Archive for June, 2010

Birthday Party!

For Clara’s third birthday, we had a barbeque birthday party with all of her best friends invited.  It was quite the bash and Mama was pretty tired afterward, but it was all worth it.  Here’s a pictorial review of the shindig…

We gave out whistles to everyone just to up the excitement and noise factor. I’m sure they were a huge hit in the car on the way home, too!
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We had an art table with painting of butterflies and dragonflies that could be stuck into pots later or just flown around as their wings are on springs and flap as they are “flown.” I set it up on a “table” that was really a carboard box with a $1 table cloth on it so I didn’t have to worry about spills or wet at all. We just recycled the entire thing when we were done.
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We had the slide, tunnel and a “baby” swing out in the backyard as well as a bowling set, a box of balls, and a basket of sidewalk chalk.
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There was a “water table” that was really just a large under the bed kind of tupperware filled with water and water toys. The water wheels were from Target’s $1 bins and then I added various measuring cups and bath toys (like rubber duckies).
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Then I had a bubble station out. It was good fun and nobody thankfully got clobbered in the head with a wand. I used my favorite bubble solution and put it in a couple of cookie sheets for dipping with the wands. Apparently if you stir it up with the wands, it stops making bubbles, but then is great for a late evening soap fight!
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We also had impromptu dance parties and princess dress up:
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And don’t forget the food! For snacks we had the toddler top picks: olives, pretzels, and watermelon. For dinner we had black bean or beef burgers and corn on the cob (plus more watermelon). Then there was of course cake (in a yellow dinosaur shape!), and after dinner the kids watched a movie (Winnie the Pooh) and ate popcorn. Then they came back outside and ran around like mad! The chickens were in heaven, too since anytime anyone had a finished watermelon rind or corn cob, a kiddo would throw it in the run for them. Come to think of it, that was an activity for the kids all of itself!
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Overall, this was a great party. It was a good balance of different activities for the kids, and the grown ups were given some space to talk at least a bit. Even though there were ten kids there, it didn’t seem overwhelming at all. Everyone had fun, more importantly, and the birthday girl had so much fun that she couldn’t fall asleep because she was so wound up. The next day when I asked her what the best part was, though, she answered, “The cake!”

Mama made present

Clara turned three yesterday!!  I wanted to make something for her for her birthday this year.  I think I’m going to *try* to do that for both girls every year.  We’ll see how that goes.  I am in love with these fairy houses and especially these (really, click on the links because they are so cool!).  So I decided to make my own during Clara’s nap and give it to her for her birthday.

I bought a little birdhouse that I thought was a good fit at Michaels for about five dollars along with some acrylic paint and sealer.  I also bought three little fairy figures from Disney’s Tinkerbell movie from Toys ‘R’ Us on clearance. Then I got to work.  It took me about two weeks since my naps are generally filled with cleaning and Nancy sometimes decides not to nap at the same time as Clara.  I painted, sealed, and then during an evening after bedtime, I hot glue gunned.  I only burnt myself once.

When I finished, I set it up outside like this:
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Then I took Clara outside, telling her that fairies had moved into the backyard in celebration of her birthday. It was really sweet. She was SO excited. But then she decided that she couldn’t reach the fairy house well enough to play with the fairies, so she moved it here:
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Then she got down to business pretending a life for all her fairy friends. That is Clara’s thing. She loves to make up stories and have her fairies, animals, stuffies, dinosaurs, etc. act it all out. Now she can do it outside, too. And I will be able to hang up laundry and weed in relative peace for a few minutes.
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Father’s Day Gifts

