Monday, November 30, 2009

In Transition

My Handsome Husband loves getting ready for the holidays.  So do I.  After a whirlwind trip or two over the Thanksgiving break, filled with family and good food and late nights together, we were eager to usher in the Christmas season, but too tired to put away all of Thanksgiving.  I guess I'm just not ready to let go of all the pumpkin-y, fall-colored splendor.  I had so many crafty fall projects I wanted to complete, recipes to try, and activities to do with my children.  Perhaps next year I can squeeze them in.

For now, I guess we're in transition.

We will eventually put away Fall and finish Decking the Halls.

Maybe tomorrow.

However, I think I have figured out how to reconcile the sadness I feel at leaving Thanksgiving aside and embracing Christmas.  I will hang on to the gratitude and let go of the turkeys.  I will remember the Reason for the Season, and try not to get lost in the trappings of the holidays.  (I just want my home to look a bit more put together.)

So in the spirit of gratitude, here is a small list of things I am grateful for this year:

little boys, loving- dirt-encrusted- full-of-energy little boys
I love you kisses
the dustbuster (trust me, if you have little boys and travel, this is indeed a wonderful invention)
a loving husband, who thinks his wife's expanding baby belly is actually adorable
a new job for above-mentioned husband
faith and hope and the gospel
wonderful friends and family (including the great blogging ones that may be reading this right now)
Pirate's Booty (aka "Pirate Popcorn" at our house)
second-trimester energy
the opportunity to rediscover the joys of Christmas with my family
online tutorials and inspiration to make my handmade Christmas ambitions a little more achievable

Christmas Book Advent

Being a former teacher and a confessed bibliophile, I have collected many Christmas books through the years.  I found this idea somewhere on the 'net a few years back and knew it would be a perfect holiday tradition in our home.

Each year, I choose 24 holiday books, and wrap them individually and place them under the tree.  Each night, we take turns unwrapping one book and reading it for our bedtime story to get us in the holiday mood.  For Christmas Eve, we always unwrap 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  (I wrap it in different paper from the rest so we know to save it for that night.)  We have a good mix of books, religious ones about the birth of the Savior, stories about love and sharing, funny Santa books, gingerbread men, simple board books for the younger ones, and longer story books for the older ones.  I hope to incorporate a few preschool activities into our day after reading a few of the favorites.

Here are just a few of my favorites for the season:



Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Piece of Cake... I Mean Pie... Projects

Thanksgiving for many is not complete without a slice of pumpkin pie.  (I'm more of a chocolate cream pie gal myself, but my husband loves the pumpkin.)

I couldn't end our Thanksgiving preschool fun without a few tasty "desserts."  These are little gems I picked up teaching kindergarten.  Enjoy!

First off, a slice of pie that at least smells good enough to eat:

What you will need:

paper plates (cut into quarters)
orange paint
paint brushes (I like the small sponge brushes)
cotton balls
brown crayon
pumpkin pie spice

Color the ridge of the plate triangle with the brown crayon to make your crust.
Paint on the pumpkin filling with your orange paint.
While still wet, sprinkle on some pumpkin pie spice (or if you don't have any on hand, try any combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice).
Wait until your pie is dry (you could even put it in the unheated oven to "cook" for your drying time just for fun.).
Glue on a cotton ball dab of "whipped cream."

A Pumpkin Pie game:

You will need:

1 file folder
sheet of cardstock
2 dice

To prep the game, use a plate to trace a circle for your pie pieces and pan outline, tracing one circle onto the opened file folder and another onto the piece of cardstock. 

Cut out cardstock circle and decorate your pie with markers.  Divide the pie into 12 even pieces, writing the numbers 1 to 12 on each slice.  An easy way to get even sections is to fold in half, then half again to get quarters, then just eyeball each quarter into thirds and your 12 pieces will come out even.

Divide your file folder circle "pan" into 12 pieces, tracing dividing lines with a marker.  Glue the 1 piece into place on the pan.  (You can't roll a 1 with two dice...)  To make it more durable, laminate the pie and the folder.

