#3 Easy Halloween craft Paper plate tissue paper ghost

Alright folks, here we are with #3 of our Easy Halloween craft for kids! Paper plate tissue paper ghosts. I mean is there anything a paper plate can’t do? It is a dream object for crafting that can turn into anything your little heart desires. But let’s take it easy and not go crazy with imagination, because today our paper plate will turn into a ghost head. Let’s get to it Halloween is near!

Tools For the Trade:

1. Paper plate- white preferred but you can basically use any round object, cardstock, yogurt lid, cut out a circle from a cracker box, upcycle an old CD whatever you may have on hand

2. Xacto knife or scissors

3. Glue stick

4. Tissue Paper- we used one sheet

5. Colored paper scraps for the face- we used black

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Cut out the center of your paper plate. As you can see, ours is not white but the back of the plate is, so that’s fine. Save (hoard) the external part for a future craft.

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Slather glue all over the front of your circle and smooth the top part of your tissue paper sheet around it. Secure the corners with glue on the backside as well.

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Cut out some spooky shapes for your ghost face and chop off some of the bottom to make it look ghost like. We taped string to the back and hung it on our window. Isn’t it just adorable? Perfect for the little ones. Happy Crafting!

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Easy Halloween DIY for Kids

Hello friends! Well Autumn has arrived and with it, all of it’s spendor. We live in the Midwest, so we are surrounded by the changing leaves and their gorgeous hues of orange, red, yellow. Pumpkin filled and flavored everything is in the markets and shops and warm fuzzy clothing has been unpacked and keeping us warm. Fall is the gentle reminder that nothing lasts forever and also the calm before winter, a gentle transition to the cold. So, let’s appreciate the time we have and enjoy our days connecting and crafting with our children, with our friends, or with yourself. I have some simple Halloween DIYs to share, let’s begin with a little something I like to call “The Boo Banner”

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Spooky isn’t it? I always begin by asking Penelope “What would you like to make?” She will design it and I help make it happen. Child led play or creativity is the best kind! Let’s get started:

Tools for the trade:

1. Felt- we used 1 sheet of Orange 1 sheet of White 2 sheets of black.
2. Tacky glue or glue gun
3. Dowel or stick from outdoors
4. Yarn- we used black and white
5. Needle and thread
6. Your sketch or Online printout of image and letters of choice
7. Googly eyes
8. Glitter

The How To:

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We wrote out our letters onto paper and held both paper and felt together for cutting. You may pin them together, or draw directly onto your felt if you wish.

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Tacky glue those babies onto the felt!

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Penelope drew the ghost directly onto the white felt, you can see her lines. The notebook shows her preliminary  sketches, aren’t they so cute! Cut the ghost parts out and glue, glue, glue!

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We cut strips of Orange felt to add some color to the banner and also as a blank space to anchor the pieces onto. Glue top and bottom pieces to the Orange felt and add a strip of Orange to the top to match.

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Glue googly eyes all over and slather glue for glitter onto letters if you wish. We happened to have white glitter which Penelope dusted all over and that gave the banner some nice texture and shimmer.

Let the whole thing dry completely. Fold over your top edge and sew across the bottom so you can put your dowel through the piece. You may also want to stitch your pieces on at this point. I just stitched the connecting seams with a simple straight stich, nothing fancy.

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For hanging we braided yarn we had on hand.

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I slathered glue along the edges of the dowel and wrapped the yarn around it leaving tassels at the ends. I lost my hot glue gun lol! So I was inventive and used a mini hair clip to hold the yarn down while it dried. If you have a hot glue gun that is not lost somewhere in your house, then you can just hot glue it all together and call it a day lol!

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And there it is, all pretty and spooooky decorating our front door!

Hope you are inspired to cut and glue some felt together and doll up your windows and doors! Enjoy!

