the adventures of odysseus

The Adventures of Odysseus  by Hugh Lupton, Daniel Morden, and Christina Balit

When I first discovered this book a few weeks ago, I got really excited. I read all the reviews on amazon and thought that maybe this would be something Juliet and I could read together.

After looking at it, though, I think we’ll still have to wait a few years. It’s gorgeous and wonderful and does justice to the original for sure, but at the end of the day, it is still a bit too mature for a 5 year old (in my opinion–or at least for my 5 year old.)

I had convinced myself that it was fine until I got to the part where Odysseus stabs the cyclop’s eye with a burning stake and I realized, we probably needed to wait a few more years. 🙂

However, if you have older children or even high schoolers–we read the Odyssey in 9th grade when I was growing up and when I taught 9th grade, I taught it to several hundred squirrelly little freshman.

Mostly, they liked it–even if it was hard for them to understand–because it has a lot of action to keep them tuned in, but I was thinking that this book would really help those that struggled with understanding the plot.

The illustrations help tell the story, add to the details, and the text itself is easier to read than what is usually found in school textbooks.

I would definitely love to add this to our home library in a few years when my girls are ready to read it.

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doctor birthday party

I’ve finally organized Juliet’s doctor party photos and I thought I’d share them today. When we sent out the invitations, we asked the guests to bring a doll or stuffed animal as a “patient”. Several kids brought their own doctor kits as well.
cross garland
I went with a red, white, and pink color scheme. The main decoration was the cross garland made from red construction paper, red string, and my trusty hot glue gun.
surgical masks
For costumes, we had surgical masks and name tags for everyone.
waiting room
I set up a mini-hospital in the play room, complete with waiting room, ambulance, pharmacy, and exam tables. This is the waiting room.
doctor books for kids
This is where I had the doctor books. I got this idea from my friend Amanda. She always has great book areas at her kids’ birthday parties.
doctor party decor
We had some large boxes left over from Christmas that we transformed into an ambulance. White contact paper and red duct tape are miracle workers. We had the flashing red light left over from last year’s police birthday party.

A white sheet taped to the wall with packing tape and another red duct tape cross made a fun backdrop.
pink kids scrubs
Barbie emergency. (Found the pink kid’s scrubs at Target.)
doctor supplies
The pharmacy had all the supplies the doctors and nurses needed to tend to their patients.
little nurse
The cotton swabs were a big hit.
doctor party game
The night before the party, Juliet asked me what kind of games we were going to play. After spending the entire day building an entire infirmary, I had nothing. I asked her what kind of games she was thinking about and she said, “You know, like pin the cross on the nurses hat or something.”

To which I replied, “Go ask your dad to make that.”

And he did. Daddy and white contact paper saves the day again.

The kids had a lot of fun with this game, so I’m glad she thought of it. I guess 5 is the age when kids start wanting games at their parties. I had no idea.
doctor party favors
For party favors, Juliet passed out these first aid kids and candy canes. I was going for a red an white candy striper theme, but a few are green. I don’t think the kids noticed. 🙂

We had a lot of fun with this theme. I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff, but I’m glad she has such a big imagination. I can’t believe she’s already five.

Kids grow up fast, don’t they?

Linking to making monday marvelousmade by you mondaymaking the world cuter,

cardboard box dollhouse reveal: I’m a Giant Challenge

It took awhile, but we are finally finished with the dollhouse project. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I originally limited myself to three boxes (and secretly hoped to do more if I had time), but here we are and I still only have three.

But they are three nice rooms. And the Cinderella doll is very happy, so that is all that matters.

Here’s the tour.
modern dollhouse kitchen
The kitchen.

Construction Details:

Floors: The floors are made from faux wood contact paper strips over a painted floor. (Similar to this wood grain contact paper.)

Walls: The two opposing walls are papered in floral/bird scrapbook paper (Melody Ross Designer Collection: Homespun Chic). I used Mod Podge to adhere and seal the paper.

The floor to ceiling wall of “tile” is actually created with white office labels over a painted wall and sealed with Mod Podge.

Shelving: The open shelving on the wall of tile is constructed out of two popsicle sticks that I painted white. They are held on by hot glue.
dollhouse kitchen
Furniture Details:

I already had the stove/oven unit that I purchased at a kids sale last year. I have no information about it.
The TV also came with that lot.

The brass table and chairs I purchased on ebay–again, no information, but I have seen several listings for this set on ebay.
dollhouse kitchen wallpaper
Here’s a closer look at the TV–and the cheetah TV stand. I tried to tape the TV to the wall, but it kept falling, so the cheetah made himself useful.
dollhouse tv
Mr. Cheetah’s presence reminds me of a really great etsy shop called Wild Life Prints.
dollhouse kitchen
Accessory Details:

Wall ArtGiant Spirograph Art created by myself. If I can’t have one in my own house, I’ll have one in the dollhouse. (Inspired by Amy’s actual Giant Spirograph Art.)

