Color Me Mine, Lethbridge

We like taking our kids out to DO things; And it’s even funner when it’s with cousins. And lucky enough Grandma Steed found us a new fun activity in Lethbridge over the Christmas holidays. We have traveled a bit and lived in other areas of Canada and one thing I think Southern Alberta is sometimes lacking is in the family fun department. These kinds of Coloring pottery places are all over but I think this is the first in Lethbridge. There are SO many families with lots of kids in Lethbridge and surrounding areas and I think we need more of these kinds of things to DO with our families. That’s why I was glad we went here. If we want more things like this we need to support them when we come. Which is why I’m sharing about our experience there!

First walking in my kids were SO excited to see the shelves of different ceramics. So, so many  to choose from. I was a tad bit nervous of one of them breaking things (but no one did!) Lucy was in HEAVEN!!!! She had a hard time picking because she loved so many. Alden picked his so easily – a football helmet piggy bank. You pay according to the piece that you pick to paint. Bigger ones are more expensive.

Color Me Mine Lethbridge | Just Rhonda

There is an explanation about how the paint works (it gets a LOT darker when it’s in the kiln) and then you get you started painting. Some of the kids talked a bit about what colors and planning but some just dove right into it. So much fun painting. Three coats of paint later and they were done. There are LOTS of paint choices 🙂

Color Me Mine Lethbridge | just Rhonda

I ended up leaving Oliver and Norah at home with a babysitter so that I could help Eli if I needed too and paint my own. I think they could have done it in the end but it would have been better to have dad with us too if I had brought them both. It ended up taking us a couple hours to get everyone’s painted. Some of the kids finished before the others and then they looked around the store at all the other awesome choices but most of them finished around the same time. After we were done we left them there to be cooked or “fired” in the kiln and seal the paint on.

Color Me Mine Lethbridge | Just Rhonda

So much fun. The kids all loved it a lot. In fact in the middle of painting hers, Lucy said “Mom, have you ever had a day SO good it feels like a dream? That’s today for me.” Sweetest ever!! Our kids ages that were there were 13 down to 4. The 4 year old needed help and started to lose interest near the end (but really she did GREAT). All the other kids did it almost all on their own. We will be exploring other fun things in Southern Alberta over the next year and sharing our adventures and all the things we try here.

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5 Minutes with Giant Bubbles

This past weekend we had a family reunion. And I was in charge. And it was a lot of work. HA! One easy thing I did for the kids was to make giant bubbles. Seriously it entertained them for a long time!!! I used the recipe floating around Pinterest that I’ll share at the bottom of this post. I could have taken pictures all day. In fact I did take a lot. Here are just a few….

Giant Bubbles | Just Rhonda

Giant Bubbles | Just Rhonda

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Giant Bubbles | Just Rhonda

Giant Bubbles | Just RhondaGiant Bubbles | Just Rhonda

Giant Bubbles | Just RhondaGiant Bubbles | Just RhondaGiant Bubbles | Just RhondaGiant Bubbles | Just Rhonda

Giant Bubbles

Ingredients

  • 6 Cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Dawn Ultra Dish Soap
  • 1/2 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP Baking POWDER
  • 1 TBSP Glycerin

Instructions

  1. I used a big tupperware container.
  2. Slowly mix the ingredients together and avoid getting too many bubbles in it.
  3. Then let it sit for 1-3 hours.
  4. Make sure the cornstarch doesn't just fall to the bottom.
https://rhondasteed.com/5-minutes-with-giant-bubbles

Giant Bubbles | Just RhondaGiant Bubbles | Just RhondaGiant Bubbles | Just Rhonda

Giant Bubbles | Just RhondaGiant Bubbles | Just Rhonda

We just let it sit out for two days and they just kept going back to it. To make the big wands we used two straws and they strung some kitchen twine between them. Give it a shot! Your kids will love it!

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Valentine’s Day LoveBot Blocks

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Today I’m sharing these little blocks. They are Lovebots. Well, at least that’s what I came up with. I originally saw these super cute Robot blocks that were on the Anthropologie website (which apparently seems to be the same place I seem to get a lot of my ideas lately… like this and this.) and I had gotten some blocks forever ago to make some of my own and then never got around to it. Then some how in my brain they transformed into a Valentine’s day thing. So here they are.

