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Sunday, June 26, 2011

July 4th Inspirations

My craft time the past month has been filled either with themed Summer School activities for my boys, or props and costumes for VBS.  Now that VBS has passed, I'm focused on our impending move.  All of this means I've had little creative time for my etsy shop or for summer projects.  I've been absolutely drooling over all the 4th of July goodness out on the craft blogs lately!!  Here is a round-up to get you inspired and crafting!

Love these striped red, white & blue medallions by Martha.

This wreath, by The Woman Who Couldn't Sit Still, is made with little paper cones!

Love LOVE these balls, by Keep Calm and Decorate.  
They are flag napkins mod podged onto styrofoam balls!

This no-sew swag, by Under the Table and Dreaming, 
looks like a quick and easy way to spruce up your porch : )

I'm head over heels for these patriotic luminaries by Total Art Soul.

This star banner, by Sweeter than Sweets, makes me want to visit 
the paint section and stock up on paint chips.  Perfect for the 4th!

These paper decorations. by Make and Takes, would make 
a great addition to a centerpiece or mantel.  Love them!

How cute are these flag T's by Make it and Love it!?  So sweet
to use ruffle strips for the girls shirt : )

I think these sparklers, by Merriment Design, would
make charming favors for a July 4th party!

And of course, free party printables from Tip Junkie!

I've posted even more links to July 4th beauties on Craft, Interrupted's Facebook Page.  If you're not already following us on Facebook, go check them out!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer School - Dinosaur Soap Eggs

Our final Dino Week activity was making soap eggs that have mini plastic dinosaurs inside.  Frankly, I'm glad I saved this one for the end, because it turned out to be such a huge mess that I may have run away from the rest of Dino Week altogether if it was all still ahead of us ; )

It is recommended to use Ivory Soap for this project, because it's a very soft soap. However, it's not food processor-friendly.  At least it wasn't friendly with my food processor.  I attempted to use the grater blade and think it broke something.  The center won't turn anymore.  After that little experiment, I chopped it with a big knife into small cubes and tried it with my mini processor.

This was slightly more successful, except for two things:  the soap at the bottom got smeared into goo instead of chopping into little pieces, and the rest was still left in bigger chunks.  Lots of scraping with a rubber spatula to get it all out of there, and the finished eggs were lumpy as a result of the bigger chunks.  I had planned to let my boys do 2-3 eggs each and was going to try a hand cheese grater for the next round...but they weren't interested in making more.  Frankly, at that point I wasn't either.  Ha!

If you are more successful than me in getting your bar of soap shredded into small flakes, please let me know how you did it, hm?  Once you have those (one bar at a time/one bar per egg), put the flakes or shavings (or chunky goo in my case) into a ziplock bag.  If you want colored eggs, add a sparing drop or two of food coloring, along with 1/4 cup of warm water.
Zip it up good and tight and let the kids squeeze and knead until it is smooth.  Or smooth-er in our case.
Then you have to get all that squishy soap out of the ziplock bag.  Take it from me - don't let your kids use their hands for this part.  Mess with a capital "M"!  The rubber spatula worked muuuch better.
Choose a dino to plop in there...
And then shape and compact it into an egg shape, with the dino hidden inside...
I ended up doing most of this myself, because after watching my oldest, the other two didn't want to get that messy.
Then you let them dry on waxed paper.  I was out of waxed paper....and after I found that out, I also discovered that I was out of foil as I found an aluminum casserole pan flattened in the bottom of the cabinet and used that.

It took me about 500 gallons of water to scrub and rinse the mess of soap goo off all of our hands and a sink-full of kitchen items...big food processor, mini food processor, cutting board and knife, spatula and plates, and a bowl...then the table and two kitchen counters.

