Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Spring, it's Spring! April Fools

Mother Nature is a fan of April Fools' Day jokes!  Yes, that is snow and yes, it is falling here right now.  The snow will probably be gone in the morning and we will enjoy some cold April Fools' Day rain.

Painting Like Birds

Today I hosted a story hour at a local coffee shop.  I have been hosting this coffee shop story hour for just over a year now and I really enjoy doing it.  I'm a bit sad that I will only have one more story hour (the end of April; if you are local, contact me for details) before I take a break for a while.  R is graduating from preschool in May and then it will be summer and then we will have a new baby, so I had to take a break from hosting.  I hope that the coffee shop will find someone to take over the story hour, and I also hope to do it again in the future.

Our story hour theme this month was birds.  We began by reading three books:

Seven Hungry Babies by Candace Fleming begins with seven eggs hatching one spring morning.  All seven of the baby birds open their mouths wide and cry for food.  Mama bird works hard to get food for each of them, and once she finally manages to get them all fed and napping in the nest, they wake up crying for food again.  The exhausted Mama bird says, "It's Daddy's turn to fly." and we see an illustration of the Daddy bird resting on a branch.  I thought the whole book was cute, but the end really made me laugh!

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard is the story of a bird who wakes up grumpy, and because he is too grumpy to fly, he decides to walk.  Along the way, other animals join Bird on his walk and eventually he forgets all about being grumpy.  I think this is a great book for curing a case of the grumpies!

Our last story hour book was Birds by Kevin Henkes.  I love anything and everything by Kevin Henkes, and this is one of our favorite books.  We have used it more than once for book projects and it's a book that we like to read over and over again.  It's simply about birds and it's a fun way to work on colors, sizes, and more.

As you know, birds do not have hands and fingers, so we had to use our imagination to think about how birds would paint.  I have done this activity with my own children several times, and it is inspired by a page in the Kevin Henkes book mentioned above.  With the sky (blue construction paper) as a canvas, I told the little birds (children, there were no real birds in attendance at the story hour) to dip their feathers (craft feathers) in paint and go crazy.

R can never resist putting her fingers in the paint, and before I knew it every child at her table was finger painting (actually it was more like whole hand painting).

It's okay though, they had fun and enjoyed creating their art.  That is all that matters.

Thank you to all of my little friends who listen so well and always create works of art.  A huge thank you to the moms, grandmas, and caretakers who bring their children and help me clean up!  Last, but not least, a super huge thank you to Cuppers Cafe for hosting us each month and for providing free drinks and cookies for all of the children!

I am linking this post to stArt (story + art = a great start) at A Mommy's Adventures.  Click on over there to find more art projects inspired by books.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baby Update

16 weeks, 4 days
 This morning I had my 16 weeks prenatal visit.  It took a few minutes for the midwife to find the heartbeat, but she found it and the heartbeat is in the 150s.

I am still dealing with morning sickness.  Brushing my teeth always results in gagging and often results in vomiting.  The midwife offered to give me medication for the morning sickness, but I think I am dealing with it fine enough that I don't need anything.  I am usually feeling fine by lunch time and I'm one of those people who tries to avoid prescription medication whenever possible.  I don't even like to take Tylenol.  I am like this all the time, not just when pregnant.

I have decided not to do the AFP quad screening.  I had the screening with my other three pregnancies, but after a false positive during my pregnancy with R, I decided that I would never have the test again.  The false positive caused a lot of undue stress for me and I really want to enjoy every minute of this pregnancy, even the queasy minutes!  I wasn't sure how my midwife would react to my decision, but she told me that she does not like the test and thinks it is a good decision.  Also, an ultrasound is a better indicator of any potential problems.

