Random Idea: Wall Paper & Fabric Books

Many Paint, Wall Covering & Decorating stores will give away discontinued wall covering and fabric books. I just went and asked at our local store. They took my name and number and said they call people seasonally to clear out their old and discontinued books. She had an upholstery book on hand which she gave to us on the spot. She said she would be happy to call us when she had more to give away. So expect to see some crafty projects in the future using wall paper and or fabric samples!

We already made some beautiful bean bags! The upholstery fabric is nice and thick. The girls are having a blast making up games. We toss them into the laundry basket or onto our small Ikea circle rugs.

I suspect most teachers know this already...especially art teachers! Old wall paper books are great for the preschool & kindergarten classrooms. Because the wallpapers are stiff they are great for Collage, Cutting Shapes, Cutting Letters, Cut out pieces for Matching Games, Bulletin Boards...

Fave Crafts Free Easter eBook!

I am very excited to be part of Fave Craft's Free Easter eBook!

"With the wonderful contributions of some of our favorite craft bloggers, we have put together an Easter Craft eBook: Blogger Edition. Inside this eBook, you’ll find over 60 pages of Easter creativity with wonderful step-by-step photos. Download the free pdf here!" Fave Craft

Check out all the great crafty contributers!

Crayola Factory: Easton , PA

Saturday we took a day trip to the Crayola Factory (the last of the Gotcha Day activities.) Both girls had a great time! Although Emme was on the young side. If your children are 2+ years they will certainly get a lot more out of the experience. Emme still had fun running around, coloring, doing a craft, putting balls into a giant ball drop machine, dancing in front of the color motion screen, drawing on the walls, drawing on the ground with sidewalk chalk! Lulu enjoyed all those activities plus a printmaking craft, painting with hot wax, watching crayons being made, making a stop motion animation movie, looking at herself in the fun house mirrors and using her tokens to get markers, crayons and Model Magic. We felt it was well worth the admission fee and loved how hands on it was. It was one of those places the girls could have spent forever playing in one area. There wasn't really the pressure of trying to "get through." Take your time and enjoy each station. We did! So if your within driving distance to Easton, PA be sure to add that to your list of day trip ideas.

Motion Color Wall: Very funky and the kids loved seeing themselves up on a big screen.

Printmaking Station: Lulu brought her print to the grocery store today! Why? We don't ask. Sidewalk Chalk Area: The girls ran around, laughing and drawing.

Coloring on the Walls! They loved this...so did a lot of the adults we saw coloring along side their kids!

Easter: Bunny Bookmark

Just drew this up...haven't even had a chance to decorate one with the girls yet. A good weekend activity :-) After you decorate and cut out the bunny fold arms in at dotted line. Glue basket in between the bunny's paws. Save picture to your desktop then print on to card stock. Would love to see what you and your kids do with this one...the sky is the limit! Have fun crafting!

Calamity Kim's Apron Giveaway

A fun giveaway over at Calamity Kim's Blog with lot's of lovely handmade items, books, craft supplies and more! Drawing is April 1st. Good Luck!

Easter: Bunny Goo Goo Goggles

Everyone's blogs are filled with lots of fun Easter craftiness. So turning our Goo Goo Goggles into Bunny Goo Goo Goggles seemed the next natural step. Follow the Goo Goo Goggles instructions and add ears. Bow is optional. Have fun!

March 26th, Gotcha Day!

This year has been filled with laughter, tears, drama, tenderness, quiet happiness and laugh out loud joy! Our family has been profoundly changed by a little chun-sa (angel) named Emme. Emme's spirit fills a room. Her smile is sheer sunshine. She is sassy, adventurous, outgoing, curious, smart and playful. Her will and determination will serve her well as an adult and test her parents in the mean time! We will never be as we were and we wouldn't change that for the world. It is hard to even remember what life was like without our two little princesses. Each girl is a true gift, unique in her own way and has added so much love, life and joy to our lives. My husband's and my patience and sanity are continually tested but all we can do is at the end of the day put our exhausted arms around each other and laugh wistfully knowing some day we will miss this time in our lives. We truly feel blessed and thank God every day for both our angels.

I love this picture not only because the calender in the top left corner captures the date of Emme's Fly Day / Gotcha Day but I LOVE the sign for the The Internal Organs Thang! We were not brave enough to order that for lunch...seeing as how we were about to board an airplane for a 13 hour flight!

