Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recycling and Backyard Fun

We were at the mall the other day and saw a large display of school kids’ recycle projects. It was very intriguing to see their creativity. Of course this got my daughters’ creative juices flowing. Back at home, we were finding boxes from our paper trash to make into a city in no time. DSCF0512

If you’d like to do this at home too, here’s what we did:

  1. I wrapped each box in shipping paper so the paint would stick.
  2. The girls decided what each building would be and where it would go on our cardboard landscape.
  3. They drew what they planned out with pencil before painting.
  4. Loads of painting! After the paint dried, they filled in details with marker.
  5. The next day I hot glued rolled scrap fabric “roof tiles” {like we see here in Portugal} or some form of roof, then each box to the base and any other details the girls thought of.
  6. Lots of play time!

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Thankfully, when the recycle village project was finished, and the girls wanted to know what that day’s “project” would be, I turned to my Smart Summer Challenge calendar {Backyard Science Week}. Today said “Choose a number and make it into a picture using items from your yard.” Since today was the 14th, we decided to make fourteens. The girls flew outside to find great yard treasures and came back to create. Can you find the fourteen?

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Other backyard fun at our house continues to be harvesting from our garden…

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and bringing the backyard indoors.

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P.S.: If you have a minute…

The most accepting Foo-Foo has been of the girls’ feeding her yet. We enjoyed her munching sounds!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fourth of July Firsts

Yes, the holiday is past, but I wanted to share some fun things I tried this year. I’ll start with a top personal accomplishment, a paper wreath for my front door!

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I was inspired by Corner House’s awesome paper wreath. It is beautiful—you have to go see it! She has great instructions too.

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Anyway, I had a small wreath to spare that I thought would not take too many scalloped circle cones. Ha! This was a labor of love OR more like an opportunity to persevere! Don’t let me scare you on this—I think it is the perfect project to work on as you’re talking on the phone or watching a show. Just know it may not get done overnight! Having a large scalloped paper puncher is a huge help.

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A quirky thing about this 4th of July wreath is that the book pages are from a vintage Portuguese book! You could say that’s not OK on a piece of Americana, but we’ll just settle that we are blending cultures here! {or using what I can get my hands on!}

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Speaking of blending cultures, I decided to go a little more low-key on 4th d├ęcor this year since we were having Portuguese and British guests {ie: the other side of the placemats made by my mother-in-law are covered in US flags}. Of course we had a few laughs about how we’d been freed from them! But they were great sports, even wearing red, white and blue!

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We are only able to get our hands on sparklers in Portugal, so pretty-ing them up made it feel a bit more special. The free printables are from Thig and Twistle.

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My other big attempt for this holiday was homemade hamburger buns. Not to complain, but the options for good hamburger buns here are very slim, so much that I’d gotten to where I really didn’t want to make hamburgers! This was a last attempt to keep one of my husband’s favorite foods in our normal repertoire. I think they turned out well—a recipe request from a guest makes you think others like them too! Oh how necessity{?} breeds resourcefulness!

Sharing this at Turning the Table Thursday and

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fingernails and the Circus

Our girls finished up Portuguese kindergarten this past Tuesday, so our summer is just getting started! My surgery recovery has limited most of our afterschool homeschool activities, but I’m thankful to see the benefits of the girls’ creative play time without too much mommy intervention.

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This morning was the beauty shop! Their Nana had brought the girls some cute boxes with new lip gloss and fingernail polish. The girls spent time making bracelets for everyone who was coming to the “salon” (our interns were invited since they are leaving next week and love being with our girls).

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My 5 year old did a great job copying my written words for a sign she was making! 

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Both girls enjoyed the special attention and getting to paint a big person’s nails {they are so nice to let them do that!} and fake nails. Take note of these faces of concentration!

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Nail painting could not top the circus we had at our house a few days prior. At the girls’ trampoline class exhibition, we saw other unusual-to-us sports like synchronized roller skating and circus acrobatics. {Really!}  Now we have want-to-be acrobats in our home who have daily been working on new “tricks”!

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So, they had a show for us complete with music, clowns and animals! {Sorry to those of you who don’t think tricks off the couch is a good idea. We have great mats they land on!}

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I have been so pleased at how hard they’ve worked on moves like balancing on an exercise ball in the doorway or how they play the classical music over and over and move to the beat for their “routines”!

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We have also been adding dates to our July calendar from 1+1+1=1’s 4th of July Connection Cards. The girls eagerly want to add each day and hear about who or what in on the picture. I have the activity calendar up from the Smart Summer Challenge and hope to do more of those now that the girls are home. So, I feel there’s no lack of learning opportunities around here!

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