To play, take turns rolling both dice.  Count your dots together to get your number (ex:  if you roll a 2 and a 4, you would find the piece with 6 on it) and place the appropriate slice of pie in the pan.  Start with the 1 and count on clockwise to determine where your slice should go, that way, your pie will be in numerical order.  (Ex:  If your number adds to 8, count on from 1 until you get to the space for the 8th slice in the pan.)  If you roll a number you already have in the pan, you pass the dice to the next player and do not place a slice your turn.  Play until you have filled the pie pan (feel free to do a bit of cheating if it's taking too long!)

Now, if you are still feeling a bit cheated after all of this pumpkin pie fun and need a little pumpkin fix, you can go here or here for some good pumpkin-y recipes to make together.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gobble, Gobble Turkey Pack

Over at ABC's and 123's a few weeks ago, I won a giveaway from Me & Marie.  Boy, was I excited to have won!  She is a former teacher who creates preschool activity packs which she sells on Etsy.  I requested the Gobble Gobble Thanksgiving Themed Learning Pack in time for some Thanksgiving fun at my house.  The pack came in a pdf file sent to my email.  All I had to do was print, cut, glue and laminate.  Simple and easy to assemble.

Here are some of the fun activities we tried:

Turkey Hunt:

The kids loved hunting for the numbered turkeys, then putting them in order.  They had so much fun, I let my 4 year old Mr. One and 3 year old (one of my babysitting kiddos) take turns finding and hiding them, instead of just me doing the hiding.

To extend this activity, we also lined them up in order and then played "what's missing."  I had them close their eyes, I pulled one turkey out, leaving the space, and had them open their eyes and figure out what number was missing.

Turkey Sizes:

The boys enjoyed putting these turkeys in size order.  One thing I love about this set is that there are so many, 8 to be exact, which is more challenging.

Then, you can use the turkeys to act out a poem or story later.  The pack even has a cute little poem included.

Turkey Run:

A beginner's board game.  Use your own die or spinner and counters and race to the finish line.  All the kids loved this one.

Place Setting:

A simple template to practice setting the table correctly.

Fall Tracing:

Use this page to trace the lines, or to practice cutting.  We plan on doing both.  First trace, then cut.  I like that the lines have a picture at the end to give children a stopping point.

I am Thankful Book:

I love this little book.  A perfect reinforcement to our lessons on gratitude, and when it is finished, you have a fun reader and a perfect keepsake for the holiday.

Thanksgiving Words:

I laminated the words, hole punched each card in the corner, and put on a metal ring for easy use.  They are a great writing reference.  Use them to practice printing (trace the words with a wipe-off marker), or letter recognition (you could give your child magnetic letters or letter tiles to make the words on their own, say the letters' names, etc.)

All in all, this was such a fun little unit.  I also spent some time browsing Me & Marie's shop.  Besides great seasonal learning packs, she has color packs, shape packs (I'm really interested in the mega shape review pack), numbers packs, file folder games, and pretend play props.  They are affordable, the directions are easy to understand, full of good ideas that are simple to implement.  If you're interested, head on over to Marie & Me and check them out!

*  I recieved this pack as the winner of a giveaway.  I was not paid for this review.  I was not asked to post a review, but felt that the product was worthwhile and wanted to share it my readers. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

That Mom

I never wanted to be That Mom.  You know, the One I'm talking about.  The one that looks more like an extra in a zombie movie than the adorable starlet in the latest romantic comedy.  I thought I was immune, but I guess watching two extra kiddos and being pregnant with your third child makes you lose it, just a little.

Last night, I found myself wandering the grocery store a little after 5:00 pm (the time I should be starting dinner...) with two little boys in tow.  I hadn't showered, I'm not even sure if I had time to brush my hair.  At least I had on some make-up (to cover up the sleep-deprived circles under my eyes).  I was wearing a floral print dress that would have been perfect about 10 years ago, but is now woefully out of style, unless you can really pull off the cute vintage look in a pinch.  (Apparently I couldn't.)  Add a big black sweater on top, just to cover up some of the massive flowers, a black pair of crocs (at least they're cute ones), some used-to-be-silver hoop earrings (I attempted to accessorize), and there you have a little snapshot of my appearance.

