Friday, April 30, 2010

Jockey Silks

Our current state for our Fifty States Project is Kentucky and we are getting ready for the Kentucky Derby.  C and R decorated Jockey Silks that we cut out of craft paper. 

Here are a few pictures:

C decided that he did not want his face in the picture; he is hiding behind his shirt.

They used Roll It painters and Do A Dot markers to decorate the Jockey Silks.  I cannot seem to find Roll It painters anywhere (we bought ours about a year ago), but you can click here for a product that looks like the same thing but has a different name.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dollar Store Kentucky Derby Hats

You cannot have a Kentucky Derby party without hats!  We have made hats out of newspaper and tissue paper before, but we decided to get a little fancy for the Kentucky Derby, so we headed to the dollar store.  This is what we bought to make our hats:

 Two straw hats, bath poofs, and a few leis

I cut the string that held the bath poofs together and we tied the netting around our hats to make fancy bows.

We then cut the leis apart and hot glued the flowers all over the hats.

We spent less than five dollars and the project took about ten minutes.  Now, we have very frugal, fancy, flowery Kentucky Derby hats to wear for our Derby celebration.

I could have included a picture of me in my hat, but I do not look as cute as R, especially with the red, runny nose I have this week!

We learned that women wearing classy and fashionable hats to the Derby are often found in the Clubhouse and Paddock areas, but the infield seating hosts an open-season for mad hatters to display their creative and silly hats.  Where do you think we would be found? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kentucky Derby Party

Are you thinking of throwing together a Kentucky Derby party for your  kids?  Here are some great ideas to make your party extra special.

  • Let the kids design Jockey silks.  There are so many options for this.  You could let the kids decorate cotton tee shirts, cut head and arm holes out of a paper bag to be decorated, or make multiple copies of this jockey silk printable and hang them up around the party room.
  • Decorate hats
  • Set up a craft table where kids can make these horse puppets.
  • Mix up some non-alcoholic mint juleps
  • Have a contest to see who can make up the silliest name for a race horse
  • Play horseshoes
  • Ride hobbyhorses (you can find directions to make your own by clicking here)
  • Make Derby Pie
  • Watch Racing Stripes
You don't have to know anything about horse racing to enjoy the spirit of the Kentucky Derby.  I certainly do not know anything about the sport or any of the horses, but we are having a lot of fun with all of these activities!

Kentucky Derby Pie

I am so excited to tell you that the next state for our Fifty States Project is Kentucky!  The Kentucky Derby is this weekend and we are getting ready for the big event.  We kicked off the state of Kentucky with homemade Derby Pie.

Here is the recipe we used:

1 unbaked pie crust - you can make your own favorite pie crust or use the store bought variety

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. bourbon or vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups chopped pecans
  • 1-1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1.  Mix together sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter, salt, and either the bourbon or extract
2.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips with a wooden spoon
3.  Pour filling into prepared, unbaked pie crust (this is a sticky pie so make sure you flour both sides of your crust before putting it in your pie plate if you use the store bought variety

4.  Bake on the middle rack of a 375 degrees preheated oven for 45-50 minutes  (do not overbake; the top should be firm but the center should remain ooey gooey!)
5.  Let rest for at least two hours before you cut the pie!
6.  Enjoy with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (butter pecan would be good too! yum!).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Champ - the monster in Lake Champlain

Our final project for our Vermont state study, was to make a painting of Lake Champlain.  Lake Champlain is the largest lake in New England, and it is located in Vermont.

C and R each made their own painting.  They used large pieces of poster board for their canvas and painted using brushes, rollers, sponge brushes, and bath poofs.  They had fun using different items to paint.  I knew that if I wanted them to cover the entire surface, I had to make it interesting.  It worked.

