Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bow-terfly Butterfly Craft

     We recently went to the County Fair where they had an amazing butterfly exhibit.  If you missed that post, you can check it out here.  I wanted to maintain the excitement about butterflies by doing a butterfly craft.  When I was looking through my wrapping supplies to wrap a package, I saw the bows and thought they would make a great 'bow-terfly' craft.  The Sugar Snaps' Occupational Therapist already has them peeling off the paper from the back of foam stickers to increase their fine motor skills. Peeling the paper off the back of bows is a similar, though more complex fine motor challenge.  The Sugar Snaps loved peeling off the backing and giggled when they mastered the task. 

Bow-terfly Butterfly Craft:
You will need:
  • Construction paper in black and background color of your choice
  • Four bows, preferably two different sizes
  • Craft foam for the mouth (or red construction paper, ribbon etc)
  • scissors
  • Google eyes
  • White glue and/or scrapbooking dots
     Cut out a body with a head from black construction paper and two antennae for the butterfly or have your older child do this.  Cut out a mouth from the red craft foam (or other chosen material). Have your child glue the antennae onto the paper and then glue (or tape) the body and head combo on top so that the antennae are underneath the butterfly's head.  Have your child glue the eyes and mouth onto the head.  Next, have your child peel the backs off of the bows and stick them on either side of the body to create the bow-terfly's wings. 
Capri loved peeling the backing off of the bows.
     Have you done butterfly crafts with the children in your life?  Feel free to add links to your butterfly posts or share your stories in the comments.  We had a lot of fun talking about butterflies and doing this bow-terfly craft.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Baby Love--Our Newest Niece has Arrived

     We are so excited that our newest niece was born last week!  You may remember the Fairy Themed Baby Sprinkle I threw for Leanne back in March.  The time finally arrived for the Sugar Snaps to meet their newest cousin.  It is hard to believe that they were once that small!  There is something about the softness and beauty of a baby that makes me melt.  I was mush looking into my niece's beautiful eyes and seeing her tiny hands and feet.  I think the Sugar Snaps understood the difference between a baby and a big kid after meeting their cousin.  Capri announced on the way home, "I'm not a baby any more Mama, Katherine baby.  Capri big kid."  I have to admit, she's right. Our four big kids will continue to grow bigger.  I want to take it all in.

Our niece, Emma was radiant holding her baby sister. 

Sweet Sister Love
     It was wonderful to spend the evening with Leanne, Eric and our nieces.  The Sugar Snaps were bouncing off the walls of our car on the way home because they had such a good time.  We were glad we turned down the ice cream as they were on a natural high.  Do you melt when you see a new baby? Please tell me I'm not the only one...  I would love to read your stories in the comments.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Butterflies and Animals at the Fair

     We had fun visiting a local county fair.  I looked back at this post from our trip to the fair last year and was amazed by how much the Sugar Snaps have grown.  They all enjoyed seeing and naming the animals.  Capri squealed with delight when she saw the bunnies. They admired a whimsical sand sculpture carved with amazing detail.

They loved the turkeys that strutted around inside the barn.
     Greg and I enjoyed seeing the animals too, but what got us as excited as the Sugar Snaps was the incredible butterfly display.  There was a netted enclosure full of butterflies.  A staff member explained how to dip a Q-tip into the nectar and then carefully lift a butterfly onto the Q-tip without harming her wings.  We did not trust the Sugar Snaps to hold the butterflies without harm, so Greg held the butterflies so that we all could see them.  They were so beautiful.  It was the first time the Sugar Snaps had been that close to a butterfly and they have been talking about butterflies ever since. We have been reading the Caterpillar and the Pollywog by Jack Kent to teach them about the way that caterpillars form a cocoon around themselves and emerge as butterflies.   I will be doing a butterfly craft with them this week in order to maintain their interest. 
They watched with amazement

as Daddy held the butterfly out for them to see.
     Have you been to your local county fair this year?  Have you had the opportunity to see butterfies up close?  I would love to hear from you. As always, comments are welcome and I enjoy reading each and every one.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Beauty in all Generations

   We had the chance to spend time with my Grandma, the Sugar Snaps' Great Grandma, a couple of weeks ago.  I am so grateful that our children have the opportunity to connect with their Great Grandma. She is the first generation in her family born in the United States.  Her parents were both from Scotland. Some day, I hope we can take the Sugar Snaps to Scotland to experience some of their heritage.   I wore my Grandma's wedding dress on my wedding day.

