Monday, August 14, 2017

25 Back to School Photo Ideas

Pin It
One of my favorite things about the back to school season is seeing all of the creative ways that my friends celebrate the first day of school with their kiddos. There are so many ingenious ways to commemorate the back to school season. Here are some examples of memorable first day of school photos.
 
 
So many creative mommas out there. Here are what they've come up with...
 
 
Paint a chalkboard number and use it as a photo prop.
Create chalk art that depicts what grade your child is going into.
Take a first Day of School picture using this printable.
Take a picture of the first and last days of school to compare the changes in your child.
Grab a shot of your kiddo under the school's marquee.



Grab these photo booth printables and have a fun, impromptu photo shoot.
Don't focus all your photos on faces, take a few shots of the elements of the first day.
Set some extra room in your picture and add important stats about your child.
Take a pic with this chalkboard background and ruler height measurer. I'm in love with this!
Snag a photo of your child holding a picture of themselves on the first day of school last year.
 
 
 
Make funny signs for your child to hold during the first day.
Grab some props and create a "bookworm" photo shoot.
Take a picture of your kiddo with their bestie or sibling on the school playground.
Draw out a large picture of your child's grade and have them pose in it.
Skip the typical and go for an authentic photo shoot that captures your child's spirit.
 
 
 
Create a chalkboard with your child's name, grade, and other important stats.
If you can't take a picture of your child in their classroom, snap a photo of their backpack.
Have your child write their name (as best they can) and take a picture of them with it.
Capture your little (or not so little) one walking down the hall towards their classroom.
Multiple kiddos? Label the stairs with their grades for a group shot.


 
Take a picture of your kiddo in front of a school bus with a handwritten sign of the school year.
Grab a shot of your child before and after their first day.
Line up multiple kids in height order and take a picture. Interesting how the order may change.
Make a t-shirt with your child's graduation year on it and snap a picture of them in it every year.


How do you capture your child's first day back to school?




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

First Day of School Signs for Kids {free printable}

Pin It
The first day of school is fast approaching. I always love to see pictures on Facebook of my friend's children headed off for their first day of school every year. There are so many cute back to school photo ideas out there. Last year, I created a First Day printable and it was a huge hit. So I decided to make them again this year.
 

The first day of school pictures are some of the most treasured for many parents. Get other first day of school picture ideas here. I love taking them of my kiddos and seeing those shared by my friends on Facebook. It's always such a joyful occurrence to see how kiddos grow from year to year. It definitely adds a bright spot to my social media feeds.
 
Below you can find the link for my free printable first day of school signs. I made sure to cover all the grades, even transitional kindergarten (this seems to be a much skipped over milestone for some kiddos). I've also included the titles of the high school classes instead of just grade number. Use whichever you prefer.
 
All you have to do to get the sign, is go to the link below and save the file. Then you simply print the page(s) that you need. You can print on regular paper or on cardstock. I've also seen people print and put them in frames for their children to hold.


If you happen to use these signs and share them on social media, I'd love it if you tagged me or used the hashtag #crayonfreckles so I can see. That's where the joy is for me.




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

How to Turn an Old Picture Frame into a Cute Photo Holder

Pin It
I've had this tigerwood picture frame for years. It was originally my great-grandma's. An oil painting of her as a young woman used to be in it.  I've always wanted to do something with it so that it could be within my view everyday. Finally, it came to me.  I decided to convert it into a shabby chic, but ultra cute photo holder. Find out how I did it below!


What you'll need:
An old picture frame
Fabric scraps
Hot glue gun
Chicken wire (and wire cutters/tin snips)
Staple gun


I had some leftover fabric from a previous craft, so I cut it into 1.5 inch strips. Then I wrapped it around the frame several times, to make 3 inch sections. To preserve the integrity of the frame, I glued the fabric to itself. That way the frame could remain unmarred in case I want to do something else with it in the future. 

I didn't follow a set pattern in putting on the fabric because I didn't want to worry about it being symmetrical.

Once done, I nailed in a toothed picture hanger into the back.

The last step was to add the chicken wire. Using tin snips, I cut out a piece and stapled it to the back with a staple gun.

I am sooooo in love with the finished project. I used wooden clothespins to fasten some of my favorite square pictures to the chicken wire. I think I may get some mini clothespins so that they aren't so prominent.
 
