Saturday, September 12, 2015

Crafty Times/ Fun with Munchkin: Jet Packs

I have decided to add a new post to my list of things that could happen on the weekends.  As part of my resolutions for 2015, I wanted to do more fun things with Munchkin and as a family.  I will be posting sporadically about some of the fun adventures we are having together.
So as promised here is my Crafty Times post about making those little jet packs for Munchkin's Birthday party. I saw this pin a while ago on pinterest and knew I wanted to make one of these eventually, and Munchkin's Outer Space themed was a perfect opportunity. Originally we were expecting a lot of kids so I figured I should make enough to share, I also thought since we were having a wide range of ages that I should make some smaller ones too.
So I made four 2 liter bottle sized jet packs and two 1 liter sized. I think the hardest part was drinking all that soda and gathering the bottles. I then spray painted the bottles silver (you need to scuff the bottles with sand paper first to be sure the paint will adhere). Then I duck taped 2 bottles together and then onto a cardboard backing. next I tore up some orange and yellow tissue paper and taped it at the mouth of each bottle. Next I used Munchkin as a measuring tool to attach the elastic string for the straps.
And away they went! These were a huge hit and luckily a LOT less kids came than expected and we had enough for everyone.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bedtime Story: The Jolly Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Because Munchkin loves mail & the mailman.
Synopsis: "Join the Jolly Postman as he goes on his rounds via bicycle, delivering mail to
Goldilocks, Cinderella, Jack's Giant, and other fairy-tale characters.
Tucked into envelopes are actual letters for children to pluck out. Humorous and
engaging, this is the perfect read over a spot of tea. Ahhh!"

My Review: Munchkin is big into the mail and mailman, he gets excited for it every day (he even has his own mail box) so I thought this would be a fun book for him. This is really cute book and format, it is a simple story as Jolly Postman delivers mail to fairytale characters. Each page has an envelope that you can pull out the mail. I love the variety of mail, everything from a letter, to a book ready to be published, an advertisement, a post card and even a birthday card with a little gift in it. Munchkin loved opening the mail but didn't understand some of the referrals to the classic fairytale stories. This is one we will keep on our shelf and re-read often I am sure.
My Rating: This was such a fun book and format. We really loved it and have read it again often. We give it a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Going to the Sea Park by Mercer Mayer

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "Little Critter is going on a class trip!

There isn't a dull moment when Little Critter® and his classmates go on a trip to the Sea Park! They see and learn about exciting and strange sea creatures—from crabs and octopuses to whales and sharks. A day at the Sea Park proves to be full of fun and adventure.

Going to the Sea Park is a story with simple, easy-to-read text—ideal for emergent readers who want to join Little Critter on a day of under-the-sea delight."

My Review: This is another great addition to our growing Little Critter set of books. This is a good beginning reader book. It is definitely higher than a first level though and some of it might be difficult to read and identify if a child hasn't been to a seaworld or aquarium before. The sentences are still fairly simple and the pictures also go along so if there is a word the reader struggles with they may be able to use the picture for clues.
My Rating: It is a little advanced but lovers of Little Critter books will already be familiar with the style. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pen to Paper: Envelopes

Hello all, I am back (and I am getting really bad at keeping up with these posts, but thankfully I hear there is a blog-ahead challenge coming up).  As I promised a couple of weeks ago I will talk about envelopes when they don't come with your stationary.
But first, how did you do on your challenge? Did you find something lovely, unique or fun to send with a letter? I sent my grandma a beautiful blue jay feather I found in our yard. She is a big bird watcher and has tons of bird houses in her yard. So I sent her the feather and told her about a few of the birds in our yard (not like when I was growing up when it was mostly just sparrows, black birds and an occasional Meadowlark) including the beautiful blue jay, a couple of woodpeckers, some swallows, robins, and of course those sparrows and blackbirds. A neighbor recently saw some hummingbirds but I have yet to see one.
So anyway, on with our subject matter of the day, envelopes.  Usually when you purchase stationary they will come with matching envelopes, but that is not always the case. As with the subscription I mentioned in the last post, sometimes you just get the beautiful stationary paper.  This isn't as much of a hardship as you might imagine, here are a few different options.
Option 1: Purchase Envelopes Separately
You can always go with the standard envelopes you can get at any grocery or big box store (business or card sized).  Often at staples you can get envelopes in a variety of sizes and colors too.  Another option is craft stores, in the paper crafting section you can find blank card and envelope sets, but they also have boxes of fun themed envelopes (ie. I purchased a box of vintage christmas themed ones one year for holiday letters).
Option 2: Decorate Your Own
Many times we already have those standard envelopes on hand for the dreaded bills, etc. but they can seem so boring and don't jump out at the recipient right away for that rush of joy and excitement at receiving a letter.  So you can always decorate your envelope with stickers and doodles. I have found it really fun to browse Pinterest looking for mail envelope art, there is some really beautiful mail art out there.  A couple of things to keep in mind though that the recipient's address must be on the front of the envelope and be clear (you might want to familiarize yourself with the postal service's regulations before decorating).  I have yet to do this myself, I am too nervous about my art being out there for anyone to see.
For your viewing pleasure some awesome examples I found of mail envelope art
Option 3: Make Your Own
Now this has been on my to do list for a while, if you are anything like me you have loads of pattern paper hanging around and will never be able to use it all. So there are tons of tutorials out there on how to fold any paper into an envelope (even those pretty calendar pictures from years ago that you just can't part with).
Here are a few of the more simple tutorials I could find
So there you have it three simple solutions for when you don't have an envelope to match your beautiful new stationary!
Your Mission for the Week: One of your pen pals fall of the face of the earth? Send them another letter. Sometimes a letter is received and set aside with every intention of respond but well we all know life gets away from us (I am totally this person lately, even with text messages and phone calls).  So maybe you wrote to some one and they are normally good about responding but you haven't heard anything yet. Maybe send them a new letter (no need to mention the lack of response) to re-establish a line of communication.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review of Jesper Jinx Goes Fishing by Marko Kitti

