Thursday, August 6, 2015

First Day of School Teacher Gift Idea

Every year it seems that summer goes by so quickly!
I have been having so much fun having all four of my babies home with me all day!
My favorite part about summer is not having to wake anyone up and rush out the door!
Here is the most recent family picture we had taken on a HOT summer day in the end of June 2015.
 I guess time flies when you are VERY no wonder I don't know where the time is going. These guys always have me on my toes! 

Since school starts NEXT WEEK for us here in Kansas I figured I should get on this first day present thing!
This year we decided to do a different first day of school gift for the kids teachers.
Normally I buy Apple foam soap from Bath & Body Works. I trace my child's hand on a sheet of colored card stock and write, "Let me know if you need a HAND!" 
I still love this idea but since my son has a Male teacher this year I figured we needed to change it up a bit.
I looked up ideas of presents to teachers and one was treats so I took my kids to Trader Joe's and they picked out a good treat/snack for their new teacher.
This saying on the brownie bites could go for any package SWEET treat your child chooses. 
I still wanted to trace their hand and add the "let us know if you need a HAND" but we added "Let's make this a SWEET year!"
 My daughter chose Powerberry trek mix for her teacher, which is a healthier type of treat.
Because of the nuts in it we wrote, "I'm NUTS about having you as my teacher this year!"
The other idea I had that I really wanted to do was based off of something I saw on Haley's Daily Blog(click on the picture below to see her post). She blogged about an amazon printable for a gift card. This was more for the end of the year so I was just going to change it up and write, "Let's have an Amaz'on year!" or "Here's to an Amaz'on year!"
Hope these ideas help spark something fun for you to put together for your child's teacher.
They deserve it!
Here's to a great school year 2015/2016!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Snacklebox~ Travel Snack Box For Kids

My husband and I decided that this summer we would take a short road trip with all four kids. We decided that Branson Mo. was the perfect distance away. It's only about 3 1/2 hours away from where we live. Once we started planning our trip I was on the look out for fun ideas for my kids to do in the car. One of the things my kids, and most other kids, love most is snacks! 

One day I was on Facebook and saw that one of my friends bought Tackle Boxes from Walmart and used them as a snack holders for her kids. I thought this was such a great idea! 
I started researching different types of plastic boxes. Craft boxes for embroidery floss and beads etc. are ALMOST the same thing and are cheaper than Tackle boxes. I almost went with this craft/bead organizer but I decided I wanted a larger container for each kid to hold. If you want to see more about the container below just click on the picture!

The reason I went with the Tackle Boxes was because the blue dividers are removable. It's perfect because you can move them around to fit your different snacks. It's very sturdy and easy to clean! I also like the simple closures on the box. 
 I bought three Tackle Boxes and told my kids we were going to do a fun painting craft. I told them they got to paint just the top of their box however they wanted. For my 3 year olds box, I taped the edges just incase he went crazy with the paint.
Once the paint dried, I printed and cut out their names on regular paper.
Then, I used Mod Podge to seal their name and paint to the Tackle Box.
 My kids kept asking me what the boxes were for but I kept that a secret till the day of our trip. The night before we left I filled each box with lot of fun different snacks. I loved having the option to move the blue dividers! A Slim Jim fit perfectly along with a small box of raisins! 
Here are my big kids seeing their "Snacklebox" for the first time! 
This kept them entertained for a while as they tasted and looked on to each others boxes to compare!
 If you haven't guessed why we came up with the name "Snacklebox"... It's obviously because we used a Tackle box to hold snacks! =)

I hope this helps you have a new fun way to hold many different snacks for your child while you are traveling! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Behavior Coin Chart: Toddler In Action

Well, it's that time again! I am making my third Coin Chart! 
I decided to revisit the topic and do a post on why we are doing the Coin Chart system with our 2 year old son Garren and how it is helping. 

Having four children is so much fun. There is always something going on! On the other hand, since there is always so much to do, I feel a lot of times I can't focus on the positives and just get stuck on dealing with the negative. It's so tough remembering to acknowledge when your child says "please" when the next minute they are yelling "shut up". 