On to the children.  At least one of them had their hair combed (at one point in the morning to go to school).  I did insist on shoes and socks and pants.  Mr. Two had been up the previous night throwing up (three bed sheet changes and two sets of pj's later, a good sleep-for him, not me- on the couch, and he was pretty much back to himself) and was in pj's all day.  I did put some clothes on the child before leaving, although his hair and face needed some serious attending to.

So, back to the store.  Why was I at the store anyway?  Well, because I wanted to "use up" some of the items in the fridge, and had found the perfect recipe to do it with.  Something that would satisfy the adult palatte and the child's picky tastebuds as well.  (I was not going to resort to another box of mac and cheese.)  Something Mr. One would actually eat without protest, since I wanted him to eat quickly in order to enjoy FHE together afterwards.  The only snag?  No pizza dough in the house.

 Image from Millie Motts
Now, a really good mommy would just whip up a batch of dough on the spot and continue on, dinner made, table set, hair coiffed, pearls on, just in time for the Handsome Husband's return from work.  That was not in the cards for us.

So, to the store for pizza dough and a few other sale items.  With a half of a free bakery cookie in hand (at least I only let them have half right before dinner), we cruised the isles.  Cruise isn't really like it, with squeaky shoes, a waddle, and two whiny boys, it was more of a "Squeak, waddle, whine" through the isles.

Bagged salad.  On sale?  Yes.  Check.  Pomegranate.  On sale?  Yes!  On list? No, but still Check.  Pizza dough.  On sale?  No.  Quick, is there a store brand? No.  $3.19 for a little tube of additive-filled, not so tasty pizza dough!  I could make two whole pizzas from scratch for that amount of money!  Arrggghhh!  As I stood there, looking crazy, holding the tube of dough, children looking on in puzzlement, I started thinking.  Well, this is why I came, and I'm trying to get dinner ready before 9:00 pm...

I bought the ridiculously over-priced dough and the other various items.  (Hey, at least I remembered the milk, which was on sale, thank you.)  Then we trekked home.

Mr. Two fell asleep in the car.

Mr. One and I had a fabulous time making pizza rolls.  Handsome Husband came home in the middle of the mess, and entertained Mr. One while dinner finished, giggles included.  We ate together and then had a wonderful family home evening, ending with tasty turkeys for dessert.  (By the way, the pizza rolls were delicious, and Mr. One liked them.  Although they would have been better with homemade dough.  Drat.)

After putting Mr. One to bed, I finally got my shower and a few blissful moments alone with Handsome Husband, before...

Mr. Two woke up and thought he should be eating dinner.  Enter the family room couch, Handsome Husband on one, me on the other, and the late news and the Tonight Show while Mr. Two happily ate cereal and drank juice...

Lessons learned:
Sometimes you just need to put up with being That Mom in order to create some moments of happiness for your family.
And in the end, you will still get your shower and you can try again to look put together and on top of it tommorrow.
And be grateful for a helpful, understanding, Handsome Husband in the meantime.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Terrible Tempered Turkey and a Treat

For Family Home Evening, we focused on controlling our temper.  The story I used was a favorite of mine growing up, "The Turkey with the Terrible Temper".  I remember my mother telling it to the family for FHE as a child.   I found a version of our story about  the Terrible Tempered Turkey on Sugardoodle.  It is about a turkey who loses his temper, changing colors with his tempers.  (Green with envy, red with rage, etc.) At the end of the story, he learns to accept responsibility for his emotions and to control them.  Plus, he has a colorful tail to remind him to control his temper.  I used a cute clip art turkey I had on hand and xeroxed it on different colors of cardstock and laminated them.  (You can see this post for some other cute turkeys I found on the web.)  For the feathers, I hot glued colored feathers from the craft store onto clothespins to attach as the story progressed.  (FYI, if you don't have a purple or pink feather in your package of colored feathers, you can color a white one with a non-washable Crayola marker.  This worked suprisingly well.)  

