Archive for January, 2012

Birthday Prints and Portraits – Guest Post from mk inspired

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 by by
I know you are going to love this craft from mk inspired.  I just adore it and will be adding it to my birthday traditions.  Krista shares all her fabulous ideas and creations over at mk inspired. She is  mama of two and I just love all the sweet activities she does with her kids. Please visit her and say hi!

Hi! I am THRILLED to be guest posting here today. I am so thankful and honored that I was invited to share a project with you!  My name is Krista, and you can find me (and my two little ones) speckled in paint or stuck in glue over at mk inspired.

I have to admit that I am overly sentimental at times. Having two pre-schoolers doesn’t make things easy, as I am holding on to their early years for dear life. I enjoy finding creative ways to capture and document their growth. So I would like to share a little birthday project that has become a family tradition each year.


Materials:

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Bubble Wrap Valentine’s Day Craft

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 by by

We have this big roll of bubble wrap here in our garage, and I’ve been trying to come up with a way to use it. I’ve heard great things about painting with bubble wrap, so I decided to try this today with The Younger. I cut some bubble wrap into a square and then set out the tempera paint and some brushes.

I put each color in a separate Dixie cup, and then showed her how to paint the bubbles. She was so excited! I should have known that the activity would take a different turn, and it did. She just wanted to mix all the colors in the cups, so I let her go to town and do whatever she wanted. Messy? Yes. Fun? Yes yes yes!!!!

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Smacksy Sunday Links

Sunday, January 29th, 2012 by by


Loving this. Via my friend Jen.

Also loving this. Via our friend Jane.

And then… Our phenomenal friend Ellie is fighting cancer. What started out as a group of girls putting together something silly to cheer her up, became a sweet story of timing and friendship across the miles. Go here to read the story, see the video, and give Ellie some love. She is an amazing lady.

Happy Sunday.

Swim!

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 by by

In an attempt to keep the kids active during the winter, we signed them up for parent-child swim lessons. We are very fortunate that the area we moved to has a wonderful recreational department, and we plan to fully take advantage of it!

Swimming started last week, twice a week for forty minutes per session. The lessons were listed as two separate classes, however ages 0-3 were all put into the same group once we got there. This has advantages and disadvantages for our family. I was disappointed at first, because I was hoping that Jonah would learn basic skills such as floating, kicking, and putting his face in the water. I think that the older children in the class are not getting age appropriate water skills. However, since both kids are in the same class, Daryl and I can spend that time with the kids as a family. Although the sessions are basically just water play, the “instructor” goes between each parent-child couple to give suggestions on ways to strengthen certain skills.

Jonah loves to float on his back, hold a “noodle,” and chase balls through the water. Evie is working on building confidence in the water and not being afraid. She loves blowing bubbles and kicking!

These swim lessons are not only a great way for our family to spend evenings exercising together; they are offering a great outlet for the kids’ energies, exposing them to new experiences and providing wonderful sensory activities. I am hoping that these classes will evolve to teach them knowledge of water safety and potentially life saving skills of swimming and floating.

So although the temperatures are still chilly, just look for my family pool side!

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Freebie Friday: Snowflake Gross Motor Learning

Friday, January 27th, 2012 by by

So this past week, I saw two similar activities that I really LOVED. The first one is from Roots of Simplicity. She created a great gross motor reading activity by writing words on snowflakes and taping them to the ground (check out her post for details). Then, Emma at Mummy Mummy Mum linked up a very similar activity using dinosaur footprints.

Why do I love these activities? For one, they get kids UP AND MOVING while learning. Not only is this great for winter, when we tend to spend more times indoors, but children really benefit from learning activities that are multisensory. These activities can be adapted and tailored to target ALL kinds of objectives! Think about it… You can target letters, numbers, words, shapes, prepositions, basic concepts, irregular verbs, answering or asking WH questions…the possibilities are endless.

I decided to make my own set of snowflakes with letters and numbers on them, since my daughter is working on letter and number ID.

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Orange Creamsicle Smoothie Using Real Oranges

Friday, January 27th, 2012 by by

I do not like fruit. The only fruit I can tolerate (usually) are green apples, and even then it takes a lot of convincing for me to eat them. I asked on Facebook for advice about how to get more fruit in my diet, and a few people who responded advised me to try smoothies. Since I am not a yogurt fan either, I didn’t even give it a thought, until I noticed we had a lot of oranges hanging around in my kitchen that were likely going to rot before anyone ate them. Which is a tragedy. Because I hate wasting food.

Enter the smoothie. Since I had no idea about how to make one other than blending yogurt and fruit, I went ahead and searched for my blender – which was not in the kitchen. This means, I can only assume, that it’s still packed in a box somewhere. No biggie, because I have a Magic Bullet that I used to make The Younger’s baby food, and that was unpacked (not sure how that happened, but oh well).

