Thursday, May 26, 2011

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

I went into my first grader's classroom yesterday afternoon as a "Mystery Reader".  A mystery reader is just what is stated - the children didn't know who was going to be reading or what book would be read.  I kept it a secret even from my son. It was so fantastic seeing his face light up when he saw me in the classroom!

The book I chose was Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  by Carol McCloud, illustrated by David Messing, and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone with young children.  It is an amazing book about how to find daily happiness and what kids can do to be happy and make others happy.

First I showed the kids a bucket (plastic summer pail) that I had drawn a smilie face on.  I asked why it was special.  The answers I received - because it had a face on it, because it was smiling. :)

Then I said I wanted to show them what was in it - I tipped it, pretending to "throw" what was in it onto them.  But the bucket was filled with NOTHING! (insert lots of laughs here from the kids)

I explained to the kids that the bucket wasn't filled now, but we were going to learn how to fill it by listening to the story, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

The book starts out by saying everyone walks around carrying an invisible bucket.  The bucket holds your happiness.  When it's full, you are full of happiness.  When it's empty, you are lonely or sad.  You fill up other people's buckets when you show love, are kind, or do something to help them.  Your bucket also gets filled, because it makes you feel good when you do these things for others.  This is called being a bucket filler.

 There are also bucket dippers, the book goes on to say.  A bucket dipper is someone who "dips" into someone else's bucket, trying to take their happiness.  Bucket dippers are mean, make fun of others, and are bullies.  They think that by taking from everyone else's buckets, they can fill up their own bucket, but it never works.  Their bucket will always be empty. :(

After the story, I had the children discuss ways to fill up other's buckets.  They had a lot of terrific ideas.  Then I passed out a colorful shape of paper to each child and had them write or draw something nice for their teacher to put in the bucket.  We gave their teacher the filled bucket of the children's kindness.

Each child received their own bucket filled with happiness in the form of a cookie. :)

At the start of every day, ask yourself, "How can I fill a bucket today?"
And at the end of the day, ask yourself "Have I filled a bucket today?"

I hope your bucket is always filled with happiness!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Newton's Law of Motherhood

A baby in motion will stay in motion...  until acted upon by an unbalanced mommy! *

(* original law:  "Newton's First Law - An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.")

This two layer white cake with chocolate buttercream frosting is the favorite flavor of a mother-to-be.  This particular new mommy is a High School Physics teacher and all-around athlete -- she run marathons, participates in triathalons, and even wears her rollerblades in the classroom when the mood suits her (or when she needs to explain Newton's First Law!).

A Baby Shower cake was requested by the other science teachers, who are hosting a shower for her.  I wanted to tie it in with her occupation as well as what she loves to do.  

It's a simple design, but I hope it conveys these two aspects.

Being new to motherhood, I also wanted to offer a little advice for when the baby's big enough to crawl... 
having gone through that experience twice already, I know the importance of being in shape to keep up with baby!

(by the way... this is to imply that Laura is running AFTER the baby, got it? ;) )

 It's a simple design, but it's mine, and I'm happy with 
the way it turned out.

I could have "run away" with more of this concept - the "at rest" could be a baby sleeping, the "unbalanced force" could be a bottle, telephone ringing, mommy with outstretched hands, etc.. (you get the picture).  

But I think this cake is a good example of just a taste of what is to come for the new mom!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lego meets Star Wars meets Cake Pops and 3D Cake!

So,... this past weekend we celebrated my son's 7th birthday with a Lego Star Wars themed party.  He wanted Jedi Luke cookie favors, a 3-D R2-D2 (say that 10 times fast) cake, and I threw in some Yoda Cake Pops for good measure.  Here are some photos of the special event:

Jedi Luke looking like Jedi Frankenstein on the right...

A Jedi reunion...

The finished Cookie favor, complete with a Lego Minifigure packet attached...
My son wanted him holding a green lightsaber, but the best I could do at this point was a green ribbon!  He thought that was a good substitute. :)

The making of R2-D2...

R2-D2 looking like the droid himself...

I ran out of time with the accent fondant, so I started drawing with wild abandonment using a black food coloring pen...  that was fun!  Also, the silver spray paint food coloring I bought for this occasion ran out of "air", so his "head" isn't as silver as I had wanted.  No big deal! ;)

These Yoda cake pops looked so cute without the face, and again -- not something I had planned, but ran out of time decorating...
(fortunately, my 7 year old and his party guests thought they were the best in the world!!)

Cake and cookie favors on display...

My little "big" man and R2-D2...

This shirt just says it all - I mean, the Dark Side and Cookies??  

It just takes the cake!!