Dr. Seuss Day!

Today is beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss’ Birthday! Also keeping in line with Seuss’ encouragement of reading it is also Read Across America Day. Many classrooms will be taking part in celebrating by having read-a-thons or having special guests such as local authors come in to read to students. But here are some ways you can participate at home and help encourage the love of reading in children!

Celebrate at home:

  • A hour of reading– unplug, shut off the tv and electronics, silence your phone and just read with your kids for an hour. Have you child practice their reading skills with you by having them read aloud. Share a favorite book with them from your childhood. Time spent together like this will do nothing but benefit your child.
  • Visit the library– many libraries will have events going on like special story times or even a crafting event. Events at the library are fun and free. And while you’re there it’s a chance to check out books.
  • Crafting– so speaking of crafts there are so many crafts that are simple and great to celebrate the day. Pinterest is such a wonderful source for ideas, and there are so many simple ones to choose from if you’re not the fully crafty type like me. Like the plate mask I made in the past with my kiddos.

    Cat in the Hat paper plate mask

  • Character Dress Up– this can be for at home or even for school, as with for my children who’s school was having a Seuss’ themed Character Dress Up Day. You could really do a few different ways with this as you could stick only to Dr Seuss books or do any storybook character. My daughter’s school has done a few different versions of this on Read Across America Day and has had a Whoville dress up day before around the holidays. This year though they went with choosing your favorite Seuss character. I was little nervous about this but it ended up being really simple and fun! We made all the masked/accessories/headbands out of cardstock paper or firm felt. The kids wore solid colors to help with the “costumes” and I personally think they turned out great! There are so many character ideas to be found with a simple google search or my favorite on Pinterest, that it can be really no hassle to do.

    Simple Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax Character Dress Up for Dr. Seuss Day

Celebrate at UCSD

California University of San Diego has a yearly celebration on March 2nd in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known more famously as Dr. Seuss. Theodor Seuss Geisel was a long time resident of La Jolla and even has much of his artwork, manuscript drafts, sketches, books, photographs, memorabilia and more in a Collectionat UCSD as well as a the Geisel Library named in his honor. (The Dr. Seuss Collection is usually only on display around his birthday and during the summer) Come on down to the Geisel Library and celebrate Dr. Seuss 113th Birthday with cake, seussian musical entertainment, an inflatable Cat in the Hat and see part of the Dr. Seuss Collection! For more information on this event visit ucsdnews.ucsd.edu

No matter how you choose to celebrate today it’s a great day to spark a love of reading in your children. Have a very fun seussian day!

Cruzin Mama

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Simple and Fun Polar Express “Train”

It’s almost holiday break for the kiddos and that means Polar Express Day is coming up, this a yearly tradition at my kiddos school which is on the last day before break. All the students are encouraged to wear their pajamas and enjoy a fun day in their classrooms either reading The Polar Express or watching the movie. It’s a great way to kick-off the holidays. But the most exciting part of the day is the Kindergarten parade. All the Kindergarten students make their very own Polar Express Train to parade through the school and all the classes line the hallways to cheer them on. It really is quite a show. And this year is exciting for our little Cruzin family as my youngest is taking part in it! So I wanted to share our creative, fun, yet simple DIY “train”.

Polar Express Train

Like I said we kept it fairly simple with our “train” this time around. Having experience from when my daughter did the same project a few years ago (ok more like 5 years) we had an idea of what the project consisted of and what did and didn’t really work the first time around. Well with my daughter’s we did a “go big or go home” train. We made out of fairly large boxes a very Christmas themed train complete with smoke stack, wheels, and lots of wrapping paper. I for one did not enjoy working with wrapping paper, so this time around I wanted to see about either using duck tape or painting. I also did not want to go very big like we did before as we had a lot of trouble trying to find a way for my daughter to wear her train by using ribbon and strings. So small it is but I knew that building a little replica train even out of boxes can sometimes be a little complicated. I knew with my son’s personality he needed a train to match. So we started talking with him and throwing out ideas and scrolling Pinterest (of course that’s like the holy grail for craft projects!). My little guy got pretty excited to make something Star Wars related but I started to think we were heading to a lot of complicated work and if that was the case we should just do a train. Then while out at Target (I practically live at this store lol), I saw some Peanuts holiday gear and it was like a little lightbulb went off. My Snoopy loving kiddo could do the famous red doghouse. It’s simple, unique, and easily associated with the holidays with the help of some added details.

