Edison & Ford

Great day trip when in the area. We drove up from Naples, FL  (approx 45 minutes) with a 7 year old who didn’t want to go, but after we did the self guided  tour, he said it was fun. I am glad we went earlier in the day when it’s not so hot and we could spend several hours wandering through the estate. The grounds are quite beautiful and what an amazing feeling to know Thomas Edison once lived and worked there.

DSC_0044We started the tour with losing Nicholas. Seriously, by the time we paid for a  The Complete Estates Tour the kid was gone.  While we were looking for him all over the estates ( over 20 acres of botanical gardens, nine historic buildings including Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory and the Edison Ford Museum), Nicholas was touring the lab. It pays to be cute, you can go anywhere you want without paying the admission fee ( even though it is not bad  • Adult  $20.00  • Child  (ages 6-12) $11.00 •Child  (ages 5 and under)   FREE).

DSC_0051Once we found Nicholas we started the tour with the museum and the Laboratory. They have some really neat stuff there, kids can make a short movie and you can learn about Edison’s work and inventions.

After that we crossed the road and enjoyed the  tour of the grounds. The  old homes are lovely, the grounds are beautiful, and one can get a sense of what it was like when Edison and Ford were sitting on the huge veranda enjoying a view of the nearby bay.

DSC_0007Edison designed his beautiful  homes that were adjoined by a walkway, and which have beautiful wrap around wide southern porches. We enjoyed  standing on those porches and looking into the rooms at the decor, and hearing about the history of the rooms, buildings,and gardens of both the Edison and Ford homes.

The grounds are breathtaking with the myriad numbers of foliage.  The great banyan trees are gorgeous too.

DSC_0953If you are in Florida with kids, this is definitely a piece of history you don’t want to pass up!


Tissue Paper Heart

What you need:Tissue paper heart
• Card Stock
• Red and Pink Tissue Paper
• Scissors
• Glue
• Tape
• Bamboo Skewers
• Pencil

What you do:
• Draw a heart on the card stock.
• Cut it out.
• Cut tissue paper into 2″squares.
• Crumple each piece into a tight ball.
• Dip into white glue and place onto pattern.
• Continue crumpling and gluing down pieces until the entire pattern is filled.
• Attach the heart to the bamboo skewer with the tape.

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DIY Sky Lantern

What you need:
• Tissue paper
• Glue
• A ½ inch artist’s paint brush
• Thin wire
• Birthday candles
• A bamboo or balsa wood hoop (or equally light alternative)
• Scissors
• An X-acto knife
• Wire cutters
• Plastic

What you do:
• Cover your work surface with plastic.
• Take four pieces of large tissue paper, 12×20″ each.
• Fold them in half, length-wise.
• Trace half of a bell pattern on the top sheet, from the bottom with an opening that is 1/8 the circumference of your hoop.
•  Cut out your shape.
• Unfold the tissue paper.
• Write  your messages.
• Pour some  glue into a container and thin it with water.
•  Lay the first sheet of tissue on your work surface message-down and with the paintbrush, spread your watered-down glue all the way along one edge.
• Lay a second sheet on top of the first, gluing them together along one side.
• Lay a newspaper over the glued half and fold the top sheet over.
• Spread glue along the new side, lay a third sheet atop the second.
•  Repeat the process with the fourth, then fold the forgotten half of the initial sheet over and glue it to the fourth sheet.
• Let everything dry for a few hours.( After a time, you may need to come back and glue the top of your bell to ensure that you have a completed balloon that is only open at the bottom.)
• Wrap one end of a wire around the ring, string it across, wrapping it around a cluster of birthday candles.
• Affix it to the other side of the ring, holding the candles in place in the middle.
• Take a second wire and do the same perpendicular to the first, also wrapping it around your candles, so that you end up with a wire cross in the center of the hoop with candles snug in the middle.
• Once you have your finished hoop and your dry balloon, glue them together.
• Let it dry.
• Carefully take your creation to your launch facility.( You may need to pre-inflate your balloon before lighting your candles, so use a blow dryer on low to blow hot air through the hoop, inflating the balloon.)
• Carefully light your candles, which will continue to fill the balloon with hot air, and lift your sky lantern high into the air for all to see.

