Saturday, May 31, 2014

Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree

I just made this cute popcorn gift for my nursery kids. They love the song "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" and I love this delicious cinnamon bun popcorn from Our Best Bites. And what do you know, the two go together perfectly!

I think sometimes the little ones get left out of all the excitement over the end of the school year and all the gifts, parties and celebrations that go with it. I didn't want my cuties to feel bad so I am going to surprise them with their own special delivery.

Just whip up the popcorn, put it in a cellophane bag and attach the tag.

I think it is perfect to brighten just about anyone's day!

Here is the Tag.

Here are some tree pictures we are going to glue popcorn on in Nursery in the next few weeks.

(If you are going to use glue with Toddlers..... I recommend pouring some glue in a bowl and giving each toddler a Q-Tip. It contains the mess and is still lots of fun. Just a word to the wise. )

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Candy Graduation Caps

Every year I make these cute candy caps for all the seniors graduating in our neighborhood. I personalize each tassel using the colors of the school. Most of the kids are graduating from American Fork High School this year. Go Cavemen! Their colors are red and black so I made the tassels red.

I kept the printable in black and white so that you could attach it to some colored paper in the colors of your school.

Here are all the supplies that you need:

* Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for the Base- You can use either miniature or snack size depending on the size of the cookie you use for the mortar board.
* Fudge Covered Grahams for the Mortar Board. These homestyle ones I got are quite large so I used the snack size Reeses. Usually I get the Keebler Fudge Covered Graham Cookies. They are a little smaller so I use the Miniature Reeses.
*Chocolate Frosting- To glue everything together.
*Roll-ups in the Colors of your School.

First stick the cookie and Reeses together with frosting.

Then work on the Tassel. I cut strips out of my Fruit Roll Up about 3 inches long. Then I roll up one end very tightly. I fan out the other end and cut fringe into it with scissors.

Attach the Tassel with some more frosting and you are done. Then wrap them up cute and attach the tag!
This is a fun, easy gift and a great way to surprise your babysitter, the boy who mows your lawn or any other graduates in your life. Not your KIDS, of course! You aren't as old as me!!

Graduation Printable

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Best Book EVER: Wonder!

I can't recommend the book Wonder highly enough. I used this novel as a read aloud in my class this year and without question it was a favorite of everyone in the class. Reluctant readers, prolific readers, boys, girls, ADHD, autism, you name it. Everyone loved this book. And just when I thought that the book couldn't get any better,  R. J. Palacio came out with the Julian chapter! GENIUS!

I think every parent needs to put this on their summer reading list. Grab a copy and read it to your kids while you are on a road trip or while you are camping or on vacation. Take a few late nights, lay outside on a blanket and devour this book together.  I think it is perfect for kids from 6 to 60.

I promise you won't regret it. I am recommending this book to a close friend who is worried that her 8 year old son will not take responsibility for his actions. This book is perfect for driving the point of personal responsibility home! I promise it will get the conversation started.

Are you worried that your child does not reach out to others or is getting into a clique or exclusive group? This book will solve your problem.

Are you wanting to encourage your child to be more kind and considerate? This book is your answer.

Do you want to open your child's eyes to the perspective of others? Check.
Do you want him or her to see how gossip hurts others? Check.
Do you want to help your child stand up to bullies or not be a bully? Check.

This book is for you! This book is perfect on so many levels. But believe it or not, even though it teaches so many powerful lessons, it is not preachy. It is exciting, engaging, and entertaining. You will not be able to put it down. I cried when I read Julian's ending.

Get Wonder and Julian's Chapter today!


The Julian Chapter
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

6 Tips for Tie-Dying T-Shirts with Kids

Our last craft with our first year campers was Tie-Dye T-Shirts. At first I was hesitant to tackle this project because it thought it would be too complicated and too messy. But I was amazed at how easy and fun and inexpensive this activity can be. Here is what we learned about the process.

