Monday, March 26, 2012

Sight Word Flash Cards:Learning to Read

When The Boy was little, I had never heard of sight words.  Imagine my surprise when I learned during our very first parent/teacher conference that he was "behind" because he did not know his sight words.

Mommy failure.  {In Kindergarten!}

Having a second child means learning from past mistakes and getting a do-over card. The Short Chic is now 4. Kindergarten is within our sights. And I am determined to get her ready for it.

What are sight words?  They are words frequently used in our daily reading. It is said they make up nearly 75% of the words children will encounter. Why are sight words so important?  Well,  because the English language is complicated. Some times sounding out words is tricky. And often words do not sound as they are spelled. By learning site words a new reader can have success and can spend their effort on those words that need to be sounded out.

So, my latest project was to make her sight word flash cards. I started off by taking her with me to the craft store. She picked out the papers. I used three sheets of each: teal card stock, pink cardstock with glimmer, and three sheets of sparkly princess paper.

I then looked up Dolch sight words on the Internet, you can find them here. I decided to focus on the preschool words, she is only 4 after all!

I cut the pink and princess paper into strips. I used three inches wide and four inches long. I then secured them together with my scrapbook adhesive. I wanted a double sided flashcard. The solid pink was to be the background for the letters while the princess paper was just too pretty.

Next, I used my Cricut machine to cut out the site words. I used the teal card stock and the Alphalicious cartridge. I kept changing the font size. I used 2 1/2 inch font for the one-word words, 2 inch for the two-word words, ect.

After the words were cut out, I put them through my Xyron machine and turned them into little stickers.  I put the stickers onto the solid pink card stock (I think the teal/pink combination looks amazing). I also used a hole puncher and put a hole in the corner.

To keep her interested and just to jazz it up a bit more, I purchased some Disney die cuts and put them on the back side.  Have I mentioned to you all that my Short Chic loves Disney Princesses? So even if she does not have the patience at age 4 to learn sight words, I know she will be playing with the flash cards because she loves Princesses!

So, here is the coolest step. I took the completed cards to my local US Toy store and they laminated them for me. For $1.00!! Seriously! A dollar.  Who says a dollar can't buy anything any more. Lamination services at US Toy are FIFTY CENTS per FOOT!

I brought them home, cut them apart, taking great care to make sure they stayed a uniform size. I would recommend using a paper-cutter for this step.

I re-cut the hole in the corner and used it to attach all the flash cards to a D-ring. My husband picked up a cute Princess key-ring and I put that on the D-ring too. I hate to admit it, but it was the first thing she noticed, and squealed about.

Who says learning has to be boring?

I have linked up! Check out these super cool sites!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mommy/Daughter Time

My girl loves Disney. She really loves the Princesses!  Jasmine is her favorite. When her Daddy and I saw an advertisement for Disney on Ice last week,  I knew I was going to try and get her tickets to the show.

We scored great seats (Thank you Craigslist!). Then we made plans with our BFF's and we headed out! In the rain, no less.
The show included Alice in Wonderland. This was one of the coolest parts. The numbers line up numerically.

Peter Pan came flying in and so did Tinkerbell. She even sprinkled pixy dust all over, it helped us fly home at the end of the night!
The Loin King came on after intermission. (I kinda felt like the first half drug by and then they rushed the second half.) 

Snow White was there! And the Seven Dwarfs. The Short Chic loved it when Sneezy blew down all the other Dwarfs.
Oh and Thank Goodness Rapunzel and Flynn Rider were there! ( I think she got a hair cut.) I loved the floating lanterns.

And then Miss Olivia's favorite came on! Princess Jasmine and Aladdin!! As soon as my girl saw her she sat up properly in her chair and never took her eyes off of Jasmine. I honestly think she thought Princess Jasmine would look right down on her and say, "Hi Short Chic!"

I think we are ready to go to Disneyland/Disneyworld. THAT is a whole other post, I am sure!

