Jungle Diorama/ Playscape--Jo-Ann Summer Craft Challenge

I am so excited!! I was contacted by a representative from Jo-Ann Fabrics to participate in the Summer Craft Challenge. They have 72 wonderful crafts for their Cape Discovery Summer Craft Challenge. You can check them all out. I know I will be doing more than one. They even offered to send me a gift card so I could buy the supplies. Nothing like the perfect time to get craft supplies from one of my favorite stores. Plus I could justify shopping since they gave me the gift card! Now do you have a Jo-Ann Store near you? We have a great one. A few years ago, they built a new building and then closed for about a week to transfer the store over to the new building. It is great. Plus we know many of the employees there. If you do not, check out their on-line catalog. Also be sure to sign up for the coupons. You will receive some great ones through out the year. We always have a 40% off or more.

So the project we chose to do is the Jungle Diorama. They glued all of their trees and animals down, but I thought it would be more fun to make them movable. I love watching Hazel play with her various animals and dolls making up stories, so I thought we would add a jungle to the mix. I also picked this one because I felt Hazel could do it with me. I am going to make at least one more project from their projects.

To begin this project you need a box. We used one we received in the mail with an order of something. Then you paint three sides of the inside box a blue for the sky. I could not find the exact shade they picked but chose one called sky blue. Hazel and I had fun painting it together.  Then you glue the various kinds of moss to the bottom (unpainted) side. Then we glued some leaves and butterflies to the flaps and some butterflies to the inside walls. We could not find the Toob of butterflies anywhere, so we used some pretty paper ones instead. 

Next we glued in the ferns. We could not find the mini dry ferns in the store so we used some fake ones. I glued these and stuck them into the cardboard to get them to stand. Now it is time to play. I gave Hazel some river stones and Toobs of trees and jungle animals. She had a great time arranging them and re-arranging them, though the animals do not stand up very well on the moss. I guess this is why they glued them down.
So what do you think of our jungle playscape? If you like it consider pinning it. The challenge is the crafter who gets theirs pinned with the Jo-Ann original one will win a gift card.  Stay tuned for my next craft for their projects and for some other ideas I got inspired by their projects.

Minnie Mouse

Today we went to a Minnie Mouse birthday party. The party was for the daughter of Hazel's godparents. She turned two and LOVES Minnie. I figured Hazel should have the right clothes for it. I saw on A Girl and a Glue Gun this adorable shirt and on Disney Family the tutorial for the Minnie ears (and Mickey ears).

We had a red child's t-shirt, so I made the Minnie face black. I took the pattern for this Mickey tote bag and blew it up until it was the size I wanted it. I used my machine and zig zagged it on without worrying about finishing the edges and then added a red polka dot bow. She wore her red tutu since I didn't get around to making her a skirt like I had planned.

Then the ears are very easy. They provide you a pattern and you make them with a headband, glue and felt. I added some cardboard to try to stiffen them a bit more. They still need some more stiffening, but they worked for the short time she wore them. The party was outside so she had her Minnie Mouse sunhat on most of the time. Needless to say her outfit was a hit at the party. Oh she also had on her Minnie shoes that her grandmother bought for her at Target to finish off the outfit. Here are some other ears I made as well.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--The Talking Eggs

Since this is Memorial Weekend in the USA, I thought I would take time to do another American version of Cinderella. But first, I would like to thank all the veterans and soldiers who have put their life on the line to protect our freedom and all of their families. I saying prayers for all of you.

Today I am going to feature The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci. This book is adapted from a Creole folktale which was originally in a collection of Louisiana stories by Alcee Fortier. It appears to have European roots and is expected to have been brought to America by French immigrants and spread orally throughout the American South due to different versions (Cajun or Gullah overtones).

First a bit about Louisiana. Louisiana is a southern state that borders the Gulf of Mexico. Its capital is Baton Rouge and its largest city is New Orleans. Most of the state's land is formed from sediment by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is have multicultural, multilingual urban areas. The state has been strongly influenced by the French, Spanish, Native American and African cultures. Before the Louisiana Purchase, it was French and Spanish colonies. Louisiana has long hot humid summers and short mild winters. It is prone to tropical cyclones, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  (Source)

Now onto our book. The Talking Eggs is not your typical Cinderella. In fact there is no prince figure in the story and for that matter no male in it at all. There are also no stepfamily members. The story starts with a poor (very poor) woman and her two daughters, Rose and Blanche. Blanche is the youngest and is sweet and beautiful. Rose is like her mother--always putting on airs and very lazy. Their mother has Blanche do all the work around their house while she and Rose sit on the porch fanning themselves and discussing how they will become rich and go to grand parties in the city with beautiful gowns. 

One day Blanche is sent to the well for water. While there an elderly woman asks her for some water before she dies from the heat. Blanche of course gives her some and calls her auntie. The old woman thanks her, blesses her and leaves. Blanche returns home with the bucket of water, but Rose complains that it is hot and pours it out. Then the mother and Rose scold, yell and hit Blanche for not doing a simple task like bringing her sister some cold water to drink. Blanche runs away into the woods. She begins to cry since she has no place to go and does not want to go back home. 

The elderly woman appears and asks her why she is crying. Blanche tells her how her mother and sister were treating her for something that was not her fault. The elderly woman says she can come home with her and she will give her dinner and a bed to sleep on one condition--Blanche must not laugh at anything she sees at the house. Blanche promises not to laugh.

The plants seem to move out of their way while they walk to the woman's house (and move back behind them). Then Blanche sees a house with a two-headed cow with corkscrew horns in its yard. Blanche finds it strange, but holds true to her word and does not laugh. When they enter the yard there are chickens of every color running around and they do not cluck, but sing like mockingbirds. Again, Blanche does not laugh.

Inside the woman tells Blanche to start a fire. Blanche does right away. The woman in the mean time removes her head, so she can do her hair. This frightens Blanche a bit, but figures the woman has been nothing but nice to her, so she ignores it. The woman puts her head back on and then gives Blanche a beef bone. Blanche looks at it thinking there was not much to it, but asks if she should make soup with it. The woman tells Blanche to look at the pot she put it in and there is already a thick stew. Then the woman gives Blanche one grain of rice to grind. Blanche does this even though she wonders why she only needs to grind one grain, but as she does the rice multiplies to plenty for them. They have a wonderful meal together and then the woman takes Blanche out to the porch to see the magical rabbits dancing. Blanche falls asleep out there. 

The next morning the woman asks Blanche to milk the cow. The two-headed cow is happy with Blanche and gives her the sweetest milk Blanche has ever tasted. The woman and Blanche have a lovely breakfast. Then the woman tells Blanche she must go home, but since she has been so good and kind she has a gift for her. She tells Blanche to go to the hen house and take some eggs, but only to take the ones that say "Take me" and to leave the ones that say "Don't take me." She tells Blanche to throw the eggs over her left shoulder on her way home and they will become gifts. Blanche does this. In the hen house, every nest is full of eggs. Some are gold, silver and jeweled while others look like ordinary eggs. The ordinary looking eggs are the ones that say "Take me." Blanche does what the old woman told her and she only takes those even though she would love to take one of the fancy eggs. On her way home she throws the eggs over her left shoulder as instructed and receives silver and gold coins, silk dresses and even a carriage and pony to pull it. 

Her mother and Rose are amazed when she gets home. Her mother makes Rose help her bring the things in and the mother cooks dinner for them for the first time since Blanche was old enough to cook. They get the story of the old woman out of Blanche. While Blanche is sleeping, the mother tells Rose to go find the auntie the next day and get her to give her some of the eggs. Rose does not want to, but her mother explains there is not enough for the two of them with just Blanche's things. Rose goes, but she is not nice to the old woman. She laughs at the cow and chickens and then is mean about the bone. The bone does not become a thick stew. She laughs at the one grain or rice so they do not have rice to eat. Then when the woman takes off her head, Rose grabs it and says she will not give it back until she gives her the eggs. The woman tells her she is wicked but tells her about the eggs with the instructions to throw them over her right shoulder on the way home. 

Rose leaves the woman's head on the porch and runs to the hen house. She sees all the beautiful ones and hears them say "Don't take me," but she takes them anyway. She throws them over her right shoulder as soon as she is out of view of the house and the eggs turn into snakes, toads, yellow jackets and a hungry wolf. She runs home with all of the creatures following her. When her mother sees her, she tries to protect her with a broom, but then the creatures go after her as well. They both run into the woods. When they finally return, they find a note from Blanche saying she has taken her gifts and moved to the city. Blanche remains as nice as always.

