Thursday, August 29, 2013

things that make me happy

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schoolwork is calling, so i'm just gonna share a few pictures from around the house.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

a chair for my mother book activities: money math for preschoolers

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through brilliant illustrations, Vera B. Williams tells a poignant story of a little girl whose home is destroyed by a fire in the book A Chair for My Mother.  now, she, her mother, and her grandmother are saving all of their change to buy a new chair.  the little girl dreams of a nice chair for her mother to relax in when she gets home from a hard day at work.  finally one day, they have enough money to buy their prefect chair.

here are some activities that we did in our home-preschool for this book.
 
list ways to help others
we have a list on our fridge that we made awhile back when learning about James and John  from the Bible.  it was very enlightening to see where Bear's {4.5} priorities were.  number one on the list was to help the Covering Orphanage in Sierra Leone, which is a part of The Raining Season.  our church works with them and we sponsor two children from there. they are constantly in need due to the ever-rising lease of their facility and the high demand for orphan care in the village and surrounding ones. 
 
practice counting coins
use a jar of coins {real or fake} and practice counting them.  for the activity we did, i found free coin printables {from a source i can't find}, colored them, and laminated them.  i explained to Bear that the coins we use all stand for a number and an amount of the smallest cent, a penny.  i laid out the laminated paper coins and helped him to set the appropriate amount of pennies on the paper coin.  this was great counting practice, especially counting to 25 for the quarter. 

we also talked about the difference in dollar bills.  $1 being the base dollar, like the 1 cent penny.  and then onto the fact that five $1 bills equals a $5 bill.  this gave us the opportunity for Bear to practice addition as well.  ex: $5 + $3 = $8

you can also find a fun money bingo game here {created by Joyce at Childhood Beckons}

decorate your own chair
this can be done two ways.  the first, use scraps of paper to decorate the outline a paper chair.  the second, find a wooden chair at a craft store or local thrift store for your child to paint like Glittering Muffins did.
 
spend, save, or donate
ask children what they would do if they had a jar of coins.  what would they spend it on?  who would they give their purchase to?  save it?  or donate it to a charity?  Bear decided that our change would go to the Covering Orphanage... all $122.77 of it. 
 
what are some of the ways you teach your children about money?
 
 
 
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kids Spell It Out: The Worst Smell in the World

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welcome to the Kids Spell It Out series! every monday will be a post filled with funny and adorable answers that kidlets give to questions. this week's question is:

What is the worst smell in the world?

A really smelly smoke from an exhaust pipe or burning oil.
Bear {4.5} Crayon Freckles
 
My dog Daisy.
M {8}

That's really hard!
John {5} Mama Smiles

A skunk.  Always sprays from his tail.  {waves hand in front of face}
Big Brother {4} Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails {FSPDT}

The smell of vinegar.
Emma {7} Mama Smiles

The dumpster!
Elizabeth {6} Enchanted Homeschooling

Skunk.

Sivan's poo.
Cakes {2.5} Learning to Play and Playing to Learn

My dog Dillon's farts.
L{5}
 
Sheep poo and cow's poo.
Tristan {5}

Feet!  {giggles}
Little Bro {2} Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails {FSPDT}

Diarrhea.
Henry {7} PlayDrMom 

The trash.  It smells pretty bad.
Beck {8} Enchanted Homeschooling

A honeybadger.  That is the grossest!
 
 
if you'd like to participate in this series, leave a comment below and i'll get in touch!
 
 
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.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

the chicken nugget: one thing every parent should know how to do

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it was a normal playdate with Bear's bestie, JD.  the boys had played for a few hours and it was lunch time.  every playdate, i make them macaroni & cheese and chicken nuggets.  every playdate.  they were sitting at the table eating.  i was leaning against the counter.  Bear was more antsy than usual and kept getting up and wandering around.  he got up for what was probably the 5th time and started walking toward me. 

