Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Considering it is the halloween month, and this was the last book club with my boys, I decided to use "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as the focus for our Halloween Party!
The choice to use this story was a little's my FAVORITE halloween story!  I love it, I love Jack Skellington and I love Tim Burton's creativity!

Halloween Town is never sunny.  It's always gray and dark.  Luckily, ZERO (Jack's dog) has a glowing nose to help brighten the night!  And, in Oogie Boogie's lair everything is neon.  So I thought it appropriate to make some glow in the dark play dough.  Who doesn't like play dough?  Guess actually worked!
This is a recipe I aquired years ago from a neighbor.  This is the recipe I used for this playdough project.  I left out the Kool Aid so the dough would just be white.
This is the 'glow in the dark' paint I used.  I had the boys poke their finger into their playdough ball, I filled the hole up with this paint.  Then the boys kneaded the paint into their dough until the it was back to it's regular consistancy. (dough will become a little too gooey for a minute, but it WILL come back to it's thicker consistancy)

You can see that this will make your hands a little sticky and goopy!  We tried to take pic's of the glowing dough when we were in the dark room, but they just didn't take real well...but I promise, IT WORKS and it's awesome :]

Our second project was making our own creepy graves!  This is an easy (but MESSY) project, and it's edible!  You will need (for 4 cakes): 1 box chocolate cake mix, 1 small tub of chocolate frosting, 4 small bread loaf tins (walmart, 97 cents for a pack of 5), chocolate cookies, gummy worms and spiders, 4 milano cookies, gel (writing) frosting...and any other creepy things you can think of. 

You know, all things in Halloween Town are not part of the 'living' world.  Jack himself sleeps in a coffin.  So why not create a spooky grave scene?

Grab your 'grave' and smother it with mud!
(cake and frosting)
smack the 'ever living' out of those cookies for a heap of 'dirt'...
get your grave dirty!
(pour and smash cookie powder on top of the frosting)
personalize your grave stone and make that grave scary!!!
(stick in the milano cookie and use your decor!)
A fun book club for an awesome October day!  There are several things you can do with this be creative :]
Of coarse we came in costume!  We had a creepy creeper, doctor, dracula and an FBI agent!  I was a skeleton witch!  Good Times :]
Reading is an adventure.  It takes us to places we can only imagine!  Everyone want's world peace....well, I want every child to be happy and imaginative.  If I could change the world today, I would make sure every child had someone to read to them and kiss them good night.  Until then...I will do what I do and hope it inspires others to do something too :]

Miss Lisa :]

Friday, October 7, 2011

Boris and Bella

The book of the week....BORIS AND BELLA,  Written by Carolyn Crimi.

A book about an unlikely pair attending a monster party.  Starting out very glum and ending with a twist, it's a fun story.

At book club we tried to recreate the same refreshments and favors that Boris and Bella tried to enjoy at their party.  Check it out....

Eyeballs were part of the Boo-ffet at the Monster we made our own!  Creepy and bloodshot, well's almost halloween!
Created from medium sized wooden balls from the craft store.  White, blue, green, brown and red acrylic paint for whatever color you want your eyes to be.  
Next we explored the Monster's main coarse of the party....Snake-Spit Stew & Maggot Muffins! 
Maggot Muffin....look at those maggots creeping around in that dirt!
(chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate chips...yummy)
Snake-Spit Stew, nothing like some yummy snake heads and guts!
(macaroni & cheese with cut up hot dogs...eeeeww)
CHEERS BOYS!  Let's eat up!
 Boris and Bella played pin the head on the headless we played pin the skull on the skulless skeleton!  That skull ended up in some pretty silly places :]
not too shabby Mister R!
you're a little off, Mister K :]
great spot to put a skull Mister D...and nice spooky face!
Mister A...your skulless skeleton needs a Chiropractor!
Before Boris and Bella were swept off to the party time dance floor they sipped on some Ghoul Drool!  We would not ever sip on ours (we would get super sick if we did), however, our Ghoul Drool RULED!!!
Mr. K and Mr. D made green drool...gooped right through their fingers!
Mr. A and Mr. R...well their faces say it all.....AH! It turned our fingers red and blue!
I don't know who I got this recipe from?  I wish I could remember so I could give credit where credit is due...but just know it's the coolest 'GOOP' recipe I've found yet :]
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups baking soda
1 1/4 cups water
5 drops food coloring
It will be hard to mix.  Using your hands is the best way to mix it!  When it's completely mixed, you'll know.  It feels SO cool in your hands when it's consistancy is right.  As long as you play in it, it will stay the same consistancy.  When you leave it alone for more than about a minute it will harden up again.  I store mine in a quart size baggie and just start squeezing it through my fingers until it becomes smooth again :]

Enjoy all of your adventures & Thank You for checking us out!
Miss Lisa :]

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sucking the Color Out!

