Dad Day!

*** Update ***

After my first stab at this, I kept tooling around with it, literally, and came up with something more presentable you see above.  With the help of a black piece of foam I found that’s the precise shape, I used brass metal fasteners to keep the paper in place.  An unexpected bonus was that the saw handle hooks to the fastener on the left and thus stays put inside.  Then, it dawned on me to use a yellow post-it note for the lock as it will naturally work on its own if I use the sticky side for the cut-out.  I found some other tool images to adorn the cover instead of the blue corners and kept the handle from before.  I simply poked a hole at the top and stuck the hook part in there upside down and glued the bottom of the handle that touches the top of the foam.

Naturally, I turned to Pinterest (their images above) for guidance in honor of Father’s Day when it comes to things like arts and crafts.

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Not every man wears ties, so that was out and I already did a palm print for Mother’s Day. If the dads you know are just as handy, then the saw tool idea was the one.  But, I also noticed the tool box which will tie in (no pun intended) so I combined both of these suggestions.

I started by folding red construction paper into the middle to get a tool box shape.  I used this coloring page image (that I had to size appropriately to fit) inside the space as shown in the finished product while an old cereal box provides its sturdiness.

 

 

saw

I dug through my craft stash in search of a plastic handle instead of using a paper cut-out for this too.   I found something that did the trick that once held my opaque tights.  Other random packaging used is a rectangle-shaped piece of cardboard to hold the tool box.  Then, I punctured a hole in the back at the bottom of it to tighten the handle closer to the edge with string.  Glue and double-sided tape kept everything else together as needed.

The message (Best Dad I Ever Saw) goes on the front and I added the child’s name and date on the back .

 

 

For those little ones who can’t do much more than finger paint designs, this is a craft they can at least carry by the handle to surprise Dad with on Sunday.  I’m still keeping busy making some more of these with whatever recycled materials I have left in the bin and it’s still not to late for you!

Ice Age Play

Even when your head is flooded with nonstop ideas of your own, you can still draw a blank.  This is why I’m ever so grateful for all the sharing that takes place on social media.  As you can see, one share leads to another and so on.

A post that popped up on our Facebook feed led us to Crumb Bums and an outdoor activity idea for those very hot soon-to-be summer days.  I’m always thrilled when something brilliant comes along that’s also practical and doable with whatever I happen to have available.

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So, in the interest of time and rising temperatures, I skipped the food coloring and just froze two animal toys in a suitably sized plastic storage container.  I also froze water alone in a large plastic cup and silicone heart-shaped mold.  We had toy hammers and the kids took turns trying to free the giraffe and an extinct Dino that I pointed out was stubbornly trapped in the ice age (and reminds me of a platypus, by the way.)

But, if you didn’t have a single toy to freeze, simply chipping away at a block of plain old ice was entertaining enough for them.

Well, this wonderful suggestion is now spinning me in a ton of different directions that I’ll be sure to update once I’ve tried them out next!

Pluma

It wasn’t Mother’s Day, my birthday or even Christmas and yet, someone sent me a beautiful surprise.  Good friends don’t need a reason or an excuse to do something nice for you, do they?

Some weeks ago I had casually shared how much I always wanted an old-fashioned pen (after being reminded during a period piece on television.)

Then, on a random afternoon,  a feather pen, heart-shaped stand and ink made its way here.  It was totally unexpected and really made my day.  To my utter delight, a package of special paper was also part of their thoughtful gift.

19025003_800637813437719_7515497085339831705_oIt puts a smile on my face every time I see it displayed on my writing desk.  I also cannot wait to begin practicing the fading art of penmanship.

I plan on sending letters, greeting cards and invitations just like our ancestors once did (my parents, actually.)  I might even use it to pen short cover letters for business correspondence.  Well, why not?

A major bonus is that the young ones around me (who are just learning how to write period) will witness an adult trying hard to get better at something similar.  In this case, calligraphy.  The inadvertent lesson that it’s never too late to pick up a new hobby.

For some, receiving a hand written note in the mail might in turn make their day as well, so it just may be the type of gift that will keep on giving.  I know that I appreciate a personal touch. Speaking of, if you happen to know someone who’s equally enthusiastic about writing instruments and/or stationary, this is a superb gift idea for sure.  I’m beyond thrilled to have received it myself, can you tell?

Now on a more personal note:  I know that other Spanish translations for the word pen include “bolígrafo” as well as “lapicero.”  But, that’s not part of the lyrics my mother used to sing to me:

Pollito, chicken,
Gallina, hen,
Lápiz, pencil
And pluma, pen

 

Tea. A drink with jam and bread.

Of the many good childhood memories that one may have, watching The Sound of Music with my family when I was young, happens to be among them.  It was a special time (typically summers with my cousins) and an Aunt who was just as interested in music and art.  She teaches kindergarten.

