Visiting the Dinosaur Park

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Last Saturday we made a trip to the new Dinosaur Exhibition in Thessaloniki with our kids and friends. I shoot a lot of pictures, and so I wanted to share with you our experience!

dinosaur park
Dinosaur park entrance sign

The place the exhibition was set up is the same place where the International Fair of Thessaloniki takes place. We arrived there just a little too late (as always) but since there were many people as late as we, they did let us in. At first it was not that impressive and we grown-ups did had second thought about whether it would be worth the money spent. But the kids were all super-excited and looking forward to see the dinosaurs, so we waited in line to get the tickets and get started.

t-rex pic
A picture of the T-Rex in the ticket room. It was part of a huge wall-puzzle

Once inside, you could see some dinosaur skeletons and interesting fossils. A guide began to talk about the dinosaur era to the kids and then took us to another room, which was a black light room (so everybody with white clothes was lit up…) and we had a “time travel” experience. Well, at least that was the plan, but unfortunately there was some techniqual problems and we didn’t experience it, ha! But, time travel is a difficult thing, after all! We managed though to move on to the main exhibition area, where they had all the life-sized dinosaur replicas and that was where the fun really began!

stars
They used a cool star light background for an atmospheric touch

The kids where loosing it over how big the dinosaurs where, and since they had motion added to the replicas, they really looked alive! Our guides would tell a story for each dinosaur, describe it in form of a fun tale and incorporate many interesting information into the stories, along with some funny points. It was really entertaining, both for kids and adults!

triceratops
The impressive Triceratops

After seeing many of the dinosaurs, we ended up seeing the king of them all, the T-Rex! 6 meters tall and 14 meters long!! Well, you wouldn’t want to meet this guy ever! Although, you might be able to dodge him, given how small we are compared to him!

t-rex
The huge Tyrannosaurus Rex. Check out how small my otherwise tall hubby looks!

All in all, there were about 25-26 robotic dinosaurs displayed and all where explained to us by three different guides. At the end of the tour, there was a “living” tree waiting for the kids (another robot), which told them a story about trees, nature and dinosaurs.

karnosauros
The scary Karnosaur

Lastly, we were guided to a room where the kids were able to be paleontologists for a brief moment, trying on a safety hat and digging around in a sand pit filled with “dinosaur bones”. They had a little party and were given a “paleontology diploma”. After that, you could buy some souvenirs or a picture of your kid on a special dinosaur displayed there!

All in all, it was a really informative and fun experience, especially for the kids, of course! They had a great time, learned a lot, and got to see their friends, too! What more can a kid (or a parent for that matter) ask for?

 

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DIY Easy Canvas Art Project with Painters Tape for Kids

While I am not the most artistic person, I try to keep my kids creative and so I am always searching for some easy art projects, especially on rainy days. One project I liked specifically, was painting a canvas using paint and painters tape. It is really easy, and the results are great! You can choose whatever colors you think will complement your home or use metallic colors for vibrant art work. The possibilities are endless.

painters tape diy canvas art
Painters tape diy canvas art

You will need:

  • Paint brushes
  • Various paint colors
  • Painters tape
  • Canvas

You can begin either by painting your canvas with a base color and leave it to dry or leaving the canvas plain white. Tape pieces of painters tape in any way you want, covering the canvas edge to edge. You can keep it symmetrical, geometrical or just chaotic.

painters tape star canvas art
Painters tape star canvas art

Next, choose your colors and paint each distinctive part in the color you want. The paint will help you keep the edges clean, but try not to get into other parts of the canvas. Let it dry completely and carefully remove the painter’s tape. And voila! There you have it: a great, easy, handmade piece of art!

painters tape heart canvas art
Painters tape heart canvas art

My kids loved the outcome and they wanted me to make some simple shapes with painter’s tape, so I made the first letter of their name, a star and a heart…

Painters tape kids canvas art
Painters tape kids canvas art

I think they turned out quite nice! And they look great on their wall, too! And if you are more talented than me in arts, here are a few projects from Pinterest that really look professional!

diy canvas art
DIY canvas art (image source)
Canvas diy steps
Canvas diy steps (image source)
canvas diy metallic
Canvas art with metallic background (image source)

How To Make Easy Star Wars Pinatas and more ideas for a Star Wars Themed Birthday Party!!!

So, my son is one of the biggest Star Wars fans I know. He has a huge collection, and so it was a given that he would have a Star Wars Birthday Party. For two years in a row! I am going to write about those two parties, what we prepared to keep our guests (and us!) entertaint and I have to admit, we had a blast both times!

