Thursday, February 26, 2009

Making Wrapping Paper

Here's an easy, fun, and inexpensive way to make wrapping paper...

We took the roll of paper off of our easel and rolled it out on our kitchen floor. I scattered art supplies around and let the kids at it. Since the kids were making this paper for their Daddy, I wrote "Daddy" randomly numerous times along the the paper. This gave my daughter the encouragement to practice writing the letters herself.

Both kids LOVED this activity. They worked on it all morning. Because the paper covered so much of the floor, there was no fighting over space. And the best part is that they were so very proud of the wrapped packages that they helped create.

Happy Birthday, Honey!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Thrifty Find

On a recent trip to the thrift store, I made a great find. I found these...

Seven books from the series of Scholastic First Discovery Books. I already own three of these and my kids, particularly the 4 year old, love them. The illustrations are beautiful. The information is in depth without being confusing for the younger learner. The best feature of the books in this series are the transparent pages. Each see-through page reveals an interesting change to the pictures in the book.

Here are the titles of the books I just bought:

  • Atlas of Plants
  • Boats
  • Butterflies
  • Dinosaurs
  • Endangered Animals
  • The Universe
  • Whales

While these books definitely aren't brand new, I would label them as "gently used." You can tell that they've been read but there is no damage to the books whatsoever. What a find! Each of the pages is laminated, so I can run a Lysol wipe over each page to clean them right up without damaging the books.

The price for one of these books is $11.95. That would cost over $80 for all seven. They were bundled together to be sold as a lot for 2 bucks!!! Seriously, 2 bucks total!!! I'm thrilled!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eric Carle Inspired Art

We love Eric Carle at our house! Today my daughter made a picture inspired by his work. She sat down at her desk and initiated this project all on her own! She was having trouble cutting out the shapes as she wanted them so she asked me to cut out a heart and a flower. (At this point, I still had no idea what she was creating.) She decided that the flower looked more like a cloud. (I agree.) She cut out her own mountain. She colored all three pieces and glued them on the paper. She then drew two people. She says that this picture is of "Mommy and me climbing a mountain on a cloudy day because we love each other."

Eric Carle, mountain climbing, and loving her mommy all in one still my heart!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Save Those Valentine's Candy Boxes!

If your valentine gave you a box of chocolates, don't throw out the box!!! Last year, I ended up with a collection of boxes (not from my valentine!). I used them to make two games.

One is a counting game with heart clips and dice.

Roll the dice and clip the number of clips that corresponds with the number on the dice.

My daughter has loved this game and has even been doing basic addition by adding the clips from one side with the clips from the other.

The second game is one that my husband made. I saw this idea somewhere and he thought he could make it. It's a wooden puzzle heart.

The pieces fit inside the heart box for storage.

Sorry the pictures are turned again. I can't figure out why blogger sometimes turns them!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, Kiddos!

I did a little sewing of some softies for my kiddos for Valentine's day. I used a quarter of a yard of two discounted Valentine's prints that I had found. A nice inexpensive project!

My son received a Valentine's guitar and LOVED it! My mother-in-law helped me a little on stitching the bottom together to close it up after stuffing it. I had to stuff it really full to get the neck to stand up. That made me question how strong my hand-stitching would be. She came to the rescue and helped me out.

Here's how the front looks...

And the back...

My daughter got a heart person. She says it's very "cuddly" and named her "Alecia." I had no problem with this one and I just top-stitched around the whole thing to reinforce the arms and legs and to close the opening.

Here's the front...

And the back...

The face on the heart and the sound hole and the bridge were all painted with fabric paint on freezer paper stencils. The letters on the back of the heart are adhesive felt. These are the first real softies that I have made and I am pleased with how they turned out. (Except for the fact that one arm is on upside down!)

Happy Valentine's Day, Kiddos! I love you on every day of the year... it's just fun to play with our love on this lovey-dovey holiday!!!

The Day it Rained Hearts

I'm a little late but I have a few Valentine's Day activities that I didn't get to post before now.

The first is a craft activity that we did with the book, The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. The story is about a girl named Cornelia Augusta. She was walking along one day and hearts started raining down on her. She caught a bunch of the hearts and used them to make valentines for each of her friends. Each valentine she made with the recipient in mind.

After reading the story, we brainstormed what supplies Cornelia might have used to create each valentine. Then, we collected a variety of art supplies that we thought Cornelia would have used. My daughter used the materials to make her own versions of the cards made in the book. Here are the valentines that she made, along with the picture from the book that was her inspiration...

This was a very fun activity that she really enjoyed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day to Me!

I stayed up way too late last night making this...

The silhouette is from Martha Stewart and I found it here. She intended these poppies to be used for paper cutout cards but I thought they were perfect for a freezer paper stencil. I hadn't done anything with freezer paper since December and last night, I saw the Poppy template and had to make it.

