Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy Columbus Day!

Columbus Day comes and goes with very little fan-fair.  There are no fireworks or big family dinners. In fact, we don't even get the day off of school. There are no theme songs that we can hum as we.... wait... now there is!   Let me introduce you to the talented Peter Binskin.  

This is the perfect song to introduce your little ones to Christopher Columbus and why we celebrate (we don't really) Columbus Day. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Garden Party Ideas - Childrens

A beautiful flower garden is the perfect place to host a variety of occasions, especially a child's birthday party. There are a lot of themes that are well suited for a garden. And there are a lot of ways to incorporate a theme and enhance the natural beauty of the venue.  

Themes - Children's Birthday Party

Children, particularly little girls, love flowers and everything frilly and fragrant. For the little lady who is interested in all things feminine, the garden party is the perfect solution. There are a lot of themes that will couple brilliantly with the garden setting.  Here are a few popular ideas. 

Alice in Wonderland

The timeless children's tale of the sleepy and curious girl, Alice, who falls down a rabbit hole is a fun and festive theme with a garden setting.


There are several iconic symbols associated with Alice in Wonderland. You can use these symbols to create memorable invitations for your child's party. 
  • A deck of cards -  The Queen of Hearts is a major character in the story. Consider ordering a personalized deck of cards to use as an invitation for an Alice in Wonderland party. You can order a deck for cards for around $20 from companies such as Shutterfly.  The standard deck of cards will come with a personalized back which can be created with an image and text inviting guests to the party. 
  • A clock - Don't let your guests be late for a very important date by creating a memorable invitation. Use a clock theme to display party details. You can pick-up inexpensive watches at dollar stores to attach to a printed invitation or you can use clock clip art to create a custom invitation.
  • Read Me Please... - You can use a generic store-bought invitation and can make it more theme specific by simply printing a quote from the story on the envelope.  "Read Me' is a famous line from the story that is perfect for this themed party. Hire a caligrapher to white this statement on this envelope to add a touch of elegance and whimsy. 


Enhance the garden setting with some Alice in Wonderland specific decor items.
  • Large playing cards - Create large playing cards out of large pieces of foam core, which can
    be purchased at dollar and craft stores. Draw and paint the Queen of Hearts image on the foam core. You can also create other cards.  Then lean the large cards against tables or trees or suspend them with invisible thread from tree branches. 
  • "This Way, That Way..." Sign - Create a rustic sign out of rough wood that is in the shape of arrows to greet guests. Write the famous words from th ebook, "This Way," "That Way," "Wrong Way," "Go Back," and "Tea Party" on them. This is a  great decor piece to place at the party entrance and to help direct people to the specific location of the festivities. 
  • Large Clocks - Find, buy and borrow every clock you can find. The rabbit in the story provides us with a very famous quote:"I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date" and clocks are the perfect way to represent this. You can also cut circles out a card stock and foam core and paint your own large clock faces to use as decor pieces. 


No party is complete without some refreshments and marrying the theme to the food makes the party extra special.

  • Tea - Alice was invited to tea with the Queen of Hearts, so serving a variety of teas in a logical drink choice for an Alice in Wonderland themed party. Serve the tea in beautiful, china cups and offer a variety of flavors. If you are inviting younger children who might not like tea, consider serving lemonade from a pretty teapot. 
  • Food Embellishments - No matter what types of food you choose to serve, from cupcakes to cake pops, you can embellish them with playing cards or labels that say, "Eat Me" to help tie in the theme.
  • Other Beverages - No matter what beverages you choose, you can help tie the theme in through custom tags and  labels. Create cute little tags that reference the story by stating "Drink Me" to hang from the necks of glass bottle sodas or water bottles. You can also create custom labels for your drink of choice by removing one and measuring it. Then create a custom label in a graphic program that can be printed, cut and glued to the bottles.  Consider printing, "Drink me to Grow Smaller" and "Drink me to Grow Bigger" on the drinks to reference the drinks that Alice had to consume in the story. 