Tip #1 Do Not Use Rite Dye.
My first thought was to pick up some rite dye at the grocery store and go to town. But I quickly learned in my online research that Rite Dye is not the best product for tie-dying t-shirts. We used a Tulip tie-dying kit with three colors that worked fantastic for us. If you want bright, vivid, long-lasting color do not use Rite Dye. One other suggestion: Use a t-shirt made of 100% cotton.

Tip #2 Use small squirt bottles for the dye.
Our Tulip kit came with three squirt bottles. This makes containing the dye so easy. We did this activity outside on some folding tables that we set up on the lawn. We protected the tables with some plastic table clothes.

Tip #3 Wear gloves during the entire process. 
I put gloves on each girl but then made the mistake of helping with bare hands! Just picking up the t-shirt and transferring it into a plastic bag left me with green fingers that lasted for days. Always use gloves! Use gloves from beginning to end even when you are rinsing out the shirts and putting them into the washing machine.

Tip #4 First soak your t-shirt in a soda ash solution.
I learned from my internet research that soaking your t-shirt in a soda ash solution first will make the colors bind to the shirt more effectively. This will result in a brighter colored shirt that holds its color longer. My Tulip Kit did not include soda ash but it was easy to find packaged separately. It was hanging right beside the tie-dye kits and came with simple instructions.  I bought both the kit and the soda ash at my local Hobby Lobby Craft Store. When we were about ready to start, I mixed the soda ash with water and soaked our six shirts in it for 20 minutes. Then I twisted out any excess water and we started the dying process on the damp shirts.

Tip #5 Try different techniques when dying your shirt. 
Our Tulip Kit included instructions for different tie-dye techniques. I let the girls choose which one they wanted to do. The easiest was the crumbled tie-dye. The girls simply crumpled up their shirts and squeezed dye onto the top. It doesn't get much easier than that!

The next easiest style was this beautiful ombre one. We squirted the dye directly on the bottom of the shirt and then dipped a paint brush in dye solution and brushed the dye on the remainder of the shirt.

The more traditional one involved bunching up the shirt and putting rubber bands around it every two inches. Then we squirted dye in alternating colors on the areas between the rubber bands.

This fun shirt was made by first rolling the shirt around a cardboard tube, scrunching it together and then squirting on the dye in three distance sections.

All the instructions were clear and easy to follow in the Tulip Kit.

Tip #6 Leave the dye soaking on the wet shirt for at least 8 hours before you rinse it out. 
Once you have finished tie-dying your shirt, leave it in the rubber bands or on the cardboard tube or in the scrunched ball and wrap it up completely in plastic wrap. I put each wrapped shirt in a separate grocery bag so that I could move them inside the house. Then we had to wait. I waited overnight and rinsed them out the next morning. Wait at least 8 hours. Then rinse the shirt under cold water until the water runs out clear. Throw it in the washing machine without any other article of clothing. Once through one wash and rinse cycle your shirt is ready to wear and wash normally in the future. The color is set and you are done.

We are so pleased with the vivid colors of our finished products. The girls loved doing this. I think this was their favorite project so far. We spent a total of $3.50 per shirt and that includes the cotton t-shirts which were $3.00 a piece. This would make a fun summer camp project and a great project to do at a family reunion or before a family vacation. Wouldn't it be fun for everyone in the family to have a matching tie-dye t-shirt?  Oh yeah! Pin It

Friday, May 23, 2014

Favorite Teacher Gift

Here is one of my favorite teacher gifts this year. I especially loved that Torrey had made this all herself! This means so much to me and I will always remember her every time I look at this gorgeous pot.

I know any teacher would appreciate this thoughtful gift. I love how the base is chalkboard paint. I could even write some other message on the bottom. Only I will never erase Torrey's handwriting!

I had so many fantastic students this year. I am feeling especially sad about losing this amazing class. Pin It

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Last Chance to Join the Hogwarts Summer Fun Challenge

We have a few more spots in our Hogwarts Summer School. So if you haven't joined yet, email us today! 
Here are more details so you can see if this program is right for you. 