After our story, we made tasty turkeys.  I decided to make it more of an open-ended activity, so I put out various snack foods that I had on hand. 

Here's what we had to use:
Fudge Stripe cookies
pull-n-peel licorice
mini M&M's
chocolate frosting (I put in a ziploc bag and snipped the tip to make a "glue bottle")
Nutter Butter minis
candy corns
Milk Duds
PEZ candies
chocolate covered pretzels

The only direction was to make a turkey.  It was so fun to see all the different turkeys, and even more fun to eat them!  Gobble, gobble!

Mr. One's Turkey (Can you tell he loves PEZ?)

Mommy's Turkey

Daddy's Turkey

Mr. Two fell asleep before he could participate.  Maybe he dreamt about tasty turkeys...

For more Thanksgiving fun, visit Sugardoodle.  There is a great list of Thanksgiving ideas if you're looking for something new, some are religious and others more secular.

Pumpkin Phonics

I found these wonderful file folder games on File Folder Fun a while back.  Mr. One is sounding out words and learning some sight words now, so the Pumpkin Patch Phonics was a perfect practice game.  You sort the words from the nonsense words  in the pumpkin patch.  If your little ones are not reading yet, never fear.  One of the great things about this site is that most of the games also have a downloadable blank version of the cards so that you can create your own game.  You could put numbers and letters on the pumpkins and sort that way.  You could also try capitals and lower case letters.  There are also Thanksgiving games.  The turkey color matching game looks especially good.  I think I'll print that one for Mr. Two.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Two Cute Turkeys


Yesterday, we decided to have a little turkey fun.  We made puppets by cutting and coloring a turkey, then stapling it onto a paper plate.  Cut another paper plate in half and staple along the edge onto the top half of the other plate.  An easy puppet.  Sorry my turkey copy is from a copyrighted book that I cannot find right now.  If you are interested in making one, I did find a few cute turkey coloring pages online.  You could try this turkey or this cute guy or this more traditional turkey.

After making your turkey, try acting out these fun little poems with your puppet.

The Turkey
(sing to the tune of "All Around the Mullberry Bush")

A turkey is a funny bird.
His head goes wobble, wobble.
All he knows is just one word.
It's gobble, gobble!

Turkey Turkey
(Chant to "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear")

Turkey, turkey, turn around.
Turkey, turkey, peck the ground.
Turkey, turkey, show your wing.
Turkey, turkey, can you sing?
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble

Turkey, turkey, go upstairs.
Turkey, turkey, say your prayers.
Turkey, turkey, turn out the light.
Turkey, turkey, say goodnight.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life with Little Boys

These are some of the things that can happen in just minutes, even seconds while you are preoccupied with something else...


Have scissors?  Will sneakily cut yarn into tiny bits.

Have kleenex?  Will wipe nose, then shred and scatter under high chair, with a gleeful laugh.

Have baby powder?  Will dump all over bathroom floor, accomplice laughing and encouraging all the while.  Then, when caught, will run, with container upside down, flinging powder across house in a giggle-filled chase with Mommy. (At least the house is now "powdery fresh")

And this, my friends, is with only two boys in the house.  Help!
My, but one cannot help but love those sweet and slightly mischievous faces...
Does anyone else out there relate?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


For Family Home Evening Monday night, we talked about gratitude.  I hope to continue this theme for another few weeks.

First, we discussed what gratitude is and how we show it to others, such as saying thanks, writing a thank you note, doing something nice for someone in return, as some examples.  We talked about how to express gratitude to our Heavenly Father, such as saying thanks in prayer and in trying to do good for others.

We read the scripture story of the Ten Lepers from the New Testament .  We talked about what Christ was teaching us about gratitude in this parable.

We started our gratitude jar (a little late, but better late than never).  Every night, one family member will share and write down one thing they are thankful for.  My plan is to read all our blessings on Thanksgiving Day. (I'll post the jar a little later.)