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Our summer reading list 8/08-9/01

Hello! Has your summer break ended? Are the kids back in school? Today is our third week of First grade! I have enjoyed posting our book lists for the summer and hope that it has given you new titles and authors to explore. I suffered an accident which left me with an injured hand, so apologies for the lack of posts and the minimal words this post, as I am still healing. Here is the glorious list of our final summer reads, with links to Amazon to make up for my lack of description and personal thoughts this time around:

52. Paddington Helps Out Written By Michael Bond

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53. Paddington in the Garden Written By Michael Bond Illustrated by R.W. Alley

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54. Last Stop on Market Street Words By Matt De La Pena Illustrated By Christian Robinson

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55. Hearts A Toon Book By Theresa Rowe A First Comic For Brand New Readers

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56. Brownie and Pearl See the Sights Written By Cynthia Rylant Illustrated By Brian Biggs

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57. Little White Rabbit By Kevin Henkes

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58. Following Papa’s Song Gianna Marino

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59. Nana in the City By Lauren Castillo

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60. The Day the Crayons Quit By Drew Daywalt

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61. I Like Fish by Margaret Wise Brown

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62.What’s in the Woods Dear Dragon? By Margaret Hillert

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63. Gus Gets Scared By Frank Remkiewicz

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Flip a word books Written By Harriet Ziefert Illustrated By Yukio Kido

64.Crab Cab

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65. Wet Pet

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66. Snow Bow

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67. Danny and the Dinosaur

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68.-72 My “a”,”e”, “o”, “u”, “c”, “t” Sound Box books Written by Jane Belk Moncure

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73. Rookie Read-About Science Book: Solids, Liquids, and Gases By Ginger Garrett

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74. Ramona and her Father By Beverly Cleary

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75. Ramona and her Mother By Beverly Cleary

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76. Pigs Make Me Sneeze By Mo Willems

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Wowzers! 76 books on our summer list! We read many more books this summer at the library, before I began logging and keeping track of them. I would estimate at least 100 books read this summer if not more. I feel proud as a parent that I read all of these books to my child and that she in turn read to me. I am going to continue to post books that we read, because I truly enjoyed sharing them so much! I would love to hear what you are reading to your 6 year old. I am always on the hunt for a new tale. Oh! And also for great early readers now that she is reading. Hooray for Books!

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Card Making for Gift Giving

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Hello there! We hand made cards with some items attached, to give as gifts. I thought they were lovely and wanted share them with you all. So, here we go with Card Making! Also known as, Pretty Up Some Paper! Because that is basically all you are doing, just adding things to a sheet of paper. How easy is that you ask? Very!

The gifts are pictured in the photo above 1. A mini pin of cats hugging (Too cute!) You may purchase here from Etsy and 2. Some handmade seeded paper we made for planting. (Yay for gardening!) In this post we will cover the “Cats on a Card”. Ha! I love that title.

The beckoning, good fortune cat image, is actually a stack of sticky notes I purchased in Little Tokyo when we lived in Los Angeles. I mean come on! Why use a plain yellow Post It when you could leave notes on a Fortune Kitty!

I began by gluing down 1 sheet of the sticky note onto a piece of Lavender Cardstock and smoothing the wrinkles out with a bone folder. If you do not have a bone folder you may use a blunt knife or the edge of a credit card.

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Once my cat was dry, I needed to adhere our gift, the lovely pin! I poked 2 holes into my card stock with an awl and threaded some embroidery floss through the holes to tie onto the pinback.

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Once the pin was tied, we began to play with little bits of Washi tape and paper scraps until we decided on these gold leftover bits from our St. Patrick’s Day Gold Coin Paper Garland craft, and a strip of Washi Tape along the bottom. Penelope wanted it to look like the cat was jumping in nature, and in the final image it does.

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Pictured below are both cards, all dolled up with our little gifts! Doesn’t it make receiving a pin all the more special when on a handmade card? It’s a frame worthy little piece of art to hang on the wall now. And most importantly it was made with love, and giggles and oh so much fun!

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I hope this post inspires you to go through your magazines, catalogs, paper bits and just play with images and scraps that please you. Paper, string, tape, glue! Hooray! The possibilities are endless!

