The Diary of a Nouveau Soccer Mom

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Flower Craft for Kids: Rocky Mountain Columbine

While we're Texans at heart, we are quite fond of our adopted home state of Colorado.  We've been here almost four years now and it is still amazing to walk out my front door to a view of the Rocky Mountains.

We're participating in a fun blog hop called "Tour the World by Flower" so we decided to create our craft based on Colorado.  A little research told us that the official state flower is the Rocky Mountain Columbine which was adopted in 1899. The original flowers were discovered on Pikes Peak in 1820 by early Colorado explorers.

Rocky Mountain Columbines courtesy of Wikicommons

A Rocky Mountain Columbine features five pointed purple petals, a white cupped area in the center with five smaller rounded petals, and yellow in the center.  For our craft, we borrowed the base concept from our Girl Scout cookie box flowers and made columbine decorations instead.

What You Need:
Purple construction or scrapbook paper
A coffee filter
Yellow brads
Scissors, tape, and a pencil

How to Make:
  • Cut strips of your purple paper, about 6 x 2 inches.
  • Stack five of those strips together, draw an oval with point ends on the reverse side as a template, and cut.
  • Using a scrap piece of paper, make a small circle to use as a base.
  • Tape each of the purple petals, point in, to the middle of the circle to form a star.
  • Fold the coffee filter in half and cut a half star idea with rounded petals.
  • Open it back up and tape to the center.
  • Pierce the papers with a small tip and push a brad into place!

Want a cute coloring sheet too?  We found this one with a Rocky Mountain Columbine picture and facts.

Would you like more amazing state and country flowers ideas?  Check out the Tour the World by Flower Blog Hop from Playground Parkbench for many more!

Friday, May 15, 2015

It's the Little Traditions …

Things that make me happy--

A 12 year old and a 9 year old requesting doodled lunch sacks because they have to take disposable lunches on a field trip!

I started doing this when they were little, if they had to take a brown bag lunch somewhere.  They were very concerned if I would still do this for them.  *Always*

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Best In Show

I've mentioned before how much I love Strawberry Shortcake!  We even have the perfect snack recipe for Strawberry Shortcake movie days. Faith and I were looking through boxes in the basement and found several of my old Strawberry Shortcake dolls my mom had saved for me.  It's awesome that it was brought back out again in time to share it with my own daughter!

Even though Faith is a bit passed her Strawberry Shortcake phase, it's fun to check out the new videos, then share them with one of our sweet little friends.  The latest one is Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Best In Show and you know you can't go wrong with a movie featuring Strawberry Shortcake and puppies! In this movie:
Join Strawberry Shortcake and some new furry friends in these delightful “tails” about being yourself and encouraging others to do the same. During his road trip to find homes for his orphan puppies, Huckleberry Pie and his four-legged crew get stranded in Berry Bitty City. Luckily, Strawberry and her berry best pals decide to help out with the strays in “A Boy and His Dogs.” Blueberry Muffin and Huck become “Partners in Crime” when they try to write a mystery story together…with surprising results. And the fur is sure to fly when the girls try to help Huck start a dog shelter in “The Mystery of the Disappearing Dog Show.” It’s a howling good time with sweet doggy delights for everyone!
For a limited time, consumers will receive a copy of the “Perfect Puppy Digital Story Book Download” by Cupcake Digital, Inc. with their purchase. Hurry, supplies are limited!

We also have an adorable Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Best In Show coloring sheet for our readers, just click on the picture below to pop up a printable version!  It has puppies too!

Who was your favorite Strawberry Shortcake character?  Did you always love the little pets too?

Disclosure: This information, along with a copy of Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Best in Show, was provided to me as part of my relationship with Fox Home Entertainment Insiders. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Robots-4-U Summer Camps

The kids and I got invited to check out a sneak peak of the Robots-4-U summer camps coming to Colorado this year.

What is Robots-4-U?  It's a great, science and engineering focused summer camp where kids can learn how to build their own robots!

