How to make a felt leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day

I have always thought, from when I was little, that leprechauns are a little creepy. But we have had a lot of fun with various St. Patrick’s Day free, awesome printables at our house, and I wanted to make a cute leprechaun for John for him to enjoy and remember the holiday more distinctly**.

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So I thought I’d try to mimic my felting/hot-glue-gun skills from my Snowy Day Peter. I found a super cute leprechaun, a non-creepy one, from SweetClipArt.  And I got to work.  This one has a few more details, so it took a little longer, but overall it is a 15 minute project if you know how to handle a hot glue gun, which is a talent I have.

Here is a copy of the Leprechaun Template that I started with.

I assembled my materials:

  • Template
  • Felt: green, black, cream, red
  • Cotton balls
  • Makers: red and black
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors

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I began cutting the template apart.  First the hat, then the head, then the jacket, then the pants.  I made two felt pieces of each.

I also cut a black strip for the hat, a little red hair, a black bow tie, two little hands, and two little feet.

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Then I glued each section together with a small bit of cotton ball between the two pieces of felt.  I cut some green eyes for him too.   I messed up some parts, and ended up making a bigger jacket and pants, which I recommend.

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John was there with me when I made it, so it wasn’t a surprise this time, but he loves it!

**We have talked a little about the difference between Protestant and Catholic, and that we really don’t “celebrate” the holiday, (though some of our family is Catholic, so that is certainly fine, too :) ). But we actually should be wearing orange on the holiday — oh well, it is just fun to have an excuse to celebrate the color green, shamrocks, gold coins, drinking good beer (for Mom and Dad), and leprechauns.

Thank you for taking the time to visit Wildflower Ramblings!

Blessings,
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The Ultimate Raw Dessert Smoothie: the “Frappe”

It’s called a “Frappe” in our house — simply because that is the name it was introduced to me as — about seven years ago.  Back then, I was a vegetarian, then a vegan, then a raw foodie for a minute.  I drank a lot of green smoothies (greens + frozen banana + fruit, rinse, repeat) and little else.  And about 2 and 1/2 years after that — Enter Weston A. Price into my and my husband’s world when we realized that yes, saturated fat is intensely good for the human body, but that’s another story.

Anyways, here it is — no need to sugar-coat this smoothie, it is so delicious, if you try it once, you won’t go back.

I have a Vitamix Blender, which makes it easier too, just make sure it is very well blended:

  • 1 frozen banana

  • 4-8 dates (depends on size, your taste)

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups ice

  • good dash each of: cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon

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Blend and enjoy!  And let me know how much you love it!!!

All those printables: My organization

I began downloading free printables from many wonderful sites about six months ago.  (From: 1plus1plus1equals1Homeschool Creationsand Mamas Monkeys, check out Blogs I Love for more suggestions of awesome sites!)  

I actually didn’t even have a printer.  I started out with printables about shape and colors and other random fun things.  And I had them printed out at, can you believe it, Office Max, for gulp, $.49 per page?!  I almost bought a printer right there in the store at that first printing session (I spent about $40, which was ridiculous), but I decided to wait, wait, wait.  Finally, I bought an early Christmas present for myself and bought the Epson 545 Workforce from Amazon for $99!!!  I love it!  I have since printed over 1000 pages… and…. counting and am only on my second set of Epson Ultra 127 cartridges (the Extra High Capacity ones).

This new obsession came in my third trimester — my baby girl was born in later September — and I was busy, busy, busy trying to get things “done” for John’s Tot School which we officially began with alphabet weeks at the beginning of this year!  Really, before then, my son was not interested in using “printables” and when I tried to put them in front of him, he’d throw them and the manipulatives that I set out with them.  I knew that when he was ready, I wanted to be ready too.  

I didn’t know how I wanted to organize all the craziness, so I started out with a white binder and sheet protectors.  Fail.  Things were falling out and I couldn’t fit all I wanted into one sheet protector (for example, all the “shape” activities I had would get all bunched if they had a paper clip or were in a little baggie).