Some people believe that a monster named Champ lives in Lake Champlain, so C and R made their own monsters to add to the lakes.  Here is R's monster in her lake:

Here is C's monster in the lake he painted:

I learn so much doing this states project with my children.  I have never heard of Champ before and I live in New England! 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Numbers and Letters

We had school vacation last week and I wanted to work on letter formation with R and number formation with C.  R is just learning how to form some of the letters of the alphabet.  C occasionally writes his numbers backwards (I think this is pretty common for his age - 5).  Anyway, they both needed some practice and I didn't want it to be boring.

I was looking in the cupboards when I noticed a few boxes of Jello.  Instantly, I remembered a post my friend, Amy at Teach Mama, wrote a while back about writing in Jello.

I dumped some Jello powder on two trays and put C and R to work!  I called out letters for R and numbers for C.  At this point, R is working on forming uppercase letters. 

I called out two, and occasionally three, digit numbers for C to write.  The numbers 2, 3, and 7 seem to be the trickiest for him so I made certain to call out those numbers often.

The best part about this practice is that mistakes are easily fixed, just smooth out the Jello and start over.  I was able to sneak in a little letter and number formation, and C and R just thought it was fun! 

Yummy too!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Opening Day

Yesterday was opening day for baseball.  The sun was shining and we spent a good portion of the day at the baseball fields.

 C is playing for the Pirates.  He is very happy to be a pirate; ARGH matey!  He had a great first game.

T is playing for the Diamondbacks.  This is his last year of little league; I cannot even believe how old he is now.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of him catching (he did a great job!):

He pitched in this game too, but it was SO COLD and WINDY by the time he pitched that I just could not walk around the field to get good pictures.  My father was there taking pictures, so I decided I would just wait to get his pictures!

R was a great spectator and cheerleader all day long.  She is looking forward to next year when she will be old enough to play!  I love this picture of Kelly trying to get a lick of R's ice cream cone!  (Kelly was a great spectator too, of course!)

We are very excited for baseball season!   Play ball boys!

*My friend, Susana, has a great blog where she has been adding a song of the day to go along with her blog post.  I love this idea and wanted to do it today but the song I wanted, Centerfield by John Fogerty, had copyright issues on the playlist site.  Grrr...  Anyway, just pretend you can hear the music...  Oh, put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today; Put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today; Look at me, I can be centerfield. 

I really like this verse (pretend to turn the music up really loud now):   
Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes;
You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride.
Just to hit the ball and touch ’em all - a moment in the sun;
(pop) it’s gone and you can tell that one goodbye!

Are you singing?  I hope so.  Oh, put me in, coach....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Whale and a Mermaid

I love this drawing by R.  She drew a whale and a mermaid (can you see them?) in the ocean. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where is your television?

As you know, we moved into our home a few months ago.   The color scheme and woodwork are a lot lighter than they were in our old home, so we had to buy a few new things.  We looked at dozens, maybe even hundreds, of tv stands before we found one we liked.  I love the fact that the internet makes shopping so much easier.  We would have had to drive all over the place to look at tv stands, but instead we sat in our pajamas and shopped.  Whenever we are shopping the net, we always check out the selection at CSN Stores.

What is your television sitting on?  Are you in the market for a new tv stand?  CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find tv stands, furniture, toys, home decor, and so much more. 

I love CSN Stores because they have so many great products, their shipping is fast, and the customer service is great.  

I recently spotted this Lenox cake plate at one of the CSN Stores, and I think it will add a special touch to all of the birthdays celebrated in our house. 

I look forward to reviewing it in a future post, so stay tuned to read what I think.  We have a few birthdays coming up in our house and I can guarantee that you will see this plate in our birthday photos! 

In the meantime, visit the CSN Stores and check out the tv stands.  I bet you will find one you like!

*FTC Disclosure:  CSN Stores generously provided me with a gift certificate toward the purchase of an item in exchange for a review.  Thank you CSN Stores!

Happy Earth Day

We are playing in the dirt today.  What are you doing?  Join us for the Great Outdoor Challenge hosted by 5 Orange Potatoes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Kelly just wanted to say hi.  She loves the Great Outdoor Challenge because it means lots of fun for her! 