"honey, i told you, go sit down and eat."
 
and then i saw the look on his face.  the hands going towards his throat. 
i knew exactly what was happening. 
 
my son was choking.
 
in those 2 seconds, i had his outfit picked out and saw his burial.  then i sprung into action, whipping him around and doing something i never thought i'd have to do to anyone.  that amazing "hug of life."
 
the nugget was dislodged, coming back up in his mouth.  he turned around, gave me a look that said
"what in the hell was that for?"
and then he began chewing it up again.
 
he had no clue what had happened. 
that he couldn've died had i not acted.
 
after lunch, he was right back at play, without a care in the world.  leaving me rattled and grateful for those first aid classes i had taken.
 
which leads me to ask...
do you know first aid, infant/child CPR, and how to give
the Hug of Life to a child? 
 
if you do or if you don't a brush-up course is never a bad idea.  check with your local Red Cross to get info on classes.  i know i will.  just to be sure.
 
 
and now onto the party..... 
 
 
Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party! This week’s hosts are denoted by the word {host} behind their link’s name in the list below. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, developing and caring for children, as well as honest posts on the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Reviews and Giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic.

All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception, please do not link posts promoting physical discipline as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs.

PS: By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on our The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.
 
     
                       
 
 
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, August 22, 2013

Things to Do with Kids in Kansas City

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Portions of this post were sponsored by LEGOLAND & The Sea Life Aquarium.

My husband recently got back from a 6 month deployment.  While he was gone, we kept in touch via Skype and Facebook messaging.  When he got back home, we wanted to take a trip to celebrate the reuniting of our family and to give us some time to bond.  We decided to venture over to Kansas City, KS/MO to explore LEGOLAND, the Sealife Aquarium, and more...
 
Our first stop in Kansas City, MO was LEGOLAND.  I was not expecting anything even remotely close to what it was.  There was a Lego factory where visitors can see how Legos are made, a Lego ride where you save the princess, and a carousel-type ride that went higher up into the air.  Both of the kiddos, Bear {4.5} and Pip {17} loved the Lego Racers Build & Test area.  I'd say that we spent 75% of our time at LEGOLAND in this portion of it.  After they finished their wheeled creations, there were several places where they could test them out.
 
I was most amazed by the LEGOLAND mini-city that was built out of over 1 million Legos.  It featured all of the major places in the KCMO area like downtown, the Chiefs stadium, and the Kansas Speedway.  The Speedway had a racing feature that allowed the kids to actually "drive" Lego racecars around the track using controllers.  The part I was most in awe of was the lighting.  When we first went it, the lights were fully up.  They slowly began to fade until it was dark as night.  The streetlights came on in the city, a rock band played with lights on stage.  There was even a projected fireworks display on the wall!
 
As you can see below, there was also a Wizard of Oz display that featured Munchkin Land, Emerald City, and the Wicked Witch of the West's castle.  Words cannot even describe how cool it all was.
 
We wanted to get a souvenir from LEGOLAND in addition to the photos we had taken when we entered.  We found a custom Lego figure area in the gift shop that allowed us to make our own personalized Lego people.  This was another highlight of the visit. 
 


 
Attached to LEGOLAND is the Sea Life Aquarium.  First off, I love how they stagger visitor's entrance into the aquarium. so that there isn't a rush of people inside, but instead a nice flow that allowed us to take our time and explore at our own pace.  It is a very family-friendly aquarium with plenty of areas to explore.  Bear and Pip were given scratch off scavenger hunt cards to complete as we went through the aquarium.  Various facts relating to the sea life in the particular areas were on the walls.  Each section had a question box with multiple choice answers.  There were tunnels  that Bear could crawl through and bubble windows he could go into.

My favorite part was the Manta Ray display.  they were visible from almost every angle.  You could stand straight in front of the tank and look in or go up to an overlooking display.  There was even a see through portion of the floor.  That. Was. Thee. Coolest!

We stayed at The Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, KS.  We had loads of fun.  The waterpark alone was amazing with an zero depth indoor/outdoor pool area, a giant kid's play structure, and 4 huge waterslides.  Bear also got to help stuff his own Wolfie.  As an added treat, we decided to have dessert for breakfast. 


