Thursday, March 31, 2016

Poetic Pink

Photo by Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Pink puffs perfectly poised to produce
pretty pearls of poetry.

warmed by sun's long days
life-giving nectar drawn up
to the sky; beauty
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell
What about you? What do you see in pink?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Favorite Play Dough Recipe

Pumpkin spice black pepper orange play dough - lots of fun!
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Play dough is one of the absolute best toy/manipulative/sensory activities available to kid-dom!

I kid you not. Snicker, snicker. And not the snicker of the famed chocolate and peanut variety.

This is the best and most versatile recipe I've found. I have used it for over 20 years and have only rarely uncelebrated failure.

Tools make all the difference. Cutting, chopping, manipulating, and making prints are great activities for little hands.
Best Ever Play Dough Recipe

3 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 T. oil (vegetable or baby oil)
1 T. alum
3 cups boiling water
Paste food coloring (add to boiling water to melt and mix it)

1. Put dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well.

2. Drizzle oil over dry mix.

3. Stir food coloring into boiling water. Pour over ingredients.

4. Stir well with a wooden spoon and spatula.

5. Turn out onto a counter. It will be hot, but you have to knead the dough while it is hot to activate the ingredients. Knead the dough and scrape off sticky bits with a spatula. Don't worry, it will get less sticky as it cools. If it is horribly sticky, add tiny bits of flour as needed.

6. After the mixture is well mixed, cool completely and store in a lidded plastic container.

7. Enjoy!

This is the basic recipe. I often add spices or textures like pumpkin spice, cornmeal, or cocoa. Play with the recipe. It's worth the mess.

Today Donavyn and I made play dough. He wanted orange, so we made orange. I wanted a scent, so I added pumpkin spice. He also wanted to dump pepper, so we added pepper!
Old tires make great tracks.
Together with play dough, tools and toys add to the experience. Be creative and grab things that make patterns, cut, chop, shape, and can be used to interact with the play dough. Avoid using anything you truly love. The salt and necessity of a good wash can potentially destroy special items. Stick to the eventually-disposable toys and you can dump your worries in the trash.
Even the sides of tires are interesting.

Even this 53 years-young kid loves to play with play dough.

What's your favorite sensory toy?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Catitude Haiku

Monet expressing her cat-ness

yes, I am Gray Queen

royal bed and rest doth call

stop bothering me
by Angie Quantrell

Monday, March 28, 2016

Imagination & G-Paws Big, Big Door

by Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell
Donavyn playing with poker chips and making G-Paws big door.
"G-Paw has big, big doors." Said the boy who loves doors of all sorts.

Besides frequent discussions about doors, daily practice in opening and closing doors, making up silly songs about things that open, and drawing doors using various art materials, we have now added building doors with interesting manipulatives.

(For those who don't know about manipulatives, they are collections of junk or toys that can be used in play or learning - blocks, empty thread spools, lids, and so on.)

Donavyn pushing the button to open the garage door.
Mr. D recently had a day where he was quite creative about making G-Paws big, big door (garage door).

First, he wanted to make the door from plastic card chips (great manipulatives - they used to be tires during our play sessions - see how they transform?).

Do notice the white chips. They are the garage door opener switch. If you push those buttons, you have to make "Ehrrrrrrrrrrr" sounds as the door rolls up.

Next, Mr. D wanted to use magnetic letters on the refrigerator to make, yes, you guessed it, G-Paws big, big door.

Donavyn pushing the tiny switch button on the letters to open the garage door.
Again, buttons for controlling the opening and closing of the door were included. As an extra special treat, some of the letters had tiny little light switch looking shapes on them - perfect for button controls! Don't forget to say "Ehrrrrrrrrr" as the door opens.

We eventually moved on to using paint daubers (also known as Bingo daubers) to make doors and people. As long as doors and doorknobs were included, we were happy campers.

Isn't imagination a wonderful thing?

What creative ways have you seen children using their imagination? You might just have the next idea I need!

Monday, March 21, 2016

68 Card Pick-Up

stamps, ink, scissors, tape
crafting, planning, creating
art adorns greetings

Haiku & Rubber Stamped Cards
by Angie Quantrell

Monday, March 14, 2016

Language and the Child (The Never Ending Song)

Last night we had a certain granddaughter spend the night, as this morning Nana accompanied her to the Capitol Theatre to watch Curious George. Loads of fun. But this post is not about the theatre and sitting in the very top balcony right against the railing and Nana worrying about Khloe toppling over and she (Nana) spending time calculating the lowered risk due to bodies of other students right below who would break the fall.

No, this story is about our drive home. It wasn't a really long drive.

But the sheer number of words far exceeded the distance we traveled.

That bit of time spent in the car was filled with language. Wheelbarrows and buckets and shopping bags of words and songs and expressive language.

First, we learned what Khloe liked. And what she loved. This changed with each  new view of things we drove past.

Then we heard some songs. On repeat. On repeat.

5 Little Ducks - sang as many times as the number of ducks in a barnyard

1, 2, Buckle My Shoe - sang enough times to cover a classroom of buckled or velcro'd shoes

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes - sang more than the number of students in her school

1, 2, 3 Jesus Loves Me - new to me and performed for several miles

The Days of the Week - sang a conservative estimate of at least 3 months worth

Row, Row, Row Your Boat - sang enough times to sink a boat, even though one of us (the youngest) got side-tracked and giggly about the 'life is BUTT a dream.' No amount of explaining could get her opinion of but to change.

Now Nana is used to this fun with words, but Papa not so much. He tried several times to derail the music train, but it kept right on chugging, occasionally switching tracks, but steadfastly choo-chooing down the path. Who needs a radio anyway?

All this to say, the girl is enjoying language. And singing. And silly words and word games and entertaining herself.

Be silly. Sing songs. Get giggly. That's what it's all about.

Other than the Hokey Pokey.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Meeting in the Middle Really Works

meet in the middle
drive separate roads to where
catching up is fun
~ Haiku by Angie Quantrell

Meeting in the middle works.

Yes, the sort of meeting in the middle that signifies compromise and working together - that works.

But also the physical, drive and meet in the middle between two far flung locations - that works as well.

Making the most of a federal holiday, a friend and I recently met in the middle for a fun day of rubber stamping, visiting, and eating. We've been discussing the idea for quite a long time, but could never put wheels on our vision.

Until we stopped talking and started driving. She booked a hotel room for her daughter and a friend and herself. I met them. We took over the hotel's business conference room table, where we were front and center for the excitement of the day.

It was great!

Due to the limited amount of time, we really focused. We only brought some of our mountains of supplies and ideas. We only shared one meal. We only began some projects, stacking them for completion later at home (one of the best unintended parts of the day). We only spent a short time visiting a local thrift shop.


Now we know where the middle is and plan to take advantage of this knowledge again.

You should try it. Who do you want to meet in the middle?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Wrap Them in Love - Making Baby Quilts

What a whirlwind!
The last two weeks have been filled with anticipation, preparation, and organization to get ready to welcome our two new baby girls to this big world.
But the desire to love and welcome them makes it all worth while.
Even when one has to borrow a sewing machine (since hers is broken), one has extra furry help (though it is not requested), and one has to shuffle to meet all those little deadlines so all could enjoy the parties.

Baby quilts are my favorite gift to make for newborns. The last go-round included several boys, so this crafter was excited to add some pink and flowers!
Love them, snuggle them, wrap them in quilts.
Congratulations mommy's, daddy's, sisters, and brothers
(and grandmas and grandpas).

Wrapped in love. 
Way to go, Amplify!