My Grandmother is pictured on the left on her wedding day and I am on the right. Photo of me by Susana Bates

     The Sugar Snaps seem to know instinctively to be gentle with their Great Grandma.  Their interactions together were so sweet and heartfelt. 

     I have so many happy memories of my Grandma and Grandpa from childhood.  My Grandpa passed away after 64 years of marriage.  I am sad that the Sugar Snaps never met him.  Western culture puts so much emphasis on youth and forgets the value and beauty of our elders.  I hope our children are part of a new culture that appreciates the beauty in all generations. Have the children in your life been able to spend time with other generations?  I would love to read your stories in the comments.

This post is linked toMommy Monday Blog Hop

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Yogurt and Berries in a Cone

           While visiting my parents, my Mom had the inspiration to put Greek Yogurt (nonfat vanilla) into cones instead of bowls.  We served it with berries and the Sugar Snaps loved it.  One lesson we learned is to put the yogurt into the cones just before serving or the cones will get soggy in the bottom.  They loved eating the yogurt and berries with a spoon and then crunching into the cone.

Capri had fun eating the cone.

     Have you tried putting something other than ice cream into cones?  What refreshing foods have you tried this summer?  I'd love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Book Exchange--Goodnight California

     This year, for the first time, we had the good fortune to participate in the Summer Book Exchange hosted by The Educators' Spin On It.  Bloggers from around the world were matched up and the paired blogs exchanged packages which contained a book and creative activities to go along with the book.  I encourage you to head over to The Educators' Spin On It to meet the other bloggers involved in this fun exchange.

  Earlier this week, I revealed that we were lucky to be paired with Jodie of Growing Book By Book, shared a little about what we sent to her,  and told you about her wonderful blog (here it is in case you missed it). Now it's time to talk about what we received from Jodie of Growing Book by Book.  Please head over there when you get a chance and check out her post on the package she received from us  (Shout! Shout it out! by Denise Fleming.) 

     The Sugar Snaps were so excited to open the box Jodie sent us.   The book she chose was Goodnight California by Adam Gamble and Cooper Kelly.  This book is part of the Goodnight Our World series.  Children can say goodnight to the place they live or any number of areas in the world as an educational experience.  The Sugar Snaps loved the colorful illustrations.

     Jodie came up with a great series of "goodnight"  themed activities and crafts.  The first activity we tried was the foam letters that Jodie made by writing each of the letters of the Sugar Snaps' names onto foam shapes.  They are learning letters right now so this was perfect for them.  She suggested that we add food coloring to the water (as we often do) and they chose blue.  They loved seeing their names in the bath and Ryder made himself a fashionable star hat.

From set-up to clean up, they had a great time with the letters.

     The next activity she sent us was a gratitude journal.  She suggested that the Sugar Snaps say something they are grateful for each night that we record in their journal.  Gratitude is an awfully big word for them at age two and a half,  so I opted to call it the Thank You Book.   I covered the book in wrapping paper and printed the book's title onto regular printer paper.

     We used the phrase "thank you for..." because it made sense to the Sugar Snaps.  On our first night, Xayden went first and said, "Thank you for Mama and Daddy."  Capri went next and said, "Thank you for crackers."  Grayson said, "Thank you for crackers....cookies."  Ryder went last and said, "Thank you for breakfast in bed."  I love that they have expanded their definition of  "thank you" with this fun activity.

     The next activity we tried was lacing shoe strings through holes Jodie punched around plates.  They had so much fun lacing the plates and were really excited to eat a snack later that night using their special plates.  In the picture below, Capri found it funny to skip a hole right at the end.  

      For our final activity, Jodie sent us a blank book and suggested that we write our own bedtime story.  The Sugar Snaps pointed to things in the house that they wanted to say goodnight to and I took pictures of them. It turned out to be all toys. I asked them if they wanted to say goodnight to anything else and they decided to say goodnight to each other.  So, our book title ended up being, "Goodnight Toys. Goodnight Us."   I photographed their toys in such a way that there could be an action associated with them, such as animals taking a bath or the hat sliding down the slide. They love to see the familiar pictures of themselves and their toys at bedtime. 

     We had so much fun with these great activities from Jodie of Growing Book by Book.  We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Summer Book Exchange and are grateful to Amanda and Kim of the Educators' Spin On It for hosting this wonderful exchange of books and ideas.  Did you participate this year? Feel free to leave links to your posts.  Have you ever done a book exchange?  If not, you may want to get your community involved and host your own.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Summer Book Exchange Begins--Mailing our Package

     We are so excited that we had the chance to be part of the Summer Book Exchange hosted by The Educators' Spin On ItAmanda and Kim, founders of the Educators' Spin on it, came up with the great idea to match up bloggers from around the world to participate in a fun book exchange.  Blogs are paired up and the writers of each blog send packages to the family of their partner's blog.  The package contains a book along with fun activities and craft materials to go along with the book. Head over to The Educators' Spin On It to meet the other bloggers involved in the exchange.