Party games is a great way to keep children entertained and theme specific activities will show guests that you have put a lot of thought into your party. Always provide adult supervision for party activities and games.
  • Hat Decorating - Provide guests with plain, white paper top hats such as these from Discount School Supplies, and some paints, ribbon, sparkle and silk flowers so guests can create their own fun and festive party hat.
  • Croquet - A game of croquet is a great way to engage a group of children. A standard croquet set is sufficient, but consider finding or painting a set in your theme colors. 
  • House of Cards - Provide a deck of cards for each guest and ask each one to create a house of cards. This activity is best done if there is no breeze that could potentially blow the house of cards down. You could also create teams to create the house of cards. Award a prize for the guest or team who creates the best house or give each participant a gift. 

Fairy party

Whimsical and mischievous little fairies are popular with young children and provide a perfect theme for a garden party. Choose a specific, popular fairy or choose to feature generic fairies.


  • Scrolls - Create a rustic looking invitation by printing the party details on light parchment paper and roughing up the edges. Roll the invitation and tie it with twine and finish it off with a fresh green leaf.
  • Fairy Wand - Print the party details onto card stock and cut it into a heart or another fun shape. Then glue the shape onto a painted dowel stick. Add ribbon and some glitter to create a fairy wand invitation. 
  • Tiny Print - Create an invitation suitable for a fairy by using a small, but legible font. Use a size five or six size font for a great effect. Then roll the paper into a scroll and tie it to a magnifying glass (available in the party favor aisle). 


Fairy parties can be enhanced by theme appropriate props and decorations.

  • Tree Door - As fairy enthusiasts know, most fairies live in the woods, Find a flowering tree in the garden and attach a cute little door to the truck. You can create a door out of wood or foam core by cutting out a door shape and painting it. Don't forget to attach a small Styrofoam door knob. Attach the door to the trunk of the tree by resting it on the ground and securing it with duct tape. Create a circle with the duct tape so the sticky part is out and put it on the back of the door and press firmly against the tree. 
  • Fairy Houses - Create an activity station for little party goers by covering a table with a delicate table cloth.  Then fill the table with small bird houses and provide brushes, paints, glitter and glue, stickers and even some silk flowers. Invite guests to paint and decorate their own fairy house. Once the houses have been decorated, you can hang them from trees or set them on tables as decorations. By the time the party is done, the houses should be dry and ready guests to take home.
  • Fairy Wings - Buy fairy wings from a dollar store or party supply store. Hang the wings from trees with ribbons to create a festive look.  You can also attach wings to the backs of chairs and allow the guests to remove them from their chair and wear them at the party. 


Even fairies need to fuel-up, so provide your guests with yummy and theme appropriate goodies.

  • Miniature Menu - Serve mini treats to your guests to enhance the fairy theme. Frost Cheerios or another "O" shaped cereal, add sprinkles to create mini-donuts appropriate for fairies' small hands. You can also serve mini-pizzas made from Ritz crackers with a little tomato sauce and some cheese on top or slider burgers, Serve food on small doll sized plates. Be sure to have other, full sized foods, available to satisfy hungry tummies. 
  • Sugar Cookies - Serve butterfly and flower shaped sugar cookies. Embellish the cookies with pink frosting and edible glitter (available at baking supply shops).  You can also allow guests to decorate their own cookies which will create an activity for guests.
  • Fairy Wands - Use skewers to create fairy wands to enhance the theme. Stack cubed fruit such as watermelon and other melons, strawberries and grapes on a skewer. You can add a star shaped kiwi or flower cut from a watermelon on the end. Use caution when serving skewer food to young kids.  You can also create a fairy wand from a cake pop, shaped Rice Krispie treat or by dipping a straight pretzel in frosting and adding sprinkles. 


Parties are usually full of fun and fanciful activities. Create some memories by involving your little pixies in some fairy games.

