Sharing Saturday 14-2

Sorry this is up a little late. I took the time this week to visit all the amazing posts!! My life is back to somewhat normal again except that Hazel has been sick since Christmas. If you have not had a chance to visit the posts last week you should!! They are so inspiring!! Thank you to everyone who did share with us last week and who did visit! There was a tie for the most clicked, so I am going to just pick a few of my favorites. There was a wide range last week including many best posts of 2013. Plus we had lots of blogs sharing with us for the first time! Welcome!!

Flamingo Friday: Birthday Party Part 2: Food & More!

Last week I shared the first part of our Flamingo Birthday Party for Hazel's fifth birthday. That post was more about the decorations and activities as well as what we did on her actual birthday. Today I am going to share the food we had and one other extra for the party I did. 
First our menu:
Chips and Salsa mixed with Sour Cream (it turns pinkish) and plain salsa
Vegetables and Dip (in particular carrots)
Edible Arrangement of Fruit

Ginger Carrot Soup
Sandwiches (make your own ordered platters from grocery store)
Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vingarette

Strawberry Birthday Cake
Pink Flamingo Rice Krispie Treats

Pink Flamingo Punch
Spiced Warm Cranberry Apple Cider
Bottled Water with diy labels

The appetizers were fairly easy. For the salsa mixed with sour cream, I did two parts salsa to one part sour cream. My goal was to make it pinkish. I bought a pre-cut vegetable platter that came with ranch dip, but added more vegetables and divided it all into two plates. I also found a red pepper dip that was pink, so we served that as well. My mother brought the shrimp and prepared them (Steve and I do not eat shrimp) and my mother-in-law brought the fruit. I was going to use my flamingo cookie cutter and cut out some flamingo watermelon to add to it, but the watermelon looked awful at the store the day of the party, so we skipped it. I made signs for all the food. The most intriguing ones were the shrimp and carrot items. This also gave me a way to mark the salad with the nuts. Shrimp is what turns flamingos pink and carrots have the same beta carotene (it makes the carrots orange).

For the ginger carrot soup, I combined recipes I found at Fine Cooking and Simply Recipes. I tripled the recipe and used 3 pounds of carrots. I liked the Roasted Carrot Soup recipe since it also had celery in it. I thought the portions were better in the other one. I used vegetable broth so it would be a vegetarian option. My mother is now eating vegetarian mostly, so I wanted her to have options. It turned out fine, but was not the best ginger carrot soup I have ever had. The main meal I order a deli platter and roll platters from the grocery store that is five minutes from our house. The Rite Aid is next door and the manager always gives Hazel balloons for her party as a gift. It makes it all easy to pick up and much easier to put together. Then I adapted the recipe I found on Closet Cooking for the salad. I liked that it has avocado in it. I did not put the bacon in and since I do not like blue cheese, I used goat cheese. My mother helped me make the salad. I had made the dressing the day before using frozen raspberries.

Hazel and I had big plans to make pink rice krispie treats. We used brown krisped rice instead of the Kellogg's brand. I added some red food coloring to the melted marshmallows. Then we let it sit while we went out. Then I tried to cut the flamingos out of them with the cookie cutter. I put pink frosting (which I bought) on them and pink sugar to make them sparkle. Since Hazel was sick (she has been since Christmas night), I did this by myself. I also made the cake myself even though she talked about making it with me all year.

For the cake, I adapted the recipe I found on  Confections of a Foodie Bride. Since we used the same recipe last year, I knew how it turned out. I roughly doubled the strawberry puree used in the cake. I also added some red food coloring since Hazel wanted the cake to be pink like a flamingo. I made it into a 9" by 11" sheet cake so it could be the water the flamingo (lollipops) live on. I used store bought blue frosting and then used a sparkle frosting gel to write on it. Hazel shares her birthday with a good friend of ours and she wanted her name on the cake as well to honor her. Then I used the flamingo lollipops I got from Oriental Trading to finish our cake. 

For our beverages, I peeled the labels of a pack of 24 water bottles and printed out my own with something about Hazel's party and flamingos on it. For the pink flamingo punch, I was inspired by the recipe I found on Kathryn's Kloset. When I went to buy pink lemonade I found strawberry lemonade that was bright pink and used that. The punch was a huge hit and was finished at the party. I left the short plastic cups for the punch but also had tall thin ones for the kids to use with the flamingo straws and had the covered ones with straws (Hefty Zoo Pals) for the younger kids. For the Spiced Cranberry Apple Cider I used the recipe I found at Betty Crocker to cook it in my slow cooker. I did not look at it carefully and did not get whole allspice. I used about a teaspoon of ground though. It was delicious!! Steve or his mother made the coffee. Since I don't drink it, I don't make it well.

