Rapunzel's Tower and other indoor play

The past couple of days Hazel has been complaining that her stomach hurts. The first day I had to run errands before going to work and Steve was working from home so we let her watch television while I was out (and he was working). I think her stomach still hurt in hopes of watching television today. I'm not sure though since she has been sleeping more than usual. Her appetite is not down though, so I'm not too worried. Anyway, we took it easy and stayed home. We missed our last class at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary yesterday which was disappointing, but not really a big deal. We pulled out Hazel's zoo mat that I made her and all the animals we could find for it. We used some of the animals from the Noah's ark that my sister gave her awhile ago. She decided that Joseph and Mary were the people on the ark and they were in charge of feeding the animals. All of the animals that belonged on the ark had to return to the ark each night to sleep. The Rainbow Princess that I needle felted for her was the zookeeper (and is laying down in the middle of the zoo).

Then she has been obsessed with the fairy tale, Rapunzel. I started telling it to her at night since lately she has wanted to hear stories after we read three books. Steve tells her a water-downed version of Cinderalla and Snow White (they are the only ones he remembers). I change it up a bit and have made some up like the Star Princess and the Rainbow Princess. (At some point I will have to share the Rainbow Princess story.) Lately she has been wanting to hear Rapunzel. I also have discovered some wonderful stories on CD told by Jim Weiss. Jim Weiss is an amazing story teller who changes is voice for the different characters and adds songs to the stories. I have gotten a few out of the library and the ones in the picture are her favorite two so far. I am going to purchase a bunch of them, but thought we would check them out first to see which she really likes. She loves to listen to these. Often she will get up in the morning and I will get to sleep another hour after getting her some milk and a snack while she listens to these. For awhile it was Tell Me a Story! all the time because she loves Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but now she often plays Fairytale Favorites to hear Rapunzel. Needless to say I highly recommend them and there are some educational ones for older children as well.
I took Crafts From Your Favorite Fairy Tales by Kathy Ross out of the library. The craft I liked the most was Rapunzel's tower. We tried making it the past few days. I took a wrapping paper tube and cut the top to look like a tower/castle tower and cut a window. Hazel then painted it. We then let the paint dry over night. This morning I cut a circle out of construction paper and drew a face and then Hazel glued on a few pieces of yarn to be her hair. I braided yarn to be the hair that gets let down. Then attached it to the tower with another piece of yarn so that it looped through the tower from the window to the bottom. The second piece of yarn is suppose to be the color of the tower. Since Hazel painted it, our tower is multicolor and mostly just the cardboard tube since she got board. Then we glued the head at the bottom of the window. Now the hair is adjustable to be let down or brought up.

Hazel had the best time reenacting the story. We pulled out a witch bendy doll I made her last Halloween. She changed the story...
Apparently the witch has some magic to survive the fall from the tower and to climb back up after falling! Oh, I love the imagination of my little one!

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Pasta Salad & Egg Shells

Our Dinner
Hazel and I made some pasta salad last night. This is a fun recipe since Hazel can chop most of the vegetables we like in it. I love having it since it makes such a great lunch afterwards. I cooked up a pound of whole wheat fusilli pasta (I love Trader Joe's brand) and let it cool. I prepared the vegetables for Hazel. 

She chopped zucchini, red pepper, carrots, and cucumbers. I also chopped celery (her chopper isn't quite sharp enough to deal with the strings), grape tomatoes, snap peas and fresh oregano. 

Then we add the juice of one lemon and some olive oil and some feta cheese (I use the fat free version) and a little ground pepper. Then mix it all together! You get a yummy dish either a side or main dish which is perfect for the hot weather! We had it last night with chicken breasts (and I have been known to cut up the chicken and put it right into the pasta salad as well). One of my favorite things about this recipe is you can use the vegetables you and your family like or whatever you need to use up in your refrigerator.
Another fun craft we did recently was egg shell mosaics. I saved the shells from the first dozen eggs I bought at Drumlin Farm. Hazel has been asking to make Easter eggs again. We have some Easter egg dyes floating around so I figured we could make an Easter egg mosaic. I know I saw someone's on-line, but cannot remember where I saw it now. Sorry!! (If you know, please let me know!!)