Speaking of ultrasounds, I scheduled mine for April 20th!  We have found out the gender every time so far, and we will find out this time too.  I thought it might be fun to see what you think I am having!  Here are a few details to help with your guess:
  • I have two boys and one girl
  • This pregnancy has come with more morning sickness than any other 
  • I had no heartburn with either of my boys and a lot of heartburn with my daughter; I haven't had any heartburn during this pregnancy
  • The heartbeat has been in the 150s/160s each time
  • The ultrasound I had at 12 weeks and the doppler today both picked up a lot of movement; this is a very active baby!
  • I have not been overly emotional this pregnancy, just a little grouchy
  • I crave mashed potatoes
  • C and R both think I am having a girl (C's reasoning is that it would be fair - so like him to think that way; R is just hoping for a sister)
I don't know that these details mean anything, but I thought I would share them just in case they help with your guess!  So what do you think, is it a girl or a boy?  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tangled Birthday Invitation

I forgot to include this in my post about R's Tangled Birthday party.  I drew the tower myself (not perfect, but it worked) and the text says:  Come get TANGLED up in fun at R's 5th Birthday Party!  I used embroidery thread to make the braid.  I cut out the window and taped the end of the braid to the back of the invitation. 

I also wanted to share a few photos of the process behind making the yarn Rapunzel braid we hung on the front door.  As you can see, I had a lot of "HELP"!

For some reason, I stopped taking pictures, but there was yarn everywhere and I had to work really hard to keep it from getting tangled.  Now, every time I told R that I didn't want the yarn to get tangled, she would say, "Mom, the movie is called Tangled, it's supposed to be tangled!".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

R's Tangled Birthday Party

Yesterday, R had a fantastic birthday party at our house with some of her friends.  She chose the movie Tangled as the party theme.  Here are a few photos:

I made this braid to look like Rapunzel's hair.  I used a ridiculous amount of yarn and it took hours to make, but I was very happy with the final result. 

I just printed this Wanted poster from the internet and had it enlarged at a copy shop.

The party favors were plastic reusable Tangled cups (Cars for the two boys who came) filled with watercolor paints (Rapunzel loves to paint), stickers, and a few pieces of candy.

Everything was purple and yellow.  The balloons don't look purple in that photo, but they are.  I love that my husband bought sunflowers for the party because the sun was a very big part of the movie!!!  He didn't even know that!

I ordered the cake from the Stop and Shop bakery.  I love the cupcake cakes; they are so easy!  I also love the way they formed it into the number five! 
R had a great time!  She had a lot of fun with her friends and received some wonderful presents too. 

Tangled comes out on DVD this Tuesday!!!  No one is paying me to say that; we are just excited to see the movie again!  I heard a rumor that the Easter Bunny is planning on putting a copy in R's Easter basket - shhhh, don't tell!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Favorite Books of the Week

C and I recently finished reading The One-Eyed Giant by Mary Pope Osborne.  This is the first book of a series retelling stories from Homer's Odyssey.  I think it is a great introduction to the Odyssey, and C definitely enjoyed the book, but he might be a year or two too young for this series.  When I asked if he was interested in getting the second book in the series, he said, "maybe later".  The book is recommended (on the Amazon website) for ages 9-12, but most of the chapter books we read together have that same age recommendation.  So, we will revisit the series at a later date.

C and R both enjoyed Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan.  This is a story about a young girl named Rubina, the oldest daughter of immigrants, who is invited to her first birthday party.  She is so excited, but her mom doesn't know what a birthday party is, and she insists that Rubina bring her little sister along.  The way Rubina's sister acts at the party isn't nearly as bad as what she does afterward!  The end of the story is really sweet, and I definitely recommend this book as a must read for siblings.  It's a great tale of sibling rivalry, and it even inspired some sweet sibling behavior between C and R (for a few minutes anyway).

Julius, The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes is the story of Lily and her new baby brother, Julius.  Lily was very excited for the arrival of her new sibling, but once he finally came home, she had a change of heart.  She thought he was disgusting and hoped he would go away, but he didn't.  C's favorite part of this book is when Lily's parents sing the alphabet to Julius to help him grow up to be clever and then Lily sneaks in and sings the letters out of order!!!!  Her parents tried their best to make Lily welcome her brother and to make her feel special, but nothing changed her mind about the baby until Cousin Garland had a few things to say about the baby!  This is a cute book for children expecting a new sibling, and even for children who already have younger siblings.  I also love the way this book captures the normal feeling of I can say anything bad about my family (religion, race, group, etc.), but no one outside of the family can speak ill of them!!  This book is a real winner in our house; I have caught R "reading" it to herself several times this week. 

