Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memorial Day DIY's

Here are a few FREE printables we found to help dress up your Memorial Day Holiday this weekend.  You can also visit our blog posts from last year, HERE and HERE.  Be sure to check back again as we will add some more fun ideas as we find them!

A super cute invite to announce your kick off to summer bash and some festive party circles that can be used  to make place cards, cupcake toppers,  favor tags and more!
Click HERE to download the PDF file

Use a 2" circle punch - click HERE to download the PDF file

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Turtle Day Scrapbook Page

We were very fortunate yesterday to come across a baby turtle crossing our patio!!  So of course we took a few pictures!  We then created a scrapbook page using Adobe Photoshop - below is the final result!

Monday, May 23, 2011

World Turtle Day 2011

The World Turtle Day 2011 is on May, 23. The purpose of the observance is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. Turtle Day is celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities. It is sponsored yearly since 2000 by the nonprofit corporation American Tortoise Rescue.

World Turtle Day was to increase respect and knowledge for the world's oldest creatures. Turtles are reptiles, characterized by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade.

You can do a few small things that can help to save turtles and tortoises for the next generation. Never buy them from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild. Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured. If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going. Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
Here are some free Scrapbooking Elements: (just click on link and then right click on image and save to your hard drive)
Click HERE


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The start of Lewis & Clark expedition...

Following in the Footsteps of Lewis & Clark

Corps of Discovery II Markers

This brass Corps of Discovery II marker commemorates the symbolic start of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Initiated by Thomas Jefferson, the expedition began to explore and map America in 1803.
To honor Lewis and Clark's contributions to mapping, NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is installing a series of commemorative markers along the route that Lewis and Clark traveled, beginning in Monticello in Virginia and ending at Fort Clatsop in Oregon. NGS is positioning these markers using modern techniques, including the satellite-based Global Positioning System. The markers will become part of the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS), the federal standard and foundation for all positioning and navigation activities in the United States.

Jefferson: The Beginning

Friday, May 13, 2011

Today is Friday the 13th!

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th (known as paraskevidekatriaphobia) occurs when the thirteenth day of a month falls on a Friday, which superstition holds to be a day of bad luck. In the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs at least once, but at most three times a year. Any month's 13th day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday. 
  • 2011: May 13th
  • 2012: January, April, July
  • 2013: September, December
  • 2014: June
  • 2015: February, March, November  

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Limerick Day with kids!

Limerick Day celebrates the birthday of Writer Edward Lear (1812-1888).  It also, of course, celebrates Limerick poems. Limericks were popularized by Lear in 1846 in his Book of Nonsense".
One famous limerick:

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his gold in a bucket.
    But his daughter, named Nan,
    Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
A Limerick is a humorous verse or poem. It is five lines longs. It's name come from the city of Limerick, Ireland. The first two lines rhyme with the fifth line rhyme.  The third and fourth lines rhyme.

Where does the term 'Limerick' come from?
The word derives from the Irish town of Limerick. Apparently a pub song or tavern chorus based on the refrain "Will you come up to Limerick?" where, of course, such bawdy songs or 'Limericks' were sung.

Limericks - The form

Limericks consist of five anapestic lines.

Lines 1, 2, and 5 of Limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another.
Lines 3 and 4 of Limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.


How to write a limerick:

The first, second and fifth lines rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables (typically 8 or 9).  The third and fourth lines rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables (typically 5 or 6).  
Limericks often start with the line "There once was a..." or "There was a..."
Example of an 8,8,5,5,8 syllable limerick:
There once was a clover named Kate,
Who sat on the edge of a plate,
The fancy folk dined,
On foods of all kind,
Then tossed her at quarter past eight.
Click HERE or http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/limerick.htm to go to a simple page that has a computer based tool that will help the kids write their very own Limerick.

So have fun creating your very own Limerick today!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

When is Mothers Day?
Different countries celebrate Mother's Day on various days of the year because the day has a number of different origins. In the United States, it is held on the second Sunday in May. 

Origin of this Holiday
The modern Mother's Day holiday was created by Anna Jarvis as a day for each family to honor its mother, and it's now celebrated on various days in many places around the world.  
As early as the 1850s, West Virginia women's organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis held Mother's Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing contaminated milk, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The groups also tended wounded soldiers of both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865, she added.

In the postwar years Jarvis and other women organized Mother's Friendship Day picnics and other events as pacifist events uniting former foes. Julia Ward Howe, for one—best known as the composer of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"—issued a widely read "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.

Around the same time, Jarvis had initiated a Mothers' Friendship Day for Union and Confederate loyalists across her state. But it was her daughter Anna who was most responsible for what we call Mother's Day—and who would spend most of her later life fighting what it had become.

