Unicorn’s of the Sea, Narwhal Facts for Kids

Narwhal Facts for Kids

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  • Narwhals are a marine whale and belong to the cetacean family, which include all species of whale, dolphin and porpoise.
  • Narwhals are mammals and breathe air to survive.
  • They can stay underwater for up to 25 minutes before coming up for air.
  • Narwhals live in Arctic waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia.
  • There scientific name is Monodon Monoceros which means one-tooth, one horn.
  • They are nicknamed the unicorn of the sea due to their long tusks.
  • Did you know that their “tusks” aren’t horns or tusks at all?  It is a long-left tooth, that can grow up to 10 ft long and weigh 22 pounds.
  • Male and females can have tusks, but they are found mostly in men.
  • Some narwhal’s do not have any tusks at all and some males on rare occasions have grown two.
  • Scientists are still not quite sure what this “tusk” is used for.  Some believe that it may be used during mating, others believe it is used to fight off rival narwhals and some believe that it is used to detect changes in water temperature.
  • Narwhals eat squid, shrimp, halibut and other fish.
  • They eat more in the winter to store a lot of food, they eat significantly less in the summer months.
  • They often stay close to the water’s surface but can dive down 5,000 ft.
  • They live in groups of 10-100 narwhals.
  • They are social and communicate with each other using a variety of sounds and clicks.
  • Baby narwhals are called calves.  Calves are born around 5ft long.
  • Babies are darker in color and lighten as they age.
  • Adult narwhals can be 12-20ft long and weigh 3,500 pounds.
  • Predators include polar bears, orca and whales.
  • Climate change is also a threat.

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 Party Themes

Beach Luau Themed party

Nightmare Before Christmas Themed Party

 

Education

Fun ways to prepare your child for kindergarten

Healthy Eating Ideas

Fun

How to keep kids busy at the beach

 

 

How to Throw the Best Nightmare Before Christmas Party

How to Plant the Perfect Nightmare Before Christmas Party for Kids

So, my daughter Janelle was turning 4 and she really wanted a Halloween Christmas birthday party.  She was talking about that theme for over a month. Her birthday is in the beginning of December.  After thinking about how to go about planning this Halloween Christmas birthday party, I remembered the movie Nightmare Before Christmas and thought that it would be a great fit.  We watched the movie together and she became an instant fan, so much in fact that she wanted me to call her Sally.  This is when the planning began.  Now, The  Nightmare Before Christmas is not a popular birthday theme among toddlers. They don’t have decorations, down the party aisle at Party City, so I knew I had to get creative. We talked about what she wanted to have at her party and we made a list:

Make gingerbread houses

Treat or Treat ( I had to convince her that we could not walk around the block knocking on our neighbor’s doors for candy in December)

Have a photo booth with Jack and Sally

Have Zero

Play Games

Face Painting

Have Christmas and Halloween decorations

Play the song Thriller at the party

Goody Bags

She was very precise on what she wanted at her party.   Now that I had the list, I could start the shopping.

Ginger Bread Houses

OK, now time to get creative.  Since we started talking about this in mid-October.  The gingerbread houses would be the first thing to work on.  I thought how about Halloween/Christmas gingerbread houses.  I waited until the day after Halloween and hit the store to purchase the left-over Halloween gingerbread houses.  I saw them at Wal-Mart, A.C Moore and Party City.  It turned out that they were the cheapest at Party City.  They cost me only $2.75 each.  I needed 12, they had 9 in the store and I was able to purchase the rest on-line.  So, I had the Halloween houses and I wanted the kids to decorate them with Christmas candies.  I went to Wal-Mart and picked up gingerbread men, candy cane, mittens and Santa Claus little sugar cupcake toppers and white cookie frosting.  I also purchased Red and Green M&Ms, candy canes and used left over Smarties candies from Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decorations and Favors

Shopping for a Halloween party right after Halloween is the best, everything is on sale.  I was able to get things for up to 80% off.  Even if you are not having a Halloween party, it is definitely worth it to shop after Halloween and save everything for next year.  I purchased some orange and black cookie icing and sugar black cat cupcake toppers for the gingerbread houses.  I also purchased some decorations and a lot of the glow bracelets and necklaces (they were .10 for 4).  I was able to get face paint on clearance.

