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Make Fall Frames

Show off all you have to be thankful for in this adorable frame….I am talking about your family!  So, I have a super crafty friend who had us over to make these adorable frames for Halloween. I chose paper that could be kept up for the fall and Thanksgiving, simply because I like to do less decorating and have less storage.

Fall Frames

These are simple and are a great craft for children and adults alike. The frames with a family picture or child’s art work make a perfect gift for family or the Thanksgiving hostess this year.

What you need:

Wood frame (the one I used is a dollar frame from Michaels

Wood cut out (pumpkin used in pictured frame)

Scrapbook paper (I used 12×12 to have the two frames match)



adhesive (glue)


scissors and Exacto knife

This is the back of the frame and you can paint before or after paper is applied.

If you choose before,  leave time for drying before you complete the craft.

Back of the FrameWhat to Do:

First paint the inside and outer edges and allow to dry.

During this time, cut the paper to fit whole frame. This will not be perfect and can be cut closer to edge with exacto knife and will then be sandpapered to get that smooth look on the edges.

Smear glue onto front of wooden frame and place paper on to dry. Cut out the middle square with an exacto knife and then smoothing the edges with sand paper.

Repeat the same process with your chosen wooden cut out and glue to your frame when it is all dry. I placed the pumpkin in different locations, you can also print the year or family name onto the wooden cut-out. I kept mine plain in case I wanted to change the picture in the future.

Here are the edges of the frame after the sandpaper.

Fall Frame

These frames are so inexpensive and can be used throughout the year. The same craft above can be used for all holidays with the appropriate paper. Think of all the beautiful paper for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays and vacations. Check out other ideas for these frames such as the summertime Life is a Beach frame and the Nuts and Bolts Father’s Day frame.

These frames can be used for girl scouts, birthday parties and in classrooms for parents gifts. Of course, if you choose to use paper get some adult helpers for the exacto knife part. But, children of all ages can do some variation using these frames. Happy decorating!

Four Seasons Paper Plate Craft

How to Make a “Four Seasons” Paper Plate Craft

What you will need:

White, plain paper plates

Construction paper (green, brown)


Cotton balls

Crayons or markers

Hole punch

Yarn or pipe cleaners

Tissue paper

This is a fun craft project to go with learning about the seasons. It can be done over several days or as you speak about each season and then display the while craft at the end. This would be appropriate with help for preschool age kids and also for kindergarten and first grade students. Classroom teachers could use this lesson in center time.

To make the Craft:


Cut out tree with brown construction paper, color background black and ground white (leave blank), glue cotton balls or torn white construction paper for snow.


Cut out trunk in brown construction paper, color background, crumple small tissue for new buds and glue on branches.


Color background on paper plate, cut and glue brown tree trunk and cut out green tree tops.


Color background, cut out brown tree trunk, green leaves and glue falling leaves.

Hanging the paper plate season craft:

Hole punch the top and bottom of paper plates, have children use pipe cleaners to attach together. For younger students, the parents or teacher may need to tie the plates together. On the top plate make a loop to hang on the wall. These hang nicely at home or in the classroom.

Books and Poems:

There are many books, songs and poems about the seasons and each can be used for literature and the thematic unit. Children can make their own poems for each season, which can also be displayed along with the craft or made into a seasons book. Teachers can create thematic books and folders to compile all of their thematic papers and art to take home neatly at the end of the seasons study.

Four Stories for Four seasons by Tomie dePaola

Arctic Winter, Arctic Summer by Reid and Canizares

Scholastic offers many choices

Moonstick: The Seasons of Sioux by Eve Bunting


Listen to Vivaldi during craft time. For further discussion, have children listen to corresponding season and dance and feel the music and discuss how it reminds them of certain month or season.

Studying the seasons of the year has science and more behind it, this craft and introduction to the seasons is ideal for younger students at home or in school.

All You Need is a Box

Running out of ideas for those long summer days or on a rainy day? All parents have witnessed the child who loves to play in the box and use their imagination. Well, how about those small shoe boxes or whatever size you happen to have in the house. I gave both children a box and pulled out all the little things that we have around the house that I should have thrown away.  I just knew they would be used and come in handy! It is good to re-use and recycle.

