In the wee small hours of the morning....two moms were chatting from almost 2000 miles apart. They were seperated by two times zones, 30+ driving hours, a very large mountain range and more rivers than you want to count...but connected by good friendship and four little girls who adore each other....

Monday, October 24, 2011

C is for Corn

One of my favorite decorations this time of year is the Indian corn that you find at the grocery stores. I love being able to bring a feel of the harvest into the house and add it to our decor for a bit. As far as the girls are concerned tho... popcorn is their favorite form of corn and is a regular snack in our house! :)

The Popcorn Book by Tomie DePaola was a big hit to read and was really full of a lot of cool facts about popcorn. The girls really enjoyed it and I think it was a great book to go along with this easy corn craft for the ABC of Me book!

Who knew you could paint with bubble wrap! :) That is, the little bit that survived the popping that the girls jumped into (literally) the moment that I brought it out! lol Once again, I cut out the shape of the corn with my cricut, but really you could easily free hand this one. We spread the red pain on the bubble wrap and then pressed the yellow corn shape into it! Peel it back and you have a really cool print! :) I told you it was easy!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

U is for Umbrella

Rain by Peter Spier, has been one of my favorite books for as long as I can remember. It is a true picture book, no words but plenty of story to take in. I remember it feeling like a special occasion to get to sit and read this book with my mom when I was little. We'd sit down and take in every detail of the book.... all the little things that you can do on a rainy day to make it special... If you haven't read this one you really should put it on your must do list! :)

Living in the Pacific NW, we all know that rainy season is upon us. We had a beautiful summer and now it's time to gear up for a chilly and wet fall!! So.... I thought it would be fun to encorporate the rain into our ABC book! When  I got to the planning for the letter "U" it was an easy choice to do "umbrella"!

The kids set to work making puddles on their paper with watercolor paint.... brace yourself... here comes the real fun!! Then we used straws to blow the paint into splatters! :) I love the way they all turned out!! I can remember doing these in school when my mom was teaching my art class, and if I'm not mistaken she did this project in school too!! There are so many things you could do with this project. One summer we used one red white and blue and said they were fireworks... or you could draw faces and make them into animals or aliens! lol

Once the splattered masterpieces dried, we added some umbrellas glued on....I forget to take a picture of the finished product but will try to add it later. :)

Stop back by on Friday to link up any projects you have done using umbrellas and/rain! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

A is for Apple Link up!

It's been a full week of learning... books, crafts etc... Have you done something fun that you'd like to share? Link up now! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

A is for Apples!!

I know, not real original but hey! We live in the apple capitol so we had to go for it!! :)

There are SOOO many good books about apples but our favorites are

Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson

And our very favorite apple book ( and the one that the class has been asknig for ever since!) is Who's Got the Apple by Jan Loof. We just happened on to a copy of this as a library reject... so sad for them but so glad that we got it!! A steal at $.25!!! The girls LOVE this book and I must admit, I do too! :)

Tree cut outs from a Cricut cartridge, apple hand punch from Oriental trading....

 I guess I didn't take single pictures of the pages so you're getting a sneak peak of the next few weeks to come!! :)

And here is the version that was in my stepson's book...
There are so many things you can do with apples... my list could go on and on. Why not sit down with one of these books, make the "A" page for your book and them make an apple pie? Baked apples! Or applesauce!!
You can read about our adventures with apples last year .

Saturday, October 8, 2011

ABC of me

I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote on here... I'm so ashamed that I left this space without so much as a word about why. I guess I just didn't know what to say. I soooo wanted it to be a success and it just wasn't coming together how I thought it would. Funny how life gets in the way sometimes!

For months now, I've been thinking about how I could start it back up and I guess today is the day! I love childrens books and love watching them get ideas on how to be more creative after reading a book and doing hands on crafts with it. Their little minds are just so open to new things!

