Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beach Stone Art - Summer Crafts

This is a great summer activity and such a fun summer craft!

We went to a local beach one evening for a stroll.  Emma had so much fun collecting stones peeking from the sand that we resolved to take them home and use them for our Beach Stone Art.

She collected lots of different shapes, colors and sizes.  This is what we did with them.

beach stone artbeach stone art

What you'll need:
Sea Shells
One napkin layer
White glue
Decoupage glossy lacquer & glue

beach stone artbeach stone art

For a sandy stone, put some glue on the stone and sprinkle with sand and glitter.  After the glue has dried shake off any excess sand and cover with decoupage glue.  This last part should be done by an adult because it is really touchy feely.

beach stone art

beach stone art

Another version of this craft is to colour your stone with crayons and then polish it with decoupage glue, for a shiny feel.  Afterwards you can sprinkle it with glitter (before the glue dries).  Emma wanted to add glitter on everything!

beach stone art

beach stone art

beach stone artbeach stone art

This next stone looked like a turtle and we went for an artistic turtle interpretation that also had a summery feel (read, we didn't have any green napkins).  It turned out so well and Emma was a real master in doing it.  She really decoupaged the stone.

Take a napkin and remove the top thinest layer with the print.  Cut it in different shapes and sizes.  Let your child take a piece, place it on the stone and use decoupage glue to stick it on.  Continue so until you reach a design that you like.  After that, while the glue is still wet, sprinkle some glitter of course! :)

beach stone art

The last stone we did was black, the sand was such a perfect contrast.  Emma put glue on the stone and first glued two sea shells, afterwards she covered the stone with sand.  Once the glue dried we shook off any excess sand and sealed it with decoupage glue.
We really had a lot of fun doing this.  Once all the stones were decorated Emma played with the sand, making shapes and letters in it.  You gotta love the summer!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Theme - Letter A Printable

About a month ago, I announced I will be starting something new with Emma's Lunch.  Its taken me some time to put it together, but now its ready.  Of course it is a work in progress, so if you come across anything that should be corrected please let me know.

Since Emma is trilingual, the challenge is to keep all the languages equally represented.  She speaks Greek with daddy, Serbian with mommy and English at school.  My main goal is to keep her Serbian as strong as the other languages (she only uses this language to talk with me and her grandmother). This is where I plan to home school Emma in the afternoons, since she will be going to regular school in the morning.

In addition to the Serbian materials I will be creating for her, I'm also creating English ones and both will be available for download.
There will be three parts to this Summer theme, from there I will continue with more letters and Summer related themes, like Summer Fruits, or Boats etc.  For now these are the three parts:

Part 1 - Letter A  - see pictures of how we did it.

Lets start with Part 1, something easy :) Letter A.  Click on the picture below to download an 8 page PDF file in English.

Summer Theme Printable Letter A

Click on the picture beliow to download the 8 page PDF file in Serbian.

slovo A

I may not always follow the alphabetical order for introducing letters.  I will instead concentrate on themes and use the letters that fit with that theme.  So in the summer you will also see letters S, M, B etc.

These materials will be great for kids who are:
  • just learning to read & write in English in an English speaking environment.  
  • learning English as a second or third language while going to a school taught in a different language
  • learning Serbian
I hope you find these useful and come back for part 2! It will be available in a few days.

In case you are looking to help your child learn Greek, be sure to check out my dear friend Eri's blog, with lovely, child friendly Greek language printables.

Greek for Kids

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Crafts

Its officially summer, and we are starting our Summer Wall! A spot in the house to be filled just with Emma's artwork.  She's always so excited when she looks at her work on display.

You may recall our spring wall.  As I promised we filled it with loads of projects and artwork and it was Emma's pride and joy. 

Here's what it looks like today as we prepare to put it down and start building a new summer wall.

Its a combination of stuff Emma did at home and at school. This also had a whole bunch of Easter Crafts but we removed them along with other Easter stuff  to save them for next year's decorations.

