Thursday, January 31, 2013

Surprises for the Little Ones...

OK...I am with my family on the most beautiful tropical island! The breezes from the Indian Ocean cool the home while the dense foliage of a rain forest behind the house soaks in the sunshine of another day. The temperatures right now range from 70-90, and sitting in the shade, I enjoy all the beauty of blues and greens in God's creation.

As soon as I walked out the airport doors, with luggage and visa in hand, I heard familiar voices guessing if they would find me quickly or have to wait. I called out and 3 jubilant little girls ran toward me with the best hugs ever! After a long 37 hours, I was once again with loved ones!

The city was bustling around me, but I could only concentrate on the chatter that filled the mini van. The girls' anticipation of my arrival stored up all sorts of things they had to tell me and show me! I tried to exclaim over every little story, while trying to take in my surroundings, but have to admit that days without sleep and the warmth of the sun also was claiming my tired head. To overcome jet lag, I hoped to stay awake the entire day and only let sleep overtake me 12 hours later, when the island's darkness would envelope my surroundings.

I unpacked my suitcases with 3 bouncing, enthusiastic girls sitting on my bed. They were very curious over what I would pull out, and what surprises I brought from the states.

In a past post, I mentioned some homemade surprises, so let me show them to you now.

 First, I made each of the girls a Teddy Bear Place Mat for their dining table. Each bear held a yellow napkin, matching the linen napkin set I made for their mom, and wore a different bow.

They immediately placed these bear faces at their dinner places, and enjoyed them for several meals before they needed to be laundered.
These were a great hit.

Next, the littlest one received a plastic bag of finger puppet animals. I found these awesome animal felt prints and just had to make something cute with them.
There are giraffes, tigers, cows, monkeys, pigs, hippos, zebras, and lions.
More than enough for her fingers, or to share with others who want to join her in play.
I made the background on blue flannel, placing an ark with a deep pocket to hold all the animals.
They can also stick anywhere on the flannel to entertain our littlest one as she pretends they are swimming, flying, or being collected for the pocket. She loves walking around with all her fingers carrying the assortment.
The finished background rolls very small and be tied tightly, keeping the animals snugly tucked in the ark. So, for the littlest one and her friends, I hope these finger puppets fill many hours of play, and maybe some acting out this story by the older ones, giving them some enjoyment, too.

The 2 older girls tried on all the finger puppets, and loved the idea of a Noah's Ark Roll-Up, but their anticipation of what other cool things Grandma could pull out of her big suitcase made them struggle to settle on just playing with littlest one.
So, I pulled out 2 home-made NOTION KEEPERS which I had filled with sewing tools. We often talked on Skype of how much fun it would be to sew together, so I tried to think of age-aware projects these keepers could hold. I filled the pockets with the beginnings of a project and the tools they might need. For one, I chose things made with purple, and for the other, I chose pink tools.
As soon as the treasures of each pocket were found, the projects needed to be started immediately. A sigh escaped each girl when their mom reminded them that the long flight had probably made Grandma a little tired.
Reluctantly, the projects were tucked back in their pockets for an hour or two so that I could get my bearings and unpack my clothes.