"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Angel

December is just rushing by. With Christmas programs, Christmas shopping, stomach flue...I just haven't had time to post. But we are enjoying the season, and squeezing in as many crafts as we can.

I made this little angel with the baby. I brushed paint on the bottom of her foot and helped make a foot print on the paper (which is the body of the angel), I then brushed paint on her hands and made prints for the angel wings. I drew the face and other embellishments with a metallic marker. I added a verse and placed the picture in a frame to be part of our Christmas art wall.

Little Guy and Big Sis have art to share too. I hope to get it up soon.

Have a delightful day!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Legend Of The Candy Cane

I love Christmas and reading all kinds of Christmas Stories. We read my childhood copy of The Night Before Christmas, and we share fun new stories like The Auntie Clause , and many others that I hope to share in the weeks to come. But The Legend Of The Candy Cane is up at the top of my list of must read Christmas stories.I read this book to my children last night. My oldest has heard this story many times before, but always looks forward to hearing it again. My 3 year old had never heard the story before, and while there are parts of the story that are perhaps a bit old for him (but maybe not), we focused on the parts of the story that he could relate to. Like the candy cane looks like the letter J (for Jesus), but if you turn it over it looks like a shepherds staff (who were the first to see the New Born Babe).

If you don't have a copy of this book and can't find one to use, you can find a text only version at The Legend Of The Candy Cane . This is not quite the same as the book, but still is a wonderful story to share with your children. I have received candy canes as a small gift with the printed legend attached. We may give them with a poem (found at the link mentioned above).

We have also been reading This Is The Stable . What a simple but wonderful way to tell the Christmas story to very young children. It is simple enough that my Little Guy is able to remember the words and say them along with me.

The thing I find most wonderful about reading these stories is that Big Sis (in the 6th grade and 11 years old) will stop what she's doing and come snuggle with us as I read.

What's a story with out a craft?
As an extension of The Legend Of The Candy Cane. We did some simple marble painting to create fun candy canes of our own.
All you need for this activity are: paper cut outs of candy canes, marble (or other round object), red paint, and some sort of container to place candy canes and paint covered marble in. Pour paint into a small dish and roll the marble in the paint, place paper candy canes in large dish, box...now you are ready to add the paint covered marble, and roll it around. Add paint to the marble as needed.

As an extension of This Is The Stable we made a bundle of Christmas Hay. We used Raffia and red yarn to make our bundle of Christmas Hay.
Little Guy and I will do something special for Big Sis (perhaps hang Christmas Lights in her room) and leave the Christmas Hay. When she comes home from school she will find the lights and the hay. Now it is her turn to do something special for someone else in our house and pass on the Christmas Hay.

Have a delightful day!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Construction Paper for Big Girls and Chrismas Card Making

My 16 year old niece and Big Sis (my 11 year old daughter) love to make cards. But not just any old cards, fun glittery cards made cute scapbooking paper.
I like to call it construction paper for Big Girls. I'm sure that many of you are scrapbookers or card makers and can relate to the fascination that is scrapbooking paper, I find my self wanting to buy more and more of it (it's almost like wanting to buy new fabric). My mom bought them 2 big stacks of paper to use for making Christmas cards. I can not tell you how happy it made them. It was as if they had died and gone to card makers heaven

These are some of the card my daughter made. It is fun to see how her ideas and creativity change and grow as she practices her craft.
I think the rick rack is a fun addition to this card.

I pulled out all of my Christmas stamps and we borrowed some from Granny too.Some of the lettering is achieved by the use of stickers or rub-ons. I have been trying to encourage them to cut out simple shapes, like the tree below. It's less expensive than using stickers, and just as cute.I love the way the girls use double sided tape, and glitter to create glittery boarders and edges.Both of the girls have a tendency to be a little wasteful. So I really encourage them to use their scraps. The book marks and gift tags are just a sample of what my daughter came up with.This year she will be making all of our Christmas cards, and gift tags. She was so existed about this idea. I think she feels like she is really making a meaningful contribution, and she is!!

Card making supplies are at the top of these Girls' Christmas lists!!

