children

children

DIY Tips and Advice

Decorating + Back To School

As the summer draws to an end, the unfortunate reality sets in that school is right around the corner. If you are disappointed, imagine how your kids are feeling! From our personal experience, it always seems to help to do some fun projects together before the kids get back to school. To get in the spirit of school, there are a few around the home projects that can be both fun and helpful to get everyone in the swing of things.

  • Creating/Updating a “Family Communication Center.” It always proves to be useful (even with all of the technology available) to have one central area in the house with a central calendar, areas for notes to be left for other members of the family, and a place to put any flyers that come home from school. Useful tip – when recording things on the calendar color code things for each person, so at a quick glance you know what is going on that day. Using one central calendar can help to not double book as well! Get your kids involved by letting them help you to design the space – generally a section of the kitchen or mudroom work best so everyone has to pass by them! In my house, we painted a wall in the mudroom an accent color, with six months of whiteboard calendars (which allows them to be re-used but have things marked in advance), a cork board to hang up all notices/flyers, and a plain whiteboard where we can leave notes for each other. It’s also a great place to use chalkboard paint – but that does tend to require a little more up keep!
  • Create a backpack/coat organization area. Create a space where each child has their own space to put their stuff when they get home from school – ensuring they know where it is before getting on the bus in the morning! Depending on how old your kids are will dictate how much/what type of storage you need – but a hook for a backpack, jacket, a bin for gloves and a hat, a place to put paperwork, and perhaps some shelves to leave books. The best part, aside from knowing where everything is in the morning, is that having this separate area tends to cut down on the mess of things thrown throughout the rest of the house. Make it fun for the kids by allowing them to decorate “their space” however they want!
  • Create a homework station. Get together with your kids and create a list of all of the items they will need for homework – from paperclips to pencils to crayons to colored paper to markers to folders to scissors. After you have compiled the list search the house for the items you have, and shop for whatever else they may need. Stop by the dollar store and purchase different size/shape containers that you can store the different items in. Find a place in the house you know the items will stay (this will hopefully give your kids a sense of accountability too – at least for a little while!).

Whatever project you decide to do with your kids, make it fun and let them personalize it!!

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General Tips and Advice

Summer Plans

Sometimes, the hardest part of summer is having too much time on your hands. Every morning, coming up with a plan of what to do with your children can be a daunting task. A great solution one of my friends suggested to me was to make a big chart at the begining of the summer full of fun ideas. +
The best way to do it is to get everyone involved. Hold a fun family night – and get everyone thinking (last year I got everyone hats and called them their thinking caps). Get a big piece of poster board, and number before your night begins (also find a wall – we usually put it in our kitchen, where it will be hung for the whole summer). Decide going into the night what the minimum amount of ideas you would want to come up with is. Generally 20-30 ideas is a good start depending on your schedule.
Then start brainstorming, and fill it in. Make sure to come up with a variety – time and cost of the events – don’t let the kids create a list that would bankrupt you by the end of summer – and don’t come up with too many ideas that will only last five minutes.
Some fun ideas to contribute:
– Go for a hike
– Swim in a lake
– Build a sand castle
– Make cupcakes
– Camp out in the backyard
– Go to an amusement park
– Sign books out of the library
– Have a pizza party with friends
The best part is, because everyone is contributing to the list, they will already think the ideas are fun, and you won’t have to be too creative on a 90 degree day in July (when all you want to do is sit at the beach and not move a muscle!)

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DIY General Inspiration Tips and Advice

DIY Summer Projects

During the summer, there is a lot of time to keep the kids busy. The structured schedule they are used during the school year has come to an end, and it’s up to parents to fill those hours with fun!
Unfortunatly, these days the cost of “fun” adds up pretty quickly, so we came up with two fun DIY projects that are fun and fairly simple! The best part about DIY projects is you can get the kids involved in the “creation” process as well, so you can keep them entertained for double the time.
Homemade Play Dough
Ingrediants –
– 1 part conditioner
– 2 parts constarch
– food coloring
Mix together the ingrediants in a large bowl. Add any combination of food coloring to create whatever color you want. And “ta-da!” you have Play Dough. When you are done playing just make sure to seal it in a zip lock bag and it will be reusable.

Homemade Sidewalk Foam
– 2 (4oz) Elmer’s (washable) glue
– 1 cup flour
– 4-5 cups shaving cream
– food coloring
– zip lock baggies
In a zip lock baggie, put one cup of flour, and empty two bottles of glue. Add in between 4-5 cups of shaving foam into the bag. Seal the bag (carefully) and mix together the mixture. Cut a small piece from the corner of the bag and seperate into four bags. Mix a different color into each bag. You can then cut the corner off to use – or if you have any used squeeze bottles around those make for easier cleanup. Then send your kids off to go color the sidewalk or driveway!!

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DIY General Inspiration

Summer Memory Jars

Looking for a unique way to capture your vacation memories? Try making a summer memory jar.
On your next vacation or trip to the beach or park, bring along a few small containers or plastic bags. Put a handful of sand or dirt in a container. Also collect small interesting objects such as stones, shells, feathers and twigs. You never know what treasures you’ll find if you keep your eyes open.
When you get home, find an empty clear glass jar. Put the sand or dirt in the bottom and arrange the other items on top. If you like, you can also add a photograph from the trip or a card with the date and location written on it. All that’s left to do is seal it up, display and enjoy.

