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Posts tagged ‘kids’

This guest post has some really neat ideas for inexpensive crafts for kids. I look forward to trying some of them with my kids once we get moved and settled!

Crafting with kids isn’t always easy or cheap, but you can make some things without a lot of hassle. Here are five fun ideas that the whole family can do, no matter what age the kids are. From tots to preteens, kids can make fun crafts without breaking your budget.

  1. Story Time – Making a story book is as easy as one, two, three. First, get together some sturdy paper. Construction paper or thick computer paper works best. Second, punch holes in one side and thread yarn through to bind the pages into a book. Third, let the kids write and illiterate their own stories. Anything from true life events to twisted fairy tales to simple picture books will all give children the opportunity to be creative, be artistic, and practice their writing skills.
  2. Wind Music – Wind chimes are a fun and easy craft that kids can do with things they find around the house. If your children are collectors, they will have a blast turning their collection into a work of art. All you need is some string, thread, or fishing line, some things that jangle, and a central bar.
  3. Box of Treasures– Another great craft for kid collectors is the treasure box. All you need is a box with a lid. Let the kids go crazy decorating it, including glitter, fake jewels and maybe some macaroni, and they will have a box fit for a king or queen. (Photo courtesy of MorgueFile)

    Photo courtesy of MorgueFile

  4. Imagination Box – Speaking of boxes, any large cardboard box can be turned into a playhouse. Simply cut in doors and windows and have the kids paint or color on shutters, handles, even kitchen appliances. Best of all, when it falls apart there is no replacement cost. Just a blank slate to start afresh.
  5. Musical Instruments–Kids love to make noise, but no one said it had to be proper instruments they played on. Beyond banging on your pots and pans, have kids create tambourines out of paper plates glued together with beans inside, or maracas with sealed toilet paper rolls and rice. Even ‘rain sticks’ can be made from paper towel rolls and beans or rice.

Kids’ crafts don’t have to be hard, expensive, or messy. Remember to keep it simple and fun and kids will be sure to love it. There are many more ideas for kids’ crafts out there. Take a minute to see what ideas you can uncover that your kids will enjoy for years to come.


Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to become a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at]

Lately I have been on a bit of a health kick. A couple of my friends on Facebook have inspired me. :) Also, I figure I can’t eat too healthy with a baby growing inside of me, so why not? And since juicing is one of the easiest ways to get good nutrition, and since we have a juicer, I’m juicing.

After the morning sickness went away, I suddenly couldn’t eat as much as I had been. If I ate anything solid in the evenings–even a smoothie–I would crawl into bed with a heavy feeling in my stomach and sometimes even a sensation a little like heartburn.

I quickly realized that my body just couldn’t handle food in the evening. At least, not as late as I was eating–and since we were not eating breakfast early, there was no way to get a third meal early enough.

Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem. I maintain my weight much better on two meals than on three. However, I am pregnant, and I don’t want to deprive the baby of calories or nutrition. Granted, the baby is only about 5 inches long right now and doesn’t need a whole lot of calories right now, but I want to make sure I am giving it all the best nutrition possible.

I recently bought a jar of wheat grass from Whole Foods, and sometimes I would mix that in with a glass of juice, but I don’t want to buy juice all the time, since those juices aren’t really all that good for you. Not that 100% juice is bad, but I like variety, too.

Then I thought of juicing. I bought a 5 lb bag of organic carrots at Whole Foods and juiced them. This I could mix with the wheat grass, and it was very satisfying. I also started mixing in Melaleuca’s fiber with this juice (adding extra water), and I found this very tasty and good for my digestion, too.

Sometimes I juice other things with the carrots. Last night I juiced carrots, kale, and apples, all organic. And I took pictures. My kids were helping me.

Organic Carrots, Red Kale, and Apples

I had made kale chips with half a bunch of red kale, so I used the rest for this batch of juice, I had almost 5 pounds of carrots, because I had used 3 or 4 in recipes during the week. And the 3 apples that had been on sale the last time I went to Whole Foods.

So I washed them and started juicing. As soon as he saw the juicer, Manny wanted to come watch. He likes to nibble  the carrot fiber as it comes out of the juicer.

He was trying to help, but the carrots were too hard for him to push down. He put some of them in, though.

After juicing most of the carrots and all the kale, I started on the apples. Since apples are much softer than carrots, he was able to do it all by himself.

