Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Let’s Read to Feed!

May 30, 2008

Let’s go for it, let’s think big! This summer let’s empower our children and help them discover that they have the power to change the world.

While we are encouraging our children to read this summer we can be helping poor families all over the world! Read to Feed is a reading motivation/service learning program from Heifer International. Children are inspired to read more books for pleasure, while raising money, through sponsored reading, to help end world hunger and improve the environment.

I first became aware of this program when we lived near the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. Our family read the book “Faith the Cow.” By the end of the book our eyes were filled with tears but our hearts were full of hope! Heifer International is truly a wonderful organization.

What is Heifer International?

“Heifer International works to end world hunger and save the earth. For close to 60 years, Heifer has helped more than four million impoverished families in 128 countries lift themselves out of poverty and achieve self-reliance.

The idea is simple and it works. Instead of providing hungry families with a non-renewable source of food, Heifer International provides a “living loan” of an animal. The family’s health and standard of living is greatly improved by what that animal can provide. This might be milk from a cow or goat, eggs from poultry, meat from rabbits, draft power from water buffalo or wool from llamas.

Key to success of the program is that Heifer provides extensive training in animal care, ecologically sound agriculture practices and community development. The result is to transform not just families, but the environment and community.

Another key cornerstone of Heifer International is “passing on the gift.” Families who receive an animal repay the loan by passing on one or more of the animals’ offspring to other needy families. That family passes on their gift to another family and so on. So one gift multiplies through the community.

Heifer International currently provides more than 27 types of animals that provide food and/or income to struggling families in 48 countries (including the U. S.)”

So what do you think? I think that if we all work together we can purchase an Ark of animals.

I know this is a lofty goal but lets think big! We would have to tell everyone we know. We would have to ask every child we know to start reading and to ask for sponsors. Once children receive money for reading their books they can go here and make their donation. You may click on this page at any time to see a running total of how much we have collected. The site accepts credit cards. I am sorry but the minumum donation is $10.00. If you were wanting to make a smaller donation, maybe you and a friend could make a donation together. Join as a team member and you will have the ability to e-mail friends, solicit donations and make your donations in your name.

The Read to Feed website is full of fantastic learning materials, fun and games! I will try to highlight some of the materials here in the coming weeks. I will also try to post a little review about some of our favorite books and a craft each week.

I hope you will join us on this little reading adventure this summer! Together we can make a difference!

Copy the code below if you would like a button for your sidebar:

<a href=”https://skiptomylou.wordpress.com/2008/05/30/lets-read-to-feed“><img src=”https://skiptomylou.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/button1.jpg?w=199” /></a>

How to make a duct tape bullwhip

May 29, 2008

If you have come looking to make TRULY dangerous toys for boys you are at the right spot! Or maybe you have finally succumbed to the constant whining about “needing” a bullwhip since the release of the new Indiana Jones movie.

Thank you to Wesley Scoggins Indy Mogul for the clever idea to use duct tape!

You will need:

  • Brown “duck” tape (we found this at Wal-Mart) cut into 3- 12 foot lengths
  • 10″ piece of 3/8″ wooden dowel rod
  • a foot or so of twine for the “popper” if desired

Begin by placing two chairs 12 feet apart. Place three strips of tape between the chairs.

Fold each of the pieces of tape in half length ways-leave attached to chair

Leave tape hooked on one of the chairs and begin braiding. Braiding 12 feet of duct tape isn’t really pleasant but is certainly less painful than paying $50.00 plus for a bullwhip! We tried several methods: hanging it up high, laying it on the ground. We found it easiest to leave it attached to the chair and have another person help untangle the strips of duck tape as you braid. My eleven year old was able to do most of the braiding.

Once you have reached the end take another piece of tape and wrap around the braid to fasten off.

Remove the other end from the chair and attach these ends of tape to the wooden dowel.

Begin wrapping the dowel with tape until you have completely covered the handle. When finished we took a small piece of tape and covered each end and then wrapped a small piece once again around the dowel to make it secure.