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A Pretty Little Wall Hanging AKA Pretty up some sticks! A Things To Make With Sticks Craft

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We made some pretty little wall hangings out of felted wool balls, sticks we’ve collected, bits of string and yarn, stickers, paper bits, washi tape and a little owl charm. They were gifts Penelope was giving to her teachers and, I thought they were lovely. If you have never felted before, no worries you can purchase felted wool balls at craft stores and Etsy or use pom poms instead. Pom poms come in different sizes and you can find them in any craft aisle or craft store. Dollar stores carry them as well. I needle felt (ouch! Those needles can be painful) and had a lot of these around from garland making. I love garland making, felting the balls not so much lol! We have made a variety of things with sticks this summer so I suppose this is Post number 1: Things to make with sticks! Let’s get this show on the road:

Tools For the Trade:

1. Sticks

2. String, Embroidery Thread, Yarn– For stringing the felted balls you will need a thinner thread such as Embroidery Floss or Sewing Thread so that you can push it through a needle and then through each ball. The yarn may be used for decorative wrapping but it would be too thick for stringing.

3. Needle– We used an embroidery needle with a large eye.

4. Felted balls or pom poms

5. Embellishments of your choice. We used an Owl Charm and little bits of Washi tape, a sticker, and paper bits.

6. Glue– We used Tacky Glue

The How To:

I always start out by just laying things down on the table and letting Penelope explore. Originally she wanted the balls hanging down in strands but that soon evolved into a single curve.

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After lining the balls up she decided she liked the single curve so we went with that design.

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I threaded the needle with embroidery floss, blue was her color pick, and she went to work threading.

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Penelope wanted the owl bead hanging down the middle, so it was an opportunity for me to dust off my jewelry making tools and put in a silver bead to act as talons and use a head pin to make a hanging loop. It had been many years since I had used these supplies and it felt good to have them in my hands again.

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She wrapped the ends of the Embroidery floss onto the stick and slathered with glue. She then wrapped yarn around the stick and hung the owl. An Ice Cream sticker finished it off and our gift was complete and ready for giving.

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This is the second one we made later that evening, no owl just little bits of paper, tape, and a sticker.

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I think they are just darling! And most importantly they were made with a lot of love and thoughtfulness.

I hope you enjoyed this craft, and I hope that it inspires you to go out and pretty up some fallen sticks! Happy Crafting from our home to yours!

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Our Summer Reading List 7/15-8/07

Hello! How is your summer reading going? We have been enjoying our trips to libraries and bookstores this summer, finding new and interesting books to explore and also revisiting our own home library for our favorites to read again and again. I can not believe it is August! Our summer is quickly coming to a close, making way for a new school year in just a few weeks! So without further adieu, onward to the list:

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Part Three of our summer reading list continues with #29. Ramona the Pest
which we renamed Ramona the Wonderful and Spirited. My daughter thought it wasn’t very nice to call Ramona a Pest, which is a dated word anyway, so we did away with the word throughout the book and instead said things like “Ramona’s behavior made Beezus feel frustrated.”
Penelope kept asking “Why are people so annoyed with her? She’s just acting like a regular kid!” Which I think, is a testament to Beverly Cleary’s brilliant ability to write from a child’s perspective. Once again, Beverly Cleary really gets to the raw feelings of a 5 year old, like no other author can. We enjoyed the book but we’re left hanging at the end wanting more! Wait, what?! Is that really the ending? Does Howie stay for lunch? How is Ramona’s return to school? What was the rest of the year like? How was the end of Kindergarten? We had so many unanswered questions! Sigh. We began the series with Ramona the Brave which is book number Three and we are now almost through “Beezus and Ramona”  which is book One of the series. Yes, I know we read the first 3 backwards, but honestly it doesn’t change a thing, we have enjoyed them all the same.

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Following Ramona the Pest we read
30. Breathe By Scott Magoon, which was lovely for my early reader to get through herself. She and I were wowed by the beautiful illustrations of the sea. They are indeed remarkable. We highly recommend it! The link is to Amazon, where there are examples of some of the illustrated pages.

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31. The Moon Seems to Change By Franklyn M. Branley. Penelope loves the Moon and follows the Moon cycles on her calendar. We enjoyed reading it and performing the experiment at the end.

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32. Mr. Poppers Penguins By Richard and Florence Atwater. Hilarious! We were laughing out loud at this wonderful old story!