When I think about making pinatas, I always think that I can’t make one that is cute or with a character I like… for example, I could in no way allow kids to hit Yoda or another Yedi, pinata or not! So, when the time came to decide on the pinatas, we had these two ideas: the first one was a very easy Death Star Pinata and the second one a slightly more complicated but still easy Darth Vader Pinata.

Easy Death Star Pinata How-to

All you will need for this pinata is a white round paper lamp shade (I bought mine from IKEA), a piece of cardboard, grey spray paint, black marker, some fishing line or other kind of string and of course candy!!!

diy death star pinata
DIY Death Star Pinata

Assemble the lamp shade per instructions. Cover the bottom hole with a small piece of cardboard (secure with some tape). Go outside and spray paint the whole thing grey (if you find a grey lamp shade, by all means, buy that if you want, and just skip spray painting it!). With the black marker, add a few features (rectangles to the lampshade so it’s resembles to the Death Star. Fill the Death Star carefully with candy. Since it is made out of paper, take care not to overfill it or else it will bend or even rip. Add the string to the wire on top of the Death Star for hanging. All you need now is a stick and children to hit the pinata and get all the bounty!!!

Darth Vader Pinata How-to

To make this Pinata we really simply followed the image – steps from mini.reyve.fr  adapting it slightly since I didn’t want a string pulled pinata. You will need a cardboard box (I use a cereal box or use some thicker cardboard), painters or other tape, craft glue and black crepe paper and a Darth Vader Mask Template. Print the Darth Vader Mask Template in a size that will suit you and your box and use it to cut the back and front of the box so they resemble the shape of the mask (you will end up with two mask-shaped cardboard pieces). Don’t worry too much about details, they will most likely get lost when you’ll add the fringes. Use the box’s sides or cut out a few 4″ wide strips (the longer the better) to use them to connect the two mask-shaped pieces to each other. To do that, you will need to use the adhesive tape like shown in the pictures from the blog, that is kind of the most tricky part, especially at the beginning. Don’t forget to fill your pinata with goodies before sealing it completely. Also, remember to use some string or rope to make a loop for hanging your pinata on top. When you have finished with the cardboard pinata, it is time to decorate it. Cut out 2” wide strips of the crepe paper and cut fringes into them. Try to make them as long as they need to be to cover the pinata from end to end in each row, so the result will be nicer looking. Now, with patience, glue all the strips onto the cardboard. Repeat on the back and the sides. This is the most time-consuming step for making the pinata, but it is a rather fun process. Lastly, cut out the Darth Vader mask highlights from your template and glue them to the front of your pinata. We painted Darth Vader’s eyes red, for a fierce result! Didn’t it turn out great?

diy darth vader pinata
DIY Darth Vader pinata

To make the invitation, I used the Star Wars Crawl Creator and finding the story to tell was so totally fun! For the rest of our first party I prepared green Yoda plates for the cake (just green plates where I attached some green Yoda ears I cut out with a stapler), a softball target shoot game (took an old big carton, painted the whole thing black, glued some rocket stickers and then we just cut out different sized circles, glued some Star Wars Villains on the circles for targets), a “Pin the lightsaber on the Yedi” game and we gave out  foam swords for everybody after the “Jedi Training”.

target game yoda plates
Target game and Yoda plates

At the end we did even have Darth Vader invade our party to steal the birthday cake, but fortunately all of our Yedi friends fought him off and so we could eat the cake after all!!! It was really fun and all of our guests and the birthday boy had a blast! The second party’s highlight was our Darth Vader Pinata of course, which did need to take a lot of hits before it released it’s bounty, being a true Darth Vader Pinata…

Using this same technique you can make virtually any Pinata you can think of… I for one am looking forward to making the next – girly this time – Birthday Pinata 🙂

 

Beach Craft Idea: Framed Sea Glass Dolphin

Finally, the beach treasures we gathered have all found their destination. Sea shells became a wonderful heart, our cute heart stones were put on display, and lastly, the sea glass pieces we gathered did find what they where supposed to become… it was rather hard to find out, I have to admit! But now I understand something I often heard or read about, when somebody would find something and just pick it up saying: “I’ll figure out later what I want to do with that!”.

brown sea glass
We found a wonderful sea glass piece… and held it up in front of the blue sky and bright sun of Greece

Well, that’s exactly what happened with the sea glass pieces. They were odd shaped and in different sizes, nothing I would do with them would look close to something good. Especially the two biggest pieces were giving me a headache. I washed them, put them in vinegar to loose some of the salt and shined them with a little baby oil as good as I could.

sea glass pieces
So many pieces of sea glass in different colors, shapes and sizes… what can somebody do with them?