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We started with a simple file box we already had and cut out the bottom of it and the folding inside of it, saving the cut outs for later. Next up my son and I painted the entire outside of the box red with some inexpensive paint from Walmart. It took a couple coats to try to hide the boxes blue bottom and black writing. After letting the paint dry, I outlined the box with black paint making the outline a little wobbly to give it the cartoon feel. I added some lines on the sides as well in this style to give it the wood look. On the front my son helped me paint the “door” and above it we placed vinyl letter stickers (this was so nice to skip painting each letter).

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Next was to make the box actually look like a doghouse and this turned out to be a lot simpler than we expected. So with the scraps from cutting out the bottom of the box we made two triangle pieces. The pieces were painted and attached to the box using tape (a lot of it since we only have basic tape, packing tape or duck tape would probably work best) and some of the other box scraps to give the pieces support. For straps we used my sons suspenders which clipped perfectly to the inside of the box. We are able to adjust the length easily with them and they are very sturdy.

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Next up was the roof itself, so for that we went out and got a basic poster board. We cut the poster board in half and cut like a half circle to each side. We then taped the halves together and painted both the top and bottom red then did the same black outline that was on the box. The roof is a completely separate piece that just sits on top of the triangle pieces. This will make transporting the “train” to school easier.

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Finally it was time to add some Christmas-y details. I spotted these really great Christmas light necklaces where the bulbs are large and have a vintage feel to them but at around $10 a necklace they were way out of budget. So my spouse decided to look up some pics of similar projects and got the great idea to make some out of construction paper. This really worked out great and saved me on going and buying more paint. He made two different styled stencils; one the shape of a bulb with a top and the other just a basic bulb shape. He cut the backing of the bulbs from black paper and then made a mix of the bulbs from yellow, blue, green, purple, and reddish pink construction paper. After he glued the colors to the backs, I found some old glitter glue in the crafting box to give the bulbs a little shine. Dad and the little guy then glued the finished bulbs to the roof and I painted the black “light string”. To really give the doghouse a Christmas feel we added snow. This was so easy but very messy! We just coated areas with glue (like pools of it) and shook a bag of “snow” we found at Target in the holiday area, it looks like it is used for little Christmas town displays or for in a snow globe. We shook the snow onto the glue over another box to catch all the excess, there was still some mess but this really helped contain the most of it. And this was the finishing touch.

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The only real thing left to do was to see it all together! We are all so excited at how it turned out.

The finished "train"!

The finished “train”!

With a new pj set on and his Snoopy by his side, our little Charlie Brown is more than ready for Polar Express Day!

Easy Valentine Mailbox

Valentines Mailbox

Since this ends up being such a fun craft and my daughter is so happy with her finished product I thought I should share our Easy Valentines Mailbox ideas! Last year I didn’t have any shoeboxes on hand to use for the requested craft for her class’ Valentines event so we opted to use an empty cereal box. It turned out to be a big success. So we decided to go the same route with this years mailbox. When it comes to projects and crafts I try to use materials already in my home. For both mailboxes the main materials used were construction paper, glue, tape, and an empty cereal box. Pretty simple and it’s really fun to see how creative we can get. I love that this is a little yearly tradition that my daughter and I share.

Valentines Mailbox craft

To get things started my daughter and I did a little brainstorming on what she would like on her “mailbox”. We ran through a few ideas and talked about how to go about making those ideas work. She was a little indecisive on what she wanted but finally settled on doing a Star Wars Rebels theme. She absolutely loves Star Wars and is a big fan of the new cartoon show that features two female main characters. So we talked about doing something with her favorite character Sabine from Star Wars Rebels. With the construction paper colors we already had we worked out doing Sabines helmet for her valentine mailbox. I got to work looking up images and drawing up a sketch to work with. We then covered the cereal box with construction paper together using tape. I traced my sketch onto the color paper my daughter had chosen and then had my daughter cut out the helmet.

Valentine Mailbox sketch

On the helmet sketch I wrote out what colors we were going to use. (We ended up not having some of out intended colors but we found ways to make it work.)

DIY Valentine Mailbox

All the next steps were tracing and cutting out the detailed pieces. I did much of the tracing since the paper I used for the original sketch was very thin and hard to hold in place to trace. So my daughter handled the cutting and assembly, requiring only a little help and guidance.

DIY Valentine Mailbox

We colored some of the construction paper with crayons to get the colors we were hoping for since we a limit selection on hand. This actually gave her helmet the look we were going for anyways. After everything was cut out the pieces were then laid on the pink helmet and glued down. It was almost like putting a little puzzle together. Just make sure not to mix up any pieces and it can throw everything off and can lead to having to starting all over. Once we had everything glued down we then glued the finished helmet to the front of our covered cereal box.

