Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Scripture Reading




I've been searching for a way to focus on Christ more this Christmas season. I decided I wanted to read all four Gospels before Christmas. So I made this little chart to keep me on track. If anyone is interested in joining, you can follow this chart as well. I know my Savior lives. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Square Pilgrim Craft



I sat there looking at our fun little square turkey craft the other day (he's hanging on our wall),
and felt like he needed a buddy.
Thus this square pilgrim craft was created!
No finely feathered fowl should be without a friend. :)

Supplies:
  • Craft foam (pink, black, white, yellow)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes (1")
  • Marker

Craft Time!

1. Cut out the following shapes with your craft foam:
  • Pink square 
  • Small pink circle
  • Black rectangle (about half the size of the square)
  • Black strip (longer than the square)
  • White strip (same length as square)
  • Small yellow square
  • Two small yellow triangles



2. Cut the rectangle as shown below, creating a trapezoid shape for the hat, and the two triangles will be the collar. Then Fold the small yellow square in half and cut out the middle. This will be the buckle on the hat.




3. Glue the trapezoid shape to the top of the square. Below that, glue the two yellow triangles. These are the hair.



4. Glue the long black strip over the top of the hat and hair:



5. Glue the white strip above the long black strip, then trim off the edges. Glue the buckle on top of that.



6. Glue the two black triangles to the bottom of the square. This is the pilgrim's collar.




7. Glue the eyes and nose on, and draw a smile with a black marker. Then say hello to your little pilgrim!



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Square Turkey Craft



Here is a fun and simple little Thanksgiving craft you can make with your kids!

Supplies:
  • Craft Foam (brown, orange, red, and any colors for the feathers)
  • Googly Eyes (I used 1" size. You can use any size.)
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Craft Time!

1. Cut out a square with the brown craft foam.
2. Cut out 6 feathers using any colors of craft foam you'd like.




3. Cut out a small orange triangle for the beak, 2 orange legs, and a red tear-drop shape for that weird red thing hanging from the turkey's throat. (Not sure what that is called.) :)


4. Glue all the pieces together! The feathers go on the back around the sides and top of the square. The eyes, beak and red thingy go on top, and the legs glue to the bottom.


All done!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy Spider Craft for Kids!



Looking for a quick and easy Halloween craft for kids? You've come to the right place!
This cute spider craft is about as quick and easy as they come. Check it out!

Supplies:
  • Construction paper in black and green
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes
  • Marker

Craft Time!

1. Cut out a black rectangle, and 6 green strips:




2. Do a fan-fold on each of the green paper strips:



3. Glue 3 of the strips to one side of the rectangle, and the other 3 to the other side.



4. Glue on 2 googly eyes, then draw a smile with a marker.




All done! 
Enjoy your spider, and 
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Witch Hat Craft!



Here is a fun and simple craft you can make with your kids this Halloween!

Supplies:
  • Black & White Construction Paper
  • Finger Paint in Purple, Yellow, and Green
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Craft Time!

1. Give the white construction paper to your child and let them use the finger paints to paint the papers: one purple, one yellow, and one green. Set them aside for a while and let them dry. (Overnight is good)




2. Once the paint is all dry, cut out one strip of the purple-painted paper (about 1 1/2 inches wide) and 5-6 strips of the green paper (about 1 inch wide):




3. Fold the yellow-painted paper in half and cut out half a square. Then cut out the middle of the square. This will be the buckle on the hat.




4. Fold a piece of black construction paper in half length-wise and cut from one corner to the opposite corner. 




5. Unfold it and you've got your triangle shape for the hat! Then from another piece of construction paper, cut a long strip about one inch wide. This will be the brim for the hat.




6. Glue the purple strip to the bottom portion of the triangle, and the green strips about an inch or so apart over the rest of the triangle:




7. Cut off the excess painted-paper hanging over the edges of the triangle:



8. Glue the black strip onto the bottom of the triangle, and the yellow buckle on top of the purple strip. All done! Hang up your cute hat craft as a fun Halloween decoration!



Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Chore Chart. Teaching Hard Work & Money Management



Our way of doing chores and cleaning is constantly evolving and adapting.
Wanting to put more responsibility on the kids and also wanting a way for them to earn money, I came up with this simple chart.

How to Make it:
  1. If you want to make it look a little bit cute, find a piece of scrapbook paper you like for the back. This is totally optional. :)
  2. Get a piece of paper and divide it long wise into how many sections you need for how many kids you have doing chores. Mine is 3. (LM, LB, LL)
  3. Leave a big space next to where you'll write their names for the square chore cards. Next to that draw a small space for the sun & moon. These represent morning & night.
  4. Then divide the rest of the paper into the days of the week, adding an extra space for extra Saturday chores.
  5. In each box write the money-value they can earn for completing their chores. I chose 10 cents for the daily chores, and 60 cents for doing the extra Saturday chores. (We also decided not to pay the kids for doing chores on Sunday).
  6. After the chart is all made, place it inside a sheet protector.
  7. Make "chore cards" that fit inside the square space you've created. You can make many or just 3 that rotate. You can make special ones for the kids' different ages. Just figure out what needs to get done, and what chores the kids are capable of performing. To keep it simple, I chose only 3 chores that we rotate each day. They stick to the sheet protector with sticky-tack.




How it Works!

  • These chores are to be done after breakfast, and after dinner.
  • If the child does his/her chore, then I circle the 10 cents with a dry erase marker. If they decide not to do their chore, it doesn't get circled.
  • Each day we rotate the chores. (or you can rotate each week).
  • The Saturday chores are where we all do housework and yardwork and I give assignments to each of the kids depending on what needs to get done.