The crazy Kings (minus one) at the airport in Seoul. Our family is now complete!
You never would have guessed that this little angel and her cohort SP (the other little girl who traveled back to the States with her new family) were panicking the passengers in our section with their non stop crying. One would start crying and the other would follow. Luckily that only lasted for the first hour or so (I blocked the exact details of this out of my memory) of our 13 hour flight! Finally both girls settled in and Emme fell asleep in the little bassinet attached to the bulk head. I couldn't sleep and kept opening my eyes to check on her. She slept the rest of the flight home. We had to wake her to land. Needless to say when we arrived at midnight back in the states she didn't want to sleep.

G is for Goo Goo Goggles (& Gotcha Day!)

We are still celebrating Emme's 1 year anniversary of her Gotcha Day (the day she came home from Korea) this week. I just had to share this very silly craft activity I did with Lulu. We call them Goo Goo Goggles. We love Dr. Seuss' ABC book and when we made these funny glasses I immediately thought they should be call Goo Goo Goggles.

Lulu and Emme were drawing so I started playing around with my punches and viola! Goo Goo Goggles or Elton John Glasses...you decide.

Card Stock, Small Punch (Any shape big enough to see through), big punch (any shape), Scissors, Glue, Chenille Stems (optional), Paint, Brushes, Colored Cellophane (optional)

I folded a piece of card stock in half. Punched the eye opening and then the larger circle (leaving a bit connected on fold.) Unfold & decorate (be silly & creative! I wish we had colored cellophane because that would have been cool to glue over the eye openings.) Meanwhile, cut out the strips for the ear pieces. Fold a bit on end and glue. The goggles did not stay on Emme's face and she protested my use of elastic. She is too wiggly and her ears and nose are so small it didn't work. So these are best for older toddlers on up.

Closeup of how you attach ear piece. As you can see I used an old sentence strip as my card stock. Use what ever you have on hand!

For a variation try the Bunny Goo Goggles we made later this week.

(Not Just) Gotcha Day Craft Ideas: For Families!

An adult adoptee shared a beautiful story about how her mother explained adoption by using the analogy of grafting a branch to a tree. I loved the idea of a tree and a branch growing together as one over time. A family tree seems like a natural craft project.

There are all types of ways you can assemble your family tree (it actually doesn't even need to be a tree.) A paper collage is easy for smaller children. The adult cuts out the pieces. Have the child tell you the family memebers names as you write them on the leaves. You can get creative and use other materials besides construction paper. Cut leaves out of an old painting your child did. You can also cut leaves out of paper made from melting crayon between wax paper, leaf rubbing, fabric backed with iron interfacing or glued to card stock to stiffen, colored foam sheets or felt.

You can hang your leaves on a small tree outside your house with colorful ribbon. Remember to laminate your leaves. (You can use clear packing tape or contact paper)

You can also bring in and decorate a small branch with your family leaves. You also do not have to make leaves! You can make flowers or make Aunt So-and-So a squirrel and Great Grandpa an owl. Have fun and be creative!

You can have older children create a family collage on a small poster board using photos, glitter, markers, magazine cut outs...

You can plant a tree together as a family.

Older children may be interested in volunteering, educating, raising money or even sponsoring a child... There are some wonderful organizations that your older child can get involved with helping other children. I know a lot of schools, churches and community organizations run events like providing backpacks filled with supplies for foster kids. Or even holding a bake sale or lemonade stand to raise money for an organization of their choosing.

Another photo from our journey! Emme's last well visit appointment.
Don't you love the hat! Korea 2008

What is Gotcha Day?

What is Gotcha Day?
Gotcha Day, Fly Day, Homecoming or Forever Family Day is a day to celebrate the arrival of your child into his or her family. Some families celebrate the actual day their child was put into their arms, others celebrate the day they legally became theirs.

Emme's Gotcha Day 2008 / Could I look any happier?

Why don't some families celebrate?
"I think that my mom thought it would make me feel different from others so she didn't have a celebration." LG

When I was adopted in the 1970's the prevailing school of thought was to assimilate your adopted child and not to make them feel different. It is also important to understand many families existed isolated from other adopted families. They simply didn't think of celebrating the day. Therefore, Gotcha Day, was not widely celebrated.

Today some families don't celebrate because they are concerned about upsetting their adopted children while others feel that it is unnecessary,
for many of the same reasons as my parent's generation.

