Thursday, August 26, 2010

Printables for Stroller Scavenger Hunts

I don't know about you, but we do a LOT of strolling when the weather permits.  It's one of the few ways that I can get exercise and keep track of a four year old at the same time.  Trips to the library, the post office, grandparents' homes, the hardware store, etc. in the stroller are also environmentally friendly...I love multi-tasking!

We also discovered Rails to Trails this summer.  It's a program that converts old, out of service train tracks into trails.  A good portion of the Rails to Trails that run through our county is paved and straight and wide and perfect for strollers!  It's also pretty uneventful scenery-wise.  It travels through farm land crosses a few highways...not a lot of variety.  Sometimes Susannah needs more distraction than the singing, chatting, and snacking can provide.  So I came up with a savenger hunt of sorts. 

I printed out some pictures of things we often see while strolling, found a clip board, and brought along a dauber.  Susannah had a great time keeping her eyes peeled for all the different objects, insects, etc.  When she spotted one she'd get all excited and mark it with the dauber.  It was such a success that I made another version for neighborhood strolling:

Now that I've got the main template down, it's really easy to just add new/different pictures for whatever suits our needs.  I plan on making fall versions, too.  Maybe even one for the car!  Anyhoo, I used Google docs so that I could share them with you.  You should be able to download both the rural version and the neighborhood version.  I'd recommend printing them in black and white in order to conserve pricey ink.

Neighborhood Savenger Hunt - Summer
Rural Savenger Hunt - Summer

Happy Strolling!

UndertheTableandDreaming   mmm button  oneprettything   

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Green and Refreshing Smoothie

Around here, summer time is smoothie time and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes.  A couple of weeks ago Susannah found an interesting recipe in a National Geographic Little Kids magazine she checked out from the libarary.  It was a March issue and it's billed as a Shamrock Smoothie.  I don't know about you, but March weather in Washington does not put one in mind of we called it a Green Smoothie and went along our merry way.  Here are the before and after shots:

It's got tang!  It's got zip!  Not only is it refreshing to the taste buds, it's a refreshing change to your average berry smoothie!  Oh, and it's pretty darn healthy. 

I love this recipe format because Susannah was able to use it as her shopping list and then follow the recipe all by herself (aside from chopping up the kiwi and measuring the limeade) - and she was thrilled about that!  In fact, if anyone knows of a good resource for kid-friendly recipes in this format, PLEASE tell me about it.

The health inspector might disagree, but I think it's okay to prepare food in your swimsuit when you're four years old.  Don't worry, I was fully clothed.

Cheers and bottoms up! 

Here's the recipe in case it's too difficult to decipher the photo:

1 peeled banana, sliced and frozen
1 cup frozen green grapes
1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 cup washed baby spinach
8 oz. lime yogurt (only the 6 oz. cups are available here and that seemed to be plenty)
1/4 cup limeade

Put everything in the blender and blend it until it's all comined and happy and green!
Note:  if you don't think the tart flavor will suit you, use orange juice instead of limeade.  You could also try using vanilla or plain yogurt instead of lime OR add some honey.  Happy blending!

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Friday, August 13, 2010

A Tutorial for Counting Sheep Bean Bags

How to Make Counting Sheep Bean Bags

This herd of fleecy cuteness can be used for your traditional bean bag games (tosses, juggling, what have you)  or a rousing game of Hide and Sheep.  You can also use them to practice counting (by 1's, 2's, etc.) or for recognizing odd and even numbers.  With the addition of math symbols and a few extra numbers you can lay them out to make simple math problems, too! 

*See the original Counting Sheep Bean Bags post for more photos.

Supplies You'll Need
Template for sheep body parts (you can download mine or make your own)
Template for proportionately-sized numbers (you can download mine or make your own)
Large pieces of fleece or felt - two 7" x 6" (approx.) pieces for each sheep body
Scraps of fleece or felt for the heads, legs, ears, and numbers
Marker, fabric pen, or chalk (for dark colors) to trace the shapes onto your fleece or felt
Quick-drying craft glue (I used Fabri-Tac)
A stuffing medium (rice, popcorn kernels, dry beans, small scraps of fabric, polyfil, etc.)
A small funnel (optional)

Trace and Cut Your Pieces:
Trace the sheep's body onto a piece of fleece.  I had to use chalk for tracing onto the black fleece and was able to use a Sharpie for the other colors. 

Pin this fleece (with the traced shape) on top of another piece of fleece.  Now you have a double layer of fleece to cut through.  This saves time and helps to ensure that the front and back body pieces match up.

Cut inside of the traced line so that there are no markings on the finished pieces. 

