Friday, July 13, 2012

Easy Toddler Hand Print Art

We wanted to have another canvas for our daughter's room that she got to take part in (see my DIY Canvas Wall Art here), so we came up with this easy and cute little picture.  We used a 5x7 canvas, but you can use any size that fits the design you have in mind and the space you will be using it in!



We did the flower stems, leaves, and sun first by using a paint brush with acrylic paint.  Once that had dried, we did the hand prints using the paint brushes to apply the acrylic paint to the entire hand, and then pressed the hands down onto the canvas to make the prints.  Finally, we attached the ribbon to our canvas with a hot glue gun, and then coated the entire canvas with Mod Podge to seal the entire project and help it last for many years to come :).

I hope if you try this with your child, we hope that you have as much fun as we did!

Have a wonderful Friday, and a very happy weekend!




Want to see what we are up to elsewhere?  You can find me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and also YouTube!

*This post may contain affiliate links, and as always, we thank you if you choose to use them.  All products shown were purchased by me.  Not a sponsored post.  I have never accepted money in exchange for a review.

Easy Toddler Hand Print Art

We wanted to have another canvas for our daughter's room that she got to take part in (see my DIY Canvas Wall Art here), so we came up with this easy and cute little picture.  We used a 5x7 canvas, but you can use any size that fits the design you have in mind and the space you will be using it in!



We did the flower stems, leaves, and sun first by using a paint brush with acrylic paint.  Once that had dried, we did the hand prints using the paint brushes to apply the acrylic paint to the entire hand, and then pressed the hands down onto the canvas to make the prints.  Finally, we attached the ribbon to our canvas with a hot glue gun, and then coated the entire canvas with Mod Podge to seal the entire project and help it last for many years to come :).

I hope if you try this with your child, we hope that you have as much fun as we did!

Have a wonderful Friday, and a very happy weekend!




Want to see what we are up to elsewhere?  You can find me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and also YouTube!

*This post may contain affiliate links, and as always, we thank you if you choose to use them.  All products shown were purchased by me.  Not a sponsored post.  I have never accepted money in exchange for a review.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

DIY Canvas Wall Art




After spotting this tutorial on Pinterest, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at making my very own canvas wall art for my little girl's room.  It was super easy, and it turned out pretty cute!

Supplies Needed:



A blank canvas in the size of your choice (I used a 16x20)
Paint brushes (I do not recommend the ones pictured-I had to pick out SO many bristles on the canvas!  Here is the set we now love and use on all of our craft projects)

Optional Supplies:

Mod Podge (to use as a sealant)


Directions:

I wanted the word "Sunshine" in my phrase "You Are My Sunshine" to be yellow, so I began by painting a yellow rectangle in the area I wanted that word to be, and then letting it dry overnight.



 The next morning, I applied my lettering, being sure that only the letters in the word "Sunshine" touched the yellow paint, as I wanted the background of every other letter to be white.

I wanted to add some interest to the edges of my canvas, so I cut strips off of some paper doilies and attached them to the corners.



I folded the strips over the edges, and then secured them onto the back of the canvas frame with tape.




Here is what you should have so far:


I began to paint the surface of my canvas.  Be sure not to press too hard when painting over the doilies and lettering, as you don't want them to move from where you've placed them.  This is what the canvas looked like after one coat.  Don't be scared if your canvas soaks up a lot of paint-it will look great after another coat or two!



 I applied 3 coats total, waiting about an hour in between each coat.  This is the canvas after the 3 coats:



When the final coat was dry, I removed the lettering and the doilies, and applied a coat of Mod Podge as a sealant.  I would recommend removing the doilies after you apply the first coat, as I had some trouble with them ripping and being hard to remove.  You would then just paint around those areas carefully to avoid ruining the design.  Here is the completed project:



I had so much fun making this canvas for my daughter's room, and I can't wait to make another for my son's room!  Feel free to post a link to your DIY wall art projects; I'd love to check them out!  Have a fantastic day!