History Facts About Mother's Day
Mother's Day in the United States was first proclaimed around 1870 in Boston by Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation, and Howe called for it to be observed each year nationally in 1872.  Visit wikipedia.org to read The original Mother's Day Proclamation:
The first known observance of Mother's Day in the U.S. occurred in Albion, Michigan, on May 13, 1877, the second Sunday of the month.
Early "Mother's Day" was mostly marked by women's peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.
According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.
Mothering Sunday, commonly called "Mothers' Day" in the United Kingdom, has no direct connection to the American practice. It falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent (exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday).
 Free printable's we found for you to download and print out:
Download the high resolution files for printing - Invitation, Small & Large party circles, Favor tags,Tented cards and "Happy Mother's Day" banner.
Download the high resolution files here - Invitation, party circles, Favor tags,Tented cards, Napkin rings, Drink flags, Party labels, Water bottle labels, and "Happy Mother's Day" banner.

Download the high resolution files for printing:
(This collection includes party circles, favor tags, food labels, drink flags, water bottle labels, a “Happy Mother’s Day” banner.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

National Astronomy Day!

What is this holiday about?
To promote the science of Astronomy-
Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals.  The theme of Astronomy Day is "Bringing Astronomy to the People," but on occasion there is an additional theme (but not always) when conditions warrant. This additional theme is often decided just a few months prior to Astronomy Day.

Who celebrates this holiday? United National Observance
astroleague.org tells us that "Astronomy Day events take place at hundreds of sites across the United States. Internationally England, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, the Philippines, Argentina, Malaysia, New Guinea plus many other countries have hosted Astronomy Day activities.  Each location plans and executes events that work best for their local area." To locate the nearest event or to list your event see: http://www.astroleague.org/al/astroday/astroday.html

Origin of this holiday:
This event was started in 1973 by Doug Berger, the president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California. His intent was to set up various telescopes in busy urban locations so that passersby could enjoys views of the heavens. Since then the event has expanded and is now sponsored by a number of organizations associated with astronomy.

Kentucky Derby Day

Today starts the 137th Kentucky Derby! 
Once called the most exciting two minutes in sports, today is the annual Kentucky Derby! After visiting the Grand Prix de Paris horse-racing event in Paris, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark organized the Louisville Jockey Club to build a quality horse-racing facility in 1863. The following year, the facility opened and the first race proved to be a success.
Since then, Louisville comes alive each year at Churchill Downs as the best thoroughbred horses race to see who will win the Run for the Roses. The race itself is one and a quarter miles long and colts and geldings carry 126 pounds and fillies carry 121 pounds.
The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. It is followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The Kentucky Derby though, always has the highest number of people in attendance.
Enjoy the Kentucky Derby by hosting a Kentucky Derby Party! Root for your favorite horse, don a big hat, and enjoy a Mint Julep!
Here are a few crafts we found:

How to Make a Derby Drink Holder
Finished Horse Blanket Drink Holder

Step 1: Trace Pattern on Felt

Trace the pattern onto felt with a Sharpie; then, cut out the blanket pattern.
Click to download the full-size template »
Drink Blanket Template 1[+]

Step 2: Attach Yarn

Gather ten 10-inch lengths of black yarn at one end, and tie them together with another length of yarn. Trim the tassel's unbound end at a 45-degree angle (this gives it a nice horse tail-like shape).

Step 3: Attach Tassel Ends

Attach bound end of tassel just inside the fabric with embroidery floss the same color as felt.

Step 4: Complete Holder

Pinch blanket snugly against the side of a highball glass to secure; stitch closed from top to bottom.
Click to download the full-size template »
Drink Blanket Template 2[+]

Step 5: Add Decorative Touches

Stick a self-adhesive felt number in a contrasting color to the front of the blanket.

Plastic Egg Jockeys
For each jockey you will need 3 plastic eggs. Pick one color for the hat and silk shirt (orange in the photo), another color for the pants (green), and a third color for the face (yellow).
To assemble the jockey place the top of the green egg on the table.
Snap the bottom of the green egg to the top of the orange egg for the body. Snap the yellow egg top and orange egg bottom together for the head. You will not need the yellow egg bottom for this jockey. Put it aside.
Use a hot glue gun to attach the body to the leg base and the head to the body. Let this dry before fiddling with it. Luckily, hot glue dries very quickly.
Kentucky Derby jockeys
Paint jockey silk designs on the figures.
Follow these steps to make as many jockeys as you want. Then use some acyrilc craft paint to create designs for the jockeys' silks.
jockey craft
Take extra precaution not to burn yourself by using pliers on this step.
The next step is to glue the googly eyes onto your jockeys. Be very careful not to burn yourself with the glue gun on this step.
I used needle-nose pliers to hold the googly eyes while I applied the hot glue. Then I put the eye in place on the jockey's face, still using the pliers.
jockey craft
Felt makes a good hat visor.
For the visor, cut out a half circle shape from felt. I used black felt, but you can use an color that you want.
jockey craft
Sandwich the felt in between the egg pieces for the hat visor.
Take the head apart and sandwich the felt in between the pieces. I had no trouble snapping the egg into place with the felt inside.
jockey craft
The jockey is almost finished.
This step makes for a pretty nice jockey hat.
jockey craft
Use felt for the arms and hands too.
Cut out felt arms and hands. I used black for gloves and coordinated the arm color to the design on the jockeys' silks. Using any glue (hot glue, tacky glue, school glue), attach the hands to the arms and let dry.
jockey craft
If you don't have a steady hand, finish the face with a paint pen.
The next step is to finish the jockey faces. I just used a black paint pen to make the mouths. You could add noses, hair, and rosy cheeks if you wanted to.
Goggles about the visors of the jockey hats would be cute too.