If you want to make the popper you tie it on like this

Finished! How does it work?—–probably not well enough to kill someone or allow you to hang from a tree (we’re trying though) but well enough to cause some damage to your house and possibly harm to a friend, so please be careful!

Marbleizing Paper

May 25, 2008

To make this fun and easy marbleized paper you will need: 1/2 tsp alum (helps paint adhere to the paper), 2 cups liquid starch, liquid acrylic paints, a long wooden skewer , a 9 X 13 pan and white copy paper cut to fit the inside your pan. You can change up the size of the pan, just keep the proportions of starch and alum the same. The starch should be 1 to 2 inches deep in your pan.

marbelizing-paper-006-1.jpg

Pour 2 cups of liquid starch in the pan then add 1/2 tsp alum stirring until mixed.

marbelizing-paper-002-2.jpg

Gently drop acrylic paint on the surface of the starch. Some paint will sink to the bottom- do not worry. Try not to use too much paint. For best results choose light and dark colors that go together. It will take some experimenting to know how much paint works best for you. Brands of acrylic paint differ in consistency. If after several tries you have trouble with the paint not staying on the surface, try adding a drop of water to your paint.

marbelizing-paper-001-3.jpg

Take the wooden skewer and drag the paint through the starch. Continue dragging the skewer through the paint until you get a design you like. You might try other tools like a fork, feather or comb besides the skewer. Really the fun of this activity is watching the paint swirl around making different designs. There is no right and wrong. Enjoy the experimenting. We were mesmerized —- we hope you will be also!

marbelizing-paper-003-5.jpg

Lay your piece of paper on top of the starch. Allow it to sit for a couple of seconds.

marbelizing-paper-005-4.jpg

Lift the paper out of the pan and allow the starch to drip off the paper

marbelizing-paper-004-6.jpg

Rinse the paper under running water removing any extra starch. This does not change the intensity of the colors (the below photo is a different piece of paper paper from the above photo)

marbelizing-paper-010-7.jpg

After the paper has been rinsed, lay it out to dry. It will take about two hours for the paper to dry. When the paper is completely dry, iron on medium setting until the sheets of paper are flat.

You may find that you can print two sheets of paper before adding more paint to the starch. In the photo below, the bottom piece of paper was made first. We then used our skewer again making a different design and put on another sheet of paper.

marbelizing-paper-007-8.jpg

In the photo below we had too much paint on our starch so we went ahead and made a print then changed up the design and then made another. If you feel that you have made a lot of prints and your starch is too full of paint, just pour it out and start again.

marbelizing-paper-001-9.jpg

The possibilities of what to do with your paper are endless—- cover pencils, a book or a box, make note-cards, book marks or a picture frame etc.

Have fun!

Appreciation 7 days a week

April 22, 2008

This year for teacher appreciation week we will be giving each teacher a “days of the week” pill box filled with little treats and sayings. I found the pill boxes at the dollar store.

You may download the sayings if you like –

teacher-appreciation-sayings

(I didn’t use the “We are lucky to have you for a teacher” saying. It would go nicely with a lottery ticket!)

Fabric covered tacks fill one of the compartments to tell them they are sharp!

I used Jessica Jones’ fabulous instructions to make the fabric covered thumbtacks

Some purchased colorful clips fill the next compartment

Next up marble magnets

These are simple to make with glass gems (floral department at the craft store), E600 craft adhesive, a 3/4 inch hole punch, 3/4 inch magnets and decorative scrapbook paper, wrapping paper and or magazine scraps. First punch out a circle and glue it to the back of the glass gem. I removed air bubbles by moving paper in a circular motion to distribute glue evenly and then pressing hard. Allow to set. Next glue the magnet to the back of your papered gem. I found it necessary to sort my glass gems to find the largest ones with no scratches or imperfections. If your glass gems are smaller try using a 1/2 inch hole punch and 1/2 inch magnets.

A measuring tape tells our teacher that they really measure up

Change for the soda machine fills another compartment

Small little post-it notes (the kind for marking a page) just fit to say, “Just a note to let you know we think you are a wonderful teacher!”

