Monday, December 29, 2008

Sales Aplenty

I hit the stores today for the big after Christmas sales and got to stock up on yarn at super prices. I am an avid knitter and will be ready now for the many days of snowy weather here in the northeast. I will grab my needles and a cup of tea or cocoa and settle in. Hope you all have great plans for the New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silver and Lavender

This is a new birthday card I made using a lavendar card, lavender flocked paper with silver embossing, silver ink, and stamps from Stampin' Up. It is accented with silver ribbon.

January Books For kids

As promised, here are some favorite books for kids that are perfect for January.

Winter Weather- "Snowsong Whistling" by Karne Lota illustrated by Elisa Kleven
This is a delightful rhyming book about a snowstorm and the illustrations are gorgeous. A wonderful book to read aloud to a child.

Polar Bears- "Big bear Little Bear" by David Bedford and Jane Chapman
An adventure story of a polar bear cub with a sweet ending.
- "The Three Snow Bears" by Jan Brett
This is similar to the three bears story but with polar bears instead of brown bears. As usual with a Jan Brett book, the illustrations are superb.

Coordinated art project:
This is a very simple art project to follow the reading of the polar bear books.
First, make a simple basic sketch of a polar bear body and head on white copy paper. (See illustration.)It doesn't need to be exact.
Second, slowly tear around your outline to make the furry effect.
Third, use a blue piece of construction paper or cardstock as a water background. Tear an simple iceberg shape from white copy paper and glue it onto the blue.
Fourth, glue the polar bear body onto the iceberg. Glue the head between the front legs as shown.
Fifth, use a black marker or crayon to make the small circle eyes, larger oval nose, and claws.

Friday, December 26, 2008

January Ideas

I have received a request to give a monthly activity for fun and learning. Since January weather can require lots of indoor time, it seemed like a great idea. As a retired elementary school teacher, I needed quite a variety of activities for the many indoor recesses we had during the winter months. So here are a few suggestions.

Science Theme: Birds
1-For younger kids, make some bird feeders out of pipe cleaners and Cheerios. Let them push Cheerios onto each pipe cleaner ( you may want to connect two together for extra length) and twist into different shapes (this is also a good way to teach geometric shapes like circle, triangle, square, rectangle, and rhombus.) An additional math connection would be to specify a number to go on each shape, for example: 7 on the circle, 12 on on triangle. For the older kids, let them decide how many of the 12 go on each side of the triangle (a basis for division). Choose shapes and numbers that are age appropriate. Place outside their bedroom window.
2- Make feeders out of pine cones covered with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed and corn meal. Hang with string in a nearby tree.
3- Bird Biscuits Recipe:
2 cups biscuit baking mix
1/2 cup cold water
2 Tbsp margarine
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
Preheat oven to 425F. Form a soft dough with baking mix & water. Roll out the dough to 3/4" thickness & cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Using a straw, punch a hole in the top of each cookie. Melt the margarine & brush over dough. Sprinkle the seeds & nuts onto the dough and press it in FIRMLY with a fork. Bake for 15-20 min., or until light brown. When cool, thread brightly colored ribbon through the hole & hang in a tree.
Let the kids use a bird identification guide or the internet to name and record the different birds they see at their feeders. The older children can keep a graph for each month, and may be able to conclude which feeder attracts the most birds.
Please feel free to share your feedback.

Arts and crafts:
Homemade modeling dough: NOTE: This activity MUST be supervised by an adult.

2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 cps water
food coloring

Measure flour, salt, cream of tartar into a large pot. Stir well. Add coloring to water in a measuring cup. Slowly add colored water to dry ingredients. Stir in oil. cook over low to medium flame, stirring always. A spatula works best. Stir until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and turn out onto work surface. Knead dough. It may be sticky to start. It will dry as it cools. Store in an airtight container.

Next week, I will begin recommending two books for each week. They will be ones that I have used and know that children love.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

White Christmas!

Take time to enjoy all the blessings of having a grandchild to enjoy at this wonderful time of the year. It is truly a wonder to see a child experience all the fun of the holiday season for the very first time. Take tons of pictures to remember each special activity. Happy Holidays to all!