Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Homemade Flower Hair Clip

-  Silk Flower
-Felt, about 2" square in any color
-  Metal Hair Clip
-  Needle and Thread
-  Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

1. Remove the flower from the stem. Notice that there is some extra greenery/bulk still remaining on the back of the flower.  In this case, it was not glued to the petals, and I was able to remove it all without damaging the flower.
2. Carefully cut the extra plastic that is protruding from the back of the flower.
3. Add some hot glue to the end you just cut.  The center holds all over your flower petals together, so you want to secure it.
4. Cut an oval from your felt.  I cut an oval about about 2" in diameter by 1 1/2" in diameter.
5. Add a line of hot glue down the center of your oval (across the shorter side).  Open your hair clip, and close it so that that the felt circle is glued to the "top" side of the clip.  Notice in the photo on the right, the felt is attached to the top of the clip when it is opened. 
6. Add hot glue to the top side of your felt oval and the top of the hair clip, covering it well.  Carefully place the glue-side of the oval on the center, backside of the flower.  Press down gently, making sure not to get burnt by the glue through the felt!  You may want to flip the flower over and gently press from the top down, to secure it.
7. Make sure that you place the clip "handle" in a place on the flower that you will be able to access fairly easily.

NOTE:  You may want to go into the flower, between the layers of petals, and add some hot glue into the center of the flower.  This will give it some extra security, and minimize the risk of your flower coming apart.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Wellness - Air Popped Popcorn Snack

Plain, air-popped popcorn is a whole-grain food that's a much better option than microwave popcorn. It's healthier (there's little or no sugar, fat, or sodium), but tastes pretty bland. To jazz it up, skip the salt and melted butter, and sprinkle some cinnamon over your popcorn instead. You can add some dried fruits and nuts to make it even tastier!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Family Funtime - Play Charades

Stopwatch or other timing device
Notepad for keeping score and pencil
Blank pieces of paper to write down phrases
Two baskets or other containers for slips

Divide family members into two teams.  Each team must come up with charade suggestions and write each suggestion on a piece of paper (decide ahead of time how many suggestions each team should come up with).  Fold the suggestion in half and put in the team's basket.

Decide which team goes first.  One player from the first team draws a slip from the other team's basket.  After the player has had a short time to review the slip, the player begins to act the phrase out.  Each team is given 2 minutes to guess the phrase.  If the team does not guess the phrase in the
allotted time, play then moves onto the other team.  If the team does guess the phrase in the allotted time, the team receives 1 point.

No talking is allowed.  Each player must try and get the other team members to guess the phrase through the use of hand and body gestures.

To indicate Categories use the following hand gestures:
Book title - Unfold hands as if they were a book
Movie Title - Pretend to crank an old-fashioned movie camera
Play Title - Pretend to pull the rope that opens a theater curtain
Song Title - Pretend to sing
TV Show - Draw a rectangle to outline the TV screen
Quote or Phrase - Make quotation marks in the air with fingers

To indicate other things use the following gestures:
Number of words in the title - Hold up the number of fingers
Which word you're working on - Hold up the number of fingers
Number of syllables in the word - Lay the number of fingers on your arm
Which syllable you're working on - Lay the number of fingers on your arm again
Length of word - Make a "little" or "big" sign as if you were measuring a fish
"The entire concept" - Sweep your arms through the air
"On the nose" - Point to your nose with one hand, while pointing at the person with the other hand
"Sounds like" - Cup one hand behind the ear
"Longer version of" - Pretend to stretch a piece of elastic
"Shorter version of" = Do a "karate chop" with your hand
"Plural" - Link your fingers
"Past tense" - Wave your hand over your shoulder toward your back
A letter of the alphabet - Move your hand in a chopping motion toward your arm (near the top of the forearm if the letter is near the beginning of the alphabet, and near the
bottom of your arm if the letter is near the end of the alphabet)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Easter Egg Craft

Make your Easter extra festive with this 3-D paper egg. The secret to its look is colorful, accordion-folded paper strips.
  • Card stock
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Embroidery floss
  1. Begin by cutting out three identical egg shapes from card stock (ours are 8 inches tall). Crease the eggs by folding them in half lengthwise and opening them back up.
  2. Cut card stock into strips of varying sizes from 3/4- to 1 1/4-inch wide and 9 to 12 inches long. Accordion-fold the strips so that there's about one inch between each fold.
  3.   Attach the ends of several strips along one edge of an egg using double-sided tape. Trim the strips so that they make a shallow arc across the egg's width, then secure the other ends in place.
  4. When you've covered all three eggs, use double-sided tape to join their backs as shown. Between two of the sections, insert a loop of embroidery floss for hanging. Tip: If the strips sag when you hang the egg, peel them off, shorten them, and reposition them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Wellness - Pita Chips