Our summer wall currently looks like this.  It says Summer in Serbian and Greek.

It also has a list of summer months written in Serbian.  We are planning to fill it with lots of summer art and crafts. 

Some of the things on our list over the next few months:

Beach collage
Summer fruit jam making (although we hope that won't get on the wall)
Walnut shell boats
Candle decorating
Beach stone art
Seed necklaces and many more

I hope we'll manage most of these, or even some others.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sand Crafts

Its summer solstice and what better way to start the summer if not doing summer crafts?

This could be a really artistic craft, especially if you use black cardboard or construction paper for it and use only sand.

sand crafts

What you'll need:

Black construction paper (we only had blue)
Blue Glitter
Green & yellow foam (or construction paper)


Draw a picture of an island and a palm tree on your construction paper.  In the mean time have your child mix the blue glitter and some sand. 

Emma getting the sand out of her summer sensory box

Mixing glitter with sand. For best results there should be a little less sand

We added a little too much sand so we didn't get the blue we wanted, adding sand was just too much fun! :)

Have your child apply glue just to the area of the sea on your picture and place the paper in a shoe box.Once that's done add the glitter sand to the box and shake it around so that it glues to the glue covered area.

Once that's done apply glue to the palm tree trunk and the island and repeat the same process with clean sand.  After you can add green foam as palm tree leaves and yellow foam for the sun.

If you like you could just add glue to the island and the palm tree and be left with a very simple creation.  It would be great for an older child or an adult to experiment with that.  For Emma I wanted to add other materials and colors to work with.

She loved the craft, and she ended up playing for quite a bit longer in her sensory box, adding sand from one bucket to another, burrying and finding shells and beads.

This is a part of our summer themed learning activities we've got planned for the next few weeks.  Stay tuned and I'll be posting some printables soon.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - After Beach Snack

Its Monday and we're back with the Muffin Tins! A perfect after beach lunch.

muffin tin after beach lunch

So what's in the tin?

In the first third, buttered pitta bread slices and cheese roll ups
The second third has green peas and chopped roasted chicken
And the last third holds a fruity desert of chopped apricots and sliced bananas.

Emma loved it, especially since we've been muffin tin slackers of late.  But now fully determined to get back on track :)

Muffin Tin Monday at

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Birthday Beach Party Luau - Ideas & Printables

Summer is officially here!  Its hot, the beach is oh-so-inviting and you pick up a tan just by walking to the corner store.  On top of it all, you've got a birthday coming up...  what better way to celebrate than with a beach party!

My friend Soulla inspired me to make a Birthday Beach Party Invitation.  She had mentioned that she wanted to do something along those lines for her daughter's birthday and I thought, why not create something for her!

Lets start with the invitations.  A beach party themed invite fully customizable for yourself.

Birthday Beach Party Invites

In addition to that, I've created Thank You notes and Party Labels which you could use to go along with the theme.

Birthday Beach Party Thank You Notes

Birthday Beach Party Labels
There are so many things you can do with a beach party themed birthday.  You can either have it at an actual beach or have a beach party theme at home.


At the beach
  • Claim your space at the beach by surrounding the party area with bamboo tiki torches
  • Place colorful beach towels for people to sit on
  • Have buckets/coolers filled with ice and drinks on all corners of the party area
  • Rent a few beach beds & umbrellas for shade
  • Hang beach themed paper lanterns around the food table
  • Have beach balls, water guns, beach rackets & volley balls easily accessible for the guests to use & as part of decor
  • Have sand-pails & other beach toys around
  • Provide Lei necklaces for everyone
  • Play Hawaiian hula music
At home
  • Put up a beach themed yard sign
  • Beach themed balloons
  • Inflatable palm trees
  • Colorful beach towels for people to sit on
  • Provide lounge chairs & umbrellas
  • Fill inflatable pools with water / sand and beach toys
  • Have citronella candles around to keep the bugs away
  • Provide Lei necklaces for everyone
  • Have flower lei hanging around the venue
  • Play Hawaiian hula music
  • Have a sand castle competition
  • Musical beach towels
  • Beach toy relay
  • Limbo
  • Sea shells scavenger hunt (who collects the most in a specified time period)
  • A game of Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Beach racket ball
  • Make grass dresses at the party or provide for hula dancing (do this by using colorful drawstring bags, tighten the bag around the waste and cut in strips lengthwise, its great because it can be easily done for various heights).

