Friday, August 26, 2011

Rainy day activities

I feel like I've had a creative block the past week or two. No matter how busy we are during the day or how much I have planned, there are always those few hours of down time during the day when Joe is napping (which, don't get me wrong, I love) when we have to find something to do. And I love coming up with new activities, but nothing has been coming to me lately. So finally we broke the monotony by going to the library and getting a book that would spark some new ideas. The library is a gold mine for ideas! They've got a book for everything: crafts to do, recipes to try, science projects, paper airplanes, art projects, you name it. The book we picked up was More Mudpies to Magnets: Science for Young Children. And it did not let us down. As soon as Joe was down for his nap, Dan and John and I got to work. Here are a few of the projects we tried...

The automatic balloon blower upper
Use a funnel to put a tablespoon of baking soda in a balloon. Fill an empty bottle with about an inch of vinegar. Then attach the balloon to the top of the bottle and let the baking soda fall into the vinegar. Then watch as your balloon inflates by itself! Dan's face says it all :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The box house

Creating box houses was one of me and my sister's favorite pastimes growing up. We moved a lot so were often left with a huge pile of boxes. And you better believe we put them to good use! Probably the best (and biggest) one we ever built included a family room, bedroom, kitchen (stocked with food and our easy-bake oven), hallway and bathroom (for pretend use only, of course). We furnished it with whatever was small enough to fit inside and even put up pictures on the walls. Hours and hours were spent on that box house. So when we were left with a huge box from John's birthday in addition to our moving boxes, I knew I had to build one for the kids. Not just 4 walls with a door and a couple windows, but a house with multiple rooms, cubby spaces, spy holes, a place for their toys, and a secret escape tunnel. It doesn't really compare to some of the houses I made as a kid, but my boys were sure excited!


Monday, August 22, 2011

If You Give a Mom a Muffin

I had to post this poem. Many of you have probably seen it before, but this is pretty much the story of my life! Especially when we're trying to go somewhere... everyone needs their shoes on, and then someone has to go potty, I remember I need to change the laundry so the clothes will be dry when I get home, I decide to quickly do the dishes from breakfast so I don't have to do them when we get home, I notice a bill is due tomorrow and quickly jump on the computer to pay it... and it goes on and on and on. Finally an hour later we're heading out the door.


If You Give a Mom a Muffin

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
So she'll pour herself some.
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old.
She'll wipe it up.

Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do some laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over some snow boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper for tonight.

She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With a Pound of Hamburger.)
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for the checkbook.

The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old.
While she is changing the two year old the phone will ring. (Of course!)
Her five year old will answer it and hang up.

She remembers that she wants to phone a friend to come over for coffee on Friday.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are,
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Written by Kathy Fictorie

Friday, August 19, 2011

Little book of family faces

My sister Brittney gave me this idea and I absolutely love it. You print a 4x6 picture of each person in your (extended) family with their names on it (I put the names on the actual photos in Photoshop, but you could also glue a piece of paper onto it after you print them) then put them in a cheap little picture book. And there you have it... a book of family faces for your kids to look at! I especially wanted to make this as our families are getting more and more spread out so the kids can always remember everyone's names and faces. Joe especially loves this book right now and gets excited when he sees the faces of his grandmas and grandpas.


Family Faces
Each of these faces were printed as a 4x6. I just wanted to show all the faces and names together.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tutorial: making a little boy tie from a grown-up tie

If your husband is like mine, he has a bunch of ties that are either stained or that he simply doesn't like and therefore never wears. So put them to better use and turn them into little boy ties! Read on for the tutorial.

ties 1

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Adding color to a room

We needed a bit of color in my boys' room, so this is what I came up with. Very easy and very cheap. You can buy wood frames like these at Ikea for just a few dollars each. I painted mine white, then found 12"x12" scrapbook paper that went with the room. Glued the paper on, put pictures in the middle, and there you have it! And if you need to cover more wall space, simply use 6 frames, or even 9 to cover the area.
Get creative and give it a try!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Introduction to chapter books

The Magic Treehouse series was suggested to me by a friend as a good introduction to chapter books. We started borrowing them from the library a couple months ago, and we have not been disappointed! Each book has an illustration every 3 or 4 pages, teaches the child about a new place or time, and uses fairly simple language. John (5) has latched right on to them, and Daniel (3) will sometimes listen in but can't quite hang with them yet. What books do your kids like to read?

magic treehouse spines
Photo courtesy of Yard Sale Mommy

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gift idea: homemade bookmarks

One of my favorite gifts to help the kids make for friends or family is bookmarks. Bookmarks are something people can use, don't clutter up your house and can remind the recipient of your child each time they read. A great gift for grandparents who don't need any more "things."

Start by cutting out the desired size of bookmarks.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Grocery list pad printout

I recently started keeping this grocery list pad on my fridge and have loved it. These are super easy to make! I took the file into Kinko's, had them do it all: print, cut and glue the top. All for just a few dollars. Then I stuck a magnet to the back. If you're interested, here's the file:

Happy shopping!

And the winner of the grocery list pad is...

Eliza! Congrats :) You'll be receiving your very own grocery list pad in the mail early next week.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Make your own Oobleck

Check out this week's giveaway here!

Ever read this book? We love Dr. Seuss, and this one's a classic. We've borrowed it a few times from the library, and this time around decided to make an afternoon of it and make our own oobleck after reading it.

bartholomew and the oobleck

The art basket

Check out this week's giveaway here!

I found this basket a few months ago at Bed, Bath & Beyond and have absolutely loved it! I think it's supposed to be for picnic supplies, but we use it for the kids art stuff... paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors, stencils, small notebooks, stickers, glue and water color paints. When the kids want to color or draw all I have to do is set this on the table and they can choose whatever they want to use. Everything is in one place and is easily accessible. Ahhh, how I love to feel organized :)

art basket

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chalk village

Check out this week's giveaway here!

One of my favorite things to do with the kids is draw a chalk village for their cars. It's like Sim City all over again. We get to decide where the neighborhood is, the grocery store, park, airport, school, library, fire station, lake, police station, and whatever else we feel like throwing in there. And perfect for all of their ages. John can help draw the houses, and Dan and Joe drive the cars on our streets. Then when we're done, we can leave our village there to play with later. At least until the rain comes!

Chalk town

Monday, August 1, 2011

Grocery list pad GIVEAWAY!

This giveaway is now closed. To see who the winner was or to get the file to make your own grocery list pad, go here.

A grocery list pad that you can stick on to your fridge... a must-have for staying organized and not forgetting anything you need at the store! As I was making one of these for me I thought I might as well make an extra to share. Each pad has 50 sheets so will last about a year (if you use one each week). I love having this on my fridge where I see it all the time. I most often realize I need something while I'm cooking, so with this pad I can quickly write it down so I don't forget.

pad on fridge

To enter the giveaway you must:
Be a follower of this blog and leave a comment on the blog (required)
For an extra entry you can like this page on Facebook (leave another comment on the blog)
Entries must be in by Thursday night! Winner will be chosen Friday.

pad on fridge-with words

Good luck!
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