Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Great Wall of China Model

As mentioned in my post, How to Make a 3D Model of a Pyramid, my 2nd Grader is participating in a class project called "The Amazing Race".  Each student is supposed to "visit" five of the seven continents and do a "task" for each visit.  The 3D pyramid was for Africa.  My sons next continent was China and he decided to create a model of the Great Wall of China. 
So, off to the Internet I went to find ideas on how to make the Great Wall of China.  I found a great blog called, Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Her idea was awesome and fairly easy.  But, I had to make modifications to suit us and make it our own. 

I couldn't find Styrofoam blocks at my local stores, nor did I have time to order them online (we only had an afternoon to build it).  However, I did find a block of Styrofoam at Walmart.  It was about 2 inches x 12inches x 18 inches.  I had to cut this large block into small bricks.  I only used 3/4 of the block for this project 

I had never worked with Styrofoam so, I tapped away on my keyboard until I found a great website discussing the basics of working with Styrofoam.  They include a great informative video - STYROFOAM Tips.  From the video I learned how to cut Styrofoam, which glue I could use, and how to paint it too!

  • 1 foam poster board
  • 1 block of Styrofoam, 2"x12"x18"- (you could use store bought Styrofoam blocks)
  • hot glue gun
  • acrylic paint (gray)
  • stiff paint brush
  • cardboard (we used a fruit snack box)
  • scissors
  1. Cut the Styrofoam block into small blocks/bricks with a plastic knife (run it through a candle first, to make cutting easier).
  2. Using the hot glue gun, glue two parallel rows of Styrofoam blocks onto the foam poster board to create the base of the wall.  Make sure it is curved just like the real thing.  Be sure to include stairs at either end.
  3. Add a second row of blocks on top of your base in a staggered pattern.  Repeat to make the wall as tall as you like.
  4. Hot glue the cardboard on top to make a walking path.  Trim the cardboard with scissors to fit. 
  5. Add another row of blocks along the edge of the path (cardboard).
  6. Build a tower with the blocks in the middle of the wall.
  7. Dip paint brush into paint and tap onto the the Styrofoam bricks, the cardboard path and around the base of the wall.
  8. Use construction paper and a glue stick to create a mountain and some grass around your wall.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Make a 3D Model of a Pyramid

My 2nd Grader is participating in a class project at school called "The Amazing Race".  They have to do a project for five of the seven continents and whoever completes their project before a certain date will receive a prize.  My son decided to make a 3D model of a pyramid for Africa.  So, I hit the keyboard and found lots of different ideas for making a pyramid on Squidoo.  One stood out to us and we decided to make a similar one but make it our own with a few changes.

  • 8 dowel rods (found at Michael's Craft Store)
  • hot glue gun
  • pipe cleaners
  1. Use the hot glue gun to glue 4 of the dowel rods into a square.
  2. Glue the bottom of each remaining dowel rod to one corner of the square at an angle, so that the tops meet together above the center of the square.  (Tip - We used Play-doh to help keep all the rods in place until we were able to glue them.  This allowed us to make sure the angle was correct when we glued it.)
  3. Glue the top of the 4 angled dowel rods together.
  4. Wrap the sides and joints of the pyramid with pipe cleaners.
  5. Print out or draw two pictures of a mummy or sarcophagus and glue them together, back to back.
  6. Punch a hole in the top of the image and hang it inside the pyramid with a pipe cleaner.
I added 5 smaller dowel rods across the base of the pyramid because my son was worried someone might try to wear the pyramid as a hat but, this is not necessary for the structure.  We had so much fun my two younger children wanted to make structures of their own with the remaining supplies. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

My New Addiction - Thirty-One!

I was introduced to Thirty-One about 6 months ago and now I'm hooked!!!  I tend to refer to Thirty-One as today's version of a Tupperware party but more fashionable.  They have a great variety of bags, purses and more to help organize your life.  As a mom of three, I'm all about organizing!  I am slowly building my own collection.  I love the products so much, I'm considering becoming a consultant.

I was invited to my first Thirty-One party from a fellow PTA member.  I went without planning to buy anything, not knowing what I was getting myself into.  But, as soon as I saw all the beautiful bags and patterns, it took me a while to decide what to get.  Even after I left the party I had a wish list for the next party I would attend.

However, after finding out about the amazing Hostess Rewards, I decided to throw a party of my own.  By just having a party, I earned $125 worth of free Thirty-One products, 2 half-priced items (with half-priced personalization) and the chance to purchase two products exclusive to hostesses only.  I knew then that I would be throwing another party in the future!  Another great bonus, when a guest from my party decided to throw a party of her own, I received a free bag with free personalization!  Talk about rewards!!