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DIY General Inspiration

Paper Shadow Box (DIY)

Since school is out for the summer, it’s the best time to do some fun diy activities at home with the kids.

One of my favourate crafts to make with the kids is shadow boxes. I absolutely love how they turn out and they’re so easy and fun to make! They’re great for theme party decor or even for a child’s bedroom.

First thing is to decide on a theme: you can do fruit, animals, famous quotes, flowers etc. I bought the plain white shadow box frames from the dollar store. I then glued white paper to the back and cut colorful cardstock paper to create the animal and layered it on top, then I used button for eyes, black strings/fur for the hair and fabric for the tongue. Not only do kids love cutting them out they also learn a lot of things throughout the procedure. You really could do any design you want, in the end just hang it on the wall or stand it up on your side table. Have fun 🙂
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DIY General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Healthy No Bake Recipe

One of my favourite things to do with my son, when we are home together, is cooking. I think cooking is a very important skill to have, for obvious reasons, but also because it helps with math skills (when you’re changing quantities in a recipe); with creativity (when youre not using a recipe at all); and with confidence (when what they cook turns out yummy they are so proud of themselves). We cook all kinds of things together, but most often its finger foods that really require us to get our hands dirty. We (read: my son) especially like foods we have to roll into balls. So we end up doing a lot of meatballs, quinoa balls, cake pops and energy bites. Energy bites are the easiest, especially because they are no bakes. The great thing is they can be made with kids of all ages, and there is no waiting time for eating.
No bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls:
1 cup dry oatmeal
3/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
coconuct flakes, nuts, dried fruit optional
Stir all ingredients together. Adjust as necessary. If its too dry add more honey, or nut butter, if its too soft, add more oatmeal or flaxmeal. Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge. Then roll into 1″ balls and eat.
If you get the chance try cooking or baking together. Even if you make something as easy as rice krispie squares, kids love to help and its great learning for them.
I’m so glad that my son has a love of cooking, and that its something I can share with him. Getting messy together is a wonderful way to have fun. And hopefully he’ll develop some heathly eating habits in the process.
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DIY General Tips and Advice

Summer’s here!!

Summer’s here and kids are ready to have fun!! What better way to have fun than some diy outdoor games?  My kids and I love spending time outdoors; the fresh air and exercise are great for the body and mind; and there’s no better way to tire out a toddler!! Great night sleep yay!!
Here’s some fun ideas to get you started:
1. Sponge bombs – these are a fave with my 3 yr old.
Take 3 sponges and cut the lenghtwise into 3 pieces. Then take all 9 pieces and secure in the middle with an elastic. Fluff it up like a pouf ball. We have about 6 of these. soak in a bucket and throw.
2. Foam pit: a fave for my 1.5 yr old
So pool noodles can be used for so many things. Cut them up into 3″ pieces, and fill up a kiddy pool. Add a slide and its like a ball pit but softer. Fill the kiddy pool with water first for even more fun!
3. An obstacle course:
My husband loves to make these in our backyard. We use chair’s, step’s, pool’s, painter’s tape, ball’s and block’s to create a course for the kid’s to climb on, jump over, jump in, climb under. Get creative, make tunnels; tightropes (skipping ropes on the ground); add a sprinkler, kids love the variety, you can change it everytime you do it and it’s free!
Most of all get outside and have fun playing. Its definitely one of the best ways to unwind after a long day or week, for you and your kid’s.
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DIY General

Memory Book 2016

This is an activity for parent’s and children to do together throughout the summer. You will need foam sheets (try to make it fun and use different colours).
Decorate the first page with your name on it and SUMMER 2016!! . For every trip or every experience during summer time, remember to bring home the thing you liked the most from that day or trip or take a picture and glue it to a new page. Make sure you decorate each page. At the end of these experiences, hole punch the top of the pages and put a nice ribbon through the holes to hold it together. Now it’s a book that is ready to share at school, with your friends and family.
STORE 045
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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Homework AREA

Homework Area

 

There are a lot of adjustments to make when kids go back to school for the fall, but one of the big ones is getting used to homework. Especially a large adjustment when it’s still nice outside, and there’s a lot more fun options!

 

A good way to get your child involved in making homework “fun”, or as painless as possible is to give them a project that they can take ownership of. A great way to do this is to create a “homework space” in your house. Even if there is a room that is designated for work (such as an office), you can create a separate space just for homework – and the best part of doing it yourself is that it keeps the cost down. Depending on how old the child is would determine what exactly you need.

 

For younger kids, it can be as simple as setting up a table, and allowing them to pick out pens, pencils, crayons, or whatever else they will need to use, and decorate the space as their own. Having this be an end of summer project will get them used to doing more structured projects before school starts up again as well. You can have them make a sign with their name on it, or hang up a board they can post notes, or graded papers on. Cork boards and whiteboards are a great way to separate the space fairly easily.

 

For older kids, setting up a desk with any supplies that they might need is also a good start. You might also want to hang up a calender they can post important dates on, and get them whatever electronics they might need for homework – calculators, etc. They also tend to have a lot more paperwork they need to keep track of, so mounting file holders on the wall is a great way to keep them organized without having to spend a lot of money.

 

The most important thing is, to designate an area that they will know is where they need to do homework – this allows you to keep track of them, and set them up at the beginning of the year in an area that will not distract them too much. And making it fun, and decorating it in a way they choose will hopefully make them want to use that area for the whole year!

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