Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Lights


       We took the Sugar Snaps to see a local street with amazing holiday lights.  They are too young to realize how spectacular and unusual the display was, but enjoyed it just the same.  This street does a theme all around the court and as you walk or drive a story is told.  We enjoyed seeing "Twas the night before Christmas" unfold as we walked.  There was a family with a young reader in front of us on the walk who proudly read each sign to her attentive family.

Lights were strung all the way across the street with snowflakes hanging down.

Festive signs greeted us and told the story "Twas the night before Christmas."

 The Sugar Snaps even got so see Elmo featured in the light display.

Capri looked pleased while Grayson just took it all in.

Ryder's eyes sparkled while Xayden was pretty suspicious at first.

A family of snowmen won them over.

Ships sailed on a grassy sea of blue lights.

This house was lit up from top to bottom and even fashioned their shrubs into presents.

This house created wooden figures from many children's holiday stories.

We enjoyed each moment until the end of the story when it was time to head home.
     Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge sucker for community spirit.  I get very excited about people coming together and working towards a common purpose while creating friendships and connection.  I want our children to experience being part of a community as they grow and to learn about the importance of giving back.  Has your family been to see the lights this holiday season?  I would love to hear your thoughts and stories.  As always, comments are welcome.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Artsy Play Wednesday

Artsy Play Wednesday with Capri +3
     Hello and welcome to Artsy Play Wednesday hosted by Capri + 3 and Caution! Twins at Play!  Each Wednesday, creative blogs get together and add links to their arts, crafts and play posts so that we can be inspired to try new things with the children in our lives.  I will get things started with a jingle bell paper plate wreath that the Sugar Snaps made this week, then please join in and add your links.
Jingle Bell Paper Plate Wreath:
You will need:
  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Red pom  poms
  • jingle bells (I found them at the dollar store)
  • Green construction paper

Ryder enjoyed adding the pom poms to his wreath.

     Cut a hole in the center of the paper plate to form a wreath shape.  Cut out desired amount of holly leaves using a free printable template or you can cut the leaves free form.  Older children can cut out their own leaves.  For younger children, pour the white glue onto a paper plate and have them dip their fingers into the glue to add the leaves.  It allows them to be more involved and adds a sensory element to the experience.  Older children can use the bottle of glue to attach the leaves.  Either have your child dip the pom poms and bells into the glue (or use the bottle of glue) to add decorative touches with the pom poms and bells.

     Now it is your turn.  Please add as many direct links as you like to your arts, crafts and play posts (rather than your homepage, so that everyone can find your creative ideas later).  It would be great if you would add the Artsy Play Wednesday button or a text link to your linked posts so that your readers can come over and join in the fun.  Feel free to pin any posts you enjoy or just pin Artsy Play Wednesday so that you can come back and try several of the ideas when you have more time. As always,  your comments are welcome.  It is time to inspire and be inspired.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cinnamon Gingerbread Man

Cinnamon Gingerbread Man
You will need:
  1.  Brown construction paper
  2. Construction paper for background of a different color (if desired)
  3. Cinnamon in a shaker
  4.  Google eyes
  5.  Small pink pom pom, bead, or paper circle cut out for nose
  6. White glue
  7. Glue stick (if desired or you can use white glue)
  8. Beads, buttons, pom poms or anything else you like for the buttons
  9. Mouth cut out of red felt or red paper
     Download and print the gingerbread man template directly onto the brown construction paper and cut it out, or print it separately, trace it and cut it out.  Older children can cut their own. Have your child use the glue stick on one side of the gingerbread man and stick to the background paper.  Spread white glue all over the gingerbread man with your finger or a paintbrush.  Have your child sprinkle cinnamon all over the gingerbread man and shake off the excess.  Add glue and gingerbread man features. 
Xayden had fun sprinkling cinnamon.
     We had a lot of fun making these gingerbread men.  If you decide to try it out, feel free to share your picturs on the Capri + 3 Facebook page.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Two!--an Elmo Birthday Celebration