Our final pick of the week is How Raggedy Ann Got Her Candy Heart adapted from stories by Johnny Gruelle.  R is really enjoying the Raggedy Ann books we have been reading!  In this one, Raggedy Ann takes a kite ride and ends up landing in a bucket of paint.  A friendly painter offers to take her home and fix her up for Marcella.  In the process, Raggedy Ann returns with a special addition, the candy heart.

What are your children reading?  I am linking this to What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.  Head on over there and share your picks of the week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bubble Wrap Painting Easter Art

I have a ridiculously large stash of bubble wrap left over from when we moved over a year ago.  Whenever possible, I try to think of different ways to use it up.  This week we did some bubble wrap painting.

I gave C and R bubble wrap, paint, large sheets of white construction paper, and paint brushes.  They began by painting the bubble wrap.

Then, they pressed the painted bubble wrap down onto the construction paper, repeating this until the paper was covered to their satisfaction.

R completed one (the colors she chose remind me of Mardi Gras):

C completed two works of art, one with stripes and one with purposeful egg shapes:

After the paint dried, the purposeful Easter egg picture was covered in clear contact paper to make a placemat. 

I cut out Easter egg shapes from the other two works of art.  R then decided she wanted a placemat, so she arranged her egg shapes on clear contact paper and we covered them with another piece of clear contact paper.

C still has some Easter egg shapes left that we will use for decorating or something else yet to be determined.

I really love the way the eggs came out.  I think we will try to use bubble wrap to decorate real eggs for Easter this year. 

We all enjoyed reading Here Comes T. Rex Cottontail by Lois G. Grambling.  When the Easter Bunny gets a cold, he asks T. Rex to deliver eggs for him on Easter morning.  T. Rex began preparing for the big day by practicing his hopping and he accidentally stumbled and fell on the Easter Bunny's basketful of eggs that had been colored for Easter.  T. Rex's friends search to find eggs and together they all color the eggs they manage to find.  The surprise comes after the eggs are all delivered, and I'll let you read the book to find out what happens!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easter Egg Sun Catcher

We are big fans of The Berenstain Bears; the books always teach great lessons.  This week we read The Berenstain Bears and the Real Easter Eggs by Stan and Jan Berenstain.  This book begins with Sister's excitement about holidays because she likes to "get stuff".  The excitement continues, and spreads to Brother and Papa, when the giant Beartown Easter Egg Hunt is announced along with the display of all of the wonderful candy prizes.  During the egg hunt, Brother and Sister come across a nest with real robin eggs in it; they watch the eggs hatch and the mother and father robins care for the babies for a long time.  In the end, they realize that candy is quickly gone, but the wonder of Easter and its message of new life will stay with them forever.  While this book is written with an emphasis on the secular aspects of Easter, the message is nice for everyone and there is no mention of the Easter Bunny.  

After reading this book, R wanted to make an Easter egg decoration because we have yet to put out any decorations for Easter.  I kept it simple with an easy contact paper and pink and purple tissue paper sun catcher craft.

R tore little pieces of tissue paper and stuck them on a piece of clear contact paper that I had cut out in the shape of an egg.

After she covered the entire sticky surface of contact paper, I covered the tissue paper side with another piece of sticky contact paper.

We placed the Easter egg sun catcher on our sliding glass door, and I realized that every time we make a sun catcher there is no sign of sun in the sky.

I am linking this to stArt (story + art = a great start) at A Mommy's Adventures.   Click on over there for more book inspired art and crafts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Birthday Photos!

For years, R did not watch any channels with commercials.  Well, this year she discovered Strawberry Shortcake on The Hub, and that channel has a ridiculous number of toy commercials.  This is the first toy she saw over and over and over again on television and begged for again and again.  
R saw these boots while shopping with Grandma one day, and it was love at first sight.  She was very happy to open them on her birthday.
A Hello Kitty backpack from Papa and Grandma was one of R's favorite presents.
R LOVES dresses that come with a matching dress for her doll!
I didn't get pictures of everything, but R got many wonderful presents from very generous family members.  She had a wonderful birthday and is excited to celebrate again with her friends this weekend.  Thank you to all of the aunts, uncles, and grandparents that made R's birthday so special!