Monday, June 17, 2013

A Royal Masquerade Picnic!

Here are some snippets from Miss A's birthday a while ago (one of those posts I never got around to sending)!  The theme was a "Royal Masquerade Picnic".

The invitations were custom designed by the very talented Andrea at  "Where the Green Grass Grows" - she is wonderful to work with!  

I added the glitter and gold/pink ribbon embellishments.  We included a glittery pink mask for each guest to wear to the picnic (I downloaded the pattern online and cut it out of paper) .  

I made an extra special mask for the birthday girl, of course!  ;)

For entertainment before the picnic lunch, I set up stations for the girls to visit as they chose.  The one above is the "Reading Atrium" with blankets and books.

The"Creativity Garden" was another station and contained items for coloring, pink sparkly playdough and cutters, as well as a place where they could make their own handprint castle (I modeled mine after this one by Posh Little Pixies).  

This was the "Outdoor Ballroom" complete with ribbon wands for each young princess (and a special one for the birthday girl).  We had music playing so the girls could dance and twirl to heart's content.  They each were allowed to take their wand home as a party keepsake.

These are pictures of the picnic spread.  Each girl was given her own picnic basket (also a keepsake) filled with pink and gold embellished picnic food items.  

Side note:  I think I bought the baskets at Dollar Tree.

The cake!  :)  Pink and gold outside with pink and lavender-ish layers inside!  I wasn't so thrilled with some of layer colors I mixed - some ended up looking more gray but oh well.  It tasted good and the birthday girl seemed pleased which is what really counts.  :)

Before they went home, each young lady was given the opportunity to visit the jewels fountain.  I had made pink felt jewelry rolls for each girl which she could then fill with her jewels of choice as a final keepsake from the party.  I had a sign nearby that read:

Thank you for making this day a treasured memory!
Please accept a parting gift of jewels from our precious princess to yours!

Note: jewelry rolls have been provided for the safe transport of your new gems!

For those crafty mommas who want to do something similar but keep it low cost, if I remember correctly, I made the fountain with Dollar Tree candlesticks and plates.  :)

Now...on to plan our Back 2 Homeschool day!  ;)  I've had an idea simmering in my brain for a while now...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

CONTEST UPDATE - Finished at #62 - THANK YOU!

Thank you... THANK YOU.....THANK YOU!!!  :)

I'm so blessed to have such great followers, fans, friends, and family who helped me move up the list to #62!!!  YAY!

I think that is pretty wonderful!  :)  I appreciate the encouragement and votes so much!  :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

4Blocks - A Visit to Grandma's House Reveals New Math Manipulative!

One of the perks of having a creative mother with 30+ years of early childhood teaching and consulting experience is that an afternoon at grandma and grandpa's house is a recipe for FUN!  :)

Case in point - 4Blocks.  My kids  L-O-V-E pattern blocks - my youngest being especially intrigued by them at this early point in his life.  Well, one day we walked into grandma's house and found a pile of foam shapes and puzzle forms on the dining room table.  

Need I say more? The kids WENT TO TOWN with these!  

Grandma had about FIFTY pages of ideas, patterns, and puzzles so the kids had plenty to keep them entertained.  Did I mention the pools of higher level thinking in which their little minds were submerged?  Yep, I definitely consider it a plus when kids have fun AND exercise the brain.  :)

Named 4Blocks because each shape is made up of exactly four blocks, these could be considered a more mature cousin to pattern blocks (but one who can still get down on the floor with the littles).  We quickly found that there was something challenging and fun for both my tiny tot up to my now-second-grader.   

Mr. J could mix and match abstract patterns to his heart's content while Miss A could amuse herself with the more complex puzzles which required some heavy duty problem solving skills!

I had my camera with me and started snapping pictures of the happy occasion AND encouraged my mom to get herself a Teacher's Notebook account or TPT account and offer these for sale.

And oh HAPPY DAY - she opened up a store and posted them today!  Woo-hoo! :)  Now you can purchase the entire packet of puzzles and shape patterns so you can make your own set of 4Blocks!

NOTE that the downloadable packet does NOT come with foam blocks - you will need to make your own set which allows you the freedom to choose your own colors and medium or create a set exactly the same as hers.  (Some of the patterns are in color so if you plan on using those, you will need to make blocks in the same colors).

I'm thinking it would be pretty neat to make a set out of patterned holiday papers to add to centers (and how cool would it be to come up with some textured ones made of sandpaper or light corrugated cardboard!).  But why stop there?  These could also be used in small groups of students or siblings as a timed game to see who can complete their shape puzzle first OR even be set out as a hands-on alternative to busy work when kids are done with an assignment.  

Whether you homeschool, are a classroom teacher, or your kids just happen to love pattern blocks - you will definitely want to take a look at these!

Don't just take my word for it, see below for what my mom has to say about the ways in which these can be used.  :)  And when you are done - race over to her store and snap up a packet!  

At 67 pages (yes, I did say 67) for only $3.00 - that is an amazing bargain (note - she may be raising the price in the future so I'd suggest buying the packet now)!!!

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