Gotcha Day really only applies to families who adopt older babies and children. Families who are present at their adopted child's birth or receive custody very soon after their birth just celebrate their birthdays.

Ultimately, the choice to celebrate is up to each family. Each family knows what is best for their family and children.

Why is it popular today for families to celebrate?
"...I feel like the day she was placed in our arms was a day we will never forget! We normally celebrate with family and close friends nothing too formal but just a day that she will know that it is HER day!" Allyson

Adult Adoptees frequently comment when asked about their experiences growing up that they wished they could speak openly about their adoptions but felt like they could not for fear of upsetting their parents or seeming ungrateful. Based on generations of adoptees who grew up feeling isolated, ashamed or unable to share their feelings with those they trusted and loved most, todays families are advised to seek out other families with adopted children, they are educated and offered support, they are told to celebrate their child's culture and heritage and most importantly to have an open dialog with their children.

Because of this, many of todays families are much more open with their children. Attitudes regarding adoption have changed for the positive.
Gotcha Day is one way families can celebrate their child and help them to understand what being adopted means. What better way to provide a safe and loving opportunity for a child to ask questions or to hear the story of their arrival into their forever family.

What are some ways we can celebrate our child's special day?
[Gotcha Day]"...is about celebrating and be thankful for [each other.]" Leah

I asked several families how they celebrate their child's Gotcha Day. Here are some ideas:
  • Family only dinner (Older children get to pick what they want or where they would like to go. Eating traditional food of the country of their child's birth is also popular.)
  • Special outing (trip to the park, zoo, museum, aquarium...)
  • Watching videos, looking at albums, and/or recounting the story of their journey home.
  • Small gift (This was divided, some families stressed that it wasn't about gift giving but spending the day as a family others felt that a small meaningful gift added to the day. For children from other countries, a gift from their birth country is an opportunity to share in and learn more about their cultural heritage.)
  • A special cake or treat is popular.
  • Family photo to mark the day
  • For all you scrap bookers out there -- make a scrapbook page to memorialize your day spent together as a family. Add to it every year.
  • The first Gotcha Day: Have family and friends contribute a picture and write a few words to the child about what they love about them or how they have touched their lives. Compile into a special album or photo book to be looked at every year.
  • For families with biological and adopted children -- make the focus of the day about celebrating family -- so no one feels left out.
The overall consensus was - it doesn't matter what you do. Flying a kite together and checking in with your child is what it is all about. Let them feel special and provide the opportunity for them to ask questions if they have any.

I am afraid by celebrating this day I may upset my child.

I can only speak from my personal experience. If you feel your child is not emotionally capable of handling the acknowledgment of their Gotcha Day then trust your instincts. Just remember that is OK for them to express sorrow. As parents it is difficult to know that you can't take away your child's sorrow. Don't read their sadness as rejection. It is not about YOU! It is a difficult concept for a child to process. You may not be able to take away their sorrow but you can provide an opportunity for them to express themselves without judgment.

What if my child show no interest in celebrating their Gotcha Day?
All children go through phases! There could be many reasons why they may say that they don't want to celebrate. This is may be an opportunity to sit down and talk to your child. My thought would be that you stick to your guns, especially if it has become a family tradition. Tell them it is their day and they can choose what they want to do (within reason and as a family.) If they don't want to make a big deal of it -- tone it down -- but still make it about family. You may find the next year they are interested in it again.

Some Links:
Adoptive Families
3 boys and a Princess

Adoption is no easy topic to discuss with your child. There is certainly no one way to go about it! You know your child best. Your Adoption Agency and Social Worker are also a great resource if you need information and support. Please let me know if you feel differently or have anything to add to or share. I welcome your comments.

Gotcha Day! 1 Year Anniversary

This week marks the one year anniversary (March 26) of the arrival (Gotcha Day) of our little Emme. This week we will celebrate Emme! We also acknowledge and celebrate the two beautiful little girls and their families who we met in Korea and share Emme's Gotcha Day. SP and MM this week is in your honor too!

What I have planned:
  • Gotcha Day or Fly Day Craft
  • Gotcha Day Traditions & Ideas
  • Photos from our Journey
  • Adoption Links
  • Personal Essay
If you have adopted and / or are an adoptee and you have traditions, ideas and stories you'd like to contribute and share please email me at: hello4crazykings@yahoo.com
The first post will be Monday. Even if adoption hasn't touched your lives I hope you will check in anyway! Enjoy the weekend, Mama King

What to do With Your Child's Artwork: Handprint Butterflies

OK, I know, this one is a no-brainer. We've all made these when we were kids. That is what makes them classic. I thought what a great way to showcase some of your prolific Picasso's painting. Which we have piles of!! We recycled one of Lulu's Mono-Prints for this projects.