When it was all done, I let Manny and Gislaine have a little bit of the apple juice (it had 2 or 3 carrots in it, since juicing a carrot with the slender end up last leaves less unjuiced food than a chunk of apple), and then I mixed the juices together. I added the extra water and fiber to mine, left one for my husband, and froze the rest. Here is the result (before adding fiber to mine):

So now when I feel a little bit of hunger in the evening, I mix up a liquid drink. Since my husband drank one, there are a total of 4 servings per week for me. I mixed fiber with one, and drank it down. I stored the extra ones in the freezer. I get one out the night before I want to drink it. On days that I don’t drink one of these juices, I will add a bit of whatever reconstituted frozen juice I have in the fridge (right now I think it’s apple raspberry) to my fiber drink and throw in some wheat grass. With the kale in this, I don’t think I really need the wheat grass with my organic juice.

So that’s what I do for supper most nights. It digests very quickly, so there is nothing to make my stomach upset when I crawl into bed, and tastes delicious. Granted, there are some evenings when lunch was light and I’m hungry early; then I’ll eat a little something. And I’m sure in the last trimester I will be very hungry and will need more calories than I do now. But for now, I’m content that I am giving my baby the best nutrition I can while still listening to my body.

This post is participating in the Modest Monday link-up on The Modest Mom blog.

Written Saturday, July 10

I’m not sure even where to begin this post. There have been so many things over the past week or two that I would have loved to blog about—but didn’t have the time. And now that I have time, I can’t think of one of them. Or else they don’t seem so important. I’m not sure if my husband took a picture of the kids in the pool—he set it up yesterday. I have been sick all week—too sick to think of things like pools in hot weather—and he hasn’t been home during the heat of the day.

Sew Sew Sew

I’ve gotten 3 of those dresses for little girls in Africa done. It’s been quite educational for my daughter. Here is a sample of a conversation we have had several times while I was sewing.

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“I’m sewing.”

“Is that for me?”

“No, it’s for a little girl in Africa.”

“Why are you sewing for a little girl in Africa?”

“Because she doesn’t have any clothes, so she needs me to sew her a dress.”

“Her mommy will buy her some.”

“No, she doesn’t have a mommy, or a daddy either.” These dresses are for orphans, many of whose parents are victims of AIDS. They may or may not have siblings to care for them, and for many of them clothing is a luxury they can’t afford.

“Oh. But why does she need clothes?”

“So she doesn’t have to be naked.”


I know after several repeated variations of the above, it must be sinking in, because one evening she informed Daddy something to the effect of, “Mommy is making dresses for little girls who don’t have any clothes.” When I’ve finished the 5 dresses I agreed to make, I’m going to make one more for her. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to match one of the ones I made, or just use some other fabric. And I’ll probably use it as a summer nightgown (since she really has enough dresses but does need some nightgowns). In fact, it would make very easy nightgowns! But I hope it will help her remember the little girls in Africa who are not as fortunate as she is.

Sick of Being Sick

I have no idea how, but I caught a really nasty cold this past week. It’s kind of strange. About a week and a half ago, my daughter came down with this moderately high fever (topped out at about 103.8). It lasted about a day and a half. My temperature went up, but never reached 100, so I guess I fought and won without getting sick. But the poor thing was pretty bad off during those two days. She’d just sit quietly in the big rocking chair, getting up only to go to the bathroom or to humor me by drinking a little water—why does she hate water so?

Just as she was getting over it, her brother came down with it. His got about as high and lasted just as long. They were all better by last Sunday. So much so that I took Manny with me to a 4th of July celebration at a church member’s house. That was a lot of fun. I even made a “cheese cake” (without cream cheese) that was topped with fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries laid out like a flag. The fireworks were stunning. The fellowship was pleasant. I got to swim a little in the indoor pool with my newly made modest swimming attire. I’ll have to post a picture sometime. I don’t think I’ve taken one.

But then Monday morning I woke up with a head cold. I blamed it on all the late nights I spent madly sewing those four prairie dresses—did I mention those before or not? I spent well over 28 hours in a week and a half on those! And of course getting to bed at almost midnight on the 4th didn’t help (though even if I had, who knows if I would have been able to sleep. . .).