Best. Smoothie. Ever. Um, I can only assume since it’s the only one I’ve ever had, but still! Seriously, I had one as a snack yesterday for the first time (with a few oops), and I had one for breakfast this morning. I had both The Older (who hates yogurt and fruit too) and The Younger (who admittedly eats everything) taste it. Both of their eyes grew wide, and The Older even exclaimed, “I want one when we get home from church!”

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That again!?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012 by by

Bedtime was swiftly approaching, and Hobie’s diapers were still cycling through the dryer. After quite the week with serious school struggles between myself and a certain Ibis, and a Monday holiday and Tuesday spent mostly away from home, I was running a little behind on the laundry. So Hobie was running around in the nude (like you’ve never had nude toddlers in your house), and I was enjoying a few minutes with Facebook, reading all the happy success stories of my friends’ kids doing happy successful things in their potties. I turned around, and there was Hobie, standing over a suspicious brown lump on the rug, completely mortified. Of course, he had no clue that said brown lump had been deposited there by he himself. Ten minutes later, the initial spot on the rug, the other spot on the rug that occurred as he plopped down [ahem] still a mess to play while I was doing my best impression of a panicked octopus (the 8 legs part, not the ink part), Hobie, the changing table, and I were once again cleaned up and ready for take two. No pun intended.

Let’s pretend these are his Thomas jammies

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Thrifty Thursday – 29 Cent Hair Clips

Thursday, January 26th, 2012 by by
As a mom of three girls, I go through lots of hair accessories. I was buying tons of hair clips at first, but when I saw how inexpensive and easy they were to make, I started making them myself. There are lots of great tutorials out there on making hair clips. This is not one of them. But this is how I make hair clips. If you look closely, you might notice that some are crooked and not perfect, but my life is not perfect, and my clips reflect that.

Supplies you will need:
  • Glue gun
  • Ruler
  • Grosgrain ribbon – I used 3/8 of an inch wide
  • Scissors
  • Some kind of lighter
  • Flowers or embellishments
  • Silver hair clips

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Plus One

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 by by


“Mom? Did you know ninjas are my favorite things in the whole world?”

“Are they?”

“Well, actually you’re my favorite thing times infinity plus one, but I like ninjas second.”

Keepin’ it real

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 by by

It’s about to get really real, up in here.

Growing up, I encountered many families with varying backgrounds and sizes, but I can only think of one or two that were blended or where the parents were divorced. So my experience with this blended family thing has mostly been trial and error. Lots of error. I’m not going to beat myself up for the mistakes that I’ve made, that we’ve made, but I know that I want to learn from them and, Lord hep me, not repeat them. But it is so hard. So very very hard.

Raising my bigs, Sarah & James, I felt like I always had extra kids in the house. They had half-siblings on their dad’s side, who I adore, so sharing my time and love with someone else’s child was not new to me. But raising someone’s child? A whole new world. Part of the problem is that it’s near impossible to communicate with W&C’s mom and co-parent with her, so we end up making headway, and then they spend time with their mom and it’s all undone. I don’t blame W&C (well, sometimes I do, that’s the error part I was talking about), because I know that they are just kids who want to be loved, need to be loved, unconditionally. Try as I might, unconditional love just doesn’t come as easily as it does with your birth children. Like I said, I’m just keepin’ it real. I love W&C, yes, but I know – and I’m sure they know – it’s not the same way that I love my own children. I know that they don’t love me the same way they love their mom. I don’t believe they should, anyway. If it were just W&C here, I think it would be easier, but we have Daniel and Keelan, so I know they can see the difference. It’s not intentional, it just is. I don’t know how to change my heart, though. I want reach them in a way that is special, but I get met with resistance, which I can only assume is them feeling not loyal to their mom. I also feel like they can probably sense that I’m working at it – it should be natural. But it’s not.

We are about to be back in court with their mom. She has filed a petition to regain custody. Neely and I are optimistic that we will prevail, as is our attorney, but it’s an annoyance. A fight that we did not need or want. W&C know about it (from her, not us), and I know that it causes them stress. They don’t know if they are coming or going. Their mom has told them that it’s practically a done deal and just as soon as we go to court, they will be back with her. We have not discussed it with them at all, because we don’t want to add to their burden. We don’t want them to feel like they need to choose between their dad and their mom. We don’t want them to worry. Things here are status quo.

We’re fighting for them, because we know this is the best place for them. They need stability and consistency. And love. Only I’m not so sure that I demonstrate the latter to the best of my ability. I’m ashamed to say it, but it’s truth. It’s real.

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