DIY Salt Tray

Looking for ways to encourage your children to practice their writing skills this summer? Try making a salt tray! It’s cheap and easy to make and it’s a fun way to help your kids practice their literacy skills this summer.

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Materials needed:

- Tray with higher sides. I bought a wooden tray at Value Village for $2.99

- Paint. Acrylic paint from the dollar store or paint samples from a hardware store will work. I used latex paint I had left over from another project. Dark or bright colours like blue, purple, green work well. Any colour that will provide a nice contrast with the salt.

- Paintbrushes

_ Sandpaper (optional)

Step #1- Clean off the tray prior to painting. I used rubbing alcohol to wipe it off to make sure any oils etc were off. This will make sure the paint sticks to the tray. If your tray is rough or has a design painted on it you can sand it after cleaning but this is optional.

Step #2- Paint the tray with several light coats of paint, allowing it to dry completely in between coats. It’s a good idea to lightly sand in between coats with fine sand paper in order to get a smooth surface.

Step #3- When your tray is completely dry cover it with salt or white craft sand and let your kids start writing!

 

Kids can practice writing in a salt tray with their fingers or let them use tools like chopsticks to draw and write in the salt. It’s a neat way for younger kids to practice writing letters and numbers and it lets older kids practice writing new words. To erase just shake the tray gently from side to side.

 

 

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Super Late Supercrawl Part 2

Here’s some photos of the Saturday of Supercrawl 2013.You can see photos from the Friday night of Supercrawl 2013 here.

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A carousel made out of metal crowd barriers and shopping carts. You could actually take a ride on this! When I walked past it a man was running around, pushing the people sitting in the shopping carts. People powered art! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to ride on this but it looked awesome.

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Sculptures out of..plastic wrap, I guess? I thought these were really neat (even though the totally creeped me out!)

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This city has begun.

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An old-school printing press. Students from McMaster were running this, printing shirts and such on demand. It was really neat to watch!

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Some of the many buttons that I bought at Supercrawl. Buttons are one of my favourite things to buy at festivals (and where ever else I find them!) They’re affordable art, fun to collect and wear. I feel that when I’m buying the buttons I’m getting a little taste of what the vendors have to offer. I love making a bunch of small purchases at art heavy festivals, makes me feel like I’m helping to support all of the artists in a (very) small way!

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This was in front of Centre 3. I think they might have been selling them or letting people screen print their own but we got there as they were closing up.

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My absolute favourite purchase of all Supercrawl 2013! A googly eye ring- perfect jewelry for me!

I’m looking forwards to Supercrawl 2014 to see what the organizers, vendors and artists come up with! There’s a countdown clock on the Supercrawl website in case you want to know exactly how long you have to wait :)

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North Pole Reform School Cover Reveal

 

North Pole Reform School Cover Reveal

North Pole Reform School seems like such a fun book!

North Ple Reform School Cover

Synopsis:

Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.

Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.

She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.

But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.

A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.

 

Don’t forget to put North Pole Reform School on your TBR list and be sure to check out Jaimie’s website. You can also find her on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook.

 

Thanks for visiting!

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Super Late Supercrawl Part 1

Supercrawl is one of my favourite events in Hamilton. I go to many of the Art Crawls throughout the year as well but always look forward to Supercrawl. Being able to walk down the middle of James Street North without being hit by a car, checking out the many wonderful vendors, eating at the food trucks (Beaver Tails!), checking out the bands and of course the fantastic art, both in the galleries and on the street- it all adds up to a fabulous event.

Here are some photos of the Friday night of Supercrawl.

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Wintersleep performing.

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I absolutely loved this idea- art created by the public. This chalkboard wall was really fun. it was pretty full already by Friday night and by Saturday night it was absolutely packed with writing and drawings!

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No space is wasted! Love these windows at the Mulberry.

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Creative and fun window at White Elephant. I always look forward to checking out their window displays!

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Love this message.

Photos from the Saturday of Supercrawl will be in Super Late Supercrawl Part 2

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How To Get Rid of a Bat in Your Apartment.

Step 1. Don’t use bare hands to remove a bat from your home. Put on heavy leather gloves. Put on giant, puffy winter mittens and curse the fact that you don’t own heavy leather gloves.

Step 2. Isolate bat in one room and open a window or door. Leave the bat alone so he can find his way out.

Step 3. Success! Go back to bed. Bat decides to crawl under closed bedroom door instead of flying out of wide open front door leading to freedom. Realize that you are dealing with a not so bright bat. Curse the stupid bat.

Step 4. Open bedroom window so that bat may fly away. Bat decides to hang out on the blinds covering the bedroom window. Put on heavy sweatshirt and sunglasses. Hide under a sheet while you contemplate your next move. Try to take photos of bat without uncovering any part of yourself.

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Step 5. Success! Go back to bed. Bat falls off of window and into a box of craft supplies. Ask bat to take an IQ test.

