Tag Archive | family

Have Fun for Cheap!!

Hola y’all! Jenn her with some fun for you to share with your little one that cost you little or nothing….other than your time.

Sometimes it is easy to think you have to spend lots of money and go somewhere cool to make memories and for your child to have fun, but that’s really not the case. Big places are awesome and I love them as much as the next person, but I have really began to think about little things that make a special memory for me and my daughter. I wanted to share with you some simple things we do, or that I am planning on doing, that cost very little or nothing at all and leave a fun memory for you and your little one. Now for some ideas:

– Have a picnic! It is so fun to a child to have a picnic. You can have one in your yard, go to a public picnic shelter, have one at a playground, find fun places (we have a train car in town that we have had picnics on, we have had them in the grass at the library, we have a fountain in town my daughter loves so we have them there), and if its raining we put a blanket on the floor and have an indoor picnic and watch a movie or cartoon. She loves that just as much!

– Bake something and let your little one help. Let them cut open the mix, pour in the different ingredients, crack the eggs, help mix it up, and of course lick the beaters and the bowl (that depends on your comfort level with the raw eggs). Let them help grease the pan or put in the cupcake liners, then let them pour in the batter. If it needs to be iced, let them help ice it. And of course then share it together.

– Have a tea party. My daughter loves having tea parties. Use a real tea set or one of the porcelain toy ones. Use real water or whatever you like to drink. Use real dessert. And while you sit their sipping your “tea” and eating your goodie, make sure you have your pinkies out and are trying to be as proper as you can. Use this as a time to just talk to your child and have a conversation with them. Ask them about their day, make plans for future activities, ask if there is anything on their mind, but most importantly just listen to them and enjoy pretending with them.

– Go play in the dirt. Sometimes we are so anal about our kids being clean that they don’t get to simply play in the dirt. Let them have their own little area of dirt where they can dig, bury toys, look for bugs, and for some additional fun add water to their dirt and let them play in the mud. All our kids have some stained clothes and times where we aren’t going anywhere, so why not use that time to let them get dirty?

– Catch lightening bugs. It is that time of the year where these fun little guys light up the evening. It is so much fun for a little one and even for adults to catch these guys and enjoy watching them light up. You can simply try a catch and release approach or put them in a mason jar and enjoy watching them light up. If your little one is big enough you could use this as a teaching time to discuss how they light up.

– Plant something outside. We bought flower seeds from the Dollar General they were 2 or 3 packs for $1. She loved planting them and of course is so excited to water them and watch for them to start popping up.

– Go to the library. Teach them a love of reading and books. Most libraries have nice children departments where they can sit and look through books, play kid games on a computer, work kids puzzles, and ours has checkers and a puppet area. Our library also has a summer reading program that is amazing! They have a different activity every week for kids, along with story times, Lego play time (they provide Leo’s and you provide the imagination), prizes for turning in reading logs, and movie times. See what activities yours offers and enjoy those with your little one! All of ours are completely free!

– Go for a walk. Wether it’s in your neighborhood or around town, a walk is so much fun. Not only is it great exercise, but you get to meet new friends, enjoy the simple beauty of town, and just slow down and talk to your little one.

– Go eat honeysuckles. I LOVED this as a kid! If your little one is anything like mine, they will enjoy seeing how you pull the bottom off and get that sweet little drop. Always so much fun and completely free.

– Set up their toys during the night to look like they have been playing. Thanks to Toy Story and Doc McStuffins my little one is convinced her toys come to life when she asleep or not home. Over the past few weeks she has woken up to find her Jessie Doll coloring, some dolls playing with stickers, and a doll reading a book. This so so easy and will make your little one light up like a Christmas tree along with making some fun memories.

– Go on a bike ride. We started taking family bike rides last fall and it is a personal favorite of mine! We have a nearby trail that is pretty flat and goes for miles through the woods or “forest” as we call it. It is so much fun! We all get to be together, we all get exercise, and we are in the woods where we can see so many things and easily talk about everything God made!

– Go get ice cream from McDonalds it’s super cheap and then just enjoy eating it!

– Find out the history of your town and then take your little one to see the different sights and tell them about the history.

– Put on some fun music and dance with you little one. You are guaranteed to both have fun!

– Simply be with your child. Take time to go in their play room, bedroom, whoever ever they are playing and sit and play with them. Build with their blocks, race with their cars, take care of their babies, whatever they want….just take time to sit and play with no TV or electronic devices to distract you. Let it just be you and your little one.

