Monday, October 31, 2011

Hey Paul! Paul Bunyan!

Friday was "dress as a character from children's literature" day at school. After much consideration, we decided on Paul Bunyan. We got books from the library and watched clips from the 1950's Disney movie "Paul Bunyan" on YouTube. He loved the movie, we need more children's movies like that today.
The costume needed to be pretty simple, so he would be comfortable wearing it all day. He wore his own flannel shirt and jeans, tucked into his snow boots. I found a pair of red cuffed socks new at Goodwill for 50-cents and a cotton hat at Dollar Tree for $1.00. Done!
That left accessories. I found a little plastic hatchet at Dollar Tree. He immediately noticed it was not an ax ("It needs something sharp on both sides, Mom!"). I couldn't figure out how to represent Babe the Big Blue Ox. Finally I decided to print a picture from the internet, glue it to cardstock and back with blue paper, and glue it to a craft stick. That box of new craft sticks I purchased at a yard sale sure have come in handy, I've used them for so many things.
 He was a winner again! He was so excited to tell me when I picked him up. There was a boy and girl winner in each grade level. He won a stuffed frog and a coupon for dinner at a local restaurant. We had so much fun getting ready for this (once we decided who he was going to be!).

If you haven't done so already be sure to enter for a chance to win a 1 year subscription to Disney's "Family Fun" magazine! Winner will be announced Sat, Nov. 5.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Love Magazines---and It's Give-Away Time!

I love magazines! I love to read and I love to read magazines! I don't get as many as I used to, but I still have several subscriptions. I like the variety of information I get from magazines: recipes, savings tips, fashion, household management, short stories and more. Since having Jonathan, one of my favorite magazines is Disney's "Family Fun". They always have so many cute craft ideas and fun things to do with your kids. Jonathan and I have used ideas from this magazine many times and have  enjoyed every project!
I love this magazine so much that I want to share it with you! If you have young children (or grandchildren), you are sure to enjoy this great magazine. One reader will receive a 1 year subscription to "Family Fun", which is 10 issues and should start with the Jan. 2012 issue.
To enter:
Leave a comment with contact information for one entry.
Mention this give away on your blog with a link to my blog for another entry.
Follow me for another entry.
Be sure to let me know all the ways you qualify!
I will announce the winner on Saturday, November 5, 2011.
Be sure to enter, the magazine will provide you with lots of fun ideas to share with your children!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Another Reason We Love Our Library

I have posted before about our local library and how much we love it. This past Sunday we attended a Fire Truck party hosted by the library, and it was so much fun! Upon signing in, each child received a fireman's hat and badge. Miss Janet in the children's department outdid herself with the refreshments, it was like being at a birthday party!

Love the flame picks in the cupcakes, and I want one of those drink dispensers! She made take-homes using a McDonald's french fry holder as a template (yes, I asked!).
The kids played a cute relay race game where they pulled their wagon fire truck across the room:
Put out the fire in the burning building:

Rescued the cat from the tree:
Then pulled their firetruck back to the starting point:

Next, firemen from our local fire department spoke to the children about fire safety.

Then it was outside where the real firetrucks were! The fireman showed the kids exactly how the trucks operated, including extending the ladder as far as it would go, climbing to the top and waving at those of us watching below!

The kids were then allowed to get inside the trucks to look around and sit in the driver's seat.
What a fun party, free and very close to home! Next up: Campfire Cooking party next week-end, with campfire stories and flashlight tag, then making a grilled sandwich on a tin can. We can't wait!

Monday, October 24, 2011

More Pumpkin Decorating, Jonathan Style

One little boy, screws, nails, push pins and other assorted things from a bin in the garage, one hammer and a couple of pumpkins add up to fun! Jonathan had so much fun decorating these pumpkins. He giggled and giggled, and spent so much time deciding what to put where. He was proud of his use of a real, grown-up hammer. He said these were his favorites of all the pumpkins we've decorated. We will most definitely do this again next year.

Breaking news: Jonathan's Big Green Monster pumpkin won 2nd place in the school's competition! He won $10 to spend at the book fair. He was very excited! I went in the school this afternoon while waiting in the car line to get a picture, and his class happened to be in the library, so I snapped a picture of him, too!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Saturday Brunch With Friends

I have been trying to find a time to invite two friends over for awhile now, and after a little schedule juggling, we were able to get together for brunch on Saturday morning. It turned out to be a beautiful fall day, just perfect for a visit with friends!
My sister was also able to join us at the last minute, driving here early Sat. morning from Lexington. She was a great help getting all the food ready! The table was set to reflect the season and the menu was simple, hearty fare. I used pretty plates from a thrift store that Jonathan insisted I buy when he was about two. Place mats were some I had purchased to use for Jonathan's birthday party last June, and the vintage napkins I have owned for years.

The menu was a tried-and-true breakfast casserole that could be made the night before and baked in the morning, a fresh fruit salad, grilled cheese on French bread (which filled the leaf shaped plate on the table), freshly baked banana bread, and a yummy pumpkin coffee cake my sister baked when she arrived.