Have a delightful day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Someth'n Corny

As we were learning about the pilgrims these last few weeks, we have been learning that the Indians taught them (the pilgrims) to grow corn.

One of our activities was to pop, pop corn.

After feasting on pop corn, we made corn meal playdough.

Cornmeal Dough (uncooked)

1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup salt
1 cup water about 1/4 C cooking oil
1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
2. Add water and oil mix into the dry ingredients.
3. Knead until pliable. (This recipe did not call for oil, but was to crumbly without it. I added a little at a time until I was happy with the texture.)

And last but certainly not least!! We made Caramel Corn!!

Add the following ingredients to at least a 4-quart saucepan (the mixture will expand when soda is added so you will want to have a little extra room).
1 C butter
2 C brown sugar
½ C karo syrup (white or dark)
Mix and Boil for 5 minutes
1 t salt
½ t soda
1 t vanilla

Pour the cooked mixture over 4-5 quarts popped corn and mix thoroughly. Pour out on buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 250 fro 45 minutes stir occasionally. Store in an airtight container.

Have a delightful day and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A is for Acorn

For the last month or so, we've been watching squirrels gather acorns. My little guy loves to watch them, and it is such a concrete way for him to see the signs of the changing season. We also enjoyed reading Chipmunk Song. He love acting out the story as I read it.
We've been doing a few Acorn Activities and talking about the letter A

These acorn guys were fun to make and look so cute hanging from our light fixture over the kitchen table.

I don't usually gather acorn to eat for the winter, but these acorns were yummy!! I borrowed the pan for these from my mom. It's from Williams Sonoma . I have also seen some really cute leaf pans at Wal-Mart and of course they cost a little less.

I used a gingerbread muffin recipe for these muffins. The recipe is adapted from a Southern Living cook book.

Last Minute Gingerbread Muffins

1C butter

1C sugar

1C Molasses

4 eggs

2t soda

1 C buttermilk

4C flour

1 T plus 1t ground ginger

1t ground allspice

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1/4t ground black pepper

1t lemon zest

Cream butter gradually add sugar,beating at M spread until light and fluffy. Add molasses, add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Dissolve soda in buttermilk.

Combine flour, spices, and zest. add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture. beating well after each addition.

Fill greased and floured pans 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Batter can be kept in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I glazed some of the acorn with a mixture of granulated sugar and lemon juice.

This recipe was great for the pan. The muffin was firm but moist and I had no problem removing them from the pan. But I must say if you really want the best ever ginger bread you need to try this recipe. It is too moist to be used in the type of pan used above, but is by far the best gingerbread I've ever had.

Gather your little squirrels around and have a delightful day!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fall Art Gallery

I've been wanting to create an art wall / gallery for my children's art for some time. I finally got around to it. There may be some changes and or additions, but at least I have a start. The idea is that each month or each season they will create new pictures to go in the frames. This month we went with a fall theme.

The first piece of art was created by Baby with a little help from me. I started by painting a simple trunk and branches. I then applied paint to her hand, I used a combination of red, yellow, orange and brown. I squirted globs of paint into a pie pan, being sure that the colors were close together. I then took a sponge and laid it in the pan, being sure to pick up all of the colors. I used the sponge to apply the colors to her hand. The leaves are made up of finger and hand prints.

Next up, Big Sis created this lovely tree using paint and brush. I think little brother helped with it a little too.

Turkey Time!! Little Guy made this turkey. I applied paint to his hand, just like I did the baby's. I helped him press his hand on the paper, added eyes, beak, legs and he helped paint fall grass. I love the way his thumb moved just enough, to give the appearance of feathers on the turkey's head.

Have a delightful day!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A is for Apple

We actually did this activity last week, and read the book Apples and Pumpkins (which is a Fall book, but ends with the children trick or treating).

A is for Apple, Apple Sauce
(this is soooo yummy with whipped cream)

enough cooking apples to fill your crock pot
add just a bit of water
red hot candies (add to your taste, I usually give in to my kids and add lots

Fill crock pot with apples (I used a little crock pot, you know the kind for dips and stuff). Add water and candies cover and cook until apples are tender and mushy ( we cooked it overnight and ate it for breakfast). This make a yummy chunky apple sauce!!