Some mints to say thank you

Wrapped all up with a little gift tag that reads:

A daily gift for all you do,
Teaching my child each day through.
Making a difference without taking a rest,
As a teacher, you’re one of the best!

teacher-appreciation-gift-tag-for-pill-box

Hopefully our teachers will feel appreciated each day!

What’s for lunch?

April 8, 2008

How about a ham, roast beef and Swiss pita with tomato and lettuce and a bag of chips?

 felt-pita-and-chips.jpg

This little lunch is for my niece’s birthday.  I could easily become addicted to making felt food. 

Geocaching

April 3, 2008

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called “geocaches” or “caches”) anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and “treasure,” usually toys or trinkets of little value. Today, well over 540,000 geocaches are registered on various websites devoted to the pastime. Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Over spring break we found ourselves with nowhere to go and nothing to do, only made more painful by the long list of friends going to exciting places. We decided to make our own fun by Geocaching.

geocaching-1a.jpg

By registering at the website and typing in your address you might find hundreds of hidden treasures right in your neighborhood, we did. Once we found our locations, printed of the details, borrowed a GPS we were off—–well it is not that simple, you know the drill–snacks, jackets, drinks………. So after we were prepared as we could be, we were off.

We found our first cache fairly easy—-THANK GOODNESS. You know I had an audience that I was trying to sell on this whole deal (and a 15 year old can be very skeptical!) . This activity NEEDED to be more fun than going to the beach or snow-skiing!

geocaching-1.jpg

Our first cache not only was easy to find but had some special treasures. Each cache can be filled with different items, usually small trinkets.

geocaching-2.jpg

Some have “travel bugs” and we were lucky to find one in our first find.

geocaching-michael-the-eagle.jpg

Each child chose a little trinket from the cache and in return they each left one that we had brought from home.

geocaching-3.jpg

We logged our visit in a log book that is usually included in each cache.

Our next cache led us on a wild goose-chase–never to be found.

Our third cache was a wild trek over a barbed wire fence, a boggy field and a small creek, but we did score! This one had a “geocoin.”

little-hopper-geocoin.jpg

The “Travel Bugs” and “Geocoins” are registered by entering their code on the internet when found and then moving them to another geocache. You can watch them move along from cache to cache online.

Our next outing was a multiple cache at none other than a cemetery. Let’s just say it was really really hard and again trying desperately to keep my troops happy I begged the gravedigger (literally) in his backhoe for a clue! Having problems with the second part of the clue we again searched out the gravedigger (now digging a grave) for more help. I am sure this clue asking is NOT okay so if you are a die-hard geocacher or the geocacher police please remember I am out alone with a 15 year old, an 11 year old and a three year old on my back in a backpack—-this justifies clue asking. Finally the two micro caches led us to the final cache. Of course, it happened to be right by where they were digging the grave so all the workmen cheered for us! It only takes us a little applause and now we are totally into geocaching.

All in all it was great fun and we made some great memories! We are the KansasGrasshoppers and we left calling cards in all of the caches we found—-see if you can spot one!

Happy Easter!

March 23, 2008

Our boy decorated bunny cake

bunny-cake.jpg

The Bunny Cake cutting diagram

bunny-cake-cutting-diagram.jpg

Bunny Egg Holder

March 21, 2008

I though these would make cute place-cards or table decorations

bunny-egg-holder.jpg

Download bunny-egg-holder.pdf

Print on colored card-stock and cut out on dotted line.

Bring legs up then wrap one arm in front of legs and then bring the other arm around and place on top of the first arm. Staple where claws on bunny should be.

Want more bunnies? Check out Bunny Napkin Rings

Bunny Napkin Ring

March 21, 2008

Here’s a little something for the children’s table at Easter —- a bunny napkin ring.

bunny-napkin-ring-1.jpg

Download bunny-napkin-ring.pdf

Print on colored card-stock then cut out. Roll end toward back of bunny head.

bunny-napkin-ring-2.jpg

Staple where claws on bunny should be

bunny-napkin-ring-3.jpg

I wrapped silverware in an orange napkin then fastened with a green pipe cleaner and slipped the “carrot” into the bunny.  If you have a hard time with the bunny standing up, a cotton ball glued to the back would provide stability and be a cute addition.

bunny-napkin-ring-6.jpg

You will find a matching Bunny Egg holder here.

