Monday, April 13, 2015

Guitar Foot Print Craft

Last week, I was busy running a music camp for school aged children. We were totally full with just over 20 children!  It was a ton of fun, but I am STILL tired!  

One of the crafts we did were these footprint guitars.  So simple, but so cute!  It's also a great way to introduce the various part names of a guitar.

Using tempera or acrylic paint, paint the foot of your child.  Have them step onto the paper.  Allow the paper to dry.  

Once it's dry, let your child turn it into a guitar!  I gave the children an example, and they ran with it.  You can see that all the guitars are different and unique.  Some basic aspects you can encourage them to draw are the sound hole in the middle of their footprint, the neck, strings, and tuning pegs (the little dots at the top).  I love that every guitar looks so different!  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Catching Up

Oy!  Time has been flying lately, and I've been on my toes keeping up on everything...except apparently my blog.  So, here's the last few weeks in a nutshell....

I enjoy being busy.  Not too busy.  Not stressed busy.  But an I have things to do and am not bored type of busy.  This week, however, will lean towards the former stressed type.  Although I'm a stay at home parent, I do run a (small for now) Kindermusik program, and all the kids stuff at a local music store (camps, birthday parties, etc.).  

This week, I am running a spring break camp, which means I'm working full time.  My girls get to come with me, which is a huge blessing.  But balancing lunches for everyone, getting the boys to grandmas early in the morning, trying to figure out who in the world will watch the boys on Thursday and Friday, having dinner on the table, keeping up with the admin stuff of my Kindermusik business, and being a one car family is simply crazy.  Crazy, I tell you.  And although it's fun, I'm always happy when camp weeks are over.

Changing subjects...I got my first tattoo last week.  For reals.  The more times I see it in the mirror, the more I love it.  One of my old youth group leaders from when I was a kid did my tattoo for me, which was extra special (thanks, Moses!).  I'm extremely surprised that I beat Ben to the punch on getting the first tattoo.  

Homeschooling is going well, and continues to be an amazing adventure.  The more I let my children take the lead on what we're learning and set the pace, the more they seem to get excited about learning.  I think homeschooling will inevitably be one of those ever evolving things...just when you think you've figured it out, everything needs to change.  

On the note of homeschooling, I've decided that in 6-7 years, I'd like to take 3 months (or so) to go travel the world with our kids, studying cultures, history, geography, language, etc.  In six years, our kids will be about 8, 10, 12, and 14.  I think these will be great ages for such an extensive and educational trip.  Plus, that gives me A LOT of time to save up for it.  

I've been really good at spending money at the grocery store (and by good I mean "bad").  I feel like it's been such a challenge for me to get back into my rhythm of shopping well and on purpose and freezer cooking.  I really need to focus and get my grocery spending back on track.  Also, I go to Trader Joe's for produce at least twice a week.  My kids eat SO MUCH FOOD.  I really never expected this amount of food consumption from my children.  It's crazy.  Four kids can eat a lot of food.  

I'm sure there's more, but that's a little snippet of life the past few weeks.  Happy belated Easter!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Craft

I have been majorly failing at the crafty side of things these past couple months.  Majorly, I tell you.  Anyway, it's almost Easter, so I figured we should do SOMETHING crafty.  

My kiddos wrote the verse "He has risen, just as he said!" onto their pages.  Although it doesn't come out very well in the photos, we found some really cute, sparkly scrapbook paper to use for Easter eggs.  My kids have decided that "eggs" fit into the Easter story as the "stone" rolled in front of the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest after he died on the cross.  I think it's a great tie-in!

They each went out to collect two little sticks from the backyard.  I tied them together for them.  We glued/stapled them onto their papers.  The grass is a great fine motor skill work-out.  I gave them a green strip, and they cut slits half way down throughout.  

Since ZERO of the 15 glue bottles in our home actually work, we ended up pouring Mod Podge in a little bowl and painting glue on with a paint brush-another great fine motor work out!

So simple, but a great way to practice their scripture verse and work on fine motor skills.  Plus-every kid loves to glue things!  

Happy Easter everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Adding Fun File Folder

Remember the "Adding Fun" post from a couple years ago?  Well, it was by far my most popular post ever with almost 60,000 view and over 189,000 pins on Pinterest!  Isn't that just crazy?!?!

Well, I still love the activity idea!  It's such a great, fun, visual way to teach addition.  I recently made  a file folder version of the adding fun activity so that it could easily be put away in my file folder box.  and brought out whenever I need it.  

Since it needed to fold flat, I used construction paper to form the tubes and the "catch" at the bottom.   This made it so it could easily flatten up and be stored.

At the bottom, I added a laminated "___+___=___" card strip.  When a child uses the folder, she can also use an Expo marker to write her addition problem down on the bottom.

Adding Fun in a to-go form?  Perfect!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

DIY Kids Sized Farmhouse Table

Last year, we built ourselves this farmhouse table.  I still love it, though there are definitely things I would do differently next time.  But it’s particularly special because it’s the first big thing we ever made together. 