  • Fairy Wand Station - Provide dowel sticks that have been painted white and some fun foam shapes. Allow the guests to glue a shape to the end of dowel or for younger children, have it done before the party. Have glitter, ribbons and other embellishments for the children to decorate their wands.
  • Capture a Fairy - Let the guests capture their own fairy to take home as a favor.  Buy small fairy dolls or find some fairy stickers and mount them on card stock and cut around the perimeter. Then use clay or Super Glue to attach the small fairy doll or cutout to the inside lid of a jar. Add some small, artifical flowers, a little glitter and some greenery to the scene and then put a jar over the top and screw on the lid. You can tie a ribbon around the neck of the jar or glue the lid on should you choose to do this. 
  • Fairy Obstacle Course - Create a maze or obstacle course fit for a fairy in training. Set-up various stations that the guests must go through in order to complete the maze. Possible stations ideas include blowing bubbles, sprinkling pixie dust (glitter), and jumping rope with vine of artificial flowers. The person who can complete all the tasks in the shortest amount of time could win a prize. 

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit, the lovable character of Beatrix Potter books, is a perfect theme for a garden party. A Peter Rabbit theme can be used to celebrate an event for either a little boy or girl and is popular as a first birthday party theme.
Give guests an idea of what they have to look forward to at the party with an inventive invitation.
  • Bunny Shape - Cut white paper into the shape of a bunny and print the party details on the paper. You can enhance the invitation by putting cotton balls or a white silk carnation as the tail.
  • Cards - Create an old fashioned looking postcards featuring the image of Peter Rabbit. Find the images on stickers at gift shops or online. You can also blank cards online such as these cuties from the Beatrix Potter shop
  • Book Pages - Buy an inexpensive copy of the Peter Rabbit story and use the pages as invitations. Pull out a page, paste some pastel paper that has been cut into the shape of a rabbit onto the book page. Write the details about the party onto the card stock. 


Dig into your Easter decoration items to deck out your garden for a sweet Peter Rabbit themed party.
  • Rabbits, Rabbits, everywhere - Look around your little ones' toy box and your Easter decorations for little white bunnies to use as table decorations and to place around the party venue. Also shop around Easter time for other rabbit decorations. With a little forethought, you can even shop after Easter clearance sales.
  • Books - Find some vintage copies of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit to use as decorations. You can use newer copies with beautifully illustrated covers as decor pieces as well. Lay the books around the party venue for a cute look. 
  • Baskets of Carrots - Old-fashioned wicker baskets full of carrots (prefereably with their greens still on them) are great decor pieces. These decor pieces will add a whimsical look and some color to the decor. 

Little party bunnies can get pretty hungry running away from Farmer McGregor so be sure to provide some yummy treats.
  • Fresh Veggies - Peter was often tempted by the fresh veggies in Mr. McGregor's garden. Provide the same fresh veggies for your guests. Use baby carrots and other veggies that are cut into bite size bits. Serve ranch dressing or another dipping sauce along with the veggies.
  • Carrot Cake - Cake is integral part of party menus. Consider serving guests carrot cake or cupcakes to further the theme. Use a cream cheese frosting and carrot deorations to embellish the cake. 
  • Candy Carrots - Create candy carrots using clear plastic baggie cones sold at hobby stores in the cake/cookie/candy making aisle. Fill the baggies with orange jelly beans. 


Keep your little bunnies busy and out of Mr. McGregor's carrot patch with engaging activities.
  • Rabbit Petting - Bring a few little furry rabbits to the garden for children to pet and play with. Create a sign that says, "Meet, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter" to put up near the bunnies. 
  • Pin the Tail on Peter - Create a "Pin the tail on Peter" game as a variation of the traditional "Pin the tail on the Donkey" game. You can print-out a game poster at  You can enhance the tails by gluing cotton balls on the tails. 
  • Book Reading - Choose a nice setting, perhaps a nice chair under a shady tree, and invite the little guests to hear the story of Peter Rabbit. Be sure to read it in a lively and antimated way to engage their interest. 
Whether you choose to host the party in your own garden or at public garden or park, remember to bring sun-screen and plenty of water to help keep guests safe and happy.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Louisville, KY Attractions

Although the Northwest is the BEST place on Earth (I am a little bias), I do like to travel. Most people who visit Louisville, Kentucky already know to visit Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and the Louisville Slugger Museum, but I sometimes like to take the road less traveled. Here are a couple of ideas for those who like to see some of the lesser known attractions. 

