Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Sunday Showcase: Playing with Paint



Welcome back to another week of The Sunday Showcase! Are you gearing up for 4th of July festivities (for those in the US anyway!)? We are! 
What a great list of activities we had last week! We've been looking for new ways to paint so this week I'll be featuring ideas for playing with paint! I'll also be sharing a patriotic snack as well! 

Edible Painting with condensed milk shared by Wendy: Who woulda known?! Such a great idea and I ALWAYS have leftovers when I use canned milk!  Keep in mind that it does take a bit longer to dry.

Painting with Marshmallows shared by Tippytoe Crafts: How cute is this?! What a fun way to stamp and create using something as simple as marshmallows! I love the small and large ones create completely different shapes!

Guitar Painting shared by From Chalkboards to Strollers: This is a WAY cool way to mix art and music. Liz and her daughter created a guitar out of a shoe box lid and rubber bands! Love the recycling aspect and simplicity of this idea!

Blueberry Painting shared by Off the Shelf: Inspired by Blueberries for Sal, they made paint out of blueberries and water! Such a simple way to paint and the color is awesome! Who needs paints when you have nature?
Blueberry Paint

What we've been up to:
Gammie and my cousin Blair (12) visited this week and we were BUSY! We did find some time to make this amazing patriotic snack/dessert! It's super simple and delish! A quick dessert for any 4th of July BBQ!

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TheIowaFarmersWife


Now it's your turn to link-up! If this is your first time, please read this informational post for details.

This is a fun and relaxed linky with a few guidelines:
  • You can link as many kid friendly or child-centered posts as you'd like, however, links for giveaways, shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. will be deleted. 
  • Please try to visit a few other posts if you are linking up. Everyone loves comments, feed-back, pins and shares!
  • I'll share some posts via Facebook, Twitter and Google +, while commenting on and pinning others.
Please NOTE: By linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section! If you prefer not to be featured comment below or e-mail me.

Thanks for joining us and I look forward to seeing what you've been doing this week! Don't forget to visit my co-hosts for additional features this week!
Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Here Come the Girls
Inspiration Laboratories
Make Do & Friend
Train Up a Child!

Friday, June 29, 2012

{Readathon 2012} Pretend Play Parties


Join Readathon 2012 Sweet P LOOOOVES birthday parties (partly because she LOVES cupcakes) and celebrates daily with several of her stuffed toys and dolls. Most days, one of her toys has a birthday (I think Beary is now 8 years old) and she has a great time setting up her dolls and serving food.

After reading Lott's Tea Party as part of the MeMeTales Readathon, I noticed how many of those things Sweet P does to prepare for her own pretend play parties and as we read we talked about the similarities. She loved the owl drinking tea and wiping his mouth. We also noticed that Lott wears a bow just like Sweet P!

We have a set of felt cookies that I made for Sweet P as a Valentine's gift and they are so much fun. Last week as we played upstairs she made cookies for me, the Farmer, Beary and several other toys. I loved watching the thought that went into each cookie and her preparation as we told her the color of frosting and how many sprinkles we wanted.

Today we'll be making cookies for a friend who recently had a baby and delivering them on Saturday!

Check out more Friendship ideas on the MeMeTales blog and if you haven't already joined the Readathon 2012, you still can! Find out more info in this post.

Visit MeMeTales Week 1: Animals and our 5 Little Ducklings post for animal-related ideas.


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brown Bear, Brown Bear Activities

Sweet P got a University Games Brown Bear-Panda Bear, What Do You See? Game from Gammie for Christmas (Gammie is a thrift store shopper and finds ridiculously amazing things for ridiculously cheap prices--like Sweet P's wooden kitchen that she found for 18$ when it retails for $140!). Since it's Eric Carle's birthday and we're co-hosting an Eric Carle linky party this week, we pulled out our game and set to playing with Gammie and our cousin Blair.

This game is very simple and a great way to talk about different colors and animals. You simply turn cards over one at a time and if you get a match, you place it on one of your animals. If not, your turn is over.

It's a great way to teach a child how a game is played and the concept of taking a turn. Sweet P won the round we played and when you have matched all of your animals, you go down the line saying (she was the Panda Bear) "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, what do you see?" "I see a Bald Eagle looking at me." and so forth down the line until you've said each of your animals. We haven't read the Panda Bear version so some of the animals were new for her, but it was a great way to talk about new types of animals (like Water Buffalo!).