Afterwards played a game.  Each person took a little handful of Reese's Pieces.  Then everyone had to name one thing they were grateful for for each Piece.  Daddy grabbed the biggest handful, so he shared some of his "blessings" with the boys so they could still participate.  This was a big hit.  It was interesting how the kids started off naming more material things, like cars and toys, then people they cared about, then moved on to more spiritual blessings, such as a Savior, the temple, completely unprompted.  Mr. One was having so much fun naming things he was grateful for, he didn't want to stop.  Even Mr. Two joined in and named some things he was thankful for.

We learned the song "Thanks to Our Father" from the Primary Children's Songbook.

I personally feel so grateful for the many many blessings we have recieved, especially this year.  Isn't it amazing how trials really help you recognize just how much Heavenly Father is blessing you?  I hope we can keep this "attitude of gratitude" all year long.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometimes a Boy Just Needs His Blankie

My sweet little almost two year old woke up early Sunday morning (at about 1:30 am), hoarsely screaming and thrashing about in his crib.  As I rushed into his room and scooped him up, I tried to comfort his upset little self.  I took him into our room and tried to rock him.  He was in the hyperventilating cry now, and arching his back.  My tired mommy brain kicked into worst case scenario mode:  "Is is an ear infection?"  "Maybe he's got the flu again."  "What if it's appendicitis?"  All he could stutter out as my husband and I rubbed his back and asked him what was wrong was, "Buh, buh, buh..."  Why is it that a perfectly articulate child (mind you he's not quite two, but speaking in sentences) cannot express himself at 1:30 am?  I got up and fetched him a sippy cup with water, hoping to at least soothe his scratchy throat with a drink.  He refused it.  Mike and I looked at each other in tired despiration.

Then a quiet thought came to me:  maybe the "buh" is for blanket.  (Thank you Still Small Voice!)

I quickly walked to his room and retrieved his favorite I Spy blankie.  I handed it to the little guy, and in a few very short minutes, he calmed down.  Rolling onto his tummy, his blanket underneath him, and hand firmly grasping a corner, holding it up to his sweet little face, he fell into a blissful slumber.

Lesson learned.
Sometimes a boy just needs his blankie.
And sometimes a mommy just needs to listen to inspiration instead of letting panic set in.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mystery Solved

Well friends, we came back from the doctor's office yesterday, and know what our next bundle of joy will be.

Break out the bows and glitter and flowers...

'Cuz I'm going to need a lot of extra feminine charm in my home with THREE little boys to take care of!  I'm going to be seriously outnumbered.

Did I confuse you?

Let me clarify:

It's a boy!

We're thrilled, and our bank account is very relieved.

Halloween Dinner

Friday night was our annual Halloween Dinner at my parent's house.  This is one of my favorite family traditions.  We don't typically do this on Halloween (too much excitement and other plans that night), but some time during the week.  Our goal is to make it fun and a bit spooky, but not gross.  (I'm not a fan of the brain jello, or the severed hand meatloaf...)  Dim the lights and add some candles, spooky decor on the table, some creepy music and enjoy!

Here is this year's menu:

bat chips and fruit salsa
pizza rolls
sausage eyeballs
candy corn jello
veggies and dip (I couldn't think of a Halloween-ish name for this)
witches brew punch

Here are the recipes:

Bat Chips and Fruit Salsa

1 Fuji apple (I used 2 gala apples), peeled, cored and diced
2 kiwis, peeled, sliced (I substituted the seeds of one pomegranate)
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 package uncooked flour tortillas
butter, softened
cinnamon and sugar to dust chips with

In medium bowl, combine all salsa ingredients.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.  Brush tortillas with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Cut out bat shapes with cookie cutter.  Put on cookie sheet.  Broil until crisp.  I found that putting the rack in the middle instead of right at the top helped the tortillas to cook more evenly.  If your broiler is too hot, the tops just burn and the bottom is raw.  (The toaster oven works well with the chips also.)  Serve chips warm with chilled salsa.

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

I found this recipe here at Our Best Bites.  Have I mentioned already how much I love this site?