I didn't get started on it until after 11:00 last night. Crazy, I know. But, now I have a shirt to wear in honor of St. Valentine! Happy Valentine's Day to me!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


My baby girl spent her first night away from home this past week. She packed her own suitcase with all the essentials for a night at Grandma and Papa's. She asked a million questions about where she would sleep and what she would do. She had us confirm over and over again that if she needed to come home, we would come and bring her back to her own bed...pronto. She was so excited but none of the adults were sure that she would make it the whole night. We fully expected to get the call in the middle of the night to come get her.

That call never came.

She did just fine with out us. I, on the other hand, had a tough time walking by her empty bedroom. I felt an empty feeling when I went to bed without kissing her goodnight.

My baby's growing up! Here she is all set to go with her suitcase and Lambie...

Gosh, did I learn a lot today! I learned just how far away the half a block to the Grandparent's house is. I learned that my kiddo is OK without me. I learned that each night that I am given the opportunity to kiss both of my kids goodnight is a blessing. Going to bed without that kiss makes me cherish it so much more!

Origami Birthday Card

Martha Stewart had some "Antique-Style Valentines" in her Craft of the Day section of her website. I don't know about the antique part, but to me they looked like origami fun. I love origami and we had a 5 year-old's birthday party to go to on Saturday, so it was the perfect project for me.

They were super easy to make. Martha's direction are a little confusing. In the comments, there is a
link to a video tutorial on another blog that make it so much easier to understand.

All you need is one square piece of paper. I used a 12"X12" piece of scrapbooking paper.

In the picture above, you can see how the finished project looks. It folds into itself and becomes its own envelope.

Here's how it looks when it's opened up. Blogger won't let me turn the picture straight! Sorry! I used paper that had a bar code and brand name written on the back, so I cut a 4"X4" piece of coordinating paper to cover the writing on the finished card.

At the party, I had so many parents asking me how I made it, that the birthday kid's mom brought out a piece of paper and asked me to demonstrate. Talk about pressure! I had to rack my brain and make it work on the fly. Luckily, my memory didn't fail me and was able to duplicate it without the tutorial in front of me.

A cool thing that I learned about these is that they truly are "antique-style valentines." The tutorial says that these are called "puzzle purses" and that they were exchanged as early as the 1790's. I love the history behind it. That makes a successful valentine even sweeter!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

All Wrapped Up

It's been a long time...

My sick little guy has wanted nothing other than to be cuddled and held. His poor tummy just hasn't felt very good. I wore him on my back much of this morning and he was so content. It's been a long time since he's been willing to ride back there without us being out and about. It felt good to have my baby boy on my back again snuggling into the back of my neck. I love the closeness of having him in a wrap on my back or front, sharing our warmth, feeling his sick body relax into contended peacefulness knowing that he is safe next to his mommy. I love that little guy!

The wrap that I am wearing is a Sky Blue Indio Didy. It originally held dear little Grace and I have the privilege of using it to hold my child. What a beautiful history this wrap holds!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days?

One of those days where your patience is tested to the limit?

One of those days where quotes like these two are particularly true...

Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. -- Harold Hulbert

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance. -- Franklin P. Jones

One of those days that you swear it must be a full moon until you look out the window in the middle of the day and are bummed to see that you can't blame it on that...

One of those days where you really could use a nice stiff drink but you settle instead for the buzz that you get from drinking way too much coffee and this caffeine laced stuff...

Well, today was one of those days at our house. It was rough. It was tough. But, by God's grace (and a whole lot of Dr. Pepper), we made it through the crabbiness and tantrums and lack of naps.

We eagerly welcomed Daddy home from work and as a family discussed how we could make the evening better than the day. Our daughter suggested that we have a fire in the fireplace and read stories. She says that this makes her "peaceful." We were too exhausted to haul the wood in for a fire so we settled for 3 pillar candles in the fireplace instead.

We had a peaceful time by the fireplace. The children played and we read stories and both kids were in bed by 7:30. I wish I could tell you that this was the pleasant end to my day. I wish that I could say, "...and they lived happily ever after." But here is the real life end to our day.

After tucking the kiddos into bed, my hubby and I had just sat down in front of the fireplace to relax before heading to bed when we heard a cry. We both knew that cry and bolted up the stairs. Our son was in the process of getting sick all over himself. Our peaceful night turned into one of changing sheets, giving a bath, changing clothes, starting laundry, researching symptoms online and cuddling a sick little one.

So, it was one of those days but the kids grouchiness was telling me something. Now let's just hope it doesn't spread through all 4 of us!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!!!

Yesterday, the furry little prognosticators predicted 6 more weeks of winter! I figure if Punxsutowney Phil and Woodstock Willie can rouse themselves in the dead of winter for a silly tradition, surely I can get my lazy butt out of hibernation and start blogging again. Yep, I'm back. But while the groundhogs may predict the weather, I have my own prediction...blogging daily was a great challenge for 2008, however, I predict that in 2009 I will not blog daily! 2009 on Something 2 Learn Today will have no rules or restrictions, just blogging when I feel like it.