Monday, October 31, 2011

in {her} shoes...tara

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this week's in {her} shoes installment is Tara from Tales of a Trophy Wife.  she's yet another amazing woman that i've had the privilege of "meeting" here in the blogosphere.
i think that you're going to love her post as much as i do!  she has some great insights ((and awesome shoes!!). 

Thanks Andie for inviting me to stop by.  I think the "In her shoes" idea is super fun and I'm thrilled to participate.  I am Tara from Tales of a Trophy Wife and here are some of the shoes I wear:

These shoes, I never worn myself, but I am an Army brat and my husband is in the Air Force, and they've probably impacted my life more than any other.  I've moved around a lot and don't have a hometown, but I'm always looking for a new adventures and am a huge fan of the road trip.

Here are the shoes that you will find on my feet most days. I've had them for a few years and I worry they may be even less fashion forward then when I bought them.  They are practical, comfortable, and better in summer than winter-just like me.

Here are the most impractical pair of shoes I own. I only wear them 1-2 days a year and even then for short periods of time. I choose comfort over fashion most days, but they are waiting for me in my closet in case I ever want to look a little more like a "trophy wife". I have a teenage daughter (who dresses way better than I do) and we go by the slogan, "Modest is Hottest" at our house. 

These are my favorite church shoes. My faith is central to our family and how I parent (I am Mormon and for the record absolutely consider myself a Christian).  I do try to teach my children to keep Jesus Christ as the center of their lives. There isn't a better example for them to follow.

These are my "reading" shoes. I am embarrassingly bad at anything requiring co-ordination and I hate to exercise.  Luckily this has skipped a generation and all 3 of my kids are decent athletes.  Most days, you can find me cheering them on the field, the court, or the pool.  I spend at least 10 hours a week at their practices, which gives me tons of guilt-free reading time. I even blog about the good ones. 

Since mostly I just blog about crafts. I've been trying to reflect for the past few days about what my parenting style is.  As a young mother, I read some of the "Parenting with Love and Logic" books and they really rang true for me.  I believe that you should teach your child correct principals and then let them deal with the natural consequences of their actions.  Sometimes this can be hard, because I would like to prevent my kids from feeling even teeny bits of pain and suffering.  I'm hoping that small suffering now will prevent huge suffering later. I also believe in giving them lots of choices, so they can learn early how to make correct ones.  I have learned to control the options.  For example, I don't ask, "what do you want to wear to school?"-or they would wear PJ's or sweats.  Instead I ask, "would you like to wear the red or blue shirt?"    My kids are amazing and so I guess so far it is working.  I think they were all just born that way, and not amazing due to any of my parenting skills.  

Thanks again Andie.  I hope the rest of you will stop by my blog sometime.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

5 little chicks play hide-and-seek

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a while back, we saw an episode of Team Oomi-Zoomi
((yes, i will totally admit to giving my kiddo tv time
in the morning after we wake up.
it gives me time to oPeN mY EyES for the day.
i usually sit by him though,
so he and i can make comments
to each other on the show.))

the story line was about how these 5 little chicks got lost and the team had to find them.  after we watched it, Bear started saving these invisible chicks.  i asked him if he wanted us to make some little feLT chicks for him to play with.  his answer? yes, of course.

i put glue on the backs and Bear stuck down the legs, eyes, and beaks.

after that, we took turns hiDiNG and fiNdiNG the chicks!
the added bonus is that we can use them on our flannel board, too!!

how eggs-citing is that?
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Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Friday, October 28, 2011

play-doh construction build site

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do you remember the homemade alphabet blocks i posted about a while ago?  well, we were playing with pLaY-dOh the other day and Bear started to get boReD of it pretty quick. so i grabbed these blocks out of the shelf and handed them to him. 