Sausage Eyeballs

(This one is a must-make each year for our family)

2 lbs. (32 oz) uncooked ground pork sausage
1 1/2 cups baking/biscuit mix (Bisquick)
16 oz sharp cheddar cheese (or 4 cups shredded)
1/2 cup each finely chopped onion and celery (optional, we usually don't even add these)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
green olives with pimento (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Shred cheese and mix all ingredients well (with hands).  Form into 1 inch balls.  Press olives into tops before baking (really push them in and get some of the sausage mixture around them or they will pop out).  Bake 15 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet (we line with foil for easier clean up) until golden brown.  Makes about 6 dozen.  Balls can be frozen uncooked.

For a firmer texture, add an extra 3 cups of baking mix and an extra 2 cups of shredded cheese to the ingredients listed above.

Candy Corn Jello

Go here for the recipe and instructions.  It's really more of a dessert, but it's a party after all...

Witches Brew

(Another must have each year)

Combine any two Kool-Aid flavors to create a goulish color (try mixing grape with lime), or one Kool-Aid and some lemon lime soda.  Put in a plastic cauldron and add dry ice.

How did you celebrate Halloween?  Have you tried any new and fun Halloween recipes with your family?

Wishing you lots of treats!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Happenings

Finally, a whole day full of Halloween fun with the entire family!

In the past several years, Mike has been super busy with work or school and has only been able to share in some of the fun.  With Halloween on Saturday this year, the best treat of all was having him home to spend the day with.

The night before was our annual Halloween dinner at Grandpa and Grammie Carpenter's house.

We started off our morning with some "ghostie" pancakes.  Whip up your favorite pancake batter, pour onto pan in ghost shapes and add chocolate chip eyes.  A tip I saw somewhere said to use one of those restaraunt-type ketchup squirters to draw your pancake shapes with.  I thought that was a great idea.  I just used my Pyrex measuring cup, but ghosts are supposed to look blobby anyhow.  (Are "blobby" and "squirters" even real words?)

Later in the morning, we read some Halloween books and lazed around the house while Daddy went target shooting with the men-folk.

We gathered our things and headed to my parents' home for the afternoon and evening.

We carved pumpkins.  Mr. One was not interested in taking out the guts and seeds.  He preferred "carving" the insides and pieces with the safety knives.

Mr. Two got his hands dirty for a bit, but then soon lost interest.  I think he was disappointed that it didn't taste good, so he moved on.

Mike carved a fabulous, Tim Burton-esque smiley jack-o-lantern and enjoyed taking lots of pumpkin pictures.

I enjoyed watching and capturing the moment without having to get my hands dirty.

We ate leftovers from the night before, with some wings and potstickers for the adults and hot dogs for the kiddies.

We got ready to go trick or treating.  The boys loved getting dressed up, getting candy, and having so many people admire their cuteness.

Mike gets all the credit for Mr. One's robot costume.  I only offered a few suggestions.  The Architect was in charge.  The body is made from a cardboard box, the hat is a regular cap covered in foil, the headset is from an old cordless phone, and the arms are dryer flex duct.

I constructed Mr. Two's zookeeper getup.  I found the overalls on clearance at Target, made the felt banana and name tag, added an old belt from my mom, letter stickers onto a baseball cap we had on hand, a ring of old keys and a beanie monkey from Auntie Jenny.  His favorite book now is Goodnight Gorilla, hence the costume.

We had fun taking the boys around part of our ward neighborhood and visiting with friends along the way.

We went back to Grandpa and Grammie's house for a few (few meaning two, I am a "mean" mommy) pieces of candy and a late-night viewing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Then, off to bed for two tired little boys and two tired parents...

Happy Halloween!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eight-Legged Learning

Real spiders:  icky and a bit frightening, especially when spotted in your home
Spider crafts:  cute and friendly

So, I must confess, I am still a bit afraid of these 8-legged critters in real life, but I do think they are fascinating.  Here are a few fun spider activities and books that I used in the classroom and am now using at our home preschool.