So I spent last week trying to get things done and not snap at my children while enduring the worst cold I’ve had in a long time. I had little energy, but staying in bed and resting isn’t an option for a stay-at-home mom with no car. Not to mention that my husband works 10 hours a day, not including the 2-hour round-trip drive, and lunch, so that means I’ve got to keep up my end of things as much as I can. So I did all the things I normally do. I cooked and did dished. I made soymilk and tofu and sandwich filling. I did go lighter on the cleaning (just cleaned the toilets instead of the whole bathroom, dust mopped only, no damp mopping, that kind of thing), but I still had to dress and bathe and feed my kids and my husband. I felt like I was a zombie, just doing things. Of course they took 2-3 times longer than they normally would, which gave me very little time to actually relax. And it didn’t help that at least twice last week Manny woke up just as his sister was going down for her nap (meaning I had no chance to nap, even though I so desperately wanted—and needed—to do so!).


But the week finally did pass. My husband was home Friday as usual. He left after breakfast, though, to go pick berries. Came back with two big mixing bowls of raspberries and a smaller mixing bowl full of black currents. The latter will have to be turned into jam—they don’t taste very good at all. The former, well, I froze about half of them, though they’re still on the cookie sheets and casserole dish lids that I put them on last night, and therefore won’t get bagged until after sundown. While he was gone I made lasagna for Sabbath lunch (I would probably be able to smell it now warming in the oven if my nose weren’t so stuffed!) and did a few other things, like dishes and putting ingredients into the bread machine so we would have bread for Sabbath if we wanted it.

When he got home, it was after 1:00 pm and I was exhausted. I told him he could season the beans (lunch was sort of haystacks, but on tortillas, so more like soft tacos, but not exactly that either) and went to bed. Half an hour later, the food was ready and I was hungry, so I went down to eat.

Then I left. I had to get out of the house. I was still sick and tired, but I just needed a break from the monotony. So I drove the three quarters of a mile to the chiropractor’s. I hadn’t had an adjustment for over a month, and with scoliosis that just isn’t something I can or should skip too much. So I filled out paperwork and secured an appointment that very afternoon, just an hour away. I spent that hour driving up and down the streets of Estacada, trying to memorize the town (not hard, considering it’s only got two main streets and “downtown” is only about 2 blocks by 3 blocks). I visited Key Bank and asked what I had to do to get that free touchscreen iPod. I picked up a to-go menu from the Thai restaurant. I stopped at a yard sale and chatted with the lady of the house about the weather here verses Florida and Texas (we both agreed that Oregon is the best—sorry Marci, if you’re reading this. 😉 ). I took note that the only two doctors in town, both DO’s doing family practice, close at 2:00 pm on Fridays. But in one of them the cleaning lady opened and at my request gave me a business card. She was Hispanic and was very pleased that I could converse with her in her native tongue.

When I got back to the chiropractor’s, I was a couple minutes early but he was ready. I enjoyed a nice massage with some machine he has (it’s got three or four balls on it and it really digs in and feels good!), a heating pad, then a full adjustment. I felt so good afterwards! It was definitely worth it, even though my nose nearly dripped while waiting for the heating pad part to finish!

When I got home, I swept the floor in the kitchen (I always do that at the end of the day, because it gets dirty the fastest), wiped a few obviously dirty spots with a damp cloth (it took me 3 times as long to sweep as normal, and I was in no mood to give it a proper mopping), and then cut my brother’s hair. He is in the Marines and needs a military haircut whenever he has drill. I think I did a pretty good job.

And I stayed home today. I’ve still got a bad cough, but my energy is better. I took a 2+ mile walk and picked wild flowers for the lunch table. The CD I burned of sermons by Mark Finley on didn’t work (bummer!), so I decided to write instead. And now my husband just walked in the door about two sentences ago, so I’m going to go set the table and make a salad to go with that lasagna while he takes a brief nap. Here’s hoping the coming week goes better than the previous one!

I have never heard these words from my kids. Yet. My son, of course, is too young. I would like to think that “Mama” and “Dadoo” mean what I think they mean, but so far the only thing I am sure he says and means is “Uh uh.” Oh, and let’s not forget “Uh oh.” Still, that’s not much!

My 3 1/2 year old daughter has never heard the phrase, but that doesn’t stop her from coming up with a substitute. “Mommy, I want to do someping.”

I am not one of those creative moms that comes up with 101 ideas to keep kids happy and busy, but I have a few standbys for situations like this.

