Saturday, June 26, 2010

Strawberry Picking with Kids!

Picking seasonal fruits is a really fun and educational way to spend some creative and rewarding time with the kids. It is great to have the kids make a chart and draw pictures of what fruits and veggies can be picked when. There are lots of local farms all around our area with "pick your own" opportunities. It is also a good time to introduce some agricultural aspects to your kids, where, when, how and why things grow. What I really love about these activities is that it promotes a healthy lifestyle as well as good choices for the kids to make. We never pass up an opportunity to review healthy choices with the kids. It is also a good time to pull out the trusty old food pyramid. Click HERE for our favorite food pyramid chart!

We unfortunetly didn't have the opportunity to pick strawberries with the kids this year.  We did get a chance to have a strawberry lunch party!

We made felt strawberries to place around the table.  We served Hot Dogs and chips for the kids.  We also had a Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice with Kids!


HISTORY - Solstice, from the Latin for sun stands still, in astronomy, either of the two points on the ecliptic that lie midway between the equinoxes (separated from them by an angular distance of 90°). For several days before and after each solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky—that is, its noontime elevation does not seem to change.

The Summer Solstice only happens when the Earths Axis is at its maximum tilt or inclines towards the Sun. It is a time when the sun appears to stand still in the sky and in the northern hemisphere we have the longest period of daylight of the year. This occurs in June for the northern hemisphere and the longest period of daylight happens in December in the southern hemisphere.

Funny Facts:
  • Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice, Midsummer (see Shakespeare), St. John's Day, or the Wiccan Litha.
  • The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.

  •  Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.

  • Today, the day is still celebrated around the world - most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.

  • Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.

LESSON - What better time is there in the year to teach the children about the Earth and Sun and how they relate to each other? Essentially why and how we have our seasons here in the northeastern hemisphere and why the sun never sets at exactly the same time. So we looked on the computer and found this really neat website that has a short video showing an example of the Earth rotating around the sun.  Click HERE to view it.  I explained to the kids that the Earth only goes around the Sun once a year and that is what marks one calendar year. As the Earth rotates around the Sun, the Earth spins on its axis. We threw in the moon for fun and then with the three of us we acted out one year. Since Lauren has some special needs and needs some extra stimulatory factors to help her recreate a year in space we went outside and drew a yellow circle. This was the Sun which I got to play. We then drew a blue and green circle around the sun about four feet from the sun. This was the Earths path around the sun. We then drew over the blue/green line with a white piece of chalk making a continuous line of circles (like a spring) to demonstrate that she was going to turn in circles as she moved around the sun in a bigger circle. Matthew who is 10 and ready for any high engery game did not need any cues to know he was going to run circles around Lauren to demonstrate the moon circling the Earth and creating 1 day. The kids actually got the concept and really laughed a lot in the recreation of this year a day at a time. We did not complete the moons 365 days but we sure did try. It was fun and at one point we fell down lauging so hard.

SUMMER SOLSTICE CRAFTDuring our Summer Solstice Party we will be making various Sun’s using many types of materials such as Paper Mache, Clay, Construction Paper, Pipe Cleaners etc.

SUMMER FAVORITE FOODS We are going to make sun sandwiches for our Summer Solstice Party but you can easily serve any of your favorite summer foods like anything BBQ, corn on the cob, watermelon etc.

SUMMER WISH LISTHave the kids create a Summer Wish List. We found a cute one on the Family Fun website that you can print out HERE

SUMMER VACATIONS / TRAVELINGNow that you have had the kids create their summer wish list you can now take the time to organize your trips.

CRAFTS THROUGHOUT THE SUMMERKeeping the kids occupied throughout the summer can be challenging. We have summer crafts lined up for them. They range from Fish made from Paper Mache to Fish made in the sand from Plaster of Paris

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Print out these cute labels on sticker paper and place them on your Dad's favorite snacks or sauces.  You can download them from Martha Stewarts website HERE

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flag Day with Kids


Why red, white and blue? To the original members of the Continental Congress, red stood for hardiness and courage, white for purity and innocence, and blue for vigilance and justice.

Why thirteen stars and stripes? They represented the thirteen American colonies which rallied around the new flag in their fight against the British for self-governance.