Lucky Shamrock Hair clip

March 16, 2008

lucky-shamrock-crochet-hairclip-1.jpg

If your little girl needs a bit o’ green tomorrow it is not too late to make this little hair clip. I need to admit that I have never written a crochet pattern before—-so I am hoping it works for you if you give it a go. It only takes a few minutes.

I used a size 4 crochet needle and embroidery floss (all 6 threads).

Chain 6, dc in 2nd chain from hook and then slip-stitch in remaining 4 chains (this makes the stem), chain 3 and join with a slip-stitch in the 3rd chain from hook to form a ring. For petal *chain 3 turn (only turn the first time), trc , dc , trc , chain 3 and slip-stitch in ring*. Repeat between * two more times so you have 3 petals. Fasten off and weave in the ends. Sew your lucky shamrock to a bobby pin or hair clip.

Now this little girl can tell her big brothers NO PINCHING!

Window Silhouettes

March 6, 2008

We had so much fun making these window clings —–the possibilities for seasonal and everyday decorations are endless.

window-clings-eggs.jpg

You will need a roll of clear contact paper, paint brushes, paint (we used acrylic), fine sandpaper and masking tape.

window-clings-supplies.jpg

First cut a piece of contact paper from the roll. I cut squares about 5″ x 5″ because that was about the size of shapes I knew I would be cutting.

Take a fine piece of sandpaper and lightly sand the shiny surface of the contact paper where you will be painting. Wipe off any dust. This step helps the paint adhere to the slick contact paper.

Since we are often VERY messy when we paint I taped a piece of wax paper to the table. Tape the piece of contact paper shiny(sanded) side up onto the wax paper.

window-clings-1.jpg

Paint onto the contact paper square. Since my daughter is three I encouraged her to paint using lots of colors. I knew I would be cutting out Easter eggs so it really didn’t matter what or how she painted.

window-clings-2.jpg

Allow the painting to dry completely. I think she painted about 10 of these squares.

Once the paint is completely dry take another square of contact paper the same size as your painting and peel off the paper backing. Cover your painting with the clear contact paper. Smooth out any bubbles.

window-clings-second-layer.jpg

Trace around any shape of your choosing. I used an egg and bunny for my template.

window-clings-outline.jpg

Cut out the shape

window-clings-cutting.jpg

Carefully remove the paper backing. This takes some time —–make sure you are only removing the paper (the back of your painting should be sticky). If you use acrylic paint it is plastic enough that it has a tendency to peel away from the contact paper, so peel carefully! If it does peel away and it won’t stick back down just put a little glue stick between the layers.

window-clings-peeling.jpg

Once you are finished stick your silhouettes to your window

window-clings-outside.jpg

from the outside looking in

from the inside looking out

window-clings-inside.jpg

I would encourage older kids to paint their own designs and then cut out. I can imagine huge flowers and birds! Nothing is sweeter than kid’s art!

Have fun!!

Lucky Shamrocks

March 4, 2008

My 11 year old boy made these cool hanging felt shamrocks for our window. (He wanted me to make sure that you know he was VERY bored and needed something to do and he got to use the sewing machine —stressing the MACHINE part, so it was all good)

shamrock.jpg

We took two layers of felt and cut out a shamrock shape.  My crafty boy used a sewing machine to beautifully stitch the layers together and also stiched  in a ribbon at the top.  He added a few beads on the ribbon and now they our hanging in our window—hopefully bringing us lots of luck!  If you need some luck, here are the shamrock shapes we used.

