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Monday, December 21, 2009

Make A Winter Snowflake


4 Popsicle Sticks
Paint Brush

Glitter, White and Blue

Glue two Popsicle sticks together forming an X.

Do this to the remaining two Popsicle sticks and let them dry.

(Hint: Use a clip or clothes pin to hold the X while it drys)

Glue the two X's together forming a 8 pronged snowflake and let this dry together.

Take your paintbrush and paint glue all over the Popsicle stick and then shake glitter all over it to give it sparkle.

Hang them in a window for decoration or string them together to hand on the mantel.

Winter Questions

Is it safe to eat snow?

Snow forms when water vapor comes in contact with cold air. The vapor, gaseous water molecules, will often connect to a small particle, such as a tiny piece of dust. and form a snow crystal. Clusters of the snow crystals make snowflakes. However, eating snow in city areas are prone to all of the particles in the air, like pollutants.

Why does cooler weather make your face and nose red?

The body will divert blood to maintain the body's temperature. The first place it diverts blood to the inner part of the body, to keep that warm. But, progressively, as it gets colder, it also diverts blood to the extremities. It is a protective mechanism to keep warm and protect those exposed areas.

If you lick a pole will your tongue get stuck to it?

A cold metal pole and your warm, wet tongue can become a conductor and actually get stuck to a pole. It's not that your tongue becomes frozen, only the moisture from your tongue becomes frozen. But, do not pull your tongue from the pole, because if you do the skin from your tongue will likely stay with the pole. The best way to remove your tongue is to pour warm water, slowly over your tongue and the pole to loosen it.

What can I do to keep my hands from getting dry and cracked?

The cold, winter weather along with the washing of our hands can take it's toll. The most common answer would be to use lotion frequently. But, one of the best suggestion we have would be to lather your hands in a fair amount of Vaseline and wear socks over your hands . The heat from your body in the socks really allows the Vaseline to penetrate the skin. Do this at night while you sleep and in the morning you will have the softest hands.

Wreaths Across America

In 1992 Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreaths, donated 5,000 wreaths in which his company adorned the headstones of the soldiers in Arlington National Park. Every year Mr. Worcester donated these wreath in relatively quiet until one day someone captured a picture of the headstones on a snowy Christmas winter day, which was circulated around the internet.

The picture got so much notice that people began to request the donating of wreaths. Mr Worcester couldn't fill the requests and came up with the idea of Wreaths Across America, and a non-profit organization was born.

Unable to donate thousands of wreaths to each state, Mr. Worcester conceived the idea of sending 7 wreaths (one for each branch of the military as well as POW/MIA). In 2006 with the help of the CAP and other civic organizations, over 150 locations held wreath laying ceremonies simultaneously, which is held every December 13th simultaneously.

Mr. Worcester, we salute you for your kindness and giving heart. If you are interested in sponsoring a wreath you can read about it here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Tree Handprint

O' Christmas Tree

White Paper
Tempura Paint:
Green, Brown, Red, Blue, Purple, Yellow, Orange

Paint your child's hand with the green paint and place it on the white paper in the lower, right hand corner .

Paint your child's hand again and place it right next to the first hand print and continue to build the tree upward using one less hand print on the third level of the tree. Remember to add more paint every time you print your child's hand.

Wash off the green paint and take the index finger and the middle finger and paint them brown. Keeping your child's fingers together place them at the bottom of the tree creating a trunk.

Wash your child's hand again and give them a Q-tip to dip in the remaining colors to dot the Christmas tree, creating a lighted effect.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

De-stress the holidays with these tips!

♥ Make lists

A list of thing that need to get done at home
A list of all of your personal errands
A holiday shopping list
A list of things you will need if you are traveling
Map out your drive to do your errands so you aren’t back tracking and wasting time.
Do your shopping and cleaning at your highest energy time.
Keep all your holiday receipts in one place at home or in an envelope in your purse.
Call the store ahead of time to see if they have the item in stock.
Consider giving the older kids gift certificates.
Shop online
Have the entire family decorate the house all at once or decorate one room at a time.
Wrap gifts as you go.
Buy already made pies, rolls, vegetable platters, cookies

Make short cuts and prepare things the night before.
Have large trash bags to the side for the collection of all the wrapping after gift opening.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas In America

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. I have so many reasons to love it. The colder weather, the cozy feeling of home, spending time with my family, church, Christmas morning, but what always has been a big part of my love for Christmas has been my mother's spirit and what she made life like for us during this time of the year.

