Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snake Festival! Opening Day!

Not really sure why I decided that the kids needed a snake festival. They love animals, but have never mentioned snakes. In fact, a few weeks ago, I asked the boys if they liked them. No. Did they want to learn about them? No. Did they want to make a snake? Thoughtful silence. Then, "no." Oh dear. By that time I had already bought the fleece we'd need for seven of them and the ingredients for both a super sneaky snake lunch and a mixed media art project that would have us all hissing with delight.

But there's no slithering around over here. When grandma decides we're having a snake festival, well hang on to your tail, because we're havin' one!

I planned an educational opening ceremony. Because of the aforementioned disinterest in my topic, I was forced to dust off an old trick from parenting days of yore. Settled myself on the couch within earshot of the kids, opened a richly illustrated nature book, and began to declare observations that a seasoned herpetologist would delight in. "My, my! Look at that! Rattlesnakes! Snuggled up in a huge pile to hibernate through the winter!" and, "That loooong, skinny vine snake sure is a pretty green color. I wonder if anybody can see him hiding there!" Seconds later, they were piled in my lap, poking and pointing at pages, peppering me with questions. "Grandma, how did that snake get up in the tree? Is that an egg he came out of? How? Why? Ewww! Look at that one! He's crawling right out of his clothes!"

Ladies and gentlemen....
let grandma's snake festival begin!

I answered as many questions as I could, glossing craftily over the topic of what's for dinner on the plates of these slimy critters. (Oops! My bad! I meant UNslimy! Snake skin is dry and cool. It looks wet only because it shines in the light. Ha! Bet you didn't know that!) I avoided the topic of eats because Bree is very attached to the rodents in her Calico Critters family. Wouldn't want her living in fear of a scaly head poking inside the window of their cozy little cottage and snapping up a young 'un with the quick flick of a reptilian tongue! And the boys didn't need to know how boas plan their meals either. Right now they both want badly to be policemen so they can "put handcuffs on the bad guys and throw 'em in jail!" That's okay. Just don't think they need to add "crush 'em to death and haul 'em off to swallow whole" to their arsenal right now. I'll let some future second grade teacher handle both those areas for me!

So, now we know (almost) everything about snakes! It's time to apply our knowledge and make one for ourselves. What I like best about this project is that it teaches kids to "sew" even though they never get to touch a needle. I firmly believe it's grandma's job to convey that skill to the next generation. On this day we accomplished "step one" toward the goal of seeing great things made from fabric when you know just how to cut, stitch, turn, stuff and tie on a bow - or, in this case -three, or four, or more of them!

My snake makers followed exactly the instructions I have provided here. Their first step was to choose a "snake skin" to stuff to plump perfection. Taking into account their ages, I offered stitched critters already filled to 75% complete. They expertly shoveled in the last foot, using wooden dowels to make the work easier.

Once bodies were full, a choice for eyes was custom made from a pile of colorful buttons. I offered the option of topping those off with a set of wiggle eyes.

Bree took her eyeball-shopping very seriously! She carefully tried on as many pairs as possible before making a final decision.

While the kids waited patiently, returning to the snake book for another careful look, grandma sewed on the eyes and tied the end of the tails tightly with ribbon.

The kids made their final choices for the ribbon body bows that put the finishing, wild touch on each of their new pets.

Sure, our snakes are beautiful, but are they smart? We introduced them to the alphabet, making sure they knew, at the very least, how the letter "s" sounds!

Here we are! Our snakes are smart and cute, and so are we! But is our snake festival over? Oh, heck no! When grandma comes back in two days, she'll bring part II of this epic event tucked inside the ample pockets of her huge "grandma bag!" We're gonna make ourselves a wonderful reptilian lunch and an art project that I've promised will rate at least a 20 on a "scale" of 1 to 10!  Please sidle on back next week so you can decide for yourself if we succeeded at that happy task!

Best Moment of the Week: Mommy overheard Nick (center) introducing his new pet to one of his twin baby sisters. Looking at it fondly, he sweetly said, "I love my snake!"
Awww! And you know what, Nick? I love YOU too...and your brother on the left, and your cousin on the right!


  1. What an absolutely wonderful grandmother you are. Amazing.

  2. Lucky grandchildren in your family for sure! I understand completely not going into the feeding part! When I was in school for Early Childhood Education, our college lab preschool had a boa (I think) and we had to feed it a live mouse every month or so. Creepy to watch them staring down for hours before the snake pounced. The kids would come and go watching and waiting to see what would happen! Never knew when the snake would make its move...creepy!

  3. What fun memories you are making with your grandchildren. Isn't 2013 the year of the snake in Chinese tradition? I think you could carry this snake festival pretty far!