Sorry that I didn’t post this earlier, but both Grandpas read my blog and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise!  For Father’s Day, I took inspiration from Fun Hand Print Art and we made some hand print fish on can hugs!  All of the Daddies in my girls’ life drink beer and regularly use a can holder to drink from.  So, there you go.  We did ours on can hugs that were on sale at Michael’s for $0.66.  It was a great deal and I just couldn’t pass it up.  I had recently bought some acrylic paint for another project (coming soon) and we used that.  Acrylic paint isn’t exactly perfectly washable, so I was a little stressed during the making and didn’t take any pictures.  That and I was the one who was painting hands and trying to get them in the correct spot and I’m not sure how I would have made them and taken pictures at the same time.  A hint: if trying to get your infant to open her balled fists for a project, it is helpful to put her to sleep first. Here’s the finished product.
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Learning Numbers

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After Clara and I made her birthday countdown calendar, I realized that she does not know any numbers yet.  Yes, she knows how to count, but she does not know the numerals at all.  I decided that that should be fixed.  She does, after all, know almost all of the letters.  So, I made a  “matching” game similar to this one at Pink and Green Mama’s blog. We match the numbers on the stones (one bag from Dollar Tree was enough for the entire alphabet and the numbers 1-10.  I bought  two bags just in case and the second bag will be showing up in a later post!) and discuss which numbers they are.  Then we count the groups of stickers and place the correct number stone on the group.  This is a work in progress, but I feel like her future teachers (especially in the math area) may appreciate this.  I’ve been focusing on letters and reading and ignoring math.  I guess that’s just what happens when you’re an English teacher.  But I’m trying to be better.
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Dot Spots

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(Okay, so Mommy may have done the last one)

I saw these cool dot markers at my local toy store over a year ago.  I didn’t buy them because as soon as I saw them I thought, “Bingo Dobbers!” and resolved to steal some from the store of bingo dobbers that my parents keep at the lake.  I did, last summer (thanks, guys!), and then promptly forgot about them after putting them in our art box.  But, I unearthed them yesterday to a great hoopla!  Clara called her art “Dot Spots” and absolutely loved doing this.  We may do it again this afternoon because they are totally easy to set up (butcher paper taped to the table, dobbers out, done) and she enjoyed herself so much.  The bingo dobbers are not washable (we didn’t have any issues, though as they are somewhat self regulating) and do say “Keep out of reach of children” on them, by which I decided it meant to supervise your child so that they don’t huff or eat them.  So, if you’re squeamish about those sorts of things, you may want to go with the Do A Dot ones.
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Sunflower Door Hanging


It has been pouring rain here.  We have had maybe two good really sunny spring days.  Its June for goodness sake!  I wan sunshine, hot weather, and flowers.  I want to make ice cream and popcicles and eat them outside on the porch and barbeque outside of the garage.  But it is not happening.  So Clara and I decided that maybe if we made a sunflower similar to this one, the sun would be tempted to come out and shine on us.  So far it hasn’t worked, but I’m hopeful for the weekend.
Materials: paper plate, paper bag, orange and yellow paint, black seeds, lentils, or rice
1) Paint your paper plate orange. We used a foam brush today so we could paint a big area quickly (Dollar Tree has packs of ten for a buck!).
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2) Draw some petals on the paper bag and paint those as well. Cut out when dry.
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3) Glue the seeds/lentils/rice to the middle of the paper plate. Make sure you place each one individually. It takes FOREVER!
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4) Glue the petals to the paper plate and let the whole thing dry. Then hang it on your door and hope for sunshine!

Birthday Countdown!

Clara’s third birthday is almost here and she is SO excited.  It is birthday season in our little world as all of Clara friends were born between March and August.  So, she has been eagerly anticipating her turn.  We were talking about it on Sunday (who she wanted to invite to her party, what kind of cake she wanted, etc.) and she couldn’t understand when her birthday was, so to make it a bit more concrete, we made a countdown calendar.  Not only do I no longer have to answer the incessant question, “My birthday today?” but its also a lesson about days of the week and math (counting and subtracting!).
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Momma is working on a bunch of birthday plans, too. I’ll share them with you after the big party, but here are a few little preview pictures!
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