The other situation I have been dealing with this time around is having older siblings who also have to deal with the behaviors of their toddler brother. I have to constantly remind them that he is still little and learning how to behave while at the same time listening to their feelings on the matter and not letting Garren get away with negative behaviors toward them. They have been feeling like Garren never really gets punished for hitting them or throwing things at them. 
Also, my older two children earn an allowance and can save up to buy the toys they want. This makes it easy when going to the store. If they want something and have the money, they can buy it. I hardly ever have fights with them about buying things that they want. However, Garren has now hit the age where he wants to go look at the toy section and ALWAYS wants to take something home with him! He has no way of earning money himself so I'm at a loss with helping him understand that he can't just get a toy whenever he wants. 
How can I help my toddler understand that he can earn the toys or activities he really wants to do, put more focus on the positive behaviors he is showing, AND help all of my children have more positive interactions with each other on a day to day basis?!? 
One simple answer came to mind.......this behavior coin chart!!!

I found the old chart that both of my other kids have used and covered the lower half, under the coin pockets, with a blank white sheet of paper. Garren got to look at his older siblings coins and see if he wanted any of them before we made new ones. He chose three of Brenden's old coins: Spiderman, Hulk, and Buzz. We then made three new coins from some of his favorite characters: Avengers, Batman, and Big Hero 6. 
EVERY TIME I start this system out, I wonder if my child will understand it easily. They always seem to catch on after a day or two. I have to say it has only been a week and this has immensely helped everyones interactions with Garren! The main reason I did this post is to give you specific examples of how we are using the chart to help Garren, a toddler!

First area this really helped was with Garren's language. He had been saying "shut up" ALL THE TIME! We have even considered washing his mouth out!! The first time he lost a coin was because he said this word... I said "ah oh, we don't talk like that. You are going to need to go get me a coin from your chart." He stopped what he was doing and ran and got me a coin. When he gave it to me I was sure to say, "Even though you lost this coin you can always earn it back! I know you can do it!"
From the moment he lost the coin I was watching him and looking for ways for him to earn the coin back. This is one of the main reasons why I love this system, it helps to get you to focus on the positive behaviors and even reward them for it!

It's a time of transition and learning in a child's life when they become a BIG brother or sister! For the past 5 months Garren has been adjusting to having a baby brother around the house. For the first month or two we had to show him that we don't "touch" the baby with a closed fist! I posted something on Facebook that I heard myself say after implementing the Coin Chart to Garren. I said, "We don't Hulk Smash the baby or you'll lose a coin!" This actually got him to stop for the moment!!!  LOL
Although we have our ups and downs I am definitely blessed that he LOVES his baby brother!

The other area I have really been seeing a change in is just simply listening to me and doing what he is told. Its great to finally have ONE system that helps give a natural consequence to any of the negative behaviors I don't want Garren repeating.

Here is my sweet boy on the first day starting his coin chart.
Since we started the chart, all of the kids get so excited to check the chart to see if he kept  his coins on it from the day before! It's so fun to see his older siblings praising him for doing a good job. 
We have already started talking about what he wants for his goal. He has had his eye on a large Incredible Hulk figure but his big sister Kiki is trying to convince him that he wants to go out for doughnuts! The great thing about this is when he sees something he likes when we are out, I will tell him, "If you really want that you CAN get that when you reach your goal! Just keep doing a good job and you can earn it!" Then I just remind him of how many stickers he has left to earn before his goal. Here is a picture from a trip to Target where I let Garren JUST LOOK at the toys and we left WITHOUT a meltdown! 
If you want to know more about this system click HERE to see my original post!
The most important thing to know about any kind of behavioral system is that you make it your own and for it to work YOU must follow through with the guidelines.
From the time I posted this Coin Chart System, over three years ago, many other people have made the system their own. Click HERE to see some of those examples!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Chocolate Cake Box: A Substitute For Eggs & Oil

