Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer Swap

We had the best time participating in the Summer Swap hosted by the ladies at Superheroes and Princesses and Life of a Dairy Queen. These ladies did a great job, matching kids of similar ages to swap packages. The kids LOVED picking things out for their new friends and LOVED getting presents in the mail. Most importantly, I feel like we made friends in the process.
Dash's swap partner was 4 year old Kaden, who co-stars in My Blessings from Above. WOW! I can't believe what an amazingly put-together box this was. It was so fantastic. And brother and sister were right there in on the action of opening it. It pays to have siblings sometimes. I wish I had Dash's expressions and gasps of excitement on video. A cute story...the other night in bed, Dash wanted to tell Daddy something (he often tries to prolong bedtime with "I have to tell you something."). He said, "I miss my friend who lives far away." He was talking about Kaden. :)
Everything was individually wrapped in brown bags (decorated with drawings and stickers from Kaden) so it made the fun last a lot longer. Dash couldn't wait to open each bag to see what he would pull out next.
All of Dash's treasures (I hope I'm not forgetting anything.)...a letter written all about Kaden and his gifts, an apron to use while cooking, a homemade bookmark, a tiger craft/mask to put together, a homemade coloring book with learning pages about New Jersey (wish I would have thought of that), car and space stickers, homemade clay planet models, and bubbles. There were many maps and postcards and brochures from fun attractions in his state (with information on places he had visited). It certainly had me enticed to spend some time in NJ! He also included Cape May diamonds he had found on the beach in NJ (where the beach is made of small stones instead of sand), plus a pack of the same diamonds from the gift shop, to show what they are like after they are polished. He also gave Dash a beautiful decoration from his birth country of Korea and a recipe for a Korean meal.

A couple of other handmade learning activities: a name-that-shape game like this one and
On the Go...on the road cards held together by the metal ring. The cards have the name and picture of such items as ambulance, railroad crossing, church, etc. The kids got to try them out, finding all of the objects on our latest car trip to Missouri.

Thank you, Kaden and Michele for Dash's incredible package full of fun and learning activities.
Tornado was matched with Dylan from Wyoming. Tornado always gets super excited about projects and things like this. He could not wait to open his envelope.
This was actually the 2nd time he looked through it because I didn't have a camera handy to record it the first time. However, it felt all new again, and he was just as pleased to remember the contents the 2nd time.
One of his favorite things was simply a drawing from Dylan. Dylan knew that he loves hidden pictures, and he hid the letters of Tornado's name in the picture. Plus, he scrambled letters to a word on the side, and Tornado had to figure out that it spelled "Wyoming." Tornado seriously thought this was fabulous. He talked about it for days; I'm not kidding.
Visit Michelle's blog post to see MUCH better pictures of everything (and to see what we sent Dylan). It was so dark when I was taking these. Dylan sent Finn postcards, maps/brochures/tour guides from Wyoming, a bandana, a Wyoming souvenir patch, samples of petrified food, pheasant feathers, agate, and arrowheads (all from Wyoming). He also wrote him a sweet letter and included a photo collage of him and his brother.
Also included were cards from the Creature, Dinosaur, and Flood series from Answers in Genesis. I had seen these before (Creation Scientists' descriptions of animals, dinosaurs, and other places/things in nature) and had been interested in them. They are right up Tornado's alley, too (and Dash loves them, too); he looked at them originally, and then I saved them for our road trip this week. I have mentioned before how I have enjoyed my Answers in Genesis book, and the kids have enjoyed their What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs? book, both from the same company.
Finally, they gave us a handmade Mountain Man ABC's book. SO terrific. Here is one page example (see other pages on Michelle's blog). This is so creative and took a lot of time and thought. We were very impressed! And Tornado loves a good ABC book.
Thank you, Dylan and Michelle! We are SO, SO very anxious to take a trip to Wyoming now. We have only driven through the bottom part of Wyoming on our way to Washington. We will definitely be exploring Yellowstone, etc. in the next year or two.
Sissy received her package from Meghan in Pennsylvania. So fun. M's mom and I had agreed we figured their swaps would be more for us than the girls because they are so young. We were wrong. I think both of the girls loved getting packages in the mail. Read about our package to Meghan here. Sissy is very sweet opening things like this because she ooh's and aah's so much
She especially loved the bracelet made from colored pasta and a pipe cleaner. I don't know why I would ever spend money buying her a fancy bracelet because she thinks this is the greatest thing ever. And she loves the little "purse" gift bag it came. Anything resembling a bag or purse is tops with her.
She sent us pictures of her and her family plus a postcard from her home state. Meghan also drew a little picture for Sis. She sent her several pages of stickers and also lovingly decorated the mailed box with stickers. There was a punch balloon (the kind I loved at my aunt Mert's house when I was little; it's not pictured because the kids wouldn't leave it sitting there). She even gave us a copy of her favorite book, Corduroy, which Sissy quite enjoys!
Another GREAT homemade gift - She made a stamp with Sissy's real name by gluing foam letters backwards on a chunk of wood. Then she even included materials for us to make our own stamp!
Finally, there were two containers of Play-Doh AND a homemade Play-Doh place mat. The laminated sheet of paper has all of the shapes on one side and all of the letters and numbers typed on the back. Sissy has lots of fun with Play-Doh. Thank you, Meghan and Annette; you knew JUST what she'd love!
Thanks again, everyone. I took so long posting this because I am still waiting on another package (Sissy had two swap partners). I will post about that one when I get it. We did get a sweet postcard from B while he was on vacation. For more swap links, visit Superheroes and Princesses!


Michelle said...

Super post! So glad you enjoyed everything! We had a lot of fun with it too! *Ü*

Annette said...

I am so excited to show this post to Meghan when she wakes up! She'll remember the goodies and love seeing Sissy again!

Anonymous said...

very good!

Anonymous said...

very good!