Our Hogwarts Summer School has 10 different classes. Each week you will receive one different activity for each class. Then you get to choose which classes and activities you want to do. Here is a list of the classes and the types of activities that you will receive for each class.

Potions- Activities baking in the kitchen
Charms- Casting a spell on others through random acts of kindness
Arithmancy- Practicing with math facts, numbers, counting etc. 
Astrology- Stargazing and nighttime activities
Divination- Setting goals for the future
Transfiguration- Crafts, recycled art projects etc. 
History of Magic- Reading picture books, chapter books etc. 
Herbology- Nature activities and gardening
Ancient Runes- Writing Activities
Quidditch- Outdoor sports and games

Students like Ron (We love you Ron!) will just manage to get a few activities done in a week. Those students who complete just 3 activities a week (or 24 total over the 8 weeks) will receive a Hogwarts Summer School Completion Certificate.

Students like Harry (Go Harry!) will manage to get a few more activities done in a week. The students who complete 6 activities a week (or 48 total over the course of the summer) will receive a certificate and a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans!

Students like Hermione (She makes the rest of us look bad!) will complete every activity listed and probably a few more that aren't even on the list. (If he or she has a time turner!) The students with the highest point total in each of the four houses will receive a handmade wizard wand, Bertie Botts Beans and a certificate. All the prizes will be shipped totally free of charge.

As you can see, your level of participation is totally up to you. Our goal is to help our kids be busy, happy and productive all summer long while limiting their TV and video game time. If you feel like this program would work for your family, sign up today.

All you need to do to sign up is send the names and ages of the children who would like to participate to: 

We will send you the Sorting Hat Quiz next week and everything you need to get started. This is going to be so much fun! 
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

{DIY} Jean Bottle Water Holders

This is the second craft that we did with our cute first year campers.

This craft was free because we used some old jeans that my daughters had grown out of. We thought it would be cute if the water bottle holders came with front and back pockets to hold granola bars or chapsticks etc. Once we cut the jeans in half and cut off the bottoms, we sewed up the sides and then the girls cut the edges to create a fringe. I think you can see the fringe at the bottom of this picture.

Next we attached the ribbon handles.

The girls measured where they wanted their water bottle holder to hang and then sewed the straps on themselves.

Then came the fun part!

We set out paints and the girls used their thumbs to make thumbprint flowers all over the jeans.

The girls were so creative. I love how unique each water bottle holder turned out. 

I think carrying these cute matching water bottle holders will make their hike much more fun! Don't you? 

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

{DIY} Camp Pillowcases

My baby is going to Girls Camp this summer! How did this happen? She has an August birthday and will turn twelve on the 2nd but she misses the September cut-off and will be able to go to camp even though she isn't in the Young Women's group at our church quite yet.

I wanted to do something to help Katie bond with the other first year campers and get her excited to go to camp. We learned that their theme is LOOK UP! And they have the cutest 7 week challenge based around the word UP to get ready for camp. It is called the 7-UP. (Of course, this challenge came with a cute bottle of 7-Up. Camp leaders are so stinking creative.) Each week they do something that relates to the theme like Speak Up, Stand Up, Wake Up, Lift Up, Be Up, and Jump Up. We wanted to do a craft that related to this theme and immediately thought about the movie UP.

We got some soft fleece fabric from Walmart that had clouds all over it. Katie's grandma helped her sew up all the pillowcases. They had so much fun doing this together.

Then we had the girls choose bright colored fabrics for the balloons. Once they had cut out the balloon shapes, they ironed on the letters of their names.

Then they ironed the balloons to some fusible web that is sticky on both sides. They first stuck it to the balloon fabric and then stuck the whole balloon to the pillowcase. Super easy! No sew and something 12 year olds can do quickly.

Then they used fabric glue to stick on the balloon strings and the cute bows. I love the finish product and the girls were so proud of themselves for completing them on their own. They are staying in cabins and the pillows will look so cute on their bunk beds. As an added bonus their secret sisters will know where they sleep and can easily deliver their daily gifts....

Stay tuned for more cute camp crafts coming up!

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