Monday, November 25, 2013

Preschool Ballet and Tap Dance

    The Sugar Snaps started Ballet and Tap classes this Fall.  In the beginning a couple of our boys preferred to run around the room rather than listen. It was all I could do to prevent myself from intervening and reminding them to listen.  The studio prefers that parents do not intervene in order to maintain the authority of the teachers.  Luckily, with time, they have been doing a better job of listening and following directions and they absolutely love going to dance classes.  I love that it helps them with listening skills, socialization and coordination.  They just think it's fun.

The Sugar Snaps enjoyed the colorful scarves in Ballet class. 

They had fun pretending to be baby birds that awakened and 'flew' around the room.

Here is a little video snippet of Ballet class:

Here is a  short video clip of Tap class:

     We are so glad that we signed them up for both Tap and Ballet classes.  I love that they are improving their flexibility and coordination.  It is also nice to see them interacting with other children and parents. Since I am doing home preschool, I look for other ways for them to socialize with other children.  Their faces light up each time they enter the dance studio.  Have your children tried dance classes? What activities are your children or grandchildren doing?  I'd love to hear from you. As always, I welcome your comments and read each one.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bo Peep & Her Sheep 3rd Birthday Party

     I can hardly believe that the Sugar Snaps are 3 already! We decided to keep the Little Bo Peep Found Her Sheep theme from their Halloween costumes for their birthday party. I saw some cute sheep cupcakes from a Martha Stewart cupcake contest.  There were no instructions for the cupcakes and the person who came up with the idea was not credited by name.  Here is the link to the picture on Martha Stewart's website.  My Mom and I used marzipan to craft the sheep's head which is similar to shaping play dough.  It comes in a roll (unrefrigerated) and you slice off what you need and refrigerate the rest.  I got some candy eyes from the cake supply store where I also found tiny crispy rice decorations which is what we used to make the curls on the sheep's head.  I made fresh lemon cupcakes with lemon butter-cream frosting.  We placed the mini-marshmallows all over the sheep which stuck to the frosting.  The sheep's head was  placed on one side of the cupcake and mini-marshmallows were placed all around it.  I was excited that the sheep's head stuck right to the frosting without any support required. 

    We created a mountain with plastic food storage containers and covered it in a green blanket.  Then, we sprinkled kale all over the mountain and had a blown up picture of Capri as Little Bo Peep on Top. The sheep cupcakes were perched all over the mountain.

     I went to an animal feed shop and requested a bale of hay.  The sales clerk looked bemused at my request and asked me if I was looking for straw.  When I said yes, he asked me if I would be using it for decoration.  I guess people who feed their animals do not call it a bale of hay.  I felt like a 'city slicker' but I learned something new.  I also learned that when you buy it from a feed store it is way cheaper than buying it online.  It was $8.95 vs. the online price of $19.99 plus shipping!  Greg and one of his friends cut open the bale of straw and spread it all over the table (pictured below).  There was a lot left and we used that after the party was over as Fall decoration with a scarecrow perched on top.  


 I made Little Bo Peep lollypop treats which could be eaten during the party or taken to go as favors.  It is an unwrapped lollypop with a candy liner bonnet and a cupcake liner dress with a pink satin bow.


 I made some Bo Peep fruit punch and we had pink and white carnations everywhere (along with pink and white balloons). 
      Our niece Emma, clad in a Dr Seuss style hat, made each of the Sugar Snaps a birthday card with pictures she had drawn. They were excited to receive her handcrafted card creations.

 Capri shed her Bo Peep hat to try on a traditional birthday hat.

     I covered a paper towel  and soap dispenser in the same Sherpa fabric that I made the sheep costumes with and added sheep heads with google eyes.  I left the bottom open on the paper towel dispenser (and the top open on the soap dispenser) so that the sheep covers can be used again.

They waited patiently to blow out their candles, each with mini-marshmallows and the number three.


It was fun to see them blow out their candles. 


They all loved the dress up hats from Uncle David. Grayson tried them all on.

     We had so much fun celebrating the Sugar Snaps' third birthday. It's hard to believe we have four 'preschoolers.'  I have been doing home preschool for a couple of months, but in January, I plan to kick it into full gear now that their therapies are done.  What themes have you had for your children's birthday parties?  Feel free to leave links so I can see your pictures.  As always, your comments are welcome.  I read each one. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pulled Cotton Sheep Craft

     We have been all about sheep and Bo Peep lately.  If you have been following, you know the Sugar Snaps  dressed in sheep costumes I made and I made Capri a hat (to go with a store bought dress that I altered).  I love doing pulled cotton crafts because it is a great fine motor and sensory activity.  We made pulled cotton ghosts of different types this year and last year.  We also made pulled cotton snowmen last Winter.  The Sugar Snaps are very familiar with taking balls of cotton and pulling them apart to make fluffy cotton for arts and crafts.  They have different tolerance levels for having the cotton stick to their fingers once the gluing starts.  Capri and Ryder don't seem to mind while Grayson and Xayden have trouble with the sensory experience of glue and cotton.  It is great when they work through that and enjoy seeing their finished work. 

