Sharing Saturday 14-9

Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week!! There was a little technical problem on the part of Linky Tools and I apologize for it. Apparently they were upgrading there servers and had a hard drive crash. It was the one with the images for the linky parties. Of the three back-ups only one was good and it did not include anything from 2014. Thus why all the images for the Linky Tool link parties for 2014 are gone. However the few that linked up after this issue still have their image and all the links still work. However I did still pick many features to share with you and highly suggest you check out some of the great ideas even without the pictures.

Friday Fruit Explorations: Strawberries

The other day Hazel decided we should go on a fruit exploration. She pulled out her magnifying glasses so we could look more closely at some of the fruit. We started our adventure with strawberries--one of our favorites. 

First we looked at the outside of the fruit to see what we could find.

We noticed the seeds which we knew were there. Did you know strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside? After she was done looking at the outside, I cut one in half so we could look at the inside.

The white lines in the interior of the strawberry bring the nutrients to each seed. Of course to learn all these little facts, we got some books from the library.

Two books focus on the growing cycle of strawberries and the third shares a Cherokee legend on the first strawberries. I was hoping to find some information on the nutrition of strawberries, but have not found books with it. However I did find it on-line. A serving size of one cup has 49 calories. That cup of strawberries contains 12 grams of carbohydrates of which 7 gram are sugar and 3 are dietary fiber. There is also 1 gram of protein and gives you 149% of your vitamin C for the day. They also have a small amount of iron and calcium. The other minerals that strawberries provide are potassium and manganese. Strawberries also contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. (Source

Strawberries have also been rated the 27th best among U.S. food, however due to the large serving size needed for the top foods, strawberries move to the 3rd position when considering of which foods you would eat the 3.5 ounces. Strawberries are fragile fruits that start to lose their nutrition after only two days and ideally they will be in 90-95% humidity (most refrigerators have less humidity). An interesting discovery is that when sugar is eaten with strawberries, the blood sugar spike caused by the sugar is reduced by the strawberries. Strawberries also have anti-inflammatory affects. (Source)

To go with our strawberry exploration, I wanted to do some crafts. Hazel and I have had a busy week, so she was not able to make any of them with me yet, but I thought I would share a few. The first two involve handprints and I found them on Pinterest. The first one is inspired by Activity Village: Handprint Strawberry. Theirs was done with paint, but I had some foam handprints and just used those to share it with you. The second  is from French Toasty: Strawberry Handprint Kid Craft. I did not add the seeds, but if I do it with Hazel we will. The third are needle felted strawberries. I will provide a tutorial below to make them. And finally are Strawberry Treat Box Printable from Oh Happy Day! I wanted Hazel to cut one out to make, but she was too tired after her busy day--she got her first filling/crown today at the dentist and then came home to a playdate. 

Now for our needle felting tutorial. The supplies you need are some red roving, green felt and the needle felting needle and mat. Roll or wrap the roving to be a basic strawberry shape and then needle it to firm it up. To cut the leaves, cut a small square of felt and fold it along the diagonal two to three times. Then cut a triangle from the sides. Open it up and trim how you want it. Then needle felt it to the top of your strawberry.

These are quick and easy to make.

For more ideas on strawberries (mostly recipes):
Join us next week for a different fruit exploration!!

Dreaming of Hawaii -- Luka's Quilt

With snowflakes flying again today and the arctic cold coming back, it is time to dream of Hawaii again. Last week I posted our first Dreaming of Hawaii and introduced pu'ili. Today I am going to share another wonderful book and look at Hawaiian quilts.

Book Review & Craft: The Woollyhoodwinks vs. the Dark Patch

Disclosure: I was sent this book digitally to review free of charge from Immedium. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

Today I get to share with you another fun book from Immedium. The book inspired me to be crafty and as a result Hazel and I did some hand sewing together. The book is The WoollyHoodwinks vs.The Dark Patch by Jeff Root, Scott Runcorn, Phil Dumesnil and Asa Sanchez. The woolylhoodwinks are five homemade characters that live in the North Black Forest in a pretty carefree way. Then one morning they awaken to a strange noise in their forest and they go off to investigate it. They find a strange black patch on the ground and wonder what it is. As they investigate the patch grows and some of the woollyhoodwinks and their dear forest get stitched into the black patch until the one who is afraid of the dark finally saves the day. 

