Thursday, June 30, 2011

National Mud Day Fun!

It was National Mud Day yesterday and we had a BLAST playing and getting dirty! I purchased a 1.00 bag of topsoil from the hardware store for this and just added water! I figured this way we didn't dig up any holes or kill any grass as we worked in a large planting bin too!

I brought out some containers from the rubbish bin and that added a whole new level of fun! They wondered if they could make castles with the mud and if they could get it to stay! We decided to make Mount Kilamanjaro, as we are studying Africa this week! 

We added flower bulbs that I had leftover from the Season and the kids had so much fun popping those into containers with dirt to make small planters and to also dig them deep into the bin.

Then we started 'cooking' with our mud and made oreo cookie yogurt! haha! There was so much fun being had that we did not even realize that we had been outside so long! Everyone was getting extra dirty, but the laughter that was coming out was making me smile so big that I think I might have looked crazy! haha!

All in all, National Mud Day was a success and we had a blast working with it! What did you do with mud? Please share all your mud related activities in the hop!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Was Featured!

I am grinning from ear to ear right now! Miss Holly from A life-Size Catholic Blog, featured me yesterday! How awesome is that? She has a fantastic blog that I MUST read every morning, because it is so uplifting! To be featured and to have those words said about me is very sweet and motivating. It makes me feel as though I am not alone here writing this blog and I am influencing others! Sometimes, I feel like I am a bit on the unimportant side, being a stay at home mom and that is exactly why I created this blog. It was a way to answer the whole 'What do you do ALL day?!' questions. THIS is what I do all day! I play, I teach, I cook, I clean, I LOVE and I LIVE! It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's mine and I LOVE tea! Thank you Holly for lifting my spirits!


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Musings from Africa!

Sawubona, Unjani? If you are following our Summer Adventures, you know we are virtually travelling the world! This week our destination is Africa! We are splitting our time between Tanzania and South Africa!
Today we are boarding a plane for our 3 hour flights fro Tanzania to South Africa. In Tanzania we were able to learn about Mt. Kilamanjaro and explore many parts of the land. In order to properly document our trip, we had to have our camera poised and ready, but first we had to make our cameras!

Snag some photos of your favorite sites and tape them left to right. Make sure they are thinner than the top and bottom of the mac and cheese box.

You don't NEED the hole at the top of the box, but I needed some cardboard for other portions of the camera, so I took it from here since you won't see it. Open up the top and bottom of the box and cut a slit the size of your pictures (We are using the box sideways, but I am giving directions based on the box being stood upright). On the back cut out a 'viewing window' where you will be able to view the photos you take.

Cover your camera in paper (you can decorate it first!) and then glue on the lid to the front as well. This is the camera lens. Use the excess cardboard that you saved from before to make a little button at the top side of the camera. Each child just put theirs wherever they wanted. I just cut the holes and then let them have at it.

Slide your photo strip in one hole all the way through the other one on the opposite side of the box. Use the viewing widow to help get it all the way over. Once it is in place, then tape up your window if you would like so it looks like a screen. (2 of my kids taped theirs and 1 left it as is).

Sliding the photos from left to right, allows you to 'view' the pictures you have taken! There is a picture of another tour jeep with a lion right in front of it looking at US!

Snap away and have fun remembering our trip to Africa and Beyond!
We are off to South Africa today, where we will be going on safari and exploring the Kalahari Desert!
I also found this fantastic African Wildlife puzzle at the TARGET dollar spot, so I picked it up! It's 100 pieces and my children had a blast putting it together. They all worked as a team and had fun! I also made up an African Wildlife Fact Sheet so that the kids could locate the animals from the sheet on the puzzle and learn a little about them. This is awesome preparation for the animals they will see on Safari! I will share more about our model Mount Kilamanjaro and our Safari Adventures as time allows! Sala Kahle!


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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Being eaten by fish at the Zoo!
How did we get up here?
The train brings food to our table?!

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Chicago Marathon News

I know father's day was a couple weeks ago now, but it's been a busy and hectic summer for me! I am now getting around to updating you on my Chicago Marathon training.  As I mentioned before, my mother and I are running the Chicago Marathon on October 9th of this year. I am terrified and excited all at once! Over Father's Day weekend, we went to the Nike Preview on Chicago's Lakefront.

We arrived just before 6am and took a scenic and glorious jog along the lake from the Shedd Aquarium to Navy Pier and back. It was so nice and fun, it just stunk that I was at the tail end of bronchitis. That was interesting to run with! haha! 

They sent us our fundraising information for Ronald McDonald house Charities and that really set us into panic mode! haha! $2000.00 is what we have to raise and we have until October to do it! YIKES! If you are looking to help out in any way, you can donate as little as 1.00! Every little bit helps this cause! PLEASE CLICK HERE to donate.  The money goes straight to RMHC, I just have to send everyone to the link and well run the marathon of course! haha!! 

There were a lot of awesome Nike goodies for sale at the preview and I fell in love with and had to have this awesome shirt (It says 10.9.11 Sunday Funday)! I'm excited to take on this new and fun adventure, but of course 100% scared! YIKES!


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Circus Theme!

On my Facebook Page, I was recently asked to share some ideas about a Circus Theme! Please head on over and read the ideas I came up with and share some of your own! I love the internet community of creative forces, because we can always come together and make some pretty awesome things!!

Making Snakes and Carnaval Masks!