Shelf Accessories: random buttons, a sparkly #8 sticker, dollhouse toaster, cup, and bent metal circles taken from an old dress (all found in our house), the brass basket and bowl showed up with the brass furniture lot I purchased from ebay.
dollhouse art studio
The Art Studio.

Construction Details:

Floors: Again, strips of wood-grain contact paper and sealed with Mod Podge.

Walls: Opposing walls and ceiling painted slate gray. Back wall papered with map scrapbook paper.
miniature rhino head
Furniture and Accessory details:

The desk and easel were pieces we already owned. The artwork on the mini canvas is done by Juliet.

Brass bird cage from ebay lot.

Cork stool found in junk drawer.

Fancy rug cut from Elle Decor magazine. I didn’t glue it down–it is just resting on top of the the floor.

Marilyn wall art cut from a DIY magazine.

Rhino Head: This is my biggest splurge for the dollhouse. Created by Ann of Amazing Miniatures. I was surfing etsy one day for dollhouse inspiration and came across this rhino. I fell in love and ordered him immediately. I wish he were larger so I could hang him in our home. But then he probably would have cost me more than $12. But still. You know what I mean.
dollhouse bedroom
The bedroom.

Construction Details:

Floors: Same as the other two rooms: contact paper, paint, and Mod Podge.

Walls: Mod Podged scrapbook paper.
dollhouse spirograph wall art
Furniture and Accessories:

We already had the bunk bed.

Mirror and coat rack from brass ebay lot.

The white nightstand is a repurposed hairspray cap.

Spirograph wall art by me.

Painting and white chair cut out from Elle Decor Magazine.
dollhouse exterior siding
The exterior is covered in white contact paper. The numbers were cut out of a magazine.
cardboard box dollhouse
The dollhouse is living on Juliet’s bookshelf for now. It’s gotten lots of use.

It’s come a long way from the three cardboard boxes we started with (see before shot here.)

I’m happy with the way it turned out and the process of designing and decorating was a lot of fun.

A lot of the detail work was too difficult for a four-year-old’s fingers, so I look forward to trying this again in a few years when Juliet can have a bigger role. She did enjoy peeling the back off the flooring and tiles and she helped with painting.

We both had fun together.

If you have a daughter, I definitely recommend a dollhouse project.

Thanks again to Emily for creating this fun challenge! It was like being on mini-Design Star except no one was following me around with a camera. 🙂

Check out the other dollhouses here!

paper tube glittery crown christmas ornament craft for kids

Day two of our advent experience Truth in the Tinsel is here. Today’s ornament was a crown made from an old paper tube.
christmas crafting with kids
I prep the materials for the craft the night before and have it waiting in a basket on the kitchen table. (I recently bought a new package of martha stewart glitter. That stuff is awesome because it is so fine–makes crafts look extra pretty.)
advent craft
24 colors to choose from….my sweet girl chooses two shades of pink. ( I cut the top off of a cereal box and used it as a tray to contain the glitter.
pink crown ornament
She glued on some gems and it was ready for the tree. (Which we just put up last night!)

Free crafting tip: If you spray your glitter projects with some hairspray, it will lock it in and keep it from falling off all over your house. Not completely, but it does seal it in fairly well.

If you’d like to join in the advent experience Truth in the Tinsel–it’s not too late! There are several plans to choose from–you don’t have to do all the crafts or even do one every day. You can start today and do the first two or just skip them. It’s very flexible.

My friend Amanda has created such a great community on her facebook page–people all over the world are uploading pictures of their kids’ ornaments and sharing about their experience. It’s awesome. I hope you’ll join in!

linking to made by you monday and making monday marvelous.

popsicle stick turkey thanksgiving craft centerpiece

I’ve been meaning to do this turkey for the past two years. I finally got around to our version this year.
painting popsicle stick turkey feathers
Sometimes it’s a challenge to make crafts that Juliet can do without any help. Those feathers on the original would be too hard for her to cut out. So we used our popsicle stick stash as feathers instead.

Juliet had a few real turkey feathers as inspiration to look at as she painted. We picked these up at a petting zoo earlier this year. I was surprised at how beautiful real turkey feathers actually are–so much detail!
popsicle stick thanksgiving turkey centerpiece
While she worked on the feathers, I wrapped a styrofoam ball with some left over yarn. Then I cut out the head from scrap book paper. Sticking the feathers in was a little harder than I thought it would be (due to the yarn), but I got them in while Juliet glued on the head and eyeball.