The story uses such imagination, and the pictures are fun. Hazel and I really enjoyed reading it. The characters are similar to common animals, but not quite and are just basic enough for a child to love. 

To go with the book, we decided to make our own woollyhoodwinks or should I say feltyhoodwinks since we did not use wool. We used the pattern for finger puppets in Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt. They are relatively simple. The body shape is a rectangle that is stitched in the back and then on top. You then add ears. The original pattern comes with mouse ears (outer and inner). 

We glued Hazel's inner ears to the outer ears so she would not have to sew as much. Then I quickly stitched them into one side of the rectangle. We also drew the faces on for simplicity. Sorry the lighting was not great to get the face details on hers. We left the tails off since the woollyhoodwinks do not have tails.

For mine I tried to make it a bit more like the woollyhoodwinks by using a different color for the body from the head. I also tried to make the longer ears and put them to the sides and I added feet. Since these are finger puppets, I did not make them so they could be stuffed. Mine required a bit more sewing to make the different colors in the body, but I'm happy with how it came out. Hazel wants to make the rest of the woollyhoodwinks too. We will see if we get to it.

So we loved The Woollyhoodwinks vs. The Dark Patch and I loved that it inspired us to sew and craft. The story itself requires some imagination and I was asking Hazel if different parts were really possible in real life. A perfect book to grow a child's imagination and inspire more! The hardcover book is available at the Immedium website for $15.95. It is also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Sharing Saturday 14-8

Before I get into our Sharing Saturday features and party, I want to share with you about an exciting giveaway over at Lee & Low Books. They are giving away a signed copy of Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today's Youth in honor of Black History Month. For more information and to enter visit here. (Lee and Low have sent me books as prizes and to review, so I wanted to help get the word out about this amazing giveaway.)

Dreaming of Hawaii with Pu'ili, Hawaiian Rhythm Sticks, Music and Stories

Now this winter has been harsh for most of North America. The past two weeks it seems it snows five to six inches every few days here. I am so over winter and cannot wait for spring!! My friend, Daria, invited me to make pu'ili with Hazel and tell you about her fabulous giveaways!! Daria is giving away a ukulele and a pair of pu'ili [POO' ee lee] which are Hawaiian rhythm sticks. Now she thought of us because she knows about Hazel's ukulele and knows how much Hazel loves to play it as well as any instrument really. We have even made our own ukulele. I should also add that Hawaii is my dream vacation. Steve has already been there, but it is the place I really want to go. One day I hope...

Around the World in 12 Dishes-- Canada

This month we are exploring Canada with the Around the World in 12 Dishes group. Hazel and I have been having so much fun with it. If was warmer weather, I might even consider taking her to Canada, however I cannot imagine going anywhere colder and snowier than what we already have. I am so done with winter, but alas, we are expecting snow again tomorrow. Anyway, a bit about Canada. Canada borders three oceans: Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic, and its southern border with the United States is the worlds longest land border between two countries. Canada is the second largest country in area. Canada was settled by both France and Great Britain. After the French and Indian War, France ceded its colonies to Britain in 1763. As a result of both countries settling, Canada is officially a bilingual country. Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The Queen's representative carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada.

Presidents' Day -- Learning about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln

The third Monday of February is Presidents' Day in the United States. It is a day to honor all of the people who serve as the president of the United States. At one point Abraham Linclon's and George Washington's birthdays were each individually celebrated in February and then they got combined to be Presidents' Day. Now in New England, the schools usually close for the week of Presidents' Day.I believe it goes back to the days of one room schoolhouses and having to pay for heat. A week off in one of the coldest months saves money. As a former teacher I can also tell you often the illnesses were spreading and this week tended to help get the viruses out of the building.
 I had big plans to have Hazel do some crafts for the day, but she was not in a crafting mood today. Instead I made some peg dolls of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The idea came from Every Day's a Holiday by Heidi Kenney. I saw the idea on How- Tuesday: Mini President Figurines and then saw it came from the book which I own.

