Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fundraiser for the Wildlife Center of Texas

So, a few of our members (okay, just kidding ALL of our members) are animal nuts.  A few of our girls are desperate to volunteer at the Wildlife Center of Texas.  For those readers who are non-local or not in the know, the Wildlife Center of Texas is a non-profit wildlife rescue located in Houston that rehabilitates wildlife and returns them to the wild.  We have brought injured doves there more than once.  If you find an injured animal, you place in in a box, do NOT attempt to feed it, and then bring it to them.  They do not charge a fee but do accept donations.  It is a wonderful place to visit as they have a lot of educational displays/materials as well as 3 teaching animals on site.  There are two owls (one screech and one great Northern) and usually some type of hawk or falcon in the center (it rotates.  when we were there last it was a Cara Cara).  You have to be 16 to volunteer at the Wildlife Center of Texas.  My 9 year old daughter feels this is desperately unfair and had been writing poetry for weeks about the injustice ;)  Three of the Girls With Opinions are on a swim team together, and they have sold homemade jewelry at some swim meets to raise money for the team.  Since they are not old enough to volunteer, they could do that same for the Wildlife Center!

This was not actually an official Girls With Opinions project,but we realized later that all the friends included were also members of the book club.  So why not share this project with our readers? ;)

The girls got together a few times to make shrinky dink charms for the jewelry.  They decided to make bracelets, necklaces, keychains, and wine charms.  Shrinky dink paper can be purchased at Texas Art Supply in large packs of blank sheets or on Amazon.  The brand we like is Grafix and we use the Matte style.  The sheets are transparent enough to trace images, but when they shrink, the shrinky dink appears more white on the background.  On Amazon, they can be found here.

The girls printed images of wildlife animals from Google Image search.  My daughter's trick is to search everything with the word "Chibi" after (which gives you pictures of cute animals).  We copy the images to a word document and resize them.  The images should be 3 times the size of the desired final image.

They worked on making a zillion charms over a few afternoons.  Based on the size and shape, they were grouped into necklaces, bracelets, keychains, and sets of 4 for wine charms.  The necklaces and braces were made with rainbow loom.  The keychains were bought at Michael's and fastened with jump rings.  The wine charms are hoop earrings with beads added and bent up at the end with pliers.

Two of the Girls with Opinions got inspired and made signs to go up around the neighborhood.  We went around to 10 local businesses to hang up the signs.  Everyone was super friendly and allowed us to hang them up.  Here are two examples of the adorable hand drawn signs:

In front of the ever awesome MytiBurger, a local burger place run by a guy who always supports the community.  His staff went above and beyond and allowed the girls to tape it in the front window and they were so happy.

One of the dads, Glenn Ferrell of JF Ferrell Inc built the girls an awesome stand for the fundraiser.  They live on the corner of a busy intersection in the neighborhood, so it was the perfect place to set up the shop.  Glenn also set up some lemonade for the girls to offer visitors for free.  This is a great addition, as we sold out of jewelry in a very short time but were able to still give visitors lemonade and information.  
this picture was posted on our neighborhood homeowner's Facebook group to let people know about the sale.

the girls flagging down street traffic
 The girls raised $603.55!  Amazing!  SO many wonderful people came to support the girls' project and made generous donations.
This picture was posted on the Homeowner's page to let folks know the final amount raised
The following Monday, we took the donation to the Wildlife Center with the girls.  They were amazed by how much they raised.  And one of the experts there taught the girls about the owls, cara cara, a possum, and a peregrine falcon.  It was awesome!

It was an awesome experience and we hope to do it again soon.  Thank you to all who helped!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Anastasia Krupnik- meeting #15

Our ninth meeting of the 2014-15 school year was on Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry.  This book was my absolute favorite selection of this school year.  Written in the 70s, it was cool for the girls read a book written in a different time.  Anastasia is an only child of a writer and an artist.  She writes a list of likes and dislikes which change a lot throughout the book.

 The host mama served the girls delicious Papa Murphy's pizza while we discussed the book.  We used our general discussion questions to help guide the discussion. The girls all read the book and we had varying votes of thumbs up, thumbs down and side.  The discussion for this book was lively.  There is a death in this book, as well as a birth of a baby brother.  Anastasia's feelings change a lot and thinks move from the LIKE column to the DISLIKE column and vice versa.  The girls talked about how their feelings can change and they all felt the book was very realistic.

 We went outside to take pictures of the girls at our last official meeting before summer.  We have a summer reading selection, but will not meet again until the Fall.



 We didn't plan a formal activity, so the girls found their own fun doing makeovers.  Example below :)

 Love seeing these happy faces!  Another great year of Girls With Opinions on the books.

 The summer selection book they are reading is Flora and Ulysess:  The Illuminated Adventures by Kate di Camillo.  We will discuss it at our first meeting in September.

Pictures of Hollis Woods- meeting #14

Our eighth meeting of the 2014-15 school year was on Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff.  This book received a Newbery award in 2003 and was adapted for TV in 2007.  It is a touching story about a 12 year old girl who escapes from countless foster families before ending up with a retired art teacher that she really connects with.  She wants to stay with Josie, but a series of events leads to an adventure.  Her story unfolds from the pictures she draws and its a great book examining the meaning of family, self expression, and relationships.

 The host mama put out a spread of chicken salad, egg salad, croissants, and other delicious food to nosh on.

 We used our general discussion questions to help guide the discussion. They gave a mixture of thumbs up, thumbs down, and side even though most of the girls did not finish the book :)  March and April are busy school months, but we did have a talk about being sure to read the book.  Those who had read it seemed to like it, but were sad about portions that address Alzheimers.

The host mama bought colored pencils for the girls and paper so they could do artwork like Hollis.  I was able to get a copy of the movie and the girls watched the movie version while coloring.  

The movie version was cheap on Amazon from a seller selling a used copy.  Sissy Spacek stars in it.  

We had a great time!  Next month, we are reading Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry.