A Minnie Mouse Dress

We are getting ready to take Hazel to Disney for the first time. We have reservations to have breakfast with Minnie Mouse our first day there. I thought it would be fun for Hazel to have a Minnie Mouse dress to wear to the breakfast. I found some smock fabric at Joann and it is so easy to make a simple sundress with it.

First they sell it by the inch. Measure your child's chest so you know how many inches to buy. I added one inch on just to have seam allowance. Then you sew the seam so it is a circle. I serged mine, but if I had used my regular sewing machine I would have zig-zagged the edges first. This smock fabric tends to be on the cheaply made side. 
To finish the dress I cut for equal pieces of grossgrain ribbon. I used pink with white polka dots since we are talking Minnie Mouse. Then it is complete and ready to meet Mickey and Minnie. What do you think?

I don't know what Hazel was doing in the pictures, but she was being a bit goofy.

Virtual Book Club for Kids June Author is Gail Gibbons

I am so excited for this month's Virtual Book Club for Kids! This month's author is Gail Gibbons. Have you discovered her books yet?
Gail Gibbons has written so many non-fiction books that explain things well in child friendly terms. This is a great month for all of you homeschoolers to join in. I know our biggest problem is choosing one book. We have about twenty out of the library and like them all. Her topics range from foods, plants, animals, space, weather, holidays and so much more!! There is literally some subject for everyone.

If you do not know what the Virtual Book Club for Kids is, I join a group of amazing bloggers each month and we choose a book by one author for the month. Then we do a craft or activity to go with the book. We blog about it and host a blog hop starting the third Monday of the month. Anyone with crafts or activities to go with a book by the author of the month is welcome to link up and they can be old posts.  The wonderful bloggers who host this blog hop are:
Toddler Approved - Rainy Day Mum - Adventures in Reading with Kids - 3 Dinosaurs - Royal Baloo - The Educators' Spin On It - Inspiration Laboratories - Pleasantest Thing - Edventures with Kids - Two Big Two Little - Playing With Words 365 - Kitchen Counter Chronicles - Outlaw Mom - Mommy and Me Book Club - Crafty Moms Share - No Twiddle Twaddle - The Good Long Road - Ready. Set. Read 2 Me - Reading Confetti - Mama Smiles - Juggling with Kids- Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas - Creekside Learning - Creative Family Fun - The Usual Mayhem - Teach Preschool - PlayDrMom - CraftoArt - Here Come the Girls - Being a Conscious Parent - Smiling like Sunshine - Crayon Freckles - Train Up a Child - Smile Play Learn - Enchanted Homeschooling Mom - Coffee Cups and Crayons - Having Fun at Chelle's House- Love, Play, Learn - Juggling With Kids - Motherhood on a Dime - Growing Book By Book
- This Reading Mama - Fantastic Fun and Learning

So I hope you will check out a book or two by Gail Gibbons and come back and share with us on June 17th or just come back and be inspired by all the ideas shared on the blog hop! 

Why I Love Weeds...

This year the weeds in our yard are abundant. There are times when I hate weeding the garden. In fact this year, Steve put some garden edging/fencing in hopes to keep the weeds at bay a bit more. However, there are also some reasons to keep those weeds. Here are a few I love.

Wildlife Visitors!
Hazel loves having the rabbits in the yard. One morning we actually had three. Our back yard has a few large clover patches and the rabbits love it. They have also discovered my baby lettuce plants and have eaten one almost completely, but luckily they seem to be leaving the others alone and going for the clover.

Child Picked Flower Bouquets!
We almost always have a vase or a cup of wild flowers on our kitchen table this time of year. Hazel knows she can pick the violets and dandelions to her heart's content. She is also allowed to pick her pansies since she planted them, so those have been added in here. An interesting thing we have discovered: if you leave dandelions in water long enough they will turn to seeds so you can blow on them. In the beginning of the spring I was telling her to leave some unpicked so she could blow on them, but now she doesn't have to.

