Friday, November 29, 2013

tissue paper candle jar {gifts kids can make}

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every year we all create a handmade gift to give to each other.  it helps our family to keep things in perspective and put meaning behind the gifts we give.  this project is one that will end up being a Christmas present for my Bear's gramma. 

 
the idea for this craft came from this illustration in one of our favorite books,  


do you see what llama llama is working on?  this mosaic tissue paper candle jar project is straightforward, easy to do, and has beautiful and unique results.  the only supplies needed are:  tissue paper squares, mod podge, and a clean glass jar.   


what i liked most about making this was that there was not much i had to do. not that i mind helping... it's just important to me that Bear be able to look at something and say,
"i did that. i made that all by myself."

i held the jar and let him paint the mod podge on and go to town sticking the tissue paper squares down wherever he chose.

after the first layer dried, Bear painted on another layer of mod podge on it to seal it up.  he didn't want another layer of tissue paper (as i had planned).  but, his project = his choice.

and the result is so darling.  using a tea light in it would be fine since it's glass.  but i think that we are going to pick up one of those fake tea lights for her to put in it so that it is totally safe. 


and that's it.  super easy.  super cute.  super personal.

 
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Leaf People Art Project for Preschoolers

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Fall is amazing in that leaves provide such a wide opportunity for activities with children. When we were coming out of my son's preschool the other day, we found two HUGE leaves blowing in the wind.  So we chased them down and took them home to use for art.  We ended up deciding to make leaf people out of them.  Here's how we did it...
 
 
At first, we painted our leaves with the designs that we wanted.
 
After the paint dried, we broke out the googly eyes and glued them on to give our leaf people a bit of expression.
 
 My son didn't think that his leaf person was totally finished without some glitter glue to dazzle it up!
 
After our leaf people finally dried, we did a little puppet show with them.  Free fall fun.  You can't beat that!!
 
 I'd love to see any leaf crafts you've done!
Share your links in the comments!
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Easy Fall Family Photo Card

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I totally forgot that we even made this!  I was digging through the archives and found this from back in 2011.  It's a fall card that we made using our handprints cut out of fall-themed paper.  I set up the fall themed picture, then uploaded the shot to a photo-editing site to create the photo card.  You can see the original post here.
 
 
 
 
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Talking to Kids About Finances

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Bear: momma, we should get pizza-guy pizza tonight for dinner.
 
me: sweetie, we don't really have the money for that right now.  but we could make our own pizza.
 
Bear: {dejected look} that's not the same. i reeeeeeally want pizza from someplace. 
 
me: i understand... i could go for some pizza from somewhere, too.  but our house is running differently now.  {tearing up} we don't have as much money as we used to, so we have to spend less money on stuff we want so we can pay for the things we need.
 
Bear: oh, ok.  well, could i be the pizza guy, then?
 
me: sure, sweetie.  that'll be wonderful. {fighting back tears}
 
 
 
that's a conversation that Bear {5 yrs} and i had last week.  since the hubs has retired from the USAF, things have been tight.  full-time, good-paying jobs are hard to find, which is leaving us in a bit of a hard spot financially.  we've been cutting waaaaay back from our previous mode of spending.  we're being super-conservative because we have to.  and it's uncomfortable and scary and not at all something i like to talk about. but...

how many of you have robbed Peter to pay Paul in the past 6 months?  or wondered how you're going to pay the bills and get groceries?  if you have, my heart goes out to you.  i know the feeling... that rock you get in the pit of your stomach when you're trying to stretch numbers farther than they'll go. 

and then there comes the conversations, like the one i shared above, where the kids ask for something and i have to say no.  now, it's not like, they've always gotten everything they ask for.  with Bear, his wants generally fall into things like a pack of Teddy Grahams or stopping by the bakery for donuts after church.  but now, even those requests under $5 are a stretch in the budget that i can't allow.  so, i ask this...

how do parents talk about family finances with kids?

here are a few quick guidelines that i follow:

keep it in perspective
i don't got into numerical detail, but i do try and explain that we don't buy some things so that we can use that money on others.  for example, with the delivery pizza scenario, i explained later that one night of delivery pizza cost the same amount of money as taking care of one of our children at The Raining Season for an entire month.

keep it kid-sized
don't get me wrong on this, i don't think that kids need to know every nitty gritty detail about what bill is paid when.  but i do think that it's important that kids aren't under the impression that the family can go out and buy anything they want.  but i also don't want them to think we're destitute.  so i try to choose my words and phrases carefully.

keep it safe and secure
my heart breaks for the kiddos who can't escape the reality of their families' finances as they go to bed hungry and bath in cold water.  like i said above, i don't want my kids to fear us being homeless or feeling bad about needing things.  so we talk a lot about what our needs are versus what our wants are.


so, there you go.  my approach may not be for everyone.  i know there are many who aren't comfortable talking like this or about this to their kids.  and that's fine.  i know that there are so many parenting types and styles out there.  but i'm curious... what do you do?

how do if {if at all} talk to your kids about finances?
 