This old picture frame project adds such a charm to our master bedroom. It's also incredible to wake up to something of my dear Gram's every single day.




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Moments Matter: August Photo Prompts for Moms

Pin It
I've stunk at purposefully parenting lately. We are still struggling with getting Bear diagnosed. Life is crazy every single day. I feel like all I do is put out fires. I need to get back in the swing of things and start trying to document the happy moments in our life.  That's where the Moments Matter monthly photo challenge comes in.

 
There are several ways you can join me in this project:
  • Use the photo prompts to capture moments in your day that fit them.  Join me on Instagram and share them or keep them for just you and your family to enjoy.
  • Use the topics to hone your photography skills.
  • You can also use the prompts as inspiration for activities for you to do with your children. 
  • If you can’t participate every day, no worries.  Just post when the prompts speak to you and relate to the moments in your day.
  • Share whatever photos you like with the tag #momentsmatter to share the special moments in your day.
  Here are the photo prompts for this month: 
 

 
Don't forget to use the hashtag #momentsmatter when you share!  See you on Instagram!
 



Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Easy Summer Snack for Kids

Pin It
I'll admit it. My kids are munch-aholics. If it's salty and crunchy, they're into it. So I've tried to find some alternatives to chips.  And then I remembered a snack from my childhood. Did you ever put those little oyster crackers in your soup? They were a snacktime fixture for me growing up. Using them and two other ingredients, we created a yummy summer snack that the kids could help prepare.


Total preparation time for these ranch oyster crackers was only about 30 minutes, start to finish. I love how quick and easy this recipe is.

Ingredients:
1 bag oyster crackers
1/4 cup vegetable oil
ranch seasoning packet
garlic powder (optional)

How to:
Dump the oyster crackers into a gallon sized ziploc bag.


Add vegetable oil and contents of the ranch seasoning packet. Seal the bag, allowing a little air to be contained inside. Shake the bag vigorously and shuffle the crackers around with your hands to try and spread the oil and ranch seasoning onto all of the crackers.


When sufficiently mixed, spread the crackers out onto a baking sheet. We opted to shake a touch of garlic powder onto them for added flavor, but this is totally optional.  Bake at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes.


Remove from oven once the crackers have browned slightly, let cool, and enjoy! I can't believe how much my picky eater kiddos raved over these!


You could also easily add some pretzel sticks, cheese crackers, or corn/rice cereal to this recipe to create a full snack mix. I think we'll do this next time. It only took two days for these crackers to be gone and they're already asking to make more.
 



Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Behavior Tracking Sheet for Kids {free printable}

Pin It
So many parents struggle in silence about behavioral issues with their children. We put our best virtual foot forward on Facebook. We pretend that we aren't struggling at playdates. We present ourselves as though there is nothing wrong because we're fearful that we'll be blamed for the struggles our child faces . But in reality, we pray that our child will grow up healthy. We sweat over whether or not our child will meltdown during a trip to the store. We... wonder what it is we did wrong to end up having a child who struggles in this way.


Having a child with behavioral issues is an albatross. It can be embarrassing to talk about because so many are quick to place the blame on parenting and lack of discipline. Documentation can be very helpful for parents just starting out in seeking services from health professionals, for those trying to find specific triggers, or for those just wanting to see what works and what doesn't. There are so many forces at play in our children's lives that can affect their behavior.

When behavior started becoming problematic with my son, I'll be honest, I was in denial. Thought that it'd remedy itself in due time. I was wrong. So when we got to the point where I realized that we needed professional help, I thought it would be good to be able to provide our new provider with daily records of what was happening in our home. There's so much that I'd like to share with you about this journey. But right now, out of respect for Bear's privacy, I'm not posting much. But I'll tell you, it's a hard, hard road.
 
So... here is this... a sheet you can print out to track the daily fluctuations with your kiddo. They've proven to be *very* insightful for us in dealing with Bear's behaviors and informing our providers of what happens when we aren't in sessions. Also included are two other sheets you may find useful. One is a "think sheet" for kiddos to fill out after incidents so that they can think critically about what happened and develop a game plan for next time. The other is a "3 strikes" sheet where you or your kiddo can keep track of poor choices.
 