We of course started by dyeing the egg shells--well at least the white and brown egg shells. We left the blue ones blue. This of course was very exciting to Hazel and she managed to make a huge mess spilling dye everywhere twice. I did my best not to lose my patience, but was not completely successful.

Shells Drying

Then once the shells were dry we took them outside with some paper and glue. I put glue down in the shape of a flower and Hazel wanted a sun on it so I added that. Then we started breaking the egg shells and putting them on.
Then Hazel added some glue to be grass and something else.
Then she finished it up. She enjoyed this activity but her favorite part was dyeing the eggs. It did not come out as neat as I had seen on-line, but again she is three and I let her do what she wants.

Our Tuesday: Cooking, Nature and Play

This morning Hazel announced she wanted pancakes for breakfast. In other words, she wanted to cook. So we made some. We had some very ripe bananas that I wanted to do something with so I gave three of them to Hazel to mash. Then I gave her an egg to beat. We mixed with the egg, the bananas, a pureed carrot, 1 cup of skim milk, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Next we mixed the dry ingredients in a separate bowl: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup ground almond meal, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup oatmeal. Then we poured the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and threw in a cup of blueberries. Mixed it well and then cooked the pancakes.
Hazel even helped scoop a couple into the pan, though she is very afraid of the hot stove. She really enjoys cooking with me.
Then we headed to Drumlin Farm for our last class this spring. Today we focused on all the senses for the end. This included popping popcorn since all five senses are used: hear it pop, smell it, touch it, see it and taste it. The kids enjoyed eating it. Then the class visitor was brought out. It was an opossum! The opossum is the only marsupial in North America and fifty years ago you would not find them this far north, but they have migrated with their food.
Our instructor, Alex, told us all about opossums. They only have babies inside of them for two weeks and then they are born the size of a bean. The babies then go into a pouch on the mother's stomach and live there until they are big enough. Their nipples are located inside the pouch (this is also true of kangaroos).
They also cannot hang by their tail. Their tails are not that strong. They do use them for balance and help, but they climb and hang by their claws. You can see in the picture below how big their claws are.
This opossum was in some sort of a fight and has a flattened and injured nose, which is why she lives at the Mass Audubon. They also had an opossum skin to pass around for the kids (and moms) to feel how soft they were. We also think she could smell the popcorn we popped. She kept trying to climb the plexiglass and sniff.
Instead of a craft today we got to go on the hay ride. Hazel enjoys this even if she won't smile for a picture. She also wanted to wear her binoculars we made earlier in the class. She came out with them on and said she was wearing them so she could see things better today. After this we took a walk to the top of the drumlin. We had never been there before and had a good time. On our way back we saw the model long house they made during the summer camp last year. The kids loved it.
It reminded me of the fort we want to make for Hazel. Of course this is much bigger than what we are planning. For those who do not know, the long house was the housing of the Iroquois and many of the tribes in New England. (One tribe in Massachusetts is the Wampanoag.) It would be covered with bark or wood and 20-30 people would live in it. They have a really neat complete long house at Plimouth Plantation.
Then we walked by a pond to look for crayfish. We did not see any, but saw a bouncing bug and a neat silver maple growing in the pond.
The kids had fun sitting by the water. They found bugs and just liked watching the water.

Then it was time to say goodbye. A few of us exchanged contact information so we can try to get together this summer. It was really a nice group of kids and moms. We will miss our weekly trips to Drumlin Farm, but will go back again.

After lunch we ran a few errands and then got one of our high school babysitters to play with Hazel so I could have a break and I am using it to write this, but at least this is relaxing.

Happy Family Times #10--Going to a birthday party

What have you been up to with your family this week? Did you do something new and exciting? Go on a trip? Or just dance in your living room?  Please share below! Kelly over at Happy Whimsical Hearts and I are loving hearing about everyone's wonderful family time! We hope this link party will help inspire more quality time with your loved ones!