Now, the format of this blog is going to be a bit different. Sometimes the best intentions just don't work out and lives take different paths. My friend Jackie isn't going to be putting in her crafts to go with these books (altho she is ALWAYS welcome to) and I will be inviting a few other friends to take part too! :) I am hoping to make my posts on Mondays, so you have all week to do them too if you want and then post a link up on Friday so you can share your ideas for that theme too! :)

For the next few months, we are going to work our way thru the alphabet. I am being lucky enough to teach an art class at our homeschool co-op and have a very diverse group of kids ranging in age from 4 all the way to 3rd grade so I had to come up with something that would work for all ages!  21 kids in a room full of crafts gets quite interesting really fast! lol I got the idea for making a book from a project my stepson did in school. I have always loved this book and treasure the pages that I got to help his class make. We aren't following it exactly, but it gave me a good place to start....

We are making pages for the "ABC of Me " book. There will be a book to read  for each letter in the alphabet and a page for the homemade book too. We are making covers for the book that will then be laminated and bound with a comb binding process that any office supply store should be able to do for you. It really is a project worth keeping for them and it's fun to look back on it when they are a bit older. :)

So please check back on Monday for our first letter "A". Just a heads up, I won't always be doing the letters in order... :O)

Monday, March 7, 2011

In the spirit of the Iditarod and our book selections for the month, we made our nature table, wipe off board and book wall all match!! Check back often to see what we've added!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Danger The Dog Yard Cat....

To celebrate the start of the Iditarod, we pulled out all our favorite Alaskan related books and even a few Alaska Magazines that I have saved over the years. The one on top is one I have held onto since I was a kid! The girls loved looking thru the pictures and ads and pointing out things they recognized from the stories we've been reading!

Next came our craft! What's more fun than acting our our very own dog race! We took a sturdy paper plate and decorated it with all the details of the race... The start in Anchorage, the trees, river and frozen lakes and finally the end in Nome!
Then made little animals and taped them to a magnet, set it on the plate and attach another magnet to a popcycle sticks and move it under the magnet already resting on the plate! Watch your animals "run"!

You can run your own miniature version of the Iditarod! :) This idea could be used for any theme really! I'd love to see what else you end up using it for! If you do, be sure to leave your link in a message and I'll add it to the post for others to see too! :)

In addition to the book, we also watched this video. It is kind of a decumentary but more like a personal home movie of his journey to the Iditarod. The girls and I really enjoyed it and just had to share this music video...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Coming this month!

Our blog was featured on Helping Little Hands! Check there each day for new books to read and activities to make! What a fabulous month of reading we are going to have!!!

And.... for a theme for reading on our blog this month, check back weekly for new books about the far north! Alaska it is!!! Did you know that the Iditarod, the last great race, starts on Saturday? Since we can't be there in person we are making the best of it and reading everything related to it that we can get our hands on! And of course we're crazy about this song!!

FYI- While our family are HUGE fans of Hobo Jim songs, please be sure to listen to his other songs before letting our kids listen to them. :) They may not all be suitable for your family. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hugs from Washington

How on earth would you go about mailing a hug? :) This sweet book about a young pig mailing a hug to his grandmother really struck a cord with us. It would be so nice to think that it could actually happen the way it does in the book, with a hug getting passed all the way to his nice Grandma via the postal workers passing this hug from one person to another with it eventually making it's way to Grandma!

My kids loved this book and I really enjoyed the conversation we had about what other ways we could use to send a hug!

My youngest suggested we just go visit and give the hug ourselves....

My oldest thought we could draw or take a picture of ourselves and send it in a card....

When I asked if she had any other ideas she ask "You do don't you?". Little miss smarty pants... too funny!

Which of course I did have another idea! Why not get a large piece of paper (we happen to keep a huge roll of butcher paper on hand for such projects!) and trace out our bodies! That way we can mail "ourselves" to our grandparents! They thought this was great and instantly started talking about what they wanted to draw on for clothes and such.... Although I do have to warn you to speak in detail about this project with little ones. At one point I mentioned mailing my littlest one to her Grammy and Papa and she got almost an instant panic look on her face!!! She felt much better when I clearified that we would mail the paper one not the real one! :)

Want more ideas?

Another idea for mailing a hug woul be this card that we made at the library a few years ago!

And this banner was made for a birthday card for their Opa! We spelled out "Happy Birthday" in pictures.... I bet he felt like he'd been hugged, don't you? :)

How would you send a hug? :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Penguins in WA!