  • 1 package pita pockets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Slice each pocket into 4 even triangles. 
  3. Brush one side of each piece pita pocket with olive oil. Put the pieces and the spices into a Ziploc freezer bag and just mixed everything up together and spread them out onto a non stick cookie sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until the triangles turn a light brown color, 15 to 20 minutes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Bee Egg Craft

  • eggs
  • newsprint
  • egg dye
  • paper towels
  • birthday candles or crayons
  • red and black acrylic or tempera paint
  • brushes
  • white tissue
  • glue
  1. Blow the Egg: Wash and dry the raw egg. Cover your table with newsprint and set out bowls, pushpins, and paper towels. Shake the egg to break the yolk. Next, pierce the top and bottom with a pushpin, making the hole on the wider end a bit larger. Position the egg over the bowl and blow through the small hole, allowing the inside of the egg to seep into the bowl. Set the empty egg, with the large hole down, in an egg carton to dry. Be sure children wash their hands after handling raw egg.
  2. Degg-orate the Egg: Let the kids paint half of the egg, stand it atop a bottle cap to dry (use a hair dryer to speed things up), then paint the other half. Centering the face on either hole, paint on features with contrasting colors. Paint your bee bright yellow, then paint on a red smile, black eyes, and black stripes. Glue on white tissue paper wings.
  3. Take Flight: Tape a long length of fishing line to the end of an unfolded paper clip. Starting at the small hole, thread the line through the decorated egg and out the large hole. To keep your flying critter upright, tape the fishing line just above the hole in the critter's back. Hang it from the ceiling or an egg tree.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nature Print Egg Decoration

Small flat leaves (we used fern, cilantro, dill, thyme, and mint leaves)
Hard-boiled white eggs
Nylon stockings, cut into 3-inch-long sections
Rubber bands
White vinegar
Food coloring
Large glasses, one for each dye bath (be sure they're wide enough to hold an egg)

Lay a leaf on an egg, then cover it with a section of nylon stocking to hold it in place.

Pull together both open ends of the stocking, then twist the ends together and secure them with a rubber band.

For each dye bath, mix 1/2 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 10 to 20 drops of food coloring in a glass. Carefully submerge the nylon-wrapped egg in the bath and let it soak for about 4 minutes.

Use a spoon to remove the egg from the dye bath and set it on a covered work surface. Carefully remove the rubber band, nylon, and leaf. Allow the egg to dry completely before further handling it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Nature Notebook

Materials Needed:

  • Notebook
  • Dried Leaves and/or Dried Flowers
  • White Glue or Decoupage Medium
  • Paint Brush of Foam Brush
Use colorful autumn leaves for this craft or some lovely dried flowers.
Spread a thin layer of glue on the back of your leaf/flower or on the spot on the notebook where you want to stick your leaf or flower. Place as many or as few leaves/flowers on your notebook in this fashion. Let the glue dry completely.
Seal in your leaves/flowers buy using the paint or foam brush to add a couple of thin layers of decoupage medium or white glue

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday Wellness - Butternut Squash Quesadillas

(Yield: 4 quesadillas)
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 c. butternut squash, diced (about half of a butternut squash)
fajita seasoning
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
grated cheese (soy, milk, or rice)
8 corn tortillas

1. Dice the onion and butternut squash.
2. Put the squash into a bowl and fill with water. Cook in the microwave until tender (It took our microwave 10 minutes)
3. Add 1 Tbsp. of oil to a skillet and place over medium heat. Add the onions and saute while everything else is cooking.
4. Drain the beans and thrown them into a pot over low heat. Add the garlic powder, cumin and tomato paste and stir until well combined. (You can add a bit of water if needed).
5. Once the squash are tender, drain them and add into the skillet with onions. Season the veggie mixture with fajita seasoning – I didn’t measure so just taste as you go. As you stir the veggies, try to smash up the squash a little bit. You want to end up with mashed squash that still has some chunks in it.
6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place a corn tortilla on the skillet. Sprinkle a little grated cheese on the tortilla. Spread a spoonful or two of the mashed squash and onion on the tortilla. Add a couple of spoonfuls of black beans. Sprinkle on a bit more cheese and top with another tortilla. Flip the tortilla and allow it to cook for a minute on the other side. Remove the finished quesadilla and repeat with the remaining ingredients until you’ve used them up.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Colorful Crayon Easter Eggs