Jasmine and Aladdin on the magic carpet. The Short Chic thinks when she is grows up she is going to marry her brother. I think it is cute. Well, right now, when she is four it is cute. We will talk about the legalities of it later. But for now, she thinks Aladdin is her brother and Jasmine is her.

Princess Tiana was there doing some might fine skating!

I was a little disappointed with the finale. Yes, ALL the Princesses were there (even Mulan) but they only went to one side. So we got to see half of the Princesses and did not get to see the other half. Boo!

This Princess Aurora was super tall. This picture does not really show it but man, she was tall!

My Short Chic with her Mickey Mouse ears on.

My Short Chic and her BFF Little Mess. They enjoyed another year of Disney on Ice!

For the record, I had wanted to have Mommy/Son time the very next day. I wanted to take The Boy to see The Hunger Games, but he went to his Dad's house for the weekend.  Then he told me it was okay for me to go without him (I am guessing he did not want to see it as much as me).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Lorax Pancakes

If your family has a preschooler in it, you are probably like us: fascinated by the movie, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax!

As a family we went to see the movie for The Short Chic's birthday. She loved it! The Boy loved it! We all loved it!

 Here is the family, waiting to watch the movie. It was our first 3-D movie experience!

So, on this sunny early spring like day, The Short Chic and I decided to have pancakes for breakfast!

Here is what happened next,

The Short Chic stood upon her stump {a little blue kitchen step stool} and proclaimed,

"I am The Short Chic, 
I speak for the pancakes!
There is excitement to seek
So, find a technique  
and make us unique!"

Okay, maybe that is not exactly how it went, but pretty close!

I grabbed my ample supply of  sprinkles and selected those reminded me of The Lorax. All the while, The Short Chic is saying,
"I am the Short Chic,
 I speak for the sprinkles. 
We are bright and cheerful   
Sure to bring giggles and twinkles!" 

Again, maybe I am adding a few words here. 

So we mixed them up and started cooking away. I did not use a Thneed for this breakfast nor where any truffula trees cut down to make these pancakes. Just a good old fashioned flat iron skillet and a spatula, pancake mix, water, and sprinkles.

 I did not measure the amount of sprinkles. I just poured out a small amount. Then I mixed them with the batter.   I am not that fancy, I used old-fashioned Ms. Butterworth mix.

 The final product were pancakes just as colorful and happy as the movie.

At least she thought so. She was happy. That is what matters the most!

"I am The Short Chic,
I speak for my tummy!
I enjoyed eating your Lorax pancakes, 
they were yummy!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Felt Cupcake Toppers

So, I am not sure what happened. I opened my blog from my ipad and the next thing I know, my entire post was deleted!!

Total devastation!

So, I am going to recreate my post. Which I know will not be as good as the first.

Last week  I was traveling and away from my family.  I don't mind being away a night but four nights is a lot! I needed something to keep me busy.

My best friend still had not had her baby so I thought I should start preparing for her upcoming Sip and See.
I know, you are asking "A what and who?"

A Sip and See. It is a type of shower that happens after the baby is born. My BFF is very non-traditional and this type of shower seemed appropriate. We are going to have people over, have a SIP of something fruity  and SEE the baby!

Since the baby is being born at the birth of spring, our theme is spring. It also offers us some non-traditional colors for a shower. Bright Colors. Green. Blue. Yellow. Red.   In addition to bright colors, one symbol of spring was incoporated: birds.

I wanted to have cute cupcake toppers. I have seen several made out of paper using a cricut, but I learned after the Princess Party, piecing together small pieces of paper is time consuming. So I opted for a non-traditional material: felt.

So this is how this project came to be:

First, I started looking on the internet for a cute bird pattern.  I found this one.  It was for a 4-dimensional bird and I thought it was perfect. Only, it was big. Really big. So, I used a photocopier and shrunk it down until I thought it was the right size for a cupcake topper.

Second, I gathered supplies. I used felt. Embroidery Floss. A sewing needle and a pair of scissors.

Next, I cut out the pattern. I cut two of the body and I cut 2 wings out of a variety of felt.