Today we attended a first birthday party. The parents of the child are Hazel's godparents. Now, I think I mentioned Hazel's fear of men. The only men she is not afraid of are Daddy and Pop. Even men we see every week who talk to her, she will play shy around but talk about them as soon as we walk away and for the rest of the week. One man she is really frightened by (and I don't know why) is her godfather. She did not want to go to the party since I told her he was definitely going to be at it when she asked if he would be there. We bribed her into going by saying we would go get ice cream afterwards if she went and behaved. She decided she wanted to go to Friendly's instead of the farm that makes their own ice cream from the cows you can see there which is only a 5-10 minute drive from our friends' house. Oh, well. Note: I did not mention to my friends that I would be blogging about their party so I am blocking out their daughter's face in all the pictures since I do not have permission to post it.

Since their daughter was born Memorial Day weekend, they had a red, white and blue party. This is the party I made all the star crayons for. She wanted 100 and I made 94 from all the crayons she gave me. I think she is going to have a lot more than she needed, but oh, well. She took them and put them in plastic bags. Hazel had a good time. She was a bit cuddly, but then she went off to play with the kids. One of the girls there is one day older than Hazel so they play at all the parties there.
Hazel pushing the birthday girl with some help from her uncle

They provided bubble stuff for the kids to play with. It was a big hit. There were snacks to begin with and then your typical Memorial Day barbeque: hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad, pasta salad, etc. Then of course there were gifts to open and cake and cookies and pastries. The birthday girl had a wonderful time with her piece of cake--it ended up on the ground before she was through, but she had fun. I love the fistful in the bottom picture.
Our gift's wrapping fit the theme

Hazel ate the frosting and Daddy got the chocolate cake.
The Cake
My Cuddly Girl

After the party we headed to Friendly's and got Hazel her ice cream cone. I got a watermelon sherbert cooler--a flashback to my childhood. I use to love those in the summer. They are no longer on the menu, but still make them for me at least at our local one.

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

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Gardening Blog Hop

Patio garden with vegetable garden in background
We spent a good part of last weekend outside in our gardens. One of the major issues we have in our yard is that we do not have great sun in the back yard. My vegetable garden was slowly being shaded by the trees, so Steve dug me some more space in the other direction so we could plant all of our seedlings and seeds (which Hazel chose). This garden has been taken over by raspberries and oregano. I pulled most of the raspberries out because they need too much space for the room we have and I always am pulling out the oregano, but it keeps coming back. In fact it even managed to spread over to the patio garden! Not sure how that happened.
Steve extending my vegetable garden
While Steve dug my extension, Hazel and I tackled the weeds in the patio garden. We had really let them go and since they had flowers we left them there, but they were taking over so it was time. Hazel was a great helper. She brought over her little wagon and helped pull a few, but since I kept filling the wagon she kept taking it to empty it for me.

After having lunch outside, Steve went on to dig Hazel's sunflower garden. This garden will hopefully be a sunflower house this year for Hazel. Next year we may pick a different theme like a pizza garden. These ideas came from Sharon Lovejoy's Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots: Activities To Do in the Garden. For some of the other books we have been using as a reference check out this post.
Sunflower Garden

For now we left the center of our sunflower garden grass so it will be more comfortable as a sunflower house.

While Steve started on the sunflower garden, Hazel and I started planting our seedlings. (See Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3 for previous mention of these seedlings.) Hazel wanted to start with the patio garden, but grew bored and went off to play while I planted some of our marigold seedlings and seeds.
Patio Garden
Fairy in Our Patio Garden

Simba's Memorial

She got interested in our garden again when it was time to plant the pumpkins, watermelon and zucchini in our vegetable patch. We also planted some marigolds around the edge to keep the pests out. We are trying one of those Topsy Turvy things for a tomato plant since our tomatos have not done well in our garden. We put it over near the sunflower garden since it gets the most sun in our back yard.

Then we ended our day planting the sunflower seedlings and seeds around the giant circle that Daddy dug. You can see the picture above. What are you growing this year?