Bear is really interested in any thing coNsTRuCTioN related. 
((as you can see with the roller flattening the "road"))

so i tried to build on his interest (no pun intended).  we found that playdoh works pretty well to stiCK tHe bLoCKs together like cEmeNT would at the building site.

i LoVE this picture

what else do you use to liven up play-doh?

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, October 27, 2011

The Very Hungry Pumpkin Felt Board Story

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It's getting close to Halloween! One of my preschoolers' favorite books has always been Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. So I created this fun Halloween felt board story. It helps preschoolers practice colors and have fun through a twist of a familiar story.

The premise of this interactive felt board story is that a pumpkin goes around eating various foods, which then turn him different colors. The pumpkin gets worried. At the end, he finally eats a food that turns him into something he is comfortable with. I used this at our local library for a  Halloween storytime for 20+ children. It was a hit!

Below you can find images of how to present this activity, as well as a link to download the script and images for this activity.

The story goes like this....
"One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and -pop!- out of the ground came a tiny and very hungry pumpkin.  He started to look for some food..."

As the days progress, the hungry pumpkin eats a variety of food that turns him many different colors. And he isn't happy with the results....
Each day, the pumpkin is upset at the results of what he's eaten. It isn't until the last day that the pumpkin finally finds a food to eat that makes him feel right...
"He went looking for something to help him feel a little bit better. He nibbled on a few pieces of candy corn. And then he said, "Oh me, oh my! Look at me! I'm a jack-o-lantern, happy as can be!"

This activity can be used in a one on one activity or with small or large groups. Here are some pictures from when we did the activity.

Click the link below to download 

 If you love this activity and want to do it again next month, check out the Thanksgiving version.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

God's Light Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Suncatcher Craft

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There's a darling little book that we've read each year during the Halloween season. It's a reminder to my children and myself that we have the power to influence the word through our words and actions. To accompany this book, we did a simple suncatcher craft to illustrate the meaning of the book's message. See below for the book and the craft.
post contains affiliate links

Reading the book, My Happy Pumpkin: God's Love Shining Through Me, always makes me smile.  The title pretty much covers the topic of the book.  It's a great read for little ears during the Halloween season.  To make the God's light jack-o-lantern, I was able to use materials we had in our craft cabinet.
All you need is:
Orange paper
Clear contact paper
Yellow tissue paper.
After reading the book, I set out the contact paper, open, with the sticky side up with the yellow tissue paper squares in a dish next to it. From our previous suncatcher making experiences, my son didn't need any explanation of what to do and set about placing the tissue paper squares on the contact paper.

For the pumpkin shape, I cut the eyes, nose, and mouth holes out.  Older children could do this themselves. After he was done placing the yellow tissue squares on the contact paper, we covered it with another sheet of paper to seal it. He put gluestick on the back of the jack-o-lantern cutout, then stuck his contact paper onto it.  I trimmed around it so that no contact paper peeked out. Again, this is a task that older children could do themselves.
And the results are darling and very reminiscent of crafts I did as a child.
Let me shine with the light of yours
Let my eyes see the beauty all around
Never let me turn my nose up to others
And let my mouth share the good news I have heard

I hope that this book and project blesses your family as much as it does mine every year.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

in {her} shoes...3 krazy chics

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today's guest post is done by Candie, Lindsay, and Renne
from over at 3krazychics.
they are 3 friends who collaborate together on their blog to share crafts and more.  read their story then go on over and check out their blog!

1. What is the most challenging part of being the type of mom you are?

Candie - Well I'm a stay at home mom of 3 boys, ages 8, 4 and 2. They are the light of my life! We are a very busy family and seem to be always on the go. I am a planner and I like to have structure and organization ....I think the most challenging part is to keep consistency in my kids' lives. Sometimes I feel that I'm being to hard on them, other times I cave. It's hard to be just somewhere in the middle. At this point in their young life, I just hope that I'm giving them all the right tools to grow into wonderful, respectful young men.