I did not see any Nightmare Before Christmas table cloth or plates, so I purchased black and white table cloth, black and white plates, napkins and cups.

Trick-or Treating

At A.C Moore I purchased 2 cardboard pumpkins that I was going to paint as Jack and Sally. I used a black sharpie to draw Sally’s stitches and Jack’s face  They had an opening in the middle, I used this to place candy.  I was going to use the pumpkins to hold candy for trick-or-treating at the party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Booth

I knew finding a backdrop for the photo booth was going to be a little tricky. After a Google search, I found that there are many Nightmare Before Christmas themed shower curtain’s on the market.  I also found Nightmare Before Christmas fabric sold by Joann’s by the yard, but I wasn’t sure how much I would need.  I decided to go with the shower curtain.  I purchased a Nightmare Before Christmas Shower curtain on-line at Target.  I used the shower curtain hooks to attach to my curtain rod.  I purchased black table cloth and placed it on the floor.  I bought a Santa Claus Jack Skellington (Walgreens) and placed him on wrapped cardboard box.  I also added some other Christmas decorations to place in the backdrop.  I also used fake snow sheets that I purchased from A.C Moore, to make it look like it snowed in Halloween Town. The photo booth came out great and was a huge success with the kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Face Painting

We set up face painting in the corner of the room.  The kids got to choose from Sally stiches, Jack’s face, pumpkin, Christmas tree or a black cat.

Games

We played Freeze dance and did the limbo (I purchased a limbo stick at Party City).  We created a You Tube play list that included songs from the movie plus thriller (my daughter loves Michael Jackson’s Thriller) and some Christmas music. The kids got to trick-or-treat from the Jack and Sally pumpkins after each game.

Food

I served pizza, juice and water to the kids for lunch.  For dessert, I made Jack Skellington cookies.  I made the cookies, then I made cookie icing to make them look like Jack (recipe listed at the end of this post).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made Jack and Sally cake pops (recipe listed at the end of this post).  I painted 2 baby formula cans one to look like Sally and the other Jack.  I purchased Styrofoam balls to stick in the cans to hold the cake pops.  I also purchased Jack, Sally and Zero cake toppers from Etsy.  I used the Jack and Sally as part of the decoration for the cake pops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ordered a Jack and Sally cake.  I used the zero cake topper to put on the cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zero

To make Zero the dog I bought a large Styrofoam ball for him head and a cone shaped piece for his nose.  Using a hot glue gun, I glued them together.  I bought 2 yards of white cloth and wrapped it around the head and nose and secured it with a rubber band.  I hot glued a large googly eye on his head and a red pom-pom ball on the tip of his nose.  I used the extra cloth to make his ears.  I cut long ear shape pieces and sewed them to his head.  To hang Zero, I made slits on each end of the cloth where his legs would be and tied thread around it, I made more slits on the top of his head and on his ears.  I taped the thread to the ceiling to make him hang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goody Bags 

I purchased pumpkin goody bags, on clearance after Halloween.  I filled the bags with a Jack and Sally cake pop and a Jack cookie.  We also added Christmas themed bubbles, glow bracelet and necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Skellington Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

3oz cream cheese

1 tea spoon vanilla

1 cup butter

2 ¼ cups flour

 

Cream the sugar and butter, add the cream cheese mix well.  Add the egg yolk, vanilla then slowly add the flour.  Roll the dough into a ball.  Add a small amount of flour onto some parchment paper.  Roll dough out evenly, use circle cookie cutter.  Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is a light, golden brown.  Let cookies cool

 

