Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Friday?! Already?

So of all the weeks, this is the worst one to slack off on when it comes to posts.  Teaching our kids that they're awesome should be our number one goal, right?  Well, Blogger has not been making it easy.  I have not been able to post for the past two days and am hoping I can pictures up today.  So bear with us until then.  Sorry!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'M AWESOME! - Part 1

One of my favorite children’s book authors is Sandra Boynton.  She is able to pack so much into her tiny little stories.  Some of our favorites are Snuggle Puppy (you must sing it), Fifteen Animals! and Blue Hat, Green Hat.  But one of our absolute favorites is Yay, You!  It celebrates you and your kids.  What’s better, right?  One of my favorite lines is, “And whatever you do--now or later, big or small, loud or quiet--whatever you do, don’t worry.  Just try it.  Whatever you do, whether near or far, I know you’ll be great.  You already are.” 
Matthew received a cookbook for Christmas last year and has been dying to use.  So today he made a grocery list of things he would need for recipes he thought sounded delicious.  With the list in hand we headed to the grocery store and stocked up.  When we got home Matthew and James decided that the mini pizzas sounded the best.  So we gathered around the island and got to work.
Matthew loved being the one to read the recipe and tell us what came next.  And it was fun for the younger ones to have a hand in preparing lunch.
The craft I’m going to share is something a did a while back, but I think would be fun for anyone.  I got this online somewhere and I cannot remember for the life of me where.  So I apologize in advance for not being able to give credit where it is due.  We made handprints and footprints on canvas.  Take the size of canvas you would like and put however many coats of paint on it that you would like (the fewer, the whiter your prints will be).  I did two very thin coats, I like the brush marks.  Then when the paint is still wet press your child’s hands/feet on the canvas.  Press them down firmly and try to get them to be very still.  With an 18 month old it was near impossible, but it isn’t supposed to be perfect, just fun.  I wrote on the back of each canvas each child’s name and the date the painting was done.  And you’ve got a very personalized piece of art for your home.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Image from here.

The moment I became I mom, I knew one thing for certain.  These little babies that enter our lives and broaden our families come as they are.  As parents we mold and teach our children to be good people, but their personalities, their quirks, those are already there.  My oldest son decided after 23 hours of labor that he was finally ready to grace us with his arrival.  Once in my arms, he thought there was probably a better way to nurse than what I or the nurses were attempting to show him (wouldn’t take a bottle either).  Finally, after about 5 days, he came to the conclusion that he couldn’t come up with a better technique and decided a full belly was better than an empty one.  It took me over a year to potty train him.  It took my husband and I over 2 years to get him to stay in his bed at night.  He questions everything and tries to figure out a solution on his own.  At times this can be an extremely frustrating trait, but he isn’t persuaded easily and doesn’t let anyone push him.  He wants to find the answer and has enough curiosity to do it.  That is an excellent quality to have.  I wouldn’t trade those 23 hours or 5 days for anything.  They taught me about my son, his strengths, I got to know who he is.  
So we thought it would be fun to dedicate this week to the personalities that are our children.  Teach them that who they are is just right.  Celebrate being different or being the same.  It’s what makes the world go round.  I want my kids to look in the mirror and never see flaws or wish for something different.  They are who they are, and they’ll do great things!
So this week our theme is I’M AWESOME!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pirates and Princesses-Part 4

Some days there don't seem to be enough hours, other days the hours seem to go by so slowly it's almost painful to watch the clock tick.  Today was one of those days that the hours went by too quickly.  We are preparing to go on vacation among other things.  Tomorrow we will finish our princess activities that we were not able to complete today.
To kick start our day I told my little princesses that we were not going to watch any TV.  These 2 princesses have been having territorial disputes, and me, the Queen, has had enough.  I put on a Princess Cd, let the music fill our home and it was amazing how it seemed to resolve our issues.  They dressed up as princesses and danced to their hearts content.  I was able to get most of the things done on my to do list today (besides finish this post).  Sometimes, when your kids are playing so well together you don't want to ruin it.  For me, today was one of those days.  Both my girls are so demanding of my attention, it was nice for them to entertain each other for a change.  I'm beginning to like this no TV rule.
Today, I went through the girls toys and tomorrow, they will be helping me donate them to children who need them (a princesses duty).  We also made dinner for a friend that had surgery and brought it to her house.  I told the girls these are some of the things princesses do.  When we went to drop off the dinner, my 3 year old wanted to dress up pretty like a princess (but not in a costume she told me, costume's are for trick or treating).
Tomorrow we will be discussing manners, we'll have a tea party, and we will donate some of their toys.  I'm not kidding when I say this, but this princess talk with my girls has truly helped their attitudes.  They have been saying please and thank you without reminders.  They are doing their best to show respect.  It's been wonderful.
And I can't finish without sharing one of our favorite princess books.  My girls love this book!  It's an alphabet book that has a princess for every letter.  The letter N princess is their favorite.  She cracks them up every time.  I'll give you a hint.  Her name is princess Nell (it's a rhyming book).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pirates and Princesses - Part 3

