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 and Daria's Music wonderful giveaway. Today I am going to share another wonderful book and look at Hawaiian quilts.

Luka's Quilt by Georgia Guback is a wonderful tale about a young girl, Luka, and her Tutu, grandmother. Tutu takes care of Luka while her parents work and they have the best time together. Then one day, Tutu decides to make Luka a quilt. They go to the fabric store and Tutu has Luka pick one color. Luka assumes there will be more colors in her quilt since Tutu described it as her own garden and gardens are colorful. However Tutu is a traditional Hawaiian quilter and makes quilts in two colors. Luka is upset when she sees the finished quilt. Tutu is upset that Luka does not love the quilt that Tutu worked for so long and hard to make her. Finally one day a truce is called and they go to a festival. At the festival there is a place for children to make leis. Tutu tries to tell Luka to only use one color of flower, but Luka wants to do it her own way and use all the colors. This helps Tutu realize the Luka loves lots of colors and two colors were not enough for her. Tutu comes up with a solution to the quilt and both love it.

Hawaiian quilt, Na Kalaunu (Crowns),
Na Kalaunu (Crowns) Source: By Hiart (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

To go with this book, I thought we would look at Hawaiian quilts. Quilting was taught to the Hawaiians by missionaries. The Hawaiians thought it made no sense to cut bolts of fabric into small pieces to be sewn back together since they did not have scraps of fabric. Legions say the first Hawaiian quilt pattern was the breadfruit and it came about when women laid fabric on the grass to dry and noticed the breadfruit's shadow on the fabric. As a result the tradition is to always start with the breadfruit as your first pattern. This ensures a fruitful life, never hungering for wisdom or knowledge. (Source)

Our Paper Hawaiian Quilt Squares
When looking at Hawaiian quilt patterns, I found Extreme Cards and Paper Crafts: Hawaiian Quilt Block Cards and realized we could easily make a quilt square with paper so Hazel could benefit from the lesson. I used as a basis for our blocks one of the patterns on Hawaiian Quilting with Poakalani & Co.'s Resources Page. I simplified Hazel's so she could cut it out, but she was overtired and threw a tantrum and got Daddy to cut it out for her.

To make ours, we folded our paper (12"-square) along the diagonal and then in half again. I drew the design on it and the we cut them out. There are other ways of doing it, but I thought this would be relatively simple for Hazel.

After we cut out our designs, we glued them onto another piece of 12" scrapbook paper. We put them under books to make sure the folds were glued down well. I love how they came out and may play with this method some more. Maybe I'll actually try to make a Hawaiian quilt one of these days. For more on my quilting you can check out the posts here.

The solution Tutu came up with for Luka was to make her a colorful fabric lei for her quilt. So another wonderful project/craft would be to make a fabric lei or maybe even a paper one or even just paper or fabric flowers. Perhaps for another day.

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...

I So Want To Be Here!!
Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii (Turnstange)
Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
Source: By Turnstange (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Pu'ili Now Hazel loves to make musical instruments, so Daria suggested we try to make some pu'ili. She has a wonderful tutorial at her new blog, Tiny Tapping Toes, called Make Your Own Pu'ili Hawaiian Rhythm Sticks. We followed her easy tutorial using paper towel rolls, scissors, and duct tape.

Pu'ili are split bamboo rattles used by dancers as a rhythmic accompaniment to the hula. (Source: Hula Lullaby) One end of the pu'ili is hollow and slit. The other end of the pu'ili is solid.

From Daria

To make your own pu'ili, cut slits in one end of each tube. Then use the tape to close the other end.

After doing this, I let Hazel decorate them. Traditionally pu'ili are not decorated, but they are more fun for kids with decorations. We used stickers (the most tropical ones we could find in our supply).


Now we are going to try to play them along with some of the Hawaiian music we found at the library. Here are so me of the CDs we are listening to songs from.