    (Having grown up with a science teacher Dad who kept boa constrictors, I actually did know that snakes aren't slimy!)

    Visiting from Family Home and LIfe Grandparents Say It Saturday.

  4. Your snakes -- and their creators are so cute! Which is huge coming from someone who is deathly afraid of them -- me. ALL of my family knows I will close my eyes if they are in a show and they will tell me when it is safe to open my eyes again. I would not have set next to you and looked at your book, I won't even touch the page they are on in a book or magazine. But your snakes I like! You're such a good Grandma!

  5. Absolutely adorable snakes!!! Perfect for Chinese New YEar!!

  6. What a cute idea for kids! Just saw your link over at Six Sisters and thought I'd stop by and check out these cute snakes :)

    I'd love for you to link up a few projects at my weekend link party @The Weekend re-Treat

    Hope to see you there!

  7. Ohmigosh, fun AND educational? Will you be my adopted grandma, cause I WANNA PLAY! *LOL* :O)

  8. These are way too cute! I know nothing about snakes except to scream and recoil. Might have to change my mind now.

  9. I'm definitely not a snake lover - they send me running. But, these guys are cute. And, you are so right about it being grandma's job to teach kids something about sewing. What a successful fun, teaching day you had.

  10. What a fabulous way to spend time with the grandkids. I'm your newest follower via GFC.

    Hugs, Smiles and Blessings,
    Robin @ Fluster Buster

  11. Darling idea, KIDS and project. Enjoyed following along, but found I had to keep looking away. Those falling hearts made me feel dizzy, and a bit nauseated too. My eyes must be older then grandma eyes. Popped in from Let's Get Social Sunday linky/meme. Always fun to meet new blockmates.

    What a good Grandma you are.

  12. Thought I'd pop back over and invite you and your quilting skills to take a look at one of my other blogs.

  13. What fun you have! It makes me wish I was close by to join in. And it's good to know there are bad snakes AND good ones. Some are dangerous but the black snake (that we see around here) is beneficial. Good opportunity to teach! You think of everything!

  14. Lovely project! And it could be tied into the Chinese New Year, because it is the Year of the Snake! And although it starts today, it goes for 15 days, so there's still time.

  15. Well if you have to have snakes, they're the only type I want slithering around my place :)

    Newest GFC follower love this :)

  16. How adorable! Reminds me of my grandkids' Webkinz snakes. They loved them. Me, not so much, but at least they were cute and cuddly :)

  17. So cute and creative need to make one for the cats now too !!!!! :)

  18. Did you know that this week starts the Chines New Year of the....Snake?! Great timing!

  19. Ha! Kids obviously don't always know what they want. In the end, they DID want a snake festival and all that goes along with it. So cute, Grandma! Thanks for sharing the snakey stuff in the GRAND Social.

  20. Those are the cutest snakes I've ever seen! Just in time for Chinese New Year as Mrs. Tucker said.

  21. Hello, my Dear! What fun!! I'm a Grandma, too! ♥ I've come to you from The "Grow Your Blog" was over before I knew about it, but it was so nice of Vicki to leave the list up! Anyway, I always welcome new blogs to enjoy, and yours is delightful! I am now following you ~ please come and visit me if you get a chance!
    So nice to "meet" you!

  22. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!!! I will definitely be telling my mom about this :)

    Jayma @

  23. I love their grandma! This is just so adorable. I hate snakes but these make me smile.

  24. That was wonderful deciding on the snakes for a project. You can see by the smiles on their faces it was a big hit. Grand children are so precious. I can see they think you are too.

  25. You are such an awesome grandmother!! How fun and it looks like they loved making those snakes. They're the cutest snakes I've ever seen.Thank you so much for sharing at A Bouquet of Talent! So thrilled to have you share with us. Have a wonderful weekend. :)

  26. Thank you for submitting yet another fun project to the Crafty Showcase! Congrats on being in the Feature Friday post, too! xoxo susie @bowdabra

    Ps- here is the newest linky! We have a new Button!

  27. What a fun idea! It certainly looks like a great project to work with children :)

  28. Awe! I LOVE this J! How sweet and such a wonderful learning activity too! You are amazing! Thank you for linking up at Party In Polka Dots! Happy to let you know you are being featured from the party!


  29. Oh, How cute! The kids seems to enjoy it. Stopping by from Piggy in Polka dots.

  30. Those are so much fun! Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library.

  31. That looks like loads of fun! Such a great activity.
    I need to freshen up my sewing skills and try this with Grandboy.

    Have a lovely week!
    With Smiles,
    Angie at

  32. Hi, I am currently looking for bloggers to share kids related posts on my new blog,

    Debra from Homespun suggested that you might be interested,

    Please see this post here - and give me an email if you are interested

    Natasha x