Henry and the Bunny Buccaneers by Carolyn Crimi 
and Illustrated by John Manders
Henry is not a typical buccaneer bunny. Instead of performing his proper pirating duties, he would rather read the books that he took from other ships. His father, the captain, is not proud of his son and the rest of the crew makes fun of him. When they are shipwrecked on a deserted island, however, it is Henry and his book smarts that save the day. 
This is a very cute story about a bookish buccaneer named Henry.  Having his nose in a book is the worst possible thing he could do, according to his dad.  But maybe it’ll be what saves the day.  My kids loved this one, especially since you have lots of opportunity to read in a pirate’s voice and a nerdy voice.  That cracked them up.  
Today we went on a treasure hunt.  We had to do it early before we hit triple digits, but had a lot of fun.  
First I printed off a treasure map on a brown paper lunch bag that I cut to size.  I found the template here and made a few of my own adjustments.  Then I burned the edges a bit to give it an aged look (I’ve realized how much I enjoy burning things.  It also reminded me of when Lindsey and I were younger and we’d make fancy letters.  We would burn the edges and seal the letter with wax.  In our bedroom alone.  When we were in the 3rd and 4th grade.  Awesome).  My kids thought that was pretty cool.  
We couldn’t sail the seven seas unarmed, so we made swords from an old cardboard box.  I cut the sword shapes out and then used aluminum foil for the blade.  Off we went...
We fought a giant, invisible serpent in Serpent’s Pass.  This is when my almost 7 year-old said, “I hope nobody sees us.”  I replied, “Well, if they did they’d be envious we’re having so much fun.”  He just laughed at me.  
The rest of our journey brought us through Mermaid Cove (basketball court), Dead Man’s Cave (garage door), Barking Dolphin Way (backyard, we have a dog), and finally to an oasis in the middle of nothing (our overgrown garden).  
We found our booty!   Hahaha.  I’m a mom and that always cracks me up.  I filled a little chest with Rolos, Kisses and Chocolate coins.  Chocolate...  That’s better than real gold, in my opinion.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pirates and Princesses-Part 2

 Yes, I'm a little obsessed with princesses.  I'm a little girl at heart and my mind goes into fantasy land when I think about them.  I don't know who will be more excited when we go to Disneyland this summer, me, or my girls.  (the picture to the left has me curious.  I think that is Scarlett Johansson but I can't find anything about the movie.  When I clicked on the photo, link here, it said Disney in the web address but the web address had expired.  Anyone know anything about it?)
I want to point out that I love the princesses who are strong, stand up for what is right and what they believe in, kind, giving, and never EVER a brat.  As a mother I often see  other children (mine included)  acting like little brats.  I hate to hear mother's say proudly "Oh, she's such a spoiled princess..."  It's like they are proud of how their children are acting.  Not in my house!!!  In my house a princess is loving, caring, giving, and above all, does things for others.  This is what I would like my girls to think of when they think of princesses.  When I call them a princess I want it to be a compliment.  I want them to strive to be better, strive to be like a true princess.
 The book we read today was Princess Hyacinth, the Surprising Tale of a Girl who Floated.  It's the tale of a princess who was lighter than air.  Her father does everything he can to keep her on the ground.  Worried that one day she would float away she is forced to wear heavy clothing and jewels and crowns.  So heavy, that she can hardly walk around.  It's a great book that my girls love.  I love the pictures and the writing is simple and fun for small children.

Can I talk about a book I wish I had for a second (it is pictured above)?  There is something about this book that catches my eye anytime that I walk into a Barnes and Noble.  I'm drawn to it.  It's a book full of unheard of princess stories.  I love the illustrations and the stories sound adorable and funny.  Why have I not bought it yet?  I don't know.  But it is definitely on my wish list.  I mean it is on my daughters wish list....

We kept it simple today.  My 2 year old and I made a crown.  She loves crowns.  And I have to admit, so do I.  I was watching Ellen one day and she had a guest come on (I can't remember who) and she talked about how fun it was to wear a tiara around the house.  I mean, how can you be sad when you have a tiara on your head?  I'm  a true believer and a grown woman who will play dress up with my girls.  It's so much fun.  You can never have enough crowns.
I took a piece of paper, folded it in half, drew my design, cut  and then copied it onto a piece of foam.
 After I cut the piece of foam I decorated it by adding glue in a design.  Then my 2 year old got to add the glitter to the still wet glue.  She loved this part.
 I wpuld add a design as she would pick out a color.

