Leaf at First Sight; Creating a Leaf Collage in Photo Frame

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the brilliant colors of the trees up the canyon. My bedroom even has a leaf theme.  It all started with a leaf, 14 years ago on our first date. My husband took me for a Jeep ride off-road in the mountains to see the beautiful fall colors.  I found a leaf and stuck it in my back pocket and it survived.  I framed it (I did nothing more than stick it under a glass frame) and here is what it looks like 14 years later. It has a few brown spots as you can see.

For our anniversary a few years ago we took a hike in the mountains to collect leaves.  I decided to make a collage with the leaves we collected.  (Our bedroom now has a leaf theme.) I did not dry them out properly but I did spray them with a varnish to make them glossy and hopefully preserve them better. They have kept their brilliant colors for 5 years now.  Try taking your kids for a walk around your neighborhood and see what you can find then make your own collage.

1. I would recommend drying the leaves well (microwaving is one option) so they may dry more flat and not look as wrinkly. For more tips on preserving leaves click here.
2. I laid all the leaves out on the picture mat in the design I thought looked best.
3. I carefully sprayed them so they would have a nice even cover of varnish
4. Let the varnish air dry (I waited 2 hours).
5. Stick the glass frame on top then add the wood frame. 

ObSEUSSed Lit Link:
We suggest reading The Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. We checked it out from the library and the kids loved looking at images made out of leaves and wondering where the wind will take the Leaf Man.  You could also have your kids try making similar images.
Linked to Today's Creative Get Your Craft On party
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Do you like Green Eggs and Ham? Video Contest

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Did you know Dr. Seuss' publisher bet him $50 that he couldn't write a book using only 50 words?  He won the bet by writing Green Eggs and Ham. All the words have only 1 syllable except one (leave me a comment if you know the 3 syllable word).
Random House is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss' book Green Eggs & Ham by having a contest. Create a video depicting part of the book and you could win $2,000 or other fabulous prizes. The contest runs through Oct. and voting begins in Nov. I'm not sure if I have enough time to put a video together but I want to let others know about it and I'd love to see what people come up with. Click here for more contest details.

Making Green Eggs and Ham
One day I was talking with friends in the living room while 'Conrad', age 3, went to the kitchen to get a snack. His dad had just taught him how to crack eggs while making a cake earlier in the week. Little did I know he decided to practice cracking eggs by himself....All 18 eggs, perfectly cracked, no shells, into a storage container. It was overflowing when I found him. Guess what we had for dinner that night (and breakfast the next day)? Of course...Green Eggs & Ham. Make your own:

Recipe: Green Eggs and Ham

1/2 c. Spinach
1 c. Ham
6 Eggs (or however many you normally scramble for your family)
1/4 c. Milk

1. Finely chop spinach leaves (or defrost frozen spinach then shred it in the food processor.)
2. Cube ham into pea size pieces. (Ask the deli to cut thick slices then you can cube it quickly.)
3. Mix the spinach and chopped up ham with the eggs and some milk, mix it all up- 'Scrambled Eggs Super' style then scramble in a fry pan on medium heat. Seussalicious!
18 eggs, perfectly cracked by a 3 yr old.

*A personal side note: I refused to eat scrambled eggs while growing up (until I finally tried them again in college) because my school teacher aunt forced me to eat green eggs and ham once as a fun Dr. Seuss activity when I was 6 years old.  "Try them, try them, you will see." Please don't force your kids to eat. Make things creative, like Sam I Am and wait for them to try it.

Ahoy! A Pirate Book Sing Along Video

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ahoy Mateys!  In honor of "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" yesterday, we are sharing our favorite Pirate book. The Castaway Pirates, by Ray Marshall, is my son's favorite book right now.  We checked it out from the library about a year ago and kept renewing it until I finally realized I needed to buy it because he wanted to read it so often.  As soon as I started reading it, a natural Pirate tune started to come out from the rhyming sentences. Will the shark will eat the pirates with stinky toes?  Watch our video below to find out. The ending of the story makes us laugh everytime. The pop-up illustrations, by Wilson Swain, are amazing. The video below is of me reading parts of the book with him so you can hear how we sing the book.  My son loves singing along and watching out for the shark.

Published by Chronicle Books, you can buy the book or print a Pirate Paper Doll on their site.

PIRATE PARTY: For some printable Pirate party invatations, cupcake toppers and more, visit my friend's blog: It's a Tradition Pirate Edition.

FACEBOOK PIRATE: Another fun thing you can do in Facebook is change your settings to Pirate language. On your home page, go to account in the top right corner, go to account settings then click on the language tab. Find English (Pirate). Select then you will notice many changes to your status updates and more.

Avast ye Mateys, it's Pirate dress-up time.

Too Many Toys?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is it possible to have too many toys? My kids don't think so.  I disagree.  I can totally relate to the book by David Shannon, Too Many Toys. I get overwhelmed by how many toys we accumulate. From presents and prizes to holidays and hand-me-downs we have run out of room.  I have a hard time keeping up with rotating age appropriate toys; what do you do with their baby toys when they are preschoolers? Don't even get me going on the uselessness of stuffed animals (I have a great idea for storing them I'll share in a future post). A funny point it makes in the book is that parents hold on to toys too.  My husband still displays Star Wars Legos and Potato Heads in our bedroom. And I'll admit I have my own share of toys I've hung onto (the Dr. Seuss obsession is really more mine than the kids).  Do any readers have special toys they've kept, or they still collect? What tips do you have for toy storage/rotation/management?
With so many toys I often wonder why kids say they are bored and why they, like Spencer in the book,  end up being completely content playing with a box instead.

