Showing posts with label play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label play. Show all posts

Poppy's Family Patterns


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I get to share another new picture book (released this week). It is a multicultural book and is near and dear to my heart for the memories it invokes. The book is Poppy's Family Patterns by Lauren Semmer. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8. At the end of the post there will be free printable activities to go with the book!

365 Days of Play -- Review of a Book Full of Screen Free Activities for 6-12 Year-Olds


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It has been a long couple of weeks. Our school stops regular classes for two weeks starting with Presidents Day and the high school holds mini courses. Some of my colleagues and I are teaching a science of cooking and baking class. I have to say as fun as it is, it is tiring to teach cooking to fourteen high school students. I have come home most nights and falling asleep between 8:30 and 9:00. It has been crazy and I'm preparing for this coming week. Before I get to sleep early tonight, I want to share a fun new book with you that is perfect for every family of 6 to 12-year-olds. It is 365 Days of Play by Megan Hewes Butler and illustrated by Emily Balsley. 

Gwendolyn Brooks and August Wilson -- #blacklivesmatter

Disclosure: I was sent digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This week for our Black Lives Matter Series, I am going to share two people who are not on my list but who I found some relatively new picture books about. Last week I shared Mary Eliza Mahoney, the first trained black woman. Today I am sharing books about Gwendolyn Brooks, the first black person to win the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and August Wilson, a black playwright who won two Pulitzer Prizes and a Tony Award. 

Easter Craft Books for Kids -- a Crafty Weekends Review and Link Party

Disclosure: Candlewick Press sent me these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

It is hard to believe Easter is only a few weeks away. I have three fun "craft" books to share with you that are perfect for kids or adults. The first is perfect for younger kids play. It is Make and Play Easter by Joey Chou. 

Sharing Saturday 17-29

It is time again for Sharing Saturday! This is a link party to share all of your child-oriented crafts, crafts made for kids, activities and lessons as well as your parenting and/or teaching posts. So glad you joined us!!

On Sunday night we also host Crafty Weekends for all your crafts (done by any age), patterns, and craft product reviews! It is the perfect place to share your creative side!! And for all of your cultural posts come share them at the monthly Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop.

Ishtar's Odyssey and the Christmas Journey Storybook -- Advent and Christmas Book Reviews

 Disclosure: Kregel Publications sent me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

As someone who likes to focus on one holiday before the next, I try not to share Christmas too early. However I am seeing it everywhere and this year I have some great books and DVDs to share with you. I decided to start with a great Advent book and a fun Christmas story book. I am always trying to bring our focus to the story of Jesus and not the commercialism that Christmas has become. These books are two great ones for doing this. 

Shed to Clubhouse Transformation

For as long as I can remember Hazel has loved little playhouses. She has really wanted one, but we never got around to getting one. We kept wanting to get her a special one that she would want to use for many years, but we never found the money since those tend to be so expensive. Since we added a garage to our house, Steve has not been storing as much in his shed and decided to give Hazel the shed as her clubhouse/playhouse. She was excited for this and we talked about decorating it with curtains and a rug. While out shopping Hazel chose the pink shag rug for the clubhouse. I pulled out pink sparkly curtains I had bought on clearance and planned to use for a birthday party, but never did. We hung them with a thin branch from a tree that had fallen in the yard and used nails to keep them up. 

School Vacation Week--Welcome Spring!

So on top of Monday's horrible tragedy, it is school vacation week here and spring has definitely sprung. We have not had many crafts to post since our focus has been on getting outside and at night I have been processing all that has happened (and working on her knitted farm playmat which is almost finished!!). I thought I would share a few pictures from our activities this week. (I know I still haven't done my Cinderella post this week, but am working on it!)

On Monday our day was spent going to the doctor's office--yes Hazel still has a cold and getting Hazel's dance class photo taken. A busy tiring day, but not much to show for it.

On Tuesday Hazel took a class at Drumlin Farm with her best friend from school. Now her friend's mom and I started with them, but parents were not suppose to be there. I didn't get many pictures since I explained to Hazel that moms were not allowed and she was all right with it, her friend however did not feel the same so his mom got a few pictures for me. I went off to the gift shop and then checked out the animals so I would know if we wanted to see them all later and then found a quiet place to sit and knit. The class was on cold-blooded animals so they were ponding a bit.
After their class ended we had a picnic lunch and then went to check out all the animals including the 12-day-old piglets. Hazel and her friend found a door open to an empty chicken coop, so they hopped in and his mom took a picture of them caged.
Then we did Hazel's favorite thing--the hay ride.
Then we bought farm fresh eggs and went to the gift shop. I promised Hazel she could get two gifts since she had been so good at the class without me. This class was meant to be a test run for both of them to see how they would do with each other and not us. Hazel passed and her friend did not (but he did not have a good night the night before so that might be why). While in the gift shop I bought more bird seed as well so his mom went to get the car instead of us carrying the huge bags the distance to the parking lot. (Drumlin Farm is a Mass Audubon location.)
Near the gift shop was one of the few places you can eat due to the working farm and health violations, so the kids enjoyed their M&M's from lunch while we waited.