Now it is your turn to share with us! 
I have been invited to co-host a blog hop on gardening with
Please visit my co-hosts and check out their wonderful garden posts as well!!
This is a blog hop. Please join us as we know Crafty Moms Always Share!!

Mulitcultural Monday:Skin Color Collage & Picture Books

I've been trying to find some good projects to share with you, but since I have a 3-year-old right now, I also want them to be something she can relate to. Thus I am sharing with you lots of picture books and such. I have lots of ideas of things to do with a group of older kids, but just one, not as much. The first book I want to talk about is a classic that we all know, Dr. Seuss's The Sneetches and Other Stories.
While reading this Saturday morning, Hazel and I took the time to talk about the pictures. Why do the plain belly sneetches look so sad? Do the star bellied ones? Why are the star bellied sneetches so mean to the plain bellied sneetches? These are a few of the questions we discussed and several of them were asked by Hazel. This is a wonderful story showing that looks do not matter. You can equate the stars to so many of the prejudices in our world--skin color, sexual orientation, disability, gender, age, etc. For those who do not know the story, the star bellied sneetches think they are the best sneetches and will not talk or associate with the plain bellied sneetches. Along comes a man with a machine to put stars on the plain bellied sneetches for a price. Then he has a machine to take the stars off the original star bellied sneetches for a more expensive price. They spend all of their money and day going in and out of the machines until no one can tell who is who. The man of course leaves with all of their money, but the sneetches realize that there is no difference between them.

The other stories in this book have similar themes or at least themes that teach lessons about differences, stubbornness, etc. The second story is The Zax. There are two zax in this story. One is a south going zax and the other a north going zax. The south going zax never go any direction besides south and the north only goes north. Well they bump into each other and neither is willing to step aside to let the other go, so the world grows around them and they miss out on their lives. Talk about a great story to talk about compromising and getting along. Hazel and I took the time to really discuss this and what was happening in it.

The next story, Too Many Daves, Hazel did not seem to like and asked me to stop reading in the middle of it. It is about a mother who named all of her twenty-three sons Dave. Needless to say it is about the confusion of having the same name.

The last story is a story I remember from my own childhood. I remember in kindergarten the class always wanted to listen to it during quiet time. (The teacher had it on an album.) It is What Was I Scared Of? It is a story of a creature (it is Dr. Seuss so I don't know what type of creature it is) that meets a pair of pale green pants with no one inside them one night. The creature then tells of a few more times where he runs into the pants at night. Needless to say the creature is scared of a pair of pants that can walk, ride a bike, etc. In the last instance of them meeting the creature screams for help but then notices the pants are crying and trembling with fear as well. He comforts the pants and then whenever they meet they say hi. Again, a great story for relating how people who are different do not  mean you have to be afraid. Something I need to work on with Hazel a bit more.

Now for a few more books and a project. You may remember a few weeks ago we explored the book The Color of Us by Karen Katz. We played with mixing paints to make the different shades of skin. This project goes right along  with it and could be used with The Color of Us as well as these books.
Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly is about the different shade of skin color. It has different pictures of all different shades and talks about skin like wrapping paper where you cannot tell what is inside a person.

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler is about how we all have skin and it is yours, but your skin does not make you who you are. You still dream, think, act like you not based on your skin color.

All Kinds of Children by Norma Simon is another book talking about the similarities and differences between children around the world. All children need food and live in houses and have belly buttons. The houses may be different, but everyone lives somewhere. It goes on like that. It is a nice story bringing that we are all people no matter what our differences are.

Now for our simple project. I gave Hazel a bunch of magazines, catalogs and newspaper ads and had her cut out pictures of people of different colors. I helped with some and had to do some trimming on a few. Then we pulled out one of her The Colors of Us paintings to make a collage. I wanted her to glue them over the paint colors we came up with but she did not want to ruin her painting so we glued them on the back.
This gave her great practice in cutting!! Plus recognizing the different shades of people. One of my goals has been to get her comfortable with seeing people of different colors. We tend to have a mostly white community around us, but I want to expose her to the differences so she can be comfortable with anyone.

Do you have any good multicultural/diversity books to share?

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