The thirteen colonies included Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

To this day, thirteen stripes still commemorate the original colonies. Instead of thirteen stars, today the number of stars on the US flag has grown to 50, representing every state in the Union.

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

The above information is from: http://www.usflag.org/history/flagday.html


I pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all

This website has a great detailed timeline of the Flag of the United States of America:

Our National anthem demonstrates the pride, patriotism and virtues of our country. Just picture it, on September 13, 1814 a young attorney by the name of Francis Scott Key listened to the sounds of battle through the day. He was sent to secure the release of a Maryland Doctor who was held prisoner on a British ship. He did manage to secure the release of that doctor but could not leave the British ship until they finished their attack on Fort McHenry. Fort McHenry was being attacked by the British who had already captured Washington DC. The British continued their assault all through the day and into the night. All through the night Key listened to the forts guns trying to reach the British ships. The British attack had slowed by the next morning, September 14, 1814. I can just picture it; he was on the ship and anxiously looking through a telescope toward Fr. McHenry not knowing what he would see. Then out of the mist of the morning he sees it, the huge American Flag Swaying on the flagpole of Fr. McHenry. Oh, what he must have felt at seeing that flag swaying tall in the wind. It was a then that Key was inspired to write what he called, “Defense of Fort McHenry”. He printed his poem on handbills and later it became known as our national anthem.

The flag was carried in battles; to be part of the color company was considered an honor. When soldiers or veterans pass away we cover their coffin with an American flag.

Another great site to reference and where you find the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner and additional educational resources is http://www.usa-flag-site.org/song-lyrics/star-spangled-banner.shtml

"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America." Section 8

"The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing." Section 8j

Click HERE for more information that what we posted below:
1. When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

2. The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right [that means the viewer's left --Webmaster], and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

3. The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. Crepe streamers may be affixed to spear heads or flagstaffs in a parade only by order of the President of the United States.

4. When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the right of the flag of the United States (the viewer's left). When the flag is half-masted, both flags are half-masted, with the US flag at the mid-point and the other flag below.

5. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

6. When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.

7. When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

8. When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.

9. That the flag, when carried in a procession with another flag, or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

10. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

11. When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace. The order of precedence for flags generally is National flags (US first, then others in alphabetical order in English), State (host state first, then others in the order of admission) and territories (Washington DC, Puerto Rico, etc.), Military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard), then other. Read more.

12. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium on or off a podium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker (to the right of the audience). Please note that the old guidelines differed from this updated and simplified one.

13. When the flag is displayed on a car, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

14. When hung in a window, place the blue union in the upper left, as viewed from the street.

Click HERE to read the laws of the proper use of the flag this is the United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag

Crafts for this day: create and properly display your own flags. Just in the creating of the flag kids can learn the great history of this symbol of America.


New Year's Day - Lincoln's Birthday - Washington's Birthday
Armed Forces Day - Memorial Day - Flag Day
Independence Day - V- Day - Labor Day
Thanksgiving - Veterans' Day - Pearl Harbor Day
Christmas - State Admission Day
Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States

This site has several print outs that you may find useful:

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Anniversary of D-Day, June 6th 1944

June 1944 was a major turning point of World War II, particularly in Europe. Although the initiative had been seized from the Germans some months before, so far the western Allies had been unable to mass sufficient men and material to risk an attack in northern Europe.

By mid-1944 early mobilization of manpower and resources in America was beginning to pay off. Millions of American men had been trained, equipped, and welded into fighting and service units. American industrial production had reached its wartime peak late in 1943. While there were still critical shortages -- in landing craft, for instance -- production problems were largely solved, and the Battle of the Atlantic had been won. Ever increasing streams of supplies from the United States were reaching anti-Axis fighting forces throughout the world.

By the beginning of June 1944, the United States and Great Britain had accumulated in the British Isles the largest number of men and the greatest amount of materiel ever assembled to launch and sustain an amphibious attack. Strategic bombing of Germany was reaching its peak. In May 1943, the Combined Chiefs of Staff had given high priority to a Combined Bomber Offensive to be waged by the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Forces. By late summer 1943, Allied bombers were conducting round-the-clock bombardment of German industry and communications. In general, British planes bombed by night and American planes bombed by day. Whereas an air raid by 200 planes had been considered large in June 1943, the average strike a year later was undertaken by 1,000 heavy bombers.