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33. Time to Sleep SHEEP the SHEEP! By MO Willems. There really isn’t a MO Willems’ book we don’t love, and the CAT the CAT series is so fun. This one is particularly hilarious because it deals with bedtime. Great for early readers.

4 books by Penguin Young Readers. I love Penguin Young Reader books! Their Level 1 books truly are beginner books that encourage independent reading and build confidence. Most Level 1 books we have read, are far more advanced reading and require assistance on my part.

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34. Level 1 Book: A New Friend By Wiley Blevins. A sweet story about the unexpected friendship between a cat and dog.

35. Level 1 Book: Clara and Clem Under the Sea

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36. Level 1 Book: Clara and Clem in Outer Space

Both By Ethan Long. Clara is adventurous! Clem, not so much. See how these two explore the Sea and Space together in these 2 stories.

37. Level 2 Book: Love is in the Air By Jonathan Fenske

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An enchanting tale about a kite and balloon playing in the sky.

38. Little Bear

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39. Little Bear’s Friend

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Both written by Else Homeland Minarik. The Little Bear series is so delightful and sweet. We love them all. Also as a sidenote, the television series is lovely as well. I was a big “no screens” mom and this was a series I approved of. I was and still am very particular about what my daughter watches.

40. Toys Go Out By Emily Jenkins

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Another book that was not my cup of tea. This is a Chapter book for the older set to read. My daughter found the toys to be very negative and kept asking throughout the story “why is this so negative? ” “Why do the toys have so many bad thoughts?” I wholeheartedly agree with this. This book was recommended by a librarian and was on several summer reading lists, but it made me yearn for the sweet “Lulu” series, full of kindness and positivity.  Feel free to check the book out yourselves. It definitely was not for us at this time. We may revisit the series in a few years when Penelope is older and can read them on her own.

41. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole Written By Mac Barnett

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Mac Barnett is the founder of the Echo Park “Time Travel Mart”, a convenience store with a time traveler theme, he also serves on the board of 826LA, a not-for-profit writing and tutoring center in Los Angeles. When we lived in Echo Park we frequented the Time Travel Mart often and we are big supporters of 826LA. I guess you can say I have a soft spot for his books. This one is one of our all time favorites. It makes us Crack up and scream nooooo! Keep digging! And the ending, always brings forth a slew of theories. Love it!

42. Juna’s Jar By Jane Bahk Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino

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A young Korean American girl’s adventures with her empty Kimchi Jar. Also deals with friends moving away, which we could relate to. Beautiful, dreamlike illustrations.

43. Bedtime at Bessie and Lil’s By Julie Sternberg Illustrated By Adam Gudeon

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A book about a mother rabbit trying to get her 2 young rabbits to sleep, a pretty accurate account lol.

44. Knit Together By Angela Dominguez

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I love books by this author! My mother was a knitter, crocheter and weaver and passed those crafts onto me. Now, I share them with my daughter. It is a sweet story that resonated with me, as the subject of creating with my own late mother and now my 6 year old daughter is one that is near and dear to my heart.

45. Click, Clack, Peep By Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

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Another fun book on getting little ones to sleep, It reminded me of days when I would drive Penelope around to lull her to sleep. It takes a village, but in this book it takes a farm of barnyard animals to help a little chick go to sleep.

46. Hana Hashimoto Sixth Violin By Chieri  Uegaki and Qin Leng

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Penelope loves the Violin, so naturally we gravitated to this book about a Japanese American girl who will play her Violin at a talent show, finding a courage within, despite the naysayers. A lovely story about connecting with ones ancestors and finding your own voice.

47. Richard Scarry’s Great Big Schoolhouse Readers Level 1- Get That Hat!

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Lowly has lost his hat to a gust of wind! An early reader book about their chase around town.

48. Peter’s Chair By Ezra Jack Keats

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We are big fans of Peter in “The Snowy Day” so Naturally we are full of empathy as Peter struggles with the arrival of his baby sister.