I have to thank my dear friend Jacquie at KCEdventures.com for all of her help in planning this trip!  You can find information on things to do with kids in Kansas City and much more at her blog, on Facebook, and on Pinterest.

We also got some suggestions from friends to visit the Moon Marble Company, the T-Rex CafĂ©, and the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, but we ran out of time, but they're on our agenda for next time!
 
 
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.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received  free admission for 4 to LEGOLAND and the Sea Life Aquarium. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

it's back to school time.... for momma: 5 tips to juggle time

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as some of you may know, i'm taking college courses.  today marked the beginning of the semester.  balancing being a mom, a wife, an household manager, and a student is not an easy feat, by any means.  but, i've somehow been doing it for a few years now.  it's simultaneously getting easier and harder.  easier, as i've found a routine that works best for me.  harder, as my classes are getting more difficult. 
 
here are my 5 tips to make the most out of your time:
 
make a loose schedule
find a routine that works for you and your family. for myself, that means having a rough plan for the day from start to finish.  right now, i do all the housework and momma stuff during the day.  after the kids are in bed is time for me to spend editing pictures, writing blog posts, and doing homework.  as always, i have to have flexibility in my routine, otherwise, i find myself rushing others to fit into it.  and that's something i don't want to do.
 
have-to-do, need-to-do, want-to-do
i'm a list maker.  i love creating them. and i love crossing things off of them.  i have an ever running to-do list.  it's broken out into have-to-do, need-to-do, and want-to-do.  of course, those want-to-dos rarely get checked off as i'm busy with the other two lists.  i'm laughing right now because i *know* you all know what i'm talking about with this...
 
do the 15/15 split
sometimes i get free time during the day {read: "free time" being those golden moments in time when Bear is engrossed in his own play.}  that's when i use the 15/15 split.  i set the timer on the microwave for 15 minutes.  during that time, i do as much housework as i can.  and boy, do i get stuff done because that pressure is on as i try to cram the most amount of work into that little bit of time.  when the timer goes off, i reset it for another 15 minutes and use it to do as much as i can of "my stuff", whether that be small bits of homework or editing a picture or two for a blog post.  again, i work like a maniac during that time.  when the timer goes off, i go back to the beginning with 15 minutes of house stuff.  during the times i can do this, i get more done than if i just set out on my own.  thinking it has something to do with my short attention span.
 
tackle the elephant
there are those silly, piddly little things on my lists. like changing a light bulb, or sending a quick email.  i try to tend to those things first so that i can get them out of the way.  that way, all those little things are out of the way so i can tackle the elephant on the list.
 
realize there are only 25 hours in a day
because there are, right? i know i can't get everything done in a day, but it sometimes always seems like i run out of time.  i try not to get caught up in all the things i don't do, and focus on what i've gotten done, instead.  it doesn't always work, but often it helps me chin up.
 
bonus tip:
sometimes when i'm working on dwindling down those ever-growing lists, i turn on some of my favorite music.  it boosts the mood and gives a little umph to the task as i bop along.  it's not uncommon for me to turn on a little New Kids on the Block to help me make my way thru things. {you had to know that you weren't going to make it long without a reference to my boys, did you?  i had a different nkotb shirt on in my intro vlog}
 
you can also check out 10 Things Mama Should NOT Forget in the Morning from Moments a Day for some more great tips!
 
what are your tips and tricks for managing your time?
 
 
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.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kids Spell it Out: the best cartoon character

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welcome to the Kids Spell It Out series! every monday will be a post filled with funny and adorable answers that kidlets give to questions. this week's question is:
 
Who's the best cartoon character?  Why?