The Thomas Edison House
Edison's Door
Nestled amongst the tall buildings of downtown and the clanks of near-by industry, is the unassuming, but charming, Thomas Edison House.  I visited this great little gem a few years ago for a research for a paper I was writing, but this time, I was strictly there as a tourist.  Thomas Edison lived in this humble home just after the Civil War.  His room has been decorated in period furniture and curiosities.  According to Edison's journal, he read a lot  while he was living in this house.  His book shelves are filled with many of his favorite books, as well as popular reads of the era. 
Move on to the next room to explore some of Edison's other inventions.  Some of his well known inventions are there, but others may surprise you.  I don't want to spoil your fun by telling you about it.  I'll let you discover them on your own.  There is lots to read and some things to touch as well.  A wealth of information is available to you.  Whether you are a history buff or you just want a fun tourist experience, you won't be disappointed in the Thomas Edison House.  Don't forget to stop by the gift shop on your way out.  We picked-up some pencils and light bulb erasers. 
The Cracker Barrel
If you come from an area that has not been blessed with a Cracker Barrel, let me tell you about it.  Cracker Barrel is a southern favorite and is a must for me anytime we visit a city that has one.  Down home cooking meets Southern charm and you get the Cracker Barrel.
My kids particularly like the Country Store.  There are interesting local and regional items as well as unique decorations, old fashioned candy and wonderful decorative items and decor.  Clothes, tourist type memorabilia and country living goodies can all be found.  Although there is sometimes a few minute wait to be seated, you will always find something to do.  I found the store to be a wonderful distraction for hungry little kids who were waiting to be seated.  If you're tired, you can always find comfort in the old fashioned style wood rockers that line the porch at the front of the restaurant. 
Once seated, you will see that the Southern Charm can be seen everywhere.  Every table is set with a game.  What a great way to keep the kids busy while waiting for their food.  The prices are very reasonable (some may even say "cheap") but the portion sizes are anything but skimpy.  I always enjoy the egg sandwich, but every meal I've had at Cracker Barell has proven to be as scrumptious as you would imagine home style southern food to be! 
One of the wonderfully odd things I've found about the Cracker Barrel is that no matter how busy they seem to be, the food always comes out in a timely manner and the staff is always friendly.  Not sure how they are able to pull that off, but that is probably a big part of why this chain is so very successful. 

Stay tuned for more information about Louisville and other fun destinations.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bucket List - Kid's Mid-Summer Edition

It's summertime .... the sun is out and the many hours that your kids are usually at school are now being occupied by outdoor play and maybe even some video game time. It's about that time in the summer when kids start to lose interest in all the things that they had been looking forward to all year.

So here is my list of low budget summer activities that will keep your kids busy until the school bell rings next fall.