I didn't 'feature' any particular book for this book club.  I did gaze into the encyclopedia and then surfed the web for some cool information on Why Leaves Change Color In The Fall?  I came upon this cool site called and pulled together some facts about Photosynthesis, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen and Chlorophyll!
I created a "Fact Sheet" for each clubber.  It explained that leaves take carbon dioxide from the air for food.  That process is called photosynthesis.  Then the leaves produce oxygen, which is something we need to breathe.  When the days get shorter and more dry the chlorophyll goes away.  The chlorophyll makes the leaves green and helps the leaves absorb thier food.

Science Project!


Supply list: leaves
small jars (baby jars)
rubbing alcohol
paper coffee filters
shallow pan
hot tap water
plastic knife

  1. Collect 2-3 large leaves from several different trees.  Tear or chop leaves into very small pieces and put them into small jars labeled with the name or location of the tree.
  2. Add enough rubbing alcohol to each jar to cover the leaves.  Using a plastic knife or spoon, carefully chop and grind the leaves in the alcohol.
  3. Cover the jars very loosely with lids (or plastic or aluminum).  Place the jars carefully into a shallow tray containing 1 inch of hot tap water.
  4. Keep the jars in the water for at least a half hour (longer if needed) until the alcohol has become colored - the darker the better.  Twirl each jar gently about every five minutes.  Replace the hot water if it cools off.
  5. Remove jars from water and uncover.  Place a strip of filter paper into each jar so that one end is in the alcohol.  Bend the other end over the top of the jar and secure it with tape.
  6. The alcohol will travel up the paper, bringing the colors with it.  After 30-90 min (or longer), the colors will travel different distances up the paper as the alcohol evaporates.  You should be able to see different shades of green, and possibly some yellow, orange or red, depending on the type of leaf.
  7. Remove the strips of paper, let them dry and tape them to a plain paper. 
Sounds pretty cool...right!?!  Well, it should have been.  Our's didn't work, but sometimes science has it's own agenda.  The process of learning and experimenting was fun, and that's best part :]
we had the leaves, jars, alcohol, coffee filters and hot water?
I had all my "MAD Scientists" to put it all together?
Oh well...sometimes it just doesn't work!  I beg someone else to give it a try and let me know what in the world went wrong???  

Art Project!

This adventure was quite a bit more successfull :]  My mad scientists switched thier mode to creative creatures and busted out some super awesome leaf sun catchers!  Just look at these!

each leaf is nature and in art :]

8 1/2 X 11 plastic sheet 
8 1/2 X 11 colored cardstock paper (autumn colors)
template (hand drawn are my favorite) of a maple or oak leaf.
spray adhesive (I just used a cheaper kind...worked great!)
multi colored tissue paper squares (cheaper? rip small bits out from tissue you already have in your home - will still look fabulous!)

Draw or trace a large leaf onto cardstock.  Cut out, fold in 1/2 and cut out the middle of the leaf leaving about a 1 1/2  inch edge.  Use the inside cut out of the leaf as a template for tracing the leaf onto the plastic sheet.  Cut plastic sheet about 3/4 inch bigger than it's template.  Spray the plastic leaf with spray adhesive.  It will stay quite tacky for a while, so you have time to work with it.   Choose the tissue colors you want and start randomly (or in a pattern) placing them onto the plastic sheet.  When finished placing the tissue onto the plastic...spray the back of the cardstock leaf with adhesive.  Tack it to the front of the plastic and tissue leaf, matching all sides up.  Hang in a window and watch the sun shine through!

Have fun creating and learning about leaves and their changing colors!  We sure did :]

Miss Lisa

Friday, June 24, 2011

Splish, Splash, Splat!

Today's feature book is Splish, Splash, Splat!  Written by Rob Scotton.
Nervous little cat, Splat, is just sure this is not going to be a good day!  His mom has arranged a play date with Spike, his friend who seems to break his toys and eat all his candy.  Then he finds out that it is his first day of swimming lessons....ugh.  Water is horrible and makes him soggy.  But his day seems to take a turn when he realizes he is not the only one who doesn't like the water!  So...what will Splat do to figure out how to make his day a little better?  I think it's something very brave! :]

This is a great book for those children who are a little afraid of the water.  And the activities I have are great for getting them splashing and wet with no fear!
(My 15 year old daughter even joined in on the fun - so, it's fair to say, all children will enjoy this weeks little book club!)

