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Flower Masterpiece

This beautiful art project looks great on your little girl’s wall after it is all dry!  The art project is perfect for birthday parties, groups like girl scouts and as a class project during spring or Mother’s Day. Oh, and how about the grandma who has everything, a precious gift this would be to hang on her wall.

I started my shopping early to utilize coupons and watch for sales, especially on the canvas.  At any craft or art supply store you can get plain canvas wraps. I used the 11×14 for our project, but it would be beautiful on a larger canvas if you have the space.  The loose flowers were a hunt. If you have a Joann’s or craft store carrying silk flowers they may give you the flower heads that have fallen off and will be thrown away anyway. It is worth asking.  A friend of mine had a manager at Michael’s tell her no, and even said they would still be throwing them away (and mind you this was for Girl Scouts.) On the other side, Joann’s collected them and had a bag ready for pick up.  If this is not an option, buy them on sale and pull off yourself.

You will need:

canvas

glue (all-purpose like Elmers)

sponge brush (any thing to spread glue)

acrylic paint (any color)

paintbrush (I used popsicle sticks)

loose flowers/petals

First:

Prepare area with paper/cloth and write name on back.

Second:

Pour generous amount of glue and spread with sponge brush over whole canvas.

Third:

Choose paint color and spread in any design, using paintbrush or sticks.

Fourth: Add flowers and press into glue.  (The flowers need to be cut close.)

Last: Allow to dry for a day or longer if paint and glue were heavily applied.

April Fool’s Day With A French Twist

The French celebrate Poisson d’Avril.  To do something a little different in your home or classroom this year celebrate April Fish with your little ones.  In France, children will make paper fish and tape them on another child’s back without them knowing it.  When they find out, the prankster will say “Poisson d’Avril.”

As a family or class make and decorate paper fish and state the allowed times to try and put fish on others back.

This simple and fun activity will surely put a new twist on the day!

Why not tie this in with The Rainbow Fish if you have little ones to teach or at home.  What a fun day!

What is Earth Day?

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
Albert Einstein

It was founded by John McDonnell in 1970 . It used to be celebrated on the first day of Spring (the March Equinox) and still is by many people. As a worldwide celebration, April 22 is the more recognized date.

Earth day is intended for all of us to recognize how we influence our limited resources from our planet. There are often activities, campaigns and events scheduled on this day to promote awareness of Earth issues. You may choose to participate in a local event or start your own.  What a great time to create a family tradition if you have not done yet.

Take a walk and enjoy the beautiful things on Earth, make a list when you return

Plant a tree

Help Mom and Dad with recycling garbage at home

Pick up trash on the playground

Start a family tradition of choosing an activity or organization to support

Educate yourself about causes in your community

Fun, Simple and Cheap St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

Hats

Making visors for the new spring sunshine is a simple way to entertain a group of children for a St. Patrick’s Day party or in the classroom.  The visors are available at most craft stores.  Decorating can be creative with puffy paint, glitter glue or simple with the foam stickers.

Create a collage rainbow.

Draw the outline of a rainbow in pencil, tear paper  into bits and glue onto rainbow.  The paper can be old magazines or scrap pieces of colored paper.  Pots of gold can be added at the end of the rainbow with glitter on the inside of the pot.

Spring Party Food Ideas and Recipes

CATERPILLAR SANDWICH

Celebrating our one year old’s birthday we used the “spring” theme for decorations and food.  It was much more for family and friends, so we ordered a submarine sandwich and shaped into a caterpillar on a green tablecloth.   For the legs, speared pickles stuck out from the body and sliced green peppers made the antennae  and as you cam see green olives were used for the eyes!

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BOWTIE PASTA RECIPE

“Butterfly Pasta”

12 ounces (340g) farfalle, (bowtie shaped pasta), uncooked
4 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 Tbsp (15mL) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (40g) basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup (115g) shredded lowfat mozzarella cheese*
1/4 cup (30g) Parmesan cheese*
Directions
Cook pasta in boiling water until tender. Drain pasta in a colander but reserve about 1 cup (240mL) of cooking water.
Slice zucchini lengthwise into slices about 1/4-inch (1cm) thick. Place several slices on top of each other and cut into little sticks, about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) by 1/4-inch (1cm) each. You should have about 4–6 cups (1–1.4L) of zucchini “matchsticks”.
Heat olive oil in a 12-inch (30cm) nonstick skillet and add garlic and zucchini pieces. Cook over medium heat until the zucchini pieces are tender and light brown in color. Add about half of the basil and stir for a minute or two. Add salt and pepper. Pour the cooked pasta into the skillet and stir so that the juices coat the noodles. If the mixture seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Finally, add the rest of the basil and the shredded mozzarella, and stir once more. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Butterfly Pasta Recipe #2

Cold Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1 package farfalle (bowtie) pasta

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbs. chopped garlic

1 sweet onion – coarsely chopped

2 Tbs. Italian seasoning

1/2 Tbs. fresh ground black pepper

1 14.5-oz. can basil, garlic & oregano diced tomatoes – lightly drained of juice

1 14.5-oz. can diced golden roma tomatoes – lightly drained of juice

1 5-oz. jar pine nuts 
1 can quartered artichoke hearts – thoroughly drained and coarsely chopped

3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar 
salt to taste
Prep. time: 30 minutes

Yield: 10 side-dish servings

Boil farfalle to al dente texture. While boiling farfalle, sauté garlic, sweet onion, olive oil, black pepper, and
Italian seasoning over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Stir frequently until garlic is slightly browned
and onions are just starting to become caramalized (clear). Then add both cans of tomatoes,
reduce heat a little, and allow to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
After farfalle is done cooking, drain and shock (run cold water over pasta, then drain again).
Mix all remaining ingredients, farfalle, and sauteed mixture in large mixing bowl. Salt to taste. Chill.

