Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

Blaze says, "This was the best Halloween EVER!"

We went to the teaching zoo at the college for "Boo at the Zoo" and then went trick or treating with friends. This was the first time Blaze had ever done door-to-door trick or treating and he really loved it. It was in one of those neighborhoods where there are very few cars driving down the streets and most of the people are really in the Halloween spirit.

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For Boo at the Zoo, the college students decorate and dress up to go with different themes. The first themed area we passed through was Men in Black:

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Then there was an area devoted to the history of music:

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The last theme was mythical creatures:

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There were, of course, also real creatures to see along the way:

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Outside the zoo, there were game booths set up:

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After a brief stop at home, we were off to meet new people and go trick or treating.
I had been invited by one of the women from Amitymama to bring Blaze trick or treating with her, some of her friends, and their children. I'm so glad we went! The people were all so nice and Blaze had a great time playing with a little girl who was close to his age.

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This truly amazing display of pumpkins was in somebody's front yard. My pictures just couldn't do it justice.

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This year's mountain of sweets:

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I hope everyone else had "the best Halloween EVER" too.

Good-night!

Treats

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Sugar Cookies

3 Cups powdered sugar

2 Cups softened butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

5 cups unbleached white flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar


Mix sugar and butter together until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Next, add the dry ingredients . Mix well.

Cover and refrigerate dough over night.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out dough a little at a time on a floured board. Cut out shapes.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Halloween Shadow Puppets

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I had a sudden brain storm late Wednesday night, that the perfect project for Halloween would be shadow puppets that we could use to act out a Halloween story. After deciding to do this, everything just seemed to fall into place to make it possible. A cardboard box that was just the right size for our puppet theater was being thrown out at the school where I work, and black card stock, which is usually 50 cents a sheet, was on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics for 20 cents each.
Yesterday afternoon, I cut the top and back off the box and cut a window in the front. Then Blaze helped me spray paint the entire box black. He really enjoyed the spray paint, although we had a little trouble with wind.

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We then left the box to dry while Blaze went to occupational therapy and speech.

When we came back, we read "The Headless Horseman" and started making puppets of the characters. DH was a great help with the puppets, because he can draw anything. He drew our people and I just cut them out. The horse stencils we used came from www.spraypaintstencils.com.

After each character and a few pieces of scenery were cut out of black card stock, we glued each one to a thin dowel rod cut into about 6 inch lengths.

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We taped a piece of white paper over the window on the box/theater and we were ready to try out our puppets. To get the puppets to show up on the paper screen, the puppets must be held up against the screen while a light shines from behind them. Blaze has a lamp with three flexible arms, that worked perfectly for this, although a large flashlight would work equally well.

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We plan to practice our show a little more today, before presenting it to DH and Nika tonight, but here is Blaze learning how to use the puppets last night



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I also just found this great resource for shadow puppet stencils, so we may have many plays to come. www.hvanrossum.com

A couple days ago I, also, discovered a website called "Unplug Your Kids". Each week there is a themed challenge for parents to come up with projects to do with their children, instead of parking the children in front of the t.v.. I'm going to post the link in my list of favorite websites.
This week's "unplugged challenge" was "thin", so I think the shadow puppets work very well for that.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Pumpkin Painting Story

The activity we did for art today was based on a watercolor painting post that I read on another blog, but I changed the story to a Halloween theme.
To begin, don't tell the child(ren) what they are going to paint, let it be a surprise. Prepare blue, red, and strong yellow watercolor paints and wet a piece of water color paper with a wet sponge.

Begin the story:

The October sun was shining in the sky like a big golden ball.

(Have the child paint a big yellow circle in the middle of their paper and fill it in).

The sun shined through the red autumn leaves and took on a reddish hue.

( Paint over the yellow ball with a watery red, which will turn the ball orange)

The sky was a cloudless blue, but the sun shown so brightly that the blue could not touch it.

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( paint the rest of the paper a light watery blue, but try not to touch the orange ball).

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The sun said to the leaves, "You are beautiful, but I must shine through. If my light doesn't reach the plants, the pumpkins will not ripen and the children won't have any jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Some of you must fall, so that I may peek through."
"We will fall," Said some of the leaves, "So the children can play with us."

(Show the child how color can be removed from the painting using a clean brush. Take off color to form the eyes, nose, and mouth on the ball.)

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" Now, I can shine through!" Said the sun.

(Paint over those places where the paint was removed, using yellow paint.)

So all the children were able to have jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.
( add a little yellow line to the top to be the stem. It should mix with the blue to make green.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Owl Cookies

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Blaze and I made these cookies for last Halloween and I never got around to posting a picture until now.
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The cookie dough is a standard sugar cookie recipe with cinnamon added to half of it to give the outer ring of the cookie a darker color. The eye balls are m&m's held in place with a tiny dab of frosting, and the beak is a cashew.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Fun and Games

Last night was the Halloween Haunted House for university family housing.
At first Blaze didn't want to play any of the games they had set up. He told me he was scared of the games, but he did want to go through the Haunted House. He told me he was going to be very brave going through that, and he was. He enjoyed the Haunted House so much he wanted to do it again.
There was free pizza and popcorn, and after we ate, Blaze decided to try some of the games.

This one gave out free tooth brushes and travel sized tooth paste tubes instead of candy:
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As we were leaving, Blaze told me that he had changed his mind about the games and now he liked them.
I think the crowds had been the real problem the whole time, because by the time I convinced him to play some of the games, the lines had become much smaller. He is often apprehensive in large groups, especially large groups of children. It's only recently that we've found out that this is because of audio processing problems. Groups of people talking at once becomes confusing, maybe even painful, white noise to him.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Almost Halloween

Yesterday was filled with family Halloween fun.
First, Blaze and I watched the movie, Halloweentown, on Disney Channel.
Then DH, Blaze, and I headed out to the picnic table to carve our pumpkin. This is the first time we have ever had a white jack-o-lantern.

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The texture of the "pumpkin guts" was different from the orange pumpkins. It was stringier, more like spaghetti squash.

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The skull design on the white pumpkin was Nika's idea, even though she didn't want to help make it. It came out beautifully creepy!

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When we had finished carving the pumpkin, we all had one of the caramel apples I had made earlier in the day.

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The post-caramel apple sugar crash:
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Last night we listened to "War of the Worlds" on the radio and then lit a candle in the jack-o-lantern for the first time.

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Robin Hood

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I have been working on a Robin Hood costume for Blaze to wear on Halloween. The leggings were $1 at Goodwill. The shirt and cape were made from the almost endless bolt of silk and then dyed. The green dye for the cape was a commercial dye, but the brown dye for the shirt was a mixture of cheap tea bags and left-over coffee. The hat is wool felt with a hawk's feather that we found in the garden.
Now, without further ado, I would like to present,
Robin Hood



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I'm very pleased with how the quiver turned out (Blaze is going to use it as his candy bucket on Halloween night). It was very simple to make. It is just a large oatmeal box covered with scraps of leather that I sewed together. The same thing could be made out of any brown fabric, I just happen to buy scraps of leather from the tanner's booth at the Medieval Faire every year.

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Crafty Crow