49. Level 2 Book: Princess Buttercup a Flower Princess Story.

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A book about six Garden Fairy Princesses named after flowers. Princess Lily, Princess Tulip, Princess Rose, Princess Hyacinth, Princess Iris, and Princess Buttercup are preparing for a party, to celebrate the first day of Spring. This urban gardener was sold! A sweet early reader book. I wish there was a series of these flower fairies. Penelope really enjoyed the book as did I and we were left wanting more!

50. Bob’s Books Level 1: My School Trip Written By Lynn Maslen Kertell.

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We have been reading this book fairly often. It is about a class trip to the zoo.

Our current read is Beezus and Ramona By Beverly Cleary.

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51. Book one of the Ramona series is written from Beezus’ perspective, which I am really appreciating having already read the two books that follow this story. We are loving it so far! We have one more chapter to go, and have been laughing hysterically at Ramona’s antics.

I hope you have enjoyed this book list. I certainly enjoy sharing our reading list with you all! I will post again in a few weeks with our upcoming books. Happy reading!

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Make a Bug Playground!

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We moved to Chicago from Los Angeles 2 years ago. I am originally from Chicago, but had been away for years and had forgotten all about playing with bugs as a child during summers! In Los Angeles we didn’t have Fireflies or Pill bugs to catch, so our first summer here was quite a thrill. Last year the neighbors and Penelope all made bug playgrounds out of recycled materials and filled them with rocks, sticks, grass and a bits of berries. This year, Penelope made a Bug playground at Forest Camp and we have been using it to catch bugs all summer. It is so fun to watch the girls look closely and explore how bugs interact in their space, and then carefully put them back into their natural environment.

Tools for the trade:

1. Any recycled box- we used a plastic pastry container that contained bread rolls and a plastic mushroom box

2. Pick some grass, twigs, leaves and rocks.

3. Pipe cleaners, bottle caps.

The how to:

Have the kids design their playground however they wish. It is so fun and interesting to hear why an object is in a specific place. They were so thoughtful in putting them together.

Go on a bug hunt and enjoy!

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Can you see the Pill bug climbing up the ramp in the photo above? There are also Pill bugs nestled in the grass in the lower playground. So much fun!

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Our Summer Reading list 6/19-7/15

I did not realize how much we were reading, until we began logging our time for our library’s summer reading program. We are doing an average of 40 minutes a day. Hooray! What is even more fun, was that Penelope won a tote bag and gets to pick out a brand new book from the library to keep tomorrow. How exciting!

11. We left off with Runaway Ralph By Beverly Cleary the sequel to The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

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12. We then followed with Ralph S. Mouse to end the series. I didn’t like the last 2 as much as the first one, but Penelope enjoyed completing the series, and that is what is important in the end. I find myself changing language I do not care for in books. Do you do find yourself doing that as well?

13. The Courage of Sara Noble is one of my all time favorite books. There is so much depth in this short book. About family, early life in America, discrimination, and human nature. We had such rich discussions after this read.

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14. Wind

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15. Rain
16. Snow

A wonderful series of early reading books that teach science, all Written By Marion Dane Bauer.

17. Ladybug Girl and Bingo

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A sweet story about a girl and her curious dog. We are big fans of the Ladybug Girl series of books.

Wordless picture books we pulled off our bookshelf:

Oh my goodness I LOVE wordless books! They are books your child can read independently because the story is told via the illustrations and often multiple stories may occur in a single page. There is something so beautiful about hearing my child tell me in great detail what a character is not only doing, but what they are feeling, just by studying the pages. These books help encourage storytelling and bring forth a greater appreciation for visual exploration and imagination. It is nice to bounce between chapter books with few visuals and many words and these wordless illustrated stories. A story emerges from both but in very different ways. I love this.

18. In The Town All Year Round

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This book is a visual masterpiece. I bought it on sale at Anthropologie while I was pregnant. And pulled it out when Penelope was around 18 months old. At that age she took to it instantly. One of our absolute favorites, we read it at least once a month. It never goes out of rotation in our home and will most likely be listed again in August lol.

19. The Chicken Theif

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20. Chicken and Cat

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Oldies but goodies we pulled off the shelf:

21. Littleland

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22. We Are In A Book

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23. Barnyard Dance
24. Maisy’s Book of Things That Go

25. In honor of the Women’s World Cup Final we read Madlenka Soccer Star By Peter Sis. Did you all watch the game? It was sooooo GOOD!