 Yes, the patterns said to cut 4 but I only cut 2.

 Then I used a blanket stitch and sewed the two body pieces together. I did leave a small space at the bottom of the bird to insert a Popsicle stick into when they were all completed.  I then stitched around each of the birds wings. I used contrasting floss and made the wings a different color just to make it all more visually appealing.

{You may be asking yourself...what is a blanket stitch?} Never fear, it is a simple stitch:

After I had all the edges stitched, it was time to sew the wings onto the bird. I used some invisible fishing string I had laying around the house. I think you could also use fabric glue, but mine was dried out.  Add a Popsicle stick and you are ready to go!

So, the next time you are interested in having some cute, original cupcake toppers, think about using felt to make them. I think they would be so easy to coordinate with your special occasion!

I am so looking forward to sending you more ideas and photos from the Sip and See!

I have linked up again this week: Please check out these cool blogs!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Serendipity and Spice

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lantern Lift-Off

The wind has stopped blowing. 

It feels like spring outside.

I made it home from my week away.

After dinner, we took a walk and headed to the pond, where we lit and lifted two of the lanterns we were not able to lift during Princess Short Chic's birthday party.

The Boy video taped it to share with all the little girls who were not here. 

Enjoy! It brought a smile to our faces!

 Here is The Husband holding the lantern until it heats up.

We got lucky, both the lanterns had small tears but they still were able to light, get warm and lift.

And it is on it's way! I would also like to add for my friend Darren, no houses caught on fire. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Feature at {Junk in their Trunk}

I am away from my family this week.

 I don't mind being away for a day...or two but this trip is five days long. I hate that.

You can imagine my mood, so I was so surprised when yesterday I got some great news.

 {Junk in Their Trunk} emailed me and told me they were featuring....ME!!! How totally cool is that! I Linked up my post about the Welcome to the World gift for my BFF's a future baby {who by the way is now three days overdue!}.

 So, please, check out {Junk in their Trunk}

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Princess Party

Our Short Chic turned 4 years old today.

She asked me for a Princess Party last year, after I had a Fairy Tea Party   completely planned. So, I promised her a Princess Party this year.

As I said in a previous post, The Invitation, I did not want a Disney Princess party. I love Disney, but I wanted this party to be different, or as different as a Princess party could be. I also decided to not make everything pink (a very common color associated with Princess parties)

I started decorating a few weeks ago. I even decided to make homemade crowns for each of the little girls coming to the party. I would love to give you a tutorial but I can not because it violates the purchase agreement I made when I bought the instructions from "You Can Make This".  However, for $8.00 you can buy the instructions from Queen of the Party.

The party had seven stages.

Stage 1: Princess I Spy Bottles.

 I saw these on Pinterest and fell in love with them. I collected Voss Water bottles, Princess trinkets, and rice to make the bottles. I like that this activity is all about developmental tasks. They had to use fine motor, scooping and pouring. It was great fun and a great warm up activity.

Stage 2: Coronation

Before we could crown each Lady a Princess, we had to teach them how to curtsy.  After we taught them how to curtsy, we then had each little girl announced. My husband served as the announcer. He called each girls name and added their street name to the announcement. So, the announcement was, "Lady Short Chic of Harrison". There was only one little girl who lived on a number street and we added her housing addition to the announcement. 

After they were announced, the Ladies walked down, curtsied, and was crowned a Princess for the day.

Stage 3: Jewelry Making

Every Princess has lots of jewelry. And these Princesses were no exception. Stage Three was jewelry making. I supplied a variety of beads, stretchy string, and I even bent a little and had Disney Princess Shrinky Dinks pre-made so they could add them to their necklaces. 

Stage 4: Snacks!

What party would not be complete without snacks! I served the Little Princess Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches cut into crowns and served in inexpensive teal plastic organizers I found in the dollar bin at Target. I also made up three side salads and renamed them; a pasta salad, a green pea salad, and an apple salad.