Weed Flower Crafts!
Whether it is using the flowers to paint or smashing them with a rolling pin (or hammer) to make art, I do not care when she is using dandelions, violets and buttercups. It gives her the freedom to use them however she wants and to truly explore nature. They also make good additions to mud pies and sand cakes. We decorate with them all the time when we are playing in her garden or sandbox. 

Do You Love Butter? Test


Do you remember having fun as a child, holding buttercups under friends' chins to see if they love butter? I do and I want Hazel to find the same joy in simple nature. Of course if you want a science lesson on the buttercup game check out the science behind it here.

Another simple joy in nature is whistling with grass. Did you do that as a child? If you do not know what I am talking about, you can check out this tutorial.

There are other benefits to weeds. Some are edible like the dandelion and violet. Many also have healing benefits. I know my mother is very into holistic medicine and often discusses the herbs that many people consider weeds as hard to find because people do not want weeds. Plus there are benefits to your soil for keeping some weeds. The weeds will grow in poor soil, but will often replace the nutrients into the soil for a better balance. For more information on the soil benefit read here. Finally I read recently (and cannot remember where) that some animals are having issues because people are not growing the native plants for their areas. The insects and other animals are losing their food, habitats and more. 

So these are some of the reasons why I love weeds and have not minded the large number we have growing in our yard. I see each one as a toy/learning tool for Hazel. She is discovering the world with them and also enjoying some flowers of her own.  Of course the bigger problem right now for us in our yard is the grub infestation in the front yard, but our landscaper is going to deal with that problem for us.

What fun activities do you have for your weeds?

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Anklet for a Princess: A Cinderella Story from India

Today we are going to explore a Cinderella story from India called Anklet for a Princess by Lila Mehta and adapted by Meredith Brucker. First of course we will learn a bit about India. 
Administrative Map of India

India is a country in Southern Asia. It is the seventh largest country in land and the second most populous country in the world. It has over 1.2 billion people living in it. It is the most populous democratic country. Having had historic trade routes as well as the ancient Indus Valley Civilization it has a long history. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism are four world religions that began in India. 
Horizontal tricolour flag bearing, from top to bottom, deep saffron, white, and green horizontal bands. In the centre of the white band is a navy-blue wheel with 24 spokes.

From the mid-nineteenth century until 1947 India was under Great Britain rule. In 1947 the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The struggle for independence was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi. In 1991 India became one of the fastest growing economies, however it still faces challenges of poverty, corruption, illiteracy, malnutrition, and terrorism. It has the third largest standing army and is a nuclear state.

Traditional Indian Society had a hierarchy called castes. In 1947 India declared untouchability illegal and has since enacted other anti-discriminatory laws. However in rural India many of the castes still exist. In urban society however they are not considered important. Family values are very important in India and a majority of Indian residents have arranged marriages which they have consented to. (Source)

Now onto our wonderful story!! According to the author's note, Ancient Indian societies believed the underwater world was ruled by snakes and dragons. These creatures were known to reward people who made offerings to them or that they took pity on. The snake itself was a symbol of strength and might. It also was a symbol for wealth, prosperity and royalty. Many East Indian dances contain movements inspired by the snake movements and reflect its importance to the culture.

In this story, it was a time when men had more than one wife since a large family was needed to work the farms. A man had two wives who each had a daughter.  Cinduri was one of the daughters. Shortly after her birth both of her parents died during a cholera epidemic. She was left with the other wife and daughter. They did not like farm work, so Cinduri had to do it all while they went on carriage rides and to visit friends. 

One day while Cinduri was at the pond getting fresh water, a large white snake with a red gem on its forehead sprayed water on her and spoke to her. The snake was upset when he heard she did all the work and was given little to eat and rags to wear. He magically made a plate of food appear for her and fed her and then said he would be her godfather and make her life easier from this point on.  He taught her a song to call him when she came to the pond and he would feed her and get her the best water from the deepest part of the pond and would help her in any other way he could.

The stepmother got curious as to why Cinduri looked like she was eating more and came back from the pond happy. She had her daughter, Lata, follow her. The snake scared Lata, but she stayed and watched and then ran home to report about the snake to her mother.