 
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

homemade forts and tents for kids

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now that it's getting chillier out, i'm on the hunt for some great ways to expand our fun indoors.  there's little that measures up the excitement of having a fort inside the house.  they can be made out of items that we all have around the house. 

here are a few that we've made...
 
 
 
i think that one of the magical things about building forts with kids is that you start with chairs, a table, blankets, etc and end up with a secret hide-out that can be used all day long.  
 
here are a few much more amazing ideas from some super bloggers to inspire your homemade forts:
3. The Pleasantest Thing's towel fort via hands on learn as we grow
 
what do you use to create awesome indoor forts with your kiddos?
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Easy Fall Snack to Make with Kids {with Alphabits Cereal}

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This post is sponsored by Alphabits.  All opinions are 100% mine.
 
It's Fall!  This is my absolute favorite season.  Fall is a time for lots of family gatherings, the beautiful change of the leaves, and of course, yummy food!  Bear {5 yrs} and I haven't done a food project together in awhile, so when we got two boxes of Alphabits cereal to eat and play with, we set to the kitchen to make a super yummy fall snack. 

We made fall-themed Alphabits snack bars!
 

When he was a toddler, I used to give Bear Alphabits to snack on while we talked about what letters they were.  Great way to sneak in letter recognition, huh?  They always served to make that breakfast or snack time a bit more educational, which I appreciate.
 
A bonus on doing cooking projects with Bear is that, not only are they fun and let us bond over yummy food, but they can also provide time for learning.  While we cooked we had fun spelling out words and practicing measuring.  To make it fall themed, we even sorted out the candy pieces by color and used only those that were fall colors.
 
Even though the snack bars we made had marshmallows and candy in them, I balance that out by reminding myself that the Alphabits cereal in them has 20g of whole grains and 12 essential vitamins.  There's also the zinc and iron that promotes healthy brain development.  So while, Bear can't eat these bars all the time, they're a fun fall treat to create together.  And there was still enough left in the box for several more mornings of cereal with milk! 
 
 
Here's our recipe if you'd like to create these at home:
The Ingredients:
6 cups of Alphabits cereal
4 cups of mini-marshmallows
3 tablespoons of butter/margarine
1/2 cup of chocolate candies in fall colors
additional ingredients if desired: peanuts, pretzels, candy corn, etc
 
The Steps
  • Combine butter/margarine and marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Mixture will be hot, so stirring should not be done by the child.
  • After the marshmallow/butter mixture is liquefied, slowly stir in the cups of Alphabits cereal and chocolate candies.
  • Spread mix in a glass or waxed pan to cool and harden.
  • After they've cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!
 
 
What's your favorite fall snack to make with your kiddos? 
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.
 
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Mom It Forward.  The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Our Pregnancy Story {sponsored by The New Clearblue Weeks Estimator}

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Our Pregnancy Story
All it takes is for my husband to go out of town...  Both times I've taken a pregnancy test when he's been gone, it's been positive. 

The first time was the Christmas of 2007.  We had waited for a while after we got married to start actively trying.  It seemed like it was taking forever.  I felt like a Momma.  I had a closet full of baby stuff.  I just didn't have a baby.  The Hubs was in Minneapolis visiting family.  While he was gone, I realized that I was late.  So, on Christmas Eve, I took a test and found out that Bear was going to be joining our family.  It was the best Christmas present ever! 

The second time was a few weeks ago.  The Hubs was out of town visiting his parents and I realized that I had missed something.  Since Bear was born, I've been sort of random in my cycle, but something felt different this time.  Before I took the test, I knew that I was pregnant.  And wouldn't you know it?  The pregnancy test was positive.
 
Yep,  you read that right.  I'm pregnant!  Woohoo!!!

 
We are so excited about another little addition to our family!  Bear {5 yrs} is taking his impending job as a Big Brother very seriously.  We just went to the doctor this past week for our first check-up.  I've never seen Bear with a more incredible look of awe on his face than when he saw the baby on the ultrasound monitor.  I was overcome with emotion.... Such a precious memory.  Now for the 7 month wait to see this little one's face....
 
 
Are you TTC or do think you're pregnant?
Clearblue has a new type of pregnancy test on the market.  The Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator is a new type of pregnancy test that Clearblue has developed that not only has their trademark digital display that tells you in words that you're Pregnant or Not Pregnant, it also has a weeks estimator that uses the level of hCG to estimate if you're 1-2, 2-3, or 3+ weeks pregnant.  For those irregulars like me, this is a great way to get a handle on how far along you are before your first doctor visit. 
 

 
You can find the new Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy test with Weeks Estimator at CVS.com or at your local CVS pharmacy.
 
 
I'd love to hear how you found out you were pregnant :)
Leave your story or a link to it in the comments below!
 

 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

 
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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