After considerable study strategists determined to make the cross-channel attack on the beaches of Normandy east of the Cherbourg Peninsula. Early objectives of the operation were the deep-water ports at Cherbourg and at Brest in Brittany.

Three months before D-Day, a strategic air campaign was inaugurated to pave the way for invasion by restricting the enemy's ability to shift reserves. French and Belgian railways were crippled, bridges demolished in northwestern France, and enemy airfields within a 130-mile radius of the landing beaches put under heavy attack. Special attention was given to isolating the part of northwestern France bounded roughly by the Seine and Loire Rivers. The Allies also put into effect a deception plan to lead the Germans to believe that landings would take place farther north along the Pas de Calais.

Opposed to the Allies was the so-called Army Group B of the German Army, consisting of the Seventh Army in Normandy and Brittany, the Fifteenth Army in the Pas de Calais and Flanders, and the LXXXVIII Corps in Holland -- all under command of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Commander of all German forces in western Europe was Field Marshal von Rundstedt who, in addition to Group B, also had at his disposal Group G composed of the First and Nineteenth Armies. In all, Von Rundstedt commanded approximately fifty infantry and ten Panzer divisions in France and the Low Countries.

Despite unfavorable weather forecasts, General Eisenhower made the decision to attack on June 6, 1944. At 0200 that morning one British and two American airborne divisions were dropped behind the beaches in order to secure routes of egress from the beaches for the seaborne forces. After an intensive air and naval bombardment, assault waves of troops began landing at 0630. More than 5,000 ships and 4,000 ship-to-shore craft were employed in the landings. British forces on the left flank and U.S. forces on the right had comparatively easy going, but U.S. forces in the center (Omaha Beach) met determined opposition. Nevertheless, by nightfall of the first day, large contingents of three British, one Canadian, and three American infantry divisions, plus three airborne divisions, had a firm foothold on Hitler's "fortress Europe."

[Note: The primary source for this text is the U.S. Army Center for Military History.]  and this site that you can visit for more information:

Friday, June 04, 2010

Fathers Day with Kids!

History of Fathers Day:
Click HERE to read about the History of Fathers Day -
Whether you are like Sonora Smart Dodd who was raised by her father and began father’s day or just want to let your dad know you love him and he is appreciated and great, Fathers Day is a great day to focus solely on your special patriarch.

Whether it is his 1st Father’s Day celebration or his 80th, this day should be filled with a focus on DAD.

Gift ideas for Father’s Day:
Cards are always the easiest to create for your special father from baby hand and foot prints, masterpieces created with paint, pencil or marker, special pictures printed and glued into a card to a store bought card, there are many, many ways to let your Dad know that he is loved and appreciated. Here is a shirt and tie card that you make, click HERE  Here is another shirt card but this one has sleeves, click HERE
Click HERE for an Origami Tie, cute! Also found this Fish Card if you dad is a fisherman, click HERE

Coupon Books – This is a really cool idea for older children. They can make a coupon book for things that their Dad will really like and appreciate and can redeem whenever he wants.

Poems - Make a special poem out of your Dads name or the word Dad or Father. Use each letter in the name and come up with one fabulous word to describe your father for each letter. We provided some poems and quotes down at the bottom of this post for you to use as well.
                                                            D ad
                                                            A wesome
                                                            D elightful

Gift Cards or Gifts – You can purchase a gift card for his favorite store. You can place the gift or gift card in this adorable Shirt and Tie gift bag. Click HERE for step by step directions. You can make the tie in any pattern that suits your dad. With all the great Scrapbooking Paper out there you are sure to find one that is his favorite sport or hobby etc.  Here is another adorable Father’s Day gift card holder that you can make, click HERE

Post-it Note Holder – This is created with craft sticks.  Click HERE for the directions on this craft.

Family Magnets – Made with Flat Backed Clear Marbles, photos, magnets and glue.  Click HERE for directions on this craft.

Picture Frames – There are endless possibilities on creating frame and to include your favorite picture of you and dad. Think of his favorite sport or hobby. You can glue almost anything to an existing picture frame. You can also use your favorite online digital photo printing store like Snapfish and Shutterfly.