Campers are immersed in the basics of STEM. using robots as a hands on tool, focusing on project based education and individual structured and UN-structured instruction. The kits and programs allow students to progress at their own speed and learn new skills with every robot built. New skills include design and building of robots, engineering trade-offs, physics, such as gears and pulleys, programming, sensors and how robots and humans interact with their environment.

Faith and Ben loved the preview session where they each got to try out building a robot or two of their own.  They started with simple kits and were each able to build a robot of their own.  Ben chose to try the Pet Bot, while Faith built a Penguin Robot.  They were able to use different tracks to see how the robots could move.  Since it was a preview day, there were also pre-built robots so the kids could experiment with the remote control options.   Dynamic Art designs into the traditional robotics camps so all campers can enjoy working in both ways.

If you're in the Denver area this summer, there are several great camps available.  Use code DEN1550 for 60% off!  These camps also offer Dynamic Art designs with the traditional robotics camps so all campers can enjoy working in both ways.
  • Southwest Denver: Colorado Heights University 3001 S. Federal Blvd June 22-26 and July 27-31
  • South Denver: Glendale CO Staybridge Suites 4220 E. Virginia June 22-26 and July 20-24
  • Aurora: Doubletree 13696 E. Iliff Place June 22-26 and July 27-31
  • Northfield/Stapleton: Staybridge 8101 E. Northfield Blvd June 22-26 and July 20-24
Disclosure:  The kids and I were invited to check out the Robots-4-U as part of a blogger sneak peek, no other compensation was received, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

25 Must-Read Holocaust Books for Middle Grades

As a history teacher, Holocaust books are an important part of my curriculum, and as a homeschool mom, there are plenty of must-read Holocaust books in our library.

For my own children, 4th grade seems to be where we have started reading fiction about the Holocaust.  For my students, I currently teach 7th grade and do include Holocaust information.  I have previously taught 5th and 6th that have included introduction to the Holocaust materials.  I was even blessed to have a Holocaust speaker come talk to my classes as well as our 7th and 8th graders years ago, and highly recommend hearing one if you ever have the chance to.