Lindsay - I am stay at home mom with 2 amazing boys ages 4 and 20 months. We are active and busy most of the time and are rarely bored. I wouldn't say there is one thing that is challenging, but there are a few things I do struggle with. For starters, I miss my job. Here is where the guilt kicks in. I love being a stay at home mom and wouldn't change it for anything, but I miss working. I left a job I loved after my first born and have always wanted to go back eventually. I recently started my own company last year and that has really put a balance in my life. Another challenge is the constant fear of "am I doing this right." Are my kids eating enough, are they eating the right things, are they kind and considerate, do they get enough attention, am I giving them the right tools to succeed in life? I guess the only way to answer these, is time.

Renne - I'm not real sure what "type" of mom I am, and I'm not real sure I can pinpoint the most challenging part of being a mom because as far as I'm concerned it's all kind of just a trial and error situation, lol!! I guess in general it's knowing how to consistently parent each of your children in a way that they will respond to. Both of my kids are so different that it take two totally different styles, but consistency is key with either.

2. What is the most rewarding?

Candie - Well for me the most rewarding is the way they love me so unconditional.....a love like no other. Only a mother will know this kind of love. But I do love it when we are in public and a stranger will come up to me and say "your children are so well behaved".  This has happened a few times and it makes me feel so proud and that perhaps I am doing something right. Don't get me wrong, there are times that they are so "all over the place" it's just exhausting, but isn't it wonderful?!?!?

Lindsay - This question is easy. It is THEM. As a stay at home mom I am so blessed to be with them all the time. I miss nothing. I see every smile, cry and laugh. My kids are growing up right before my eyes and I get to witness every minute of it. Nothing in this life is more rewarding.

Renee - My boys are the oldest in the group of us 3krazychics at 15 and 17, so they are becoming young gentlemen right before my eyes and it's so awesome and rewarding when friends or people I don't even know tell me how polite, respectful and considerate my kids are to them. I told my oldest son recently the sometimes his wisdom was mind blowing, and he told me that "I wouldn't have moments of wisdom if it wasn't for you and I've learned from the best, so thank you", It's so nice to know all that self-doubt and inconsistency I've struggled with in the past isn't totally ruining my kids! :-)

3. In your opinion, what is the most important value(s) a parent can instill in their children?

Candie - Honesty, leadership, integrity, forgiveness, loyalty, be yourself, hardworking and always trust in GOD. He may not give you the answer you want, but it will be the answer that you need.

Lindsay - I feel values determine the kind of person you will be. Some that are important to us are: Compassion, no matter what. You just don't know every one's story. Tolerance, life is short. Let people be who they want to be. Including yourself. Trust in GOD. He will never let you down. He may not give you the answer you want, but the answer you need.

Renee - I had some help in installing values in my kids because they went to Christian school till 5th grade. Which was awesome because the self-doubt and consistency thing that I struggle with gets in the way sometimes! But once they learn respect (so many kids now a days have absolutely zero respect for adults) and how to treat others the way they want to be treated, it really does go a long way.

4. If your children could describe you in 3 words, which ones would they pick?

Candie - Well my 4 yr old tells me I'm beautiful all the time, though he just might be sucking up for something. LOL! They would probably say cool and funny.

Lindsay - Since my kids are 4 and under they would use words like awesome and cool. I can live with awesome and cool.

Renee - I cheated on this and asked my kids, but I was curious what they had to say, haha!! But they said I was loving, funny and loud!! Not sure if I should be offended by the last one, but they do speak the truth. I am all three of those. Only from the mouth of babes, as the old saying goes.

This is the kind of shoe mommies we are! We are painted toes, summer loving, flip flop kind of girls!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Leaf Suncatchers

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Fall is my favorite season. There's something about the colors, the sounds, and the smells that are just so mesmerizing to me. So I look to celebrate those sensory experiences with my kiddos as much as I can. We took to our yard, cluttered with many shades of leaves to create our latest craft: fall leaf suncatchers.

