Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dating At Home: Love Letters

Are you going on a date with your husband this weekend? Remember, you don't have to go out to go on a date. But, whatever you decide to do, make it special.

Last weekend as part of our date, I put together a box for my husband. Inside the box were these cookies, which I knew in Asia as "love letters."

They are hollow cookies, rolled up like a scroll, or love letter. I found some real love letters from famous people and printed them out. I rolled them up tight and inserted the letters into the cookies. The last cookie was a love letter that I actually wrote for my husband. I tied that one up with a red ribbon.

We had some Chinese food, Trader Joe's style, and then he read the love letters. My husband doesn't like fortune cookies (the taste, not the idea), so these "love letter" cookies were great.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Textured Blanket

My 8-month old daughter is infatuated with different feels and textures. She likes to rotate blankets for the different feels of them. I'm in the middle of finishing a new blanket just for her. I hope she likes it.

I've included chenille, pleather, satin, corduroy, terry cloth, felt, velvet, and a few other fabrics. Halloween time is a great time to pick up crazy fabrics of all types.

I have some leftover fabric that I'm excited to use for my next project.

Don't Underestimate Used Bookstores

Used bookstores are great! Since we LOVE books, we take a trip to the used bookstore quite frequently. We have found some fun treasures. They are cheap and they are in really good shape. I think these books were $1.29 each.

I found some fun Halloween and fall books for $1.99 each. These are so nice to have for our little rotating preschool.

I'm collecting books for Christmas. Instead of an advent calendar, we are wrapping up 24 books and putting them under the tree. Each night MJ gets to open one book for her bedtime story. I was super happy to find these to add to our collection.

I found an animated scripture story DVD of "The King Is Born" for $4.00 so that will be a fun treat to mix up the books.

These two books were hardback books. I paid $2.99 instead of $1.99 for them. The one on the left is one of my FAVORITE books. I was so happy to find it!

Check out your local listings to see if you have a used bookstore by you! You might be surprised by what you find. As a former high school teacher and now a mom/homeschool preschool teacher, I wish I knew about this earlier. What a great resource!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Apple Printing to Make Sand Dollars

Today we did some apple printing. But, instead of just making prints of apples, we dipped our apples in white paint to make sand dollars. We printed them on paper bags to mimic the sand.

I think I might redo this activity again in December and talk about the Legend of the Sand Dollar. I'll get some real sand dollars to put inside the bag with a copy of the legend:

Upon this odd-shaped sea shell
A legend grand is told
About the life of Jesus
The wondrous tale of old

The center marking plainly shows
The well known Guiding Star
That led to tiny Bethlehem
The Wise Men from afar

The Christmas flower, Poinsettia
For His Nativity
The Resurrection too is marked
The Easter Lily, see

Five wounds were suffered by our Lord
From nails and Roman's spear
When He died for us on the cross
The wounds show plainly here

Within the shell, should it be broke,
Five Doves of Peace are found
To emphasize this legend
So may Love and Peace abound

Birdseed Eggs

This post is a little late in the season but I didn't want to forget about it when springtime rolled around again. I think I'm also in denial that summer is over.

I love these birdseed eggs! This summer we took a trip to California and hung some of these up in Grandma's trees. What fun! These particular eggs come from Smith & Hawken. They came 12 in an egg carton.

I wanted to know how one makes these. It is completely made of birdseed. There's nothing in the middle to keep the shape. I did some research and found out that you can make these quite easily.

Here's the recipe from Birds & Blooms:

  • 1/3 cup gelatin
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 8 cups birdseed

1. Mix gelatin and water over low heat until the gelatin is melted and clear.

2. Remove from heat and stir in birdseed.

3. Stir until there is no dry seed.

4. Form mixture into egg shapes. Use plastic Easter eggs as a mold to get the egg shape.

5. Refrigerate for two to four hours and dry on baking rack for three days.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dating at Home: Movie Trailer Reviews

It was my husband's turn to come up with a dating idea. He had a bunch of fun ideas but I picked his Movie Trailer Reviews idea.

We each made a chart (see below). Then we went to the Apple Movie Trailers site, watched some movie trailers and filled in our charts without the other seeing what we wrote. After we filled in our charts, we took turns sharing what we wrote down. We laughed at a lot of ridiculous movies coming out. This was very entertaining. I love laughing with my hubs.

Here's what my husband's chart looked like- he's got nicer handwriting than I do.

This was a very fun date to do while the kids were asleep.

Click HERE if you'd like to print out a chart for your own date.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett

For a family activity we headed to Barnes & Noble to go read some books. We LOVE books. As we were browsing around the children's section, I came across this darling book. It was actually a "laughter kit" which included the book and some monster mittens. The book is super cute and the mittens were so fun. Check it out next time you head to the bookstore or HERE on

Sorry the pic isn't so great. My main camera is an iPhone. I wish I had an awesome camera but I don't. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Spy Jar

I was in charge of teaching the letter "b" this week in our rotating preschool. We first learned about what sound the letter "b" makes and had a sensory bucket filled with beans and a bunch of little things that started with "b." The kids took turns searching for things that started with "b" like a bow, bell, block, ball, button, bead and balloon. There were some things that didn't start with "b" like a marble, dice, paperclip, etc. The kids really liked putting their hands in the beans and digging around.