I saw some ideas on Pinterest… they made super-cute seahorses, trees or flowers with them, but to do something like that I would need much more pieces and more uniform ones… and then suddenly I realised that, putting the two big pieces together, they would resemble a big fish tail… but what kind of fish? Maybe a shark? Or a dolphin? My kids went for the dolphin and slowly it really all came together! All of the sea shell parts seemed to belong in a certain dedicated spot. The fins, the beak and the eye, they were all there. I really was impressed.

Framed sea glass dolphin
Our framed sea glass dolphin

And I think that the result is really cute and they make a great themed set.

beach craft ideas framed sea treasures
Our three framed beach craft ideas

The three frames found their place above my kids’ desk… As I said before, the most important thing with these projects is that we gathered all pieces with my family and that they remind us of a beautiful summer! I for one, love them, and so do the little ones!!!

Beach Craft Idea: Framed Sea Shell Heart

 

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Time for my second summer project idea I had in mind this year: Framed Sea Shell Heart! It is super easy to make, just as my previous project I wrote about (Beach Craft Idea: DIY Framed Heart Shaped Stones). The only thing I did different is that I used a painted background I had laying around and it did fit into the frame so nice! I thought it was perfect as I used blue, green and white acrylic paints to paint it on a small canvas as I was thinking of the ocean.

I arranged the sea shells so they would create the outline of a heart, and I added one sea shell to each corner of the frame. Everything was glued in place with the silicon gun.

 

beach craft framed sea shell heart
Beach craft idea: framed sea shell heart

I really love the end result! It totally complements the other beach themed frame. Now I only need to make the third and final frame with sea glass… I really don’t have any idea right now, since the pieces we found are not that smooth and beautiful. But, the ultimate goal here is to create something that will remind us of the summer that has past, so perfection is not what I seek! What I love most about these project is the excitement in my kids’ eyes when they saw the outcome and the fact that they both pointed to the specific items they found by themselves. I think that is irreplaceable, what do you!!!

 

Kids Christmas Craft With Cardboard Paper Tubes

We have been busy the last days, since Christmas is on our doorstep! One of the craft we did was making some Christmas people out of cardboard paper tubes! Those are so versatile, I did never thing about them that way.

You can use whatever tubes you can find, from paper towel rolls to toilet paper rolls everything goes. We also used some googly eyes, but you can paint the eyes on. So, you’ll need, other than the tubes and colored paper, glue and scissors and maybe some items for decoration.

figures out of tubes
Figures out of tubes (image source)

When you’ve decided what you want to make, measure the paper and cut it the length of the tube. Then put some glue on the tube and wrap it with the paper. If you don’t have colored paper, just paint on some plain white paper. Or you can paint directly on the tube or even use it as it is.

The tubes can also be used to create wreaths or ornaments and some even use them as gift tags, napkin holders or treat or gift boxes; when they are beautiful crafted and decorated that is.

This beautiful wreath is easy to make. Who could imagine what you used for them?

Wreath out of tubes
Wreath out of tubes (image source)

If you take just one of those “flowers” and use some glitter, they can become ornaments for your tree!

tube ornaments
Tube ornaments (image source)

Here are some instructions on how to make little santas to use as gift tags or ornaments, even to hold some treat or gift themselves. You can see also a little gift package out of a plain tube tied beautifully with a ribbon. Aren’t they just adorable??? And they are so simple to make!!!

how to make some santa ornaments
How to make some santa ornaments (image source)

And finally!!! My son’s creations with a little help from me cutting the paper pieces.

My boy's tube creations
My boy’s tube creations

Try it and have some easy, inexpensive, creative fun making these or try making easy Christmas ornaments from dried fruits!!!

Fun and Healthy Kids Recipe: Meatballs on a Stick

meatballs on a stick
Meatballs on a stick

So, that is a photo of meatballs I made following my meatball recipe. As I have said in another post, my kids like their food on a stick, so that is exactly what I did! Now that my little girl is a little older, I cooked them in the oven.

I am a little reluctant to upload my own photos, since I am really not in any way a good photographer, nor am I a – even remotely close to – professional cook. I have no idea how to place dishes, how to arrange the food, how to use light, etc. Really, no clue whatsoever!

But, despite that, I will from time to time post some photos of the things I cook or make with my kids, asking you not do judge them too harshly 🙂