  • At the end of the week, we'll add up how much each child has earned and give them their money.
    • They keep their money in zipper pencil pouches
    • We have separate bags for them to set aside 10% for Tithing for our church, and 10% for Savings.
  • Then we erase all the circles and start over the next week!


In Review:

We've done this system for about 3 weeks now. My children are ages 7, 5, and 2, and all have different personalities. So it has worked differently for each child:
  • My 7 year old (LM) is very motivated and often just needs to be reminded once. He rarely misses a chore and is very excited about earning money.
  • My 5 year old (LB) needs much more reminding and also some help getting the chore done. Though he might not comprehend completely the value of money, he likes when it's money time.
  • My 2 year old (LL) doesn't understand much of the whole system, but for both my 5 year old and 2 year old, they are learning to help out around the house, and hopefully the rest will come as they get older.
  • I do like having them earn a little bit of money. It's been a good tool for teaching about tithing and savings. And that they have a little money they can use for things they want to buy. Especially for my 7 year old that wants to buy everything he sees. It's helpful to show there is a limit to how much we can spend.

Therefore: 

This is helpful to have to remind us all to do chores, and to help teach about money. My 7 year old is gaining the MOST from this kind of chore chart, so if you try it with young kids and find it's not working too well, maybe come back to it when they are a bit older and it will be much more meaningful.  :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Playtime Hearts




I recently had our 4th child, and we also recently moved.
I've been busy and tired and we are trying to find our new rhythm.....
and I'm trying not to lose my marbles. :)

The kids seem to be acting up a little bit more lately, and I've been praying & asking for help and guidance as a Mother.
The answer that keeps coming back to me is to spend more time with my kids.
Because when all is said and done, I know that is what really matters to me.


So I came up with an idea to help make that happen:
PLAYTIME HEARTS.

Here's what I did:

1. I traced heart shapes onto yellow paper and cut them out. They are roughly 2 1/2 inches big. I cut out about 26 hearts.




2. I wrote on each heart a fun activity that I know the kids like to play. 
A lot of these are things they've asked me to play with them in the past......the ones where I have given the all-too-often response of "not now."
I came up with these myself, but it would be fun to sit down with your kids and think of fun things to do together. 


Here's a list of what we've got:

Cars
Airplanes
Legos
Color
Dance
Trains
Super Heroes
Paper Airplanes
Play Library
Wii
Game (3 of these. We have a lot of games)
Soccer Outside
Catch Outside
Ninja Turtles
Mazes
Make no-bake cookies
Little People
*Your Choice (2 of these)

(I also left a few hearts blank so I could add things later that we think of to play).



3. I taped them onto the little chalkboard we have hanging up in our kitchen (You could tape them up anywhere).




4. And from here it's easy! I let the kids take turns picking a heart and we do whatever is on the heart, together. Sometimes there is a time limit (20-30 minutes depending on what's going on that day) and sometimes we just play and I try to just forget the time and focus on my kids. It's been refreshing to remember what it's like to play as a kid. It's good for all of us. :)



Some days are busy and we don't pick any hearts.
Some days are wide open and each of the kids get a chance to pick a heart.
Sometimes it's when my oldest is at school and it's just me and the little ones.
Sometimes it's all of us together as a family, including Daddy.
This week we used one of the hearts as our activity for Family Home Evening.
And sometimes we play without picking a heart at all. :)

When all the hearts have been picked, I'll tape them back up and start again.


This idea was a direct answer to my prayers.
We've done it for the past week, and it has been so much FUN!
It's helped us all in so many ways. The kids seem to not be acting up quite as much. I've noticed so many wonderful qualities in my children when we sit and play together---because I'm actually paying attention to them! Something I needed to be reminded to do.

But most of all it's helped me make the time for what truly matters to me--matters more than anything and everything.

My family.

Monday, September 15, 2014

He is there.



(The Doctrine & Covenants is a book of scripture--The Lord's inspired words through His modern-day prophets. You can learn more HERE & about my faith HERE.)

I love this scripture so much.
No matter where we are in our lives, or what challenges we face, these words are true for us!
God is our loving Father.
He is with us when we are weak and struggling. And even when we're not.
We may not see it, but help is there.
He is there.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bedtime Game



Having the kids tucked soundly in bed at night is a glorious thing.
But bedtime is most definitely NOT my favorite time of the day.

The kids are riled up and hyper, I'm exhausted, and trying to get them all ready for bed seems to take forever.

To help move this notoriously slow-moving routine, I came up with a very simple and fun way to get the kids motivated to get ready for bed.
Here's what I did:

1. I cut out a bunch of squares from red & blue paper. I was originally going to do circles. But squares are so much easier to cut with a handy-dandy paper cutter. Or even just a pair of scissors! :)



2. Next, I started taping them onto the wall in the boys' bedroom, alternating red & blue:



3. I already had this laminated lion picture that I used a couple years ago in our Learning Binder. So I taped him up onto the wall as well. You can use a picture or cutout of anything. And it doesn't have to be laminated.



Here's how it works!
It's really very simple. Each of the kids gets a chance to move the lion along the spaces. They earn their moves by doing the following:

  • Going potty & brushing teeth = 1 move.
  • Putting toys away from the floor = 1 move.
  • Sitting reverently for scriptures and prayer = 1 move.
  • Not getting out of bed once lights are out = 1 move (in the morning).

I want this to be a positive reinforcement type of motivation. So if they don't stay in their bed then they just don't get to move the lion in the morning. If I find that is not working, then I may try moving the lion back a space every time they get out of their bed, we'll see.


When the lion makes his way to the end of all the squares, then the kids earn a lollipop! Since I have 3 kids who are working on this (LM age 7. LB age 4. LL age 2.) it shouldn't take too long to get the lion to the end.