I traced her hand with fingers closed -- notice no spaces between fingers. You can do it open - we did one that way -- they both look nice. I cut them out and together we glued them onto a piece of complementary colored construction paper. I cut out a body and had Lulu glue that down. Next I cut it out leaving a bit of the construction paper showing for visual effect. I added antennae by curling two strips of paper. Very cute for a pre-school classroom. Each child's name could be written on the body vertically. Below, I used a pipe cleaner for the body and antennae.

Another use for extra paintings is cutting them up for use in future collages. Lulu loves to use my punches. The smaller ones work better for smaller hands. She still needs help "punching" but loves the satisfaction of seeing it punched out. I just store these little treasures in a baggy for future projects.

Reversable Skirt

Krissy, my good friend and college roommate (from all those years ago!) suggested I try making a reversible twirly skirt based on the ribbon skirt model. Here it is! I am proud of myself because I figured it out on my own. Although I should have looked at a tutorial online. I think it came out very cute. I really like the weight it adds to it. It gives the skirt more structure. So here you have it 2 skirts in one!

Rainbow Craft: Part II

We finished our rainbow craft from 5 Orange Potatoes. It came out adorable. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about rainbows and ROYGBIV(P). If I were to do it again I would have made a much smaller rainbow. I used a full 8x10 piece of paper for the rainbow template. I think half that size would have been better for a 3.5 year olds attention span. My daughter lost steam pretty early on. I don't have the finish project all cut out and pretty because we used so much glue it is still drying! Over all it was an easy project with pretty results. We also read What Makes a Rainbow & Noah's Ark to tie in with our beautiful pasta wheel rainbow.

Modern Pirate Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Modern Pirate Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Grosgrain is giving away the cutest polka dotted dress. She really is so talented. I can barely sew a straight line! Link to her site to enter.

Rainbow Craft: Part 1

5 orange Potatoes recently posted the most beautiful rainbow craft with instructions. I couldn't believe how vibrant the colors were. So in honor of st Patrick's Day we started the first part of our rainbow craft. We dyed our noodles. Good thing it wasn't too involved because crafting was not on our minds today. It was so beautiful we had to spend all afternoon outside. I even got to clean out my front garden beds while the girls played. Tomorrow is supposed to be even more beautiful! We will finish creating our rainbow while Emme naps.

Great New Educational Site: ABC & 123

Check out this great new site, ABC & 123. Perfect for families with preschool age kids and up. Each day provides a round up of educational ideas centered on a theme or concept. Each day offers several different projects, crafts, and teaching ideas to work on with your kids. Plus the ladies who started ABC & 123 are really great! You can also submit your ideas and projects to them! This is a great resource! I check it daily!

Travel Felt Mat

Katie's Nesting Spot as an easy tutorial on how to make a felt travel mat. The key is the iron on vinyl backing. Great for taking to restaurants! You can just wipe the ketchup off the back.

I added the buttons and made mine a bit longer by overlapping and sewing two standards size pieces of felt together. I also veered off from the basic shapes adding a person, clothes and a butterfly which also doubles as fairy wings. Right now we just store the felt in a zip top bag and roll it up with the felt mat.

Felt Bunny Pins, Part II

On Friday I posted the felt bunny pins I made for Lulu's Teachers. Here are the card stock backings Lulu & I made to present the pins on. First we covered the card stock eggs in felt. Next Lulu decorate them with pieces I had already cut out for her. I pinned the bunny pins to them. I will add an Easter message on the back of eggs. These will be presents for Lulu's Preschool Teachers.

Sunday Morning Snapshot

Found Lulu "reading" Emme a book this morning. A moment of calm in a sea of chaos. I guess chaos exists so you can truly enjoy the moments of calm.

Felt Bunny Pins

Check out these adorable Bounding Bunny Pins. I found the free pattern via One Pretty Thing. They are small and took no time at all to sew. I am going to attach the bunnies to egg shaped card stock backs covered and decorated with felt. These will be Lulu's teacher's gifts for Easter. I'll post what they look like after I've finished them. Have a great weekend!


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