To learn more about the holiday and the men, we went to the library. Some books that helped Hazel and were mostly at her level  for Presidents' Day are Presidents' Day by Helen Frost and Presidents' Day by Robin Nelson.

Next we took some books out on George Washington. Now Hazel has some idea about Washington since she knows there is a state named after him and the capital of the United States is named for him (though she sometimes think they are the same thing). We took books out so she could learn more about the first president.

We also took books out to learn about Abraham Lincoln. With every book we learned that Lincoln became a lawyer and every time, Hazel asked me what a lawyer is. I must admit I found some of these books a bit hard to get through since she kept asking vocabulary questions, but I know this is how she will learn.

Maybe we will get to do the crafts tomorrow or next year. Though I am thinking about learning about other great presidents next year. Do you do anything for Presidents' Day?

The Day No One Played Together--Book Review

Disclosure: I was sent this book digitally to review free of charge from Donalisa Helsley. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

Today I get the honor of sharing with you a wonderful children's book about compromise. The author, Donalisa Helsley, was kind enough to send me this book digitally to review. She is part of the Multicultural Children's Book Day group. The book, The Day No One Played Together, is based one her own daughters and the all important lesson of learning to compromise. 

The story is about two sisters who go out on a beautiful day to play in the yard. Each girl has her own idea of what they should play and neither is willing to play the other's game before playing her own, so they play by themselves and are miserable. Eventually both girls go inside and try to play together inside. Again they both have ideas of what to do, but cannot decide which idea to play first and both end up playing alone again.  At lunch their mother suggests they compromise. She explains that compromise means finding something to do together with a little of both ideas in it. After lunch they find a way that both girls can play together and still do what she wants and have fun together.

This book is a wonderful example for young children about compromising. It gives a clear definition of the word compromise and then follows it with an example. It is a must read for all families with young children. Then the bonus is that it is a multicultural children's book since the girls are not Caucasian. And as they should, the girls learn it is more fun to compromise and play together than to play alone. They compromise by one sister giving a concert to the other girl's dolls. Since we read this book, Hazel has been talking about compromising whenever we come to a difference of opinions. She definitely got the concept from the book. 

The book also is a Mom's Choice Award Recipient. It is available on Donalisa's website, Wild About Reading, as well as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I definitely recommend this book and reading it to young children and especially siblings. 

For more multicultural book reviews check out:

Sharing Saturday 14-7

Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week! We had over 100 posts shared!! I know I have been visiting and pinning away with all the great ideas shared! I am always so inspired by what everyone shares. If you have not had a chance to check them out, you really should! This week we had a most clicked. It is from Crafty Journal: Sweetheart Angel.

Free Valentine-Emphasized Scripture Printables

Have you seen all the wonderful Valentine's Day crafts that involve John 3:16? I love them!! Oriental Trading has a kit to make 12. I love the craft one on Catholic Icing: John 3:16 Valentine Craft. When Hazel can write better we will be doing this. A few years ago I did a couple of printables of it in different fonts. Click on the picture to get each one.

Then this year forgetting I had done the other year and once realizing it knowing I wanted a different Bible version than the one I used I made another one this year.

Then after doing the heart peacock craft with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, I decided to make one using that verse since it is so often used at weddings and is about love.

Then I made them both smaller to fit in the little frames I picked up at Michaels when they went on clearance.
 I love that we can keep them out all year. I know the frames are meant to be vertical, but I already had them.

Click any of the pictures to get that printable!

