Thanksgiving , the table, and the making of a Tradition

November 23, 2012

Hoping that you all had a great Thanksgiving ! It is always too much food and everyone ends up sleepy and content, and only wanting more pie after an hour or so.

I was thinking that we need to be a bit more aware of how spoiled we are. Paula sets two kernels of corn on each plate so they can contemplate the early pilgrims rationing of food, staying alive on that tiny morsel of food.

I started a new tradition last year and we worked on it this year too. I got a pretty cheap white tablecloth at Sams, and some Inktense pencils from Derwent. They are great because they are permanent after you set the design with some heat from a hot iron, and your can keep the masterpieces year to year.

Here is a small sampling of the artwork at our house, , and though a bit messy in places, I love it.  We sign each design and put the year there. I love last years when a little one was thankful for french fries. A design done by my mother, a turkey running for his life, and one thing that we are all thankful for, that a son is now out of Afghanistan and on his way home.

It gives everyone a chance to document and express that gratitude that we really feel! Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July is nearly over…are you having fun?

July 21, 2012

The summer is still sizzling and I have not written a post in over a month! We have been playing in the sprinkler, taking a trip to see family in upstate NY, and generally having fun just being alive!

The last days and weeks have been interesting and so I will post some of the highlights…thing you may want to try with your little ones before the summer slips away.

One of the Mantis’s that we raised decided to pay us a visit, he is huge and I posted a few more photos on our facebooks page! http://www.facebook.com/weservetoo I wrote about this project before…it keeps on giving!

We would love to have you “like” our page while you are there! Thanks!


 

 

 

 

We saw Angelyne a deaf dog who knows some sign language. This was a free show at our local library….check out what your library has for the kids, you may be surprised!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just some old fashioned fun, a chunk of chalk and a few stones and you have hopscotch. It is great for kids to get outside and learn some of the games from your childhood, like hopscotch, red rover, jacks…if you don’t remember how to play, here is a link to explain hopscotch and some other sidewalk chalk games http://www.birthdaypartyideas4kids.com/sidewalk-chalk-games.htm

Here is our pinterest page , we have lots of fun ideas pinned that will be fun and affordable to finish the steamy days of summer.

 

Don’t forget to make the time…before you know it school will be in, and the little ones will be writing that infamous paper “what I did this summer’ , hope they can say that it was a memorable one.

Hope you are having as much fun as the We Serve Too! kids!

 

Summer Fun, tokens for your Homecoming Box, and Pinterest

June 7, 2012

Well, summer has begun and the We Serve Too! kids are off and running. I thought I would share some of the ideas that I have collected that are working to keep the days interesting  for all of us. We have three days a week, when this gramma is blessed with the kids for those days. Monday is make it Monday, Tuesday is take a trip day, Wednesday is “we Wednesday” since we include the kids Gigi (great grandma in the mix).

I have to let you know that I have become a bit of a Pinterest addict. When I used to teach mentoring classes we used to teach that women have a certain way of processing Gathering, Sorting Ordering and Beautifying, now without going into a huge explanation about each of these, suffice to say it  is exactly what Pinterst is all about and thus its incredible success! That aside, it has been fun to pin and then try these great ideas. You can check out my boards here: http://pinterest.com/weservetoo/ I have a board for our books of course , then one for Military Families, one just on Fun Stuff for Kids, Fun foods for kids and then a few personal boards as well.

Let me share a few things that we have been trying out:

This is the beginning of Rock candy

being made, you need a bunch of sugar

for this one, but gives 7 days of  watching

the crystals grow.

 

 

 

 

This is called the “naked egg” you put a regular egg into a glass of vinegar

Just make sure it is deep enough to cover it. The vinegar dissolves the eggshell

overnight, and if you gently brush the powdery shell off you can see the insides. Cool and gross.

(which of course makes if great)

 

 

 

 

Just a trip to some places that you may not think of right off the bat. Here the kids are at a rock shop,

they could pick out a geode, which looks like a common grey rock, they cut it in half and….

 

 

 

 

 

Ta Daaaa!!! Something wonderful to put in your Homecoming Box!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now this one may not be for everyone, but we sure have had fun with raising Praying Mantis’s. The kids Daddy gave them a kit http://www.insectkits.com/contents/en-us/p2_preying_mantis_habitat.html .  With the kit you get the  cage and directions, but no mantis. You have to send away for the egg cases, which I found cheaper (even with the discount paper in the kit) at a plant nursery online (just Google “ praying mantis egg cases”).  these little guys are great for your garden and you can release them there after the kids have had the thrill of seeing them hatch, hunt , grow…and as you can see , gain a personality. The do not bite or pinch and are quite friendly..but delicate, so you have to supervise the little ones so the mantis has half a chance at survival.  We highly recommend this, but we get it, if you are not crazy about bugs (aww, look at that cute face!)

 

 

 

We will add some other photos as the summer moves forward. I hope you will find some of the things I have pinned useful and fun. Have fun!

Flat Rate Boxes filled with love…some ideas

February 15, 2012

Oldest son is now deployed again. That means we are like many, are getting out the flat rate boxes and filling them to the brim.

This time I have worked on getting the kids involved in a Valentine Box, even though we know that Valentines Day will be awhile behind us by the time it arrives in Afghanistan. These crafts do not have to be necessarily for Valentines Day, since love is what we really want to send every day!

So here are some ideas, if you are also filling boxes:

This is so easy and inexpensive. The plain wooden frames I picked up at Micheal’s http://www.michaels.com/ for 1.00 each. Then we used acrylic and painted those cute fingers and lay down the handprint. I had both kids write their name with sharpie, and covered it with decoupage glue for a shiny finish. You could get fancier if you want to let the kids decorate with glitter, etc… but I liked the plain print which shows how they are growing, and the way they are now writing their names.