When I was growing up my family didn't have a lot of money, especially at Christmas time, to spend on presents between six children. We never really noticed it because of my mother. Christmas was more about the things we did with each other than the gifts we received. Decorating the tree was an all day affair in which everyone took part. The outside of the house was no different. When we would pull into our driveway at night our house was always so beautiful to me. I would sit on the sofa and stare out of our big picture window and gaze at our Christmas lights. I would do it for hours. I still do it now. It brings me back to a time in my childhood and all the feelings that come along with it. I too, like my mother, will take days to decorate my home from top to bottom. I am exhausted when I'm done, but I love the end result.

Candy Cane Lane, Woodland Hills, California

One of the many things we did every year was go to Candy Cane Lane. It was an eight block area in California where every house on the block was decorated with lights and ornaments and every street had a theme. My mother would announce to the family when we were going to see the lights and the anticipation of all of us going was so thick you could cut with a knife. We would eat dinner, take our bath, slip into our pajamas with the feet (who didn't have these as a kid), grab our "blankies" and hop into the car.

Candy Cane Lane, Woodland Hills, California

If you've ever decorated your house with the simplest strands of lights or if you have over 20,000 lights on your house, I say thank you! Thank you, for being a memory for me, thank you for taking your precious time to decorate your home for others to enjoy and thank you for keeping a long time tradition in America alive to light our world at Christmas time!

Candy Cane Lane, Woodland Hills, California

Candy Cane Lane, Woodland Hills, California

Christmas In America

Dallas, Texas

Little Rock, Arkansas

Metairie, Louisiana

Hollywood, Florida

Parsonage, Washington, D.C.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Toliet Paper Roll Menorah

8 Toilet Paper Rolls
1 Paper Towel Roll
Paint, Blue and White
Yellow Tissue Paper
Paint Brush
Glue or Stapler
Glitter, stickers or personal messages *

Make sure all of the rolls are clean of toilet paper or paper towels residue.

Paint the toilet paper rolls blue and set aside dry

Paint the paper towel roll white and set aside to dry.

Once the rolls are dry you can either glue them together or staple them together, leaving the white roll to be the center of the menorah.

Cut the tissue paper in squares of 5" x 5".

Take the tissue and place them inside each of the rolls at the top making them look like flames.
You can secure the tissue with glue or by just placing them in the rolls.

*Add glitter, stickers or your own personal message to finish the look to your menorah.

Happy Hanukkah!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Its A Wonderful Life

Every holiday season there is that one token movie you always make sure you watch. It just doesn't feel like the holiday season until you've seen the movie, that movie, your movie. I have several movies I feel that way about, but there is that one movie I have to see every year that makes the difference.

It's A Wonderful Life

What would the holidays be like if I didn't see it at least once? Sure, I could play the DVD, but the anticipation of knowing it's going to be on TV and waiting for it come on TV that makes it so much more fun. I love It's A Wonderful Life. It's the basic story of the George Bailey we all know or the Mary we happen to be ourselves, or the children that come along with the marriage and the normal pursuits and pressures of life that makes us relate to this story.

If we had the chance to see what our lives would have been like, like George did, would we still choose the life we know now all over again? Yeah, I think we would.

Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Karolyn Grimes, who played ZuZu, Georges' youngest daughter, in It's A Wonderful Life. She had the iconic line in the movie, "Look Daddy, teachers says every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings." Karolyn's list of movies as a young actor had her acting along side some of the biggest players in Hollywood at the time. From 1945 to 1952 she made over 16 films acting along side the likes of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Betty Grable, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Glen Ford, Maureen O'Hara, John Wayne and, of course, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, to name just a few.

My family has a long history of being in the movie business so, I don't get too excited about seeing a movie star, but because this movie means a lot to me and reminds me of my childhood and my mother during the holidays, it meant a lot to me to meet her today.

Though I was not able to take pictures of her, (the venue would not allow photographs) I was glad I got to spend ten uninterrupted minutes talking with her. I did take home a token of our visit, an ornament with her signature, which now hangs on my Christmas tree, and a memory that means a lot to me.