We are a pretty big family, considering we have four children.  Our table fits us all well, with plenty of room to spare.  And when we have just one other small family over for dinner, we have enough space at our table for everyone.  BUT, if we have another big family over (or multiple families over), we simply cannot all fit at our big farmhouse table. 

I really like our kids to dine close to us, even if they’re not at the same table.  We had a little round table, but it just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  For the full sized table we built, we used this gal's modified plans from Ana White's website (love her!).   We simply scaled down our farmhouse table measurements to make it kid-sized.  It is was so simple to just shorten all the measurements and create a "mini" farmhouse table.  

As always, I found a really cute green "oops" paint from Home Depot for just $.50!!!  I used my Valspar Antiquing Glaze from Lowe's (my absolute favorite!) to give it an older look.  I finished the green areas with low oder polyurethane (I use this kind).

The table top is chalkboard paint.  I like this kind, and it lasts through a ton of projects!  I used 2 coats of chalkboard paint.  You do not put polyurethane on top of the chalkboard paint.  You just leave it as is.  

It's such a fun table and a great way to add extra seating into our kitchen.  We use it all the time.  

It's a perfect sized table for group crafts since they don't have to reach so far across the table, and it's always fun to just draw on it with chalk.  We use it whenever we have lots of people over, and it's a great way for a bunch of kids to be able to sit together and talk while they eat.

I'm so glad we made the decision to build this table.  It was quick and easy, and a really useful piece for our family!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Six Ways to Learn with Dice

All my children love to play with dice.  Whenever I find odd shaped, large, different textured, or different colored dice, I'm sure to pick them up for my kids.  I have big foam dice, and little tiny dice.  I have dice with money amounts on them, and dice with roman numerals.  I have polyhedral dice with lots of numbers on them.  Dice are fun to throw, and fun to watch roll around.  They can also be fun for learning!  Here are six ways to use dice for some learning fun!

1.  Greater than/less than. This is for two people.  Each child rolls their die and reads the number they roll.  Then one of the children must decide which is the greater number (and which is the lesser number).  This activity can be used for younger children by using regular, dotted dice, or with my older children, we use the dice with various #’s up to 30.   

2.  Addition.  Give your child two of any type of digit or dotted dice.  Also give them a white board and marker.  Have her roll both dice, and then create a math problem on her board.  So, if she rolled a 2 and a 3, she may write 2 + 3 = 5 on her board.   This also works with money dice, too, and gives great money adding practice! 

3.  Dice race/Graphing.  Give your child a graph with spaces to represent each number on the die (if you are using a typical dotted die, your graph would just have spaces for #’s 1-6 on it.).  Then have your child “race” their die to the top.  For every roll of the die, have your child fill in one space on the graph.  Which number got rolled the most?  Which number did you roll the least?  The winner of the race is whichever number gets filled to the top on the chart first.

4.  Money matching.  If you have money dice, get out some real or pretend coins/dollars, too.  Then, have your child roll her die.  If she rolls, for instance, a “$.50,” have her find coins to make $.50.  How many ways can you make $.50?  Which way is the easiest?  My kindergartener plays this way, but my 2nd/3rd grader plays with two or three dice at a time and adds them up in her head and then builds the total with her coins.

5.  Draw a picture.  This can be a single player game or a two-player game.  Pick a picture to draw, but make sure it has 6 “parts.”  Each part of the picture then has a corresponding number on the die.  For example, if you are going to draw a snowman, give your child a page with the three circles already drawn.  Then, the nose might be #1, the eyes for #2, the mouth for #3, the arms for #4, the buttons for #5, and the hat for #6.  When her die rolls a 5, she would draw buttons on her snowman.  The first child to complete his snowman wins! 

6.  Writing the Number.  Using dotted dice, have your child roll, count how many dots, and then write the correct numeral on paper or a white board.  For older children, give them two or three dice, have them roll, add the total, and then write the numeral.  For an added challenge, have your child write how many dots in Roman Numerals instead of standard digits.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

How to be a Not-Annoying Neighbor

I recently had a "neighbor" experience that was less than delightful.  So today, I'm over on the Reno Moms Blog today sharing "how to be a not-annoying neighbor."  Be sure to check it out!

"I recently had a neighbor experience that left me super frustrated.  My husband and I came home one day to an index card in our mailbox that basically read, “I have not slept a full night in weeks due to your animals.”  That was it.  No signature.  So we went out on our date, but all I could think about was that stupid little note.

Here’s what I know…we have one dog and four chickens.  We don’t have a rooster but our dog can sound an awful lot like a rooster when he barks.  Our chickens aren’t that loud, with the exception of when they lay an egg or get lost from each other in the yard.  Our dog is inside the house from 7 pm until 8 the next morning.  Our chickens sleep as soon as it gets dark and they are silent all night.  Obviously, you can see why a note about our animals keeping someone awake seemed fairly odd and out of place."  

To read the rest of the post, head HERE!


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