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February 10, 2016

Birdseed Valentines with FREE Printable


This year my preschooler and 1st grader decided we wanted to make Birdseed Valentines to pass out for Valentine's Day.  Every year I think about buying valentine's from the store and every year I just can't quite do it.

Homemade one are so fun, right?

Once we decided to make the birdseed valentines, I knew just the poem I wanted to go with each card.  When I was younger, my mother was a teacher and each year she gave her students a baggie of bird seeds, with this poem attached.

by Aileen Fisher
I gave a hundred Valentine's.
A hundred, did I say?
I gave a thousand Valentine's
one cold and wintry day.

I didn't put my name on them
or any other words,
because my Valentines were seeds
for February birds.

It's so cute, I quickly taught it to my kids and they thought it was a great match.

We followed this post for the recipe on how to make our birdseed valentines.

1 cup hot water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (5 tsp)
1 1/2 cups flour
6 tbs. corn syrup
8 cups of birdseed
cookie cutters
pam spray
bamboo skewer (or straw)
cookie sheet
parchment paper
String or bakers twine
Valentine Paper printed off 1 and 2

 STEP ONE:  Mix 2 packets of gelatin in hot water.  Stir with a fork until most of the clumps are disintegrated. 
Add flour, corn syrup and birdseed in a large bowl and mix.  
Then add the stirred up gelatin and water.

STEP TWO: Mix everything together!

STEP THREE: Lightly spray cookie cutter with Pam spray (repeat spray every 6 or so uses). 
On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, place your cookie cutters down.  
Then fill each cookie cutter with the seed mixture.  Use back of the spoon and fingers to press in tight and solid.

STEP FOUR: Once packed in, place a bamboo skewer towards the top middle of each cookie cutter and make your own hole, going all the way through to the bottom and wiggling around a bit.

STEP FIVE: Once hole is placed, remove cookie cutter and  repeat until all seeds are used up.
Allow to try for 6-8 hours or over night.
I found my more complicated cookie cutters (like these shown) were actually really hard to deal with.  They were tricky to get the seeds into and the cutter off.  Towards the end I just ended up making a lot of stars, because they were the easiest.  But I will admit the animals looked pretty cool. 

STEP SIX: Print off Valentine Poem cards.

At first I just made pink ones.
Then deciding maybe my son wouldn't want to give everyone a pink valentine, 
decided to make these colorful ones, too. 

STEP SEVEN: Once the birdseed valentines are completely dry (6-8 hours or overnight), tie them up with string and attached your signed valentine poem cards to them.

STEP EIGHT: Place them all in baggies and Enjoy!

 Aren't they so cute hanging there on this freshly snowy day?
 "One cold and wintry day" is right!

February 3, 2016

How to make Simple Felt Monster Hand Puppets


My 5 year old daughter and I work together on little preschool projects 2-3 times a week.  Usually we introduce a new letter, work on what sound it makes and how to write it, then we do a project starting with that letter.  We've made a lot of cute things together.

Well, last Monday we we designated it, "Monster Monday"!  First we learned the letter 'M' and then the fun began when we made simple felt monster hand puppets.  

The plan was to just make the one for my preschool girl, but they were so fun each of the kids wanted to make their own.

Here's how to make your own:

2. Felt in lot of color
3. Glue gun
4. Sewing machine

STEP ONE: Trace around your child's hand.  Or, you can use this FREE Pattern. 

STEP TWO: Let the kid's design their puppet as they want on the paper. 

STEP THREE: Using your paper as a pattern, pin the paper pattern on top of your colored felt and cut out.  Then cut out all the pieces out of felt.
We sat down together and discussed each color and the placement of everything.  I helped with the cutting, but everything was the design of my children. 

STEP FOUR: Once everything is cut out, sew a simple stitch around the puppet, starting and ending on the sides where the hand goes in.  Then, hot glue each of the pieces in places.

That's it!

Can you guess which kid designed which puppet?

This funny kid designed, "The Joker"!  He tries his hardest to have his puppet say and do funny things every time they're playing.

This crazy girl, designed, "The Shadow Master", because "he is the master of all shadows".
She's really big into being scary and making creepy things.  Last night before bed I told her, "Oh, I hope you don't get scared tonight with that creepy guy in your room."  Suddenly she looked at it in a different light and looked really nervous, she told me, worriedly, "Maybe I shouldn't have made his eyes red..."  Then she turned him upside down on her dresser before going to sleep. 
Ha, she's such a crack up.

 And lastly we have this one, "Pink Girl".  She designed it herself and even chose the pink belly button.

The kids have had So much fun with their puppets!  They've been playing with them constantly.  They really loved the idea that they could design and play with their own puppet.

BTW-- Our puppet board came from this activity.

 Hope you had a GREAT Monster Monday!!