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26. Ramona the Brave

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This was one of my favorite series as a child. I read them myself independently as I was older, perhaps 9? I am finding myself replacinging words as some of the language is a bit dated. Despite that, it is a lot of fun and Penelope is still happily enjoying the story.

27. The Princess in Black

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A Princess who is also secretly a Superhero. What’s not to love about that! The second book will be out in October of this year, be sure to look out for it!

28. Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow

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Another great one from the Ladybug Girl series, about the joys of a big snowfall.

We are currently reading “Ramona the Pest” By Beverly Cleary, we just finished Chapter 2 last night.

I will post a new list with links in a few weeks. I hope these lists are helping add to your summer reading. Hooray for books!

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Paint Some Pots!

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Mine looks so boring in comparison to Penelope's masterpiece!

Hello! I hope summer has been lovely for you all so far. My daughter has been out of school for almost a month now, and it feels like time is just flying by!

We made a variety of painted pots for our growing indoor garden, and I wanted to share this How-to. Especially because, it is my first time doing it this particular way. I have been painting on pots since high school and normally I would use a Multi Purpose Acrylic Paint, let dry completely, and then bake the pot in an oven to seal it. However, now that I no longer have a home of my own, I also do not have an oven! I needed to find a way to seal the pots, paint them, and seal them again without an oven, and I didn’t want to ask for help, so this is what I came up with, and it has been great! No seepage, no flaking paint, just lovely perfection. Woo hoo!

Tools For The Trade:

1. Terra Cotta Planters and Saucers- I got ours from Lowe’s

2. Multi Purpose Acrylic Paint- There are so many brands out there. I got ours from Michaels

3. Paint brushes

4. Design Masters Pottery Sealer

5. Newspaper for Spraying Pots

6. Jar with water for cleaning brushes

7. Prang Metallic Bullet Tip Marker- I used this for finishing my rough edges.

The How To:

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1. Start out by placing the pots on newspaper outdoors.

2.  Spray even layers of the Design Master Pottery Sealer on all of your pots and saucers, both inside and out. Be sure to use long sweeping motions, to avoid an uneven application.

3. Wait for the pots to completely dry, then give them a second coat if you wish. Do this outside! The is sealer is stinky. I let the pots dry outdoors over night and then gathered our painting supplies.

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4. Using Craft Smart Multi Purpose Acrylic Paint and a variety of brushes, I came up with a geometric design. I originally used tape on my pot as a stencil, and was painting cautiously around it. But, after failing at that, I scrapped the tape and just freehand painted my triangles. That worked even better for me and I was all happy and free to make my own natural lines.

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5. Because I wanted to clean up my edges, I took a piece of Cardstock and my Prang Gold Marker and drew straight lines between the pink and blues using the cardstock as a flexible straight edge. The marker was a random item to use, but I had it from making my wedding invitations seven years ago and they still worked! Problem solved!

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6. Once the paint was completely dry, I took them back outdoors on to some newspaper, and sprayed them with sealer once again. I let them dry at least 24 hours before I filled them with new plants. And there you have it! A fun craft to do with your child that will add color and charm to your indoor garden. Enjoy!

Some notes: You do not have to use the Multi Surface Craft Acrylic Paint. We used inexpensive craft acrylic paint by Craftsmart on some of our pots and after sealing they are doing just fine. I have a variety of brands and honestly they all work just fine.

If you prefer the oven method to avoid spraying sealer. You may place your painted pots in a COLD oven and bake them at 350F for 30 minutes, leave them in the oven until cool to touch. This process can take several hours, but it works well. You may do this to cure acrylic paint onto glass as well. Check with your specific paint before you try. There should be directions on the bottle or company website.

Layering colors: When using multiple layers of colors be sure each layer dries completely before adding more. For Penelope’s pot she painted the base yellow first, then went in and did details the next day. I used 2-3 coats of paint for my triangles because I did not uses a primer and I wanted the colors to be opaque.

Have fun!

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