I know I write about a lot of books and tell you how great they are, but this one really is great. Both of my girls begged me not to take it back to the library after having already renewed it TWICE! lol We also got to check out  "Oops" written by the same author and it was just as captivating! I was so bummed that our library doesn't carry the other books she wrote!

What do you do when you find something great? You share it! And thats exactly what I did! For our next library meet up with friends, I took this book to read. On our way out the door, I asked the girls to dig through their puppet bin and find a penguin. I couldn't believe it when we realized that we didn't have one!!!

So, I felt inspired and came up with this guy! Isn't he a cutie? I was so excited how he turned out! I have recently got my etsy store slowly up and running and I'm adding things as I get them done. I don't have him on there yet but will soon! :) And I make all sorts of other puppets too! Stop by and check them out on Facebook!

When I saw these penguin counters we just HAD to make them! I do have to admit, the rocks were not easy to find. I searched for the ones she used but couldn't find them ANYWHERE!!! I had finally given up hope when I happened on to these ones at Walmart for $3. (They were in the floral department!)

I thought that I would end up doing most of these but my daughter started on them and ran with it!!

When it was all said and done, we now have 100 little penguins to use for math counters! As soon as she had finished painting them, she started counting them until she got to 100 and as soon as she was done with that she started counting them by 2s! Then she asked "What else can I do with them?" and I pulled out the Add it! Math Game and Subtract it!Math Games that I printed out from Confessions of a Homeschooler. (Her site is a wealth of information and printables- seriously go check it out!)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Raggedy Anne up North!

I love the idea of sharing something vintage with the girls... They had gotten Raggedy Ann dolls for Christmas a couple years ago and they are still one of their very favorite babies. The idea that in a world of crying, walking and talking babies (you know those really freaky ones in Walmart that go off when you walk by) a rag doll still has her place... well that's just wonderful to me.... so of course we thoroughly enjoyed this book and will have to add it to our wish list of books! :)

For this book, you could do just about any craft relating to hearts and would go along just fine. The last week or so has consisted of me making anything I could in the form of a heart shape... instead of plain circle biscuits, they were hearts. Instead of boring ol' sandwiches, why not take a cookie cutter to it and make it a heart sandwich? Heart pancakes anyone? The list could, and has in our house, gone on and on....

For our craft tho, I made the girls each a heart necklace to wear and wear them they have! You'd have thought they were made of gold for as much as they have worn them! I'm glad that they can still be happy with the simple things, and hope that it never wears off!

If you'd like to make a heart necklaces too, head on over to SkipToMyLou and let her know I sent you! I just love her little garland and love adding her little crochet hearts to our Valentine necklaces! Enjoy!

I got this link from a fellow homeschooler and have been listening to old records ever since! Click on the picture and it will take you to the site, you can listen to and have all sorts of great old childrens albums!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Writing good things in Washington!

In a world full of text messaging, emails and phone calls I fear that there is something being lost.... there is something to be said about the written word and something that makes a hand written note span the test of time. You can't bottled up a text to treasure many years down the road and unfortunately, many people don't even value the ability to write in cursive any more! I think that's why handwriting has always been a big deal in our house. I give the kids a week or so after a holiday or birthday before we start the painstaking process of writing thankyous... but you know what? I think that sort of thing is important. If they aren't thankful enough for the item received to write a short thankyou then they don't really deserve to have it! :) When I gently remind them of that they are more than happy to write that note expressing their gratitude! That being said tho, there are so many more ways that we use writing on a daily basic and this book gives us great examples to follow!

This book really struck a cord with me and just goes to show how many ways we are all learning to be better writers! While we only got to do a few of the things in this book, I plan on doing a few more before we have to return it to the library!

This week we finished up our Christmas thankyou cards (I never said it was a quick process!lol), wrote a story and started on Valentine's cards...

In amongst all the writing going on at our house, we also got a treasured letter in the mail from the girls' Great Grandparents.. there is always so much excitement when they find envelopes addressed to them! And I love that they will have these letters hidden away in a box to treasure for years to come... writing has power!

Now I must ask you... have you Written Anything Good lately? :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

February book picks!