     Our babies turned two a couple of weeks ago.  It is amazing how fast time has flown.  I get email newsletters from the Baby Center and they started out calling them babies.  Then, they changed to toddlers.  The latest one I received called them 'preschoolers.'  They will always be my babies, but when I look at babies under one, ours do not look like babies any more.  I call them all my Sugar Snap Peas, and shorten it to Sugar Snap.  They have individual nicknames too, but Sugar Snap is a universal nickname that I use with all of them.  So, in light of their new age milestone, I will start to refer to them as the Sugar Snaps, rather than the babies on the blog. 
     The Sugar Snaps can all say, "Elmo" and love their furry red friend.  It does not matter if he is a plush toy, on a balloon or on a cake.  They say, "Elmooooo" with the same reverence.  They also believe he can hear them and see them when they wave and say 'hi' to him.  It was not a hard decision to pick Elmo as the theme for their second birthday celebration.  It was fun to see them excited and to see that the have more understanding about birthdays than they did last year.  I  had fun decorating the house in an Elmo theme.  Some of the house is still 'Elmofied' because they enjoy it.  I found two Elmo costumes at consignment sales for between $2.50 and $3.50 each and another one online for a little more and used them in the decorations. One was used on the punch bowl, another on the stairs and another peeked out from behind the couch. I made Elmo Invitations, an Elmo headband for Capri and Elmo Fedoras for the boys (tutorial here).  I also made an Elmo dust mop puppet (tutorial here) which they love to play with and hug.  
Their Elmo Cake was made complete with edible pictures.
     An Elmo costume and red faux fur fabric were used wrapped around a real punch bowl to make the Elmo punch bowl. I made felt goldfish using this free template with google eyes on dollar store glasses shaped like fish bowls.  I glued on the felt fish with rubber cement which made it very easy to take them off after the party. I also used the same glasses with the fish glued on and filled them with goldfish crackers.  When the party was over, I removed the felt fish and I use them as part of a sensory bin with beans and to help the Sugar Snaps learn to count.   Since there were far more adults than children, the adults enjoyed strawberry mojitos from the punch bowl.  We also had live goldfish in fish bowls throughout the house to represent Elmo's fish Dorothy. The live goldfish can be party favors for the children.  Our niece, Emma, enjoyed picking out her very own goldfish.
Elmo Fruit Salad
Elmo layered bean dip
Elmo finger Jello
     I found out that candies melt when they come into contact with Jello, so I used tiny pieces of cheese to elevate the candy eyes and m&m's.  A black food pen was used for the mouth. If this was a make and eat project for older children, this step would not be necessary as they would eat it before the candies  had time to melt.
     The Dollar Tree sells Elmo balloons filled with helium for just one dollar each.  I ordered them a week in advance so they would be filled for the party.  Some are still up after more than two weeks. 
     I covered a Kleenex Hand Towels box (disposable towels) with red faux fur, google eyes, an orange pom pom and black felt mouth and placed it in the bathroom.
     I put Elmo's featured on a red net circle (used for making favors) and taped it onto a balloon.  Otherwise, the balloon may have popped if I glued the features directly on to the balloon.


An Elmo costume makes a cute greeting wrapped around the Bannister on the stairs with a bow.
Grayson, sporting the Elmo Fedora eats goldfish crackers out of the goldfish bowl with Capri.
Ryder also enjoyed eating the goldfish crackers right out of the bowl.
     I made Capri an Elmo Tutu to go with her Elmo Headband by sewing on the felt and pom pom features. I got my inspiration for this on Pinterest, but when I tried to go to the link to credit it, a warning came up that the link was associated with malware.  If you want to see other examples of Elmo tutus you can do a search on Pinterest.  Most of the ones I saw had the skirt go all the way up to the chest, making it more of a dress than a skirt.
Each of the Sugar snaps got a piece of cake featuring their picture.
Xayden devoured his cake and had an Elmo cake face and hands.
Capri and Ryder savored their cake slowly.  Capri avoided eating her picture.
     It was a fun party and we appreciate the friends and family that joined in their celebration.  Guests flew as far as 350 miles and drove two hours or more to be with them.  What themes have you had for your children's parties?  I would love to read your stories and thoughts.  As always, comments are welcome.


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