Star Wars Valentine Mailbox

The finished product! I have to say I’m really proud of the work my kiddo and I did. She is so excited to take her mailbox to school and show all her friends. I love that we use a cereal box for this craft since we leave the top completely open. All the Valentines she receives from her friends fit perfectly and no worrying about having to cram them through a small slot.

Owl Valentine Mailbox

This is my daughters Valentine Mailbox from last year. We did a simple but very cute owl. The steps for this were almost the same. We covered the empty cereal bow with construction paper. Then I helped draw out the owl pieces on paper which my daughter then cut out. We used glue to make designs and on the wings, beak and body and then poured glitter on top of the wet glue. The only part that I did completely by myself was the bow since I used a hot glue gun to create it and glue it the box.

Hope you enjoyed this little craft tutorial and that it can aid in future Valentine mailbox ideas!

Cruzin Mama

Michaels Kids Club Crafts

All images from classes.michaels.com

All images from classes.michaels.com

Michaels Craft stores offer fun and inexpensive crafts for kids on Saturdays. These crafts are recommended usually for children ages 5 to 12, but it is up to the discretion of the class teacher and parent if a child not in the recommended age can participate. My son who was 2 1/2 during the Summer series attended many of these crafts but I did stay for the sessions and helped out. The Kids Club crafts only cost $2 per child which covers all materials. There is also special family crafts days that are FREE and the whole family is encouraged to participate. Class sizes for Kids Club are limited so I highly recommend registering ahead of time either in store or online. Family Craft time there is no registration and goes on while supplies last.

November Crafts

  • Happy Snowman Ornament
    Saturday November 8th – 30 min sessions from 10am to 12pm
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  • Family Craft – Thumbprint Ornament
    Saturday November 8th – From 12pm to 3pm
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  • Reindeer Painted Canvas
    Saturday November 15th – 30 min sessions from 10am to 12pm
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  • DIY Felt Stocking
    Saturday November 22nd – 30 min sessions from 10am to 12pm
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December Crafts

  • Happy Holiday Elves
    Saturday December 6th – 30 min sessions from 10am to 12pm
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  • Cute Yarn Snowman on Canvas
    Saturday December 13th – 30 min sessions from 10am to 12pm
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Happy crafting!

Cruzin Mama

Kids in the Kitchen

My daughter has been attending quite a few Junior Chef classes this summer and has had such a wonderful time at them. She is now asking to help in the kitchen as much as she can. So I’ve been finding meals that are not only healthy but fun to make. Plus it’s much easier for me to prepare our meals fresh since we have a lot of diet restrictions. The other day my daughter and I made our own pizza. We used vegan cheese and vegan dough and some veggies we had on hand. It was my first time ever working with dough and it was an experience, our pizza’s crust was pretty thick. But the final product was great! We ate it up so quick I forgot to take a picture of it.

Our ingredients for our yummy dairy free pizza.

Our ingredients for our yummy dairy free pizza.

All preped and ready to start.

All preped and ready to start.

Putting it all together.

Putting it all together.

Ready to bake and already looked good enough to eat.

Ready to bake and already looked good enough to eat.

Having you children help in the kitchen is a great way to show them how to make healthier choices. It is always great to see them so proud of themselves and what they have made. I’m sure that it makes the food taste even better. Get to cooking!

Cruzin Mama

Mother’s Day Craft

So this year I have decided to try to craft more for holidays than to purchase cards. We usually do all holidays pretty low key and stick to a budget. When I was getting some laundry detergent at Target the other day I went to the card section to check out Mother’s Day cards. I can’t believe how much some cards can cost! I saw a cute one that was from multiple grand kids to a grandmother I was thinking about purchasing it until I checked the price. The card was almost $5. So then I started to calculate things: a card for my mom, a card for my mother-in-law, one for my grandmother, one for my grandmother-in-law, oh shoot there are not any that are from multiple great grand children so that means one from each of them. Um, I can’t spend over $20 on cards so I decided the kids will make their own cards then. While going through craft supplies I already had at home I came up with the idea of the kids making a little craft. So here is the little craft we made, the only item that was purchased was the photo prints from Target which was under $2

Some of the craft supplies we already had, most of which is from the Dollar Tree

Some of the craft supplies we already had, most of which is from the Dollar Tree

Our craft: flower in a flower pot- the petals were the kids hands and they wrote a message on the back.

Our craft: flower in a flower pot- the petals were the kids hands and they wrote a message on the back.

One of our finished products.

One of our finished products.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Cruzin Mama