Want to see what we are up to elsewhere?  You can find me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and also YouTube!


*This post may contain affiliate links, and as always, we thank you if you choose to use them.  All products shown were purchased by me.  Not a sponsored post.  I have never accepted money in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DIY Finger Paint

I'm not going to lie...life with more than one small child is often CRAZY!  There are so many days that I wish I could clone myself to make it easier on all of us, but since that isn't going to happen, I have been looking for projects to keep my toddler occupied while I feed the littles, or while they are sleeping :).  When browsing for some projects, I came across this post, and thought it looked like fun.  Here is how it turned out:

Super easy, super pretty finger paint!

I literally threw this paint together in less than 10 minutes.  All you need to do is:

  • Put 2 cups of all-purpose flour in a large mixing bowl
  • Whisk in enough COLD water (I used about 1.5 cups) to form a thick paste, and stir until lumps disappear
  • Mix in boiled, HOT water to reach desired consistency (I only used about 1/2 cup)
  • Separate into containers, add your food coloring, mix, and ENJOY!





 I spread a large, old blanket out and placed my craft mat on top.  When we were done, I gave the above paint-covered child a bath , rinsed the mat in the bathtub, and threw the blanket in the wash.  How easy was that?!?



Totally occupied :)

This project is a super fun way to work on color recognition, and could also be used to start working on "writing" your child's name or "drawing" shapes with the paint.  You are only limited by your imagination as to what you could do with this simple and fun activity!  

Until next time!

~Wife, Mama, Teacher

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day! Ways to be a more Earth-friendly family :)



As long as I can remember, I have always tried to do my part to take care of the Earth.  Now that I have a family, it is even more important than ever to be conscious of how we take care of the Earth so that our children will grow up being friendly to the environment!  Here are just a few ways that we try to take care of our Earth :)


1.)  Recycle!!!
It probably goes without saying, but recycling is one of the greatest things you can do to help the planet.  We have designated areas in our utility room to recycle plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, and plastic bags, and paper.  About once a month, we load up the car on our way into town, and we drop off all of our recyclables at our local recycling drop-off point.  Less garbage in the landfill and getting more use out of the products we no longer need-awesome!

2.)  Cloth Diapers
When our oldest was about 3 months old, we made the switch to cloth (more about that decision here), and we are so glad that we did.  We were putting a minimum of 4 bags of trash out each week, and at least 2-3 of those bags were full of disposable diapers...that made us feel awful!  Now, we are back down to 1-2 bags of trash each week, we are keeping all those disposable diapers out of landfills, and we are saving a TON of money in the process!  How much money, you ask?  Well, we spent about $600 on our entire stash of FuzziBunz One Size diapers (designed to be used from birth through potty training!).  When we only had one child in diapers, we were spending about $20 a week on diapers (1 box of Pampers/week), or $80 month.  Now that we have more children in diapers, we would be spending way more than that each month, but we are basically diapering for free now!

3.)  Reusable Water Bottles
Although we did recycle our plastic water bottles when we were purchasing them, we knew that not only would we be reducing the amount of material that we had to recycle by switching to reusable water bottles, but we would also be saving money in the process.  We stopped buying bottled water and switched to using the bottle pictured above, which we purchased from Amazon.  I have to mention that these bottles are also BPA free, which is not something you can find often in the store-bought bottled water!  

4.)  Use Real Dishes
There is definitely no doubt about how convenient using paper plates and plastic cups can be, but when you start to think about all the energy it takes to manufacture and distribute these products, along with the fact that they will be used once and thrown away, it is kind of sad!  We are definitely a nation of quick, easy, and cheap, but I encourage you to think about what those "conveniences" are costing our environment.  You could save a few dollars every grocery trip by eliminating these products from your household, and you will be lessening your impact on the environment at the same time :).