 While studying Brazil, we also learned about the many animals living in the Amazon! One of the creatures the kids fell in love with was the Anaconda! We set out to make some awesome snakes from HERE, we just made our own spin on it! We went with keychains instead of pins and used the colors of the Brazilian flag, so that they would be able to keep those colors in their heads with the pattern repeating itself.
The kids had so much fun making them, that instead of just clipping them to their backpacks, they had a little fun first!! We ended up making 6 of these and they already gave away their extras. I hope you get a chance to make them, they were so fun and easy too!!

Making Masks for Carnavale was easily the BEST time for the little ones! We used straws and paper plates. We didn't use a template, I just explained to them what we were doing and I did mine first. Afterwards, I gave them safety scissors and let them do it all themselves! While uneven, they still did a great job!
Yes, I can buy already made masks for fairly cheap that allow the kids to glue and paint them, but I figured they would get more out of making the entire thing! 
Next step was to paint the masks in an array of colors, I told them the brighter the better! Everyone had fun with this part! Including me! haha! I love getting involved with the crafting.

After letting them dry for 24 hours, we started on the feathers! WOOHOO!! There were feather bits everywhere in the playroom for quite awhile afterwards! hahaha. We just used regular school glue and adhered them.
Now it was pose down time! See the Rainforest leaves in the background?! They didn't want to sit still for this photo! They were ready to dance and play!

Hope you enjoyed this peak into our Virtual Vacation!
You can find other posts in this blog HERE!


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Monday, June 27, 2011

It Doesn't Matter Where...

A Happy 31st birthday to the love of my life! My husband is an amazing man that has made me the person I am today. He is kind, sweet and patient and best of all so loving. Together we have molded each other and created an amazing family that God has Blessed us with. We love spending as much time together as possible and because he had to work tonight, we took his birthday celebration to him. He blew out the candles in our van and then we shared the cupcakes with everyone. It doesn't matter where we celebrate, as long as we are all together.

Learn Something New Tuesday!

1. If you could be friends with any one reality show star, who would it be?
I truly, 100% dislike reality tv. I think it's such a waste of time and it encourages bad behavior. If I truly had to pick 1 person, then I guess I would go with Chef Ramsey. He is straight forward and his food always looks so good! haha!!

2. What is your favorite flavor coffee creamer
I don't drink coffee! WOW, I'm striking out on these questions this week! haha!!

3. Do you have a favorite pizza place? What is it and why?
OMG, another question hahaha! I am not a pizza fan, but my kids looove it, so when we do go out, we go to Giordano's.

4. Do you have any family traditions?
We go to Disney World once a year and try and take photos in the same spots where we always have, just to see how much everyone has grown.

5. What is your favorite crafty type thing to do?
I love crafting with my children, right now we are crafting our way around the world! Have you seen our latest update? CLICK HERE!

6. Do you like to have pictures taken of you or do you like to be the one taking them?
I have to be the one to take them, as my husband never takes any and I'm usually alone with the kids anyway when he is at work. I don't mind it, since I usually don't like having my pictures taken! haha!!



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Virtual Destinations and Beyond! Brazil and Ecuador

Wow, we have had an excellent week in Brazil and Ecuador! I cannot believe how much there was to do and see! We started in Brazil where learned about the animals of the Amazon Rain Forest and Even took a boat ride through the Amazon waters!
We learned about the dangerous beasts that reside in the waters of the Amazon. We watched a MOVIE all about the Deadly Animals of the Amazon and learned so much more! 

After watching the movie, we went to the Shedd Aquarium to explore their Amazon exhibit. It was awesome to see them explore this exhibit after learning all we had discussed before arriving. They were able to name the names of some of the fish and also locate them in the tanks.
Next it was Carnaval time (Carnival), where we listened to SAMBA music and even took a small lesson!
In order to properly Samba during Carnaval, we needed to make our feathered masks!! We made them out of paper plates!! I will share this lesson in another post!

After we were done with creating them, we decided to have our own Carnaval at home! We listened to Samba Music and danced our hearts out! What fun we all had with this lesson! Before we knew it, it was time for a 5 hour flight to Ecuador! We were going to explore more of the rainforest, a volcano and the Galpagos islands!! 
We made Tamarin Monkey Bookmarks and Anaconda Keychains, using the colors of the Brazilian flag. We took this time to listen to sounds of the Rainforest on the radio and try to identify the animals we heard in the recording!

We studied the animals of the rainforest with a game I created, using Toob animals and a fun fact sheet I put together. (I will explain this in a future post too!) This was very popular and is still being played with often!
We toured the Andes mountains and Cotopaxi, one of the worlds most active volcanoes! OH WOW, this was so much fun! Check out my photo gallery HERE for instructions! We even put our rain forest animals on there as decoration AND made our own rain forest trees!! All around a truly memorable trip that even had us pricing tickets to Ecuador for real!!! My husband just wants to wait until the youngest is a bit older and can handle all the walking required! We cannot wait!

Today we flew for 18 hours from the Galapagos Islands off to Tanzania in Africa! WOW, what a flight! This week we will be spending in Tanzania trekking up the Highest African Mountain of Mount Kilimanjaro! Did you know that this mountain is right near the equator as well?! Just like in Ecuador! We will learn all about this mountain and the Kalahari dessert as well!

As we head on over to South Africa, we will be going on Safari!!! How exciting! We cannot wait to see what we come across!

Lesson learned will be: African Wildlife, Mountains and Mountain Climbing, Flags and languages and other various facts.

Crafts: Make a camera out of of a mac and cheese box, toilet tube binoculars for safari, Paper Beads for jewelry making and some painting of the flag will be done too!

Cooking: In the kitchen we will grill kebabs of meats! The kids have been wanting to eat food-on-a-stick for awhile now! hahaha!! Much better than corn dogs too! Yay!

Please join us on our travels!!!


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