* 1 small play pool 
* rubber ducks (as many as there are kids)
* hand cut paper fish (as many as there are kids) 
* 1 small bag of candy fish
* random supplies for a small obstacle coarse (i used pool noodles and hula hoops)
* a home made fishing pole
* 1 small magnet
* paperclips (equal to however many fish you have)
* water balloons

(before book club begins...with perminant marker number the bottom side of each duck.  Cut fish shapes out of colorful paper or have the kids color them with fun summer colors.  On the back of each fish write questions that will spark short conversation.  Place a paper clip on each fish where the mouth would be.  Have children create a simple fishing pole, tying a small magnet to the end for the 'hook'. Set up an obstacle coarse.  Using scratch paper, write some activites on small cut out squares, as many activities as there are ducks - I'll give you a hint in activity time.  Hide 'clues' around the yard, I will also explain this in activity time. You're ready to start!)
Just an example of the supplies I used.  
I laminated my fish so they could go into the pool, but you certainly don't have to.  You can place them around the outside of the pool and the idea is still the same :]

It's time to go outside and enjoy the warm summer weather!  Fill the pool before you start your book club.  The water will have time to warm a little before the kids jump in.  After you have read the story ask each child how they feel about the water.  Have they always felt that way?  What kind of "floaties" do they use at the pool?  Have they taken swim lessons?  What's their favorite thing about going to the swimming pool?  Maybe share a story about how you were once afraid of the water and how you got over your fear...this will help children feel more comfortable and understood :]

**Now it's time to play!**  
1. Have a child pluck a duck out of the pool.  Find the number on the duck.  
2. Then tell them you have hid a paper with the same number on it somewhere in the yard (I stuck mine with tape to tree trunks, planter boxes, the garden hose, etc)...have them find it!  All the children can help find the numbered paper, but the child who picked the duck is in charge of the activity written on the back. (example: first to start the game, first in line, gets to be the 'finder' and so on)
3. When the activity is read...then play that activity!  All children participate in each activity!
4. After the activity...start all over again with a new child and a new duck!

I choose to have 6 ducks and activities.  Every one of mine start with jumping into the pool and then back out of the pool (getting used to the water!).  Here they are! Pick the ones your child would like the best, or be creative and make up your own :]
activity #1:  "Jump in the pool, jump back out! Splat loves his candy fish and doesn't want to share!  Search for a bag of candy fish, hidden somewhere in the yard.  When you find it will you be able to share?"  
activity #2:  "Jump into the pool.  Sit down in the water and splash like a crazy cat while your friends count to 20!  Then splash your friends...he he he!"  
activity #3:  "Jump in the pool, jump back out!  Splat doesn't want to play with his friend...but I bet you do!  Grab a water balloon and grab a friend, then play catch until the balloon goes SPLAT!"
activity #4:  "Jump into the pool and lay on your tummy, blow lots of water will be funny!!!!"
(mom, make sure the water is shallow enough for this activity)
activity #5:  "Go ahead, be quick as a cat!  Run the obstacle coarse then come right back!"
activity #6:  "Jump into the pool, now jump out because it's time to go fishing!  There's so much to talk about!"
(some conversation starters I wrote on the back of my fish: What superpower do you wish you had? - What is your favorite thing to do in the summer time? - If you could be any kind of animal what would you be? - What do you want to be when you grow up? - Who is your hero?  After each question is answered ask the children why they chose that's sure to get the conversation going!)
catch? or splat!
Oh, I found clue #6!
splashing like a crazy cat :]
We finished the obstacle coarse...YAY!

There's no right or wrong way to set up these activities.  If my instructions seem complicated (but, I hope not!) comment below and I will reply - or just make up some more simple ideas of your own!  Good Luck and Enjoy!!!

Happy splashing...
Miss Lisa :]

Monday, June 20, 2011

MOMS! You should check this out!