The final personal touches were Flamingo Trivia at the various tables and in the bathroom. (You can get a copy without the Hazel line on it.) Then I took some of our leftover wedding favors (votive candles in glass holders) and replaced the wedding stickers with flamingo birthday stickers. I wrapped them in pink tulle and tied a pink feather to them. I left them on a table in Hazel's bedroom where we were putting coats with a sign telling people to take one when they got their coats to leave.

For more ideas for flamingo parties, check out my Pinterest Board! For more on flamingos (books, crafts and info) check out all of our Flamingo Fridays!

Snow, Snowflakes Crafts and Books

Hazel is so fascinated with snow. Last week we got close to two feet, but most of it melted and then it got bitter cold. Today feels warm and it is in the 30's. Unfortunately Hazel has been sick since Christmas and has not gotten to play too much in the snow. She keeps asking me, "What is snow?" My broad answers have not been enough, so I found a book at the library to help us understand it better, The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonders by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, Ph.D.

This book explains the science behind snow and has amazing photographs!! In the end it gives an activity of collecting and looking at snowflakes with hints on catching them.
The One I Made

While shopping I noticed some snowflake tealight holders on the clearance rack for post-Christmas. I bought a couple and went back and bought some more for gifts. Hazel and I decorated them with glitter glue and gem stickers (which I also got on clearance for post-Christmas). 

First we put glitter glue on them and left them to dry. Then we added the stickers. Then Hazel had fun with the other four I bought.
Hazel's First Two

The Rest of Hazel's
Both of Hazel's grandmother's birthdays are coming up,so I figured these could make nice gifts for them. Maybe we will give her teachers one each as well. For 50 cents each, not bad gifts. Here is how mine looks with a battery candle.

We also took Snow Sounds: An Onomatopoeic Story by David A. Johnson out of the library. It is a wonderful book just with the sounds you might hear during a snow storm. The plows, the shovels, the school bus coming, etc.

Then some other fun snow books from our bookshelf:

Are you enjoying snow? Or making some snow crafts? For some other snow craft ideas check out:

3-D Art Lab for Kids Book Review

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review free of charge from Quarry Books. 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 review a wonderful new art/craft book for kids. Quarry Books was kind enough to send me a copy of Susan Schwake's 3-D Art Lab for Kids: 32 Hands-on Adventures in Sculpture and Mixed Media. This is the third Art Lab book by Susan Schwake. The book has seven chapters. The first two are about setting up and the tools you will need. Chapters 3 through 7 are for different medias: Paper, Clay, Textiles, Sculpture, and Jewelry. At the end of most of these chapters they have a visit from an artist in that media. Most of the projects also have a little bit about an artist who makes similar art.

We decided to try the Nature Weave found in Chapter 5: Textiles. The instructions were easy to follow and we had the materials around the house (though I had trouble finding sticks because apparently Steve got rid of Hazel's stick collection). Hazel loves to try to weave though she tires of it quickly. She was very excited to do this project. She helped cut the yarn and ribbons and weave. I tied the warp yarn on to the sticks and helped her get started and did the weaving when she tired of it. Then she choose where to put the nature items into it and I hot glued them on for her.
The book has some great ideas for projects which would be even better for slightly older kids than Hazel (age 5). However it was fun to do this project together and she loves it! I hung it in her bedroom so she could see it all the time and she asked if we could make another one.

The exciting thing about this book is each project is unique and can be done over and over resulting in something new. Some of the projects create fun things and others useful and some both. It has so many different ideas and ways to go that it will lead to lots of fun and creative time.

3-D Art Lab for Kids is available at Quarry Books and Amazon. The suggested retail price is $24.99 in the U.S, $27,99 in Canada and 16.99 in the United Kingdom. (Sorry I don't know where the pound symbol is.) If you are looking for a way to add art to your child's live as well as get his or her (or their) creative juices flowing, this book will definitely be a wonderful start!

For the Love of Geometry: Math Lessons at Crafty Moms Share

It has been awhile since I did a Math Lessons post. Here is one for older children that can be adapted for any who can read and write and know a bit of geometry. It is a seasonal one for Valentine's Day. I used it in my high school geometry class for several years. It is also a nice crossover to writing and English classes. I gave the students a list of vocabulary words from the geometry book glossary. Some of the words we had learned and some would be taught later in the year. They had to write love poems or odes using some of the words. For some classes I gave a certain number of words to use and in others I graded based on how many were used. Click on the picture to go to get a Word version of the page.

To give you some ideas of what can be done here are two I came up with quickly. I always encouraged the kids to make them look like Valentines. I actually would hang them around the door to decorate for the holiday.

Enjoy!! And have fun with it!