It truly is a wonderful life!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Volunteer To Make a Difference

Did you know that there are benefits to volunteering?
20 reason why volunteering can make a difference in your life.
· Help others
· Make a difference
· Find purpose
· Enjoy a meaningful conversation
· Connect with your community
· Feel involved
· Contribute to a cause that you care about
· Use your skills in a productive way
· Develop new skills
· Meet new people
· Explore new areas of interest
· Meet good people
· Impress your mom
· Impress yourself
· Expand your horizons
· Get out of the house
· Make new friends
· Strengthen your resume
· Feel better about yourself
Take the time this holiday season to give back to those who might need a little something extra this time of year.

Your local hospital
Your local animal shelter
Your local women’s shelter
Your local homeless shelter
Your local boys and girls club
Your local senior citizen center
Thinking Outside the Box:
Donate blood
Feed a family in need
Host a family for Christmas
Donate a gift for the local toy drive
Help and elderly neighbor with a chore
Watch a neighbor’s child for a few hours
Donate your skills to a local non-profit program
Gather a group to clean your local beach or park
Knit, crochet or sew a blanket for people at your local hospital
Bake holiday treats for the local Police Station and Fire Fighters

Friday, November 20, 2009

Project Fun Friday - Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I know... what's so special about oatmeal raisin cookies?

Normally I would say, "Nothing", but I test recipes.

I have been known to test as many as five recipes for one item. One comes out to hard, one comes out too mushy, one is too over powering. You get the idea.

But, this recipe I like!

It had just the right taste of oatmeal, cinnamon and raisin consistency.

So, that is why I say make this oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3/4 cup Butter, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
2 3/4 cup Rolled oats
1 cup Raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

Gradually beat into the butter mixture.

Stir in the oats and raisins.

Drop by the teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool slightly, remove from the cookie sheet to a wire rack.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Project Fun Friday - Rocket to the Moon

Rocket to the Moon

1 Toilet Paper Roll
1 Balloon
String, cut 8' long

Tie one end of the string to a low point in the room. (2' off the ground)

Attach the balloon to the middle/end of the toilet paper roll.

Place the toilet paper roll through the string.

Tie the remaining end of the string to a high point (4' to 5' off the ground) keeping the string tight, but not too tight.

Blow up the balloon and hold it on the end so no air escapes.

Count down with your child and then release the balloon and watch the balloon fly up the string.

* Make a "Rocket to the Moon" chart and record the length of each launch.

*Have your child make observations on how far they think the rocket might go.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Project Fun Friday - Nature Walk

Experiencing nature through the eyes of your child can be an enlightening and wonderful adventure, especially during the Fall season.

The perspective of nature from their height grants you a rare opportunity for you to talk with them about the changing season, to introduce the idea of the senses, a chance to communicate with your child, and a time for learning.

While you walk along with your child ask them questions about what they are seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling. Get your child to discuss the objects they have found during your walk together. Take this chance to also talk about recycling and the need for all of us to make a difference for our planet and the negative effects it has in your community and to the animals in their natural habitat.

For the older kids prepare a list, with pictures, of different types of birds they can spot, or of different types of flowers. Give them binoculars too!

The day doesn't have to end after your walk. Enjoy a picnic, take your "finds" home and create an art project or start a recycling center.

Most of all enjoy the time with your child, the fresh air and the moment you are creating together.

Planning Your Walk

Pick a place of destination:
The Lake
The Hills
The Park
The Beach
The Woods
The Back Yard
The Neighborhood
The Botanical Gardens

Items to bring:
Cell Phone
A Rain Coat
A Backpack
A Plastic Bag
A Bottle of Water
A Magnifying Glass
A Snack or Light Lunch

Leaf Prints
A Nature Collage
Draw a Picture of Nature
Start a Recycling Center at Home
Glue Acorns around the base of a Candle
Paint, Glitter Pine Cones into Ornaments or Wreath

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Project Fun Friday

Imaginative Play

We all know that wet weather and children inside for days usually creates a lot of pent up energy.

A creative mind and a house full of items can turn an afternoon into an expressive, fun-filled time.

A kitchen ladle, a broom stick, cordless telephone or remote control, bed sheets hung over a rope and some of mom or dads fancy clothes and you have got the workings of a KARAOKE NIGHT CLUB.