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Steps 6, 7, 8…. Cover box with a towel. Pick up box and run outside while shrieking. Drop box on ground, remove towel.  Wait for bat to fly away. Gently nudge box. Bat stays in box and starts squeaking. Take more photos of the bat. Attempt to pry bat out of the box using a butterfly net. Bat makes noises like an angry squirrel and clings to box. Abandon box, bat and craft supplies. Briefly consider writing a note warning neighbours about bat in box. Write a ridiculous blog post instead.

For actual helpful advice on removing a bat from your house click here.

 

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Otherborn- Tour Stop, Review and Giveaway!

OtherbornBannerTour

Welcome to the blog tour for  Overborn by Anna Silver. My tour stop includes a synopsis, review and a giveaway!

Synopsis:

London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.

Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her.

What he doesn’t know, is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future.

When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?

OtherbornReview: 

I liked London’s character. She’s smart and tough, but certainly not perfect. London is the type of person that you root for. It was nice to see a YA novel where a girl actually has friends. Most YA novels show the girl either with a boyfriend, trying to get a boyfriend or trying to decide between two different guys, usually with a token friend so that she’s not just talking to herself for chunks of the book. I was happy to see Landon with a good group of friends.

I felt like I really knew London because Anna Silver does such a good job of introducing us to her. We get a good look into her life- where she lives, her family, friends, etc. I like that you have enough of her back story and enough details about her life to make her feel like a real, fully fleshed out person. It made me more invested in her character and I cared more about her and her story.

Otherborn is a bit slow at some points; it wasn’t consistent at keeping my attention. The ideas and events in the book are interesting but I found myself skimming the book at times, although the book does pick up.

This book had some parts that reminded me of other YA dystopian novels. For example London creating a new song reminded me about how the Society in Matched had kept 100 dresses, 100 history lessons, 100 songs etc and nothing more was kept or made.

I really enjoyed the writing in Otherborn. Anna Silver adds so many details and descriptions of the world, events and characters in Otherborn that you feel as if you are there. It makes for a more interesting read when the author has put a lot of thought and effort into creating a full world and Anna Silver does not disappoint.

I would give Otherborn 4/5 stars and would highly recommend this book.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for 5 ebook copies, open internationally. Click here to enter.

Otherborn is available for purchase on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

Find Otherborn on GoodReads and please check out the other stops on the Otherborn tour.

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Wordless Wednesday #6 Spring Walk

Purple Flower

 

White Flower

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A Few of My Favourite Things: Easter

Funny Easter card:

For the Doctor Who fans:

For the DIYers:

Such a cute ring:

And a bunny necklace to go with the ring:

What’s Easter without some chocolate?

Books need Easter treats too:

And a Easter basket to put all of your goodies into:

All of my favourite Easter things are available through Etsy. Click on the pictures to go to that item, or click on the seller’s name below the picture to go to the main page of their shop.

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Easter Books for Children Roundup

Happy Easter! Here are some great children’s books for Easter.

Happy Easter Curious GeorgeHappy Easter Curious George by Margret & H.A Rey- A fun Easter book for fans of everyone’s favourite curious monkey. I love the illustrations in this book.

Owen's Marshmallow Chick

Owen’s Marshmallow Chick by Kevin Henkes- A cute book for toddlers. This book makes me want to eat Peeps!

Happy Easter Little CritterHappy Easter Little Critter by Mercer Mayer- I loved the Little Critter books when I was a kid. This is a sweet Easter book that focuses on the activities done on Easter.

Peter Rabbit's Happy EasterPeter Rabbit’s Happy Easter by Grace Maccarone- the perfect book for when your kids start asking question about the Easter bunny, this book tells the story of how the Easter bunny came to be.

Happy Easter MouseHappy Easter Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond- A fun book for younger children and fans of the If You Give A…series.

Leo the LopLeo the Lop by Stephen Cosgrove- Not technically an Easter book but it has rabbits so I’m including it anyways. I loved all of the Serendipity books when I was a kid but Leo the Lop is the one that stands out the most. A touching tale (see how I resisted the urge to call it a tail?) about being different.

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Review of The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzner

The Pregnancy ProjectThe Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez and Jenna Glatzer is the true story of a high school student who faked her pregnancy for her senior project in order to start a discussion on teen pregnancy and stereotypes. Gaby Rodriguez told very few people that her pregnancy was faked in order to take a more realistic look on how pregnant teens are treated.

The Pregnancy Project is broken into three sections. The first section gives a detailed look into Gaby’s upbringing, home life and family history. She explains how her family history led her to choose this project. The section section looks at how Gaby faked the pregnancy and what her life was like while she was “pregnant” and how her family, friends, peers and teachers  treated her. The third section looks at what happened after her big reveal.

The Pregnancy Project was a fascinating story. Gaby Rodriguez put a lot of thought into this project and it is amazing that she chose to go through with this project, even as she faced negative attention from many people including her family. This book gives an eye opening look into what many teen parents must face, and the lack of support that they may receive. Rodriguez worked with Jenna Glatzner to write this book and it’s well written. There is a teen voice to the writing and you really get a personal look into Rodriguez’s life before, during, and after the project. It flows very well between the three sections and the writing isn’t choppy or disjointed as some books written by two authors are.

I give The Pregnancy Project 5/5 stars.

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