Hi Book Club followers!  In browsing through my favorite blogs, I came upon this great summer challange :]  It's all about doing something simple and fantastic with your kids every day this summer!  Summer is an awesome time to reconnect with your kids on a more relaxed level ( homework, studying, know!) and how better to do it than with a challange?  Your kids will love these activities!  So click on the "Summer Challenge" button in my side bar or click on the link

Happy Summer Fun!
Miss Lisa :]

Friday, June 17, 2011


Our feature book this week is Cloudette, written by Tom Lichtenheld.  Tom is also the illustrator for the book Duck! Rabbit!, which is another book I love :]
Cloudette is a cute little book about a very small cloud who feels like she can't do anything "big" like her other cloud friends.  On a journey she meets new friends, has new adventures and finds she can do something big in her own little way!
I've read this book to children ages 4 thru 15, and they all loved it!  Cloudette is great for teaching self confidence.

I chose to do two different activities for this book :]  Do these activites outside under the fluffy clouds....SO fun!

activity #1:  making a cloud!
*supplies you will need - 1 empty water bottle (remove the label), 2-3 tablespoons hot water and matches*
Pour the hot water into the bottle.  Light a match and let it burn a little bit then blow it out.  Hurry and stick the smoking match into the bottle covering the top as much as possible.  After a about 3 seconds pull match out and quickly put the lid back onto the bottle.  Squeeze the bottle a couple times and watch as the water is pulled into the smoke...making...A CLOUD! (you may want to notice how the smoke swirls around in the bottle before it becomes more solid!)
clear bottle
cloudy bottle
p.s. this activity will need lots of MOM help and a good talk about using matches in a safe way.

activity #2: cloud pictures!
*supplies you will need - blue paper, cotton balls and glue*
Go outside, lay down on the grass and look up in the sky.  What do the clouds look like today?  Can you find clouds forming into familiar shapes?
When the observation is over...see if you can create what you saw?  Take the cotton balls and stretch them (if you saw stratus clouds - the long stretchy ones) and glue them onto your sky (aka blue paper).  Try to make them look as close as you can to what you saw!  If the clouds were puffy and made shapes (cumulonimbus are big and fluffy) create the shapes they made.  In this case don't stretch the cotton balls.  Leave them and glue them close together into interesting shapes!  This activity can be as free as you want it to be...not all children see the same shapes in the clouds.  What might look like a dog to one could be seen as a dragon to another.  It doesn't's the visual creativity that counts! :]
this is what the sky looked like from my house today...lots of stratus clouds :]
we copied the clouds we saw in the sky!  Since we didn't have any cumulonimbus we created some of our this bunny!
another nice shape to see would be a dinosaur!
Luckily we had a nice clear day to have this book club!  I encourage you to do this on any day, no matter what the sky gives you!  Even if there are storm clouds, it's all good because that would make it even more interesting :]

Happy cloud watching...
Miss Lisa :]

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat...I Love My White Shoes
story by Eric Litwin  art by James Dean

Pete is a very cool cat.  Although he loves his white shoes, he doesn't complain when his shoes "change" along his journey.  Pete just say's, "It's all good." Then carries on on his way!

This book is great for little ones and big ones alike.  Lot's of repetition allows the children to read along with you.  It is also a great book for learning patience and how to have a good attitude.  This cool cat is fun to follow!

This activity may cost a bit, unless you have a pair of white keds to recycle?  My girls and their friends did this activity on vacation, so we didn't have white keds...we used white tank tops.  So keep your options open ;]

When the book has been read and your ready for an artistic adventure dig out those old white keds (or anything around that is white and can be colored on).  Find your colored pack of sharpie perminant markers (or whatever medium you want to use that is perminant), and get to creating patterns and designs on those "groovy" white shoes!!
My girls are older, so these patterns are not a great example of what a 4 year old would draw, but I hope the idea sets in?  Mainly I just wanted you all to see how well the perminant markers work on fabric.
This activity should give kids the opportunity to show off their creativity and imagination, and also experience art on a different canvas.  While the children are 'designing' discuss the cat's attitude.  Can we be like Pete and enjoy the surprises life gives us?  Do we need to get upset every time something happens that we didn't plan on happening?  Practice saying "it's all good" a few times and maybe make up your own song to sing when life throws you a curve ball!  Then let your children wear thier 'new' shoes to the store, park or grandmas proud they will be! :]

*colored pack of perminant markers or paints
*white keds that fit, of coarse :]  (or t-shirt, pillowcase, shoe laces....)

That's're finished!  So much fun, and time well spent with your little ones :]
I appologize for not getting this book out until Sunday.  My family was on vacation in Lake Powell and I didn't have an internet connection.  I hope you enjoy this weeks book and I will touch back with you on Friday for a new adventure :]

It's All Good!
Miss Lisa :]