You Know It’s a Good Cookbook When…

…it falls apart every time you pull it out of the cabinet.


Little Heads

I rarely make homemade cards.

But I can’t look at greeting cards on display in a store without re-imagining them. Little Heads Square


Leprechaun School Visit

My daughter’s first-grade teacher requested that a “leprechaun” visit

Teacher’s Favorite Things

Our county’s public schools celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week next week.

If you’re in a position to do something special for your child’s teacher, it’s nice to know their likes and dislikes first.  As Room Parent, I try to get this out of the way at the beginning of the year – I ask my children’s teachers if they wouldn’t mind filling out a questionnaire like the one below.  If they agree, I’ll send out copies of their completed questionnaires to those parents who have expressed interest in that kind of info.  Somehow it feels more helpful and less tacky if it’s done as part of the start-up routine rather than right before a birthday or holiday.

This year, since Teacher Appreciation Week is such a big event at our school, we’ve circled back and asked the teacher if she has any new needs for her classroom.

Teacher’s Favorite Things

What is your favorite:

  • Color?
  • Treat or Snack food?
  • Drink?
  • Flower?

Where do you like to shop?

Where do you like to dine out?

What are your hobbies/interests outside of school?

Do you collect anything in particular?

Is there a special charity or cause that you like to support?

What things would make your classroom a better place for you?

What is your favorite teacher supply store?

Is there anything you prefer not to receive, or that you simply have too much of?  Or are you allergic to anything (in regards to homemade goods, scents, or plants)?

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

Knights & Princesses – 4th Birthday

Invitation from

At age 3, my son loved his knight costume from Marshalls that we found for $5 the day after Halloween.  He and his sister were crazy about The Backyardigans and would act out the entire “Tale of the Mighty Knights” episode dressed in plastic knight accessories.  So we were all excited about a Knights & Princesses theme for Luke’s 4th birthday party.

Castle Entrance
A castle drawn on kraft paper and a long plastic tablecloth cut in half for a red carpet worked for our front door, which was guarded by two holiday toy soldiers wearing knight helmets.  I also hung a flag banner made with fabric rectangles folded over twine and adhered with Stitch Witchery.

Shields & Cone Princess Hats
Upon arrival the kids could play in our living room where we’d put out every knight/castle/princess or dragon toy in the house (see end of page for our favorites).  Or get started at the craft table, which was our dining table set up with shields and princess hats.

Valiant Knight Create-Your-Own Shields are nice and sturdy – in fact, Luke liked them so much I found them all hidden in his closet before the party.  And the cone hats were a big hit – I knotted strips of tulle and ribbon and threaded them through the tips of metallic cone party hats from Party City.  The girls decorated them with stickers and jewels and never took them off.

See Family Fun for a knight tunic idea.  I added twine around the waist.  And instead of having the kids make family crests, I cut a fleur-de-lis shape from glitter foam sheets and stuck it on the chest.  They turned out great, but no one wore them (except for my good sport of a husband).

I also had a Dollar Tree knight helmet for each boy (everyone wore these) and a foam star wand with her name on it for each girl.

We put Oriental Trading’s fairy tale ducks under an upside-down laundry basket with a toy dragon on top.  The kids lined up and whacked the dragon off of the basket with a lance (actually, a pool noodle with colored tape wrapped around it).  Each child could rescue one duck to add to his goody bag.

I bought just one of these foam bow and arrow sets on ebay and a plastic set from Walmart.  The kids had the most luck with the foam set, although we had to set the bow for them.  But everyone was excited to try it – they aimed at a target I’d drawn on a piece of kraft paper and taped to a door.  As a prize for trying, everyone earned a stickhorse or stick-unicorn from the Dollar Tree.

We had a few committed archers – while my husband spent time with them, I set up a simple obstacle course with leftover cone party hats.  The children who finished with the archery “trained” their horses by riding around the cones.  They earned a princess crown or knight ring.

A Dragon Stole the King’s Treasure
My husband, wearing a gold crown and the afore-mentioned tunic, told the children that a dragon had stolen his treasure – would they please help him find it?  I’d taped green paper footprints to the floor and the kids – full of urgency – followed them into our bedroom.

Tucked in our bed was my son’s dragon costume, with its head on the pillow.  We told everyone we’d entered the dragon’s house and he was sleeping.  Quiet and tiptoeing, the kdis continued to follow the footsteps into our bathroom.

Buried in the sand in our children’s Step 2 sandtable were 5 rolls of shiny new pennies.  The kids were so excited to fill their knight cups that they almost didn’t notice the framed dragon pictures that served as decorations in the “lair.”

Fighting the Dragon
My husband had made a wooden sword and the children took turns fighting a dragon pinata.  Actually, I had already destroyed the dragon pinata  by trying to stuff too much in it, so I bought a dinosaur pinata at Party City and added wings and construction paper fire coming out of its mouth.  The kids hit that thing with gusto!

Inside were Princess gummies, Nerds (my son’s favorite candy), plastic knight figures, horse finger puppets and Magic Towels from Dollar Tree - Disney princesses and Shrek as a Knight.

During a pizza lunch, my husband read Good Night, Good Knight and Happy Birthday, Good Knight.  All of the books in that series are great.

Other books we had on hand: The Mighty Egg Sitters (Backyardigans), Puff the Magic Dragon, The Knight and the Dragon, Richard Scarry’s Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon, Princesses are not Quitters, and The Bravest Knight.

Fighty Guy Cupcakes
At the time my son called all of his knight toys, superheros, Power Rangers, and army men “fighty guys.”  I found cheap plastic knight figures on ebay like these and used them as cake toppers for blue-frosted Publix cupcakes – my son was thrilled.  The knight guys also ended up in the pinata.

Each child receieved a paperback copy of Good Night, Good Knight with one of these personalized stickers on the inside cover.

Our Favorite Knights/Medieval Toys/Activities
Animal Planet Dragon Mother and Babies Playset
Safari Limited Knights and Dragon Toob
Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics Castle
Melissa & Doug Folding Medieval Castle
Little Adventures Princess Dress