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LovebotBlocks-9All you do is print off the two pages of printables from here and here and the modge podge them to some 1.75″ blocks. That’s the whole craft. It’s like, SUPER tricky. I mean stressful. My kids have been playing with these little blocks quite a bit. Oliver was fascinated by the whole thing and sat on my lap most of the time I was making them and telling my which colors to use. (Although he told me I didn’t use Red enough because that’s the “best” color.)

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Just an easy little Valentine’s day craft, that’s pretty much too easy to CALL a craft…. but I will anyways.

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Easy + cute = Winner. 😉

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Do you wanna build a Snowman Bag?

snowmanbag

Sometimes (or more correctly lots of times) Lucy gets these ideas in her head of things she wants to do. I have lots of kids crating books around the house and a lot of supplies that are here so that when my kids want to craw or paint or build or whatever they can. Lucy is naturally creative and has no fear in trying anything like that. It’s a great thing about her. Last week she decided she wanted to make a little purse. She had seen a picture in one of the books we have and asked for some felt and just kind of started making one. When she needed help I tried to help her fix it up so that it would work but two sides didn’t work together because she had just started cutting instead of using a pattern. I asked her about where her pattern was and she laughed “Pattern? Who needs a pattern?” It was pretty funny and it seems she takes after her mother. I’m a bit more along the lines of making it up rather than actually following an exact pattern. I like to take things and make them my own. Seems so does she.

I told her instead that we would start again and I would help cut out the pieces so that they would work together. Her and her friend (who often seems to be over when she gets these big ideas…) decided they wanted to use the sewing machine so they carried that up to the kitchen table too. I asked Lucy if she had ever sewed something. She said “Yea sure, at grandma’s house when we made that little quilt.” She sat down and tried to start sewing. It didn’t work out the best so I stopped what I was doing (making supper) and sat down with the two girls and we made these little snowman bags. Lucy did all of it herself except cutting the stuff out and starting the buttons. That was all I did. That and make sure she didn’t press as hard as she could on the sewing machine pedal 😉 It took her about 20 minutes to make and most of that time was spent learning to sew on buttons.

Supplies:

  • 3 pieces of white felt. (they are 10″ circles with one flat side) – 1,2 &3
  • 1 triangle orange felt carrot nose
  • 2 buttons for the eyes and 4 or more for the mouth
  • Piece of Red (or other colored) ribbon for the strap

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1. Sew the nose onto white piece #1.

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2. Sew on the buttons for the eyes and mouth onto piece 1.

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3. Sew white piece #2 onto the back of white piece #1 (the other with the face) going all the way around the piece. This will cover up all of the sewing.

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4. Lay out the Snowman face on top of the white piece #3 and lay your ribbon so that the edges are tucked in the the sides. Pin it together. And sew around the round curves (leaving the flat edge of the circle open for the pocket). After trim off the edges if they don’t line up right.

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5. It’s all done.

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This is a perfect little sewing activity that taught Lucy how to sew on buttons (and gave her lots of practice) and something that she could do mostly on her own and gave her lots of confidence with the sewing machine. And since it is felt you don’t have to turn it inside out and that makes it easier for a child (or anyone else) to do! You could do it after Christmas as a keep-my-child-busy-so-she-doesnt-drive-me-crazy activity. Or she could make it this week for her sibling or friend as a present!

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Red, White & Blue Road Curling

Roadcurling

 

This morning I am participating in a HUGE link up all centered around Red, White and Blue featuring 110 bloggers. Kinda a fun thing to do!  There are some REALLY fun projects, food, printables and other celebratory things to check out! Since I am Canadian, I wanted to share something Canadian 🙂 A fun outside activity for kids or adults.

This is a simplified summer time version of a truly Canadian game!  If you want to know the REAL rules of curling and how it works you can go read all about Curling and Canada here.

For prep work all you need to do is get some plastic throw away cups. Fill them up about half way some with red water and some with blue water.  (As in use some liquid food coloring!) Then put them on a cookie sheet (so they don’t spill) and put them in the freezer overnight.

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Then take those suckers outside and pop them out of the cups. Sometimes they don’t slip out easily so you just crack the cups and they will pop out and you can throw away the cups.

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You do want to have an even number of “rocks”. (We had one more in a cup still when I took this shot).

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Then using sidewalk chalk you want to draw a set of rings on the road or sidewalk or parking lot.

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You sit down on the ground and slide your rocks towards the middle ring.  The goal is get as many rocks as you can touching the middle circle. You can knock them out of the way by bumping the other teams out of the way.

