Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Costume Ideas

By Deborah Rowley

The cousins came over for a Halloween party last night and the costumes were so cute, I just had to share.

Katie and her grandma made this simple Minnie Mouse dress to go with the headband she purchased at Disneyland.

This movie star costume could be created simply with some glam thrift store finds: long gloves, mink stole, and glitzy dress cut down to size.

Tiff made this super cute Marshmallow man costume for Declan using a t-shirt  and sweat pants stuffed with batting and hot glued and pinned in several places. The stomach piece is separate from the shirt and pants and just wraps around Declan once he is dressed.

Of course, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is so adorable with his ghostbuster brother in a costume Tiff got at the Halloween Spirit store.

Tiff's girls were darling with their princess dress up costumes, doubling as Halloween attire.

This adorable niece was proudly wearing her mom's old gunny sack style prom dress that has been hemmed at the bottom. She added her mom's wedding veil and a bouquet since it really did look like a vintage wedding dress.

This cutie is wearing an angel costume with homemade cardboard wings covered in feathers. We have been cleaning feathers up all day today from wherever angelic Claire made an appearance.

Last here is the littlest cousin, looking adorable in her cozy zebra costume that should keep her warm as she goes out trick or treating on Halloween night.  Happy Halloween!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

{DIY} Tin Can Jack O'Lanterns

By Deborah Rowley

My students made these super cute tin can jack o'lanterns last week. It was surprisingly easy and even possible to supervise 12 students doing this safely. I think it would make a great last minute project for a cub scout troop or a group of Activity Days girls or even for a friend party after school. Or just make up some as a family to add to your holiday decor.

Step 1: Gather the following items:
Empty can. (I used soup cans primarily for my class.)
Bag of Rice (We used towels for this step in class since I didn't have enough bags of rice for everyone)
Orange Spray Paint or Craft Paint
Green Chenille Stem or Metal hanger that you don't care about anymore
Tea light candle

Step 2: Fill the can with water and freeze overnight.
This makes it easy to pound the holes in the tin can. Without the water, the tin can gives too much against the force of the hammer and nail.

Step 3: Lay the can filled with ice on the bag of rice. This will help steady the can as you pound on it. If you are doing a large group, simply give each person a towel to place under the can and support it.

Step 4: Pound the holes in the can to make the face desired. Some of my students drew their face on the can first with a Sharpie marker. Other students just did their face freehand. Don't forget to pound two holes on either side of the face to hold the handle.

Step 5: Set the can under running hot water to melt the ice. Then dry the can and spray paint it orange.
Let dry.

Step 6: Attach the handle either with a chenille stem or a bent wire hanger. Insert a tea light candle and light it up for a fun, spooky face!

This idea came from Martha Stewart. So you can feel extra hip and cool just for trying it. Here are the fancy ones that she created for a display.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Top Tips for Disneyland with Little Ones

By Tiffany Rudd
Since this was our first trip to Disneyland with our kids, we learned a lot about how to make the most of it. We talked to lots of friends who had been before, searched the internet for tips, and learned a lot along the way. I'm excited to share my best tips with you! Oh, and if you have older kids, you should definitely check out Deborah's top tips for Disneyland with Teens.

#1 Build the Excitement. Since our kids had never been to Disneyland before, we really wanted to make it all as exciting as possible. We started our countdown 10 days before (see that post and print your own countdown here), and made the most of those 10 days. We let our older kids look at maps online and plan what things they wanted to do first, we made lists with our 2 year old of all the princesses she would meet and what she wanted to say to them, and our 1 year old even slept with a small stuffed Mickey. We were all super excited to say the least!

#2 Invite Grandpa & Grandma. I realize this may not be possible for everyone, but if it is at all possible for you, I highly recommend it! My parents came with us and having them there made it even more enjoyable. They were great to take the toddlers on younger rides while my husband and I went with the bigger kids on the rides with height restrictions, they stood in line for fast passes while we rode other rides, and most importantly, they are part of all of those fantastic memories.  

#3 Skip the early entrance. If your kids are early risers, this doesn't apply to you, but since my kids normally get up at 8:00, getting into the park early wasn't a great option for us. We talked about it beforehand and realized that waking the kids up early and dealing with meltdowns throughout the day just wasn't worth it, even for shorter lines. 

#4 Choose your first activities wisely. We started each day with one or two things we wanted to make sure to do first, so that we didn't run out of time and miss them. You can often catch shorter lines on these things first thing in the morning too. We were able to see the princesses in just a few minutes on our first day by heading right over there. 

#5 Plan around your kids' favorites. For our girls, stopping to see all the princesses was a must and for our 7 year old, Jedi Training was the, "coolest thing ever!" We talked beforehand about having a positive attitude about each other's favorites and making them a priority. The girls cheered while Cameron fought Darth Maul and, even though he may not admit it, Cameron had fun meeting the princesses too. All of these things took time away from what my husband and I may have chosen to do, but I'm so glad we did them.

#6 Plan a fun way to preserve memories. There are so many ways to do this. I know some people collect pins or magnets from their Disneyland trips or keep signature books. This time we decided to have the characters sign photo mats. We are going to add a favorite picture from our trip and display them in the kids' rooms to remember our fun vacation.
It was seriously impressive to watch some of the characters sign while in costume!