I first made this when I was teaching first grade. One of the other teachers shared the recipe with me. We saved some of the apple sauce and made fried pies with it the next day. If you would like to try making fried pies and easy way to do it is to buy refrigerated biscuits have kids flatten them out, spoon in apple sauce, fold over, seal edges and fry in hot oil.
Have a delightful day!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday Halloween Challenge

What to do, what to do. It's the day of the challenge and I'm not prepared. Maybe we should just sit this one out. No Way!! We don't want to miss out on all of the fun.

I've already looked and you "Muffin Tin Mommas" have done some really cool stuff!!! I'm not even going to pretend to be as cool as you guys, but I do want to play along. So here's our muffin tin. We've been reading a lot about pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns, so I've put together a muffin tin lunch with a Jack-o-Lantern theme. This was super easy to put together and my little guy had fun turning his food into mini Jack-O-Lanterns.

On the Menu: Jack-O-Lantern Pizza, and Jack-O-Lantern Cookies

I just used what we had on hand for this a larger cookie would have been ideal, but the chocolate chip cookies we had worked.

Cookies, Orange Icing with (Popsicle stick for spreading), Candy Corn

English Muffins (split), Pizza Sauce, Cheese, Pepperoni (cut into shapes)

And if you give a boy a muffin tin he's going to what a book to go with it....
So we read Pumpkin Jack to go along with our Jack-O-Lantern lunch!!

Be sure and stop by Sycamore Stirrings to see everyone's spooky snacks!!

Have a delightful day!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween Party

The lovely Ms. V of A Fanciful Twist is hosting the most fabulous Halloween Party. Won't you join the fun!!

Come into my parlor, if you think you dare.

There are creepy crawly things

and little pumpkins there.

Come into my parlor and if you can stand the tricks,
you may find a treat or too, but you'd better hurry quick!!

Now you're here
and you can see
things are not so bad.
Pull up a chair and read with me
It might make you glad.

We've had a fright, yes quite a scare
We've read some stories too.

Now share a little treat with me.
It's alright to take a bite,
I tell you that it's true.
No poison apple will you find would I lie to you?

Have a delightfully scary day!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

S is for Scarecrow and Spider

In my last post I mentioned that the Little Guy has been learning about the letter S. We've been reading all about scarecrows and spiders and we've done some fun activities that even Big Sis has taken part in ( Scarecrow and Spider Crackers). I'm finally getting around to posting a couple of other activities that we've done based on the Letter S.

Scarecrow and Straw start with S (books we're reading The Lonely Scarecrow , Barn Dance, and The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything)

First up is the Straw S. This is a super simple activity, but just one more way for little ones to begin to associate the sound s with the letter s. I cut out an S and we glued straw on together. As we worked we talked about our scarecrow stories, and remember that scarecrows are made with straw.
Spider Starts With S (books we're reading How Spider Saved Halloween and, The Very Busy Spider )
Next up, we have the favorite craft by far!! Spiders!! My little guy is really into spiders lately, and he loves to decorate for Halloween. Before the day was over we had to make a family of these guys to hang from the light fixture.

As usual I went with a simple pattern. I traced a medium sized bowl for the body and cut strips about 1/2 inch in width, and as long as the short side of the construction paper, free handed round eyes and the letter S.

We love the accordion folded legs and silly eyes. The spider looks great hanging from a light fixture or such (I should have taken pictures).

Have a delightful day!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday---Spider Snacks

We've been learning all about the letter S. Last week we read Barn Dance and made a Scarecrow (because scarecrow starts with S). This week we'll be reading How Spider Saved Halloween and The Very Busy Spider. So I thought it only fitting that Muffin Tin Monday reflect the stories and activities that we will do this week!!

I filled our muffin tin (well it's not a "tin") with Ritz crackers, pretzels, raisins, cheese slices cut into circles, cream cheese spread, and clementines.

We used all of this yummy stuff to make spider sandwich crackers!!

We actually had Muffin Tin Monday on Sunday so that Big sis could join in the fun.

Spider legs sure are yummy!!

For more Muffin Tin Monday head on over to Sycamore Stirrings.

Have a delightful day!! DeeLight