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Some of the smaller kids had a hard time sliding them as far so we let them move up.

RLS_1062The funny thing is the kids hands turned a little blue and red from the water. But it washes away 🙂
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Since we have a pretty quiet street we let the kids do it right in the middle of the road.

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The kids loved when the rocks hit each other and broke apart.

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We had a little game of Canada vs USA but by the end the boys were just trying to smashing each other… hahaha

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And there is an easy and really simple game you can play to celebrate the First or the Fourth of July!

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Summertime Fun Booklet

I love the freedom of summer and how we can just veg one day and do fun outside activities. But I also want my kids to accomplish something during the 2 months we have off school. I was talking to a mom of older kids who I admire a lot and she was telling me what she did with her kids when they were small and I thought it was a great idea!! So I’ve adapted her idea a bit and that’s what I’m sharing with you today!
Summer is a great time to do lots of fun things and it’s also a time to learn new life skills. For this year I wanted to teach my kids and motivate them with something fun. So I’ve made a little booklet that we will print out for each one.
fun in summer booklet
It has different sections or areas that I thought the kids could use work or set goals in. The different sections are
  • Physical and Outdoor Skills
  • Spiritual
  • Education
  • Life Skills
  • Talents and Creativity
  • Family Relations and Kindness
Some of the items can be done every day (so they are worth 5 – 10 points) but some will take more time and commitment (read a 100-120 page book) or are a one time deal (like running in a race).  Each night they will add up their points in the booklet. When they reach 200 points they get a prize from the summertime fun box.
Up high in my closet is this basket. I filled it with things my kids will love. Things to do, books to read, some treats, etc. Some from the dollar store and some books from Costco.
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 Here is Alden working in his.
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You can download the booklet as a pdf and just print it off or you can download the word document and change some of the list to suit your own family.
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This post was originally a guest posting over at Occasionally Crafty in their great Fun in the Summertime Series.
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Wooden Peg Dolls

My 8 year old daughter loves to craft. (I wonder where she gets it from….) I often will just set out supplies and she will go to town. I decided that we should do a craft together. So I we made these.

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They were so easy to make and you can get all the supplies easily if you don’t have them around.

Supplies:

  • Glue gun & glue
  • ribbon or felt (or both) for hair
  • Pen for the faces
  • Washi Tape
  • Scissors
  • A little bag to keep them in (or a cute container or even a ziplock bag!)

supplies

 

1. First step is making their clothes. For the girl’s skirts, we laid out two lengths of tape. Then you take a shorter one and put it on top of a longer one. This should go from their waist of the doll until as long as you want their skirt to be. I made them longer and then just trimmed them.

There are so many cute styles and patterns of Washi Tape available. You can buy it at Michael’s or online.  (And if you are looking going the Michael’s route then go get a coupon to use!) A new Etsy store I just found (thanks to a friend who is a friend of the owner) is this one called Willow and Washi located in Edmonton. (I like to support Canadian if I can!) If you have never heard of this Washi tape stuff then you can read all about what it is here.

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You can also just make one long piece of tape and fold it in half. (I felt like I wasted more tape this way but it was easier to line up the pieces straight.)

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2. Then you give the dolls a top. So just wrap it around the chest.

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3. Add on your skirt pieces. The longer part that wasn’t covered with the shorter tape is the part that sticks to the waste. Add them on and trim them to the length you want.

4. Then add your ribbon or felt for hair. (I liked the ribbon better.) Just hot glue it on. And draw on your face.

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5. That’s it. Oliver wanted a boy one, so this is my attempt at that.

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I made the little bow out of washi tape too and just added it on the front. Apparently these two are getting married 😉

RLS_8377In my craft cupboard I just happened to have this little bag left over and so we traced some chipboard letters on top and drew around them with the pen. That’s where the little dolls are stored now.
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Here are all the ones I made plus Lucy’s and a friend showed up while we were making these so she made some too!

easy_wooden_pegdollsThe girls decided to make pants and shoes. Lucy is 8 and Naomi is 6 and they both had fun. They both could do all of it except the gluing on of the hair with the glue gun which I did.