Ok, the books have been picked so here is a teaser! Please check them out and read along!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Living Craft joy in Washington

As a teen, I can remember being so anxious for the mailman to bring my newest subscription to Teen or Seventeen magazine. At the time it felt like my lifeline to what was new and cool at the time....It gave me a window in the lives of other teens and ads for the latest and the greatest in fashion (which I obviously never listened to anyways! ha!).

In my early twenties, it was Cosmo.... the newest trends and styles... and the articles on "How to meet Mr Right" are almost laughable now... what was I thinking!? lol

As a newly married woman of 23, I can remember being anxious to get my newest Better Homes and Garden edition... again, thinking it was my view of what is new and cool in the way of cooking and keeping a house . Are we seeing a trend here? :) I moved quickly past that one and right on to the world of Martha Stewart! :)

Being a new mother a few years later, I found that same excitement when the mail carrier would deliver my Parents and Parenting magazines and thought they were just the greatest source of information about kids, the newest trends for toys and safety and helpful how-to sections for moms.... That worked for a little bit but then I discovered the fact that talking to other moms is a better education than any magazine will own up to! lol

I have since moved passed all of these magazines and honestly look back on them all with loving thoughts but have kind of burned myself out on their repetitive articles and rather lame creative ideas....

Which brings me to the newest periodical love of my life! Living Crafts magazine is definitely the new joy of getting mail! :) I literally can't wait for each edition (4 yearly) to come and feel much like a stalker when I know it is on it's way! lol  During our move, my summer copy got forwarded before I was able to get the address updated and I really thought I was going to go crazy waiting for it to catch up to me!!

This magazine is THE magazine for any Waldorf/nature inspired, green crafting family. It has articles that I even share with my girls... our favorite being one written by Fiona Duthie called "A sweater for a year" which took us thru the entire process of raising a sheep, sheering the wool, making the yarn and knitting the sweater! I just love to know the how and why about the everyday things we use without even giving credit to how they came to be. Appreciation of life and everything in it is key...

This magazine also has articles on story telling and how to incorporate it into the lives of the children around us and the puppets (which you know I am crazy about!) to go along with the stories!I find so much inspiration in these publications and want to shout it from the roof tops every chance I get! EVERYONE should be reading this magazine!

One of their newest endeavors is their  new blog! They always seem to be adding more and more ideas and tutorials for making amazing, high quality crafts that will last for generations!! My favorite new blog post is the next thing on my list to create! I have been wanting to make a set of post office items for the girls and this looks like a perfect gift for Valentine's day!

So please, go check out Living Crafts magazine, I just know you are going to love it as much as I do... your kids will thank you for it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A mishap month

I don't know about you, but I am having trouble getting back into a routine this month and I'm sure you've noticed that this blog has been out of sink too! So... I thought for now, I would just share with you weekly about some of my favorite go-to craft books! What better way to start the new year than with inspiration right!?

Just because things are a bit crazy at our house with reorganizing (long story) and other school work plus some other unexpected issues of life, doesn't mean we aren't reading and crafting... just not as organized as I would like to be! And definately nothing worth sharing for all to see! lol So, this month's blog posts will be more about ideas than story topics and we'll hopefully get back to our regular schedule, if not a better one, in February!

And so... for this week's craft book I give you....

This is by far one of my favorite crafting books and has gotten so much use it's ridiculous!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Woolbur in WA

It was a Moms Night Out, way back when we were still in TX that I stumbled upon this book. You see, our MNO events always ended with a few of us going to our favorite Hastings store for coffee, book shopping and girl talk. Somehow we always ended up in the kids section, looking thru books. It figures, that on our one night "off", us homeschooling moms couldn't just shut it off and have some down time but instead surrounded ourselves with our favorite friends and children's books! Yes, I know... we are strange... but boy do I miss them...

Anyways, I found this book, about none other than a sheep that thinks outside the box (an idea that has plagued me my entire life!) and wool yarn/knitting! What could be better than that! I thought about that for months until I actually got it as a gift from my mom! lol I guess liked it enough to talk about it ! haha!

And, so.... on this cold winter day in the Pacific northwest, I urge you to go check out this book. Snuggle up with a warm cup of tea and enjoy... I'll be back later this week to show you what we've been up to!