Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks-A Tasty Project

 There's not a lot I need to say about Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks...except...yummmm.
We had cousins and friends come over for a craft party around Christmas time to make gifts for their Moms and just to play. All the girls really loved this...so did my sons. (My oldest son loved the clean up...ie..eating the left overs)

I melt my chocolate in my double boiler and pour it into separate cups for each dipper. I know you can melt it in the microwave, but I'm older and set in my ways. Besides, it might be in my head, but I really think it stays melted longer when you do it over a burner. That's my thought.

Of course you can get as fancy as you like. The younger girls really enjoyed just the process. The older girls really liked trying to make them look pretty. When the chocolate was still warm we rolled them in different kinds of sprinkles. We placed them on cookie sheets with wax paper on them. After they were all dry some of the older girls came in with melted white chocolate. I bought a bag of the Wilton that I used to LOVE to work with when I had time. They drizzled a bit of the white chocolate to make lines on them. We put them all in tall gift bags for them to take home at the end of the party.
I'll add more about hosting a kids craft party later. It's a great way to really get them creating:)
Aren't these girls adorable!

Friday, April 20, 2012

New Chicken Blog

 I've decided that I needed to separate my thoughts and I started a new blog only about my chickens...because if you know me, you know I love my chickens. I've only begun, but I have a couple of posts so far. One is my introduction and today was about coop safety. I think I'll be moving back over to this site, but I'm still learning what I'm doing...in case you can't tell:)

Here is The Yellow Hen House blog site:                  http://yellowhenhouse.wordpress.com

update.....ok, so if you've been there you know that I haven't been.... I mean well..really I do.

That picture is of my dear Bunny. She was so mean to the baby chicks I thought she might actually kill one. I gave her to a friend and they are all very happy together...I miss my Bunny:(

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just paper....just fun

Sometimes all you need is paper and paint...pink paper is even better when you have lots of little girls:)
I try not to get too fancy and just put basic supplies on the table and leave the rest to them. My girls love arts and craft so much that even when the cousins or friends come over it's the first thing they want to share.

I keep a container full of cut construction paper. The favorite is when I cut flower shapes. My 4 year old will play for half an hour just positioning the flower petals without any glue. My 2 year old is more interested in the glue stick still...but she likes putting the glue on the paper. That's a step in the right direction:)
The important thing to me is that the girls have craft time every day. Some days I need to keep it simple. I was able to clean the kitchen and prepare dinner before they ever got tired of playing with cut out shapes. Wonderful!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Paper Weaving

This is one of my favorite teaching crafts. I prepare the card stock by folding it in half and cutting from the center to 1" from the edge. My 2 year old likes to "help" with this, but my 3 year old enjoys doing this on her own once I get her started.
We play a lot with patterns lately. All math reasoning that we do at this age is through crafts or games. I actually prefer this method for most of the elementary grades while we transition to project learning. I cut strips length wise of construction paper so they are longer and easier to handle. I use the different colors so she can work with color patterns as well as the over / under pattern. I cut my pieces to 1", but the 1/2" pieces will let you work further with your pattern.
We trimmed up the edges and it's nice as it is for hanging or a background for a cut out picture. Today she wanted to make a basket for her stuffed dog. She rolled the weaved paper and I stapled it. Then she wanted a bottom on it. It would be easier to do this first, but I cut a circle out of the card stock and cut and pleated it so it would make a circle. I folded it so I had a glue surface and pushed it in from the bottom. It worked and now "Sally" the dog has a little basket to ride around in. Life is good.