On her way back, Cinduri saw a messenger from the king. She ran home to tell her stepmother and half-sister.  The crown prince would be at their village for the ninth night of the Navarati Festival. The Navarati Festival is where the young people gather at harvest time in an outdoor pavilion to meet their friends and dance for nine evenings. Many of the young people hope to meet their future spouse there. Stepmother would not allow Cinduri to attend the festival. Cinduri watched as her half sister and stepmother dug through the trunks of family treasures for finery to wear and headed out on the ninth night to meet the prince. 

Cinduri did her chores, but then ran toward the lake to talk to her Godfather Snake. She told him about the festival and how she wanted to go. He gave her his red gem and showed her how to move and when she finished she was dressed more beautifully than she had ever seen anyone dressed including two beautiful anklets. Before she left he warned her the magic would end at midnight so she had to leave before then.

When she arrived at the festival she turned many heads and the prince came over and asked her to dance for him. She used the moves her godfather snake had shown her. They spent the evening together until he said it was almost midnight and he needed to light the aarti for the ceremony and asked her to accompany him. She ran off saying she must leave but in doing so she lost one of her anklets which the prince picked up.

The prince told his father about the beautiful woman he fell in love with and said he would marry no one but her. The search was on to find who could fit into the small anklet. The prince traveled to each village with the anklet and asked the young woman to come try on the anklet at a pavilion. Cinduri asked to go with her stepmother and half sister, but they said she could not go until all her chores were done and they gave her more than usual. She knew the prince would not still be there. Then she remembered she still had the magic gem of her godfathers. She held it and moved like he had taught her and all of her chores were magically done and her dirty dress had become clean without a patch on it. Off she ran to the pavilion. Just as she arrived the king said it was time to move on to the next village, but the prince caught sight of Cinduri and said just one more. He reached for her to come forward and try on the anklet. She did and pulled the other one out of her pocket and put it on. They were soon married and the king had a palace built for them. Cinduri told the prince about her special godfather and he had a pond built next to their palace so she could bring him to live with them and keep blessing them. 

When her stepmother and half sister had to do all the work for themselves, the farm fell into disarray. The animals wandered off and eventually they went and wandered the countryside begging.

For this story we made some egg carton snakes to represent Godfather Snake. We had big plans to make anklets, but never quite got them done. I also had planned to make a Cinduri peg doll, but alas, she did not get done either.  For our snakes, we painted an egg carton white and connected them with a pipe cleaner. We then added a tongue for the snake and glued the red "jewels" onto their heads.

Sharing Saturday 13-22

Sharing Saturday Button

I have a crazy day and a crazy week scheduled this coming week, so I am starting Sharing Saturday early and it will last two weeks! That way I will have two weeks to try to get the visiting done--especially since I cannot imagine getting much done the first week. There will be some features from last week this week as well as next week, so make sure you come back to see if you were featured. If you have not checked out the amazing ideas shared last week, you really should go and be inspired. Here are my features.

First I cannot let one of the farm playmats made from the swap I ran go by without featuring it. Look how great this one came out. (I still have a little more to do on Hazel's, but it is coming along.) This one is from My Rhythm and Rhyme in Motherhood.

Then there were a few themes from last week's shared posts. Today I am going to share some of the gardening themed posts.
1) From The Gift of Curiosity: Dissecting a Flower (I should note she also shared dyeing flowers last week too)

2) From Carrots Are Orange: Introducing Parts of a Seed to Preschoolers

3) From Fit Kids Clubhouse: Garden Math (I love that they are learning in the garden!! It is truly the best way to learn instead of cards and books.)

4) From Trillium Montessori: Flower Activities

5) From Making Boys Men: 5 Tips for Gardening with Kids

6) From Domestic Bliss Squared: Growing Potatoes in a Garbage Pail

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 an American South Cinderella--The Talking Eggs, our small world jungle playscape and a Minnie Mouse outfit.

Now for This Week's Party 
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