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Valentine’s Crafts

Valentine’s Day is a great excuse for a crafty session with the kids – after all there is nothing better than getting a little something made by  someone you love!  We’ve got a large collection of Valentine craft ideas here – something for every age group and ability – so please have a good explore below…

Clothespin Wreath

clothespin wreath cover

Tissue Paper Heart

Tissue paper heart

 Making Kids T-shirts

Macaroni Kid Frame

Macaroni Crafts

 Heart Candle Holder

Crepe Paper Rosettes

Valentines Tea Bags

Heart Bookmark

Wreath of Hearts

Felt Fortune Cookies

Heart Ornaments

3D Heart

3D Heart Cover

Crazy Love

Crazy Love Cover

Heart Stamp

Heart Stamp Cover

CD Candle Holder

Macaroni Jewelry

Paper Flowers

Making Flowers

Sunflower Frame

Worm Art


Tree Sculpture

Twig Trivet

Egg Shell Frame

Magazine Holder

Clothespin Vase

Swirl Vase

Yarn Wrapped Vase

Sponge Painting

Rorschach Painting

Butterfly Art

Crayon Art

Animal Ornaments

What you need:
• Light-colored felt, such as cream or eggshell
• Animal shaped cookie cutters
• Disappearing-ink pen
• Scissors
• Thread

What you do:
• Trace cookie cutters with a disappearing-ink pen on felt.
• Cut out twice.
• Lightly brush glue onto the back sides of colored-felt pieces.
• Sandwich the light-colored piece in between.
• Let dry flat.
• Hang from a length of silver thread, knotting at top.

Teacher’s Day

Traditionally, the Tuesday of the first full week of May is the National Teacher Day in the USA. Therefore the actual date varies from one year to another. Teacher Day is a remarkable occasion for all of us to show our teacher appreciation, whether we are students or we wish to compliment a former teacher, or our kids’ teachers. Additionally, the whole week is considered as the Teacher Appreciation Week, and lots of activities are carried out on this occasion.
The origins of Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers and show teacher appreciation. Woodbridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day that would serve to the purpose of celebrating teacher appreciation across the nation.
The National Education Association (NEA) along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) local lobbied Congress to create a national day celebrating teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980, as National Teacher Day for that year only. NEA and its affiliates continued to observe Teacher Day on the first Tuesday in March until 1985, when NEA and the National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week as the first full week of May. The NEA Representative Assembly then voted to make the Tuesday of that week National Teacher Day.
of teachers and education support professionals actively serving in the U.S. military.
National Teacher Day focuses on the contributions teachers make to help children succeed in school and in life. Showing our teacher appreciation shouldn’t be limited to this week and day, but establishing a particular time of the year for teacher appreciation helps us to remember how important teachers are in society.
The State of Massachussetts has its own separate Teachers’ Day since 1976, on the 11th of September.
The World Teacher’s Day is October 5th.

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Rock Ladybugs

What you need:
• Flat rock
• Acrylic Paint (Red, Black, White, Blue)
• Brush
What you do:
• Completely wash and dry all rocks.
• Paint the rock white. (Red color is brighter when painted on a white background).
• Paint the rock red (Apply two or three coats of paint until you have solid coverage).
• Paint the head area black.
• Apply black dots to the body. Paint them with a round brush, or use your finger.
• With black paint draw a line down the center of the body.
• Paint the mouth.
• Using white paint paint the eye circles
• Make smaller blue eyes inside the white circle.
• After the blue paint dried, make a black dot inside of the eye.
• Make white dots in the black part of the eyes with the end of a paintbrush handle.
• Do the same for making antennas.
• Your lady bug is now perfect.