Read for: Requested Review
Synopsis: "Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname 'Jinx'.

The fourth book of Jesper's wonderfully wicked adventures is chock-a-block full of all kinds of fishing tales. There are mackerels to be sure, but also a creature a little bit furrier than a fish running loose on the beach. And it's up to Jesper (aka Detective J. Jinx) to save the day before it turns into a fishy nightmare!

ALLERGY WARNING: This book contains fish!"

My Review:  Jesper Jinx is back with all of his antics (many of which go wrong). I have been following these books all along and really enjoy each book on its own and as part of the whole series. While this book can be read on its own, there are hints to events in previous books. I really love how Kitti brings the book into the story (yes you read that right, the books you are reading are also part of the story). This book is full of short and funny tales that happen to Jesper throughout the day, there is never a dull moment and even reluctant middle grade readers will be entertained.
My Rating: I have really enjoyed every one of the Jesper Jinx books and this is no different. I love seeing something that all middle grade readers can enjoy and I look forward to sharing these with Munchkin as soon as he is old enough. I give it a rating of Four Paws!
Jesper Jinx Goes Fishing was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Marko Kitti and his Jesper Jinx books on his Goodreads Page or Website.
Jesper Jinx Goes Fishing has just been released and you can purchase your copy in print or digital formats from Amazon and should soon be available at Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fun with Munchkin: Outer Space 3rd Birthday!

I have decided to add a new post to my list of things that could happen on the weekends.  As part of my resolutions for 2015, I wanted to do more fun things with Munchkin and as a family.  I will be posting sporadically about some of the fun adventures we are having together.
So Munchkin is now 3! I have no idea where this time is going but it is now official. Since he announced several months ago that he wanted to be an astronaut we decided to have an outer space/ astronaut themed party.  Of course I had big plans that had to get cut down due to time but it was still a huge success.
As you may have already seen, I made a star tunnel for the party but I also made jet packs (I will have a crafty time post on how I made them another day). They were both huge hits with the kids.
We also had the rings of Saturn and a rocket launch.

I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the food but it consisted of Blast Off Mac & Cheese (with outer space shaped pasta), Planet Pizza, Asteroid Cheeseballs, Moon Cheese & Crackers, Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Milky Way Vanilla Pudding and of course Astronaut Ice Cream to go with the cake. I also lucked out and found space themed goldfish too.
I think a great time was had by all!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Summer Haikus by S.J. Pajonas
Reckless by Skye Jordan (After Dark)
Letters from Felix by Annette Langen (Bedtime Story)
Fables Vol. 5: Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham (Graphic Novel)

 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Searching for Always = 3pts
Throne of Glass = 3pts
Jesper Jinx Goes Fishing = 3pts
Dinner at Homesick Restaurant = 5pts

Currently Reading:

Silver Linings by Debbie Macomber - Nook - On page 29 of 400

 Books to be Read Soon:

Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger - Mount TBR/ Reading Across the States
Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas - Mount TBR/ Series Challenge


Total Points Earned
  251 points + 14 points earned = 265 points

Pages Read/ Time Listened
41,439 pages read (875 read this week)
153:55 listening time (11:12 listened this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Gosh this past week has been a godsend! We really needed this stay-cation. Granted I still didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked but at least I got some squeezed in. I also got my house all cleaned up (it is actually cleaner than it has been in months). We also went to one more wedding, the last this year and so far there aren't any more scheduled for next year, thank goodness!! I hope that you have all eased your way into September (and many of you into the new school year). I also hope that you all have a wonderful holiday today!