Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gumball Math Sheets

Searching Pinterest for fun math projects for my daughters; I pinned a linked titled, "Gumball Math".  When I tried to open the link, I quickly discovered the link was inactive.  Loving the concept of the idea, I decided to create my own gumball math sheets. When my daughter was counting to the teens, she would often recount her stamps when adding more ink to her pencil. The redundant pattern helped her memorize the numbers. She quickly caught on and has conquered counting to twenty! My four year old was able to use the sheets for counting up to ten.

The sheets are scanned copies. If you prefer the hard copy, please email: 
I will be happy to email you the word doc. 

We used a stamp pad and the top of the pencil to create the gumballs.

  Children can either use the same tools or they can use stamps, stickers, or markers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Doc Is In! A Doc McStuffin's Birthday Party.

Luckily, as a Children's book author, my creative imagination is always in full-swing. When my littlest one announced she would like a Doc McStuffins birthday party, I quickly discovered this was going to be a do-it-yourself project.

To start the party preparation I used Microsoft Word, Paint and my printer as my handy-dandy birthday tool belt to bring an idea to life. First step. The invitations. All of the graphics are owned by Disney. I found them using Google. I used Word to make the clouds to insert the party information. I printed them out on photo paper giving them a store-bought quality.

 I was going with the simple, soft, and elegant look. My goal was simple and not to overflow the house with streamers, balloons, and wall decorations. Instead of balloons, we incorporated colorful flowers into our decor.  I purchased the flowers at Wal-Mart for a little over four dollars a bouquet. I only had to purchase two bouquets for the look I was going for. I was able to divide the flowers into two vases. The price I paid for the flowers, came to the same price I would have paid for a boutique of balloons. 

    To go with the art theme, "Clear Puppyitis" I placed the flowers into a glass. I then placed the glass into the vases and inserted the girl's crayons into the empty space between the glass and the vase.
I once again found an image of Doc and her friends using Google. After inserting the image into Word, I used word-art to frame the image with "Happy Birthday Hope".  Afterwards, I cut out the photo paper using scallop scissors and gave the paper a construction paper backing. Four long curly ribbons added a bit of charm. I placed the decorations in four places; two on either side of the fire place, one in the room with the art project, and another by the living room. Simple, themed and tidy, gave it the appearance of decorations without the overflow look.

In the middle of the fireplace, in-between the the two decorations, I added one more element. I used a construction paper backing, and added a sticky flower that I found in the gift-wrap section, which gave a tad bit of texture and softness to the design.

Our first event was an art-project. The little "Doctors" had to cure the puppy from " Clear Puppyitis"
The puppy lost his color, so the children had to paint the color back onto the puppy.  The 16 puppies, three packages of paint, plates, hand-wipes, and hooks cost only $25.00. This was also part of their goody bag treat to take home. It was a huge hit!

 Once the puppies were cured, it was off to heal Stuffy! My publisher hires an illustrator for all my books for a reason.  My drawings consist of stick figures; however, I must say some how by the grace of God, I was able to pull off a hand drawing of this little guy! Stuffy dropped the Big Book of Boo- Boos on his thumb. The children had to try to place the band-aid on the boo boo.

Once Stuffy was all better, it was time for our last game. Doc McStuffins medical bag was missing all of her medical instruments! The children had to go on a hunt for the missing items. There was one set of instruments per child.  Each child was handed an instruction sheet and a paper bag before they were released to go on the big hunt. The children really enjoyed this game and the parents had a few good laughs.
The instruments and bandage are available at the Disney Family Go Site.

Goody Bags

At the Dollar Store we found pink and blue miniature cloth bags priced at three for a dollar. I filled each bag with a candy necklace, lolly-pop, candies, the hook for the puppy, play-dough, and this little treat.

The Food 
During the snack, the children watched an episode of Doc McStuffins on T.V.
The biggest splurge were on the mouth watering gourmet petite cupcakes by, Incr-Edible Cupcakes.  They were on the TV Show, 'Cup Cake Wars'. The out of focus photo is not doing the cupcakes justice at all. They were the perfect size, not even a crumb was left or dropped.  Every bite was like a taste of sweet heaven. All the children loved them. Most adults will pass-up on the sweet treats, and at first they did, until the one adult took a nibble and their excitement of pleasure caused a chain reaction. The adults raved over the delicious explosion of perfect flavor they were experiencing on their pallet. 


