Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick on the Draw

Have you ever heard of the artist Pablo Picasso? Next month, on October 25th, it will be the 130th anniversary of his birth. Pablo started drawing as a kid and never stopped, becoming one of the world's most famous painters and artists.

It's always best to ask an adult permission and where the best place is to create your art! There are so many ways to create art. Here are a few ideas for bringing out the artist in you:
* Drawing
* Painting
* Sculpture (molding or carving clay)
* Wood carving
* Calligraphy (fancy handwriting and lettering)
* Photography

Drawing is fun and perfect for any age, whether you're four or 140! Here are some things you can draw with:
* Pencils & colored pencils
* Pens & markers
* Crayons
* Charcoal pencils
* Chalks
* Paints

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a famous artist? Think about it. Would people go to museums and galleries to look at your work? Would people want to hang your art in their home?

It's never too early to start your artistic adventure!

Hey, all you little Picassos! I hope you like to draw because I've got a fun assignment for you! I need you to lasso up your pencils, crayons and markers and draw me, Thumbs Up Johnnie! When you're finished, get a grown up to scan your drawing and email it here:

Be sure to include:
* Your name
* Your age
* Your hometown

I'll post your artwork in upcoming Thumbs Up Johnnie newsletters and on our Facebook page!

Now, it's back to the old drawing board for you! Good luck!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cookin' It Real: Cowboy Style!

Howdy, partners! This week we're gonna two-step to my diner and get some grub on the griddle! That's cowboy-speak for "Let's cook some food!"

You know, anyone can cook and mix up some Texas-sized tasty treats, but always have a grown-up help you. They are much more at "Home on the Range" when it comes to cooking safety.

Here are some "Thumbs Up" cooking tips:
1. Always wash your hands before cooking food - try singing the "Clean Hand Jive" song! (check it out at
2. Always have a grown-up nearby or helping you
3. Make healthy meals and snacks that are good for you and your body that will help get you going
4. Always help clean up after you're finished cooking
5. Share what you have cooked with your friends and family

Here's one of my favorite recipes. It's easy and fun to make. Just get out the ingredients and follow the cooking instructions.

Groovy Blueberry Smoothie
1 cup blueberries (frozen)
6 ounces low-fat blueberry yogurt
1 cup light ice cream

Place all of the ingredients into a blender (get a grown-up to help)
Mix until well blended
Pour equal amounts into two glasses and serve
For a berry-licious decoration, put a couple of blueberries on top!

This healthy recipe and a bunch more for kids, by kids, can be found in my book, Super Centeam 5 Cookbook.

What do you like to cook? What's your favorite healthy snack? Let me know!

Paper bag puppets are easy and fun to make! Simply take a paper lunch bag, decorate it with a face and a body, then put your hand inside and move the flap for the mouth. Make a paper bag puppet of me, Thumbs Up Johnnie! Look at the picture below for an idea. Then you can get really creative and make different animals like a bird, an elephant or tiger. When you're all finished, make up a play and perform your puppet show for your family and friends!

You've got fun in the bag!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anatomy of a "Buddy": Horses from Head to Hoof!

Howdy, partners! Most of you know that Buddy is one of my very best friends. As a horse, he likes to run through the pasture, eat hay, alfalfa, apples and carrots, be brushed and of course have his ears scratched! You know, just like you, Buddy has a lot of different parts that make up what he is. Do you know what the parts of a horse are called?

Muzzle: The front end of a horse containing his mouth and nostrils

Forehead: The area between the horse's eyes

Forelock: The hair between the ears that falls onto the horse's forehead

Mane: The hair on the back of the horse's neck

Back: Where you put the saddle!

Barrel: The large underneath part, or belly, of a horse

Dock: The very top of the tail

Tail: The part that swishes flies

Hocks: The joint on a horse's back legs that's like an elbow

Fetlock: The ankle

Hoof: A horse's hard foot

Write or think up your own story with you and Buddy the horse! Maybe you’re performing in a rodeo or taking a trip. What fun things do you and Buddy see and do in that town? Who goes with you on your adventure and who do you meet when you get there? Draw pictures of you and Buddy to go along with your adventure. When you’re finished with your story, read it to you friends and family and show them the pictures.

Have fun horsin’ around!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Special Day to Say "Thanks, America. We Love You!"

This weekend is a special weekend for America... it is a time to reflect on why we love our country, thank the people that serve in the military who protect our freedoms and to remember people who may not be with us any longer. Buddy and me are going to show how much we love our country by saying a prayer for the people that were affected on September 11th, many years ago. I think we will sing "America the Beautiful" and say the pledge of allegiance out loud and really think about what the words mean.

You can read more about this at

Did you know that Sunday, September 11th is Grandparents' Day? If you know or have a grandma or grandpa, make them a card with special hand-drawn thoughts and pictures from you. If you're able to see them this weekend, give them the cards and wish them a Happy Grandparents' Day. If you can't see them, ask a family member if you can call your grandma or grandpa and talk to them. Let them know you're thinking about them. Here's a list of questions you can ask them that would be interesting to know:

* When you were a kid, what were you like?
* When you were little did you have
a nickname?
* What did you like to do when you were
my age?
* What were your favorite games and
sports to play as a kid?
* What did you want to be when you
grew up?

Be sure to tell them how special they are to you, and that you hope they have a special day!