Stained Glass Easter Cookies

This is a simple version and easy for children to make!  I have done this using my favorite sugar cookie recipe instead of the store bought and it was wonderful.


 

 

Stained Glass Easter Cookies

 

 Cut cookies from a tube of refrigerated sugar cookie dough and roll out slightly. With a butter knife, have children cut the shape of a cross out of the middle of the cookie. Place on a cookie sheet and fill the cutout with any type of finely crushed clear hard candy (i.e. butterscotch, root beer etc.) and bake. The results really do look like stained glass!

Resurrection Bread for Easter


Resurrection Bread

Ingredients: 1 can of crescent rolls

                     Large Marshmallows

Let the children spread a portion of the bread dough around a marshmallow. Follow the cans directions for baking.

Discuss with the children that the dough symbolizes the tomb where Jesus was laid. The marshmallow represents Jesus. When the dough is baked the marshmallow will vanish. When your child cuts open the bread they will see an empty tomb. Let’s celebrate that He has risen!

Note: You can dip the marshmallow in butter and cinnamon before placing in dough.

Easter Story Cookies

This activity takes some preparation and thought but is well worth it to teach the Easter Story to children….and yummy too!


 

EASTER STORY COOKIES:

 Make the evening before Easter…

1c. Whole Pecans

1 tsp. Vinegar

1c. Sugar

Zipper Baggie

3 Egg Whites

Tape

Wooden Spoon

Pinch Salt

Bible

Preheat oven to 300° (This is important– Do it now!)

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. (John 19:1-3.)

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. (John 19:28-30.)

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. (John 10:10-11.)

Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. (Luke 23:27.)

So far the ingredients are not appetizing.

Add 1c. sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. (Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.)

 Beat with a mixer for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. (Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.)

Fold in broken nuts.

Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. (Matt. 27:57-60.)

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. (Matt. 27:65-66.) GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. (John 16:20 and 22.)

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. (Matt. 28:1-9.)

Egg Nest Recipe

How to make egg nests which can be used with jelly beans for Easter Egg Nests or with speckled eggs for any spring time event.

Ingredients:

3 cups       Chow mein noodles
1 cup          Sweetened flaked (or shredded) coconut
¼ cup       Butter
3 cups        Miniature marshmallows
1 tsp           Vanilla extract
½ cup       Small jelly beans (or whatever eggs you choose to use)

You will need:
A large bowl
A medium saucepan
A wooden spoon
Cookie sheets lined with
parchment paper
Directions:

Place noodles and coconut in a large bowl.

Adult:   Carefully melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon to keep it from burning. When butter is completely melted, add marshmallows and stir until smooth.

Remove from heat and mix in vanilla extract.
Quickly pour mixture over noodles and coconut, stirring until well coated.
Slightly butter your fingers, then remove small portions of noodle mixture and drop them onto cookie sheets.
Make an indent in the center of each portion with your thumb and index finger, then quickly fill it with jelly beans.
Makes about 30

Butterflies and Flowers First Birthday Party

Planning a spring party gives you many themes to choose from such as bugs, butterflies, gardening and flowers, baby animals and baseball!  I chose a butterflies and flowers birthday party for my little girl’s first birthday.  Sure, there are naysayers that insist parties should not be given for a baby since they will not remember the event.  I say, boo hiss, a first party is given for family and friends to celebrate friendship, community and surviving that first year with no sleep. So, I had to plan for various ages and food for whole families.

I started with the invitations and sent out 3 weeks prior to the party:

I learned to smile and laugh, then sit and stand
And I can walk if you hold my hand,

But the fun has only just begun
Because next I will be turning ONE!

You are invited for food and cake
And to help us celebrate!

Then listed the date, time and place.

Many store bought invitations are cute and save time for you to plan the activities and shop for food!

Activities:

Pot Painting

I purchased terra cotta pots for each child, outdoor acrylic paint and sponges and brushes.  I had this activity first so the pots would have time to dry before we planted flowers.Use a permanent marker to write names on the bottom of the pot before they start to paint.

Pot Flowers:

This is a two adult operation with little ones.  I had a tarp out for this activity which had potting soil, shovels, watering cans and blooming flowers. You could plant seeds.

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Egg Hunt:

We did an Easter egg hunt since it was the weekend of Easter.  The eggs were filled with butterfly and spring themed items.  A special section was just for the one year old’s that had fish crackers in them.  It may not sound exciting, but they liked it.

Bubble time:  What little one does not enjoy a few bubbles.

Butterfly Waltz (preschool): Need balloons with butterflies drawn on them. Music. 1 balloon per child. Kids keep the balloons in the air until the music stops, then freeze with their balloon when off.

Butterfly Flutter:

Version of red light, green light where you flap your wings to run.

Coffee Filter Butterfly:

Use an eye dropper to drop paint onto coffee filter, allow to dry and then wrap pipe cleaner in the middle of filter making the butterfly wings. Leave two ends of pipe cleaner up to look like the antennaes.

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