I had such a fun time preparing the kids Valentine's poppers this year - full of goodies.
Olivia found Valentine pencils, food erasers, Hershey kisses, pearl nail polish, tickets to an upcoming play, and coupons for 1) A Date with Daddy, 2) A Date with Mommy, 3) A Manicure and Pedicure, and 4) Stay up late with Mom and Dad to play a game.
Isaac discovered Superman pencils, an Incredible Hulk toothbrush, an Ironman toothbrush, Hershey kisses, a red Hot Wheels car, and coupons for 1) A Date with Daddy, 2) A Date with Mommy, 3) Family Movie Night, and 4) Cook with Mommy.
Joshua received Superman pencils, a Spiderman toothbrush, a Wolverine toothbrush, Hershey kisses, a brown Hot Wheels car, and coupons for 1) A Date with Daddy, 2) A Date with Mommy, 3) Family Movie Night, and 4) Cook with Mommy.
For Michael I made a gift of chocolate treats, an origami flower, and coupons. His coupons are good for 1) A Back Rub/Scratch, 2) Breakfast in Bed, 3) Hot Breakfast on a weekday, 4) A Favorite Dinner, 5) A Favorite Dessert, and 6) A Movie Night, movie of his choice.
This weekend we gathered: Some of our good friends over for an Outdoor Movie Night - complete with popcorn, a fire, s'mores, and caramel apple cider and hot chocolate. For a sweet friend's 9th birthday party - pop star / karaoke style. Some sticks to make fall hued God's Eyes. Outside the majority of time to soak in the fall temperatures, wind, and beautiful weather.
Only our version was edible. Over the weekend we made our recipe for haystacks, minus the peanuts. Olivia and Isaac scooped the mixture out of the bowl and placed it on a cookie sheet. After dropping our spoonfuls we made a shallow spot in the middle before placing them in the refrigerator to harden.
After hardening, we placed mini Cadbury eggs and Peeps chicks to complete our spring nests.
Last week we were learning about the artist Wayne Thiebaud and specifically focusing on his work, Cakes. All of my children LOVE cake, like their daddy, and I would be willing to bet would eat it everyday if given the option. They talk about cake often . . . about what types (as in color) of frosting they like, what decorations they like best, etc.
Going with the lead of Thiebaud who is an artist who enjoys painting sweets, I decided to let Olivia and Isaac color their own cupcakes representing their favorite dreamt up creations.
They had a great time coloring chocolate cakes, vanilla cakes, and yellow cakes with white, chocolate, pink, and blue frostings. Then finally decorating with cherries, strawberries, gum drops, jimmies, marshmallows, and even a flag. The only problem is, now they have been asking to "cook" their creations almost daily. :)
Shhhhhhh...don't say anything, but I am making larger versions of these with paper towel rolls to give to Olivia, Isaac, and Joshua on Valentine's Day. I am filling them with Valentine chocolates, as well as other small treasures.
Phil's official forecast as read February 2nd, 2011, at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA:
Here Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye
On Gobbler's Knob on this beautiful Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2011, Punxsutawney Phil was raised from his burrow by the call of President Bill Deeley. He greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths.
And after casting an inquisitive eye towards thousands of his faithful followers, he proclaimed . . . the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl!
Back to the business at hand . . . he surveyed his surroundings carefully and found that there was no shadow around, so, an early spring it will be.
Isn't it funny how some traditions begin? And aren't some of the traditions we create for our families just silly?
Groundhog's Day is one such tradition in our family. When Olivia was 4, I created a school day based on Groundhog's Day. We learned about groundhogs (what they look like, where they live, what type of animal they are, what they eat), Pennsylvania (where it is located, where Punxsutawney is located), and shadows. We colored small groundhogs then glued popsicle sticks behind them to create instant puppets for making shadows with. We colored large groundhogs. We practiced making our letters by spelling out the word "groundhog." And finally, we made groundhog cupcakes.
Here we are 5 years later, and we are still making the same puppets and cupcakes each year. Last year Isaac enjoyed being a part of the celebration and this year Joshua participated in the puppet making. He had such a fun time coloring his puppet and then playing with it just like his big sister and brother.
Our cupcakes are decorated slightly differently each year based on what type of sprinkles, chocolate chips, and cuts of almonds I have in the house. This year we enjoyed making 2 dozen groundhog cupcakes and sharing them with many of our new friends.
And in case you are wondering ... even though Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow predicting an early spring ... our Groundhogs - Gus, Gabrielle, and George - all saw their shadows, so I suppose that means we still have 6 more weeks of winter ahead of us here in Mississippi. ;)