kentucky derby jockeys
The jockeys are ready for Kentucky Derby 135!
When the arms are dry, hot glue them to the sides of the jockeys.
Once finished, these jockeys will make an adorable decoration for your Derby party.

For more info: To learn about the Kentucky Derby or get ideas for jockey silk designs, go to the KY Derby website.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cinco De Mayo with kids!

This year for our Fun and Food Cinco de Mayo Craft Day, we were blessed to have our family friend Laura and her kids celebrate with us!  Being of Mexican descent she lent authenticity to our day.  She was able to help us make some authentic foods like Gorditas and Chalupas and Churros. 

We started our day off with the children putting together wooden puzzle animals. The kits were purchased from our local craft store.  The kids did a great job on these and they were so cute when finished!  Some of the animals included were a butterfly, horse, owl and a snake.

Food Prep
Using the Tortilladora / Tortilla Press
Cooking the Tortilla's

After helping the children with their puzzles we started to prep the food for the event.  We delegated each child a task in each food item we made.  First we made dough and we rolled them into balls and pressed them in the Tortilladora (a press to flatten the dough) and fried them in oil creating two different Tortillas de Maiz fritas.  Gorditas which have a pocket for food and Chalupas are made for the food to be placed on top.  Everyone helped cutting up the vegetables and cooking the re-fried beans. We had Queso Chihuahua which is a Mexican style melting cheese to sprinkle on our Gorditas and Chalupas.  We also made kid friendly margarita punch that was very refreshing and everyone really loved it.  Click HERE for the recipe.  Here is a video of Laura assembling one of the Chalupas:

Cucumber Cactus
 Tissue Paper Flowers

We decorated the dining room with bright colors, cacti, Mexican flags and tissue paper flowers.  Because our creative cucumber cacti were such a hit last year we decided to make them again – so cute!  We used cucumbers, toothpicks broken in half and miniature tissue paper flowers.   We placed them in a terra cotta pot that we eventually painted later that day.  Lauren had a great time helping to create these.  They are easy to do and very festive.   We created many tissue paper flowers.  We cut the edges of them to give them each a different look.  These flowers are so colorful and give you an instant festive feeling!   We then sat down together and ate our fabulous authentic Mexican meal.  This was so delicious and everyone really had a great time from beginning to end! 

Wooden Animal Craft: Painting Mexican Folk Art

After our wonderful meal and clean up, we sat down with the kids and had them paint their wooden animals they had put together earlier in the day.  We asked them to paint them using bright colors similar to those used in Mexican folk art.  We also had some terra cotta pots that we offered to the children to paint to mimic Mexican Pottery.  The embellished some of the pots with terra cotta colored clay to add unique patterns. 

Making the froth using the Molinillo
Our finished Churros
After painting we had the girls make the dough for the Churros.  They then rolled the dough out and cut them in strips and then twisted them into shape.  When they were twisted they brought them to the frying pan and we fried them up.  After frying they were placed in some cinnamon and sugar mix to give them a nice coating.  We also made Chocolate Caliente which is Spanish Hot Chocolate that we made by melting Mexican chocolate in milk and then using a Molinillo to add a wonderful froth to our Chocolate Caliente.    Here is a video making the churros:

We ALL had so much fun!  We asked the kids what they liked best and here is what they said:

Lauren:  “I think the best part was decorating and making the Churros”

Tiffany:  “I liked Decorating for the party”

Matthew:  “I really liked helping to make the food and painting the Mexican Folk Art”

Willy:  “Painting Mexican Folk Art”

Willy as one of our Props, lol

Party Props we made from black paper and skewers

Margarita Punch

For even more inspiration here are some of our pictures from last years party:

Paper Place mats

Cucumber Cactus

Frozen kid friendly Margarita

Tortilla Soup and Taco Salads

Our Props

Lauren making her God's Eye craft

Our Ojo de Dios or God's eye collection

Event Calendar