Saturday, August 31, 2013

Big Brother or Big Sister Medal

I made these cute medals for two little boys in our church nursery class that just became big brothers.

I wanted to give them some special attention and recognize their important job in their family.
I plan to award the medals to the boys on Sunday. Then we will talk about how they can be heroes to their Mom and Dad by running to get diapers and wipes, helping to hold the bottle and bringing the baby a blanket. I hope this helps make the adjustment easier and makes the boys feel special.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Harry Potter Party: The Quest for the Missing Snitch

This is the 8th in a series of 10 posts about our Harry Potter Birthday Party. You can read our other posts at the links below:
The Hogwarts Acceptance Letter
Invitation and Costumes
The Guests Arrive
Diagon Alley
Potions Class
At the end of our Divination Class, Professor Trelawney told the party guests that the words "Lemon Drops" would be important in their future. Just then a Ministry of Magic interdepartmental memo (i.e. a paper airplane) arrived in the Divination Tent. The kids unfolded the airplane and learned the startling news that the Golden Snitch had been stolen! The memo asked the guests to help find the missing snitch so that they would be able to play Quidditch before the party ended. The only clue that the Ministry provided was that the Golden Snitch was last seen in the Gryffindor common room.

Luckily just outside the Divination Tent was the portrait of the fat lady guarding the Gryffindor common room.

It was so cute to watch the kids stand in front of the portrait wondering what to do. After a few minutes, one of the kids shouted, "Lemon Drops! That has to be the password!" And sure enough the fat lady swung open to let the party guests into the playroom.

Inside the playroom the kids encountered a very dangerous Fluffy who was barking ferociously. (My son was outside the room playing some dog barking noises on a cell phone.) Don't you just love our Fluffy! We found three stuffed dogs at a Thrift Store. Then we cut off the bodies of the two littler ones and sewed the heads to the shoulders of the big dog. We attached fishing line to the dogs' heads and were able to manipulate Fluffy like a marionette puppet. So he moved and barked! His puppeteer was hiding behind the curtain on the other side of this little balcony just outside our playroom.

Hidden in the room was a recorder and some simple music.

After a few minutes the kids found the recorder and began to play it. Fluffy immediately went to sleep and started to snore. The kids had to climb up the stairs past Fluffy and jump down through the trap door behind him.

The next challenge involved navigating the devil's snare. I just tacked strips of burlap and fake leaves down our hallway and the kids had to climb over and under the fabric to get past the snare.

Once they had navigated the devil's snare they had to play wizard checkers! The girls competed against Bellatrix LeStrange in a fun game of checkers made with felt squares and paper plates. I had just pushed the paper plates inside out to give them the proper dimension.

Once they made it past Bellatrix they came to a chest that had a padlock that needed to be opened with a key. The kids knew instantly that they needed to find the flying keys. 

To make our keys we had printed these gorgeous wings drawn by Linda Smith. 

The wing patterns are found on page 3 of her pdf. document. I printed the page of wings on several pieces of vellum and then hot glued them to some old fashioned keys. 

This is the key that fit our cool looking padlock. I bought the padlock here

Here are the girls opening the padlock to retrieve the Golden Snitch.

They got it! And now we were ready to go and play some Quidditch! 

Check out our next post about how we created a super fun Quidditch game.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Latest Favorite TED Talk

I love this TED Talk by Tania Luna. It is entitled "How a Penny Made Me Feel Like A Millionaire." We watched it as a family for our family night this week. It is just 5 minutes long but it is so powerful. Tania talks about finding a penny in a homeless shelter as a newly immigrated refugee. The penny made her feel so rich. Maybe, just maybe she would be able to buy her own piece of Bazooka Bubble Gum.

I hoped my children would realize just how much they have and how grateful they should feel. New school clothes, new shoes, new backpacks, leaving for school with a lunch box full of food, going to sit at a computer in a large, clean school. So much abundance and so many opportunities. Can we ever feel grateful enough?

Watch this video. Share it with the ones you love and count your many blessings. Pin It

Sunday, August 25, 2013

{DIY} Box Doll

I made this cute box doll to use as a teaching aid for my church nursery class this morning. 

The 7 children, aged 18 months to 3 years old, loved her! I named her Lucy and used her to teach a lesson about Jesus.

I told the children 3 simple stories about Jesus from the Bible. In the first story, Jesus shared some bread and fish with the 5,000 people who had come to listen to him.
After I had told the story, the children were able to feed Lucy little imaginary pieces of bread.

Then I told the children about Jesus blessing the children and hugging and loving them.
Then I walked around the room with Lucy and let each child give Lucy a hug.

Finally, I ended the lesson by telling the story about Jesus healing the blind man. I had each child cover his or her eyes and imagine that they couldn't see. We talked about how sad it would be to be blind or to be deaf or not be able to walk.