You will also need some glue, tape, scissors and markers to get started.  Next, your child may just take off and not need any help to get started . For the others, ask questions about what they like to play….dolls, cars etc. This may help them to make a choice to make a house for their little animals, design a car for characters etc. My son was into gadgets and rockets. Below you can see his control box that has been used for many missions to the moon.

For this project he wrapped white paper around the box, I cut the slit for him to put his sliding piece of cardboard in, a bolt served as his on and off switch and the plastic squares were around the home as counting squares and last a mosaic piece filled in as the last button.  Any tiny craft things would work including buttons, pom poms and stickers. My son was about six years old when he created this “thing” and I am thinking we need to do this again and see what he comes up with this time.  I do not have my four year old’s version pictured and I am sorry I do not have it because it was quite hilarious as she made a control box as well.  I love how different each child is and you can really see it when you let them have free reign of their projects and crafts.

Creativity is the key!

“Creativity is a great motivator because because it makes people interested in what they are doing.  Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea.  Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.”   Edward de Bono

*Edward de Bono wrote and studied about the brain and creativity. He was the author of The Mechanism of Mind and introduced the term “lateral thinking.”

Chocolate Lover’s Month

February is National Chocolate Lover’s Month.   I looked on-line for all the official holidays.  If these are real, then I have been missing out on all these fine days this first part of my life.

Here is the list for February. Take your pick and celebrate!

African-American History Month
National Sweet Potato Month
National Boost-Your-Self-Esteem Month
National Canned Food Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
National Snack Food Month
Berry Fresh in the Sunshine State Month
National Dental Month
Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
Chocolate Lover’s Month
Bake for Family Fun Month
Great American Pies Month
North Carolina Sweet Potato Month
National Grapefruit Month
National Cherry Month
National Bird Feeding Month
American Heart Month
American History Month
Creative Romance Month
Human Relations Month

Chocolate Covered Bananas

Chocolate Lover’s Celebration Shake

-taken from Hershey’s website


1/4 cup warm water

2 tablespoons HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 cups chocolate or vanilla ice cream

1 Place water, cocoa and sugar in blender container. Cover; blend briefly on low speed. Add milk.

2 Cover; blend on high speed until thoroughly blended. Add ice cream. Cover; blend until smooth.

Serve immediately. About three 6-ounce servings.

POOH BEAR DAY January 18

Did you know that there is a day just to celebrate Pooh Bear?  The day is in honor of the English author, A.A. Milne.

Choose a story and read aloud as you munch on some Pooh Bear Treats!

Pooh Bear Sandwiches

Children can cut their own bread with a bear shaped cookie cutter. Mix peanut butter and “hunny” and have children spread on their bear shaped bread. Yum.  we toasted our bread first, and then cut out. I have heard you can freeze the bread before cutting.

Pooh Bear Tasty Treats


    1/4 cup crushed wheat flake cereal
    3 tablespoon honey
    1/4 cup peanut butter
    1/4 cup nonfat dry milk solids
    Non-stick cooking spray

Reserve two tablespoons crushed cereal. Mix honey and peanut butter. Gradually add nonfat milk, mixing well. Spray hands with non-stick cooking spray (or butter)and shape into 1/2 inch balls. Roll in reserved cereal. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Store in refrigerator. Adult help may be needed and makes about 24 treats.

Snow in a Jar

Shake, shake, shake, little ones love to shake and this activity is perfect for anytime of the year!  With help from an adult children can make a winter scene or any theme throughout year in a jar or bottle.

 Materials Needed:
Empty small jar (like a baby food jar) or plastic water bottle with cap

Hot glue gun or Epoxy glue

Small plastic toy animal (depending on scene)

White rocks for winter scene

Glitter (small cuts of ribbon can be used)


Food coloring, if desired

Use hot glue gun to glue rock and animal to the bottom of jar.
Fill with water and add food coloring if desired.
Spoon in some glitter and glue lid onto jar.
Shake to make it snow!