I posted about this idea on Facebook a few months ago and there were a lot of people interested. I heard you can sub out the oil and eggs on a chocolate cake box mix for a can of black beans. 
I decided to try it and let you know how it turned out.
All you need is a box of chocolate cake mix and a 15oz can of black beans!
I didn't drain the can, I just dumped the whole thing into my food processor and blended it up.
All you have to do after that is follow directions with the pureed black beans as a substitute for the eggs and oil!
This tasted SOOOOOO good! Everyone in my family loved the cake! 
I will also give you my FAVORITE butter cream icing recipe!
This is what I put on top of the cake. 
Just click HERE to get it. It is from my Lavender Blueberry Cupcake recipe so just omit the lavender in the icing.

Monday, April 13, 2015

DIY Gymnastics Mushroom For Under $10

My son Brenden is in Gymnastics. He is really determined to work hard and grow in each event. He has struggled most with the Gymnastics mushroom. In Gymnastics the mushroom is an integral part of pommel horse training. For Brenden to get better we wanted to have a mushroom at home so he can practice as much as he likes. The only problem is they cost around 300 dollars! Here are pictures of two Gymnastics mushrooms that you would find in any Gym.
The great thing is you can make your own for under 10 dollars!
Two of the main items you need to make your own mushroom, you can get for free. First you need a Cable Reel which you can get from Home Depot. Just go in and ask for one, they normally throw them away. Then you need a scrap of carpet underlayment which you should be able to score at any carpet store.
You first trace the base of the cable reel on the carpet underlayment and cut it out.
Next you will need some liquid glue and staple gun.
We started out stapling a piece of carpet underlayment to the reel.
Then you keep cutting out circles progressively smaller than the base. We cut out about 7 different circles. Then we liquid glued them together.
Next you need to cut a piece of underlayment that would lay over all the other layers.
Put more liquid glue over the layers, then turn the reel with all of the underlayment circles upside-down on a piece of Vinyl.
Next pull the Vinyl tightly up over the edge of the underlayment and reel and staple it to the wood.
Repeat this step all the way around the reel, stapling the Vinyl to the wood.
There you have it, your very own Gymnastics Mushroom!
You can start practicing right away!

Friday, March 13, 2015

DIY Wreath~ Flowers Made Out Of Children's Old Clothing

I Still have a Christmas Wreath on my door and it's MARCH! I wanted to make a wreath that would be good for spring, summer, and fall so I wouldn't have to keep changing it! I also wanted it to be personal! I knew I wanted all of my kids first letters somewhere in it. 
Then I thought of a fun idea to use the fabric from clothing they grew out of!
Here is a picture of the clothing I picked out to use to make the flowers. The flower with their letter in it was made out of an article of clothing they actually wore! The most special flower is little Rowens. The onesie I used to make the light blue petals, all 3 of my boys wore!
 All you do is cut circles out of the fabric. You need 5 circles per flower. 
My circles were about 4 1/2 inches. 
The larger you make the circle, the larger your flower will be.
Iron your circles and then fold them in half two times and iron them again.
 All you do is stitch the cut edge and then pull the stitch tight to make a petal.
 With the same piece of thread keep stitching your folded circles together.
After you have stitched five folded circles, connect the first and last together to make your flower.
 Here are the four flowers I made all stitched together.
 You can really use anything in the middle of your flowers. Some examples could be buttons or jewels. I happened to find these cute chalkboard clips in the dollar section at Target. I just pulled the little wooden flower off of the clip.
Then I hot glued them to the center of my fabric flowers.
 As you can see below, I also made a flower out of cream ribbon to add to the wreath to put a W for our last name in it.
Once all of my flowers were done I printed each letter on paper just the right size to fit in the center of each flower. I sealed them on using Mod Podge.
 This last step can really be done however you want it depending on your style. 
I love stick wreaths and I also bought some cream flower embellishments to add.
Here is my finished wreath and I couldn't be more pleased!
It makes my door look so much more inviting and just in time for Spring!
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