As a reinforcer at home, I made an "I Spy" jar with baby food jars (stage 3 size). The kids get to roll and shake the jar to find the things that start with "b." I didn't glue the lids shut but you could.

We had a blast today.


Three of my friends and I decided to do a rotating preschool for our kids. We live in the same apartment complex so it works really well. We just started this week and it was my turn to teach. Today we talked about how each of us is "unique" meaning there is only one. We talked about how each person is special and there is no one else like us. We then talked about fingerprints and how no two people have the same fingerprints.

We did the following activity:

In the "Ink Pad" box I had each child color in the box with a pencil. I traced their hands and then they rubbed their fingers over the "Ink Pad." I took a piece of scotch tape and lifted the prints off their fingers one by one and taped it onto their paper. We took magnifying glasses to see the different patterns of the prints. We compared each others' prints too. Surely enough, no one had the same fingerprints.

The kids loved getting their fingers all black in the pencil and then seeing their prints. (A baby wipe works well to clean off their fingers.)

I created a worksheet that you can print HERE if you are interested.

*I like the pencil and tape idea better than the ink pad or paint. I couldn't find a good ink pad that would show the prints well enough for little fingers and paint was tricky- can't be too thick or too thin and it's a mess.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rocket Balloons

Rocket Balloons are a great boredom buster. I have a stash of these in my rainy day (or "too cold to go outside") activity box.

I like these balloons for several reasons:

1. They are reusable (though I don't encourage sharing them. That's just gross.) Fill them up and let them go!
2. They fly high.
3. They make noise!
4. Kids love to chase them and try to catch them on their way down. I love to see the kids go wild for these.
5. Fun indoors and outdoors.

You can order them on or on the official Rocket Balloon website. I actually found them at a novelty candy store. Keep your eyes peeled! They cost about $5 for 30 balloons. I think it's a great deal for reusable balloons.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Products I Love

Here are 3 products that I love. I wish I had them. I've seen them and have interacted with them but do not own them...yet.

Let's start with the Green Marker. These are super cute grass blade sticky book marks. I want! These are popular in Japan and are difficult to obtain right now in the US. They would cost almost $100 just to get a few of these markers from Japan. I'm going to have to wait on these. BUT I JUST LOVE THEM!

Here's something I can afford- bubbles from Family Dollar! I think these were $2. It's not the actual bubbles themselves that I like, but the top! Check out the bubble top. It's a no-spill top, perfect for toddlers. I think all bubbles should come standard with this top. LOVE!

And then there's the gloves. These are absorbent dish drying gloves! One thing that I hate is opening up the dishwasher and the dishes are super hot and they're not even totally dry! Put these bad boys on, dry those dishes, and put them away at the same time. GENIUS! I don't know why I still don't own these but I should. You can find these at Bed Bath and Beyond for $4.99. That's a good deal!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Family Dinners: Back to School


Each member of the family packs an item in a backpack, or tote, or other "school" bag. Be prepared to share the history or a story about that item to the other family members at the table. It can be a picture, an heirloom, book, toy, etc. Take turns sharing.

  • Do you know anyone who can speak a second language? If you could speak a second language (or a third), which language would you like to speak? Why?
  • What was your very favorite part of summer? What are you looking forward to when school starts?
  • What do you hope to learn this year in school?

FLAVORFUL FAVORITES: Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These are so delicious and perfect for busy weeknights. These won't disappoint. I love P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps but they're expensive and I rarely eat out. I love making my own version at home.


1 can water chestnuts, diced
3 green onions, diced
1/2 pkg. fresh mushrooms, diced
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
Trader Joe's Soyaki teriyaki sauce (add to liking)
1 head butter lettuce, washed


In a skillet, combine water chestnuts, green onions, mushrooms, chicken and Soyaki. Cook until hot and mushrooms are cooked through.

Serve with washed butter lettuce leaves.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Easy Hand Sewing for Children

Sewing is a skill. And, it's a great skill to have. However, it's just not as popular as it used to be. Here's an easy way to introduce your child to hand sewing. You don't need to be an expert to do this. If you are a teacher, you can do this in your classroom! It's that easy and the kids love it.

  • burlap (easily obtained from a fabric store or the sewing section of Walmart)
  • yarn
  • yarn needle
  • masking tape

  1. Cut a piece of burlap to desired size.
  2. Tape the sides on the back to keep the burlap from unraveling or fraying.
  3. Start sewing using your yarn and yarn needles.
This is what MJ, my 3-year old, came up with. I love it! I want to frame it. (They look super cute when they are framed.)