#7 Put a clear limit on spending. As part of our 10 day countdown, each of the kids were given a Disney gift card to use to buy toys/souvenirs. I bought the gift cards at Target with my REDcard, which meant I got them for 5% off (every little bit of savings helps), and it was great to have a preset limit on spending. They knew that when the money on the card was gone, they were done shopping. They each chose carefully to get what they really wanted with this money, and we did't have to deal with them asking for "just one more thing." 

#8 Take advantage of PhotoPass. All over the park there are photographers ready to capture your memories. I generally choose to pass on things like this that cost extra money, but in this case I'm so glad we didn't. We left our nice camera at home and didn't worry about it getting stollen or broken. We took a few photos on our phones, but most of the time we just handed over our PhotoPass card and let the professionals handle it. It cost us $70 to download all the photos they took (well over 100 photos) and I felt like it was well worth it. We never could have captured moments like the one above between Anniston and Ariel while also enjoying the moment, pushing two strollers, and wrestling with a 1 yr old. 

#9 Take single strollers. We debated beforehand whether to take a double stroller or two single strollers, and I'm so glad we decided to take two. They were so much easier to get on and off the shuttle we took from the hotel to the park, easier to maneuver around the park, and made it possible for us to split up occasionally. The older kids even took a turn or two in a stroller to rest their feet. 

#10 Don't sweat the small stuff. Vacations with little ones means the occasional tantrum or grumpy moment, missed naps, and adjusting plans based on their needs. It won't always be perfect, but most of the best memories aren't. My mom made these super cute Minnie Mouse dresses for the girls and I was so excited to get a picture of the two of them with her. Of course, Anniston screamed like crazy and wouldn't get within 10 feet of her. So, we don't have a picture of her with Minnie, but we do have the memories of her reaction and how immediately afterward she talked on and on about how much she LOVED Minnie Mouse. :)

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Letter of the Week {Vv}

By Tiffany Rudd
Snack Ideas:
      * Veggies with Dip - I was honestly a little surprised the first time I set a bunch of cut up veggies in front of my preschoolers and they actually ate them! All you need is a variety of options and a little ranch dressing and I bet your preschooler will surprise you too.  

Favorite Books:
      * The Berenstain Bears Funny Valentine by Stan & Jan Berenstain

      * The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

      * Vegetable Prints - These are so fun! All you need are some veggies of different shapes and sizes and some paint. Have your child dip the veggie in the paint however she chooses and make fun shapes on a piece of paper. I also love this one from whipup.net where she used different veggies cut in half. 
      * Vegetable Collage - I love this idea from The Measured Mom. It is also a great one for practicing cutting and gluing skills.
      * Letter Vv Vase - How cute is this letter V vase craft over at Creativity Takes Flight

      * DIY Volcano - This doesn't have to be a super involved project, I've even just used a plain vase, baking soda, vinegar, and red food coloring before since the fun part is watching it erupt! You can take it a step farther though, like this example from Learning 4 Kids. Your little ones are sure to love it!

      * Click on the photos to print out your Vv Flash Card and Writing Practice Worksheet
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

{DIY} Bible Scripture Glove

By Deborah Rowley

Over 10 years ago, I was in a Family Home Evening Idea Group in Gilbert, Arizona. One of the cute ladies in the group made these adorable scripture gloves. (I wish I could remember which gal it was!) I have used this glove countless times over the years with my own kids and other kids in church groups. I am so excited to share it with my Nursery class today. This glove would be so easy and inexpensive to make and so adaptable to many different stories in the scriptures. This scripture glove was created to tell the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that is found in the book of Daniel Chapter 3 in the Old Testament.

Here is a close up of all the parts. All you need is a glove, felt, googly eyes, stick on jewels, glue, a handkerchief, a rubber band, and some stick on Velcro.

Here are the three boys that were taken to serve in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar. 

Here is the King. 

Here is the angel that appeared in the fiery furnace to protect them. 

Here is the idol they were commanded to worship. 

Here is the fire. 
Below is a simplified version of the story that you can tell small children. 
(Note that you wrap the angel in the handkerchief until the part that he appears in the story. In the center of the glove is the velcro that is used to attach the idol and the fire when they are needed.) 

The Bible tell us the story of a King named Nebuchadnezzar.
This king made a golden image and commanded that everyone worship it. 
There were three young men who would not worship the image. Their names were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The king told them that he would put them in a fire and burn them if they did not worship the idol. They told the king that they would only pray to God, our Heavenly Father. 

The king was very angry. He had the furnace made seven times hotter than normal. The guards that put Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace were burned because the blaze was so hot. 

The king was astonished at what happened next. He saw four persons, not just three in the fire. An angel had come to protect the three young men. The fire did not harm them.

The king let them out and said they were blessed. He made a law that everyone could worship the true God because of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 
We should remember these young men. They had the courage and faith to obey Heavenly Father even though their lives were in great danger. We should have the same kind of courage and faith. God will always help us if we keep His commandments. 

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