  • white eggs
  • tongs
  • empty egg carton
  • crayons
  1. nullHard-boil white eggs. Remove them from the hot water with tongs or a slotted spoon, dry them, and rest them in an empty egg carton or on plastic bottle caps (an adult's job).
  2. Color them with the crayons' tips or remove the paper coverings and use the crayons' sides. For a speckled effect, grate a crayon and sprinkle the bits over the eggs. The waxy eggs are very slippery, so take care when turning them to color the underside.
  3. When you're done coloring, leave them to dry for about an hour.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Craft - HAIRY Caterpillar

  • 4 cups potting soil
  • 4 tablespoons quick-sprouting grass seed (we used ryegrass seed)
  • Small yogurt container or paper cup
  • Knee-high nylon stocking
  • Colorful ponytail holders
  • Scissors
  • Plastic bag
  • Bobby pin
  • Googly eyes
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Small pom-poms

  1. Combine the potting soil and grass seed in a large bowl.
  2. The Very Hairy Caterpillar Step 1 Cut the bottom from a small yogurt container or paper cup for a funnel, then slide a knee-high nylon stocking over it, as shown.
  3. The Very Hairy Caterpillar Step 3 Pour or spoon 3⁄4 to 1 cup of the soil mixture into the stocking, then slide a colorful ponytail holder over the end of the stocking to section off the pocket of soil. Repeat this process to make 5 soil-filled segments. Tie a knot in the top of the stocking and trim away any excess nylon.
  4. Submerge the caterpillar in water for 10 minutes, then place it in a plastic bag and let it sit overnight.
  5. The Very Hairy Caterpillar Step 5 Remove the bag and loop a semi-straightened bobby pin through the front of the stocking, then glue a googly eye onto each end of the pin. For antennae, cut a pipe cleaner in half, glue a small pom-pom onto one end of each half, and stick them in place.
  6. Set your caterpillar on a plate by a sunny window and generously water the whole thing every other day. Your critter should sprout hair in about 4 to 5 days.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Colorful Spring Flower Lei

-cut out some flowers, circles & leaves in varying colors from cardstock/construction paper
-decorate your flower pieces any way you choose using markers, crayons or pencil crayons
-cut up your straws into approximately 1 inch long pieces
-start stringing your flower peices & straw beads onto your string
-when you`re done tie the ends of the string together and you`re done

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday Wellness - Gluten Free Sweet & Salty Popcorn

Photo by Jonah G.S.
Sweet & Salty Popcorn
(makes a really big bowl)
2/3 c. popcorn
2 Tbsp. oil (for popping)
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
Pop the popcorn according to the package directions.  We add the oil and popcorn kernels to a large stockpot over medium heat.  Remember to put the lid on and do use a clear lid if possible (it just makes it more fun). Take the pot off of the heat when the popping starts to slow down. It will continue to pop after you take it of of the heat.
While you’re waiting on the popcorn, melt the butter and dissolve the sugar into it. Do make sure that your confectioner’s sugar it gluten free.  Confectioner’s sugar has corn starch mixed in with it and not all cornstarch is gluten free due to cross-contact issues. If you’re not sure, I think that brown sugar would make a great substitute. Honey or agave nectar might also work. You can always experiment by making a small batch of popcorn and testing the altered recipe before the big day.  Also, if you are dairy or casein free, you can substitute whatever “butter” you use.
Once you have your popcorn and syrup ready, drizzle half of the syrup over the popcorn and mix well. Repeat with the remaining syrup and then serve while hot.

Monday, April 4, 2011

National Poetry Month Classroom Ideas

1. Tape students reading their own poems or poems by others; encourage them to share the tapes with parents and friends.

2. Organize a student poetry reading at the local library or bookstore.

3. Decorate the classroom or the school with illustrated poems and pictures of poets.

4. Hold a poetry exchange day with poems wrapped as gifts.

5. Invite local poets to your school for readings, workshops, or discussions.

6. Create a poetry book display in the school library.

7. Have your students write lines on small pieces of poster board and make them into poetry mobiles.

8. Encourage your local newspaper to sponsor a contest for student poets.

9. Read a poem over the public address system each morning.

10. Create and send poetry greeting cards to celebrate National Poetry Month.

11. Have your students write short poems, put them in balloons, and set them free.

12. Xerox a different poem for each day in April and hand them out at lunchtime.

13. Publish student poetry in your school newspaper or magazine, or on your website.

14. Publish a special anthology of student poems.

15. Create a school poem and ask each student to contribute one line.

16. Give students a list of words and ask them to create a poem using those words.

17. Invite students to write poems in response to their favorite poems (or to songs, TV shows, or artworks).

18.Encourage students to write in the voice of someone else -- a parent, friend, or teacher.

19. Hold poetry workshops where students discuss one another's work.

Saturday, April 2, 2011