And then a choir of angels began to sing when I found Carisa’s Storing Theme Printables post!  She came up with the most brilliant way to store all of her printables!  I have followed her advice and used the following method:

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  • Buy as many as you can of: the Up and Up brand of envelope sleeves from Target (they come in packs of 5 for $3.69).  
  • Buy the square canvas bins from Target (I have four bins so far, but I’m sure I’ll need to get more as my homeschooling supplies grow).
  • Buy a labeler and label all of your envelopes so they are easy to find! (I found the Dymo brand one at Target for $14.99 just last week and now I can’t believe that I’ve lived without it until now.)
  • Print, print, print. (I have been choosy about this and I have only, so far, printed out seasonal themed printables and others, such as a trucks and farms and baby animals, according to my son’s interests; 1plus1plus1equals1 and Homeschool Creations both have so many to choose from, which is incredible, but I can’t print out everything, right….)
  • Laminate everything with this awesome laminator and these awesome 100 packs for $9 laminating sheets — so you can use all your printables for all your children (and beyond!)

I love this method, and I have four canvas bins, now, with all my Tot School supplies, one each for: Before Five in a Row-ish reading materials, my alphabet Tot School printables, seasonal and theme printables, and my Betty Lukens bible felt set.

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Here are examples of all the materials I put in each envelope:DSC00893 DSC00892

And there you have it.  Off to go print, cut, laminate…. and repeat.

Tot School – The Snowy Day

This is my favorite book of all time.

Over the past few weeks of snow, we have taken advantage of the opportunity to read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  I already wrote about why and how much I love Mr. Keats in a previous post.  And now for the fun we had celebrating Peter and his snowy day!

We read the book every day, many times a day.  I don’t know what it is about this book, but my son’s face brights up every time we read it!  The wording is so descriptive, and yet so simple!

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After we read the book several times, I chose to give him his little Peter doll that I made.  Super easy — here is a tutorial.

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We also were able to watch the movie — which is really just the book on the television, sometimes with Peter “in action.”  I love these types of (Scholastic) movies for children — they are simply the book on video, and this one was approved by Mr. Keats himself!   As you may know, I shy away from television for my children, but as my son has gotten older, I do acknowledge — and I want to embrace — that it is a part of our world.  And these videos are a beautiful compromise.  This The Snowy Day rendition made my son love Peter, and Ezra Jack Keats, even more!

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I also printed and laminated a mini-book of Peter.  (This is from Homeschool Share, but it looks like they took FIAR printables down for now.)  My son liked holding it — and he also impressed me by putting the whole story in order! 

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We also got to read The Snowy Day from a Big Book that I kept from my kindergarten teaching days — John couldn’t believe it!

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You can also read the book online at We Give Books!!

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Sensory Fun

Our sensory bin was very simple.  I placed our Peter doll in a bin with styrofoam packing peanuts and some sticks.  This was kind of a pain because those packing peanuts stick everywhere!  I don’t advise it : )

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We also had some simple sensory time with shaving cream on our kitchen table.  John was really getting the hang of making tracks with his fingers — and we did a quick letter review, and John discovered that he can make circles : )  That was very exciting!

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And then, of course, we ventured outside in the snow.  John wanted to do all the things that Peter did.

First, we looked out the window to see all the snow!

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We bundled up in our red coat : )

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We went outside and made tracks, made tracks with a stick, smacked some trees with the stick, and walked with our toes pointing in and out.

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We tried making snow balls — and ate them!

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We made a snowman.

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We made John’s first-ever snow angel.

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We went sledding down the neighbors’ hill.

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And we learned about snow melting, as we watched his little snowman melt with the warmer weather.

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Then we made a little snow covered tree.

Starting with our materials:

  • blue construction paper
  • brown construction paper: cut into a trunk and some branches
  • glue and paint brush
  • white glitter
  • a Peter made from red, brown, and black paper (I used our Peter doll as a template)

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Loves working with a paint brush.DSC01582Our first real time with glitter was successful!DSC01583

I was only planning on making the tree, but John said that there had to be a Peter to smack it : )
DSC01584Super excited about having two Peters.DSC01585 DSC01586Our finished snow-covered tree to smack shimmers beautifully in the sun.DSC01591

More wonderful The Snowy Day posts:

We wanted to use a lot more of these ideas, and probably will these next couple of weeks!

Delightful Learning — I would love to make gluten-free “snow ball” cookies.

Her Household Rhythm — I love their crayon shaded Peter picture!

Homeschool Creations — I love the picture with white snowflakes.  Doesn’t it look just like the book?  Jolanthe also has many free printables available on her site!

We are still enjoying The Snowy Day and I know we will do more next winter when my son is a bit older. Please link your time with the book — I know my son would love to look at pictures of other children doing snow-related and Peter-related activities : )