Other Themes:

Birthday: Find cake toppers such as balloons and use colorful confetti, ribbon or glitter.

St. Patrick’s Day: Use green food coloring, green glitter and you may find small items such as shamrocks to glue to bottom.

Easter:  Use a cross to glue to bottom with gold glitter or use red to represent the blood. Pastel colors can also be used with any Easter confetti.

Snowflakes for All Ages

Designing and making snowflakes involves many important  concepts at all ages.  Beyond being fun, children experience shapes, motor skills, following directions, creativity, symmetry and spatial skills.  I was shocked at how many students in my fifth grade class volunteered to help  make snowflakes for a bulletin board, they loved it.  I thought that they would be “over” that!

1.jpgWith my younger children I demonstrate how to make a large snowflake and then they decorate it.  Then, they attempt their own allowing them to explore and discover the world of shapes and symmetry. Please note that the “snowflakes” are truly unique and may not look anything like a snowflake.


3D Snowflake: For older children and adults, I found this site that teaches “How to Make a 3D Paper Snowflake.”

Read A Biography:  Snowflake Bentley stated  “Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.”   He photographed the first snow crystal and shared that no two snowflakes were the same.

Symmetry: Look for symmetry in nature starting with butterflies, bugs, leaves and bee-hives. For older children,  you may ask them if snowflakes are symmetrical in nature. (The answer is sometimes, the most common snowflakes are not symmetrical.)

The Life of a Snowflake:  This site is for older students to follow the life and growth of a snowflake. Fascinating!

Winter-Snowboarding in the Family Room

Growing up in the Arizona desert is sunny and wonderful, but not when you try to explain the concept of seasons and  winter to children!  Traveling north to see, touch and play in the icy snow is always a joyous and exciting event for our family, but we know plenty of children who have not been exposed to snow, winter and winter sports.

So, how can we incorporate this foreign concept of falling snowflakes, winter boots and gliding down the mountain slopes?  The first part of the winter series is dedicated to winter sports and will continue with further crafts and fun soon.

First of all, and most obvious is to visit your local ice skating arena.  They have special classes for large groups, skating lessons and field trips.  For the sports enthusiast you can visit during hockey practice or games.  We wanted to take our son to the professional hockey games, but know it is way too loud for his liking (and mine!)

Find the snow!  This year our zoo, church, city park and train park all had special events where they brought in snow piles for the children to devour.  What a fun and free (except the zoo) way to play in the snow.

Visit the library.  Let’s never forget the powerful magic of words.  Check out books about the winter olympics, winter sports and  famous athletes.  Which sport would you like to try?

We love boxes.  Boxes transform into anything your child imagines, so why not let them decide what to make that can be used in winter.  I am guessing that a bobsled box would be perfect entertainment for an afternoon.

I should have invented carpet skates.  The most genious and simple invention if you have carpet in your home.  Before we found carpet skates for about ten dollars (I think at Toys R Us)  I would tape wax sandwich bags around the kid’s feet and they would pretend to skate around.  They had a blast.  I am sure this may sound crazy to those of you in parts of the world that have real ice outside your front door.

Technology allows us to explore many exciting new things. For example, record the winter games on television and watch as a family as you enjoy a cup of hot cocoa or even Icees.  I am coming around to video games and I know the concern most parents have about these mindless types of activities.  With that said, I love the Wii snowboarding game and have been caught shredding and grinding the slope!

Use your imagination.  Since we cannot snowboard down the real slopes, we made our couch into a mini hill to use with our cardboard boards.  I had pipe cleaners in the crafts area, so we taped them on for the straps.


This little piggy said, “Wheeeee!”


How to Make a Bean Bag Toss Valentine’s Game

This video shows you how to make a letter sound recognition game to use at home or in the classroom. The bean bag toss game is a valentine theme but could be made for every day use by using another shape besides a heart.  You can adapt this game for older children by writing blends and digraphs (ex: str, bl, sh) or high frequency words on the hearts.

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