Last weekend we went garage saleing (because that's what we do when Gammie comes to town) and found one with a lot of preschool items from a home daycare closure. I found this folder for .25 and thought it was great! We played with it along with the game and I'd ask Sweet P, "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, what do you see?" And she'd say "I see an orange bear looking at me." Great for color recognition! Very simple and worth the .25.

Check back this weekend for more Eric Carle ideas!









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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Patriotic Candy Bark

Let me just be real for a second when I say I do NOT know how to work with meltable chocolate of any kind. Almond bark, candy wafers, chocolate chips (unless they are in cookies), you name it -- I don't know how to use it. So it came as no surprise that I didn't know how to work with the white almond bark I picked up to use in my Patriotic Candy Bark.

Luckily, with the help of some coconut oil, I got it figured out and my 12 year-old cousin and I successfully made a batch of the yummy deliciousness that is candy bark.

Inspired by this recipe, I set out to recreate my own.

We were out of Joe Joe's (Trader Joe's version of Oreo's) and I have to admit I wasn't sure how I liked the idea of them in the bark, so we left those out and added peanuts. I also left out sprinkles because I'm not a fan (and to be honest we don't own any!). The result was AH-mazing.

The Recipe: Patriotic Candy Bark

What you need:
1 pkg of white almond bark (or white chocolate wafers)
1.5 cups Red, White and Blue M&M's
3 cups pretzel sticks
1/2 c peanuts (halved)

Crunch pretzel sticks by hand and sprinkle on a cookie sheet along with the peanuts and 1 cup of M&M's.

Heat chocolate according to directions.

*If for some reason you happen to heat the chocolate bark longer than necessary, you'll get chocolate that is unpourable and think "Hmm, what did I do wrong?" Then you'll try to figure out how to thin it because it'd end up clumpy otherwise. You'll have an aha! moment when you realize coconut oil will do the trick and run to find it. Add 1 tbsp. and stir, stir, stir. Success!

I did this with the first 1/2 of the bark, but we had a better outcome with the 2nd half by heating it for less time.

Pour chocolate evenly on top of peanuts, pretzels and M&M's. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top.

Place in the freezer until hardened. Break into pieces and store in a freezer safe container in the freezer until ready to eat. (Or eat it right away!)

The perfect snack or dessert for a Patriotic Party!


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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Wonderful World of Eric Carle

Happy Birthday Eric Carle!

We have several Eric Carle books, but I suppose we're a bit cliche when I say that The Very Hungry Caterpillar is our favorite. The Very Quiet Cricket, The Grouchy Ladybug and Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? are three others we enjoy.

Last year we did 2 different caterpillar activities that went alongside The Very Hungry Caterpillar:
Our pipe cleaner caterpillar, who Sweet P adored! 


And our feed the caterpillar activity that involved another pipe cleaner caterpillar who turned into a butterfly.


May's Virtual Book Club book was The Very Quiet Cricket and we went on a cricket hunt! We never did find him, but she had a fun time trying!

This week we'll be doing activities to go along with The Grouchy Ladybug and Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?

I'd love to hear about what you've been doing with Eric Carle books! Join me and a group of fabulous bloggers to celebrate Eric Carle's birthday! We'll be sharing various ideas throughout the week and you can link up your own ideas here! Be sure to visit the participating blogs throughout the week for a wide array of Eric Carle book activities! The linky will be up all week long so come back any new ideas you might do this week!

Participating Blogs:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Sunday Showcase: Bug Themed

Today I am SUPER excited to share with you that The Sunday Showcase is now being hosted on SIX blogs, including mine!
Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Here Come the Girls
Inspiration Laboratories
Make Do & Friend
The Iowa Farmer's Wife
Train Up a Child!

Since it my first time hosting, I'll be sharing some of my favorites from last week's showcase! As I was looking through the links, I saw some pretty cool bug ideas, so here are my favs:

3 Dinosaurs has an awesome FREE Bug Pack, which contains over 70 pages!
Bug Printables

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational shared this Moths & Butterflies Venn Diagram! Visit her post to download the pdf. There's also a great book to go alongside the activity.


I love this handprint/footprint firefly craft and storytime by School Time Snippets. We definitely need to invest in some glow in the dark paint around here!


Love this Bugs in the Grass sensory bin from We Can Do All Things. Green spaghetti for grass--such a great idea! 


