Pinterest Board Suggestion – Character Development

If you’ve been on Pinterest, odds are you’ve gotten overwhelmed at one time or another. {See the Pinterest Dos and Don’ts here.} I’ve decided that there are so many great ideas on Pinterest and so I am going to recommend a pinner to follow in order to ensure that you don’t miss out on some pretty amazing, creative ideas.

Not on Pinterest? No worries. I am posting a direct link to the site as well.

Character Development in children is so very important for my husband and me. By teaching our children to have good character, we are raising respectful children who will be good examples to their friends, and hopefully good leaders to those around them too.

MeaningfulMama.com is an amazing site that provides an entire section to Character Development and how we can teach little ones patience, love, self-control, perseverance, obedience, etc… through games and scripture. While at the site, be certain to check out her cake decorating tips 🙂

>>>Click here to follow her on Pinterest.<<<

>>>Click here to go directly to her Character Development site.<<<

Have fun & get pinning!

Andrea-sig

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Easy DIY Files for Kids

Today, to avoid laundry add a little more organization to our new house, I decided to take charge of our overwhelming paper trail stemming from daily lessons. Lessons = GREAT! Amount of paper {recycled as it is already} = MESS!

While I was sorting my office desk, I happened upon a box which included some of my scrapbook paper and a light bulb went off! If I staple two pieces of paper together, I can have files at my finger tips! So, I went to work. In my efforts, I learned that using two 12″ x 12″ scrapbook pages work best. Here’s the quick and easy way to file your minions’ work in a creative way.

{I had the idea to document this after completing my children’s files, so the tutorial is much less fancy 🙂 }

Supplies needed

  • 2 pieces of scrapbook paper {Mix and match}
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Punch-out letters {or a marker to simply label it}

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  1. Fold one of the pieces of paper from edge to edge about 2″ in.
     
  2. Place the unfolded piece into the folded piece.
     
  3. Staple the two pieces of paper together with the sharp part of the staples in the back.
          
  4. Place & glue your letters onto your paper. TIP! Start with the middle letter as this will ensure balance on both sides of the paper.
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  5. Put your files in and enjoy!
     

Here is how ours turned out. Notice that our little man’s paper is smaller. It still works, but I couldn’t fold the paper around for more security as I could with the girls’.

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I bought this wire magazine holder last year for the purpose of having a paper place for each child. I couldn’t figure out a great way to do it without it being overwhelmed until now. The tightness of the file folders require us to go through these regularly to recycle old papers and keep only what we really want.

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I hope you like my little afternoon project and were perhaps inspired to do something similar! This was a $0 cost project since I had all the materials at my fingertips 🙂

Have a great day!!!
Andrea-sig

 

 

 

Contact Cards for Kids’ Friends

We are swiftly approaching the last day of school. In our case, these are the final days for my eldest minion to be AT her school as we moved into a new district. Because of this, I knew that she would want to stay connected with a couple of her classmates – especially since she has a summer birthday!

I admit it – I don’t really know any of her school friends parents at all. I could maybe point them out to you in passing, but overall… NOPE! So, I did what I do; I figured out a way to exchange information without having to do a lot of leg work 🙂

As adults, we have business cards, why not create contact cards for kids? 

friends

I decided that I would make a set – one card would have all my daughter’s information on it and the other would have prompts for the kids {OK, their parents} to complete and return to my daughter.

As I got started, I planned to make a 2×5 table in Word and simply print onto card stock then cut each set out. However, as luck would have it, I remembered unpacking a set of Avery 8871 Matte White Clean Edge Business Cards for DIY business cards – you know… in case you ever have a business card emergency, of course! And, I got to work.

My minion was ecstatic at the results and couldn’t wait to share them with her friends. I limited her to 10 friends with which to stay in contact {two sheets of business card template paper}.

Side Note: After exchanging today, she asked for more as some kids were upset they didn’t get one. I asked her if she gave her info to all the people she wanted and she stated she had. I explained that she was under no obligation to give anyone her information. If they really wanted to stay in contact with her, they could easily offer her their information. I never want her to feel guilted into anything; especially by her peers. And even more so by peers whose names I have never heard before today…

Well, long story short, I made some fun little cards for my daughter and felt it might be something that you would benefit from as well, so I am sharing the files! 🙂

There are two versions: one you can customize on your computer and one that you or your kids can write on.