Don't forget that this is a great opportunity to work on patterns and coordination...but mostly fun:)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Very simple wind sock

This little wind sock is fun to make and to watch blow in the breeze. To make it really last we used a strip of plastic mesh for the top. I cut and rolled a strip of mesh and simply stitched it with yarn and a blue yarn needle.
My kids glued the shapes cut out of craft foam onto the tube and choose all the ribbon from my bucket of scraps. (nice to use those bits we all have stashed around) We put the ribbons onto the mesh with a touch of glue so the kids could really feel like they did it all. I came in after them and used another ribbon on the inside to really secure them. This has been blowing in the wind a while and has really held up. 
I love having pretty things hanging in the trees. I think we need to try wind chimes next.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Felt flower and pom pom headbands

I wanted to make this so my daughter could really feel like she made it. I do the prep work of course for her...just cutting out flower petals from the felt.
I let her put a dab of glue between the petals and I help her center them:)  Rotate them so the petals fall between the one under it. We just used three circles of different sizes with petal cuts out of each one.
Once she placed them how she wanted them I came in with the needle, thread and button off of one of Daddy's shirts and secured them together.
She found the perfect place on the headband to place the flower and I stitched it on for her. She loves the headband "she made".
Sometimes with crafts for preschoolers it's more about letting them guide the work and fully giving them the sense of accomplishment. That feeling of "I made this" is just really really cool:)

We also made up some with pom poms we had left over. Sometimes we go on a pom pom making kick around here...just because we can.

Put the needles down...walk away slowly

This is what happens if you only learn one knit stitch...I think it's time I learn how to make something other than scarves that no one will wear around here. Well, I wear them. I will wear a scarf every day and my 9 year old son loves me. I made him the scarf with SU colors for Christmas and he wore it to make me happy. My husband has many beautiful scarves made for him.....

Warning family..you may see one of these lovely handmade scarfs one of these holidays:)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tip Toe Tulips

The key I've found to keeping my girls happy with crafting is prep work. I cut many shapes at a time and keep them in my "prep bin". When I'm feeling tired..aka lazy, I can pull stuff out of my bin and the girls can sit at our craft table at any time. They are 2 and 3..almost 4.
For my 2 year old I put the glue in an old juice or milk carton cap and give her a cotton swab to use to apply the glue. This keeps the mess down a bit and she loves to "paint". They love flower crafts and this is a nice way for them to make something they can play with. They hold the flower sticks and it's great to see them "talk" to each other....
"hello pretty flower" says Luna's flower
"hello pretty flower" says Evie's flower
"I'm the momma flower" says Evie's flower...Evie has a baby and momma everything right now:)
"no, I'm the momma flower" says Luna's flower....because this is what we do now...for EVERYTHING;)

Happy flower making

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cherry Blossem Trees

 The girls really enjoyed this craft and the pictures they both made are so pretty in our art gallery.
 My boys wanted to make one too...but they actually thought I'd let them drink pop..silly boys, pop is for grown-ups:) ( I let them when we are out and "everyone" else has pop. See, I'm not that mean;P

 Evie liked the touching up...she ended up "painting" her nails by the time we were done. So pretty.
Two works of art. I love this big paper! I wish I remembered where I got it, but I was still teaching at the time so it was just part of my "collection". Man, teachers sure accumulate stuff...yes, we pay for it and we can claim up to $250/ year off on taxes...really...Please make that bigger for teachers. I don't know any teacher who doesn't spend their own money to get stuff for their students. Parents, feel free to give extra supplies to your kids' teachers:)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Owl and Mouse Eggs!

We saw some really cute egg animals and this is our attempt. We still want to make a few more to leave out for the Easter Bunny, but the girls really loved this. I think they love playing with them as much as making them. I used the hot glue gun since we are sticking things to plastic, but I let Luna do the "sticking".
I just used a bit of scrap felt I always have somewhere and cardstock. You can really make these cute, but today they were more in the mood for playing with the toy kitchen food than sitting:) We'll put a few out on the table for Easter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My taste of Spring Tomato Salad

Super Easy Tomato Salad

Fresh tomatoes - I like mine a bit firm.
Green / Yellow / Orange Pepper
Red Onion
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar - in about equal measure as the olive oil.
Salt - just a dash

I don't measure, so add as you go and see what you like. I put it all in a covered bowl and give it a shake and stir and let it chill. I can eat this every day!