Here's how to do it...

Materials you'll need:
leaves... real or fake
clear contact paper
construction paper to cut a frame (if desired)

One of  my favorite parts of this project was watching my son go through the leaves, one at a time, to find ones that were "just right" for his suncatcher. He gathered them up in a plastic tub. I didn't limit his time while selecting leaves. Once he was done, we headed inside where I had taped a 9"x12" piece of contact paper onto his work space. At first, he strategically placed leaves down, then resorted to just dumping them out and rearranging them as he saw fit.


Once he'd placed all of his leaves where he wanted, we worked together to fold the contact paper over to seal it shut. I cut a frame out of the construction paper of his choosing and he glued his suncatcher inside of it. After we taped it up on our back door, we were able to see all of the beautiful colors and textures that the sun revealed as it shone through.


The thing I love most about fall is that there are so many activities that can be done with what nature provides us. See more Fall crafts, art, and activities for kids here.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

in {her} shoes...lish

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and how are all you lovelies today?  it's momma monday, so you know what that means! another installment of a series that has taught me sooo much about life and what it means to be a mom.  today is my friend, lish from over at Imprintalish.  you may remember a giveaway of hers that we had here a couple months ago.  she is a phenomenal woman who takes amazing pictures!  after you "meet" her, jot on over and check 'em out!


Hellooo everyone!!

My name is Lish and I blog over at Imprintalish, a little place where I post photos of my life, pretty things, crafts and a whole slew of other stuff! Stop by and say hi if you get a chance, I love meeting new people! Before I get started I have to say thank you to Andie for approaching me to do this guest post. Her ‘In her Shoes’ posts have been a daily Monday read for me. It is so inspiring to hear the views of moms from all different backgrounds! My story definitely pales in comparison to some of the ones you’ve read, but equally so, this is my story…


About 7 years ago, I quit my job as a Fashion Merchandiser and my hubby, Mike, put in a transfer request to a smaller town about 2 hours from where we lived. We were leaving our crazy, busy, big city life to enjoy what a smaller town had to offer. Cheaper housing costs, a safer place to raise a family and somewhere we could settle down. We didn’t start trying for a baby right away, and had a ‘if it happens, it happens’ kind of outlook on the whole idea. Life went on and I soon found a job as a Retail Store Manager. Life was great, we both had jobs we loved, our house was getting cuter every time I whipped out my MasterCard and my closet grew and grew until it filled up our 2nd bedroom! Four years soon flew by and I realized that although our life was just grand…there was still something missing…oh, right…a baby! During those years of trying, but not really trying, there was a tiny part in my mind that thought…mmm…something’s wrong, but I brushed it aside.


Fast forward a year and we are sitting in the Dr.s office, scheduling blood tests, ultrasounds…etc. The next 6 months of waiting and wondering were awful and every time I heard that someone was pregnant or I saw a pregnant woman in the street, I wanted to cry. Anyone that has had any kind of fertility issues knows that this is a very nerve wrecking experience. During all those tests, we kept trying anyway. Low and behold, we got pregnant! Apparently, I had a small blockage in one of my tubes and during one of the tests it was cleared. Who would’ve thought!? We definitely got off very easy. My pregnancy went smoothly, labour was looong, but in the end, our handsome little man, Grayson was born. He’s now 2 years old and very much into everything…he’s a bucketful of energy! Since Gray turned out so well, haha, we thought we would give it another shot and got pregnant right away! Westyn blessed our lives and hearts about 5 months ago. His charming smile is so captivating and he is quite content to just sit and watch the world go by. They both bring so much joy into our lives!

