Thursday, October 20, 2011

Some recent crafts

I know I have been doing a horrible job keeping up with this blog. Summer got away from us and went by entirely too fast. Now that school has started for both kids (that's right, M is now in preschool, oh my!) and we have settled into our routines, I am starting to add in some fun and educational crafts into our daily/weekly routine. Thanks to my good friend Missy for referring me to the site That site is LOADED with awesome ideas! I don't think I will ever need another site to find ideas from again! So here are a few things we have done the last two weeks.

This one I found on no time for flash cards but I changed it a little bit. I cut the pumpkins out of orange construction paper instead of the foam pipe stuff they used. While M was at school I got this ready to go. I drew and cut out 26 pumpkin shapes and labeled each with each letter of the alphabet. Then I drew three green squiggly lines for vines on a piece of paper. I added some leaves and then wrote each letter in random order along the vines. Then M had to match each letter and glue the pumpkin on. This took some time and she didn't have the attention span to do it all at once so we did in three different segments. She is getting better at recognizing her letters but still doesn't know every one. She was still able to do this even if she didn't know the letter name. I used all capital letters but for older kids you could have them match capital letter with the lower case letter. You could also do just lower case letters. I plan to do it again with lower case letters but this time I am going to have her put apples on a tree. It could also be done with leaves. There are tons of possibilities for this one!

Here is a fun one that I did with E. M was really only interested in wadding up all of the pipe cleaners. Take four pipe cleaners of whatever color or combination you like (E loves Halloween colors so they were pretty fitting). Then fold in half to find the middle and tie them in a knot. The knot makes the body. Then bend the legs however you like. You could also wrap another pipe cleaner around the middle to make the body a bit bigger. We chose not to.

M has shown an interest in helping in the kitchen so I decided to make it a weekly activity to let her make/help make a special lunch, something different than sandwiches and leftovers. So yesterday we made homemade pizza with our friend E.

E enjoyed eating the cheese that was left over.

Here is a fun one we did today. I emptied out our paint supply box and put a piece of paper in the bottom. Then I put a few drops of paint on the paper, added some bouncy balls and let M roll them all around through the paint. We started with two colors and four bouncy balls. We added more colors two at a time and eventually four more balls. I would suggest less paint or thicker paper because our paper was a bit wet and ended up folding over a few times. You could also tape the paper down. Since Halloween is coming, it would be fun to make spider webs this way with black paper and white paint. You could also use marbles instead of bouncy balls.

Here is the finished painting drying on a paper bag since the back got paint on it when it folded over.

This last one I only have a picture of the finished product. This one went fast and since I was doing most of the work, I didn't get pictures of the process. That's okay because these were pretty easy and I'm sure you can picture it in your head. I painted M's foot white and then stamped it on black paper. Once it dried we added eyes and cut them out. They are now hanging on the kitchen wall for all to enjoy! I would have liked to use goggly eyes but we didn't have any. As much as I would have loved to make a trip to Hobby Lobby, I decided it was not necessary.

So that is what we have been up to. Hopefully there will be more of these posts in the near future!

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

No theme this week

With the holiday this past weekend I didn't make it to the library. We may actually take a few weeks off because we just have a lot going on. As you can see, the first week started off great and then went down hill. That is because we had almost no other activities that first week. Then everything started, dance, soccer, plus">Wild Wednesdays and">Kid's Klub. Next week starts two weeks of swimming lessons for both kids which will take up basically the whole morning. Next week E is also starting a summer class for three weeks in the afternoon. So I may just pick a theme of books out and if we have time to do any other activities later in the afternoon, I will have a few planned out a head of time.

**Edit: I obviously did something wrong with the links up there. They don't look like I wanted them to but don't really have the time to fix them now. Anyway, they should still take you to the posts about Wild Wednesday and Kid's Klub in case you missed that post or want to see what is coming up.


Last week we did penguins. Honestly, we didn't do as much as we could have but it was a crazy week. E had camp at the arboretum and then was sick on Wednesday and Thursday. I did get books about penguins. We also read the book Mr Popper's Penguins and then went to see the movie on Friday. Anyway, here is our book list for the week.

Penguins: Growing up Wild by Sandra Markle
Tacky the Penquin by Helen Lester
Penguins by Emily Rose Townsend
Penguins, Penguins everywhere by Bob Barner
A Penguin Chick Grows Up by Joan and Richard Hewett
Mr Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Snow week reading list

I almost forgot to list the books we read for snow week!

Snowmen at night by Caralyn Buehner
There was a cold lady who swallowed some snow by Lucille Colandro
Hello Snow by Hope Vestergaard
Frozen Noses by Jan Carr
Snow Day by Scott Nash and Patricia Lakin
Winter Friends by Mary Quattlebaum
Snowmen all year by Caralyn Buehner

I really liked this batch of books. My favorites were Snowmen at night and snowmen all year and also snow day. I think E really liked the two snowmen books too. I also think it was more fun to read books about snow when there was none on the ground!

A week of winter!

Two weeks ago we had a snow storm! In June!

So we had a snowball fight!
Kicked the snow around a bit.
And made snow angels!
Later we made snow sculptures.

I bought a big bag of cotton balls, dumped them on the floor and let the kids go to town! Then I sat back and snapped pictures. I got some good practice in on my new camera! Don't worry, I got to throw some snowballs too! It was fun!

Trinity Academy of Irish Dance

Today I just wanted to help spread the word about this new dance studio and some events they have coming up later this month. If M were just a bit older and at a point where she would follow directions just a bit better, this would be a lot of fun to take her to. As for E, well he is going through a stage where he dislikes anything "girl." He looked at M's dance teacher like she was crazy when she suggested him taking a class for kids his age. Even after she told him that she has had boys in her classes. Anyway, I hope some of you are able to make it and would love to hear from you if you do!