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Teach Your Children: Family Birthday Calendar

Hey y’all! Jess here with a fun learning project for your kids.

I came up with this idea back in the late winter/early spring of this year when my boys were learning about the seasons and the months of the year as a part of our preschool at home curriculum. As we talked about the months of the year, I made sure to mention the months they were born in and the season that month falls in, to help them retain more information. Well, I did this mostly for my youngest son. My oldest has NO problem whatsoever in remembering when his birthday is! Of course, all this talk about birthdays and months made my sons naturally start asking questions, such as “When is your birthday, Mommy?”, “What month was Granny born in?”, “Is Daddy’s birthday in the spring or the fall?”. And all these great questions led me to my brainstorm, which is the subject of today’s post. I decided to make a family birthday calendar, complete with pictures of family members, to help my boys learn in which months our family members have birthdays. I have to say it’s been a fun learning tool! Here are the steps I used to make our pictorial family birthday calendar.

First, to make the headings for each month, I believe I just googled “month of the year printables” and found ones that were free and looked kid-friendly. I liked the ones I chose because they had children on them doing activities pertaining to the month, which was an added bonus in helping the boys remember what season each month falls in. I wish I could remember the website where I found my month headings, but I just can’t. Sorry, y’all! You could always make your own, if you’re so inclined. You could do any graphic or make them any size that fits your liking! I just printed them off on cardstock, to make them a little more sturdy and durable.

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Next, I found pictures of our family members, cropped them in Word to make them the desired size and to get a good view of the face, then added their name underneath the picture, and printed them off on cardstock.

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After getting all my pages printed, I then laminated them, (On a side note, I can’t say enough good things about my laminator! Boy, I just love that thing! It was my Amazon Lightning Deal of the Day purchase back around Christmas of 2011, and I scored this baby for $17! A good price for a great purchase that has served me well with all my homeschooling endeavors! I get my laminating sheets at Sam’s, and they have lasted me forever! I bought them shortly after I got my laminator, and haven’t had to buy any more since, so I’ve had them for over a year now. Of course, this would all depend upon the frequency of your laminating. But for me, it’s been great!) and cut them out.

Now, where you put your family birthday calendar is totally up to you. You may want to make it small and put it in a notebook for your child to take with them as a quiet activity.  You may not like putting things of this nature on your walls, and that’s okay, too. For me, I knew the wall in our toy room would be a great place to put our family birthday calendar. Since we homeschool our children, we figure that as they get older and transition out of playing with toys that the toy room will become our school room. But for now, it’s our toy room that gives us plenty of wall space to use for school purposes, so that’s where we put our calendar. I just put up the month headings, put the pictures under the correct month (I used sticky tack to put up the headings and pictures), made sure they were as evenly spaced as possible, and voila! There you have it! Our family birthday calendar! I have to say, it looks great on our wall, and adds a fun, personal touch to the boys’ play area. They like looking up from play and seeing familiar faces of their loved ones on the wall.

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Since my oldest son will be beginning Kindergarten in the fall (*sniff*…that’s another post for another day!), I think I will purchase a wall calendar to put in our toy/school room for us to do our daily calendar time, and will use the month headings and pictures of our family members for the wall calendar. That way, the boys can see what day of the month a certain family member has a birthday (for example, Aunt Casey’s birthday is on the 4th, so her picture would go by the number 4 on the calendar). When that month is over, I’ll just return the heading and pictures back to the wall, and grab the next month heading and pictures. I just love when things I make can be used for a dual purpose!

I hope this post has been helpful and inspiring to you to help create your own family birthday calendar for your little ones! Have fun, include your kiddos in helping you with this project, and just make it your own!

Until next time!

Another 4 Weeks

Hola y’all. Jenn here.

Last month I shared a post title “A Long 4 Weeks” that gave you a glimpse of the 4 weeks that started with my daughter having a seizure and ended with her starting medication and being diagnosed as epileptic.

We have been living on pins and needles wondering when she would have another one, I have been sleeping with her just in case. We haven’t left her alone at all. Every time she falls down or gets quiet we worry. She hasn’t been able to sit with anyone else during services or run off to play while we fellowship, she hasn’t be allowed out of our sight…..that has been very hard for her.