To make the icing

Place one cup of confectioners sugar into small mixing bowl.  Add two tablespoons of milk, mix until you get a shiny smooth texture. If it’s too thick add more milk, if it’s too runny add more sugar. Make again the same way but add black food coloring to make Jacks’s face.  Coat all of the cookies with the white icing.  When it is completely dry, place the black icing into a plastic piping bag, cut off the tip and use to draw on Jack’s face.  Wait at least one hour before stacking the cookies

 

Cake Pops

1 box cake mix

1 can icing

Melting chocolate ( I used white for Jack and  teal for Sally)

 

Make the boxed cake mix according to the package.  Bake the cake.  Once the cake has cooled crumple it up into tiny pieces.  Place one cup of store bought caking icing into the crumbled up cake.  Using your hands mix the icing and the cake together. Make tiny ½ -1 inch balls out of the mixture.  Place them on a cookie try lined with parchment paper and add a lollipop stick to each ball, refrigerate for 1 hour.  After an hour melt colored chocolate with a double broiler or a chocolate melt.  Dip the balls into the chocolate and place back on cookie sheet place back into the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened.  If you are in a warm humid climate, I would keep them in the re

Can Sugar Gliders be pets? Fun Sugar Glider Facts for Kids

  Sugar Glider Facts for Kids      

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  • A sugar glider is a marsupial.
  • A marsupial is a mammal that has a pouch to develop and carry their babies. A kangaroos and koalas are well known marsupials.
  • The scientific name for a sugar glider is Petaurus breviceps which is Latin for short-headed rope dancer.
  • Sugar gliders are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time in trees.
  • Sugar gliders are also nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night and sleep during the day.
  • Sugar gliders live in the forests of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Tasmania.
  • Sugar gliders can also live in the United States and other countries as exotic pets.
  • They are sometimes compared to flying squirrels however, they are not related.  Sugar gliders are in the Petauridae family, which consists of possum.
  • Sugar gliders can glide from tree to tree using patagium membranes of loose skin that is attached from their finger and stretches to their toe on each side.
  • Sugar gliders have been known to glide up to 150 ft.
  • Sugar gliders are small animals. They are about 12-13 inches long from the tip of their nose to the end of their tails.
  • They weigh on average between 3-5 ounces.
  • Their bodies are between 5-6 inches long.
  • They have thick fur that can be a range of colors between blue-grey, yellow and tan.
  • Their tummies are an off which cream like color.
  • They have a long black strip that runs from their nose to their back and have black rings around their eyes.
  • Females have a pouch in the middle of their tummy to carry their babies.
  • Baby sugar gliders develop in their mother’s pouches. Once they are fully developed they come out of the pouch.
  • Baby sugar gliders are called joeys.
  • Joeys are born without fur and with their eyes closed. Their eyes will start to open in 12-14 days.
  • Joeys stay with their mothers for about 4 months old, they go out on their own.
  • Sugar gliders are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals.
  • They eat insects, small vertebrates, bird eggs, small lizards but prefer the sweet sugary taste of sap and nectar from eucalyptus, acacia and gum trees.
  • Sugar gliders are social animals and live in groups called colonies.
  • Colonies can have up to 7 adults and their young.
  • Sugar gliders in a colony share a nest. Sharing a nest keeps them warm in colder months.
  • Members of the colony work together to keep each other clean.
  • Sugar glides use different sounds to communicate with each other. The sounds include squeaks, barking, and hissing sounds.
  • Some predators to the sugar glider include: owls, large birds and some snakes.

Storybook Experiences Santa Experience Review

Storybook Experiences Santa Experience Review

 

Every year I was getting my daughter’s Santa pictures taken at our local mall.  They were cute, but I was getting tired of the same picture, with the same Santa with the same background. Next year, I wanted to try something new.  A friend of mine mentioned that she did the Santa Experience with Storybook Experiences. She said she had a great experience and was going to do it again next year.   She warned me that appointments fill up fast and suggested that I got on their mailing list.  I went to their web-site www.storybookexperiences.com and joined their mailing list.  I also liked their Facebook page.