For a twist of fun we made colorful ice-cubes using Kool-Aid packets and clear soda (Sprite, 7-Up, etc.). I adjusted the recipe I found on Pinterest.  I thought the soda had enough sugar and did not add any additional to the Kool-Aid mix.  To make the ice cubes bright, I used two cups of water for one packet of Kool-Aid.  For some, we even left out the soda and used water. The results were the same and everyone enjoyed watching their drink change colors and flavor.

NOW HOW COME MY PARENTS DIDNT DO THIS FOR ME WHEN I WAS A KID??  KoolAid ices cubes in sprite. The drink changes flavor as the ice melts!   IM TOTALLY GOING TO DO THIS NOW!

For the remainder of the snacks there were quarter cut sandwiches, gold fish crackers, Micky Mouse shaped cheese, miniature pickles, and plastic cups with a tablespoon of ranch dressing on the bottom filled with carrots and celery sticks. 

By the end, everyone had a joyous time. As for the Birthday Girl, she passed out on Grandma's lap; the prognosis by the doctor, too much party fun.



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Creating an Organized Children's Utility Center

Over the last Summer our two little girls were in swimming lessons.  There seemed to be an ongoing trend of searching for their goggles, towels and shoes right before we were just about to walk out the door.  Besides the hunt for the missing items being stressful with two impatient kiddo's; I would have to prep for heading out fifteen minutes in advance to give us the allowed time to find them without being late to swim class.

Towards the end of the Summer, enough was enough!  I had to come-up with a better plan to centralize the location of the girls "where is it" items, by utilizing space that was out of site, yet conducive to our needs .  Our laundry room had plenty of  unused wall space and was right next to the garage, perfect!

I stared at the white walls and came-up with this; the items had to be at the girls reach for them to learn the responsibility of preparing themselves for an outing. I wanted to create labels for each item using pictures and words to ensure the items were put back into the correct spot and to use this as a tool for reading. Then I thought of what else would I place in here to work to my advantage and make life simpler? We were forever finding their tiny socks everywhere. Ta da! A sock bucket right next to the shoe baskets! Trust me, it works! I rarely find socks anywhere but in the sock bucket! To hang the items into place, I used the 3M Command hooks. I will let the pictures tell the remainder of the story.

Here I used the "Towel" label for winter coats. 

I implemented an idea from Pinterest to organize the girls art supplies. This simple and inexpensive idea has been a life saver! Now the girls can see what they have and explore their creative side.  Plus, I have found that our four year old has learned to put back her checked-out items once she is done. That in itself is a blessing! I did place the items that need adult supervision out of reach; for example, glue, markers, paints and scissors.

As you can see, I used the wall space to my advantage. I would paint the walls to make the space look fresh and crisp, but mind you this is the laundry room. There are two very heavy machines that are not pictured. I hope you find my element of design helpful, and enjoy creating your own
"Where is it" space.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Easy Way to Degrease the Stove Hood Vents!

I have to admit; like so many others out there in the wide world of the web; I have become addicted to Pinterest!  I find myself searching for new recipes, ways of decking out the Holidays, crafts, birthday themes, VBS ideas, ways to organize and the "miracle" to deep cleaning!  I can honestly say our family and house has benefited from my "repins".

My recent pin was to degrease the stove hood vents by simply using baking soda and boiling water.  My research to deep cleaning lead me to a blog titled, 'How To Clean That Greasy Stove Hood Filter' by, Jillee. I quickly went to the pantry and grabbed my Baking Soda in disgust!

Step 1: Remove the vents from the hood. I found two underneath our microwave and another inside the unit.


Step 2: Fill a your largest stew pot with water. Bring the water to a boil and  slowly add 1/2 a cup of Baking Soda to the water. If you add too much at once, the water will start to fizzle out of control  like a bad since experiment.  


Step 3: After all the Baking Soda is in the water, place the vents into the boiling water. I placed the two metal vents into one pot and the foam vent into a fresh mixture. Let the vents sit for about 4-5 minutes. Then with tongs, pull the vents from the mixture. Rinse the vents under hot water. I even gave them a little scrub with dish soap.


The water inside the pot will look something like the picture below.  A simple washing with dish soap removed the grease from the pot. 

We were amazed with the results! My husband and I felt at ease after the task was complete. Seeing the amount of grease that was removed; we realized the grease could have easily sparked a fire if anything on the stove top went out of control. We vowed to clean the vents more often.


This task was easy as pie with very little effort!
Happy Cleaning!