Caillou cuz he's funny.
Bear {4.5} Crayon Freckles
 
Minnie Mouse because she has a pretty bow in her hair and I like to talk in her voice.
Lucy {5} Buggy and Buddy

Batman probably because he is a hero and I really like hero-themed things like Marvel and DC Superheroes.
Beck {8} Enchanted Homeschooling
 
Iron Man.
Monkey {3.5} All Done Monkey

Asterix, because I like his dog.
Johnny {5} Mama Smiles

Henry Hugglemonster because he makes accidents.
Linden {5}

The dog in Dragon Hunter.  He's cute.  I think he's the best.
Chrysanna {6}

Cat in the Hat because I just watched it.
Big Brother {4} Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails {FSPDT}

My Little Ponies because they are cute and they are all caring and it has my favorite pony Rarity.
Elizabeth {6} Enchanted Homeschooling

Iron Man because he shoots lasers and Spiderman because he shoots webs, too.
Dominic {5}

Ferb because he doesn't talk
M {4} Pennies of Time
 
My favorite one is Lightning McQueen 'cause he could fly and go really fast and he could carry heavy things.
Tristan {5}

Phineas because he's smart.
E {6} Pennies of Time

Barbie, because she teaches me about good things like friendship and kindness.
Tessa {4.5}

I like Postman Pat's cat.  I like Jess the Cat on my pammies. {pjs}
Kallista {3}

Wyle E. Coyote and the Roadrunner because they are so silly.
Micah {8}
 
 
if you'd like to participate in this series, leave a comment below and i'll get in touch!
 
 
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.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Helping Children Handle Their emotions

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sunshine one moment...storm clouds the next.
 
one minute my son can be contentedly playing with legos.  the next, he erupts into tears and the legos become missiles launched by tiny fists.
 
does this describe your child?  if so, read on, my dearhearts, read on... i'm going to preface this by saying that i don't mean to sound preachy.  these are things i try to remind myself of on in those heated moments when Bear's {4.5} emotions overtake him and he needs help dealing with them.

why is my child moody?
volumes could be written about the numerous emotional and physiological reasons why some children seem to cycle through emotions quickly. here's a quick breakdown of a few of them:
  • young children lack the ability to self-regulate their emotions like most adults can.
  • little things to us, are big to them.  a broken lego tower can be a major event because little ones lack something called reversibility... the knowledge that some things can be put back into their original state.
  • disappointment is like a pain to the heart.  children have to build up a tolerance to it.
  • children are born innocent, unassuming, and generally filled with joy, so they don't have innate coping skills to help them with the disappointments and frustrations that life offers.

how can i help my child cope with their emotions?
  • walk through the incident with them.  talk specifically about what happened and how they made it feel.  ask how they could handle it differently next time.  if they aren't able to come up with anything, provide some tools for them to draw from such as: taking a break and walking away, asking for help, trying again.
  • value and put labels to their emotions.  this can be saying something like, "i can see you're upset that your tower fell over and broke."  by diminishing  
  • read books where the characters deal with frustrations or problems.  talk about how the character must be feeling. 
  • identify what situations trigger your child's meltdowns.  by doing this, you can try to step in and walk them through the situation, offering them some options on how to effectively deal with their emotions.

 what are some tips you can give me and other moms on how to help children deal when their emotions overwhelm them?

 
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.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Practicing Reading & Writing First Letter Sounds with Safari Ltd.

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This post is sponsored by Safari Ltd.
 
It's no secret that we love Safari Ltd. replicas.  Not only are they well-made, they make for fun dramatic play.  We also use them for learning activities such as our Community Helpers Color Sorting and Transportation Colors and Patterns activities. 

We just got the North American Wildlife Toob to explore.  We also used two Safari Ltd. Replicas we already owned for this activity, Jim the Park Ranger and Becky the Aquarist as well as some Scrabble Junior letter pieces.  Due to Bear's {4.5} current interest in learning how to sound out words and read, I thought that these would make fun manipulatives to practice the sounds that the first letters of words make. 
 
 

To set up the activity, I pulled out a letter piece for the first letter of all the animals names and scattered them around the table.  Then the two "zookeepers" led each animal to their letter "cage".  There were a few animals, like the Mountain Goat, that could have gone into various letter cages, so it was up to Bear and the zookeepers to determine where they'd land.
 