So here is the information:



ELMHURST— After 30 years of success and being regarded as the most widely recognized Irish dance program in the world, Trinity Academy of Irish Dance is thrilled to announce the opening of a brand new state of the art dance studio in Elmhurst, Illinois located at 747 N. Church Road, Suite A3.

The new facility features two large dance studios as well as a parent and sibling waiting room. The new space serves not only as the location for weekly classes with Elmhurst-area locals, it is also the Illinois hub for special programs as well as advanced Trinity dancers from Illinois and Wisconsin who train for regional, national and international competition including the All Ireland Championships and the World Irish Dance Championships. Among these dancers are numerous world gold medal champions, fresh from the competition that was held this April in Dublin.

Trinity’s Founder and Artistic Director, Mark Howard, stated, “I can hardly believe that after 30 years of teaching in Illinois that we have our own studio in Elmhurst. The teachers and students of this remarkable organization deserve it. It’s been a long time coming and I am beyond excited to see what the future holds. I’m also excited to watch the kids walk in the door and see pieces of Trinity’s history and legacy on the walls.”

Trinity’s countless competitive titles, national and local television appearances and tours of the world demonstrate the power of the school, but the vast majority of the students just attend a weekly class, whether it be to connect to their Irish heritage or to express themselves through dance. With both sides of the coin at their fingertips, Trinity’s focus is set on elevating children and the world through the passion of Irish dance.

Howard continued, “We chose Elmhurst not just because it’s centrally located, but because of the people and the unique energy of the community. It’s really the perfect fit for our family-based organization.”

Trinity Studios Ribbon Cutting/ FREE Drop-in Day

To celebrate and welcome the community to the new space, they are inviting children and their families to their ribbon cutting/open house.

12 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Friday, July 22, 2011 at Trinity’s Elmhurst Studios,

747 Church Road in Elmhurst

The ribbon cutting ceremony lasts from 12-1pm. During this time, children get to meet current Trinity dancers, watch them perform and see some fancy costumes! At 1pm, children get a free lesson in Irish dance where they can learn a step of the jig themselves!

If you represent a local business that would like to help sponsor this event, please send an email to with the words “sponsor Elmhurst” in the subject line.

Trinity Dance and Tell! July 26, 2011 at 10:00-11:30 a.m. at Trinity’s Elmhurst Studios

Trinity invites moms, dads, and children ages four through 12 to spend a fun summer morning at their first ever Trinity Dance and Tell! Arrive at 10am for fun activities, a performance, a workshop about Irish dance and a meet and greet session with plenty of time for questions and answers. This is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with Trinity’s wonderful dancers. Participants find out what it’s like to do this healthy, cardiovascular form of exercise that emphasizes confidence, poise, teamwork, support, respect, friendship and best of all – fun! Trinity Dance and Tell! is the perfect way to get your child thinking, learning, up and moving! Cost is $15 per family. Visit to register!

Get a Taste of Trinity this summer at Trinity’s Elmhurst Studios

New students are invited to participate in Trinity’s Taste of Trinity program this summer, where boys and girls ages four through 12 discover the basics of Irish dance, learning the proper techniques of movement set to the rhythm of Irish music. The last class concludes with a 15-minute special performance for family and friends. No previous dance experience is necessary. Registration for Taste of Trinity is now open; space is limited. Cost is $95 for six classes which includes a Trinity t-shirt. for information.

Elmhurst Taste of Trinity Schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays

7/11-7/28 (held at the brand new Trinity Elmhurst Studios at 747 Church Road, Suite A3)

Dancers born 2006-2007: 1-1:45pm

Dancers born 1999-2005: 2-3pm

About Trinity
For 30 years, Trinity has thrilled audiences with its inspiring showmanship and been a flagship for dance programs worldwide. From humble beginnings in church basements to sold-out performance tours across Europe, Asia and North America, the Trinity dancers have consistently redefined the genre and elevated everyone who has seen them by sharing their undying energy, innovation and passion for the art form. Trinity was the birthplace of “progressive Irish dance,” which opened the artistic pathways that led directly to commercial shows like Riverdance.

In Trinity’s unique program, instructors focus on the importance of having fun while developing self-respect and confidence in their students. The Trinity program is held together by its powerful philosophy of empowerment that teaches students life lessons both on and off the dance floor. Trinity instructors utilize a noncompetitive teaching method that places children on a “journey” through Ireland, teaching the beauty of the dance form along with poise, agility, strength, confidence, sportsmanship and cultural lessons along the way.

While only five percent of Trinity dancers compete at the highest international levels, the great majority of students
learn solo and team dances to celebrate Celtic traditions and have fun performing around town and competing in smaller local competitions. The Trinity program allows dancers to take Irish dance at their own pace, giving them the choice to get as much or as little as they want out of it. Classes for team and performance dance are optional.

Trinity dancers have appeared in numerous feature films and on national television programs including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, CBS This Morning, The Today Show, Good Morning America and The Martha Stewart Show to name a few. Trinity has also won two Emmy Awards for appearances on PBS.

Trinity Academy of Irish Dance has a convenient location in Elmhurst, as well as Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Palatine, Western Springs and the Northwest Side (Irish American Heritage Center) and Lakeview neighborhoods of Chicago in Illinois; and numerous locations in Wisconsin. For more information, call 773-529-4822 or visit or

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm behind I know

I planned on updating this weekend, I really did but I just never got to it. I could make excuses about having company over on Saturday and spending the day cleaning and baking or how Sunday was my birthday and how I spent Monday organizing (all true stories by the way) but the truth is, I still had time to blog I just didn't. I will work on catching up this week though. I have to because I know I won't have time next weekend.

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