I received an e-mail in January about the sign-ups for next Christmas, yes January.  I put it on my calendar and was eager to sign up.  When the day finally came, I was so excited to make an appointment.  So was everyone else, the web-site crashed and I could not get on to schedule my appointment.  The crew at Storybook Experiences kept on top of this unfortunate circumstance.  They sent e-mails updating us on the status of the site and when it would be back up and running again.  When it finally was, I was able to schedule my appointment.  To book the appointment you have to leave a $100 deposit.  The total cost of the package was $350 which included the full experience and 20 digital photos.  I usually do not spend this much on photo’s but for photos and an experience I thought I give it a try.

I ended up getting pregnant that year and my child was due in October.  I was happy that I booked the Santa Experience because it would be something special for my child’s first Christmas.  Now I was super excited.

About 2 weeks before our shoot.  My daughter received a letter in the mail from the North Pole.  She was very excited to receive something from Santa.   I read her the letter.  It stated that Santa was coming to Long Island and that she was going to be able to meet him.  It was a sweet letter and now she was eager to meet Santa.

Finally, the day arrived.  My daughter was dressed in her green dress and my son in a newborn Santa onsie and matching Santa hat.  When we arrived at Storybook Experiences, it reminded me of a storybook.  It was a cute little building and hat a tall nutcracker in front.  When we went inside it was decorated so beautify and really felt like you were in Santa’s cottage.  It had a tall Christmas tree, a toy room where the kids can play while waiting for their shoot.  It felt warm and cozy.  We waited about 10 minutes before it was our turn.  Then the experience begins.

When it is your time to go in they bring you to a bookshelf that was a secret doorway to Santa.  You walk down the hall to Santa’s workshop, there you are greeted by Santa.  The Santa was excellent, the best I’ve ever saw.  I’m not sure if his bead was real, but it sure looked real.  He has a bubbly personality and was warm and inviting. He had no problem holding my almost 2-month-old son.  He was like a jolly old grandpa.  It was great.   In the workshop kids play blocks and fly an airplane with Santa, while the photographer snapped pictures.  Santa was great a positioning the children to get the best shot.

 

After playing in the workshop, Santa asked my daughter if she was on the nice list.  He pulled out the list and there she got to look for her name.  There is was, right there on the paper, Janelle and her 2 month-old brother was on there too.

 

They moved over to another area that looked like a winter forest.  My daughter and Santa sat on some logs and enjoyed a special drink and some cookies. They read a story and even made it snow.

We moved over to another section where Santa sat in his chair and asked her what she wanted for Christmas and her brother too.

When our session ended my daughter was even more excited for Christmas. She got to take home a special gift of reindeer food.  Santa reminded her not to forget to sprinkle it out on the lawn Christmas Eve to feed the reindeer. It was defiantly all I thought it would be and more.

Our photos took about 2 weeks to come.  They sent me 40 and let me pick 20.  You were also able to choose more at an additional price.  The pictures came out so great.  I wanted to pick them all, the only thing that stopped me was thinking I can’t hang up Santa pictures all year round.

I highly recommend the Santa Experience.  I received the best photos.  The staff was very cheerful and the customer service is great.  They also have an Easter Bunny Experience that I would love to check out Storybook Experiences is located at 475 Montauk Highway, West Islip NY 11795.

Helpful Hints

Get on the mailing list to be the first to know about bookings

Try not to wear red to the Santa Experience.  Santa has a red suit and there is a lot of red in the background.  Try green, black or another pop color.

Try to book your experience before December 1st.  Photos take 2 weeks.  I did my shoot on December 10th and I didn’t have time to put the pictures on my Christmas Cards.  I did print and frame some to use as gifts.

If your child is afraid of Santa, try to wait until they are a little older and will fully enjoy the experience.  The staff is wonderful, if your child is afraid but if you’re paying $350 you don’t want to have crying children in the photos.

Don’t be late.  With all the bookings, they run a tight schedule.  You never feel rushed during the shoot, but I would recommend getting there a couple of minutes early.

Have fun.  I really enjoyed my shoot.  I have great memorable photos for my son’s first Christmas.