Thursday, June 28, 2012

Busy Kids Week: Day 4 - Cool Color Fun!

Busy Kids Week
Day 4

Cool Color Fun
Exploring with colored ice!

It's such a simple idea & is SO fun!!
One evening, we let our kids mix up some colored water & pour it into ice cube trays. Then we let them freeze overnight.
It was a GREAT opportunity to teach them about what PRIMARY COLORS are.

Then the next day, (when we happened to have some extra kids over) we got out containers of regular water & divided up the colored cubes.
I had the children pick 2 colors & tell me what they thought would happen when they mixed them(forming a hypothesis).

Then we talked about 

This activitity kept the kiddos active for about an hour. They eventually grabbed some of our bath toys & took them "swimming" in their containers.
like the good ol' imagination!!

What I really love about this activity is that it's good for rainy days, hot days (like today - 101* - hot hot hot), or wintery days when we've got a case of cabin fever!

Okay, now go get BUSY with your kids!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Busy Kids Week! Day 3 - Sensory Tubs

Welcome back for Day 3 of

What I'm going to show you today might scare you a little...
But I hope you'll see what a great experience this is
if you are well prepared & brave enough to

 These are our
'Sensory Tubs' & Table.

The containers hold a variety of sensory materials: Rainbow rice; Dried beans & peas;
Or they're empty - for water, soap & sponges; pipe cleaners & magnets; bugs & magnifying glasses...the list can go on!

The table has been used for everything. It's the best $5 I've ever spent at a garage sale!
Right now it's full of rocks & dinosaurs, but it's also held water & ice cubes, crayons & paper, or anything I've put in containers.

 The kids enjoy the sounds the stones make as they move them around ($1/bag at Dollar General with home decor items). We talk about how the stones feel (cold & smooth) & what they would feel like if they were outside in the sun (hot & probably rough from dirt). They have a fascination with dinosaurs so we put some toy dinosaurs in with the rocks for the boys to pretend with.

We also enjoy adding water for some added fun water play!!

Rainbow Rice

The rainbow rice is definitely our most popular sensory tub! I eventually created another container of dried beans & peas to create a similar sensory experience. Sometimes we add colorful foam letters to hunt for which is really great for letter/color recognition! Other times they just want spoons/cups to scoop & pour the rice with.

 Here's are great instructions for making

Water & Soap
This is another one the kids love!
 I put about 4 cups of water a few drops of dish soap into a blender & let it go till I get a good frothy-foamy lather!
This way the suds last a long time. They enjoy soaking it up with a sponge & squeeeezing it out, pretending to give toys a bath or just splashing. If you try this, have a towel around! Expect some splashing & spilling!
I LOVE having sensory opportunities available for my kids!
They love them so much & they keeps them SO busy...not to mention it's a fantastic enriching experience for them.

I definitely control when we get the tubs out. I have to expect there will be a mess to clean up when we're done. But believe me, I don't do the clean up alone! My boys know we play fun and fair & it's NOT fun or fair to make mommy clean up all of our messes!  Over time the messes have become less & less. They are much more careful about keeping the objects in their tubs!

Can't wait to hear what you think of our sensory tubs!
Love, Julie

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Busy Kids Week: Day 2 - Grass Heads

Welcome to day 2 of Busy Kids Week!!
Today I want to show you a fun little craft that my boys did at a day camp.
They made "GRASS HEADS!"

You need:
A Container (just about anything will work)
Potting Soil
Grass Seed
Decorations for the Face
Glue or Glue Dots

 The craft itself is pretty easy to figure out & there's plenty of room to be creative & do it however you or the child wants! First, have the children decorate their container with a face. Then, fill it with potting soil. Sprinkle grass seed. Water. Wait.

What I really love about this project is that the grass grows SO fast! We could see it growing TWO days after it was planted. I took these pictures five days after the boys made them...

After my boys brought these home, it inspired me to do a bible lesson with them.
I think this craft goes along GREAT with this verse:

As we watch the grass grow taller & taller every day we can think about how we can grow as children of God. It's important that we pray & read God's word to gain knowledge of who God is & of His plan for us. He's given us so much GRACE that we don't deserve, so it's important to practice being like Him by giving grace to others...even when THEY don't deserve it either!
This is one of our favorite songs that goes well with the lesson too:

I hope you've enjoyed today's craft!!
My boys are asking if they can give their GRASS HEADS a hair cut tonight!
So THAT should be fun!! I'll have to add pics later!
If you want to see another FUN idea for summer,
& check out her FUN IN THE SUN series!!
We're guest posting over there today!!
Our 1st guest post ever!!!!
Lots of Love,

Monday, June 25, 2012

Busy Kids Week! Day 1 - Splash Pad

Welcome to

This week Michelle & I will be sharing some of the activities we do with our kiddos to keep them busy. But not JUST busy!! We like to keep them learning too! I'm a strong believer in learning through play, so we are always looking for opportunities for our children to learn through the world around us. Some of our activities are all fun, some are edible, some are educational...and ALL of them will be for their busy little bodies!