I can not even begin to tell you how touched we have been by the care and love that has been showed to us and our daughter over the past four weeks. We have gotten so many cards and calls from friends to check on us and her. We have gotten cards from people we haven’t seen in years just to tell us they are praying for us. One of my aunts had been messaging me via FB to check on her and sent her a card with ice cream money. I got texts and messages from from friends to check on us and to tell us their own battles with seizures. One of my friends even sent me contact info for a woman who has 2 children having seizures for me to have someone to talk to that has/ is going through the same thing, that was so touching and heartwarming! We have gotten cards from members of other congregations that have put our daughter on their prayer list. My daughter has gotten cards with stickers in them from members of a congregation that we have never met. She has gotten cards with money in them. I have had so many women just call to say they are here for me. I have gotten hugs from people that I really needed. She was sent a prayer blanket from a church that put her on their prayer list. She has gotten gifts from friends. We have had so many people tell us that when are ready they would watch her for us to go out. I have been blown away by the outpouring of love and tears shared by friends. We are so blessed with such wonderful friends and family.

My husband and I had our first date night in a long time while she stayed with his parents. We went to watch a movie and he leaned over to tell the couple beside us that we would be checking our phones and we weren’t trying to be rude but our daughter was epileptic and it was our first night leaving her…..we found out that the man had seizures as a child and was able to come off medicine in elementary school and hasn’t had one since. It was so amazing to me that we just happened to sit next to them and have the chance to talk to them!

As of Sunday June 2nd she has been seizure free for a month! Yay for answered prayers!!

We are still nervous, but like the neurologist said the longer we go seizure free the more comfortable we get. But our first trip to the pool I was so nervous! Even though we were in the kiddie pool I was worried the whole time. I know it will get better. I know that God is in control!

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and continued prayers. You have no idea how much it means to hear prayers for her and us, and to hear we are bring prayed for.

I am so blessed that we have had four weeks without a seizure!

Thank you all and if you ever have questions or go through this yourself know that God is in control and I am here for you if you have any questions or need someone to talk to and I will gladly pray for you.

Love,
Jennifer

DIY-Prayer Pail

Jess here with a fun and very useful tool for your family prayer time. As a parent to two small children, I’m always looking for ways to make our family Bible Time more productive and meaningful, and to help my boys focus on prayer and study of God’s word. And let’s face it…as parents of little ones, we can also use some assistance with focusing, too! Let me also clarify that this is not just for little ones..you can use this with kids of any age. This is a good way to get kids started with praying for others and thanking God for the blessings He’s given us. The way it works is simple. When it’s time to pray as a family, each family member chooses one stick from the pail (it could be more than one, depending on the age of your kiddos) and prays for whatever or whomever is listed on the stick. See? Easy peasy! It had really worked well with my boys. It is a part of our family Bible Time that they look forward to, and has helped them develop a stronger prayer life, even at such a young age. So, without further delay, let me introduce you to the Prayer Pail!

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Now I’d like for y’all to believe that this was an original thought from my creative mind, but alas, I found this idea while perusing Pintrest one evening. I did, however, personalize it for my liking and for my family. As you can see, it’s a pretty simple project. It was actually my first project last year when I became a stay-at-home mama, so it’s a little special to me! So here’s the scoop on how to make your own.

For starters, pick a pail that works for you. I liked the openness and functionality of a flower pot. You could also use a mason jar, can, cup, the possibilities are really endless. I typed up on cardstock a cute label for the front, and added a Scripture regarding prayer to the back, as you can see below. Make it your own, decorate however you like!

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Once your pail is prepped and ready, now your ready for the craft sticks. This is a task that you can share with your older kids. It can make it more meaningful to them to think of others and to decorate the sticks for the family. For our family’s sticks, I wrote down all the names of our immediate and extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents), the boys’ classmates and friends in Bible class, special friends of our family, material blessings (food, clothes, house, etc.), things pertaining to our nation (soldiers/troops, the president, freedom, etc.), others (the lost, those sick, those hurt, our community, etc.), and of course, the church (the elders, deacons, preacher, teachers, missionaries, etc.). Again, the possibilities are really endless! Here is an example of a few of our sticks:

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And there you have it! You’ve made your very own Prayer Pail! One last thing to mention is that I added dried beans to my pail to make my sticks “stand up” in the pail. Just a note of caution and sanity-saving advice is that if you add beans or other small items to your pail, you may want to put the pail on a counter or other high surface out of reach from little hands. I learned this lesson the hard way. I’m still finding beans in the back of toy trucks and construction equipment! 😉

I hope this how-to tutorial will be useful to you and your family! Feel free to share your ideas and feedback about this project, and post pictures of your own Prayer Pail! I always like to see creative ideas from others. Until next time!