Archive for February, 2012

Livezey Mill site

The Wissahickon River park is one of my favorite places ever. It is huge and there are trails all over the place and we are also stumbling upon new places. Today we found the awesome mossy staircase down to some rocks and the ruins of a dam. Across the river is the Glen Fern house, built in 1747 and the ruins of the Livezey Mill.

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We walked out onto the dam and played a game of Pooh Sticks. We were enchanted by the little waterfall and found the source of it on the other side of Forbidden Drive. We also were inspired to make up a story about a girl who goes into a woods and gets transported back in time. 🙂


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Mt. Airy Mists

I’ve been a bad blogger. But, I’ve been a better writer. Since Z’s birthday I have been spending more time working on my Dream Girl book. I have thought about blog posts but I haven’t gotten around to writing them. Instead I will post some pictures of beautiful Philadelphia.

Mt. Airy Mists – Taken on the grounds of the old historic Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and Dumb.

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For Zoe’s 11th birthday she got an acceptance letter to Hogwarts and a Hogwarts/Harry Potter birthday party. Zoe has loved the Harry Potter series since she was three, and we listened to the first book on tape. Soon she was reading them, over and over and over again. Then she was asking for the soundtracks for her birthday, and DVD’s of the movies, not to mention dressing up as Hermione and Bellatrix for Halloween, going to at least 3 midnight releases of the books, and participating in several other Harry Potter themed activities over the last 8 years.

This series has really been a defining presence in her life, as it has been for many other kids her age. Now the book series is over and all the movies have come out, but it doesn’t have to be the end. The World of Harry Potter lives on, and not just in Orlando.  You can throw a Harry Potter theme birthday party anytime, but the age of 11, when wizards and witches get their acceptance letter to Hogwarts is a particularly good time.

So, first thing to do if you want to throw a Harry Potter party is to get all your Halloween/ Harry Potter stuff out of storage.











What do you mean you haven’t been collecting Halloween decorations for the last four years and Harry Potter things for twice that long?? Well, check and make sure, we are talking about candles, cool shaped bottles with “magical” labels that you can print from the ‘net., cauldrons, spooky looking books, dragons, etc. I got 90% of this stuff at Goodwill, especially in October.



















































I had this cool suitcase which I outfitted with some things from our Harry Potter gear, like her wand, Griffindor badge, S.P.E.W. badge, bag of galleons, and some magic books.

















For the party we had two crafts and two activities.  Our first craft was making wands. I bought some wooden sticks at Michaels, and a dark wood stain pen. I stained the rods and then, just to test the concept, I decorated a couple with glitter glue. At the party the girl got creative with the glitter glue and each decorated their own wands. Some used their “house colors”, they all made neat designs, and the sparkling glitter definitely gave them a magical look.




























The next craft I did, for our first activity, was to make some “quills.” I bought some colored feathers, at Michaels, and some small gel pens. I cut the tip off the feathers, took apart the pens, and inserted the tip with attached internal ink into the feather. It worked just like I thought it would and the kids LOVED them. In this picture is a reg. pen, which was too long for the feather.

Staples has mini pens that worked.









I also bought them small inexpensive notebooks from Target, to be their spells books. The quills and spell books were used in our Charms class. I gathered some Latin roots from wikipedia and made a list like:

lumin-            light                    luminary, luminous
lūn-                Moon                lunar, lunate, lunatic
lup-                wolf                    lupine

The “students” put the latin words together to make their own spells and then we had a contest for the Most Ridiculous Spell, The Most Powerful, The Most Day-to-Day Useful Spell. The kids were really into this game. Some even described the wrist movements needed for the spell.








My favorite craft, and decorations was The Owlry. In Harry Potter World mail is delivered by Owl.  Harry’s owl Hedwig is a much beloved snowy owl. Zoe’s acceptance letter was delivered by the soft furry Great Horn owl, that she named Porridge.








I found tons of awesome owl crafts online. You can find them too by googling “toilet paper roll owl,” “paperbag owl,” and “Paper Lantern Owl.” Here are some I made to populate The Owlry and a small collection of owls I got from Zoe’s stuffed animals and thrift stores:








The paper lantern owl was SUCH a fun project, and, since it is just an owl, you could pretty much do it anytime. Owls are really popular now too. I wanted to include a DIY  for how to make these cute owls.

What you need:
Small Paper Lanterns
Yellow scrapbook paper for feet and nose

Glue Dots to attach nose

Tape to attach legs/feet

More patterned scrapbook paper for wings

Tiny brads to attach wings


Round sticky-backed scrapbook embellishments (2 for each owl) for eyes.

First I drew nose and feet on the yellow paper and cut them out. I didn’t want the girls to have to spend time cutting during the craft.

















Again I wanted to do a proof of concept, so I made an owl for myself. I stuck some big flowery eyes to the outside of the lantern and used a glue dot to attach the nose.


















I bought a small book of patterned scrapbook paper.










I cut one sheet of the paper in half and cut my wings out of that. And attached them with tiny colorful brads.




















It was a little tricky to open the brads inside the lantern because the lanterns were small and my hands not so much. I did manage but I had to do it for the girls. If you didn’t care about the wings being able to move you could just use another glue dot or two.










Then I folded the feet like “nyah” and taped them onto the metal bar at the bottom of the lantern.




















The girls seemed really excited about this craft. Seriously, they were like vultures for that scrapbooking stuff. It was scary.








Here is the finished craft. Aren’t they adorable??








Our last activity was a Divination Class with a tea leaf reading. I found some info about how to perform Tasseomancy online.

I covered a round coffee table with red fabric, bought a clear glass round light cover (50 cents at the thrift store), and draped some scarves over our folding screen to decorate the Divination class room.








I bought some loose leaf tea and performed the “ritual,” upended the cup, and then we tried to see our fortunes in the leaves. Of course, someone saw The Grim!










For some reason the kids were REALLY excited about this activity. Of course, I was TOTALLY making things up, but  I interpreted hearts, birds, pyramids, snakes, and letters of the alphabet.

Then it was time for cake. Look! It’s a Zoe Witch Cake. 😀










Chased down with some butterbeer. ❤ Yum!








And, if that wasn’t enough sugar the girls each got a trip to Honeydukes.








It was a fun party. Zoe has some really great friends, every one of them. And, the birthday girl had an amazing time. 😀

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Zoe is almost eleven. She has grown tall and long but remains as she has always been, a happy beautiful girl. I am so proud of her for her compassion, gratitude, friendliness, thoughtfulness, and the wholehearted joy with which she experiences life. These are some of my favorite photos of the last eleven years.

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