We put some clues on the outside of the package.

     We were lucky to be partnered with Jodie of Growing Book By Book.  Jodie is an early childhood and elementary educator who is now at home with her two children (ages 2 1/2 and 14 months) sharing her knowledge and love of books with them.  She has a wonderful blog full of great information about books and literary activities for children.   At first, I was a little concerned that I would have trouble finding a book that she had not already read with her children.   I have since heard that I lucked out and found one.  Phew!  Today, I am sharing with you a little about what we sent Jodie's family.  Then, head over to Growing Book By Book to find out what she sent us.

     I chose the book Shout! Shout it out! by Denise Fleming.  The book encourages children to shout out their ABC's, colors and the names of various animals and modes of transportation.  It is a fun thing for children to do as they are often encouraged to be quiet (and rarely encouraged to shout).  There is a little mouse that makes quiet commentary on each page which is a fun way to contrast shouting and speaking softly. 

     I will give you a little sneak peak as to what we sent to Jodie of  Growing Book By Book and her family.  I love that the megaphones we got just happened to say SHOUT! on them (before they were decorated by Jodie's children).  We also included a fun faux pulp painting craft as the author of the book uses pulp painting to create her illustrations.  I will not spoil the rest for you.  To find out what else we sent and what they did with it, check out Jodie's post on Growing Book By Book on Thursday. 

Here's what it looked like before we sealed it.

     I will be sharing a post with you on Thursday about what we received from Jodie of Growing Book By Book and will include a link to her post about what she did with the activities we sent to her family.  This was such a wonderful event to take part in.  We feel very grateful to The Educators' Spin On It for hosting the Summer Book Exchange.  Are you part of it this year?  If so, please leave links to your posts.  Have you ever done a book exchange or children's book club?  I would love to read about it in the comments.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Recycled Shredder Paper Fireworks Craft

   We love celebrating the 4th of July. It always brings to mind fun times spent with family and the sound of fireworks. This is the first year that the Sugar Snaps understand the concept of Fireworks. On our recent trip to Disneyland, they saw fireworks and loved to say, "boom!" as they burst in the sky. I decided that it was the perfect year to start doing 4th of July crafts.  They had already done painting in a zip lock bag when they were much smaller and loved it. So, I decided to re-introduce that technique into making fireworks. We had plenty of shredded paper in our shredder,  perfect for making fireworks.

Recycled Shredder Paper Fireworks:
You will need:
  • Black construction paper
  • Recycled Shredder paper
  • Tempera Paint in red, orange and yellow (or colors of your choice)
  • Zip Lock Bags (one for each color of paint)
  • White Glue
  • Recycled cardboard box to dry the painted paper if desired
     Put the desired amount of shredded paper into the bags (one for each color).  Squeeze tempera paint into each bag and zip them shut.  Have your children squeeze the paper and move it around until it achieves the desired color.  This is a great sensory experience and they can do this part of the craft in any attire because there is no mess!  You can see my original post on painting in a bag here.  Then, empty the bags of colored paper into a cardboard box to dry. 
Capri had fun squeezing the bag to color the shredder paper orange.
I placed all three colors of shredded paper into one recycled  box to dry. 
     Once the shredded paper is dry, add glue (or help your child to do this) onto the black paper wherever the fireworks will go.  Then, your child can pick the paper out of the box (mix it up if desired) and create fireworks by pressing the paper onto the glue. Once the fireworks are dry, tilt the paper over the box to allow any shreds that did not stick to fall off.  Then, you can display the fireworks craft on the 4th of July.

Xayden liked pressing the paper onto the glue.
     I hope you enjoy making this craft with the children in your life.  Have a happy 4th of July.  What will you be doing to celebrate?  I would love to read about your plans in the comments.
This post is linked to:  Eco-Kids Tuesdays, Tuesday Tots, Mom's Library, Tender Moments Blog Hop, All Things Pretty, TGIF Linky Party, We Love Weekends, Kids Get Crafty, Pin Me, From The Farm Blog Hop, Pinteresting Party, Hobbies & Handicrafts, Link & Learn, Share it Saturday
09 10