Be Mine

February 14, 2008

My little girl couldn’t take any extra treats, candy or trinkets with her Valentines for preschool. That meant the lollipop lilies were out for us. So instead we made these little conversation heart garlands out of cardstock.

conversation-heart-garland.jpg

We added “pink fairy” glitter (carefully chosen and liberally sprinkled by my daughter) to each of the letters. I used a Fiskers 1/4 inch rectangle hole punch to punch a hole in each side and then strung the letters on a 1/4 inch ribbon. We included two mini clothes pins with each garland. We packaged each garland in a clear cellophane bag tied with a ribbon.

BE MINE Conversation Heart Garland

I LUV U 4 EVER Conversation Heart Garland

Wishing you a very happy Valentine’s Day!

Oh Boy!

February 12, 2008

Here is our solution for Valentines for a boy that couldn’t decide whether Valentines are still “cool” to pass out. (He is in the fifth grade)

whirly-gig-4.jpg

This boy’s indecision pushed us into a last minute project last night that I am still trying to finish today.

whirly-gig-2.jpg

So if you find yourself in the same spot you can download the COOL Whirly Gig. We used card-stock, but they worked on thinner paper also.  My son finally getting into the fun decided we should punch a hole in the bottom and tie on a piece of candy (YIKES)!

whirly-gig-1.jpg

Cut on all solid lines and fold on the dotted lines.

whirly-gig-3.jpg

Fold up bottom flap and if you are not tying on candy you can fasten with a paper clip (wish I had a cool shaped one) , staple or cute heart brad.  Since the party is an hour away I think I might just hot glue that candy on the bottom!

Toss up into the air and it will twirl to the ground!  I hope you enjoy!  I am off to the Valentine’s Day party.

How does your garden grow?

February 8, 2008

lollipop-lily-007-1a.jpg

Here is another free valentine download for you! This one is much simpler! Download the files, cut and assemble!

lollipop-lily-005-2.jpg

Lollipop Lily

Leaf

lollipop-lily-006-3.jpg

I’d SNAP at the chance to be your Valentine!

February 6, 2008

Here is a free Valentine download for you if you dare (lots of cutting, folding, gluing….)

pillow-box-alligator-009-1.jpg

First download and print out an alligator and inside of mouth

pillow-box-alligator-002.jpg

Cut out pieces

pillow-box-alligator-003.jpg

Lightly score lines on pillow box and gently fold

pillow-box-alligator-004.jpg

Put glue on side flap of pillow box and fold together, leaving the ends open. Allow to dry a few minutes before folding in the ends of the box.

pillow-box-alligator-005.jpg

Score about 1/2 inch from the end of the upper mouth piece so it can open and close (see final picture). Fold in ends on box and begin gluing on upper and lower mouth and the tail.Use lots of glue stick! Use a rubber band to secure pieces while they are drying.

pillow-box-alligator-006.jpg

Fold edge of each leg and glue to sides of box

pillow-box-alligator-007.jpg

Add some googly eyes and fill box with candy

pillow-box-alligator-010.jpg

Recycled Candy Containers

February 3, 2008

recycled-candy-containers-001.jpg

Take a little tuna fish can and cover it with spray paint and paper. Hot glue plastic pony beads all the way around the side and run a yarn through the beads and you have a little drum. Be sure to use a safety can opener so that there are no sharp edges and the top of the can works as a lid.  I think it would be best to package the candy in little clear bags so the candy doesn’t take on any odd tastes from the can.

recycled-candy-containers-004.jpg

Small olive and green chili cans would make cute little drums. You could also forget the beads and yarn and use glitter and other embellishments instead!

Stuffed

January 18, 2008

Our pal Elle came today and she made the most adorable stuffed butterfly and “puppy.”

fabric-crayons-007.jpg

These fabric crayons are great to have on hand to pull out when a quick and entertaining crafted is needed. You can use regular crayons directly on fabric but I really like using the paper. I think it is much less intimidating for children.

fabric-crayons-001.jpg

First Elle colored these pictures on plain white paper. You need to color hard. Keep the drawing large with simple edges. It is important to color on only ONE side of the paper. If your child feels that she made a “mistake” give them another sheet. Our “mistakes” bled through when we ironed. Remind them that their drawings will be reversed so they must write backwards if they are using letters.

fabric-crayon-drawings.jpg

Iron the drawings onto synthetic or poly/cotton blended fabric (I think my colors would have been more vibrant if I had done this, but I only had white muslin on hand) by placing the drawing face down on right side of fabric . Sandwich a layer of plain white paper on the top and on the bottom to keep from leaving crayon on your iron and ironing board. With iron on cotton setting, iron over design until the image is seen through the back of the paper.