  • Hamburger, Hot Dog, Baked Potato buffet (make your own using ingredients provided - perfect for a party at the beach) All ingredients can be served in sand-pails.
  • Meat kebabs (grill yourself if at home)
  • Chicken wings (served in sand bucket)
  • Sandwiches
  • Chips & popcorn (served in sand buckets)
  • Dips
  • Fruit kebabs (include pineapples, kiwis and other tropical fruits)
  • Pineapple rings
  • Fruit punch
  • Tropical juices
  • Ice cream
Birthday Cake
  • Beach ball shape chocolate cake.  You can use the recipe and shape it round by baking it in a round baking tray.  Use icing to design the ball.
  • Luau girl Kasato cake.  Use the concept of the fairy cake to create a Luau girl.
  • Red velvet cake pops would go great at this party! You could sprinkle them with beach shaped sprinkles or make them sea colored.
  • Picture of a beach on a square ice cream cake.
  • Sand pails, with sand molds
  • Inflatable beach balls 
  • Flip flops
  • Beach themed articles like starfish coin banks or magnets
  • You could have your guests create a favor to take home. Provide colorful sand and have the kids fill small decorative bottles with different sand colors.  It would be a great memento and a lovely way to remember the birthday.
I hope this gives you some fun ideas, its great whether you do it at home or on a beach. Lots of options and plenty of ways to enjoy yourself!

Good luck!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Banana Carrot Cake with Walnuts

I've already posted this recipe as part of the Butterfly Shaped Banana Carrot cake I did for Emma's Fairy Birthday Party but the concentration was on the shape and the frosting.  Here I'll be showing you how to make the actual cake and best of all, how to make it with your child!

banana cake mixture having a taste

2 cups of self raising flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of brown sugar (I use light brown sugar)
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas
2/3 cup of vegetable oil (I also use olive oil)
½ cup of grated carrots (drained well)
1 cup of chopped walnuts (if using)

Cream cheese frosting works great.
Cream Cheese
Icing Sugar
I've never actually made it this cake with cream frosting. This is a great cake to make when you have a couple of aging bananas you don't want to throw. Its a perfect companion to your coffee, tea or milk! And if you'd like, you could omit both the carrots and the walnuts, or just one of the two, to customize the cake to your taste. One thing you can't omit are the bananas! 


Preheat oven to 200C.

Place flour, baking powder & brown sugar in a large bowl.  Mix well with a wooden spoon.
banana cake dry ingredients

Involve your child by having her help you with all the mixing parts.  Mashing bananas is a great, fun task Emma just loved to do!

toddler mashing bananas for cake

Add two eggs, mashed bananas, oil to the flour mixture.  Mix between each addition.
mixing banana cake ingredientsmixing banana cake ingredientsmixing banana cake ingredients

Add carrots and walnuts (if using). You should have a lumpy consistency at the end. 

banana cake mixture

banana cake mixture

Really all you need to use is a wooden spoon.  Its so simple and easy.
banana cake mixture

Butter a baking tray.  You can use round, square, bunt, any shape you like. I usually just use a rectangular Pyrex.

Pour the mixture into the tray and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

If using frosting, mix cream cheese and icing sugar together, until smooth.  Spread on top of cooled cake.
The cake will be moist, spongy and extremely tasty. And your child will be incredibly proud of her creation! :)

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