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Fairy garden Tips and Tricks

When we were in Hawaii my mom watched the kids for part of the time. My mom is an art teacher and she often does fun creative things with my kids (and me!) This time was no different.
fairy-garden Together they made a fairy garden. Everyone who first saw it on instagram and then in real life commented that they didn’t realize it was so big! It’s not small! It usually sits on our kitchen table but I moved into the living room and it has been just fine here. I thought Norah would grab at it, but she only did once or twice and then was done with it. It was all my mom who did this so I’m just gonna share everything she wrote.
RLS_7382 After going through the process with four-six children I learned a lot. Some kids were in it all the way and some came and went. This is also not a one afternoon project unless the adult does a lot of work ahead of time. I recommend at least two afternoons if the kids are going to be involved in as much as they possibly can. We actually worked on it for 1-2 hours at a time over five days.
Here’s the process we used mixed with some things I learned and will do differently next time:
Kids have a hard time with understanding scale, so it’s important to help them understand how small everything needs to be. I would recommend before beginning that you draw a paper pattern and make a kind of map before you actually start to build any of the accessories. Having your plants and setting them on the map so the kids can see how much room they will take will help them see how small things need to be. But I’m pretty sure you will still have to provide guidance.

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For an inside fairy garden, build or buy a container about 12 x 18 or 24 ” in diameter for a round one. We used old weathered boards and a piece of plywood for the bottom.

Buy materials: The dollar store was a terrific source of building materials for very little money. Michael’s was the other great source–but more expensive. I bought:
miniature popsicle sticks, match sticks, rocks of various sizes, doweling of various sizes for building fences, tables and chairs, etc. from the dollar store
little one inch wooden cubes and small dowels were at the dollar store. We used them and mini popcicle sticks to make miniature birdhouses and put them on picks (a long dowel) to stick them in the dirt.
reindeer moss (dollar store) works good for making bushes and green ground cover from the dollar store
birdhouses for $2 each from the dollar to make the fairy house out of. They are quite q bit more expensive at Michael’s,
Some dollar stores have miniature flowerpots. I’ve seen them in before, but I wasn’t able to find any and got them at Michael’s in packages of 4 for very little.
Michael’s had wooden flowerpots and clay ones just like the life sized ones.
Sclupey (available at Michaels for $2-3) works great for making things like a miniature birdbath, mailbox, mushrooms, birds, flowers. Lucy (age 8) made all of those things after watching me make one to show her the size and process.
The dollar store has bags of nice little pebbles and larger ones. We used the little ones to make the walkway and larger ones for landscaping rocks. We learned the hard way hot glue does not hold rocks together to make a walkway. You need to use ‘construction glue’ that comes in a tube and requires a gun to dispense. It is waterproof–necessary because your dirt will be wet to keep the plants alive.

painting-potsSeveral tropical plants of various shades of green and various textures. We used some cactus as well and left them in the pots we bought them in so that they wouldn’t get as much water as the tropical need. We lined the pot with rocks and it looks like the real life edgings that people use to keep grass away from shrubs growing in their yards.
Sand–the dollar store has a variety of size and color. The walkways can be made of sand instead of a pebbles if you have some landscape fabric to put down first. If you don’t put something down first, the sand will eventually disappear–mixing into the dirt as you water your fairy garden.
Hot glue and glue sticks and quick set white glue.
The dollar store also had a miniature artist canvas and easel. Lucy painted a masterpiece to pretend that the fairy who lives in our fairy garden was artistically inclined.
The dollar store also had small wooden plaque’s that Lucy made a sign that said, “Fairy Garden” on it. I’ve also seen “Fairies welcome, no knomes allowed.”

Collect natural materials: rocks, sticks, pinecones, etc
Plan together. It’s a good idea to look online at lots of other people’s fairy gardens to get ideas. There are hundreds of them to see online. Google fairy gardens or fairyhouses. (I made a powerpoint slide show with over 150 pictures I got off the internet to give my students ideas when I do it with them for art.) Make a paper map the same size as your container, set the plants on where they will go and draw on what you will include: walkways, plants, fairy house, well, fences, swing, etc. –all the big stuff. Then plan what accessories you want to include–already mentioned previously. (Oliver age 2 loved painting the under coat of the fairy house, Eli loved helping with building the pebble walkway, the swing, fences. Lucy (age 8 and friends from the neighborhood close to her age) enjoyed making picket fences.
Painting-houseAlden (age 11) nailed the box together with a little guidance. Everything was cut to the right size and I just showed him how it went together.

nailing the box
Line the inside of the fairy garden with heavy plastic (we used an old shower curtain) and hot glued it to the container. If you have a water proof container, you won’t have to do this.

photo 1Build all your accessories and set them in place on the map.
Fill the container with good quality potting soil and water. (We got carried away with water and made a big mess.