  1. Backyard Camping - We've all gone camping but have you gone camping in your backyard? Not a new concept, but it might be new to your family.  Borrow a tent if you don't have one or consider buying one now that they are on clearance sales. Have a barbecue and sleep under the stars. Tell scary stories,  roast marshmallows and maybe even play guitar and sing around the campfire. You don't have to leave home to have a good time you don't have to pay a hefty camp site rate in order to give your children the camping experience. 
  2. Stargazing - I remember fondly  when my dad would take me out after dark and go down by the lake where we lived. He got out the telescope and set it up on a wooden picnic table next to the still lake and he pointed it up to the sky. It was late at night and I felt so grown up being able to be out that late. It was just the two of us there. He pointed out constellations the let me look at the man in the moon close up. I'm planning on doing that with my kids this summer and maybe your children would enjoy it too. If you have a telescope, simply go outside to your driveway and head to the nearest lake. It can be an educational time for your children and they won't even know it, Maybe spend a little time researching different constellations or facts about planets and the moon before you go or ask them to draw pictures or write in a journal about what they have learned. The best thing part about this adventure is that it won't even cost you a penny.
  3. Travel the World (without ever leaving your house) -. You have some vacation time to use-up? But you don't have any money to go anywhere? Don't worry about it! Bring the world to your home. Choose your favorite vacation destination and transform your home and yard into a mini version of your dream place. Want to go to Hawaii? Head to the store and buy ham, pineapple and maybe a few coconut. Then hang tissue paper flowers around your house, download some Hawaiian music or listen to some on the web. Have your children make a lei from silk flowers or simply make a candy lei for your children as a surprise. Want to turn it into an educational event?  Have your children research about Hawaii and discuss it during your luau. You may even want to invite the neighbors for the party. Consider renting a video on how to do the hula dance and have a surprise performance. If Hawaii isn't your thing and you'd rather go to Disneyland but just don't have the money to do it consider having a Disney experience on the cheap. Buy Disney souvenirs, watch your favorite Disney movie and hand out favors with your favorite Disney characters on them to complete your Disney celebration night.
  4. Movie Night - Go to the library and check out your favorite or a classic movie or head to the new release area. Pop some popcorn and turn down the lights to have a family movie night. If you have a projector consider having an outdoor movie on a hot summer night. If you don't have a projector you can still haul your TV outside and pretend you are at the drive-in theater. be sure to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand along with pillows and blankets to cuddle.
  5. Spa Night - Everyone loves being pampered. Consider surprising your family with a night of pampering with bubble bath loofahs and candles from the dollar store. Download some relaxing music from the web and have light snack such as water with lemon wedges and fruit and vegetable trays with cheese on hand. Offer to massage your family member's shoulders and run a nice bubble bath and play relaxing music. You can also find some inspiring items at the grocery store. For instance put cold cucumber slices on your family's eyes

I hope these ideas have helped you keep your little ones busy or that we have inspired you to come-up with some of your own ideas. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fun Box - To Keep Kids Busy and Quiet

Take it from me, a church going, backstage-ballet, long-road trip Mama, nothing can cause as much stress as a bored child. It's easy to entertain if you have a screen that you can shove in their faces (I'm not above doing this) or carrying a full suitcase full of dolls, toys and puzzles. But how do you keep child entertained when time and space is limited? 
Check-out my "Fun Box" that fits into your average pencil box. Pick and choose which of these items are perfect for your little one. Be sure to choose age appropriate items to keep your little one safe (so they don't get poked or choke) and busy.
  • Pipe Cleaners - Believe it or not, this is my secret weapon. Pipe cleaners are small (fit anywhere), colorful, inexpensive and versatile. A pipe cleaner can be contorted into a cute little doll, a flower, an animal and then reused to make something totally different. 
  • Plastic Beads - Can be used with the pipe cleaners to create bracelets or key chains or other crafts.
  • Play Dough - One or two small jars of dough will keep little (and even bigger) kids busy for quite awhile. They can mold it into foods for a pretend meal or use it with other toys to make molds and impressions. 
  • Small Notebook & Pen - Find a wide selection at an office supply or big box store or even at a dollar store. A notebook with a character or a colorful cover is perfect. Add a pretty or cool pen, even one with different colored ink, can be a good time killer. 
  • Crayons - Add a small box of crayons or even a few crayons in a small sandwich bag.
    Crayons are always a good distraction.
  • Coloring or Activity book - A small color or activity book can be purchased or created.
  • Small Book - Early readers might enjoy a new or favorite book.  Even those who are too little to read words can enjoy looking at the pictures of a colorful book or might like being read to.
  • Stickers - Use the stickers with the notebook or coloring book or a child can put them all over their hands, shirts and siblings. You know that will happen. 
  • Small Toy -- Choose a favorite toy such as small dolls (think Polly Pockets) or small diecast cars, like hot wheels.
Put these items in a small backpack, pencil case or even a lunch box. You can even put a surprise candy item such as a lollipop in the case which could also help quiet a cranky child. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mother's Day on a Dime

Moms and strong female role models are perhaps the most important influences in our lives and even though you might not have a lot of money doesn't mean you can't spoil her on Mother's Day. Check out a few ideas on how to treat mom well on a budget.

1. Experience Gift -- Not all gifts come wrapped in pretty packaging and a large bow. Consider giving mom an experience, maybe even one you can share with her. Experience gifts might include a trip to a museum, ball game or even just going out to a favorite restaurant. You can can even create a great experience at home by giving her a home spa treatment or making her favorite meal.