Z is for Zel created a Bug Bath for her little boy and it looks like it was a huge hit! A great way to talk about colors and bug names, too!


Were you featured today? Don't forget to grab a feature button!


TheIowaFarmersWife





Now it's your turn to link-up! If this is your first time, please read this informational post for details.

This is a fun and relaxed linky with a few guidelines:

  • You can link as many kid friendly or child-centered posts as you'd like, however, links for giveaways, shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. will be deleted. 
  • Please try to visit a few other posts if you are linking up. Everyone loves comments, feed-back, pins and shares!
  • I'll share some posts via Facebook, Twitter and Google +, while commenting on and pinning others.
Please NOTE: By linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section! If you prefer not to be featured comment below or e-mail me.

Thanks for joining us and I look forward to seeing what you've been doing this week!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekly Kids' Co-op & Features

The Weekly Kid's Co-op

Welcome to another week of the Weekly Kids' Co-op! I'm so glad you're here! Link-up your posts and check out some others, you might find something inspiring or see a new blog!

This week I'm featuring some of the fabulous homemade beads that were linked up last week. Creative, innovative and shiny! Move over macaroni! Can't wait to try these with my girl!

My favorite part about these? You most likely have all the supplies on hand! Zero cost for tons-o-fun!

I've loved these paper beads for a long time, but haven't gotten around to make any! Ramblings from Utopia made these with her kiddos and they turned out B-eautiful! What a fabulous gift idea--there are endless possibilities of colors, patterns and shapes!


How fun is this tin foil pasta? Lessons Learnt Journal skipped dying pasta and wrapped penne in foil instead! The shiny aspect alone is sure to dazzle a toddler/preschooler! I also love the idea of threading the pasta through pipe cleaners instead of string or yarn.

This idea from the Cardboard Collective is genius! She cut shapes out of corrugated cardboard and placed it in a bowl for threading! Again, the possibilities are ENDLESS! There are so many different types of cardboard you could use for this! It's such a fun and hip necklace and I love that her daughter is rockin' it!


Were you featured today? Don't forget to grab a feature button!


TheIowaFarmersWife




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Musical Play: DIY Drums

One morning before my munchkins got up, I set up a drum set. Not your average drum set, but a drum set nonetheless. I grabbed some wooden spoons drum sticks and laid it out for them.

Baby Blue was up first, but wasn't yet crawling so he wasn't sure what to do until big sister came down and showed him the ropes.

She banged and bongo'ed and beat those drums until I said, "Want some breakfast?"


This activity allowed her to hear how different items make a different sound when you hit them. The large cauldron was by far the loudest and actually made Baby Blue cry a few times. It made a sharp, ear piercing ting when hit with the sticks.

I showed her how to move the pizza pan around to hear the different sounds it made when resting on something different. It really did sound like a cymbal!

The next day she played the drums and then started cooking!

Baby Blue loved it too, but he usually ended up eating the drum sticks after he banged a few times (drumming must work up an appetite).

These stayed out for several days until I needed one of the spoons and a pot for dinner one night! Who needs a drum set when you have pots, pans and plastic containers?

Our drums:

  • stainless steel large pot
  • large sauce pan
  • plastic ice cream bucket
  • cardboard box
  • small trash can 
  • foil pan
  • plastic tub 
  • pizza pan

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Readathon 2012: 5 Little Ducklings


It's Week 1 of the MeMeTales Readathon and this week's theme is ANIMALS! If you haven't signed up, you still can. Read more in this post to find out how.

We LOVE the MeMeTales 5 Little Ducklings ebook. In fact, I think I like it more than Sweet P does!

If you're not familiar with The 5 Little Ducklings, it's an old rhyme that is often sung so I can't help but sing the words! I like to read the ebooks as well as listen to them - so this one gets sung (even the Farmer gets it stuck in his head) instead of read.