One is coloring. This is almost always a hit. Especially when I print out a picture to match her Bible lesson for the week. This will be harder to do when we don’t have Internet at home. Usually I just google the topic of the story (such as Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter) and add the word “coloring” and up pops a list of pictures.

Another thing she loves to do is string beads. I have a set of pink beads with big (maybe 3/16″) holes in them that she can string onto one of those stretchy strings for making kids jewelry.  She never actually completes it. We just unstring the beads and put them back for later. But it can keep her busy for a while. After we move, I’m going to buy different colors for her.

Nanna gave her a package of multi-colored pipe cleaners, and she loves to sit and make things. She put two of them together and told me it was an ant and that it smelled. They can keep her occupied and out of trouble for extended periods of time.

And yes, many times I send her outside to play where I can watch her. Being out in nature is so soothing, lets her burn off energy without stressing Mommy, or waking up baby brother, and it’s fun.

Many times, I get her involved in what I’m doing. She is pretty good at rinsing dishes, grinding cereal, or setting the table. She helps me pick up the rugs and wash the mirrors and windows. As I type this, she’s sitting in the big laundry basket, folding cloth diapers right beside me and loving it.

So Gislaine will learn what being bored means soon enough. But let’s hope that by then, she won’t have a need to use it!

Not Me Monday

I have never participated in “Not Me Monday” before, but this morning has just been one of those mornings that makes you have to tell someone, so why not do it here, this way, and get a laugh out of it in hindsight?

I did not cut my thumb on our french fry maker this morning while dicing potatoes. I’m always far too careful to let my thumb slip off the potato while trying to get it into the sharp grid. No, that’s unthinkable!

I did not find out that we are going to have to, without question, replace the cooktop in our new house. We are not going to have to take out the cabinet under them and do a minor remodel to put a new cookstove in. The stove is in the island in the middle of the kitchen, meaning we do not have to buy a more expensive stove that doesn’t go up in the back. I did not spend probably 20 minutes on hold with GE waiting for the customer service rep to find out the interior dimensions of the stove to make sure it would fit my larger cookie (or two smaller ones side by side). I do not need to call the contractor that I had told last week we were going to hire to do the repairs on the deck to tell him that we decided to use the other contractor because he’s cheaper (and other reasons). I will not probably end up just sending him an email. That would be ridiculous. Not me!

During the time that I was not doing the above, I did not ignore the kids, letting them run wild, still in pajamas, waiting for me to run their bathwater. They did not make a complete mess of the house, scattering a blanket, an apron, pillows, books, shoes, hair accessories, and clean silverware from the dishwasher all over the place. I did not hear a big crash from one of the back rooms, and did not discover that my kids (probably my son) had knocked over my little plastic chest of drawers that holds all my sewing thread (nearly to capacity), scattering it all over the floor. It had not been arranged by color, so of course I did not mind picking it up and putting it all back in the right drawers. Not at all. I also did not discover that the Mutual Mania game, which has more pieces than Monopoly does, had been opened and dumped in a very disorganized pile. I did not sit down in the middle of this mess and throw a 5-second tantrum out of frustration. Not me. I never lose my cool, especially where children are concerned! I did actually find the work of sorting rather therapeutic, and have been much calmer ever since. Really.

I did not get that all cleaned up, the kids bathed and dressed, and my son down for his nap, only to discover that I was still in my pajamas, and that the breakfast dishes still have not been done! And I did not sit down to write this before fixing said issues.

And I most certainly did not inhale a pea skin while eating split pea soup for lunch. No sir! I never breathe through my mouth while eating because my nose is plugged from allergies or whatever. Not me!

Later in the afternoon, I did not get so caught up in posting my blog contest on other sites that I didn’t notice that the kids had wandered off. When I got off the computer to look for them, I did not discover that Manny had gotten ahold of my unused spool of brown paper tape, and had pulled out several yards of it from the middle! I did not then proceed to wind it all back in again. And then I did not let the kids go play together outside, even though it could rain at any moment. And I have not failed to get any packing done today! Of course not!

Sigh. I can’t wait until we have moved! I am sure life will be so much easier once we are in our new house. Or not!

Don’t forget to check out my regular Monday post. This week it’s Mom’s Cornbread.

Like Jesus

I was cutting length off a dress and letting Gislaine play with the pieces. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but it was something to the effect of being like Jesus.