enjoy!!

Happy Family Times is still open this week for your family time ideas and come back tomorrow night for Sharing Saturday, but feel free to go visit some of last week's incredible ideas!!

This is where I link up...

Birds for Our Nests

Yesterday I shared our many bird nests that we have been making. I showed you the start of our yarn nests, but they still had to dry before we could pop the balloons and see how they came out. We popped the balloons this morning and made some birds for them. We used Betsy from Tippytoe Crafts lovely Roly Poly Birdies tutorial.She shared these at Sharing Saturday a couple of weeks ago.
We didn't venture downstairs to get different paper colors, but we had the feathers upstairs so Hazel had fun making many with different colored feathers.

These are very easy birds to make. They are construction paper strips rolled and then glue on the feet and beak (also cut of construction paper) and googly eyes and then glue a feather or two on each side of the roll for the wings. Aren't they cute?

Last night we read another new library book, If I Never Forever Endeavor by Holly Meade. It is a great book about a bird deciding whether to take his first flight or to stay in his safe comfy nest. He weighs the pros and cons of both and then decides to give it a try and of course loves flying and meets a friend. Very cute book about taking major life steps.

Ok, I think we will move onto something besides birds and nests for a bit. Hope you are having a great day!!

This is where I link up...

Building a Bird Nest

Sparrow Nest on Our House
Ever have a bunch of ideas in your head, but not enough time to get everything done. That is how I have been feeling. So today I will post about one of my ideas. With the start of spring we have been noticing birds and nests around, so I wanted to focus a bit on birds and nests.I have been pinning many bird nest and bird ideasAwhile ago, I posted this picture of a quick bird nest that I got the idea from Kara at Pam's Party Planning and Practical Tips (shared at a Sharing Saturday).

Hazel loved making it and asked to make another, so we bought some supplies. While at Michaels and looking at birds we found this little pre-made nest. We bought the birds in it at The Dollar Tree and put in some faux eggs to make it realistic.
Then we bought a bigger grapevine wreath and a basket at the Dollar Tree to make another one to go with our bigger birds. I used the wool felted eggs I won around Easter. I figured Hazel could play with this one a bit more.

Oh and we changed the birds to the original to a cardinal and other bird Hazel picked out.
The mixture
Next we made some bird nest cookies. I googled for a recipe and found an easy one on Six Sisters' Stuff. It is very easy. You melt a bag of chocolate chips and a bag of some other flavor of chips (I used mixed chocolate and peanut butter) in the microwave by setting it for a minute at 50% power level then stir and repeat until melted. Then stir in a bag chow mein noodles. Drop by the tablespoon on to pieces of waxed paper and shape how you want (we didn't really worry about shaping) and add three or so jelly beans or candy eggs of some sort (we used M&M's). The best part of making them now is all the Easter candy is on sale.

Then you let the cookies harden.

Hazel has already asked to make more of them though I don't think she tasted any of them. I have a different type of recipe to try so we might try them next week.
We also looked at some books on birds and nests. Here are a few of our favorites.
In the Nest by Anna Milbourne is a great book that simplifies the making of the nest and the life cycle of the eggs to baby birds to their first flight and leaving the nest.

Baby Bird's First Nest by Frank Asch is one of Hazel's favorites. It is a story about a baby bird who rolls over and tumbles out of his nest. His sleeping mother does not wake up to his cry for help, but a little frog who lives in the pond next to the tree comes to his rescue. Together they build their first nest and then a raccoon comes so they hide and then the frog helps the baby bird get back to its nest by hopping from branch to branch. It is a great story about helping another and making friends.

Bird Nests by Theresa Hopkins has pictures instead of some words so it is fun for the kids to read. It explains the use of the nest, etc.

Then we started some starched yarn nests. You will have to wait for the glue to dry to see the final product, but I also added raffia. I got the idea from La-La's Home Daycare. She has been doing a lot with birds and bird nests as well.

I also cut the supplies for Hazel to do two paper plate crafts mostly on her own. I painted one of the plates brown for her (more because she was doing something else). Then cut the strips of paper and the beak and wings and gave them to her with a plastic egg (well two tops of blue plastic eggs) and explained it to her. This idea came from Busy Bee Kids Crafts. Hers came out a lot messier,but isn't that how the art of a 3-year-old should be?
The even easier paper plate craft idea came from Arts and Crafts for Tots. I changed it a bit and started with a blue plate and cut the bird, beak and tree for her as well as gave her the yarn and raffia cut up. She did all the gluing herself though. We are happy with it.
So today, I had a bit of an epiphany. Hazel brought her brown paper plate craft to show me and the beaks and wings were glued to the plate and not the eggs. I went to fix them and Hazel apologized to me for doing it wrong. I tried to explain that she didn't do it wrong and realized that I really need to watch what I change and what my expectations are. I know I try not to change much on her things and do not look for perfection in either of our crafts, but I need to remember just how sensitive she is and that she is still trying to figure things out. Anyway, just thought I would share it with you.

The other bird nest in our tree--this one looks huge!
Keep an eye out for more bird crafts as well as gardening, senses, zoos, and multicultural/diversity. Those are all in my head. Now to get them done to share with you.

This is where I link up....

Happy Family Times #5

Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts and I are doing a new link party called Happy Family Times.  It is a place for us all to share some of the fun things we are doing with our quality family time. We are hoping it will help all of us to have more family time. So I will share one of my fun times and then you can link up yours and go to Happy Whimsical Hearts to read about Kelly's family time. (Your link will be at both places just by linking up at either one.)

Sunflowers, Seeds, and More

Sharing Saturday is still open!! Please come visit and share your wonderful child-oriented crafts and activities with us and check out all the great ideas already shared. Tonight Happy Family Times will be open. You will be able to share your wonderful family time stories to help inspire all of us to have more of them.
After our mini-vacation we came home to see how much our plants have grown. We need to begin repotting some of them and planting some new seeds.
We also got to finally see some growth in our fourth seed container (half milk container) of celery plants!
We also were able to finish, well almost finish some of our sunflower crafts. Hazel also posed with her flower mask.

Then we got working on our Mother's Day gifts and added some pictures and I printed out the You Are My Sunshine with the specific names. Now I need to buy some magnetic strip for the back and attach the songs to the flowers. I got these ideas from DLTK.
For Me
For Hazel's Godmother
For Daddy
Hazel wanted to make one for Daddy and Pop as well, so I guess they will also be Father's Day gifts. I am thinking of covering them in clear contact paper just to give them more strength before I put the magnetic strips on and attach the songs. Aren't they cute? Here is how I finished them:
Covered in clear contact paper and added two adhesive magnets
A finished product
We are all set for Mother's Day and Father's Day now!
We also had a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. While at the Cape I visited the Birdwatcher's General Store and asked for advice on what to feed the ducks. We bought some cracked corn and they seem to love it!
Hazel and I also played outside and she decided we were taking the train to the zoo. On the train she gave out diamonds. These are my two--a white one and a blue one. Love her imagination!!

This is where I link up...