In addition, I made homemade strawberry milk. Yes, it was homemade, I made a simple syrup out of strawberries, water and sugar. It was yummy!

After Snacks, we had an intermission where Princess Short Chic got to open her birthday presents. 

Stage 5: "Let them eat CAKE!"

I worked pretty hard on the birthday cake. I decided to make a castle. About a week before the party, The Short Chic asks me to please make her a strawberry cake because pink is now her favorite color. (For those counting, this is her fourth favorite color: Blue, Green, Orange, and now Pink!)

I used a square pan for the base (strawberry layer) and then a round pan for the second layer (chocolate). I used tomato paste cans as molds for the towers (which are made out of rice krispies).

The peaks of the towers are sugar cones that I covered in frosting and rolled in sanding sugar.  I also had some edible pearls that I found in Jamesport this summer and used them to decorate with. When your daughter walks into a room (the kitchen) and gasps out loud that her cake is perfect, you know all the effort was worth it. 

In addition to the cake, I also scooped the ice cream into cupcake liners the night before. (Another thing I saw on Pinterest!) Serving the ice cream has never been easier and I have to say,  I may never serve ice cream any other way!

Stage 6: Lost Jewels Game

After snacks and cake, it was time to move! So we gathered the Princesses and had a game. The prep work on this game made it. I gathered a bunch of jewels. For each girl, I then selected three of two kinds, two of a few kinds, and then a few single jewels.  I then gathered a bunch of other jewels and put them all in sand. 

I then gave each Princess a red plastic container to hold their jewels and read them the following story:

The evil Stepmother had taken the Princess' prized jewels.
Help the Princess find them! Be careful, the evil Stepmother  mixed the prized
jewels with fake jewels the Princess does not need in order to confuse you.

They then had to dig in the sand and find their jewels.

After they found their jewels, they turned them into me and I rewarded them for helping The Princess by giving them a goody bag filled with: princess ring, unbreakable bubbles, princess fruit snacks, marshmallow sticks, Disney Princess Pez, candy, princess wands, and bath fizzies.

As the Princesses were playing this game, several of the girls squealed they loved this game. THAT made me happy!

Stage 7: Lantern Lift Off

When I was planning this party, I looked for things associated with all princesses. I had a shiny red apple, a frog prince, a Cinderella shoe,a carriage, a castle, and from the movie Tangled, we decided to have a lantern lift off.  I collected 11 lanterns from various firework stores (one for each little kid at the party). Then I ended up ordering 10 lanterns from a company in Australia and 10 from a company in China.

Other baubles I picked up over the year to serve as decorations for this party.
If you can believe it the United States Postal Service delivered the lanterns from China about 35 minutes before the party! I was so excited!!

Our yard, as well as street, is full of full sized trees, so we had a Princess Parade to our community pond where we were going to lift off 21 Chinese Lanterns.

However...the wind had other plans for us. The wind immediately ripped apart several of the lanterns. If the wind did not destroy them then it would not let us light the fire pad. In the end, we hung our heads and walked home.

I am sure I had enough disappointment for everyone. The little girls kinda forgot about it and went about playing!

The good news, we still have lanterns to light/lift at a later, warmer, time!

Other random moments from our party:

I found giant Princess vinyl stickers made by Disney to put on the wall. I used the generic castle instead of all the Princesses. OH yeah, and I made the wonderful garland behind The Short Chic and I's photo out of the leftover scraps from the crowns. A friend of mine at work gave me an old window and I used it as a backdrop for the party. I simple put some teal wrapping paper behind the window and then added some homemade pom poms above it.

 I made edible wands out of Oreo Cakesters.  I also picked up a small mirror from Hobby Lobby. It served as our magical mirror mirror on the wall.

The outside entry way. I used LED White Christmas lights with pink tulle and teal ribbons. And of course, every Princess needs a red carpet.

We went to bed last night and I read The Short Chic Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (one of her birthday presents). The last thing she said to me before her eyes went shut for the night, "This was a perfect day!"

It melted my heart.