Jaylene (white paper below) and I (yellow paper) have been making endless doodles, inspired by this lesson. We find a square and fill it up. Some of them we jazz up with color, most we just doodle and move on.

doodles

What’s been mesmerizing you lately?

We’re creeping into the last days of summer so we thought we would host a playgroup potluck. Jaylene being the creative girl she is, wanted to have an Angry Birds theme. So we did!

This was our snack table, before all of the food was added.
table

The large square angry birds are paper covered cardboard with Printable angry bird faces. I believe they were intended for balloons. These squares are actually from my classroom. I use them as mascots for team games and as a conversation starter during the “get-to-know-you” phase of the school year. Jaylene worked very hard to create the watermelon and lemon pig decorations. The lemon pigs were a huge hit with the guests and most of them were taken home as favors.

pigs

Earlier in the summer, Jaylene practiced some map skills by creating an “Angry Bird Land” map. It was a perfect touch as a decoration.

map

As guests arrived they could work together on our “Design a level” paper.
design a level

I was a little worried about how the different ages would collaborate but I think most of it was done by Jaylene. The other kids enjoyed playing the homemade board games we had set out.

angry birds board game

Once all the guests had arrived we began the competitive games. During Dragonboat festival, I found a market vendor who was selling Angry Bird character “fragrant bags”. They were fairly inexpensive, and thankfully not fragrant at all. I scooped a bunch up and my kids have enjoyed creating a version of Angry Birds Live.

live

They set up “castles” with the foam blocks and then toss the birds to try and knock down the pigs.

live game

We also played a game where each team tried to keep the birds and pigs on the other team’s side by throwing them. It was a fast and fun game, but hard to determine a winner. Next on the schedule was to create your own Angry birds on circle sticky notes.

make an angry bird

We then taped the “Design a level” to the wall and played a version of pin the tail on the donkey, using the sticky note angry birds.

game 2

That was it for the structured games so it was time to hand out the prizes. I forgot to take a picture before the kids started choosing.

prizes

The rest of the time was spent munching and chatting and watching the kids play Pig-in-the-middle, Dodge-ball and Keep-away with the stuffed pigs. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the summer.

How are you finishing up the season?

While not on the scale of these, mini sculptures, I think Jaylene did an awesome job creating this teeny tiny paper airplane.

Jaylene's tiny paper airplane

What small things have been making you smile these days?

no underwears sign

What’s making you giggle these days?

I really appreciate how Jayden’s school has a blog that they upload pictures to *every* day. It does mean that I have 200 or so pictures to go through each week to download the ones that have my cutie in them. Thankfully it doesn’t take much time, and I love seeing what he’s up to. It makes chatting with him about school much easier because I can ask him about specific activities he did instead of the generic, “What did you do in school today?”

However, today instead of having a happy, warm fuzzy feeling when perusing the school photos, I gave a gasp and felt my heart race. Last night the teacher called us and asked if they could borrow some of my craft punches. She spoke with my husband and he’s never a very thorough translator. I assumed they were for making graduation books. We all know what happens when you assume… Anyway, I’m skimming through their blog and I see this:

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Cute little chefs using my craft punches to create seaweed shapes for sushi. Which they then consumed. I *really* hope they cleaned them first. Had I known the intended use I would have sent along the punches I own that are specifically for seaweed. Although, I only have three of those. Unlike my outrageous amount of craft punches.

F23_20110429035020485

So, should I ask to see if they washed them first? Or maybe I don’t want to know the answer.

Hope you enjoyed the weekend and whatever celebrations you may have celebrated! We enjoyed time with friends in the sunshine. And we munched on a lot of chocolate and candy! It may have helped my kids climb the walls…

jumping jayden

How was your weekend?

Here are the examples using my DIY flash bouncer. They were taken late at night, in a poorly lit room, in a bottom bunk. One used used my flash, the other used my diy bouncer. Can you see the difference?

Mr Boo

Mr Boo with Flash

Snuggle up

I read on photojojo (thanks for the link Susan!) about how if you redirect your flash to bounce off the ceiling you’ll get amazing results because the flash is more evenly distributed. It’s not a lie. I grabbed some reflective paper and some trusty decorative masking tape and whipped up a little bounce reflector.

DIY Flash bouncer

DIY flash bouncer

I am seriously amazed with the results and it makes it sooo worth having a dorky diy attachment to my camera. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow that I took of Jayden, late at night in his bottom bunk bed. Two using my reflector and one with flash. See if you can guess which is which.

I also used some tape to add a little doodad to the front to give the kids something to smile about. Well, it was worth a try.

Look at the car and smile!

The reflector doesn’t work on my camera that doesn’t have a pop up flash, but I was given a tip by a friend who suggested using a tissue to diffuse the flash. I’ve used that tip with success. Do you have any photography tips?

Lots of last minute changes this year but all’s well that ends well, and we ended with a very happy birthday boy. There was a dinosaur themed party at school…

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Dinosaur photo book, dinosaur treats (toys and pencils) and dinosaur cupcakes. These were decorated by the birthday boy himself and his ever helpful older sister.

decorating cupcakes

These were super simple to make, cupcakes bought at 7-11, a nutella type spread for the icing, chocolate rocks to give a prehistoric feel, and a dinosaur topping. Made in minutes and very popular.

We had a quiet family celebration with just the four of us at an all you can eat BBQ restaurant. We finished the evening with Nian gao, which puffed up like magic.

Nian Gao

Then it was drenched in condensed milk, rolled in a peanut sugar powder and we added a candle for festivity.

Blowing out the candle

When I asked Jayden his favorite part of his birthday he said it was the “big train cake” that we had eaten at lunch. I had grabbed a cheap box cake from a cake cafe on our way to meet some friends for a casual lunch after their ballet class. Jayden was eyeballing the much more expensive teddy bear cakes but I managed to get him to agree with my choice by calling it a train cake. Apparently, unlike roses, cakes with a fun name are sweeter!

It’s hard to believe that my little guy is already four. What’s your favorite birthday memory?

Playing card holder

I saw this project floating around the internet years ago and made one for Jaylene when she was a wee little one. Jayden used hers for a bit but it got lost so I made up a new one for him today. I thought I’d share with you the process.

Materials: A clear plastic lid, a back (I’ve used another lid but this time we used a paper plate cut to size), a brad (paper fastener), and a washer of some sort (it could be thick paper with a hole in the middle).
Playing card holder materials

Layer the materials together and thread onto the brad. We originally were using two of the little coins in the middle, but found the cards slipped through, so we took one out.

Decorate!

Decorated playing card holder

And here’s an action shot.
playing card holder Jayden

Uno and Go fish are Jayden’s favorites at the moment. Jaylene likes Uno, Set and Monopoly Deal. What are your favorite card games?

Tidbits of my life

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