5.)  Save Water
I was watching Kate Plus 8 the other day (quality programming, I know...), and when she had a technician come out to service her water system, he said that the average American uses 50 gallons of water a day.  50 gallons???  That is a ridiculous amount of water!  We do our best to save water by doing the following:
  • Turning off the water while brushing our teeth
  • Taking shorter showers (not my favorite thing, but it does save water!)
  • Making sure the dishwasher is FULL before running it, instead of constantly running smaller loads
  • Same concept as above-making sure we have FULL loads of laundry rather than running smaller loads
Happy Earth Day 2012!!!

Be sure to share your ideas for helping to make our Earth a better place in the comments section below :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teachable Moment Tuesday: How to Organize Paperwork (and keep it that way!)


photo taken from Challenge Consulting blog


If you are anything like me (and hopefully for your own mental health and well-being, you're not!), then you are one of those people constantly caught panicking because you just know that you set that bill from the dentist "right there", and now you can't find it.  Not only can you not find it, but you've convinced yourself that it is past due, and the credit companies are going to but a big, fat "late payment" on your impeccable credit rating, and you will never be able to buy a car, a home, or even get loans for your children's education-EVER.  You waste hours of precious time and energy searching everywhere for that bill, only to find it exactly where you thought you had put it...hiding underneath several other things that you forgot you also stacked on top of it so that you wouldn't forget where they were...have you ever been there?  Well if so, I am here to tell you that I have come across a solution on an awesome blog called Simple Mom, and I can't wait to share it with you!

The Tickler File

 
Photo taken from Simple Mom website

Have you ever heard of a "Tickler File"?  Sounds pretty weird, huh?  Well, apparently they have been in use for many years in places such as law offices, government and accounting agencies, and other places that deal with time-sensitive documents.  They were named "tickler files" as a reference to the fact that they "tickle" one's memory, or remind them about important things.  At least that is what Wikipedia told me...

Anywho-I came across this entry on the Simple Mom website, and let me tell you, our piles of cluttered paperwork and days of hopeless searching for bills, invitations, and receipts are over!  You really must check out the original blog post, but I will briefly explain how we use out tickler file to keep all of our paperwork in check :).

First, you will need 12 tabbed files, and you will need to label each with a month of the year, as seen above.  Some people get all super duper crazy meticulous about it, and even get an additional 31 folders, one for each day of the month.  We chose not to do that, because I know it would cause more angst and severe heart palpitations to be constantly flipping through 31 folders to figure out which one I put the needed document in, but you do whatever works best for you :).  

You have essentially done all of the work you need to do to set up your system!  Now, anytime you get a bill, an invitation, concert tickets, whatever-you just stick it in the corresponding month (you got an invitation to your 3rd cousin's wedding in September?  No problem!  Put it in the September folder NOW!).  The original blog post recommends then placing a reminder about the bill, invitation, or ticket on your calendar for the specific date, and then putting a "T" next to it to remind you that the original document is in the tickler.  See image from Simple Mom website below:


I am so glad that someone shared this awesome blog post with me, as it has saved us so much time and energy since we began using it last year.  I truly hope that you find this system to be useful in your home!  



I am in no way affiliated with anyone at Simplemom.net, and I am in no way being compensated to share this information from that website.  They have no idea who I am, and probably never will!  I'm just one Mama sharing advice I got from another Mama somewhere out there in internet land, in hopes that it helps bring a little more peace and organization to your home :).  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teachable Moment Tuesday: Etiquette for Interactions With An Expectant Mother

It never occurred to me, until I was about mid-way through my pregnancy with my firstborn, that growing another human being is extremely exhausting work!  Especially if you are working full-time or already a mother, you have little to no energy left at the end of most days, and the LAST thing you want to face when you are already at the end of your rope is some insensitive person who just has to put in their two cents about you and your pregnancy.  I have compiled a list of rules, that can really just be called proper etiquette, for the general public to keep in mind when speaking to a pregnant woman.  These rules will prevent said pregnant woman from feeling like a completely worthless pile of nothing, and prevent you from being the jerk who caused said feelings.  Please, for the love of pregnant ladies everywhere, share these rules with everyone you know, and keep them in mind next time you think you just have to share your thoughts with a mama-to-be :).

