Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Angry Birds Bulletin Board

It's back to school time:)  My kids went back to school and so did I.  I got a full time teaching job.  I am the At-Risk teacher at Dixie Middle School.  It's hard to describe exactly what I do, but I teach the kids who struggle with school for various reasons.  I have basically a self-contained class and I teach Science, Math, Geography, Language Arts, PE and Art.  The beginning of the school year is super boring, because the kids usually have to get in some sort of trouble before they get put in my class.  I mentioned that I was bored, so the librarian gave me the job of creating a new bulletin board.... one of my favorite jobs!

I wanted to do a bulletin board that teenagers could relate to... what better than Angry Birds?  I found this idea on Pinterest.  There is no correct link to it (why don't people know how to properly Pin in Pinterest?), but it got my mind whirling.  I found a screen shot that I could use as my basic idea.  I had my aide help me and we got to work.  The first thing we did was take pictures of the spines of books that we had in the library.  Then my aide hand drew and cut out the tree shadows.  We used my trusty Cricut to cut out the lettering.  And we just used an image search in google to find the front covers of the books.  (they were kind of an after thought because we didn't have enough spines to fill in the space).
My biggest negative comments have been from a cute special ed student... he said that I can't have two crowns, I need golden eggs and I should have a sling shot.... since I've never actually played the game, I missed a few details.  It turned out cute and it's colorful and fun that's all that matters.

(I also had to put a picture of a book that my friend, Bree Despain, wrote.  There are actually 3 in her series... The Dark Divine.  You should check them out.  They are fantastic!)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Power Ranger Birthday Party

My little boy has suddenly become obsessed with Power Rangers.  He found some of his older brother's toys and he found the videos on Netflix.  So, he was determined to have a Power Ranger party.  Power Rangers have changed over the years... anything from Jungle Fury, to Operation Overdrive... and now they are Samurai Rangers.  I mostly used the Samurai Rangers because they have really cool graphics on their masks... and because it was easier to find things online.

I dressed him up in some of his Power Ranger gear and took his picture.  Then I made a simple invite and printed it as a 4x6 photo.
On the front door, I had a sign with Power Up... getting them ready.
On the door to the back yard, I put a Power Ranger Training Zone.  When we went into the back yard, it was set up with six stations for Power Ranger Training.  I printed signs and stuck them in the grass on wooden stakes.
The first training was "Be Careful"  The kids did relay races with a jewel on a spoon.

The second station was "Be Strong"  We had a tug of war with a bunch of 4 year olds.... it took them a few minutes to actually figure out the concept, but they finally got it.
Station #3 was "Teamwork"  (I somehow forgot to take a picture of that station).  The kids had a partner and they had to hold a balloon between them and race to the wall and back.

Station #4 was "Defeat the Bad Guys"  I printed pix of bad guys and glued them to soup cans.  Then I made bean bags and had them knock down the tower of cans with the bean bags.  The kids really loved that one too.

Station #5 was "Save the Good Guys"  I had frozen a bunch of Power Ranger toys in a bowl.  My original plan was to have them push the ice block around until it melted.... even in this heat, that was going to take forever.  So, we improvised and got out squirt guns for the kids.  That worked really well and they all had a blast.... if I ever do a party like that again, that will be my plan from the start!

Station #6 was an "Obstacle Course"  My hubby was in charge of this one.... it involved walking on a 4x4, climbing over the hay and weaving in and out of the swings.  (I missed the kids doing this because I had to take someone to the bathroom)

When the kids finished their training, they all got a Power Ranger badge.  I just printed the graphics from One Charming Party and added the power ranger symbol to the middle.

His cake was the red power ranger mask... out of fondant.  Not one of my best cakes, but he still loved it!
I got a sheet off ebay for super cheap and used that as the table cloth.  I used his toys to decorate down the center of the table.

I just bought cheap blue plates, napkins and silverware from the dollar store... but I can't resist the striped straws.  We got mini cans of tiki punch and put a Power Ranger label on them.
After cake and ice cream we went outside to break the piñata.  I made the piñata like the gold power ranger mask.  To make the piñata I used a balloon and a mixture of 2 parts water to 1 part flour.  I did three coats with letting it dry overnight in between.  I spray painted the gold.  Then used black acrylic paint to paint on the mask shape.
We finally had to get the metal bat out to break this thing!

I can't have a party without a banner.  I used all of the Power Ranger colors to make the flags and cut the letters on my Cricut.  I made a few power ranger symbols to separate the words.
For party favors, I put pop rocks, ring pops and a small drink in a cellophane bag... I don't know... that kind of stuff seemed Power Rangery to me:)  And I found the Power Ranger mask rings on to put on the treat bags!
Lastly, the birthday boy had to have a shirt!  I just cut the Power Ranger blue mask symbol out of black fabric and appliquéd it to the shirt!  easy peasy...

This really was a pretty simple party and the birthday boy loved it!!!

Summer of Canning

I grew up in a family that canned everything... well almost everything.  My mom used to can venison... do you know what that is???  I also have a father who grows an enormous garden.  So, since I'm a school teacher and I have my summers off, I had some time to can.
 The first thing we had an abundance of was cucumbers.  I LOVE cucumbers.  I probably ate 8 cucumbers a day.  Some just with salt.  Some dipped in ranch and some with a delicious marinade.  But there were way more than I could eat.  So, I bottled some pickles.  I used an old family recipe.  I don't know if they turned out that great.  I used fresh dill the first time and later found out you are supposed to use dried dill.  The other batches have dried dill, but I haven't tried the pickles yet.  If anyone has a good recipes for pickles, I'd love one!!!

I also bottled a batch of our family's favorite relish.  It's not dill relish, it's not sweet relish.. I'm not sure how to describe it.  It's yellow and it's delicious.

I also bottled some dill relish.  I used this recipe on Tasty Kitchen.  I think it turned out pretty good.  I love these adorable free printable labels for the jar.  They are much cuter than just writing on the lid with a permanent marker (which is what  I normally do)
Chili sauce is another family favorite.  We have a family recipe that a lot of our family members love.  It's sweet and it's so yummy on eggs.  I bottled two batches of chili sauce.

Then, I thought I'd try my hand at pickling some banana peppers. We had a lot of them and thought I'd give it a try.   I used this recipe on the National Center for Home Food Preservation.  I haven't tasted them yet... I figured they needed to cure.

The last thing that I canned was salsa.  I hadn't wanted to can salsa because I thought it would be too hard.  But when I realized I could chop everything in the food processor... I figured I'd give it a try.  I found this recipe on Get Off Your Butt and Bake.  It is delicious!!!  I made mine really mild... cuz that's how I love it.

School has started and I'm not sure if I'm up for canning anything else.... but I'm looking forward to canning more salsa next year because we've already eaten 1 1/2 jars!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Girls' Camp Flags

Do you remember this flag that I made for girls' camp?  
 Girls' Camp has come and gone... it was a blast:)  but I'm kind of glad that responsibility is off my shoulders now!  I thought I post pix of the flag at camp.  I ended up making quite a few bunting pieces... So we got to hang them up all over our pavilion.
The backdrop to our amphitheater stage was a banner of each country.  This is the banner that I made.  I tried to make it a little more simple.  I used a towel again... because in Finland it's a very popular past-time to hang out in the sauna.  I used water fabric for the outline of the country because Finland has over 200,000 lakes.  And I put an Angry Bird on our flag because the company that makes Angry Birds is from Finland.