For those of us not destined for the stage, singing is still a vital and enjoyable part of our lives.  So, thank goodness for outlets such as karaoke to switch things up from all those solos in the shower.

Another joy about singing and in particular songs like Do-Re-Mi is introducing them for the first time to children.  I can’t say with absolute certainty if they care or even notice when I’m off-key or that I tend to hold a note longer than necessary, but nonetheless it’s entertaining for us all (I hope!)

So, when NBC aired their live version back in 2013, I was over the moon and this collaboration of Do-Re-Mi in particular has kept our momentum going.

Especially when you know the notes to sing…

 

Flag Day!

It’s hard to keep up with all the honorary days for things that appear on the calendar.  I wouldn’t even try, if not for the fact that young children enjoy theme related activities and I, the teachable moments that are sure to follow.

My intent was to prepare something for the fourth of July, when I realized that there’s such a thing as National Flag Day taking place this month.  Well, I was already putting together a short presentation about the flag for the next holiday, so all I had to do was speed things up a bit.  (By the way, I love PowerPoint!)

I’ll keep it simple for crafts by cutting strips of red and white construction paper (our rectangles) to tape against a blue background (our squares) and then draw the stars in because I don’t have stickers (which would have been nice.)  Anyway, this will cover colors, numbers and shapes.  Then, I’ll glue our paper flag to a stick and that’s it!

Later, we’ll view the slide show I created to notice patterns, do some math and then recite an original poem about what it represents.  I let the kids take turns hitting ENTER on the keyboard, while a toddler happily clicks on a computer mouse that’s been turned off.  All in the spirit of team work and a bit of practice with technology.

Finally, we’ll listen to a YouTube Playlist of videos about the flag during lunch!

Hope you like this activity idea and inspiration for your own lesson planning.

Follow us on Facebook to view a handy photo album of the slide presentation mentioned above that will be published there on June 14th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adults read aloud to children (usually before bedtime as parents) in the hopes of expanding their vocabulary and helping them learn how to read all on their own one day.  Yes, literacy is important.

WERESAILINGNILE_USHB_ENDNOTES-1But, more often than not, when we are nestled under the covers, our main objective has been to simply cuddle.

It’s quality time together and we’re bonding.  Sometimes we spin into random conversations totally unrelated to the story.  Next thing I know, I’ve put the book down and we’re just talking about life.  The questions keep coming and we’re getting to know one another better (while rolling around and being silly.)  With lots of laughter, too.

But, while I still had the pages in front of me, I managed to read some interesting facts for myself from the Barefoot Books title We’re Sailing Down the Nile.  In typical fashion, it was super informative and educational, even for those of us who already know how to read.  Their books are usually packed with a variety of options for lesson planning (geography, culture, ancient history, etc.)  Not to mention their bold and colorful inspiration for arts & crafts.

Everything they needed in the next world was buried with them, including furniture, clothing, food, jewelery and pottery.”

Oh pharaohs.  Guess it was never said back then that you can’t take it with you.

No more, “At least.”

Every human being on this planet has gone through some thangs.   If you’re at a stage where some difficult circumstances are behind you, perhaps you also know that it’s only until the next dilemma arises.  I read somewhere that we should never be surprised when problems come actually.  To simply greet them with a smile and say,

Well, hello.  I’ve been waiting for you.”

As if to say hard times are inevitable, perhaps unavoidable and bad stuff happens sometimes. Tis, life.

So, when I came across this video short Brené Brown on Empathy, I thought it would be a good idea to watch it.  (Like I said, it’s short and as I hoped, I learned something new.)  Not just the difference between empathy and sympathy which admittedly had always confused me, but how to respond when someone chooses to share whatever it is they’re going through with someone else.

“At least …” was always my go-to reply but I was unaware of this pattern.  I thought it was a good thing to focus on that silver lining Brown states we’re attempting to place on what we just heard.  Going forward, I do plan on simply saying that I’m glad they told me.  This would be true because I would hate for anyone I know not to be able to get something off of their chest.  I think just being available to listen might ease their burden.

Another personal revelation was the realization that I don’t like to share or divulge too much about myself with friends and it’s simply because I feel that it’s not anyone else’s concern or problem (to fix whatever it is that I’m going through.)

stuckI see now that I was making assumptions and being unfair to myself by thinking I might be a bother in this way.  Especially since it’s not with any expectation of them resolving the issue for me, but to simply lend an ear, in the way I genuinely would for another.  To resist the urge of thinking I will sound like I’m complaining instead of explaining.  Is that possible?

Lastly, the empathy video reminded me of something else I read during a PSYCH 101 course on how to approach a person experiencing the loss of a loved one.  It was simply a topic that piqued my curiosity because frankly, I never knew how to treat that delicate situation when it ultimately came around.   I gained helpful insight on how to appropriately comfort or console a person in this case (the details of which will comprise a separate post.)

For now, I’m pleased to report that if you ever share your troubles with me, you will not hear me say “at least,” at last!