Now we have also been enjoying some books with stories about Hawaii. We found the perfect book to go with our pu'ili craft, Hula Lullaby by Erin Eitter Kono. The story describes the instruments often heard at a hula dance and how Hawaiian mothers often think of the music as a lullaby to lull their babies to sleep. As we read it, Hazel told me she also wanted to make the pahu. The pahu is a large drum made from a hollowed out tree with a stretched sharkskin as the drumhead. (Soruce: Hula Lullaby)

We will be sharing more Hawaiian adventures as we dream of the warm sun and beach!! I hope you will join us and I wish you luck in Daria's giveaways. I hope you will stop by and enter them. I know we have! I put pictures of her prizes below for you to see!! Make sure you scroll down to enter both giveaways!

Until my next Hawaiian inspired post---Aloha!!

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.

Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Its capital city is Ottawa. The largest city is Toronto. The country's symbol is the maple leaf and the country's animal is the beaver. The colors of its flag represent its French and British background (red for France and white for Great Britain). (Sources: Wikipedia and the resource books shown below.)

This month we have made two Canadian treats. Now it took awhile to find a recipe  that was not pancakes. Almost all of the books seemed to give pancake recipes for Canada to use maple syrup. However we found a Prairie Berry Cake in Kids Around the World Cook! by Arlette N. Braman.

Prairie Berry Cake is made with local berries called saskatoons. Saskatoons grow in Saskatchewan and Alberta--two provinces in Canada. They look a lot like blueberries and the book suggested using blueberries if saskatoons are not available.

Prairie Berry Cake                       Icing
1/2 cup butter, softened              4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar                             2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs                                       1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups white flour                  4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
7/8 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh saskatoons
       or blueberries (we used frozen)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together. Then beat in the eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add about half the dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix, and then add half the milk and mix. Add the rest of the dry mixture and mix then add the rest of the milk and mix.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the berries.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
  7. Mix the icing ingredients and beat with an electric mixer. (Note: The amount of icing made is not much and you may want to increase it!) Spread on the cooled cake and enjoy! (I actually liked it better without the icing.)

And we did enjoy!! All of us loved it. We also sent some to my mother-in-law's house and she asked for the recipe because she and her cousin loved it so much.

Our other adventure was making maple syrup taffy. Now Hazel has seen this on Curious George and Caillou plus the book The Sugaring Off Party by Jonathan London also talked about it. After a couple failed attempts I got help from one of the Canadian bloggers in Around the World in 12 Dishes, and we had success. Hazel now wants to make this every year! The trick is to really boil the syrup and boil off some of the liquid. Then you pour it on snow. After a couple of seconds it turns to taffy you can pick up with a popsicle or lollipop stick. If you do not boil it enough you eat maple flavored snow (which is delicious, but not nearly as good). I did not get very good pictures of our taffy, but here is what I have.

Now Hazel and I have been enjoying the Canadian stories that we found in our local library. Here is the first bunch of stories--mostly picture books. Each gave us a bit more of an understanding of the Canadian culture and sights.

Then we had a large number of books on  and tales from the aboriginal people of Canada.

The Enchanted Caribou by Elizabeth Cleaver shared some shadow puppets and how to make your own at the end. I photocopied the ones she provided and here are the ones I cut out so far.

Finally we have our resource type books. These books give a bit more information on Canada as a country and place to live. Many also have a recipe and/or a craft in them. Unfortunately someone was not in the mood to craft this weekend, so we did not get to any of them. Many are also sources for the introduction above.

I have some music, but have not grouped it all together yet for us to listen to it. Hazel also wants to make the maple syrup pie recipe we saw in one of our resource books (well actually a couple of them have ones). If we do we will share our experience with it. Plus next month our local state park usually does a maple sugaring weekend where they teach about the whole process of making maple syrup and then have samples. We try to go every year. 

Around the World in 12 Dishes is brought to you by the following amazing blogs.
Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids' Makings, The Educators' Spin On It and The Mommy Talks
We also have available the Canada Placemat and Passport Pages to help you explore Canada with us. Finally we have our blog hop!! Feel free to check out all the great recipes and ideas shared and if you have any Canadian recipes, crafts, etc. please share them here!

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?