2. Gift Basket -- Create a gift basket by shopping all year round for treats. Pick-up a basket at an after Easter sale. Remember to buy neutral colored grass or filler at the same time. Use coupons, free-after-rebate items and sale items to fill the basket. If you need more items. splurge on a gift card or a bag of favorite coffee. You can also go to your local dollar store to fill in a book, book marks, candy or small decorative trinket.

3. Sentimental Gift -- Win big points with a sentimental, thoughtful gift. Consider having a favorite photo turned into a canvas art piece or creating a scrapbook of photos for mom. You could also look around antique shops for the missing piece to mom's china collection or a replica of her favorite childhood toy.

4. Party -- Throw mom a surprise party on her special day. Use simple decorations that can purchased at the dollar store. Streamers, balloons and plastic table cloths can go a long way. Make tissue paper flowers or pick wild flowers for decorations. You can make a large banner from poster board and prepare dinner for her or bake a cake. Play her favorite music and invite a few special people to visit and partake in the festivities.

5. Labor of Love -- Show mom you care by weeding her garden and washing the dishes. Take on the task that mom hates the most to help give her a day to relax. Run a warm bath for her while you make dinner and rent a favorite movie for her to watch while you do the dishes. Mom's dreaded tasks might include: grocery shopping, cleaning the house, washing the dog or the car, or organizing the pantry. Having these tasks done for them is sure to bring a smile to her face.  You can pamper mom by allowing her partake in her favorite activity while her tasks are being done for her. If mom likes reading, provide her with a new book to read during her down time or if she likes the outdoors, encourage her to go for a walk or bikeride.

A nice gift doesn't have to break the bank. Most importantly, be sure to give mom an extra hug and kiss or simply write a love letter to her.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Nestled between beautiful mountains, is the picturesque Skagit Valley. Mt. Vernon and Burlington are the main cities in this area and are the perfect hosts for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. This area is full of cultural events and historic buildings, along with modern amenities, but what brings people to this area more than of these other attractions are fields and fields of colorful tulips.

To give you an idea of the amount and high quality of the tulips here, the tulips from this area are exported to Holland, the tulip capital of the world. There are fields of pink, purple, red, yellow and other vibrant colors. People from all over the world converge on the area just for this event. It really is a must-see for flower lovers and anyone who lives within driving distance.

If you're visiting the Skagit Valley in spring expect to see hoards of and people, long lines of cars and lots and lots of tulips. It is best to plan ahead and reserve a hotel room well in advance, as they book-up quickly during this time of the year.  We stayed at Best Western Skagit Valley Inn and I would highly recommend. this establishment. The staff was very friendly and helpful and made us feel right at home, right from the moment we checked-in.  The rooms were very clean, which is very important to me. It was also well appointed and gave us time to relax during the down-time between our various activities. Its central location was also helpful as it was never far away from us as we traveled to and from the fields, dinner and other activities.

The hotel doesn't have a pool, but registered guests are given day passes to the Riverside Health Club which is in the same parking lot as the hotel. The kids loved going there to swim. In fact, I think they enjoyed the concept of leaving the hotel to swim. It made them feel "important" when they could "brag" to their friends that they swam at a "club"after they got home. The facility was clean and offered two pools, a lifeguard and some pool toys that are not typically offered with a hotel pool. The dressing rooms were also really large and had showers, hair-dryers and plenty of room.  There is also a nice sitting area with flat screen televisions for those who are waiting for their party in the swimming pool.

I would recommend hiring a limousine or sedan service to transport you to and from the tulip festival, particularly if you are not familiar with the area. Three are many short-cuts and back alleys that will help you get around the crowds and a local driver will know these short-cuts, greatly reducing your wait time. I recommend Best Limousines  & Sedans out of Bellingham, WA. They have tulip tour packages that will get you discounts and save you money in the long-run. We rented one of their vans for our tulip tour and found our diver to be exceptionally friendly and professional. He knew some great short-cuts that allowed us to get into some of the more popular attractions and also some stand-alone fields without having to deal with the crowds.