With the help of my now-12 year old, 7th grade daughter, we've compiled a list of 25 must-read Holocaust books for the middle grade level. (All links are our Amazon affiliate store, which helps me keep ahead of buying Faith books!)
  • Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop - During the occupation of France, twenty French children agree to hide ten Jewish children from the Nazis.
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - Ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be courageous and resourceful as she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis in occupied Denmark.
  • Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine - A biography of a Czech girl who died in the Holocaust, told in alternating chapters with an account of how the curator of a Japanese Holocaust center learned about her life after Hana's suitcase was sent to her.
  • Elly: My True Story of the Holocaust by Elly Berkovits Gross - The author describes how she was sent to Birkenau by the Nazis and fought for survival before being set free at the end of the war and beginning a new life in America.
  • Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy - This is the true story of Syvia Perlmutter — a story of courage, heartbreak, and finally survival despite the terrible circumstances in which she grew up.
  • Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story by Lila Perl, Marian B. Lazan and Marion Blumenthal Lazan - Marion believes that, if she could find four perfect pebbles of almost exactly the same size and shape, it meant that her family would remain whole. Mama, Papa, she, and Albert would survive Bergen-Belsen.
  • Escaping the Holocaust by Julian Padowicz - When the Nazis invade Poland in 1939, Yulian and his mother flee their home and hire a guide to take them secretly over the snow-covered Carpathian Mountains to a neighboring country.
  • Hide and Seek by Ida Vos - A young Jewish girl living in Holland tells of her experiences during the Nazi occupation, her years in hiding, and the aftershock when the war finally ends.
  • Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz - Based on the life of Jack Gruener, this book relates his story of survival from the Nazi occupation of Krakow, when he was eleven, through a succession of concentration camps, to the final liberation of Dachau.
  • The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen - Hannah resents the traditions of her Jewish heritage until time travel places her in the middle of a small Jewish village in Nazi-occupied Poland.
  • Good Night, Maman by Norma Fox Mazer - After spending years fleeing from the Nazis in war-torn Europe, twelve-year-old Karin Levi and her older brother Marc find a new home in a refugee camp in Oswego, New York.
  • I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust by Livia Bitton-Jackson - This is the story of the author's experiences during World War II when she and her family were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
  • Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins - This book tells the stories of fourteen other children who were hidden away during World War II to save their lives.
  • We Fought Back: Teen Resisters of the Holocaust by Allan Zullo - This book has true stories of teenage Jews who fought back against the Nazis primarily in eastern Europe by using tactics such as guerilla warfare and sabotage.
  • Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald - When Odette's father becomes a Nazi prisoner-of-war and the Paris police begin arresting Jews, her mother sends Odette to hide in the Catholic French countryside where she must keep many secrets to survive.
  • Milkweed  by Jerry Spinelli - This is the story of a Jewish orphan in Poland who lives on the streets with other orphans while trying to avoid the German troops.
  • The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible by Leon Leyson - The true story of the author who was one of the youngest people saved by Oskar Schindler during the Holocaust.
  • Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf - Milada is taken from her home in Czechoslovakia to a school in Poland to be trained as "a proper German" for adoption by a German family, but all the while she remembers her true name and history.
  • Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust by Allan Zullo - This book tells the true stories of nine Jewish children who survived the Holocaust.
  • Katarina by Kathryn Winter - During World War II in Slovakia, a young Jewish girl in hiding becomes a devout Catholic and is sustained by her belief that she will return home to her family as soon as the war ends.
  • Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps by Andrea Warren - When twelve-year-old Jack is separated from his family and shipped off to the Blechhammer concentration camp, his life becomes a nightmare but he manages to survive by thinking of his family.
  • Once, ThenNow, and After by Morris Gleitzman - These books are a series about a boy named Felix who is trying to survive the war in Poland and then his life after the war.
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr - When Hitler rises to power in Germany, Anna and her family escape to Switzerland to try to survive.
  • The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss - For two years, a Gentile family hid Annie and her sister, Sini, in the cramped upstairs room of their farmhouse in Nazi-occupied Holland.
  • Annexed by Sharon Dogar - This is a fictional story, told from the viewpoint of Peter Van Pels, the boy whose family hid with Anne Frank's family in the annex.
What books have we missed?  Leave us a comment if you have any that should be added to our list.  We would love any and all suggestions!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lego Americana Roadshow at Park Meadows, Denver

For a fun kids' event in the Denver area, check out the Lego Americana Roadshow at Park Meadows!

The kids and I got the chance to take a sneak peek at this event with some other bloggers and it's an awesome sight to see.  Ten different historical American landmarks are recreated throughout the mall, including:
  • The U.S. Capitol Building
  • White House
  • Supreme Court
  • Washington Monument
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Independence Hall
  • Liberty Bell
  • The Old North Church

The one-of-a-kind, large scale models of American landmarks made completely out of LEGO® bricks by LEGO® Master Builders will entertain customers with stunning visuals and fun facts.

Besides the landmarks, Park Meadows will host a Lego Brick Play Area where children can build whatever their imaginations can dream up and Lego Model Make & Takes where children can build and take home their own mini American monument (April 18 and 19, Noon - 4pm, near Macy's).  Download the Lego Connect app and watch time-lapse videos of the building process for some of the landmarks!

Don't forget to pick up the map and fill out the trivia questions along the way.   Each display features information about the Lego creation and the real landmark it is based on. Once completed, children can turn it into the Lego Store for a certificate of achievement.

Our favorite fact?  The US Capitol Building Lego landmark is just over 25.5 feet long and about 10 feet tall, and took a team of eight builders over 1700 hours to complete!

Disclosure:  The kids and I were invited to check out the Lego Americana Roadshow as part of a blogger sneak peek from Park Meadows Retail Resort, no other compensation was received, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter!

Wishing you a day of fun, family, and lots of Easter eggs!


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