One friend has a son Jonathan's age so he was happy to have a friend to play with. They were seated at his small table in the family room. 
I must admit I often stress when I invite someone for a meal. However, I am always happy that I did, and it is something I should do more often. It is so nice to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

School Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Jonathan's school is having a pumpkin decorating contest in conjunction with their Book Fair. Each pumpkin must be decorated as a character from a children's book, no carved pumpkins (for obvious reasons!). Children must do a lot of the decorating, but we were encouraged to make it a family project.
Jonathan has always loved the book "Go Away Big Green Monster", so we based our pumpkin on the green monster in the book. We completed it Saturday evening and delivered it to the school yesterday.
We originally planned to paint the pumpkin green, but the paint just wasn't doing the trick. So here is what we decided to do.
We used green paper napkins torn into strips, applied with Mod Podge, to cover the entire pumpkin It was the perfect shade of green. Next we cut facial features from the appropriate color papers, and eyes and teeth were given some dimension using a foam produce tray to cut them from. Yellow craft foam and googly eyes completed the eyes. I traced them on the foam with a pencil and Jonathan cut them out and glued them together. We used purple curling ribbon for the "scraggly purple hair". My sister was spending the night with us, so she got in on the fun, too.
Here is the finished pumpkin before it was dry.
Yesterday I drove him to school so we could take the pumpkin to the library to be entered in the competition. They will be judged by staff for K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 grade levels, with three prizes in each level. Prizes are gift certificates to spend at the book fair.

There will be some tough competition, judging by this cute Arthur pumpkin!
We had so much fun making this! Next up: they are encouraged to dress as a character from children's literature one day next week. I'm having trouble coming up with a boy's outfit comfortable enough to wear all day at school and be easy to get back into after bathroom breaks. I'm thinking maybe Paul Bunyon, but Jonathan's not too sure about that! Any ideas???

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Pumpkin Decorations

I've had an urge to do a little crafting this fall, which is unusual for me. I decided to play with some pumpkins and see what I could come up with. I took a couple of packs of paper doilies from the Dollar Tree:
Then I used Mod Podge and added them all around a pumpkin, then coated them with another coat of Mod Podge.

It is serving as the centerpiece on the kitchen table, accented with a few more leaves from the Dollar Tree.
I also decided to see what would happen if I painted a pumpkin with chalkboard paint, so I spray painted one with paint I had on hand.
I liked the way it turned out, too! Jonathan wanted to write "Boo!" on it, so we did. I can erase it if we want to change it!

What fall crafts have you been doing?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Festival Bake Sale

Tomorrow is the annual Fall Festival at Jonathan's school. We are looking forward to it! Lots of games for the kids, pony rides, inflatables and a magician show in the afternoon. There is also lots of food! Hot dogs and burgers hot off the grill, corn on the cob, cotton candy, sno-cones and more. Of course, any school festival worth its salt will have a bake sale and a cake walk!
I have been preparing for the bake sale for a couple of weeks now. I gathered my supplies. I baked two pans of brownies and 48 cupcakes and put them in the freezer. Wednesday and Thursday were pretty much spent in the kitchen, and today I delivered all the goodies to school. I baked 3 dozen sugar cookies and 4 dozen peanut butter cookies.
Every item has to be individually packaged, of course. I didn't really want to put my items in sandwich bags. Things get smashed and they don't look very appetizing. I paid a little visit to my local GFS Marketplace to see what I could find. I just love that store!  I purchased 1/4 lb. size deli containers with lids, which worked perfectly for cookies and brownies. The cost was not significantly more than buying Ziploc bags, and they look so much more "professional" and they stack easily. I bought 9 oz. drink cups with lids for the cupcakes. They fit in there perfectly, but they may be a little hard to get out with the frosting on them. I think I'll stay away from cupcakes at future bake sales.
 I put little paper doilies from Dollar Tree in the deli cups as an added little touch. I found red paw print stickers at the Parent-Teacher Store, as well as labels edged in black and white. Our school's mascot is a Bearcat and the school colors are red and black, and they earn red paw print for good behavior, etc., so I used these to label the goodies.
I also made Rice Krispie Treats. Jonathan, and most of the kids I know, love these! I made them into balls and inserted a cookie stick to prevent sticky little hands. I made a basket of these.
For the cake walk, I sent a dozen chocolate cupcakes and a homemade angel food cake. My local Kroger store's bakery gave me a box for the cake, and I had saved the plastic container from Jonathan's birthday cupcakes to send the cupcakes in.
It was quite a bit of work, but I really want to support Jonathan's school. I couldn't volunteer to work any of the booths, because I have no one to watch Jonathan, so I decided to concentrate my efforts on baking.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is perfect! It should be a fun way to spend an afternoon, and I hope I get to meet some of Jonathan's new friends and their parents. Wish you could all join us!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Some Of the Reasons I Love Fall

Our street

Buying pumpkins at a local florist

Our mailbox, my Million Bells petunias are lovin' this weather!

By the front door

Top of the entertainment center

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Home Maintenance

I love crossing things off my to-do (or have someone to-do!) list. My neighbor took the shutters off the house a week or so ago. He took them to his house so his son could paint them in their garage, since he's recovering from knee surgery.

I did not realize how badly they needed painting until they were back in place. They look so much better! Now I need to give the front door fresh coat of paint, which I hope to do this fall.
It is so satisfying to see a home maintenance project completed!