Mushrooms and Fairies

It must be all the rain, but I’ve seen more wild mushrooms in the past few weeks than I’ve seen, maybe, in my entire life! Wild mushrooms make me think of fairies, especially when they look like little umbrellas.

 

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. C.S. Lewis

Since I’m always drawn to children, I was curious where a bunch of little kids were running. They’d piled out of a car and were headed to the Fairy Trail.

Related Posts:  Fairy Furniture, Part 1, Fairy Furniture, Part 2, Fairy Trail Finale

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Wedding Week–DIY Chocolate Favors

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DIY Chocolate Favors

Hon, you know I love a theme! My sister recently got re-married and I was in charge of the bachelorette-ish dinner. A pretty pocketbook was featured on the invitation, so when I found candy molds with pocketbooks and pumps, I was sold. There are endless molds to choose from making these DIY favors easy to adapt to different themes and occasions. Need a fun kids activity? Kid can measure, time, pour, pop the candy out of the molds and, of course, eat the chocolates. Yum!

Supplies:

  • candy molds
  • melting chocolates (I used a combination of milk, dark and white chocolate.)
  • cookie tray
  • wax or parchment paper
  • microwaveable bowls, spoons and spatula
  • favor bags and ribbon

Steps:

  1. Set up: Place candy molds on baking trays. Top another tray or cutting board with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Melt 2 cups of chocolate melties in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for another 10-12 seconds or until chocolate is smooth. Stir. If more than  2 cups of chocolate are being melted, microwave for 15 seconds. (note: Some chocolate melties melt better than others. It’s better to microwave for less time, stir, microwave again, etc. if you’re not sure. If the chocolate passes the melting stage and gets “crumbly,” it can’t be re-melted and becomes unusable.)
  3. Pour melted chocolate into candy molds.
  4. Place baking tray with candy molds in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  5. Pop frozen chocolate shapes onto wax/parchment lined tray. Let it come to room temperature before handling.
  6. Fill bags and tie with ribbon.

Source: Check out Sweet n Fancy Emporium where you can find endless choice of mold, cookie cutter, melties, sprinkles and frostings.

James Dean and Pete the Kitty

James Dean, artist and creator of the Pete the Cat series.

 One cool cat!

Guess who stopped by Words Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ? James Dean who, along with his wife Kimberly, writes and illustrates the Pete the Cat series! He enthralled a whole lot of children (and adults) with his blue Cat in the Hat hat and down-to-earth personality. Dean read from his new picture book, Pete the Kitty and the Groovy Playdate, sang the song from Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes, and drew Pete and Grumpy Toad. Fun!

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Pete the Kitty is super excited to visit his friend Grumpy Toad’s house for a playdate! Grumpy Toad has all the best toys: a truck, building blocks, and a superhero cape. Far out! It’s going to be cat-tastic!

But when Grumpy Toad refuses to share any of his cool toys with Pete, neither of them are having any fun. Will Grumpy Toad ever share his toys with his friend Pete?

In this easy-to-read and engaging picture book, little readers will learn all about sharingwith their favorite blue kitten!  Goodreads

A bunch of years ago, when visiting Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville, TN, I came across a not-so-scary scarecrow of the famous blue cat. Meow!

Pete the Cat scarecrow.

Flappy Butterfly, Toddler Craft

Metamorphosis

Once the caterpillars turned into butterflies, we watched them up close and talked about how they’d be set free just as soon as it stopped raining. Of course, a butterfly craft was in order. Our two-year olds decorated their butterfly cutouts with markers. Dot markers or paint could be used on thicker paper or tagboard, but then the butterflies wouldn’t be as flappy. The kids were proud of their creations and flew their butterflies around the classroom.

Best quote of the day: Upon seeing a butterfly open and close its wings,  one of the girls said, “The butterfly is clapping!” How cute is that?!

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Supplies:

  • paper
  • scissors
  • markers
  • craft sticks
  • pipe cleaners
  • masking tape

Steps:

  1. Cut out butterfly shape.
  2. Decorate butterfly with markers.
  3. Tape craft stick and two pipe cleaners to back of butterfly, leaving top of craft stick showing–about one inch–above paper butterfly. Curl ends of pipe cleaner antennae.
  4. Create butterfly’s face by adding eyes and mouth to part of craft stick showing.

