Penguin Peg Dolls

Jax, my budding young ornithologist, loves birds–specifically owls, and because of his recent school study on penguins, they are high on his list, too.  When his teacher and I brainstormed a list of possible ways to extend his learning for enrichment, she came up with the idea of doing a diorama based on a species of penguin we saw at the New England Aquarium in February, one that he didn’t learn about in school and one he could share with his classmates.  Thus, penguin peg dolls were born.

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The kids and I took what felt like forever at JoAnn Fabrics, trying to come up with the best way to create a model penguin.  When we saw the wooden peg dolls, however, that we have used for so many crafts in the past, I knew we had found our medium.

I traced the outline between the black and white parts of their bodies on the peg dolls with pencil.  Then Jax colored them in.

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

After finishing the bodies, we worked on the eyes, beaks, and wings.  We didn’t bother with feet.  They came out super cute in the end!

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Jax and Em had a lot of fun while she cut out an amazing house out of card stock and he was writing interesting facts on African penguins for his presentation.  These two always crack me up, and each other, apparently!

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I’m so proud of my little rockhopper!  We got to see his class’s presentation on penguins yesterday morning, complete with singing, dancing, and my little guy’s awesome emperor penguin, drawn to scale.  The kindergartners, second graders, parents and teachers were all there cheering them on, and then we walked around to hear the “experts” tell us all about their chosen penguin.  It was really impressive, especially all their enthusiasm.  I love when schoolwork ignites a fire inside a child’s imagination.  It certainly has in the case of Jax.

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And his sister, too, it looks like!  She looks so interested and proud!  Next year she’ll be the one in the penguin hat, and I bet she is counting every second!

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Number Gnomes!

Last Christmas, I had big plans to make some number gnomes for my kids to help them with their number recognition and basic math, like I had seen on Etsy.  Well, up until a few days ago, those unfinished wooden peg dolls sat in a box for the past twelve months! So one Sunday afternoon, while we watched football, Em and I decided that the wait was over.  Time to make some Number Gnomes!

NumberMath Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

NumberMath Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

My kids LOVE these, especially Jax! I’ve kept them on the kitchen table and he plays with them first thing in the morning.  Yesterday, he came up with a different idea, to put the answer to the math equation inside the equal cup.  So creative!

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Beautiful Button Christmas Tree

Many thanks to my sister Amanda, who helped Emmy and I create this beautiful Christmas decoration that I have been wanting to make for years!

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The list of materials is a small one: a small canvas, pencil and ruler, buttons and glue.  My sister, whose attention to details greatly supersedes my own, used a ruler to measure that the point of the tree was centered, and that the sides were straight.  Lightly trace a triangle on your canvas, leaving room for your stump of four brown buttons.

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

After a little thought, I simply smeared Elmer’s Glue all over the “tree” and let Em place the many varieties and sizes of green buttons all over the triangle, leaving as little spaces between the buttons as possible.

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then we filled in the gaps with very teeny button ornaments (Em’s favorites) and layered other colored buttons on top for ornaments.  I love the three dimensional look!

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Lastly, we used a star button for the top.  After erasing any leftover pencil lines, we have a beautiful Christmas decoration that will be displayed for years to come!  We love our button Christmas tree!

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Our Gratitude Tree

Tomorrow is the last day of November, and so we will once again wrap up this year’s Gratitude Tree, my annual attempt to keep the kids’ heads straight during the contagious and overwhelming excitement of the holidays.  October ends with a bang with Jackson’s birthday and Halloween one after another, then the Christmas catalogs start rolling in and the kids get a glazed look in their eyes with the influx of holiday commercials and Christmas-themed television shows, not to mention the lingering sugar from their Halloween candy.  That’s why the first week of November we donated our Halloween candy to the troops overseas, and I think that is a tradition I will gratefully continue!  I thank my lucky stars that we live in a commercialized black hole, so the Christmas hype is easier to avoid for us than most, but I still like doing something every now and again to remind Jax, Em, and Little H that we are more blessed than we could have ever imagined.  Thus our Gratitude Tree was born.

Em was definitely the most thoughtful; Jax often did one-word answers, such as “books” or “food.”  Em was my girl for the most varied and specific answers, which I loved as much as her investigative spelling.

gratitude tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It #thanksgivingcrafts #handprintcrafts

I put Little H’s autumn button branch above our tree with the words “Give Thanks” printed on it, and our kitchen has been more cheerful and gratifying all November because of it.

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Autumn Button Branch

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Autumn Leaf Wreath

When you are faced with something as beautiful as a sun-filled lawn full of fiery red and gold maples leaves, there is simply nothing you can do other than pick up as many as you can and come up with way to savor them as long as possible.  Thus, our Autumn Leaf Wreath was born.

Autumn Leaf Wreath @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Autumn Leaf Wreath @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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After the stems are gone, just punch a hole in the paper plate, tie a bow or some simple string to hang it up, and you have a lovely autumn wreath that will help keep you warm on these chilly fall days!

Autumn Leaf Wreath @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I love it, and Hannah does, too!  Simple pleasures and a more beautiful home.

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Five Little Pumpkins Rock Painting

Hannah and I are having a great time getting back to arts and crafts this fall now that it’s just the two of us at home.  We rang in October with some fun autumn decorations around the house, Halloween books, and our favorite fall songs, especially Five Little Pumpkins, which all three of my kids enjoy.  Singing that song gave me the idea that it would be fun to have five little pumpkins of our own to play with, and our little pumpkin patch was born.

 

Five Little Pumpkins Rock Painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Well, she took it seriously for a hot second and then I took over while she explored the finger paint.  Sticking to one color was too restricting for her.  She did make a reappearance when it came to painting the jack-o-lanterns’ faces, though.

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When they dried, we had five little pumpkins who sit on our kitchen table and keep her company while I make lunch.  Listening to her sing the song and have them “run and run and run” or “roll out of sight” has been so fun!  Quite a lot of payoff for a very simple project!

Five Little Pumpkins Rock Paining @ Rub Some Dirt On It Five Little Pumpkins Rock Paining @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Happy Halloween everyone!

Five Little Pumpkins Rock Paining @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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