The eggs dried, and I would try to smooth and compress them a bit here and there as they hardened.
A few days later, I put one in the soap dish of our powder room.  My boys were excited to see it there, and get this - they have all been washing their hands without being asked ; )
I was worried that the eggs would fall apart, or that my boys would just smash and break them apart on purpose to get to the dinosaur quicker (this is totally something they would do), but so far....SO far...that egg is holding up very nicely and keeping little hands clean!  Maybe the mess was worth it ; )

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?  I wonder when our first dinosaur will "hatch."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer School - TP Tube Dinos

I saw this idea at Sunflower Storytime, (originally from KidsSoup) and it looked fun and easy to pull together the supplies.  The dino template is here.  I printed the template, traced it onto some empty cereal boxes and cut them out.  You could use cardstock, but I thought the cereal boxes would be sturdier, and that way they could paint.  We also used one toilet paper tube per dino, cut in half (these become the legs).
I set my boys up with a newspaper-covered table, their cereal box dinos and TP tube legs, and a foil muffin tin with green paint.
We painted the cereal side, and the legs, and then let them dry.  I just put foil over the muffin tin so the paint wouldn't dry out and could be used again later.  Later they painted the other side, and drew dino toes on the bottom edges of the TP tubes with a sharpie.  We made a vertical line to make it look like two legs together.

After a few more hours of playing while these dried again, they decorated their dinos with polka dots of construction paper and used a sharpie to draw faces on them.
To attach the legs, you cut slits partway down on either side of the TP tube legs, and then slide them onto the dino body.
Ta-da!  Three happy dinosaurs : )
You could do two versions of dinos this way, by slightly altering the shape of the body/head/tail and including clothespins.  The kids could paint and assemble them the same way, and then clip clothespins along the back to make a stegosaurus.  No clothespins?  Make a stegosaurus with handprints instead, like these at No Time for Flashcards.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer School - Volcano Snacks

We did this little treat as part of our Dino Week.  The kids had a lot of fun making it and eating it...even though Mommy thought it was kind of gross ; )

You need:
     chocolate pudding
     plain ice-cream cones
     dinosaur fruit snacks
     red decorator icing

First, empty the pudding cup into a bowl.  This will be your "land."
Then, stick an ice-cream cone upside-down in the pudding.  This is your "volcano."
Arrange dinosaur fruit snacks or gummies in the land around the volcano.  I couldn't find dino fruit snacks on short notice, so we used build-a-bug ones and pretended the different bug parts were dinosaur bones.
Then drizzle red icing on and down your ice-cream cone for "lava."  The tube that I purchased came out like thick tooth paste though, and I had to smoosh it around with the back of a spoon.  Thinner icing in a decorator bag would probably work easier for the kids to do it themselves.

That's it!  Appetizing, huh?
This is not a five star dessert, but my boys thoroughly enjoyed it!

Summer School - Dino Tot Pack

I fell in love with the awesome toddler activity packs and lapbooks at 1+1+1=1.  The "Big Machines" set of printables was the first lapbook that I ever made, and little man loved it!  I decided to do the Dinosaur Train set for him for Dino Week, but I altered a few things, and added a few, too : )

The cover is a puzzle, with the pieces stored in a snack-size ziplock bag in an inside pocket.
The first page has letter cards to spell his name from the Dinosaur Train Tot Pack, and a colors book printable that I found at PreKinders

 He colored the pages...
The opposite page is a big pocket with three snack-size ziplock bags of alphabet cards: upper case, lowercase, and a dinosaur picture card.  I matted them on patterned scrapbook papers and laminated them with clear contact paper.  My 5yr old colored them, and my older boys enjoyed playing an alphabet match-up game with these cards.
 The next page has dino tangrams, with a little pocket for the pieces.  The second dinosaur is glued on the back cover.

The last page is another big pocket with ziplock bags of different activities:  Sequence Cards, Number Cards, and Heads & Tails Match-Up...
The number cards I made into a laminated set that is matted on a 4x6 index card.  One side has the number cards from 1+1+1=1, with the addition of number word and number writing practice guides that I cut out of an old, ignored, workbook.
Once laminated with clear contact paper, my 5yr old could use a dry erase marker to practice writing the words and numbers.  It erases with an old sock ; )
 The other side of the card has a numbers set from Confessions of a Homeschooler, that I used slightly differently.  Instead of matching cards, I glued them both on the index card and used them for a counting activity.

This set took awhile for me to put together, but it was enjoyable work and worth the effort.  A great addition to Dino Week!

See the Dinosaur Lapbook that we made for my older boys here, and check out our other Dino Week posts!


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