Rule 1:  Do NOT touch the belly.  Seriously.  Please do not ask, and please do not rub, pat, high-five, or touch-in any way-the belly of a pregnant woman.  It is not your belly, and just because there is a cute and precious baby growing in there, does not mean that you have a free-for-all pass to touch the belly anytime you want.  Especially if you are a stranger.  That is just weird.

Rule 2:  Do NOT comment on the appearance of the pregnant woman, unless you are going to tell her how absolutely radiant she looks, or how well pregnancy suits her.  You may NOT tell her how tired she looks.  You may NOT tell her how uncomfortable she looks.  You may NOT tell her she looks too small.  You may NOT tell her that it looks like she is going to pop, drop a load, or burst at any day, because chances are she still has weeks, or even months, of pregnancy left.  All you will have done by mentioning any of these things is make her feel ashamed of herself and her belly.  Do you really want to be the loser responsible for doing that to a beautiful, pregnant mama?  I hope not.

Rule 3:  Do NOT comment on the type or amount of food the pregnant woman is eating.  How would you like to have bouts of nausea and/or vomiting, mixed with food aversions for months, and then be told that you are eating like a linebacker when you actually find something that doesn't send you, heaving, to the bathroom?  I know how you would feel-BAD.  So just don't do that.  It's rude.

Rule 4:  Do NOT ask a woman when her baby is due.  When you do this, and she had her baby 8 months ago, you will be adding to issues she is still trying to get over from people not following rules 2 and 3, when what she should really be doing is feeling great about how hard she is working to be a great mother and provider for her family.  Get a clue.  

Rule 5:  Do NOT assume that the pregnant woman is an ignorant hippie-dippy tree hugger when you learn, through asking questions that are really none of your business, that the pregnant woman is planning on having a natural child birth, in or out of the hospital.  Do you think Eve had an epidural when she gave birth to Cain and Abel?  Some women actually want to experience the sensations that come along with giving birth to her children naturally, and have probably made a decision after hours of research that it would be in both her and her child's best interests to do so.  Who are you to argue with that?


Rule 6:  Do NOT tell a pregnant woman your own/your friend's/your friend's friend/ or anyone else's horror story of labor and birth.  There is already quite enough fear surrounding childbirth in our country, and we don't need another story to distort and traumatize the expectant mother's view of what her own birth will be like.  If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.  Period.   


Rule 7:   Do NOT ask a pregnant woman if she is having twins.  If she were, trust me, she would be the first to let everyone know.  Bellies come in different shapes and sizes, and just because you think it looks like she has a "big" belly, doesn't mean that she is having more than one child.  Seriously...who does that?  


Rule 8:   Do NOT ask a pregnant woman if the pregnancy was a surprise.  I mean, what on Earth kind of person would be so nosy to ask such a thing?  Would it be a surprise to you if she told you that you were a complete idiot?  Probably not, but still-don't even go there.  


Rule 9:   Do NOT tell a pregnant woman how hideous the name she has chosen for her new baby is.  Of course, by this point it is apparent that you think you know everything there ever was to know about pregnancy, birth, and babies, but you do not have the right to comment on something that is as special as the name that the mother and her partner probably spent hours searching for.  Were you raised by a pack of wild animals?!?  Get some manners!


Rule 10:   Do NOT ask a pregnant mother if she is still pregnant during the early months of pregnancy, or any time, for that matter.  If you are asking to make sure she hasn't had another miscarriage, then you will have only brought up the misery and pain she has been trying to deal with from having her precious child taken from her womb.  Have a heart, people.  