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Bird in a Cage

What you need:
• An assortment of construction paper
• String or crochet thread
• Double-sided tape
• Plastic lids (Hummus container works great!)
• Small beads
• Double-faced tape
• Scissors
• Pencil

What you do:
• Cut 12″ x 1/4″ strips of paper .You will need four strips per bird cage.
• In the center of each paper strip, make a tiny hole .
• Draw a bird on one of papers.
• Cut out your bird, and make a hole in the center of it’s back.
• Accordion-fold a piece of paper to create wings.
• Make a hole in the body of the bird and insert the wings.
• Cut a 14″ length of string. Tie your bird to the end of the string, and the tie a not in the string 1.5″ above the bird.
• Thread the string through the holes in your four paper strips. Slide them down the string until they meet the knot.
• Secure the strips together (just above the knot) by running a small bead through the holes.
• Run a strip of double-faced tape around the edge of the lid.
• Take your bundled strips, and fan them out like a starburst. Stick the ends of the strips to the edge of the lid, keeping them evenly spaced.
• Cut a strip of card stock 1.5 inches wide and long enough to wrap around the lid diameter. If your lid diameter is greater than the width of your paper, cut two strips.
• Wrap the strip around the tape-covered edge of the lid. Press down and smooth with your fingers.

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Mushroom Egg

What you need:
• Red Felt
• Wooden or Blown Egg
• All Purpose Glue
• Round Cookie Cutter
• Scissors
• White Paint

What you do:
• Trace a cookie cutter onto red felt.
• Cut out the circle.
• Create mushroom cap by creating a wide cone.
• Paint white spots on the mushroom cap.
• Finish mushroom egg by gluing felt cap to wooden or blown egg.

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Egg Shell Frame

What you need:
• Wooden frame
Mod Podge
• Acrylic paint
• Sponge applicator
• Clean and dry egg shells

What you do:
• Apply a thick layer of mod podge to the wood.
• Break off little pieces of the egg shells and apply them to the glue.
• Once you’ve covered your frame, let it dry completely.
• Using your sponge applicator, paint the edges and the inside of your frame in the color of your choice.
• Very gently, apply paint to the egg shell surface.
• Let it dry.
• There you have it!

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Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day History

Every February we celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving flowers, candy and cards to those we love. We do this in honor of Saint Valentine. You may be wondering, “Who is St. Valentine”? Time to brush up on your Valentine’s history!
Legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during third century Rome. There was an Emperor at that time by the name of Claudius II. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those that were married. With this thought in mind he outlawed marriage for young men in hopes of building a stronger military base. Supposedly, Valentine, decided this decree just wasn’t fair and chose to marry young couples secretly. When Emperor Claudius II found out about Valentine’s actions he had him put to death.
Another legend has it that Valentine was an imprisoned man who fell in love with his jailor’s daughter. Before he was put to death he sent the first ‘valentine’ himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it ‘Your Valentine’, words still used on cards today.
Perhaps we’ll never know the true identity and story behind the man named St. Valentine, but this much is for sure…February has been the month to celebrate love for a long time, dating clear back to the Middle Ages. In fact, Valentines ranks second only to Christmas in number of greeting cards sent.
Great Britain is the country who is given credit for starting the printing of greeting cards, especially those expressing love, admiration, infatuation and other emotions.
St.Valentine’s Day did not come to America until 1629 but 100 years passed before the first Valentine Cards appeared in the United States.
The colors of Valentine’s Day are: Pink, Red and White for most cards and decorations, but is also on other Valentine commercial items like clothing, stuffed animals, candles, etc.

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Heart Candle Holder

What you need:
• Tissue paper
• Glass jar 
Mod Podge
• Sponge brush

What you do:
• Cut out a strip  of tissue paper that is equal to the width of your jar.
• Cut some tissue paper hearts of different colors and sizes.
• Using a sponge brush, gently brush the Mod Podge around the top and the bottom of the strip of tissue paper.
• When gluing on the hearts, always start your brush strokes from the middle and move out to the edges.
• Cover the entire heart with a layer of Mod Podge.
• Keep adding more hearts until you have finished gluing them all the way around the jar.
• Let it dry.

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