Two of the most popular spots are the growers.

  • The Roozen family's Washington Bulb Co. - Roozengarde at 15867 Beaver Marsh Road 
  • The DeGoede family's Skagit Valley Bulb Farm/Tulip Town at 15002 Bradshaw Road
The cost for both are around $5 for adults and free for children. Don't discount the free fields too. You are not allowed to go through the rows of the fields, but some of my favorite photos have come from the fields outside of the gardens.  There are large rows between the colorful fields which allow you to get some great shops.

Here are a few more tips to help you enjoy your tulip time:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and assume you'll get dirty. As you'd expect, there are a lot of dirt paths and even some mud. Don't wear your finest shoes. Even if you are going to be taking photos, its likely that you will be surrounded by flowers and your feet won't show. Rain boots are perfect footwear for this event.
  • Bring a nice camera so you can get some amazing shots. There aren't many places in the world where you can see this many tulips in one place, so don't miss your chance at getting some great shots.
  • Plan to go two days if possible. Spend one day dressed in casual clothes, leaving your camera at home and capturing moments with a camera phone and then go back a second day to the areas you liked best and this time bring your nice camera and dressier clothes.
  • Visit in the morning or evening if possible. There will be fewer people and the lighting will be better for photographs.
  • Go on a weekday when possible. Again, there will be fewer people during these days. The weekends tend to be very busy. 
  • Be careful where you park and walk. A lot of the fields are along roads with a 50 mph speed limit. Be sure to watch children closely and obey the parking rules. 
  • Bring a snack and water, which is particularly important if visiting with children. You may be out in a field, far from your car when a little gets the munchies. Pre-packaged crackers or Gold Fish crackers in your purse or backpack might be just what is needed. 
  • Obey the rules of the field. Don't walk between the rows or touch the tulips. You will likely be confronted if you don't obey the rules spelled out on signs. You don't want to ruin your day with a confrontation.
The tulip festival is one of the highlights of my spring and something I look forward to every year. Still not convinced? Don't just take my word for it. This event is number 4 on Buzzfeed's  "29 Surreal Places in America You Need to Visit Before You Die." 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Have a blessed Easter with your friends and family.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Drama Ideas for Preschool Kids

My babes are really into drama... whether they are dressing-up for Halloween or to go on stage, they love the idea of dressing-up and creating a character. Get your littles started early in theater to help them develop confidence and as a creative outlet.

Why Drama?

In 1999, Dr. James Catterall of UCLA, released the findings of a 10 year study how on children's involvement in drama and music affected their academic performance. The study showed that children who were involved in drama and music scored higher in reading and math than students who were not. Performing is an important skill for young children to learn and practice, as it helps them gain confidence, enunciate words clearly, project their voices, become comfortable in front of a group and helps improve listening and reading skills. All of these skills will benefit them for a lifetime.

Improvisation Performances

Provide preschool children with a bag of props and ask them to make up a short story incorporating the objects. This improvisation will help them explore their imaginations and practice performance skills. Alternatively, have each preschool child pull on object out of the bag and pretend to use the object in a way that it is different than its intended purpose. For instance, a student who pulls out a tennis racket could pretend that it was a guitar and tell the class that he is a rock star in a band or could pretend it is a butterfly net and attempt to catch a pretend butterfly.


Puppets allow children the opportunity to perform without having to directly face the audience. Preschool students can use handmade or store-bought puppets to perform. Students can make puppets out of paper lunch bags or socks and simple craft supplies. Marionettes, finger or shadow puppets can also be used by preschoolers. Puppets can be used to retell a favorite nursery rhyme or an original script written by the children.

Other Preschool Drama Ideas

A preschool performance can be a full scale performance with costumes and a full cast or a small scale performance with only a parent or two in the audience. Use books as a starting point for a preschool drama. Read a book to the class and then ask the children to do a skit based on the book and provide simple props and costumes that correspond with the storyline of the book that kids can use. For instance, read the story of Little Red Riding Hood to the preschool class and then provide wolf ears, a basket and a red piece of fabric that the kids can use to reenact the story. Consider adding music or dance to a performance.

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