 
After our letter game, it was time to start practicing writing letters.  Bear moved an animal at a time off of the table onto the ledge of the easel and showed them {the animals} how to write their letter.
 
 
You can find more of Safari Ltd on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+.

What are your favorite ways to practice reading and writing skills?
 
 
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.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product and the giveaway product free from Safari Ltd. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

finding the ME in MOMMY

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this is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Shabby Apple

sometimes as mommas, it's so easy to lose ourselves... it's the nature of things.  we put our children and our families first, often leaving behind the woman we used to be.  and i don't mind it.  i love my life as a mother. but every now and then, i get a glimpse of the woman i was.  my most recent experience was a meet & greet with the New Kids on the Block and the front row concert experience of their The Package Tour.  it was liberating for those 7 hours, but when i got back to the hotel and snuggled up with my little Bear, i began overflow with thankfulness that i am where i am in life.
 
that being said, here are a few ideas that you can do to focus on you as (insert name here), not as Mommy.

 
read a book. 
find a quiet spot, grab a cuppa, and settle in.  it's not as easy as it sounds sometimes, trust me i know.  but even 5-10 minutes a day of reading to/for yourself could do wonders for your momma-heart.  or take longer at night to dive in to The Bible or another favorite read.  i'm currently reading Distance and Time by Mel Henry.
 
revisit an old hobby
being a mom doesn't mean totally losing your own interests. what's something you used to enjoy doing in your pre-mommy days?  find a way to integrate it into your daily life at least once a week.  maybe this means a family dance party where you can revisit your dancing roots, or a trip to an art museum that will let you share your knowledge with your family. 
 
 
buy yourself something. 
maybe it's a purse you've been eyeing, or the latest book by your favorite author.  for me, nothing takes me back to Andie faster than dressing in something other than yoga pants and a t-shirt. got the chance to try on the Heart of Me dress from Shabby Apple from their collection of vintage clothing and fell in love with it.  it makes me feel feminine and funky at the same time.  it's cool and comfortable cotton, and i can wear it to church, on date night, or with fun flats to a MOPS meeting.  and the best thing about it is that the sale of it goes to help women in other countries.  Shabby Apple's Pinterest board is also full of wonderful dresses and outfit ideas.


paint your nails. 
a bright, fresh color on the pingers and tootsies is sometimes just what i need to give me a little kick.  especially when i use a more funky color, like teal or bright purple.


sing in the shower. 
i know it sounds silly, but it does wonders for the spirit.  as a former singer, it's great to just belt it out every now and then.  even if you don't think you have the greatest singing voice, turn on some music from "your past"... the good stuff that evokes happy memories from your high school or college years.  turn on the water and lose yourself for a song or two.  some of my favorites are artists i've loved for ages like New Kids on the Block's 10, Fiona Apple's Tidal and Evanescence's Fallen.

those are just some of the things that i do to give myself a little time to focus on Andie, not Momma. 

what's your favorite way to connect with yourself?


 
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.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Shabby Apple.  All opinions are mine.
The only compensation I received was the free product.

how to organize legos and lego activities collection

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legos... they are both a parent's best friend and worst enemy.
 
the pro: they allow our children to let their imagination loose and build, build, build
the cons: they make a quick mess and hurt like a B when you step on one.
 
our legos were a mess.  they were all thrown into a plastic tub.  not only was it hard to find specific pieces, they also made an ear-irritating noise when we dug through them.
 
enter four inexpensive plastic drawers. 
they allowed me to organize our legos by type, which solved both problems in one fell swoop.  see?
 
 
i used the small red and blue flat containers to hold specialty pieces like clear blocks, doors, windows, and the like.  these are the groupings in the drawers:
 
 
 hopefully my pictures say it all. these are our before and after shots. 


and now i'd like to invite you to link up any and all of your lego related posts!
 

 
 
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.
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