Let's start with some great spidey books:

Spiders by Melvin and Gilda Berger
(This one was in a little reader series from Scholastic.  It may be out of print.  Sigh.)
Simple text, great up-close photographs, great beginning non-fiction.

Spiders by Carolyn B. Otto

This one is a science reader.  It is full of photos and simple text.  I like that it has a glossary and lots of different types of spiders.

Itsy Bitsy Spider by Keith Chapman
Adorable, repetitive rhyming book.  My almost 2 year old loves this one and askes to read it over and over.  Itsy Bitsy glides through the air on a farm and encounters familiar farm animals along his journey.

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Spider doesn't have time to play with the barnyard animals.  She is too busy spinning her web.  See what she does with her web when she's finished.  (mmm... dinner)  The web is printed with embossed ink so children can feel the web as you read, too.

Spider Web Rubbings:

The spider web was made with some colored puffy paint (you remember this stuff if you are old enough to have lived in the 80's and early 90's and decorated a shirt or two...) on a piece of construction paper.  Do this at least two days in advance to make sure the web is completely dried.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to have used a sturdier paper, maybe some cardboard or chipboard, just to make it last a bit longer.  That being  said, mine have still held up, and they are over 4 years old...

Have your child place a plain piece of construction paper over the web pattern, then rub the flat end of a crayon across the paper.  It makes an easy spider web.  I usually give the kiddos a spider sticker to put in the web.  If you don't have spider stickers, you could have them draw their own spider, or use a thumbprint and add a head, eyes and legs.

Spider hats:

I cannot tell you how much kids love this silly hat.  It was the highlight of my spider unit in kindergarten.  You could not help but grin ear to ear seeing a wave of darling little spiders bobbing out the doors to go home at the end of the day...

You will need:

clear tape
white crayon
8 9 inch by 1 inch strips of black construction paper
1 3 inch by 9 inch strip of black construction paper
1 3 inch by 12 inch strip of black construction paper

Staple the two 3 inch strips together.  Have your child draw a spider face on the strip, somewhere near the middle.  Measure your child's head and staple the strip into a headband.

Take the 8 1 inch strips and accordian fold the strips to make wiggle legs.


Have your child tape the end of each leg and tape to the inside of the headband.

If you are fortunate enough to have this cd, turn on Little Richard's Itsy Bitsy Spider and dance away.  Maybe you can find this on itunes?  (I don't have an ipod, so I don't really know how to do that...)

Handprint Spiders:

 You will need:

black construction paper
wiggle eyes
white crayon

Fold the piece of construction paper in half the "fat way" and trace your child's hand with the bottom of the palm on the fold and the fingers above.

Cut out the hand, stopping at the fold line.

Cut off the thumbs on the hand.

Open and decorate your spider with the white crayon and wiggle eyes.

Silly Spider Positional Word Poem and Activity:

Silly Spider

Silly Spider above the bat.
Silly Spider under the pumpkin.
Silly Spider on the cat.
Silly Spider beside the scarecrow.
Silly Spider says, "Trick or Treat!"

I put this poem up in a pocket chart when I taught.  I gave the kids a spider ring and we took turns putting the spider in the correct position around the other clip art images.  For the last line, we all shouted, "Trick or Treat!"

For variation, you could give the kids each a set of the pictures to lay on the floor and act out the poem for themselves.

Spider snacks:

There are so many cute spider cupcakes on the web right now.  I love frosting a cupcake or cookie, then using red pull and peel licorice for spider legs and M&M's for spider eyes.  You could even add a few sprinkles for color and texture.  Simple and the kids can do it themselves.  I ran out of cupcake liners one evening when we were trying to decorate spider cupcakes, so I made brownies instead.  I used a drinking glass to cut circles out of the brownies for the bodies.  This was especially easy, because you could stick the licorice legs into the side of the soft brownie and it made perfect little legs.  Then we frosted them and added some M&M eyes.

I wish I would have taken a picture of them, but they "disappeared" too quickly before I remembered to grab the camera...

Wishing you some creepy crawly fun!