Earth Cupcakes

This is the end of the freezer stash of cupcakes.  I took them out and mixed up a little blue and a little green frosting.  I frosted them with the blue first and then just added a few dabs of green.  The kids were happy!  They liked taking a bite out of the earth.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hand print Earth

We are reading a few of our favorite books about our wonderful planet this week:
  • What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
  • Fancy Nancy, Every Day is Earth Day by Jane O'Connor
  • Earth Helpers Count the Ways to Save our Planet!  by Alyson A. Zachary
  • Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel
C and R both knew a few ways to take care of our planet.  I was impressed.

We took our paints outside to make hand print earths.  I traced a large bowl onto some paper that was used to wrap a shirt that we recently purchased.  I made a point to mention to C and R that we were recycling this paper!  I cut out the circles and they painted them blue.

Once the blue paint dried, I painted their hands green (C was a willing participant - I was shocked!  I think he participated only because green hands are monster hands.)

and they made hand prints on the blue circles to look like earth.

  Happy Earth Week!
I am linking this to stArt.  Go visit A Mommy's Adventures to see more great book projects!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earth Day

This Thursday is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.  We plan on doing at least one activity in honor of Earth Day this week.  Today, however, is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts and we are enjoying a relaxing day at home watching the Boston Marathon.  It is also school vacation week here so I might not be entering the blogosphere too much this week - we'll see.

Anyway, I thought I would leave you with our Earth Day activities from last year.  For complete directions for each craft, click on the highlighted text before each photo.

We made earth mosaics with play doh:


 We made puppets with recyclables:

and we made earth with coffee filters:

Have a wonderful week! 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy

Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis is very popular in our house.  We have owned the first book for a while now, and both R and C were very excited to read Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy.  We like this book just as much, if not more, than the first book.  Ladybug Girl and her new pal, Bumblebee Boy, save the playground from danger while learning about compromise.

I couldn't resist making a special treat to celebrate this fun book.

To make the ladybug snack, attach a red grape and a strawberry with a toothpick.  Then push mini chocolate chips into the strawberry.  The bumblebee snack is slices of banana with chocolate hazelnut spread (nutella) between them.  So simple and yet so special!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Playground Fun

It is supposed to rain the next few days so we had to take advantage of the warm weather and spend some time at the playground yesterday.  Are you having fun with the Great Outdoor Challenge?  We are!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Silent Governess

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a nineteenth century governess in an English manor house.  It is a book about a woman named Olivia Keene who is fleeing her own secret when she overhears the secret of another and finds herself in trouble.  She is forced to accept a post at Brightwell Court where Lord Bradley (the man with the secret) is able to watch over her and ensure that she does not tell his secret.  Lord Bradley struggles to ignore his growing attraction to Miss Keene and she tries to remember her role in the house.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and I was happy to read and review this book.  I truly enjoyed every sentence.  I stayed awake much too late many nights because I could not put this book down!  From the very beginning, I wanted Olivia to find happiness.  I felt her pain, her fear, and her affection throughout the book.

This book is very well written and I urge you to read it!  If you like historical/regency fiction, you will enjoy The Silent Governess!

*I was provided a free copy of The Silent Governess by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for this review.  My opinion, however, is completely honest and is an accurate representation of my true feelings!

Roller Girl

Join us for the Great Outdoor Challenge hosted by 5 Orange Potatoes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Getting Ready

Baseball season is upon us, and the boys are getting ready.

Join us for the Great Outdoor Challenge hosted by 5 Orange Potatoes.

The Sweetest Flowers

I had some cupcakes in the freezer, of course, and I could not resist making these flower cupcakes.  For complete directions click here to visit Family Fun.  I used mini marshmallows for the center of the flowers, instead of the gumdrops recommended by Family Fun.  We don't eat gumdrops and I wasn't going to buy a whole bag for this.  You could really use any kind of round candy for the center.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Green Mountain State

Vermont is the Green Mountain State, and C and R painted the Green Mountains using watercolors.

R prefers abstract art!

To learn more about our Fifty States Project, click here.