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Plant up your fairy garden. Then add all your accessories and place somewhere in your home where the kids can enjoy moving the accessories around and ‘pretending’ what the fairies have been doing while no one was watching. LOTS OF FUN!!!! And they look great!!
Here are some close ups of the finished garden.
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If you want your fairy garden to be outside you will have to use waterproof glue–not hot glue guns. The hot glue won’t hold up when the rain falls on your fairy garden.

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Thanks mom!!

Pretty amazing, right?!

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Wardrobe Cue Cards

At our house I gave up forcing my kids what I wanted them to wear years ago. There are many battles to choose between as a parent and this is NOT one I have chosen to fight. As long as the kids will let me, yes I will pick out their clothes, but I’m not going to fight anybody about it. I still do buy them so I get most of the input in there (cause I do it without them around ;))

Lucy has gone through some delightful stages of dressing herself.  When she was 2 and a bit she was determined to wear some purple wings and a purple dress up skirt EVERYWHERE. As long as she didn’t wear them to church, who cares. She really did wear them everywhere we went. And it was funny how many older people stopped to talk to her about how beautiful she was in them (which I loved but hated because I didn’t really want anyone encouraging her to keep doing it but it was so cute to see how proud she was when someone noticed.)  She went through a hat stage (always had to have a toque or something on her head), the crown and plastic high heels, the wings and purple skirt, that over the top princess dress, the funny glasses and the top that actually went with the purple skirt, the pink tutu, her swimming suit, that feather bow thing that she loved to wear over top of all kinds of things and she loved to wear that birthday shirt long after it was her birthday. (And it was awesome when people would wish her happy birthday WAY past her birthday. hahaha)

More recently Lucy has decided that she wants to match. We’ve gone over what colors go together and all kinds of things like that but one day she came upstairs exasperated and said “Mom, I just don’t think I’m good at matching what goes together.” I told her I’d help her and we moved on. I was telling this to a friend a  couple days later and I was saying I should just take pictures of the outfits and she said something like I’m surprised you haven’t!

So fast forward to this past week on Saturday afternoon we collected all the clean clothes she had (some were missing cause they were dirty) and we made outfits together. I hung them on the wall in the same spot over and over and took pictures of each. Then I added 2 on a 4×6 and got them printed.

Then I ran them through the little laminator I have and we hung them up. They are on the back of her wall and she can pick out what to wear. She loves it! And I love that she wanted to do it and that I get some input into her outfits!

This very much was a solution to a problem around our house. And as she grows out of the clothes we’ll retake and adjust. And maybe sometime in the future she’ll decide she doesn’t need help to match and that’ll be great. But until then, she can pick one off here.

And  on a completely different note, when I was looking for old pictures of Lucy in her funny outfits I found some of my old favorite pictures.

Do you let your kids pick their own clothes?

 

 

Living with Creativity

helpkids_livecreatively

 

I grew up in a very creative household. My mom would set out still life objects on the table, with lamps and we’d sit around and sketch it together. She’d let me make my own pies by the time I was Lucy’s age. I felt apart of my mother’s world and more myself because of all of the creative-ness in our lives. It just was how we were. It was free and easy and cheap and so my childhood. All of those things are apart of my children’s lives now too I think. I don’t do the still life with lamps but we are creative in other ways. I must admit it is harder with Eli because he seems to have less patience with it all that my older two. They relish everything we do that is creative.

So are you wondering, how do you live creatively? Well this is totally my two cents on the idea. But these would be my tips.

1. Keep supplies for crafts around and available and accessible. We have various collections of art supplies. There is so much fun creative stuff at the dollar store now. And that is great. But sometimes too it is nice to be able to get them the nice art stuff, like a good sketch book and good pencils or the cute cupcake liners you’ve been saving, and let your kids use them. Yep, they’ll do a kid job with them. But they’ll realize that you value what they do enough to let them use it.

2. Accept that creative often breeds mess. Oh my I could show you the piles that are made around here constantly. I am trying to teach them now (especially Lucy) that paper mess needs to be picked up after you finish. But even think about creativity in the kitchen – that makes mess. Playing in the dirt? Messy.

3. Do something creative with your kids, not just them doing it alone. Family drawing time, building lego with them, playing with play dough, creating a stop motion movie with their lego creations, sculpting, junk sculptures, etc.