The head, ear, and legs can also be traced onto the fleece and then cut out inside of the lines.  Or you can do what I did, which I think is faster and easier.  I pinned the template piece onto the fleece and used my super-sharp scissors (the ones with the swan handle that I usually use for embroidery) to snip around the shapes. 

Unpin and use the scissors to sculpt any rough edges. 

You'll also find that since the legs are just a basic rectangle that you can snip strips of fleece instead of using the template for a guide. 

When you're finished cutting out all of your pieces you should have 2 main body pieces, 1 head, 1 ear and 2 legs.  You'll also need a paper number and a scrap of fleece that's just slightly larger than the number.

Number Your Sheep:
Your sheep body has two pieces and from here on out we'll be refering to them as the front piece and the back piece.  With that said, flip your front piece over and flip your paper number over.  Pin the number to the center of the fleece. 

Trace around the number (and any center shapes it may have, too).  Unpin the paper and use some super-sharp scissors to cut inside the lines so your tracing marks don't show up on the finished product.  If you're doing a number that has extra center pieces (0, 4,6, 8, 9) be sure to cut out those pieces and save them.

Still working with the sheep piece flipped over, apply a line of glue around the number shape.

Place your scrap of fleece (if it has a right or wrong side, be sure the wrong side is facing up towards you) over the glue.  Let it dry for a couple of minutes (or more depending on your glue) before moving on to the next step. 

Flip the body piece over so the right side is facing up and glue on any center shapes.

Trim off the excess fleece to reduce one wants a bulky sheep.

Attach the Appendages:
Set the front body piece aside because now it's time to work with the back body piece.  The head and the legs are going to be sandwiched between the two body pieces on your finished sheep.  To make sure they don't budge while you're sewing and stuffing we're going to use small glue dots to hold them in place.  Position the legs and head where you want them to be and glue them to the back sheep piece (on what's technically the wrong side of it - aka the side that won't be visible on the finished product).

Set the back sheep piece aside to dry while you work on the ear.  Put a small glue dot near the flat end of the ear.

Pinch the two long sides of the ear together. 

It's helpful to let a heavy object do the pinching for you so you don't have to hold it until the glue dries.

Sandwich Time:
Pin the two wrong sides of the sheep body pieces together.  You'll  want to line/match everything up because this is exaclty how the finished product will look.  No, I didn't forget about the ear...don't attach it yet.

Now you're going to sew about 1/4-1/2" seam along the edge of the sheep - leaving a 1" opening for stuffing. (You may want to leave a bigger opening if you're using fabric scraps or polyfil or if you don't have a funnel.)  I wanted my opening to be at the bottom of the sheep, kind of between the legs.

After you've sewn and you've got your opening, you can attach the ear. Just hold it in place and sew back and forth along the flat end a couple of times.

Stuffed Mutton:
Use a funnel (if you've got one) to stuff your sheep.  How full you stuff him is a personal preference.  Just make sure that he's not too full to be sewn closed.

After he's sufficiently stuffed, line up the edges of the opening and sew it closed.

Snip any dangling threads and you've completed your first sheep! 

I hope ewe had fun making him and that ewe don't stay up pasture bedtime creating a whole herd of bean bag sheep....they're kind of addictive like that! 

Please feel free to share with me what you create using this tutorial.  There's a good chance that I'll feature it on my blog!  Also, I'd love any constructive criticism you have to offer (does something not make sense?  are there any spelling errors? etc.).

oneprettything  SweetCharli

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hide and Sheep

Oh my gosh, you guys!  I had so much fun working on this project!  Susannah was totally coveting the math bean bags I made for Craft Hope so I decided to make her a set...this time with a bit more personality.  Sheep!  I was able to use leftover fleece from projects gone by, so I didn't have to buy anything.  I also used the same technique that I used for making the math bean bags (just a sheep shape instead of a square), so I felt like I knew what I was doing and most everything went off without a hitch.  The perfect project!

Look at those cute little ears!  Of course, Susannah was bewildered about their lack of eyes.  I don't exactly know my reason for skipping that organ...laziness or artistic inclination?  Either way - they've got no eyes (or any other facial features for that matter).

There's the whole herd!  Minus zero, actually.   I did make a zero sheep but he didn't fit nicely into my 3 x 3 grid so he's not pictured.  I'm calling them the Counting Sheep Bean Bags and I most definitely will have a tutorial for them - with a sheep template!!  It's HEREcoming very soon (it's half done already and will be completed in a few more nap times). 

By the way, Hide and Sheep is a game where one person hides the the sheep bean bags in a room and the other pretends to be Little Bo Peep and round up her herd.  Genius, I know.


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