These printables are my Valentines for you!! I hope you like them!! Have a day full of love and friendship!! For more Valentine's Day themed ideas check out:

Free Valentine Printables for Cards and Gifts

Today I am going to share a few ideas for Valentines which we made this year as well as teacher gifts. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of our main Valentines for Hazel's class and her party was yesterday since tomorrow is a teacher conference day. However we had some foam hearts and sparkle letters to write the names and then on the other side we used a label that says "Make no mistake, you are my Valentine." and we used glue dots to put heart erasers in the middle. The labels are available here and we used Avery 8663 (clear shipping labels).

For teacher gifts Hazel decorated some small jar candles. I took the labels off them first. Then she glued on some hearts from scrapbook paper. Next she glued on tissue paper. We used Mod Podge glue for these. Next we used one of the scripture stickers that Current sent me. Then I did a thin coat of Mod Podge over all of it. We used the high gloss Mod Podge. We left them to dry overnight. The next morning I tied on bows and added heart labels. One side of the label said, "Happy Valentine's Day!" and the other side said, "You light up my world! Love," and Hazel wrote her name. We also made labels for some Lindt Chocolates that I bought on clearance at Christmas time for all of her teachers (she has three specialty teachers--music, gym and library) that on the back said, "Thank you for being so sweet! Love," and she wrote her name. All of these labels are available here. I printed them on card stock and glued the fronts and backs together.

Since Hazel does not have school and she has been asking for a playdate with her four best friends at school, I thought we would do it on Valentine's Day. Only two of the friends can make it (next week is vacation week so a few are taking advantage of the extra day to leave). Hazel insisted on exchanging Valentines with them again. So this time we used some Valentine themed pencils and made these:


Hazel is writing her name on them and decorating them. These Valentines are available here.  She also wanted to have a book swap so we asked the girls to bring an unwrapped book as well. I thought it was perfect for International Book Giving Day. And since it is International Book Giving Day, I got a book to give Hazel--one of her favorites, The Little Moon Princess by YJ Lee. We also gave a book to her classroom, Jan Brett's Mossy, and will be giving The Colors of Us by Karen Katz to our public library. We made a donation earlier this week at the library for their book drive for this day as well. I love the tradition of giving her a book for Valentine's Day since it is not something wasted or candy. What do you do for Valentine's Day with your kids?

The Lesser Known Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement--Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we are looking at different Civil Rights Movement Leaders. We are joining other blogs and sharing all of these wonderful stories at Multicultural Kid Blogs Black History Month Blog Hop. The theme of Black History Month is the Civil Rights Movement in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So far we have explored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and the song: We Shall Overcome. Today I am going to share a fictional book based on the author's father's life. It tells the story of a lesser-known hero from the Civil Rights Movement. I am sure there were many like this that were probably only heard of in their area of the country. Luckily Pamela Tuck took her father's story and changed it a bit to tell us a tale of that time in As Fast As Words Could Fly.

The story is about a 14-year-old African American boy whose father is part of the a group fighting for Civil Rights. The boy, Mason, helped the group by taking notes from his father and transforming them into a business letter. The group is so appreciative they buy Mason a typewriter. In the summer Mason and his brothers picked tobacco on a nearby farm with the white farmer's sons. In the evenings Mason taught himself to type on his typewriter. At the end of that summer the boys' father announces that they will no longer take the school bus to the further school for black children, but will get on the bus for the white children. The first couple of days the white children's bus slowed down but did not stop for the boys. When there father made a call, the next day it stopped. Mason stopped to say hi to the boys they worked with over the summer, and did not get much back in return. Mason was very excited to take typing at the school even if the school was not welcoming and no one really talked to him. The typing teacher did not talk to him, but he paid attention to her teachings and how she helped other students. One day there was a Neighborhood Youth Corps sponsoring after school jobs. He got one in the school library. The librarian asked what he could do and he said type. She was surprised at how fast he could type--even faster than the typing teacher. The typing teacher became a bit more friendly with Mason since he took away her library work. One day there was a typing contest and the winner at the school's contest would go on to a county tournament. Mason won the school's contest. Since they already had several issues with the Board of Education due to the treatment of Mason and his brothers the school felt they had to let him represent them.  The principal and typing teacher took Mason to the contest, but did not speak to him. At the contest he was the only black contestant. He was allowed to pick a typewriter to work on either electric or manual. He chose the manual one like his at home. All the other kids chose the new electric ones. Mason won this contest. When his name was announced no one cheered and no one applauded when the principal accepted the plaque for the school. When the principal asked on the way home why Mason picked the manual typewriter, he replied, "It reminds me of where I come from." 