Currently, I am on maternity leave (in Canada you get 12 months!). I had originally planned on returning to my job, but 4 months ago, the clothing store that I managed, closed down. So now, I guess you could say I am an unemployed mother to two, with lots of self employed hopes and dreams. Or in fancy terms, I am a WAHM, blogger and Etsy shop owner who dabbles in photography and graphic design. The most challenging part of being in my shoes is finding the balance. Which I write about often on my blog and I know that I am not alone in this quest. It’s not easy to juggle 2 kids and get a good chunk of time to come up with new card designs and publish blog posts. Especially with a two year old who loves the computer just as much as I do (Like mother like son?!) Guilt and frustration often arise when things don’t go as planned. On the flip side being a WAHM is the most rewarding experience. I get to watch my little ones grow and see first hand how they change day to day. Seeing their ruffled hair and bright smiles in the morning is amazing! And I secretly get a little rush when I know I am the only one who understands the mumbles that come from my two year old, like how a ‘phush’ means a ‘fish.’ Plus, I am there to tickle, dance and giggle all day long, camera in hand! I can appreciate life a bit more when I see it through the eyes of a two year old.

Hopefully my little munchkins enjoy having their momma home with them as much as I love being home with them. If they were to describe me in three words I think they would say I am Creative-I’ve always got some crafty idea floating around in my head, Goofy- because I always make time for impromptu dance parties in the living room, tents under a sheet and hide and seek with imaginary friends, and also Expressive- I hug and kiss them every chance I get!

Some days are good, and some days are bad. In the grand scheme of things I can only hope that I raise my sons the same way that my parents raised me and that they in turn raise their kids the same way. To think that my parents were once in the exact same stage of life that I am in; living through these very same crazy days. The sleep loss, diapers and crying, although very aggravating, they are nothing in comparison to the first smiles, the first walks, the first words, the hugs and sloppy kisses. My parents made it through, and I am going to be ok too. I wouldn’t trade this for anything…the best shoes are the ones I wear when I’m around my kids!



Saturday, October 15, 2011

teaching life skills: doing dishes

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as i was eMpTYinG tHe diSHwaSHeR tonight, Bear came over and told me he was going to help me. 

it didn't even take me a second to tell him yEs.  but, later on, when i thought of that moment, i realized i had been given 2 cHoiCEs:
                       1. Tell him nO because I wanted to hurry up and get it done.
                       2. Gladly aCCepT his help and encourage his eagerness to help out with
                           household activities...Which would  build his self-esteem, sense of
                           autonomy, and overall spirit.

and you know what? he did really well.  he stacked the bowls on the counter.

took the dishes out of the dishwasher and laid them out to dry.

what types of things do you do to encourage
your child's independence?
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, October 14, 2011

Newspaper Bag Pumpkins

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It's fall! There's few things I love about the holidays more than decorating our front porch. Each year, I look for new and resourceful ways to decorate using things that we have. That's when the idea of these newspaper bag pumpkins popped into my head.

We get newspapers 3 days a week and then a free mid-week one, so we have plenty of these orange newspaper bags floating around. Aside from them, we only needed a permanent marker and some rocks from our landscaping.

When life gives you bags, make some pumpkins, right?

I drew some faces on them, then handed Bear the permanent marker. If you have older children, they can decorate the bags themselves.

He made a few lines, but was more interested in what happened when he stopped leaning down on the bag... The bag went blowing away in the yard.  He ran and got it. Came back. Let it go again. Came back again. He did this probably 10 times. 



((Why did I share this part?  I think it's neat when I can expand on daily life happenings that he is interested in.  And what a great way to talk about cause and effect.  It came in the middle of our project, but I wanted to let him go ahead and explore his new finding of how the wind blows. ))

After he grew tired of running back and forth, we were ready for the next step... rocks. We gathered several rocks from our outdoor landscaping and placed them in the bags.

We added just enough to keep them from blowing away in the Midwest wind. Then we added leaves from the lawn to fill them up all the way.  After they were twisty-tied shut, we put them on the porch.
This was one of my more fulfilling projects as of late just because we were able to reuse an item that would have otherwise been thrown away.

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