Related Post: Cutie Patootie Caterpillars, Toddler Craft

Cutie Patootie Caterpillars, Toddler Craft

Got Toddlers?

An empty egg carton stared at me and said, “Please give me a second  life!” So, I cut up the egg carton and showed the two year-olds in my pre-school class how to paint their caterpillars. They dipped, dripped and dabbed. Fun!

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Supplies:

  • egg carton
  • scissors
  • paint and paint brush
  • large pom-poms
  • googly eyes
  • craft glue
  • newspaper

Steps:

  1. Spread newspaper over work surface. Cut egg carton into sections. I made each caterpillar body two egg sections.
  2. Paint “body.” Let dry.
  3. Glue large pom-pom to one end of egg carton. Press to set glue.
  4. Glue googly eyes on the pom-pom.
  5. Let dry before handling.

Book: Guess which book we read when our caterpillars were finished…Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, of course. Click here to watch an animated version of the book.

Bonus: Shout out to the fabulous pre-school director and Transitional Two’s head teacher who brought in something extra special to show the children—live caterpillars! Every year, the pre-school orders butterfly kits which include cups of caterpillars, habitats, and food. The kids watch as the caterpillars eat, form chrysalises, and transform into butterflies. Then they set them free.

Bookstore for Book Lovers in Annapolis, MD

Old Fox Books & Coffeehouse. Photo credit Yelp.

On a recent trip to Annapolis, MD, my sister introduced my youngest daughter and I to Old Fox Books & Coffeehouse. The “Welcome” on its website says, in part,

We believe in the power of stories to inform our humanity and in the value of a third place, where unrelated people relate in healthy public life. Books are gateways to all the great ideas.

You know what I say to that? Amen!

The first thing my sister showed us was…

…the space under the spiral staircase, where a sign says “Harry’s Room” and Hedwig perches in a birdcage.

The second thing she pointed out was…

…the coffeeshop. Photo credit Yelp.

The part of the store she knew I’d love the most was…

The children’s section. Photo credit Yelp.
Quirky accessories fill the store.

Comfy chairs, antique furniture and quirky accessories invite customers to stay in this enchanting shop. Too bad we had to go, but guess what I discovered on the way out?

A mouse house door.
A room inside the countertop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dollhouse sized library! Omg–too cute!

Next time I’m in downtown Annapolis, I have to check out these two bookstores as well:

The Annapolis Bookstore 

Its website says it carries “a vast collection of used, new, and antiquarian books, as well as amazing cards, games and puzzles, and interesting ephemera. ” I love this quote on the “Children’s Page.”

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” — Victor Hugo

Back Creek Books & Antiques

Reviews say this unusual, friendly, refined, tidy, gem of a shop is the place to find rare and higher end books, signed books, classics, prints, postcards, and an old world charm made up of the scent of aged paper and the owner’s passion.

Click here to read an Interesting article about all three bookstores. Yay for independent booksellers!

Hon, do you have a favorite independent bookstore? 

Toddler Time, Easy Holiday Craft

Got toddlers?

The two-year olds in my pre-school class loved this easy activity. At the end of class, they carried their pumpkins with proud expressions. I’m sure their artwork will be on display for Thanksgiving. So cute!

Glue pumpkin onto tagboard.
Punch holes in tagboard and attach pipe cleaner (or ribbon or yarn).

Supplies:

–tagboard, construction paper

–scissors, glue

–pipe cleaners, ribbon or yarn

–dot markers, magic markers

Instructions:

  1. Cut pumpkin shape out of orange construction paper. (Think green tree for Christmas, blue dreidel for Chanukah, red heart for Valentine’s day, etc.) Glue holiday shape onto white tagboard. I cut the tagboard to approximately 8”x11”. I drew the pumpkins free-style.
  2. Punch holes in top of tagboard and attach pipe cleaners (or ribbon or yarn).
  3. Decorate with dot markers and magic markers.

Tip: Place newspaper under craft for quick clean-up. Use a paper towel to sop up dot marker paint.