 
Click the link below to download 

Whatever leg of the journey you're on with your kiddo, I send you lots of love, blessings, and hope. Being a momma is not an easy road. Sometimes parenting is difficult, even painful. Just remember to love. Love through the tantrums, the disrespect, the disobedience. Because our kiddos are hurting and they need to know that in the midst of their pain, they are still treasured.





Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Moments Matter: July Photo Prompts for Moms

Pin It
I'm late in posting this. Life has gotten in the way of this site lately. With losing our Baby Bean and other issues I'm not yet ready to make public, I've been lost. My days have been spent adrift, trying desperately to stay afloat, but feeling as though I'm drowning. Two months ago, I started the Moments Matter monthly photo challenge.  I wanted to focus more on the little things that made up our days... Give myself prompts for the days that were tough. Even if I don't always post the photos due to time, I think they've given me pause to reflect every day. So I'm sharing it with you all in case you want to join in.  As moms, sometimes we aren't always in pictures, so I encourage you to be in the shot as much as possible.
 
There are several ways you can join me in this project:
  • Use the photo prompts to capture moments in your day that fit them.  Join me on Instagram and share them or keep them for just you and your family to enjoy.
  • Use the topics to hone your photography skills.
  • You can also use the prompts as inspiration for activities for you to do with your children. 
  • If you can’t participate every day, no worries.  Just post when the prompts speak to you and relate to the moments in your day.
  • Share whatever photos you like with the tag #momentsmatter to share the special moments in your day.
  Here are the photo prompts for this month:
 
 

 
Don't forget to use the hashtag #momentsmatter when you share!  See you on Instagram!
 



Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Banana Scented Gluten-Free Minion Playdough- Despicable Me 3 Activity for Kids

Pin It
Despicable Me 3 is out in theatres right now! I don't know about you, but there's something about those silly little yellow creatures that are mesmerizing to my kids. So when I found a travel sized bottle of banana scented Minion shampoo on clearance a few weeks ago, I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it.
 

I found a recipe for making homemade playdough with conditioner. We gave it a shot with shampoo in hopes that it would turn out okay.  An added bonus of this recipe is that it's safe for kiddos with gluten sensitivities/allergies because it's not wheat-based like traditional store-bought Play-doh. All we needed was:
1 part banana scented shampoo
2 parts cup corn flour
yellow food coloring (optional)


We mixed the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, adding the food coloring at the very end. We ended up adding a few drops of yellow food coloring to get a more "minion" yellow.  Looking back, I think we could've added several more.

After we got it all mixed up, we busted out the Minion toys that Gramma had saved from Happy Meals and had some fun!


The kids loved it. The Minion playdough felt like circus peanuts. Very soft... as were our hands afterward. It did stick a bit, but maybe that could be remedied by a bit more corn flour? It turned out very soft. We could make a ball, set it on the table, and have it meld into a pile like the image above. And I'll say that the key to the playdough saving well for future use is to store it in a well-sealed Ziploc. We used a Tupperware and it was crumbly the next day.

Here's our short teaser Instagram video of the finished product so you can see how it turned out.

A post shared by Andie Jaye (@therealandiej) on

If you give this recipe a try, I'd love to hear how it turns out! Hopefully not... despicably lol.
 



Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On Parenting Our Hypothetical Children

Pin It


Do you remember your pre-child days? Remember all those things you swore you'd never do or let your child do? I do.... And I swear, most of them have gone by the wayside. Being a momma comes down to survival mode. We have to pick our battles.  But what are some of those battles we previously thought we'd win?
 
 
There's nothing I love more than hearing from other momma's about their journeys in motherhood. So on both my personal page and blog page, I asked,

 Before you were a parent, what was something you
*swore* your future children would never do that
you allow now that you are actually a parent?

And here's what everyone had to say.....

Time outs. lol I thought they were useless, they pretty much are, because it doesn't stop the behavior ...but I more so do it so I can compose myself and get 4 minutes of peace.

I hate the word "suck", but by the time they were in high school I let it go. They kept their mouths pretty clean around me even though I was smart enough to know that away from me it was a whole different story.

Let them have snacks at church. I let them watch way more tv then I ever thought I would.

My daughter is going to be five in January and still has a binky at bedtime.

Having my children sleep in bed with me. I did good with my other two and so did my husband with his two with the twins it went out the window the day we got them home from the NICU. I let them sleep with us ever since or with one of their siblings. Shame on me...