I chose to do mine in black and white, but you can add color for some pizzazz. I like to use font for a burst of fun – Mine uses “Feltpoint” for her name and “Sans Culottes” for the title. {I have a slight font obsession that I am not ashamed of. The hardest part of this project for me was determining which font combination I liked best!}

>>> Click here to download a customizable Word document. <<<

>>> Click here to download a PDF printable. <<<

friends       friends-response

After I did this, I realized that this will be helpful for school, camps, Sunday school, etc… I hope you enjoy them!

Have a great night!
Andrea-sig

Pinterest Board Suggestion – Dramatic Play

If you’ve been on Pinterest, odds are you’ve gotten overwhelmed at one time or another. {See the Pinterest Dos and Don’ts here.} I’ve decided that there are so many great ideas on Pinterest and so I am going to start giving my suggestions of boards to follow in order to ensure that you don’t miss out on some pretty amazing, creative ideas.

Not on Pinterest? No worries. I am posting a direct link to the site as well.

Dramatic or pretend play for preschoolers is especially important in growing their imaginations. It gives them the freedom to learn through play, and gives moms some time to themselves 🙂

Pre-Kinders has put together several dramatic play ideas in order to inspire us. Putting together a dramatic play zone in your house is actually quite simple. More than likely simply something that you haven’t thought of, at least I know that I hadn’t thought of that before I started staying at home. It’s amazing what you will come across when you really start doing some research.

>>>Click here to follow the board on Pinterest.<<<

>>>Click here to go directly to her Dramatic Play site.<<<

  

Have fun & get creative!

Andrea-sig

At-Home Preschool Tips

Through the years, our family had various dynamics.

  • Full-time working parents, kids in early learning centers
  • Full-time working parents, kids at in-home day care
  • Full-time-part-time-in-office working parents {yep, about as confusing as it sounds 🙂 }
  • Full-time stay-at-home-mom

In these situations, my husband and I did a lot of research into the care our children would receive. We interviewed several day care providers and early learning centers. The structure we loved at the learning centers was simply beyond our budget when you multiply it by three! (Our “dream learning center” would have cost us $700/week!) And we knew we craved structure for our kids.

We dissected the information received from the various centers and we learned some key tips as to how to structure our days when I started staying home in order to ensure maximum learning for our family. Here are the things that work well for our kids.

Minion Preschool Guidelines

  • Teach in the morning. Kids and adults learn best early. Take this opportunity to fill their minds while you have their focus. Here are my Favorite Home-Preschool Sites.
  • Do not go more than 3 hours without food. Preschools have snack time for a reason. It keeps the savage beasts toddlers/preschoolers blood sugar steady and so they maintain energy and focus longer. {Aim for healthy snacks with high protein/low-sugar content for the best results. Check out my “Healthy Kids Food” board for some ideas.}
  • Pick a theme and stick with it for the week. You might be surprised how many activities you can come up with talking about Bears. With proper planning, you will have your preschool week set in no time! And, if you really have absolutely no idea where to start, click here for a year’s list of themes 🙂
  • Incorporate songs, finger plays, books, sensory play, math and writing lessons about each theme. The repetition helps children remember.
  • Imagination Stations are so fun! If you are learning about vegetables, set up a little “Farmer’s Market” in your family room with play food, a cash register, and an apron. The kids will enjoy their pretend time and it allows you to witness their application of the things they are learning. {Here are various “Pretend Play” ideas to inspire you!}
  • Rest is essential, for both you and the kids. Whether they sleep or not, kids need a quiet time to calm their bodies. During this time, I do my “Mommy Chores” and also prepare for the kids’ post-rest activity – typically art-related. I also get some much needed Mom{Me} Time!
  • Don’t forget to play! Kids learn so much by simply playing with each other. Schedule a play date {we have a few standard play times each week} and allow the kids some time to unwind. In addition to this, getting down on the ground and playing with the kids relieves stress and creates some long-lasting memories. 🙂

Those are the tips that we have found helpful and I hope you do as well.

ad-at-home-preschool-setupPlease share any additional tips you have found to be helpful in the comments below.

Have fun!
Andrea-sig

What to do when you don’t know what to do…

There are rare moments in our household of five when, for one reason or another, I have unplanned free time. For example, today my minions are a little under the weather and have all three been asleep for two hours {and counting!}.

One of my all-time favorite books Strengths Finder 2.0 identified my #1 strength as “Achiever.”

“Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day — workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied… Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent…It is the theme that keeps you moving.”