One of the nice things about this story are the lessons built into it. There is the lesson of what is on the inside matters and not the outside. There is the lesson of being kind and doing as asked. I did not make a peg doll for this story as Blanche is not a princess and Hazel seems to only really enjoy the ones that look more princesslike. Instead I used some of our eggs and decorated them more. Which would you choose? The ones you were told to take that are ordinary or the ones you were told not to take that are beautiful and look like they are worth a lot?

Sharing Saturday 13-21

Sharing Saturday Button

What wonderful ideas were shared last week! So many great recipes, crafts and lessons. If you have not had a chance to check them all out, please do so. Go be inspired! Then come back and share this week, so we can be inspired again! Our most clicked was a nail polish organizer from Melissa Kaylene is Willamette Valley Wonder Woman.

Then there were so many great ones to choose from last week, but I thought I would stick to my favorite math theme. Yes, I know my years as a math teacher keeps showing, but there were quite a few math related posts shared last week, so I couldn't resist.
Some Math Related Features
1) From Adventures at Home with Mum: Barley Measurement Early Learning Math

2) From Mums Make Lists: Explore Big Numbers with an Abacus

3) From PreK and K Sharing: Montessori Inspired Flower Themed Math Activities (Ok, this one was similar to one that Hazel tried at the school we are going to send her to next year.)

4) From Powerful Mothering: Dry-Erase on the Fridge Learning Numbers with Toddlers

5) From Measured Mom: Which one is different?

6) From Lessons In Homeschooling: Quilting, American Girl Dolls and Math

Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! I hope you will join us and share again!! If you are featured here or earlier this week, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. 


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From Your Hostess:
Another busy week but we shared our Virtual Book Club for Kids Post for May--An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni, Exploring Finland with Food, Stories, Crafts and More for Around the World in 12 Dishes, and a wonderful book about the ingredients of chocolate chip cookies and where they come from and of course we baked the cookies!

Now for This Week's Party 
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Disclaimer: By sharing here, you are giving Crafty Moms Share permission to use your photos for features and to pin your craft at Pinterest

All in Just One Cookie Book & Fun Activity

So while browsing at the library we found a wonderful book that we have to share: All in Just One Cookie by Susan E. Goodman. Now the premise of this book is a grandmother is preparing for a visit from her grandchildren, so she is making their favorite cookies--chocolate chip. Her cat and dog get excited to have her cooking. The cat uses the internet, library and encyclopedias to find where each ingredient comes from and the dog just cannot wait to be able to eat.

After the beginning/introduction each page is about an ingredient. It says what and how much the grandmother used and what the cat found out. Now the recipe is the same as the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, except she did not put in nuts (nor did we since we were sharing them with Hazel's best friend who is severely allergic to nuts).

In the story we find out from where the ingredients that grandma used came. The butter is from Vermont, the eggs are from New Hampshire, the flour is from Kansas, the salt is from California (the Pacific Ocean to be exact), the baking soda is from Wyoming and the sugar is from Hawaii. The chocolate comes from Dominican Republic, Ecuador, West Africa and Indonesia and the vanilla from Madagascar. At the end of the book there is a map of the world with arrows saying what came from each location.

Now of course our fun activity to go with this book is to make the recipe that the book provides. Hazel of course pulled out our aprons and her chef hat. Then we got going. She helped measure things out and add things to the mixer as well as crack the eggs, scrape the sides and more.

Of course that required some help from Mom, so we did not get many pictures. Then we started scooping out the dough.
My mother got her this great cookie scoop for part of her Christmas gift. We finally got around to making scoopable cookies to try it out. My other big aha moment was putting some of the dough in a smaller/shorter bowl for her. These two things made this process much easier than the last time. Plus she loved her new scoop.
Then we baked them. The book talks about the baking process and what is happening to the ingredients in the oven as well. Hazel is sleeping at Nonni's so she took some to share there and also brought some to her best friend (since he is always baking and sharing with us). I should add that we only had mini chocolate chips, so that is what we used.

Now isn't that a fun book and yummy activity!