Pulled Cotton Sheep Craft:

You will need:
  • Cotton balls
  • White glue
  • Google Eyes
  • Cardboard tubes (TP roll size for body and 1/3 roll size for head)
  • Paper towel
  • Scotch tape

     Prepare in advance by cutting one of your cardboard tubes about 1/3 the size of the body for the sheep's head.  Cover all openings on the tubes with paper towel and tape it.  Tape the head onto the body (as shown in picture below.)

     Next, have your child pull apart the cotton balls until the cotton is fluffy and resembles the sheep's wool (as shown below).

    Then, have your child glue the cotton all over the sheep's body, including the head.  Have your child shape ears and a tail with the cotton that is already on the sheep by pinching and pulling (or they can form them separately and glue them on).  Finally, have your child glue on a pair of Google eyes.  They can form little legs if desired.  I had them make the sheep lying down and it is so fluffy that it looks like there are legs without any effort being made to create them.  

     The glue will be all over your children's hands with bits of cotton stuck to their hands.  It is an interesting sensory sensation.  (Try it yourself if you have not experienced it).  Luckily, it comes off very easily with soap and water and the sheep are ready for display or play.  Have you made animal crafts with your children?  What arts and crafts have you tried with your children, grandchildren or students?  I would love to hear from you.  I read every comment.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Little Bo Peep Found Her Sheep

     This year, I decided to make sheep outfits for the boys for a Bo Peep and her sheep Halloween costume theme.  I spent every nap time for a couple of weeks sewing sheep.  I did not make Capri's dress, but found it in a girls' size 14/16 and modified it to a 3T.  Then, I made her hat.  There was a little trial and error with that until I found a pattern I liked that worked.  They enjoyed being sheep and Bo Peep for several Halloween themed events this year, which was nice.

     Mia of Mia Z photography did a photo shoot with the Sugar Snaps too.  They were not always paying attention to her, which is typical of little ones at photo shoots.  During the shoot, a garbage truck pulled up, up the hill behind them (in the opposite direciton of where she wanted them to look).  She began to sing and dance, "I'm a garbage truck, I'm a garbage truck!," and managed to get them all to pull their eyes off of the garbage truck and look at her.  They could not figure out why she did not look like a garbage truck, but were intrigued by her song and dance.  I was impressed as always by her enthusiasm.  As a Mama of twins, she knows how to get the attention of multiples (who are often distracted by their siblings and the environment around them).  If you ever get a chance to do a photo shoot with Mia, take it!  She is wonderful working with children and families.

All photos below are by Mia Z Photography:





Can you spot the wolf in sheep's clothing?

     We had a wonderful "Halloween season" this year.  I loved the Fall and Winter seasons before we had children because they are festive and full of community spirit.  Now that the Sugar Snaps are part of our lives, it is even more fun.  Did you enjoy Halloween this year?  Did our little ones dress up?  I would love to hear from you.  I enjoy reading each comment.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Multiples Halloween Party

     Every year, our multiples club has a Halloween party.  One family generously opens up their home to local families of multiples for an afternoon of trick-or-treating, games and mingling.  It is so much fun to see the creative costumes and themes. The Sugar Snaps do not understand that the children are all multiples (or siblings of multiples) yet, but some day I imagine they will look forward to the annual party.  This year, the hostess, Michelle Miles, went all out for the party.  She is so talented as a party planner and intends to do party planning professionally when her twins get a little bigger.  If you enjoy seeing great party planning ideas and are not already following Michelle Miles on Pinterest, I highly recommend that you do. She considered this Halloween party to be her 'holding back' and not being able to do everything she wanted to do because her twins are so young.  If this is Michelle holding back, I cannot imagine what it would look like if she let loose!

Michelle Miles will continue to throw amazing parties.  Follow her on Pinterest.

     Michelle had decorations on the lawn and the front porch signalling that it was time for some Halloween fun.  And that was before we even stepped in the door to discover more incredible decorations everywhere we looked.  There was a table full of miniature pumpkins and foam stickers for the children to decorate.  The Sugar snaps loved it so much that we had to encourage them to try another activity and leave some stickers for the rest of the children!  Michelle had set up another table of Halloween themed coloring pictures with a large box of crayons and markers.  Then, we stepped outside and found tables decorated with orange table cloths and resident spiders. There were delicious cookies and savory appetizers to enjoy.   The children loved getting their wiggles out on a large jumper and a trampoline. Later on, the children went from family to family to "trick or treat."  That way, we all were able to see all the great costumes.

    I can't share all the creative costumes, but here area few:

Michelle Miles and her family-Alice in Wonderland Theme

 A Wonderful Family Wizard of Oz theme

 A Sweet Daddy and Us Moment with Adorable Twins

     These cuties were not able to make it to the multiples Halloween party this year, but we saw them at our church's "trunk or treat" party the day before Halloween and I had to include their super cute homemade costumes!

     Did you go to any Halloween parties this year?  What did you do to celebrate Halloween?  I would love to hear from you.  I enjoy reading each of your comments.  

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