I always swore I'd never be too busy for my kid. They'd always have 100% of me, all the time. Nearly 17 years of this, and I can tell you there are definitely times when my kids didn't get all of me, or even the best of me. But I'm ok with that. It's helped my kids to realize they're not the center of anyone's universe, which is helping them to learn empathy.

Definitely sleeping in bed with me, I always thought it was dangerous! More dangerous is the seriously tired mom zombie. Once I snuggled her close and realized we were breathing in unison I knew that cosleeping could be safe! I do love all of her soft baby breaths and her sweet baby smell when she sleeps peacefully lol

Eat crap. I wasn't going to raise a picky eater! My kids would like flavors and veggies. Yep! Kids are their own people and you can't make them do anything! I have one picky eater and one who does eat anything.

Eat in my car.

Formula feeding. I was going to be that mom who would master the art of breastfeeding and avoid formula at all cost, cause it can't be THAT hard, right?! I got a huge reality check. My supply wasn't enough to sustain my son 100% of the time so I had to supplement with formula.

I said I would NEVER let the kids have a TV in their rooms.... fast forward to Christmas this year. 3 TV's with DVD's were wrapped under the tree. Sometimes you just need to put on a movie and have the kids be separated!

Sleep in a bed filled with stuffed animals.

I swore my children would not be allowed to sleep in bed with me....5 years later my daughter and I share a bed....it's just easier that way. I learned if you want to be able to sleep, sometimes you have to change your beliefs.

I know it's not really a big deal but I always said he wouldn't go play or open his Happy Meal toy before he was done eating. He opens the toy first and goes play right away, but he still eats his meal, 1 bite every time he comes out of a slide.

Sounds weird (and has a story behind it).... Watch Disney movies.

Play with Barbies... eat fast food... homeschool...


I love that so many mommas were comfortable enough to comment. I relate to ALL of them. I taught preschool for so many years. The guilt I have for all the judgment I passed is ridiculous. There's such a huge dissonance between being childless and thinking you know what is appropriate/needed to solve a child-related issue and actually being a parent and meeting the needs of your child with all the emotion involved.
 
Simply said, it's easier to parent when you aren't an actual parent. Once these tiny humans enter our lives, our emotions, hormones, and rationale are altered.
 
And that's okay. Different kiddos require different parenting styles. There is no "one size fits all" approach to raising children. Sometimes we have to adjust our previously held theories and beliefs to fit the darling little ones we are gifted.  How have your views changed since you became a parent?




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Monday, June 19, 2017

And So I Rock Her

Pin It
It's late at night. You're rocking baby while your partner sleeps soundly. At their moment, you are alone in the world...
You feel isolated.
You feel a bittersweet frustration.
You feel smothered and nurturing simultaneously.


Have I ever told you that I don't remember the last time I rocked my son (now 8.5 years old) to sleep? I don't. I've no recollection of the last time I held him. And now, in his burgeoning boyishness I've no memory of when I last held his sweet little body, folded perfectly onto my frame. And it saddens me. It breaks my heart for the boy-baby that he used to be and has grown out of.
 
And here I am now... with a 3 year old who still nurses to sleep and does not sleep alone for longer than 2 hours at a time. Like many moms, after bedtime is the only time I get to myself all day. It's when I decompress, get projects and blog posts done, and just get a moment for me, in general. And so often this time is interjected with long hours spent holding Sunny while she sleeps. And there are so many nights when I just want to be able to put her down.

And when I take the time to think about it I feel like a failure. I feel bad for both sides of this situation. Regretful that I've not helped her learn to "self-soothe" and sleep independently by this point in her life. Guilty that when she needs me in those sleepytime hours, I'm clambering for my space. It's a double-edged sword that cuts my momma heart in two. 
 
 
But it is what it is.
 
These days go by so quickly. She's turned from a snuggly little burrito baby into a gangly toddler seemingly overnight.  And someday, she'll be too big to be nestled against my chest. Someday, she'll think it silly to snuggle with Mom. So for now, I have to cherish these moments... savoring each one. Because you never know something is happening for the last time until it doesn't ever happen again.
 
And so I hold her.
And so I rock her.
And so I be the comfort she needs in the night.
I am her safe place.
And that is okay.
 



Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Truth About Miscarriage: Mourning Before We Rejoice

Pin It
They tell you not to announce a pregnancy too soon. Who "they" is, I don't know. I just know the ill-explained societal rule that you don't publicly announce until around 12 weeks. But when I got the positive pregnancy test, I couldn't help but tell a handful of close friends... my virtual momma tribe.
 