I think he looks pretty fun on our table. He’s resting in a bowl (so he doesn’t roll over on his side.) I didn’t read the directions on which suggests cutting a piece off of the bottom of the ball to make him stand up. Oops.

We haven’t written anything on the feathers yet–don’t know if we will–we’ve been using our thankful leaves for that. But with sharpie or paint pen, we easily could.

One final thanksgiving favorite for you: Mousekin’s Thanksgiving by Edna Miller
We just picked this up from the library today and read it together this afternoon. It’s about mousekin’s first run-in with a wild turkey. Just like the ones we saw at the petting zoo. Perfect.

bottle cap thanksgiving turkey hat kid’s craft

bottle cap thanksgiving turkey kid's craft hat
We had so much fun making our bottle cap spider hats last month (and we have eaten our way through a few more jars of peanut butter), so I thought we should try to make turkeys. This is Juliet’s–she picked out all the paper/color choices, I cut out the shapes, and she glued them on. I think it looks great!
bottle cap turkey kid's craft
Here are the ingredients. If you have a packet of scrapbook paper, you can get pretty creative with these guys.
turkey kid's craft
Gluing them together is the most fun part. (To turn them into a headband/hat, I just hot glue an elastic headband to the bottom the same way I did with the spider hats–check out the details here.)
bottle cap thanksgiving turkey kid's craft
Here’s my little guy. My original intention was to make it for Lucia to wear…
grabbing the turkey hat
But she took one look at it perched on Juliet’s head and could not resist grabbing and ripping the tail feathers off. We were able to re-attach them, but I’m thinking this hat is a bit too fragile for a one year old. I’ll save him for next year when she is two. Or maybe she’ll want to make her own.

Right now, he’s just sitting on our table–which if you don’t want to make a hat out of it is a pretty cute alternative–I’d like to see a row of them on our table as a fun centerpiece.

I’ve already shared a list of thanksgiving books we like (I requested 10 of them from our library last month–unfortunately, that’s all they let you request at one time.) So, I tried round two (which was a bit too late–almost all the thanksgiving books were gone! All that was left was the ones no one wanted–which is fine–there could be a jewel in the rough out there.)

I got about 7 more….we only loved one. I thought I’d share it with you. Maybe it’s still on your library shelves, too.

An Outlaw Thanksgiving  by Emily Arnold McCully is the story of a little girl and her mom on a train trip out west. They end up spending Thanksgiving with Butch Cassidy and his fellow outlaws–the story is really fun. Even though Juliet had no idea who Butch Cassidy was, she still enjoyed the story immensely.

I hope you can find a copy!

Linking to Made by You Monday and Sharing Saturday!

pinterest challenge: map feather ornaments

As I’ve mentioned before, I am pretty addicted to Pinterest. So, it’s always fun when Young House Love hosts a pinterest challenge. Gets me motivated to try out one of the million projects I’ve pinned.

I saw these hymn page feathers from Todolwen a few months ago and have been meaning to try them. My spin on them is that instead of using hymn pages–I used maps.

Mostly because I love maps and I picked up an old atlas at Goodwill a few months ago with the intent of using the pages as gift wrap.

The tutorial is pretty straightforward–I followed it exactly. The only thing I would add is that it is really important to get the wire glued down straight. (As a pretty hasty/messy crafter, I didn’t get that on the first attempt, but I figured it out and regrouped.)
map feather christmas ornaments
My original idea for these was to use them as Christmas tree ornaments. But as it is November, I do not yet have a tree from which to hang them–thus, the lovely branch. But you can kind of imagine them on a tree…I think they will look pretty.
map feather tree ornaments
A partridge in a map feather tree? (Sorry, this is the best I can do. I’ll try to remember to take some pictures of them hanging from our Christmas tree once we actually get one.)
map feather rose tree
I had some pretty roses and I couldn’t resist….
map feather gift topper
If for some reason they don’t look good on an actual Christmas tree, I’m using them as gift toppers.

Have you tried anything out that you first saw on Pinterest?

Check out the other projects at Katie’sAna’sErin’s, and Young House Love.

(After typing this post, I read Emily Henderson’s gift guide which features some absolutely amazing globemen (snowmen made from globes) and a giant “joy to the world” wall map–these map feathers would go great with those globemen! Check them out here.)

linking to made by you monday.

thumbprint turkey kids craft

thankful turkeys
We made these thumbprint turkeys together last year and sent them to our sponsored kids and grandparents.

Now that Halloween is over, I’m gearing up for some turkey crafts. Do you have any favorites that you do every year?