I am being a total cheater for our 1st post...
This is a flashback post, but it's one of my absolute favorites so I really wanted to share it again!!!
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It’s summer. It’s been hot, most days, and my kids are getting BORED.
Sound familiar to anyone else?
Well, when my friend Karen posted something similar to this on Facebook, she told me “Necessity is the mother of invention.” How true, how true! And behold, the homemade splash pad was born!
AKA – The Hillbilly Slip-N-Side!

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Here’s how I made ours:

$2 Plastic Paint Tarp
Liquid baby soap
I had a couple of those cheap plastic paint tarps laying around, still unopened. And on a day when my kids were going NUTS from boredom, I whipped one of those $2 tarps out, put on our swim suites & we headed out the door. I laid the tarp in the grass, hooked up the trusty spinning Elmo sprinkler, squirted baby soap all over the tarp & said, “Let the fun begin!!”
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The laughs could be heard for miles!! 
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*As with any water play, use caution when playing in the splash pad with children. There’s a lot of slippery slipping & sliding & splashing going on. Join in the fun, adults! And play with care!

Happy playing,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Surprise Give-A-Way

The Winner of our Facebook Surprise Give-a-way is....

Jamie Kittle 
(lucky #13 chosen by a Random number generator)

Shoot us an email and let us know where to mail your prize:

Here is what she won:

Hot Air Balloon Necklace

 It's so pretty & has me excited about the upcoming Hot Air Balloon Festival coming to Van Wert!! 

You can check out the details by clicking on the pic:

Stay tuned for more Facebook Give-A-Way's this summer.  All you need to do to enter is like the Give-A-Way post in our Facebook Page!  Good Luck!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Embroidery Hoop Art & Earring Holder

Happy Monday, everyone!! 
Are you ready for a very FUN sister-see-sister-do post!? 
I've been on the GO so much lately that I haven't had very many chances to put together/post what I've been doing. So here goes...
I want to show you a fun way to turn scrap fabric (or an old item of clothing) AND your jewelry into ART!

I'm sure you've seen the way so many people are using embroidery hoops to decorate. I think it's such a fabulous way to make walls look more interesting! 
I created a little twist on some of mine so I could hang my earrings on them too! 

On some, I simply stuck a piece of twine in with my fabric & adjusted the tension. That's it!
 And the sweater hoop didn't need any twine, the earrings go right through the knit with ease...but believe me it's handy!!

1st I placed the hoop on an old sweater of mine. I have always loved the color & pattern of this sweater but it's always looke bulky on me & the neck was starting to bleach out. Once I  figured out where I wanted to cut, I went for it!
 Then I cut about 1" outside of the hoop.
 Then I placed my circle inside the hoop & adjusted the tension.
 Then I glued my leftover edges to the inside of the hoop.

After doing this project, this is how I decided to use/display my hoops. Some are in my bedroom where I use them to hang my earrings next to my other jewelry...and I made MORE decorative hoops with scraps of fabric, burlap, more of the old sweater, and a vintage pillow case - and I hung in the hallway for decoration!

Hope you've enjoyed this post! Keep your eye out at garage sales for CHEAP hoops! I got a large bag FULL of hoops for a DIME!!!!!! There's plenty left & I'm brainstorming some new ideas :) 

Happy Crafting!!!

See where I'm linking up on our party page :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Easiest Raspberry Jam

A friend at work was telling me about the Jam she had made over the weekend and shared her recipe with me.  I was shocked at how SIMPLE this is and even more shocked at how DELICIOUS it is!!  Plus if you (or a loving Grandma) has a berry patch this is a great way to save some of that flavor for Fall and Winter.

Here is the recipe: 
Gloria's Easy Berry Freezer Jam:

Step 1:
2 C Raspberries (or any berry you want) mashed
3 C Sugar
Mix and set aside for 20 minutes - stirring occasionally.