 Then I hot glued it to a headband.  Voila!  A very simple tiara.
You can decorate your tiara by using different colors of foam, gems, sequins, etc...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pirates and Princesses - Part 1

Roger the Jolly Pirate by Brett Helquist
Roger, a "lousy pirate," is derisively given the nickname "Jolly Roger" by his shipmates. Although he tries to be a proper buccaneer, he is inevitably sent below deck whenever there is serious marauding to be done. When the Admiral attacks the ship, Roger is once again sent to the hold. In an attempt to win the favor of his crewmates, he bakes a cake in a cannon he mistakes for a pot. The explosive result-Roger flying above deck amid flour, smoke, and powder, looking exactly like a screaming skeleton-sends the Admiral's men leaping off their vessel convinced that the pirates have a ghost on their side. In recognition of his feat, his shipmates stitch up a flag that has gone down in history as the "Jolly Roger." 
This was a fun and lighthearted tale.  My boys really enjoyed and have requested it several times.  The pictures are great and we got a kick out of them.
We have a week full of piratey fun planned, but we can’t do it without our pirate gear.  So today we made pirate t-shirts.  Well, I made the t-shirts, the boys just watched.  In honor of Roger the Jolly Pirate, we chose the Jolly Roger for our design.

Fabric Paint
Freezer paper
Picture of what you would like to paint
Scissors and/or Exacto knife
Find a picture that you would like to use for your shirt.  We did a free clipart search online.  Print out picture and trace onto freezer paper.  Remember to have shiny side down.
Cut out picture.  An exacto knife makes the cutting a lot easier, especially using it for the initial cut.  Just don’t forget to do it over a board.
Place stencil on shirt in the right location, shiny side down.  Iron on.  The freezer paper will stick right on.  I stick a piece of paper underneath the area I will be painting, so that the paint doesn't soak through.
Paint in the stencil.  Because we were painting white on black, it took a few coats.  
Wait until dry and then peel off the stencil.  Now you’ve got a custom t-shirt!
Only one of our shirts was dry in time for pictures.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pirates and Princesses

Image from here.

Arg, me mateys!  Are ye ready for a week of jolly good fun and a bit of scurrrrrvy?  No scurvy?  Hmmm...  I think we can work with that.  What about a week full of ruffles, diamonds and dainty activities?  How about we combine the two and have a week full of Pirates and Princesses.  Perfect!  A little something for everyone.  So come back tomorrow and join us for some fun... 

Image from here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Colors Part 4

 I know I mentioned a couple of days ago that Purplicious is one of the books we have been reading this week.  It has become my 2 year old's favorite book.  She will come walking towards me, book in hand, her big blue eyes pleading for me to read the book.  I read it 5 times yesterday, how could I refuse those eyes?  My girls love this book.  It's a cute little story about a girl who loves the color pink.  When she starts to get teased for liking pink she tries to change her favorite color only to find that life is boring and not as much fun when you fall in step with everyone else.  Read it to find out how Purplicious overcomes the "blues."

See that little attitude?  What am I going to do when she gets older?  Anyways, to start off our morning we made pancakes.  After making homemade pancakes I'll never go back to the box mix again. 
In the book, Pinkalicious loves the color pink, so we added some pink to our pancake mix...
...and then some blue, it's called "Purplicious for a reason...
....keep stirring....
...and voila!  We have purple pancakes!!!  My girls loved seeing this lesson come to life.  They literally gasped when the colors came together and turned into purple.  It was such a fun lesson.  And now my 3 year old is telling everyone that she knows how to make the color purple.
I love this pancake writer!!!!  It's the coolest thing.  I asked them what shape they wanted their pancakes in and they asked for a heart and a triangle.  I'm not perfect at it but I'm getting better.
I still need to make our dresses out of the fabric we made a couple of days ago.  That tutorial is sure to come.  I am just a little busy right now because tomorrow is my 3 year old's birthday party.  Talk about some stress!  I work at a toy store and I am the party hostess.  We have a party room in the store and I plan children's parties all the time.  That's a breeze, but for some reason my own party is a stress!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Colors - Part 3

I am big fan of Eric Carle.  The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar is one of my favorite books from childhood.  But today, we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  My kids love this book and I do as well.  The colors are great and we always pick out our favorite animal.  Mine is the purple cat (purple is my favorite color, not such a fan of cats though).  This is a great book to use to teach colors.

We live in a hot, hot desert so outdoor activities are few and far between.  If we want to do anything outside, it has to be early or late.  Even then we don’t really escape the heat. But I have been wanting to get outside, so we went out early this morning to have some fun.  
My kids love sidewalk chalk.  They usually end up scribbling or making new designs.  Today, we made sidewalk chalk paint.  Here’s what to do:
2 TBS Cornstarch
2 TBS Water
Food Coloring

Mix the ingredients together and you’ve got yourself some paint!  I only used about 5 drops per color and that seemed to make dark enough hues.  Grab cheap paint brushes and a big cup of water to use for rinsing.  Head outside and put that artistic itch to work!
My boys ended up splashing paint around and making random brush marks, but they loved it.  Until we all started sweating.  Seriously, nobody should be sweating at 8:00 am.