Today was one of those wonderful spring days that got close to 70 without quite reaching it. We had to take the cats to the groomers and run a few errands, but we spent the afternoon outside. First we went to check on the flowers (see collage near top) and vegetables we planted. We watered some and noticed the English daisy looked dug up so we replanted it and gave it lots of water. Then Hazel watered her pansies. Then we headed to her garden to check on the lettuce--looks like the rabbit found it and snap peas and pansies. The basil was planted a bit too early, so we will have to get more. Oh, and Hazel watered the tomato plants that are in the garage still since it is over a month too early to plant them outside here. Then it was time to play!
Hazel took a little rest on her bench at the swingset and then went on the swings. A neighbor across the street brought her three-year-old granddaughter over since her granddaughter wanted to meet Hazel and they played for a bit. Overall it was a fun day!

For those looking to help with the horrific tragedy in Boston, CNN has a good list of ways anyone can help.

Snowy, Tea Party Kind of Day

Wednesdays are typically our day without many plans since it is the day between her two school days. I find it nice to have a day to play at home and spend time together. This morning was one of those days I was glad we did not have plans as it was snowing harder than they predicted. Our big plans for today was to have a tea party after breakfast and getting dressed. I made the tea during breakfast so it would be cool enough for Hazel by the time we got to the party.

Our next step was to get dressed and accessorized and then we had to dress all of our guests. Hazel wore her favorite pink dress and then piled on the jewelry. I told her she looked like she was from the 80's with all the bracelets (think Madonna or Cyndi Lauper). She basically put on every bracelet she could find and every ring. You cannot see it, but she did pick out a tiara which I am wearing in the picture above.

Then we poured the tea for our guests and got ours and our real snack (corn muffin top) ready. She loved this part. We even got a special guest who we gave a plastic cup to since she probably would have broken one of the porcelain ones.
I think she was a bit more interested in the pom poms and wands Hazel insisted we carry to the tea party. We had put them on the floor by the table and Fluffy was definitely keeping an eye on them. Of course her favorite part was that we would choose one of the dolls or Ducky to need more tea. Then after the corn muffin was gone she wanted me to cut up some apple. Needless to say it was a very fun morning.

After lunch we changed and put on our layers to go outside. Now the snow had turned to rain and it was wet and very heavy outside. However she really wanted to go play in it, so we did. After all, she has been wanting to make a big snowman for a couple of years now and we have not had a good snow for it. Well we did some shoveling and made a snowman and she made many snow angels. I think this might have been her biggest snowman yet. We used almost all of the snow that was on the driveway next to our garage. It made shoveling much easier after rolling it all into the snowman.
She also loved making footprints and dropping her shovel to make its footprint and handprints too in the snow. Afterward we came in for hot chocolate (well I had tea) and warmed up. By then the roads were clear so we went out to run some errands as well. We spent some time doing some crafts together, but I will share those another time. Have you done anything fun this week with your kids?

Happy Family Times

Has your family done anything different and fun this week? Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts and I would love to hear about it. Please share it below. Kelly has done a wonderful round-up of her favorite family activities shared!!

This is our last Happy Family Times. Kelly and I both feel we are not able to give this link party enough time anymore even though we love reading what your families have been doing. We hope you will continue to come read our blogs and share at Sharing Saturday.

This week Hazel and I drove to New Hampshire for a birthday party for twins of a friend of mine from graduate school. Steve would have joined us, however he had caught a bad cold and stayed home in bed. They had the party at an indoor play place called Nuthing But Good Times. Look at the crazy play set they have there.

The big slides scared Hazel and so did the crowds of people on the large playset, so she decided to stick to the small one after going on the big slide with one of my friend's babysitters holding her hand. Hazel and I tried the snake tube slide as well, but it also scared her. Personally I was fine with the little one since there were comfortable chairs for me to sit and watch.
Climbing on the small one
Small Slide
After some pizza, play time we were called back into the party room for cake and ice cream.
We had a good time. Hazel mentioned hoping she gets invited again next year.