Place the design onto another piece of fabric right sides together and stitch around the design, leaving a small opening for the stuffing. I think this is much easier than cutting out the design and then sewing.

fabric-crayons-003.jpg

Cut out the creatures, clip all corners and curves

fabric-crayons-005.jpg

Turn inside out and stuff

fabric-crayons-006.jpg

Slip stitch the opening closed and you have some wonderful creations.

fabric-crayons-dog.jpg

Traditions

December 20, 2007

Since our oldest son was a toddler we have had friends come over IN THEIR PAJAMAS to read Christmas stories. Our oldest son is now 15 and this has become one of our most loved holiday traditions.

pajama-party.jpg

There are no fancy clothes or fancy food and kids are definitely invited. At first the guests (especially the adults) might be shy about wearing their pajamas—but we insist. We sit around reading Christmas stories, drinking hot chocolate, sometimes we do a craft(decorating gingerbread houses and making gift tags are a favorite), and we eat a few simple snacks. It is such a special way to spend a cozy and relaxing evening with friends. We enjoy listening to our friends favorite Christmas books and as some of the children have gotten older they enjoy reading the stories also. I can’t say enough about how special the evening is for us. It is a moment in this busy time of year to slow down and remember what the Season is about!

When we moved to Germany I met my dear friend Wendy who was also having these parties. Her sister Tara has written some wonderful invitations. I “borrow” these poems and then make a theme around the invite. This is one of my favorite, The Polar Express.

We would like for you to join us for

a Christmas tale

We’ll gather for a story about a

little sleigh bell

We’ll be in our pajamas so that’s

how you should dress

All aboard headed north on the

Polar Express

Your time and date

Please bring your favorite Christmas

story to read!

Invitations can be made by layering holiday papers and adding a jingle bell at the top

pajama-pary-polar-express-invite.jpg

The best thing is we can always elaborate on the theme and change it up. Next time I use this I want to make jingle bell wreaths. Family Fun has cute jingle bell bracelets to make. The possibilities are endless. Party favors would be cute sent home in a bag clipped with this jingle bell clip.

So warm up some hot chocolate and invite some friends over and relax and enjoy some special family time. A sweet little 4 year old said it was the best party she had ever been to. Now that is a pretty good endorsement when you have been to a “princess” party before!

Breakfast with Santa

December 16, 2007

 bws-eating-breakfast-1.jpg

For six years now we have hosted “Breakfast with Santa” for our son’s basketball team. 

bws-group-picture.jpg

I try to make it look special from candles on the table to hanging stars from the chandelier.

bws-eating-breakfast.jpg

I hot glued three candy canes together to make an easel to hold each of the boys names for place-cards.  We drink hot coca out of Santa mugs and I let these rowdy boys use the fine china for such a special occasion!

bws-name-cards.jpg

We eat pancakes, bacon and sausage ——and a few snowman doughnuts. Mini powder sugar doughnuts with a candy corn nose and candy eyes (from the cake decorating store).

bws-snowman-doughnuts.jpg

Usually we make a craft but this year I couldn’t resist playing “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” with these fifth grade boys.  Santa graciously agreed!

bws-are-you-smarter-than-a-5th-grader.jpg

Santa takes a photo with each boy

bws-wyatt-and-santa.jpg

Hands out a small gift to each boy

bws-passing-out-gifts.jpg

In the past Santa has read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  This year Santa was so fabulous he said the entire poem from memory.  He also reminded the boys how lucky they were, to be good, listen to their moms (thank you Santa) and remember those who don’t have as much. 

bws-santa.jpg

I’m thankful these boys still go along and just lose themselves in the magic of the morning!