Because I couldn't contain my excitement.
Because I wanted those close to me to share in the baby magic.
Because I needed their support.


Two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, the support of my closest friends was what kept me afloat during one of the heaviest times of my life. It's taken me a week to write about it. Partially because nothing I can say can begin to touch the pain, and partially because hitting the publish button makes this all real...permanent.
 
By the time I gave birth to my son, I had two miscarriages.  They were heartbreaking, but that was back before the days of social media. So I was stranded in my sorrow, unaware that other women were dealing with the same grief I was. Then I had my first baby. And a few years later, another one. And the darkness of that pain was diminished by the light those two little ones brought to my days. But still... I felt unfinished. Like I was meant to be a mother to more....

Fast forward to three weeks ago. I felt different. My little nursling, Sunny, said that her "nummies" tasted different. And even before the positive pregnancy test, I was pretty sure that I was pregnant.  Sure enough, I took a test, and...


And in an instant, I foresaw all that was in store for me. I saw that baby's face, felt that little hand upon my face, and heard that little voice call me "momma" for the first time. I was on cloud nine, ready to welcome the next little one into our family. Then last Thursday, I woke up and discovered I was bleeding.  I knew in an instant what was happening. A trip to the doctor's office for an hcg blood test, a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound told us what we needed to know. 

And then I was sent home for my body to do what it needed to do while I pretended that nothing was wrong around my littlest two kiddos. I had to put on a happy face for my daughter's birthday party. My body hurt, my soul ached, and I was heartbroken. And I felt alone, because only a handful of people actually knew what was going on.

That first morning, when I woke up and realized I was miscarrying, I vague-booked... posted a status asking for prayers. But I wish that I'd had those prayers from the second I found out I was pregnant.  Because so many women feel awkward or silly announcing in those early days of pregnancy. But isn't that precarious, delicate, scary time when expecting mommas need their support system to circle the wagons and send prayers and super sticky baby juju?

Instead, we stifle the joy of having life grow within us because society says we aren't suppose to get excited too soon. And for a small minority of expectant mothers, that means harboring the grief of their loss alone.

Too many of us mourn before we rejoice.
 
Three of my babies have seen Jesus before they've seen me. This is the comfort I've found... the peace I can hold onto with my empty arms. Because unlike other losses, there won't be a funeral. How do I deal with this loss without a formal way to say goodbye?
 
A well-meaning friend tried to console me by reminding me I'd only been pregnant a few weeks. No. No. No. No. Something that other loss mommas may relate to is that you can ask any one of us how old our angel babies would be right now, and we can tell you. Mine would be 17 years, 14 years, and I would have a baby due in January 2018. Though their lives maybe brief, we remember their presence... on those milestones, our due dates, on the anniversaries of their expected births.
 
 
I'm handling this publicly because there should be no shame. No longer should we have to hide our grief. And perhaps another loss momma will find some comfort in my words.
 
I'm here if you need me or want to share your story to honor your precious lost little one. Many blessings.
 



Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Moments Matter: Photo Prompts for Moms

Pin It
Last month, I shared a new Moments Matter monthly photo challenge.  I feel like I'm just passing time as I move through my days. So the idea of the photo challenge that focuses on the small details of my days and helps me connect with my loved ones is very appealing.  Because it's in these little moments that life happens, love is shared, and memories are made.  With Mother's Day coming up, I've decided to revisit this challenge as a gift to myself.  I thought I'd share it with you all in case you want to join in.  As moms, sometimes we are rarely in pictures, I encourage you to be in the picture as much as possible.
 
There are several ways you can join me in this project:
  • Use the photo prompts to capture moments in your day that fit them.  Join me on Instagram and share them or keep them for just you and your family to enjoy.
  • Use the topics to hone your photography skills.
  • You can also use the prompts as inspiration for activities for you to do with your children. 
  • If you can’t participate every day, no worries.  Just post when the prompts speak to you and relate to the moments in your day.
  • Share whatever photos you like with the tag #momentsmatter to share the special moments in your day.
  Here are the photo prompts for this month:
 

 
 
Don't forget to use the hashtag #momentsmatter when you share!  See you on Instagram!
 
 
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.




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...