Each month Thirty-One offers a Monthly Special discounting some of their most popular products!  For example, this month the special is "For every $31 you spend, get an All-In-One Organizer for $5."  That is a savings of $20!

My favorite products so far are the Large Utility Tote and the Hang-Up Home Organizer.  I keep a Large Utility Tote in my car to help me carry several bags up stairs to my kitchen.  I also use it for road trips and carting donations to my kids' school.  I have friends that use it for going to the beach or pool, tailgating or even laundry.  There are so many ways to use the Large Utility Tote, the possibilities are endless.  I don't know what I would do without my Hang-Up Home Organizer!  It has helped me declutter my desk and kept me from losing important papers in piles of paper.  I use the four pouches for each of my three kids and one for my husband and me.  I keep track of the meals I'm cooking for the week, party invitations, and school papers.  Also, it really looks great on my wall.  It's like a functional art piece.   

You can make Thirty-One products your own with the personalization option.  You can choose from a variety of thread colors and fonts and label it any way you like - your initials, your name or something like "Summer Fun", "Laundry" or "Going Fishing".  Check out the current catalog online - Thirty-One Catalog.  Get creative and have fun!

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Baby Favorite - Portable Cradle

My sister recently had a baby and bought a portable cradle for her and it's awesome!  It's the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper and it costs around $50.  I wish I had one when my kids were babies!  My niece loved it so much but now at 9 months old and 20 lbs, she out-grown it.  So, it was handed to my other sister for her baby who is 4 months old and she loves it too!  

There's no need to lug around a big, heavy Pack-N-Play for your tiny new addition when visiting family and friends.  The sleeper is lightweight and foldable, making it easier to take on trips to visit family and friends.  It also has a buckle to keep baby safe and secure.  It's even rockable, making it easier to get your little one to sleep.  It has a deep seat, increasing the snuggle factor for baby and keeping them super cozy.  One of the best parts is, it's backrest is inclined.  So, for those of you with babies who have gas or a cold, this will help them sleep better.  

You can place it next to your bed and have easier, faster access to your baby.  Or keep it next to your couch while you fold laundry or watch your favorite show.  It's easy to take with you from room to room but, please don't move the sleeper with baby in it.  This shouldn't be a problem since it's so lightweight you can carry it with one hand.  BONUS - the cover can be removed and tossed in your washing machine!

This is definitely going to be a recommendation for all my friends expecting or planning to have a baby.  It would also make a great baby shower gift!!  Here's to making a difficult time in a mother's life a little easier and more enjoyable.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

This year I got a gift for each of my child's lead teacher, our bus driver and the new Assistant Principal who was a huge help to us this year with our son.  We love to give to the teachers when we can but, we don't have as much as we would like to give.  So, I try to make the best of what I can find. 

This year I found some great gifts in the $1 bins at Michael's craft store (my favorite place to go for teacher gifts).  Since we are giving the gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week and the school year is almost over, I decided to put together a "pampering kit" for the teachers to help them relax and rest up over the summer.

Pampering Kit ($1 items from Michael's):
  • Nail Files - 2 pack
  • Sleep Mask
  • Manicure/Pedicure Kit
  • Back Massager
Each of the items came in 4 or 5 different colors.  So, I gave each teacher all the items in one color and put them in a gift bag ($0.79 at Michael's) that was the same color.  I buy white tissue paper in bulk, so I already had some at home.  I only used one sheet of tissue paper for each bag. 

I added a little something to spruce up the packaging.  I had ribbon at home from the hair bows I make my daughter.  So, I used coordinating ribbon to make a bow on each bag.  From the bow I had their name that I printed out on card stock and cut out with decorative craft scissors.

I also had note cards that I bought from the $1 bin at Target (10 note cards for $1).  So, I used those to write thank you cards to the teachers and tell them how grateful for all their hard work and for being kind to our kids.

I think they turned out great!  I hope the teachers like them as much as I did.  =)  Happy Teacher's Appreciation Week!!!

*These gifts are also great for End of the Year teacher's gifts, Mother's Day gifts and Christmas gifts too!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quick Tip: Frizz Control

My hair stylist taught me a couple of simple tricks to help me control my frizzy hair and they work!
  1. Cold Rinse - rinse your hair with cold water after conditioning.  Similar to shingles on a roof, hair cuticles lie flat after a cold rinse.  This results in less frizz and more shine.  When you rinse your hair with hot water it causes your hair to be more frizzy or rough looking.
  2. Cool Shot - finish with the cool shot on your hairdryer.  A cold rinse definitely helps but how you dry your hair will make it last.  To keep the frizz down, apply a serum to damp hair before blow drying (I use Rusk's Softwear).  Then finish with a cool shot from your hair dryer.  I use the Revlon Ionic Ceramic Pro Stylist Dryer but any hair dryer with a cold shot will do.