 

 

 

 

 

This little bird says “flying my love to you”, and sports some real feathers. Just paper, scissors and glue for this one. Imaginations could come up with many kinds of birds, happy to fly love wherever needed!

 

This one is a little more complicated, but makes a nice handkerchief. What our soldier will do with a silk hanky in Afghanistan is anyone’s guess, but the sentiment is real and sweet, and the kids had fun making them.

You will need some “gutta” which is really a gluey sort of stuff, and silk handkerchief and some silk paint. The best place I have found to get these things is Dharma Trading http://www.dharmatrading.com/

Just look for beginner silk kits and they are worth a try, really fun and kids love the way the silk spreads, hemmed in by the gutta in their design. They then will let it all dry, wash the gutta out .(everything the gutta covered will turn out white) You can achieve a similar effect on paper if you are not into crafts by using white crayon and then washing over it with watercolors. Kids love that too.

Along with these the standard beef jerky, hand warmers, and tootsie roll pops, we also added a recordable book. I am sending this in a pre-paid envelope so all our soldier has to do is read and record and shove it back in the envelope and send it home. We will have him “read ” the bedtime story, his voice there, even while we are wishing he was sitting on the edge of the bed. The book  http://www.hallmark.com/online/in-stores/storybooks/recordable-storybooks/was somewhat pricey at $29.00, but I think well worth it. We got the story “Guess how Much I Love You”, which is a sweet story with cute illustrations.

AHHHH…as I was searching for a link for you, I found much cheaper recordable books here: http://astore.amazon.com/recordable-books-20 …well, that’s good! (for you).

The idea is to give you some simple ideas, that do not require lots of time or money. Just some fun things to get the kids interested in making things that a deployed parent will love as keepsakes and reminders that they are well loved , even though they are far away.

 

“Hand” Made Christmas Tree!

December 6, 2011

 

If you have a loved one far away, perhaps you will want to make this handprint Christmas tree! Not only will they love seeing how the kids are growing with those cute fingerprints, they can hang this life size tree, then roll it up for another year!

 

 

Here is how we did it:

First here is what you need:

*a roll of giftwrap

*green paint (we used poster paint)

* a brush

* an assortment of fun stuff: glitter, stars, magazine clippings, markers, crayons, paint, glue, tape, stickers  and anything you think would make good decorations

Then: lay the roll of paper on a table or the floor and tape down. Then the fun begins! Paint those little hands green with the paint brush and have them print the hands in a downward design, so the fingers are the ends of the branches. Start at the bottom and work your way up to the top.

We cut a star out of shiny candy wrapper paper, but you can use anything that inspires your imaginative heart!

When it dries, you can decorate as much as you like!

You can ask the post office for a free mailing tube and then roll up  your tree, and send it on it’s way (ours cost about 5.00 to mail overseas) You have to write out the custom form, and say 1 paper Christmas tree, that should entertain the postal workers from one continent to another.

We hope that your and you kids enjoy this project, we sure did, now we will see what Daddy thinks!

May you have a blessed Christmas.

 

 

 

July 4th, A Simple Celebration

June 30, 2011

 

Here is a link for a simple but meaningful July 4th celebration. It takes very little preparation , and gives kids a base of understanding . Here is the link to the site http://www.prageruniversity.com/4th-of-july-declaration.html

I am going to try this with our little ones, come Monday.

Hoping your celebration is wonderful! Our country is unique and we need to pass along to our children the beauty of what we have here.

Happy Independence Day!!

The Easter Story…in cookies!

April 11, 2011

This recipe was given to me by Paula when I asked her if she knew of a good way to do something meaningful for Easter. I wanted something for  my grandkids to teach them something more than to search for jellybeans. Our kids were very interested and engaged in this.  If you want the kids to enjoy a hands on, meaningful,  and yummy activity try this one!

Ingredients:

1 cup of whole pecans in a ziploc bag (I had two kids so divided into two ziploc bags)

1tsp. vinegar

3 egg whites (don’t get any yolk in it)

a pinch of salt

1 cup of sugar

A large spoon,mixing bowl , wax paper, cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 300

Take the bags of pecans and let the children beat them with a large spoon to break them into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3

Let the children smell the vinegar. Put one tsp into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. (they can try it on a folded paper towel, touching their tongue to it, like Jesus did on the sponge and  hyssop) Read John19:28-30

Add the egg white to the vinegar (since it won’t work if the yolk is mixed in, I separated the eggs and did not have the kids do that ). Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life, to give us life. Read John 10:10-11

Sprinkle a bit of salt into each child’s hand. Let them take a tiny pinch and place it in the bowl, then taste what is in their hand. Explain that the salt represents the tears shed by Jesus’ followers and bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup of 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. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks are formed (12 to 15 minutes) Explain that the color white represents the purity in Gods eyes of those whose sin is cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by the teaspoon onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven. Close the door and and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed.  Read Matthew 27: 65-66 .

GO TO BED! Explain they might feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read 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 fine the tomb empty and open. Read Matthew 28:1-9

He Has Risen!

I did this with my 9 year old and 6 year old grandchildren. I looked up Scriptures ahead and marked them, knowing that the attention span may not allow for me to look them up as they waited, but I was probably not giving them enough credit. They loved taking turns adding the ingredients, but I could not convince them to taste the vinegar! They really were excited about getting up in the morning to see what the cookies were like. They thought they tasted like marshmallows and had several!

Do you have any special activities you do with your kids for Easter? We would love to hear about them!

P.S.

(If you have nut allergies, you can use some chocolate bars that are cold, and can break them up in the same way and add those to the cookies instead, to get the rocky tomb idea, though I have not tried this.)