Step 2:
1 pkg Sur-Gel
1 C Water
Bring to a HARD boil  and boil for 1 full minute

Mix Step 1 and Step 2 together.  Pour into containers (I used the 1/2 C Ziploc containers.  Gloria puts hers in jam jars (but I couldn't find any at the store and these only cost me $2.48 for 6 containers)).  
Place in freezer then thaw in fridge when ready to enjoy!!  

I couldn't wait to try it so I cut up a loaf of homemade bread, toasted it and spread on the jam - DELICIOUS!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Reading List

Summer break is here!!
Ya know, this means SUMMER READING programs are starting at libraries everywhere!! So to help you all get started, I thought I'd post some of my older sons' favorite reads. They are pre-schoolers - ages 5 & 3 1/2.
We often grab a random mix of books from the children's section at our local library, & I have to confess, I am often disappointed with what we bring home. Seriously, it seems like anything can be published now, doesn't it? So jot these down & see what YOU think! I'll hold back my critical craving to share my reject list ;)

1. Pete The Cat - by Eric Litwin/James Dean (SUPER fun book  modeling a great attitude! "It's ALLLL good!" Watch this adorable video if you've never heard of Pete the Cat - )

2. Skippy Jon Jones - by Judy Schachner (fun to listen to the CD of this - but nearly impossible to read!) 

3. The Very Greedy Bee - Steve Smallmon/Jack Tickle (Great lesson about greed & how it's best to share!)

4. Chrysanthemum - by Kevin Henkes (A good story about teasing & loving yourself.)

5. Friends to Feed - by Pete Seeger/Paul DuBois Jacobs/ Michael Hays (We love this story! There is a version of this book that comes on CD inside the book & we all love to listen to it together & follow along. The first time we read it, we made Minestrone together afterwards & I told them it was "Stone Soup" instead of Minestrone....minus the stone, of course!)

6. Llama Llama Red Pajama  - by Anna Dewdney (A rhyming read-aloud that puts my boys in the rhyming mood. We like to play a rhyming game when we're done. "What rhymes with....._______?")

7. Marsupia Sue presents The Runaway Pancake - John Lithgow/ Jack Davis - (Another great book to get with the CD! John Lithgow reads it to a group of children. It's full of giggles! So when story time, nap time, bed time gets boring, pop the CD in for this book! It adds some spice to the monotany & your kids will LOVE it!)

8. The Jesus Storybook Bible - by Sally Lloyd-Jones/ Sam Shammas/ Jago (Amazing storybook for children. There are no words to tell you how incredible this book is. Not only is it the story of God's redemption & of Jesus, but it also is a great tool to help little ones see & understand that he is at the center of their personal story too. If you can't borrow this from your library, I suggest just purchasing it! It's absolutely worth it!)

What are your favorite children's books?
Which ones do your kids like the best?
Tell me!
I'd LOVE to grab some good ones the next time we visit the library.

Hugs to you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fabric Art for under $10.00

Did you go vote yet in the One Artsy Mama Contest?  Go check it out and vote for your favorites.  We just love to see what the remaining contestants are coming up with!

Even though we're not in the contest anymore I'm still busy working on my own crafts around the house.  I have one room in the house I love to re-decorate about once a year.  I've finally neutralized the wall color so updating is as easy as whipping up pillow slip covers, spray painting some decor and in this case adding a bit of fabric!

We had purchased 2 pieces of wall art at Kohls about 5 years about (for about 3.00 a piece - I love a bargain). A couple weeks ago I was cleaning house prepping for our garage sale and decided the art needed to go... Then I changed my mind (after I had priced it and displayed it in the garage).  I really thought I'd paint over them since they were already textured it could have been a hit or miss...

I ended up at Wal-mart of all places and fell in love with this black and white fabric in the special occasion row.  I love it!  Its a bit shimmery and the black is velvet and raised up.  For $5.97 a yard I could not resist (they had 3 different patterns but this one matched my Goodwill Mirror).  I did add a piece of poster board .30 each between the art and the fabric so the previous art color would not show through.

Covering painters canvas or old art is easy peasy when its a wood frame!  Stretch from all directions and pull tight then staple!  It's SO inexpensive and easy to do, plus if you get tired of it changing it is no big deal!  When we were first married (several years ago...)I bought a couch size canvas and stretched over fabric.  It's a great option on a budget and for non-painters!

Now I just need to whip up a couple pillow covers to match!  I'm even thinking about covering some frames with some Modge Podge and fabric to match - go check this out for some inspiration at My Simple Obsession!

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