So there you have it, a set of all-encompassing rules for the next time you find yourself face to face with a pregnant woman.  These rules have been created in the interests of pregnant women everywhere, in hopes that others will begin to treat them with the respect and love that they deserve.  Feel free to add your own rules to the list in the comments section below!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teachable moment Tuesday: Their, There, & They're

Back again for another grammar lesson!  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen these words misused and abused by children AND adults; it drives me nuts!  Maybe that is just the OCD in me, but I can't help it.  If you've ever wondered exactly which of the above words to use in a given situation, keep reading!


  • Their-used when referring to a group, especially used to show possession.
    • Ex:  They were told to turn in their homework before class began.  There is used to identify the group of people that the homework belongs to.


  • There-  (the following definitions copied and pasted from Merriam-Webster's website:

                    Definition of THERE

                     1
: in or at that place <stand over there> —often used interjectionally
                     2
: to or into that place : thither <went there after church>
                     3
: at that point or stage <stop right there before you say something you'll regret>
                     4
: in that matter, respect, or relation <there is where I disagree with you>
                     5
used interjectionally to express satisfaction, approval, encouragement or
sympathy, or defiance <there, it's finished>

  • Basically, the word there is used to generalize a location.  
    • see examples above

  • They're-simply a contraction used to join the words they + are
    • Ex:  They're coming over for dinner.  They're is used to shorten and replace the words "They are".  


I hope that this helps any of you who have struggled to know when to use these words!  Feel free to let me know any other words that you would like to see explained :).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Teachable Moment Tuesday: To, Too, or Two?

In life, there are always opportunities to make the most of situations.  As an educator, it probably comes as no surprise that some of my favorite moments of opportunity are the "teachable" moments, or moments in which unplanned learning occurs.  I love it when in the middle of a planned lesson, my students and I have the opportunity to expand our knowledge of a subject that we had absolutely no intention of even talking about on a given day by going on a webquest, pulling out an encyclopedia, or just flat out having a whole-class discussion about the topic we are interested in learning more about!  I decided it might be fun to start sharing some of the teachable moments I encounter at school here on my blog :).  Some might be about historical events, some might be grammar-related (one of my faves!), some might be about nature; the cool thing is that because you don't plan a teachable moment, you never really know what you are going to get!  So here's to the start of a new series:  The first ever Teachable Moment Tuesday:  To, Too, or Two?

When looking over the first set of letters that my students wrote this year, it became clear that there were big issues in knowing when to use the words to, too, or two.  You would think that by the time 5th grade rolls around that those words would be so easy to differentiate and implement correctly, but when I look at the old Facebook or get e-mails and texts from my adult friends in which each of those words have been used incorrectly, I know it is time to step up and take advantage of a teachable moment!  

  • To-usually found at the beginning of a prepositional phrase or before a verb as an infinitive.  
    • Ex:  I am going to the store.  To is used at the beginning of the prepositional phrase to the store.
    • Ex:  She is going to sleep.  To is used to indicate an infinitive when it precedes the verb "sleep".  

  • Too-used to indicate an excessive amount, or as a way of saying "in addition to", or "as well".
    • Ex:  I ate too much food on Thanksgiving.  Too indicates that an excessive amount of food was eaten.
    • Ex:  Sam is coming to the party too.  Too is another way of saying "as well" in this example.   

  • Two-the written form of the number 2.  
    • Ex:  My daughter will be two this year!  Two is used in place of the numeral 2.  Fun fact:  As a general rule, all numbers 0-9 should be expressed in written form, rather than as a numeral.  

I hope that this has helped if you have ever struggled to determine which of these words was the correct one to use!  Take care, and be on the lookout for more Teachable Moment Tuesdays!  

Charlotte Mason Binder Cover

As promised, here is the link to the Charlotte Mason Teacher Binder Cover I shared on my Instagram .  May it be a daily reminder to...