I was fascinated by this tale since segregation was already declared illegal, but was still being practiced. When Mason's father pushed the issue his boys got to go to the school but dealt with much prejudice. Yet it is a wonderful story of success. Plus it brings a history of the typewriter, which so many children will not know anything about. I am sure there are stories like this throughout the country of the families who forced the schools to desegregate and the children who dealt with the issues of that. So to all those people, we honor you today. I hope each and every one of you passes your story on so more people will know it.

Together Box--Product Review & Discount Code

Disclosure: I was sent this box to review free of charge from Together Box. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

Today I get to share with you the fun we had with a Together Box and I get to give you a discount code at the end of my review. Now Together Box is a company that sends you a box with three to four activities in it every month and it has everything you need to do the activities, and I mean everything. Hazel is always excited when we get packages and she was really excited with this one. I noticed it by the side of the house when I was going to pick her up and grabbed it and put it in the car. She could not wait to get home to open it.

She was even more excited when she saw what was inside. She wanted to do all the activities right away. We received the Balloon Box. Now Hazel LOVES balloons, so she was even more excited to see two packages of balloons in there.

Hazel pulled everything out, so she could check it all out. Each box comes with an instruction booklet that also provides more ideas beyond the three to four activities. It also gives clear steps for each activity including which materials to use. The only thing we had to add on our own was water. Literally everything else was sent from a Sharpie marker to food coloring and flour.

Now there were four activities in the Balloon Box, but I am only going to share one with you. The rest were more activity based and I was having too much fun with Hazel and Steve to get pictures. Yes, we did these activities and had some quality family time!! These boxes are perfect for that! The first activity only Hazel and I did. We started with making yarn bird cages. Now Hazel and I had made yarn Easter eggs before, and I knew this was not a craft Daddy would want to do, so we did it while waiting for him to get home from work. Hazel knew it was going to be messy, so she put on her apron and then we mixed the glue.

Then she helped cut yarn. Next we glued them to balloons. We had to make more glue since Hazel put it on a bit heavy and we made two rather larger bird cages.
Hazel got bored and really doesn't like messy hands for long, so she colored the birds for the cages while I finished them up. Then we hung them from our kitchen light to dry overnight. We woke up to find the orange balloon had been popped by one of the cats. Oh, well. After popping the other balloon, I cut out the birds and hung them in our bird cages.

After doing this and waiting for Daddy, Hazel wanted to play with balloons. They happened to do an activity with balloons in her gym class that day, so she was so excited to try it more at home.

Daddy enjoyed making marshmallow shooters to aim at ninja balloons and the balloon powered fountain with us. We still need to do the balloon rockets. Overall our experience with Together Box is wonderful. They give you some fun ideas with all the supplies to have some quality family time. The activities are fun and educational and the instructions are easy to follow. Now Hazel of course wanted to expand her lesson and began asking questions about how balloons are made. I went to the library and we found a book: Balloon Trees by Donna Smith. It explains the whole process from tree to package.

Now if you want to try Together Box, they are offering my readers a special of 50% off your first box with the coupon code: "crafty".  The prices per month range from $24 - $29 depending on how many months you buy. If you are looking for a way to add some fun family time into your busy schedule this box program is for you. They send you everything you need and the activities are fun and easy and with three to four activities in a box, you have one for each week or so in the month. I would love to hear about your family experiences if you order them!!