I knew I wanted to use felt (surprise, surprise!) to create the ducks and quickly whipped up some yellow ducks and a mama late one night. I used Sharpie for their eyes and a little orange piece of felt for the beak. I hot glued them together and wa-la! Instant ducklings.
Sweet P loved putting them on and singing along, but also liked playing with them flat on our bookshelf. We did the activity a few different ways:
  • Mama duck on my finger, baby ducks on the bookshelf: she pulled one off and scooted them back and forth as we sang
  • Mama duck on my finger, baby ducks on her hand: she flicked one off each time the mama called them back
  • Mama and baby ducks on the bookshelf: she dropped the baby ducks on the floor as we sang
Sweet P wanted a grilled cheese for lunch so I made a mama duck with her 5 little babies! As she ate she'd say "There's only 4 now!" and we made up silly rhymes like "4 little duckies sitting looking so yummy! I ate one and now it's in my tummy!" 
Mama duck: grilled cheese with carrot hair and beak, grape/raisin eyes
Baby ducks: Banana with raisin eyes and carrot hair and beak
Cloud/sun: Greek yogurt and carrot
Water: blueberries

We've been having a great time with the Readathon! How about you?

Find other fun activities from other bloggers by visiting the MeMeTales Blog!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Outdoor Play: Running Wild

More often than not, Sweet P's favorite toys end up being something simple. Like a branch.

About a month ago, we painted on a large piece of cardboard on the driveway (that'll be a different post). Afterward, Sweet P's shirt was filthy so she took it off and began running around the backyard. She picked up a few branches that the Farmer had recently cut off a Silver Maple tree and had a ball.

At one point I could hear her saying, "Take it up hiiiiiiigh, and take it down looooow."
As I watched her scamper around the backyard, I saw how free she felt. Free, but safe. Free to run around and love God's creation.

Playing hide and seek with me...can you see her?


Sweet P is a tree hugger. Literally. When we take walks on the cemetery path she tells me, "I'm just gonna go hug that tree." Like she knows it needs one.

How are you playing outside today?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Introducing: MeMeTales Readathon 2012

I mentioned the MeMeTales and PBSKids Readathon 2012 last week in my 60 Ways to Make Reading Fun post, but here is the post that will tell you all about the Readathon and how YOU can be a part of it!
Join Readathon 2012
It's simple, it's educational and it's fabulous!

So how does it work?
  1. Visit How Do I Participate in Readathon 2012 for a complete list of details and instructions regarding the Readathon.
  2. Each week there will be a series of new ebooks your child can borrow/read through a MeMeTales app (available for iPad, iPhone, Android phone/tablet and Kindle Fire) or through MeMeTales online (this is how we read it since we don't own any of the above!). 
  3. By signing up or downloading the app, you instantly receive 20 ebooks free! You'll have access to a newsletter with weekly activities centered around the theme. 
  4. Each week of the Readathon (6 total) has a theme:
    • Week 1: Animal Fun
    • Week 2: Friendship
    • Week 3: Character Development
    • Week 4: Imagination
    • Week 5: The Green Earth
    • Week 6: Global Cultures
  5. Participating in the Readathon also supports FoodForEducation.org, an organization devoted to helping children around the world attend school. For each child who joins the Readathon, MeMeTales donates a meal to send a hungry child to school. 
  6. Various bloggers are participating in the Readathon and creating crafts/activities to go along with one of the featured books each week. Check back to see ours for Week 1. 
I sincerely hope you'll join us in participating in Readathon 2012! Use hashtag #readforgood to interact, communicate and connect with other Readathon participants.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Coffee Play Dough


We took NurtureStore, The Imagination Tree and Sun Hats and Wellies' Play Dough Pledge and got crazy with some play dough this week!

At the start of the week we played with some chocolate play dough we've had since Valentine's Day (and it's still awesome!). We added some animals and they played in the "mud".

On Wednesday, after swimming lessons, we added coffee grounds to our chocolate play dough to make Mocha Play Dough! It smelled DIVINE and the texture was pretty cool, too! I originally thought we'd add about a 1/4 c, but we ended up using about an 1/8 c. of coffee grounds.

I've had a Starbucks sample cup for months now (it's our granola scoop) and this was the perfect way to use it! We grabbed her coffee mugs and coffee pot from her play kitchen, some straws, a tea ball and plastic scissors (cutting play dough is such a great activity for kiddos!).

She made herself some coffee and told me I wasn't old enough to have any (which is a common response to her question of whether she can have some of mine). She used the Starbuck's cup and a straw, and pretended to drink her coffee.

We used the tea ball to make "hair" and she thought that was hilarious.


We've had an awesome time this week with the Play Dough Pledge. Look for a post about our Kool-Aid Play Dough experience coming soon!

Did you take part in the pledge? I'd love to visit your posts! Please leave a link in the comments!

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