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

~ please link up (family time oriented giveaways are ok, but please no Etsy shops)
~just crafts will be deleted since this is to share family times ~ use our button so others can join the fun


Button Code:

~ we'd love for you to follow us Crafty Moms Share and Happy Whimsical Hearts
~ check out our Happy Family Times Pinterest board where we will be pinning some of our favorite ideas

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

Happy Family Times #27--Meeting Cinderella

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter my current giveaway!!

Have you done anything new with your family? Anything fun? Kelly from Happy Whimsical Hearts and I would love to hear about it. Please share below!! Or look below for inspiration for some fun family activities (and read about mine and Kelly's as well).

This week we had a lot of relax and cuddle time since we have a sick little one. However before she got her cold (or at least before she showed signs of it) we went to our local McDonalds for dinner and to meet Cinderella. For some reason our local McDonalds has characters and different events all the time. The only reason we go to McDonalds is to see the characters. Usually if we go we just get french fries and drinks since that is about all I can usually get Hazel to eat. However since Cinderella was going to be there from 4-6, we had to eat there. We ordered a cheeseburger Happy Meal since Steve wanted a cheeseburger (and it got Hazel the small fries and apple slices plus the toy) and I got their premium chicken strips which we actually liked. Hazel and I split it and Steve helped out too. Plus Steve and I split some fries.
When we arrived Cinderella was painting the girls' nails. When it was Hazel's turn she got blue nails. (Have I mentioned how I really hate blue nail polish?) Next Cinderella put eye shadow on the girls, but I talked Hazel out of this. She was going to do blush as well, but for some reason did not. Next Cinderella blew up blue balloons for the kids and autographed them and drew different pictures on them. Hazel got a crown.
She also put pink metallic ribbons/streamers on the end of them. Cinderella then noticed that several kids were eating their dinners so she had the ones not eating dance to Bippity Boppity Boo. She passed out lyrics to the parents sitting near by to help sing.

Then she had the kids play keep the balloons in the air. If your balloon popped you were out, but she gave the ones whose popped stickers that said something about getting popped.
 Next Cinderella made them streamer wands to dance with. All she did was rip a piece of crepe paper streamer (blue or pink) and roll one end to be thin enough to stick in a straw. However the streamers kept falling out so one of the mothers went to her car and got some scotch tape and taped them in so we weren't all fixing them every two seconds.  (We are definitely going to use this idea for Hazel's birthday party since she wants a princess party.)
By this point it was getting close to six, and since that usually is around the time we start going to bed, we headed home. Hazel gave Cinderella a hug goodbye!
Now I have to say, Hazel and I went to see several of the princesses at McDonalds over the summer. It amazes me that almost all of them have been the same actress (she owns the business) and the kids who are almost always the same group don't seem to notice. Or maybe they just don't care. The princess always gives a gift to each child with a business card attached, so they get good advertising and McDonalds definitely gets more business. I guess it is a win-win for them. During the summer it was at lunch time so Hazel and I would walk over after having an early lunch at home. This time she was very excited that Mommy and Daddy were with her. I can only imagine what it will be like when we go to Disney. It amazes me how much she loves the princesses when the first time she saw anything Disney on television or (movie wise) was this past weekend. We let her watch Cinderella on tape. I figured it would not scare her and we gave in on the television when she was barely moving from the couch. Now we will have to break that again. Oh, well. She does know she is only getting to watch it because she is sick.

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

~ please link up (family time oriented giveaways are ok, but please no Etsy shops)
~just crafts will be deleted since this is to share family times ~ use our button so others can join the fun


Button Code:

~ we'd love for you to follow us Crafty Moms Share and Happy Whimsical Hearts
~ check out our Happy Family Times Pinterest board where we will be pinning some of our favorite ideas

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

Mermaid Bedroom

Note: Sharing Saturday will be up and running at 9 p.m. EDT!
July 1st is the last day to enter Taming the Goblin's The Mermaid Project. I had one more idea floating around my head, but didn't think I would get to it. However, I found a mermaid at The Dollar Tree (I let Hazel chose one), so I was able to do this quickly since it did not involve making a mermaid. Hazel and I had painted this gallon milk container awhile ago with hopes of making it into a house for someone. When I saw it again, I thought it was the perfect colors for a mermaid.
All I did was put a large shell in it and a couple of small ones to be a bed and bedside table. Then I added the mermaid. Then I cut out some seaweed blankets out of different shades of green felt.
Since we had the felt and shells and the recycled milk container and paint this new toy cost all of $1! Not too bad for something for Hazel to play with.
View with no seaweed blankets
What do you think?

I will be entering this in Taming the Goblin's The Mermaid Project.

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.