Yup. That’s me! {Just ask my husband, or my former co-workers, or my family…}

Because of this lovely strength, these rare moments of extra time are actually horrifying to me! What can I do to fill this time? I MUST find something in order to be productive!!!

So, I made a list.

This is a list of things to do when I don’t know what to do. My husband and I actually started a similar list a couple of years ago in regard to our house, “Our Home Improvement List”

  • Hang pictures
  • Touch up paint
  • Organize the garage

Well, we actually developed a new list of home to-dos just last night. So today, when all the kids were asleep and I began to get stir-crazy, I remembered to look at the list.

This list gave me a sense of calmness. Within minutes, I checked a few items from the list. {Yay!}

If you are like me, a daily schedule is important. Now, don’t think I am that crazy; I don’t have every second of the day accounted for. But, I do have a typical schedule that guides my day. Luckily, since I have this daily schedule, I don’t have many chores to do, so these rare, unplanned moments are not consumed by laundry {Ugh! Laundry – the thought makes me shiver}, but rather a fun project or new book.

I am sharing this idea with you as inspiration to make a list of things to do that YOU WANT TO DO. So, when these rare quiet moments do happen, you are prepared to simply look at that list and get started!

Each person’s list will look different. It could be a list including, but not limited to:

  • books to read {that you have in your house so you can actually read them in these unexpected moments},
  • DIY projects,
  • new blog posts, 🙂
  • scrapbook pages,
  • recipes to try,
  • gardening tricks,
  • at-home pedicures,
  • workouts,
  • etc…

The point is, the list should be developed for YOU!

Enjoy these moments. God only knows when they will occur again 🙂

Have a great day!

Have You “Shark-Tanked” Your Life?

My two year anniversary of becoming a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) is swiftly approaching {aye yi yi!}. When I made the decision to leave full-time work to be a full-time mama, I was scared! So scared in fact that I over-extended myself from the get-go.

Before leaving my job, I had a few freelance jobs already in the progress, my at-home preschool schedule all designed, and weekly activities planned. To go further, any time a friend or an acquaintance needed any help, I was right there. “I’m staying at home, right? I have all the time in the world.”

The problem is that no one has all the time in the world. We all have 168 hours in a week. How we choose to spend them is up to us.

An amazing book that actually was pivotal in my decision to start being a SAHM is When Work and Family Collide. In this book, it boldly states that more often than not, we are cheating a part of our life – either work or family. I discovered that I had been cheating my family of my time.

Of my 168 hours, my family was receiving a very small percentage. And that was my choice, my fault. And I found myself doing it all over again! Not by work, mind you, but by

  • projects I put into my own life,
  • favors I insisted upon doing because I simply didn’t want to let people down, and
  • new events that I agreed to because “I’m staying at home, right? I have all the time in the world.”

Then, I had a mind-shift.

In the show Shark-Tank, a panel of very wealthy investors listen to business proposals and agree or disagree to invest in the company. If they decide to pass on the investment opportunity, they offer a swift summary of what they don’t like about the product or service and simply say “I’m out.” It’s so blunt, I love it.

We have the same opportunity in our lives. These 168 hours a week are our investment we have to give. If I find myself starting to feel overwhelmed, I ask myself: Is the return on investment (ROI) good for my family? If the request does not positively impact my family, I’m out.

Now, it is not simply that black and white, so let me give you an example.

Last year, I got involved in my eldest daughter’s Parent-Teacher Organization at school. I attended meetings, set up events, volunteered my skills, etc. so that “I could be involved with my daughter.” Well, the reality was that I was leaving my daughter to do things for my daughter! Wow. That’s counter-productive! I want my daughter to know that I support her, so I am going to leave her in order to do so. Hmm… When you say it out loud, it doesn’t sound so good.

So, I formulated a “Shark-Tank Decision”: Because of the amount of time I am spending away from my family and the other priorities I have in my schedule, I’m out.

NOTE: I am not saying bail out on current projects, but rather evaluate your list of to-dos at an appropriate time and prioritize!

Yes, you may disappoint some people. But who would you rather disappoint: People you just met or your family?

Sometimes, the answer will overlap. Sometimes, you will disappoint family members {been there, done that!}. But when you have the luxury of designing your schedule, it will happen a lot less. I guarantee it.

Now, I certainly still do over-extend myself at times. It took me a good year and a half at home {I’d say} to find out exactly what my priorities were/are. Since finding that balance, everything has been less stressful and more fun!

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Have a great day!
Andrea-sig