Too Many Toys? We need to simplify.

The day we built our shed the kids played in the box all day.

David Shannon is one of our favorite authors. His book, No David, won the Caldecott Honor in 1999. My daughter adores Alice the Fairy and our son loves the David series and Spencer (from Too Many Toys).

David Shannon was interviewed by Barnes & Noble where he listed one of his 10 favorite books as The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss. Shannon said, "I like stories about events that start small and gradually get way out of hand. I think that this book has influenced my own writing."
You can watch a video of David Shannon reading the first half of Too Many Toys online at Scholastic Books.

Flower Girl Power: Junie B. Jones Chapter Book Review

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Sally," our 6-year-old, wanted to be like the big girls this summer and try reading chapter books.  She had heard about Junie B. Jones (by Barbara Park) and wanted to try reading one. We found several used copies at yard sales to start her collection. There are 27 books in the series that first graders can relate to.  I picked "Junie B. Jones, Almost a Flower Girl" because my daughter was a flower girl this summer and "Junie B. Jones, and a Little Monkey Business" (about her new baby brother) because "Sally" had a new baby brother this summer too.  These were perfect for her. 
She wanted to read them to herself quietly but I started her off by reading the first page then having her read a page aloud to me.  Then she was off! She zipped through the books (She started the Monkey book by reading two chapters at bedtime and finished it in the morning before breakfast) and laughed out loud and told me about the funny parts.  I had her explain more about the story and she was actually comprehending and remembering the details she read.  I wasn't expecting that because in kindergarten they were only reading books with 10-15 words on a page.  Now she was reading an actual chapter book without pictures on every page.
The books seemed to be very entertaining for her.  When I had her read a few more parts to me out loud I realized she was skimming over some tricky words when she read silently but she understood what was happening because of the context. Reading out loud forced her to sound out the word.  There are also many slang or made-up words Junie uses so it is good to look through the books and explain that we don't really talk that way.  Junie also talks disrespectfully to adults (she is a very confidant little girl) but I don't always like the example she sets for those reading the stories. Overall, the Junie B. Jones series gets the obSEUSSed approval for encouraging kids to read. "Sally" will be reading more of them.
More about Junie B. Jones can be found at Random House.

DVD Giveaway Contest for PBS Cat in the Hat Show

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"From here to there, from there to here, funny things are everywhere!" There are already DVDs of the PBS Kids show The Cat in The Hat Knows A Lot About That. It can be purchased at NCircle or on Amazon.  

About the DVD: The Cat in The Hat Knows A Lot About That 'Wings and Things' Features 4 Episodes: Show Me the Honey, Migration Vacation, I Love the Nightlife, Oh Give Me a Home and Many Ants Make Light Work. Wings and Things runs for 60 minutes. Created for Preschool age children.

Some bloggers have reviewed the DVD and are giving away a copy of it.  If anyone would like to enter, here are a few links to sign up on to try to win. I'm entering, How about You?
Simply Stacie
Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports
Toddler Tales by Mommy
Lorri Jeanne's Ramblings & Reviews
Please contact me on Twitter @obSEUSSed if you'd like me to add your link to this post.

PBS "Cat in the Hat" Show Starts Sept. 6

Friday, September 3, 2010

Our family is so excited about the new show on PBS Kids, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! I found out about the show this summer at the EVO'10 Social Media Conference and have been eagerly anticipating its start next Monday (check your local listings for times). This new series is inspired by the books and illustrations by Dr. Seuss but is based on the Beginner Book collection of Science themed books using the Cat in the Hat as the main character.  The show uses Dr. Seuss' style of rhyming to help kids learn about science.  There are episodes like "Is a Camel a Mammal?," "There's No Place Like Space," and "There's a Map on my Lap!" 

My kids have seen the commercials and can't wait for it to start so we got on the PBS website, my favorite website to let my kids learn while playing games. They already have videos, games, printables and parent/teacher tips for the Cat in the Hat episodes.

 (*A side note I learned from Mommy Niri "PBS is the most trusted institution in America followed by “courts of law” [Brigid Sullivan, SVP Interactive and Children’s Media, WGBH Boston].)

My 4 year old, "Conrad" loved the hidden object game "Now you see me, now you don't" and mouse clickable game "Thing 1 and Thing 2's Weather Transformer". He could easily navigate these games without my help.  The Migration Adventure was another game that was a little slow paced. He had a hard time clicking on the rest stops and struggled to make it to the end. Older kids may have more patience for it.  We printed out the color by number worksheet and he did great.

I was surprised to hear my 6-year-old daughter say "I have a hypothesis" during our car trip to Yellowstone this summer.  She kept telling us her hypothesis for how waterfalls were made to how Old Faithfull worked.  Her mind was thinking. She told me she learned the word 'hypothesis' from the PBS show Dinosaur Train. She loves to measure things by the length of her arm using "Non-standard measurement" that she learned from Sid the Science Kid.  I'm surprised by what I learn from these shows too while watching with them and I can't wait to learn more from The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That!


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