Just add some fun music and you are off to a great start.

You might have the next American Idol in the making!

A small tent set up in the living room becomes a BIG ADVENTURE!

Add blankets, pillows, books, a tackle box filled with juice boxes, gold fish and apple slices and your little adventurer is set to go.

This is the perfect place to nap too! Don't have a tent? Use blankets draped over two twin beds or the dining room table also makes a great tent-like structure.

How about a MAGIC SHOW?

A cool hat, cards, magic wand, a colorful scarf, a bow tie, a small stool and a table cloth or towel draped over it and you
have the makings of the perfect magic show.

Let your little magician entertain you!

A big stack of cards, any cards, makes the perfect time to practice eye hand coordination and build the perfect HOUSE OF CARDS.

You may have to give your little one some help on this one, but I am sure it will only make it even more fun for your child.
No cards? Use blocks.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Project Fun Friday - Floaters & Sinkers

A large clear bowl or
2 liter soda bottle, 4" cut off of the top
Items that float
Items that sink

This is a basic science project that will require items you already have in your home and will engage your child to use their thought process to determine which of the items will float or sink.

Have your child choose one item from the tray.

Before they place the item in the bowl ask them questions about the item.

What is the item you have chosen?
How do we use this everyday?
Is it heavy of light?
Do you think this will float or sink in the bowl?

Have you child place the item in the bowl.

Ask more questions.
Did the item float or sink?
Where you correct about your original guess?

Record the results on your chart.

The great thing about this project is that its FREE, it doesn't require you to purchased anything, it takes little time to prepare, and it is a fun project your little one will like and best of all it gets them to think.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Project Fun Friday ~ Pumpkin Pie Squares

Pumpkin Pie Squares

1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Rolled Oats

2 Eggs

3/4 cup Sugar

1 ~ 15oz can Pumpkin

1 ~ 12 oz can Evaporated Milk

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground Ginger

1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar.
Mix in flour. Fold in the oats.

Bake the crust in the oven for 15 minutes, until set.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the white sugar.
Beat in the pumpkin and evaporated milk.

Mix in the salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Pour the mixture over the baked crust.

Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, until set.

Let the pie cool before cutting into squares.

I make this recipe the night before I want to serve it. I cool it and cover it with Saran Wrap and I cut it into squares the next day. The squares come out of the pan with a very nice cut edge with this process.

If you don't like the idea of the oatmeal try using the same measurement with a ground graham crackers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Project Fun Friday - Play Dough


2 Cups White Flour
2 Cups Water, tinted with food coloring

1 Cup Salt

2 Tablespoons vegetable Oil

1 Tablespoon Cream of Tarter
1 Set of Plastic Gloves

Plastic Bag or Air Tight Container

Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat; stirring constantly until the mixture holds together.

Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the play dough is cool enough to handle.

Turn out the play dough on to a waxed-paper-lined counter top or stain resistant surface and knead the dough for 2 to 5 minutes.

Store in a plastic bag or air tight container for up to 2 weeks or less.

* Cream of Tarter can be found in the spice aisle of your supermarket

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Seattle Examiner Feature

FALL Shopping For Your Family
With Seattle Etsy Finds

I was thrilled when I was contacted by Adriana van Dam of the Seattle Examiner when she wanted to feature my bib in an article highlighting local Etsy artists.

Adriana did a great job on the article and I was even more excited to be featured with another EtsyBABY team mate, Elise Hooper of Elise Hooper Designs.

You can see the entire article HERE.

Project Fun Friday - Color Mix

Mixing Colors

Tempura Paint, Red, Yellow & Blue

Plastic Ziploc Bag

Durable Tape *

Following the chart above, squirt two of the colors in the plastic bag and seal it.

Have your child rub the two sides of the plastic bag together between their hands for a

count of five. Inspect the bag with your child discussing the the color inside the bag.

Repeat this process until the color has transformed into the color on the chart.

The idea of this process it to have your child use their thought process to determine the outcome without knowing it before hand as well as working their motor skills and counting skills.

* Using the tape is optional, but if you want an extra safety precaution from keeping the paint coming out of the top than I would do this. I never used the tape and the bag always stayed sealed, but mishaps do happen.