I showed the children Lucy's legs. They were wiggly and floppy so she couldn't walk very well. Then I let each child hold Lucy's hand and help her walk for a few minutes.
We talked about how we can share, and hug, and help just like Jesus did.

Each child, even the littlest ones, were so engaged with this lesson. I was amazed at how they waited for their turn to interact with Lucy and even stayed on their little chairs the whole time.

I can see using Lucy again in lots of teaching situations. She would work great when we were talking about eating healthy foods. The children could feed Lucy lots of pretend foods that I could provide.

Lucy could also be used to eat foods of certain colors or foods that start with certain letters if you wanted to use her for preschool aged children.

She was so simple and easy to make and so much fun to use!

All I did was glue some white cardstock to a box.

Then I cut out Lucy's head by using a bowl as my pattern. I used tan cardstock for her head and arm and legs. Once I had drawn Lucy's mouth, I cut a slightly wider opening on the box and then glued Lucy's head in place. We added yarn hair and a cute patterned dress with scrapbook paper. Katie coordinated her cute bows and sash and buttons.

I think she took me about an hour to make and didn't cost anything as I used supplies that I already had at home!

What a fun Nursery day! Thanks Lucy!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Harry Potter Party: Divination

This is the 7th in a series of posts about our Harry Potter Birthday Party. You can read our other posts at the links below:

The Hogwarts Acceptance Letter
Invitation and Costumes
The Guests Arrive
Diagon Alley
Potions Class

After we had created and tried our potions, the party guests were led downstairs to Professor Trelawney's Divination Tent.

The tent was absolutely magical and so simple to make. We simply set up an outdoor shade awning that people use on the beach or at their campgrounds in our family room in the basement. Then we draped the sides of the tent with lace table cloths and purple plastic table cloths that we bought at a dollar store.

(I took these photos without the purple table cloths so that I could show inside the tent a little easier.)

Inside the tent we put a rocking chair for Madame Trelawny and a small side table for her tea cup. We also had a reflecting ball that would normally go outside in a garden doing double duty as her crystal ball for seeing the future.

We lit the tent with the decorative lights that my daughters usually have around their beds. The final touch was the lava lamp stolen from another teenagers room.

On the floor we put lots of pillows for the guests to sit on. In the corner are some peacock feathers that my daughter inherited from her great aunt Kathryn.

Professor Trelawney welcomed each guest into the tent. My daughter's college roommate Geri made a perfect Madame Trelawney. She used some funny Einstein glasses from our dress up trunk to complete her ditzy, spaced out look.

She had each guest try to decipher the symbols in her brewed tea leaves. I love to look at the kids' faces as she made predictions and then spoke cosmic words of wisdom to each of them.

Look at Katie in the picture below! Professor Trelawney must have just prophesied about her imminent and beautifully tragic death!

Just before our Divination class ended, Professor Trelawney made a supremely important prophesy.
She told the kids in her most intense and dreamy voice, "The words Lemon Drops will be important in your future. Yes, remember the words Lemon Drops!" Little did the guests know, but Madame Trelawney was once again right! The words Lemon Drops were important in our next activity which was the Mystery of the Missing Golden Snitch.

I will blog about that soon. I predict you will check back at this blog in a few days and find just the post that you are looking for. I hope my prophesy comes true!
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day of School Blues

Everything was ready for an awesome family activity after the first day of school. The Conversation Snacks were packed.

The First Day Fizzy Pop was loaded.

I had printed off the QR Codes that I had written to get my kids talking. (See my blog post about this First Day of School Activity here.)

I even had a picnic dinner all ready to eat up the canyon. Some of us jumped into the Ford while the other half hoped into my daughter's new jeep and we headed out. We were enjoying the awesome summer weather as we stopped to fill up at a gas station.

It wasn't until my husband went to start the jeep after filling up that we had a problem. The jeep wouldn't start. This is the same jeep that has been in and out of the shop almost every day since my daughter bought it in June. Yikes! Some adult lessons are so painful and hard to learn when you are just 19 years old and still so innocent and full of hope that things like red jeeps are a dream come true.

While Dad popped the hood and tried to diagnose the problem, I took the kids over to the grassy strip of lawn on the side of the gas station. We did our First Day of School Activities right there. I am sure we must have been quite a sight.

All of us scanning QR codes and laughing as we loaded up snack bags and drank soda pop. Luckily, I had thrown in fake lips and mustaches which added to the fun! You never know when you will need a good mustache to save the day!

One hour and $200 later, the jeep was fixed. It was too late to head up the canyon but we headed home happy. It wasn't exactly what I had planned but still a memory was made. I am so glad that my extra preparation made a potentially bad situation bearable and helped my daughter and my other kids to face a  disappointing circumstance with a smile. Isn't that what Moms are for!

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