Smallest Tool Box – this is too cute!!!! Made from used Altoids mint containers, click HERE 

DIY Gifts for teens – Check out these incredible cool ideas from Popular Mechanics. Some items include how to create a Solar Paneled Lawn Mower and Wooden Minnow Plug Bait, click HERE

Food for Father’s Day:
Favorites – Make him whatever his favorite foods are. You can also make him breakfast in bed too! You can choose his favorite sport team or sport and decorate a cake or cupcakes with that logo or theme. For fathers who have desk jobs there is always the rectangle sheet cake you can make into a shirt by adding an icing collar and tie. Click HERE for directions on how to make this cute Lawnmower Cupcake!

Oh look at these detailed tool cookies we found!

Themes for Father’s Day:
Focus on what your particular Dad likes and go with it. But most important, let your Dad know that he is your Dad and he is appreciated, loved and you are happy that he is your Dad.

Poems to use:

Father's Day Poem for New Dads (Courtesy of Poems for Free)

Though New At Fatherhood

Though new at fatherhood, you're surely not
A novice at the art of giving love.
With quiet tact, you find the perfect spot
Among the needs of those whose hearts you move.
I never feel you slight me, even though
At times your time for me of need is slight.
Though working long and hard, you seem to know
Just how to make our son feel loved each night.
These gifts you give I know cannot come easy,
Although they seem to flow so easily.
You have a lovely air that's light and breezy,
That says: I get from you more than you see.
And so I am in awe of what you do;
You love so well that I love you well, too.

A Father's Day Poem for Grandpas (Courtesy of Poems for Free)

Grandfathers Are Fathers Who Are Grand

Grandfathers are fathers who are grand,
Restoring the sense that our most precious things
Are those that do not change much over time.
No love of childhood is more sublime,
Demanding little, giving on demand,
Far more inclined than most to grant the wings
Allowing us to reach enchanted lands.
Though grandfathers must serve as second fathers,
Helping out with young and restless hearts,
Each has all the patience wisdom brings,
Remembering our passions more than others,
Soothing us with old and well-honed arts.

A Father's Day Poem for Grandpas (Courtesy of Poems for Free)

Children Need a Daddy

Children need a Daddy
For many, many things:
Like holding them high off the ground
Where the sunlight sings!
Like being the deep music
That tells them all is right
When they awaken frantic with
The terrors of the night.
Like being the great mountain
That rises in their hearts
And shows them how they might get home
When all else falls apart.
Like giving them the love
That is their sea and air,
So diving deep or soaring high
They'll always find him there.

Encouraging Father's Day Quotes

"Father! - to God himself we cannot give a holier name." ~William Wordsworth

"It is a wise father that knows his own child." ~ William Shakespeare

"Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad." ~ Author Unknown

"A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty." ~Author Unknown

"I talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week." ~Mario Cuomo

"The greatest gift I ever had Came from God; I call him Dad!" ~Author Unknown

Funny Father's Day Quotes

"A father carries pictures where his money used to be." ~Author Unknown

"It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge." ~Phyllis Diller

"Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again." ~Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." ~ Mark Twain

"Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope." ~Bill Cosby

"Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow." ~Reed Markham

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Happy Birthday Lauren!

Birthday ClipartLauren's birthday is today!!!!
We are celebrating her birthday on the beach.  She asked for a beach birthday party so we are giving one to her! 

Here they are, the pictures from today! What a GREAT day!
The Pennant Banner we made that actually was tied to two bamboo polls and stuck in the sand but it was too windy on the beach so we had to lay it down.  The Banner is made from construction paper and printed letters from the computer that we cut out and glued.
Oh the yummie cupcakes....

These were so fun to make!  Chocolate Cupcakes with icing dipped in half blue sprinkles and the half in crushed vanilla oreo cookies.  The beach chair is Fruity Stripes Gum and the beach ball is a gumball.  Each cupcake had matching umbrella and beach chair :)

View to the right of the beach

View to the left of the beach

The adorable beach buckets...these were filled with a coordinating beach towel, water guns, bubbles, gummie worms, beach ball, paint to paint on seashells etc.
I totally forgot to line them up and take a picture of all of them but here are is one that shows more:

Lauren had a terrific 13th Birthday today!!!

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