4. Let them see you doing things that are creative. Create things yourself. Start project life, write, take some pictures, draw, get creative in the kitchen, build something, paint a wall or a picture, etc….

5. Creative living isn’t just arts and crafts. Creativity comes in music, in cooking and baking, in yard work, in writing, in paper crafts, in dress up and plays, in story telling, in dancing, in decorating, in building, etc.

6. Resist the urge to fix it. Let them do it however they are going to do it. And have THEM do it themselves. I can tell the kids who are over who’s parents intervene in their creative endeavors by the way they constantly ask for help or have trouble getting started unless they are given complete instructions. If you want to show them, get your OWN stuff and model how to do it. When you do it for them you are telling them you don’t think they are capable. Letting them do it on their own builds the thought in them “I am capable, I can do it.”

7. Talk about it. When your children show you something they have made, ask them to tell you about instead of saying “is this a __________”. Let them tell you and be interested and attentive to what they say. The greatest compliment to a child is when they hear an adult tell another person about what they’ve done. It means way more. So listen and then share it in their presence.

8. Give them a place to display what they’ve made. For my kids this basement wall is the place. The big wooden frame that is empty has a clip in it that they can rotate things they’ve made. And it’s “framed”.
Basement Photo Wall

9. Finds things out of the house that are creative. Like an art class or get a group of kids together and have them create a play or something together.
aug 12 - Cartooning class

10. Undirected play time (without screens) helps creativity in children. Think about when you were a kid. And how you created things, games, stories, ect. Often we over schedule our kids and they don’t get a chance to just BE kids and let their minds create. There is a whole book that is great about this.

So what do YOU do to help your children live creatively?

Advent Calendar days 3, 4 & 5

I just not going to be able to keep up posting our books & activities every day. But that is okay.

Our books we’ve opened in the last three days (well including today) were…

And I couldn’t find the other book’s image but it’s called the Christmas Story and it’s a huge board book.
The crafts and activities were….

…a snow man pizza (yeah the one on pinterest looked way cooler but this one my kids would actually eat!)
Snowman pizza

… writing stories in Christmas shapes. I just found some christmas shapes that were empty and let the kids pick which ones they wanted and let them free to write whatever stories they wanted. Alden’s was called Yoshi’s Christmas. And Lucy wrote one called the Snowman.
Lucy writing her christmas story
Alden writing his christmas story

….Eli decorated his Santa face instead of writing a story in it…. for obvious reasons!
Eli writing his christmas story

… Lucy’s Paper plate Christmas tree from a couple days ago that I forgot to take a picture of
Christmas tree

We all hung around the table for quite a while and relaxed and the kids did crafts. It was great.
Dec 3: morning

On Sunday night we hung out with family and enjoyed a baby blessing.
Tonight we had a short Family Home Evening using this idea from latter day homeschooling.

Advent 2011 Day 2

Today’s books were:

Well yesterday Shannon’s comment was how do you remember to take pictures of all the stuff and haha I forgot to take pictures of their crafts.
They made paper plate Christmas trees and wreaths. (like these and then just a plate with the middle cut out and painted green with red dots on)

Then we attended Raymond’s Old Time Christmas. They served donuts and hot chocolate, lit the tree outside and sung christmas carols, had a wishing well, and Santa came to town on a Fire engine.
Old Time Christmas
Here’s THE tree.
Old Time Christmas Tree
My older kids were okay with Santa, but Eli no way! Although right before we got up to him (after waiting in line for WAY too long) Lucy turns to me and says, “but mom, won’t we actually be sitting on a stranger’s lap?”
Meeting Santa

It was a good day. And we ran into Lethbridge and Regan picked up my birthday present. An old vintage camera to add to my collection 🙂 LOVE it.

Advent 2011 Day 1

Our Advent activities this year are a little adjusted. Well it seems each year I do that a bit. But this year we are going again with the 24 Christmas books all wrapped up (I forgot to take a picture so I’ll take it today!)
We had two books today since we’ve got more than 24 – some are wrapped with 2 in the package. We opened these two books…
Polar Express and Gingerbread Pirates

And then this.
Advent Activity Jar
This year instead I put all the activities inside the jar and each day the kids pick out two or three.

Our craft pulled from the jar was this. A very simple santa hat. Red construction paper and I wanted to use cotton balls but I couldn’t find them, and these cotton pads worked just as well!
Santa Hat Craft
Lucy's Santa Hat Craft
My kids plus two neighbor kids who were over while we did our Christmas craft today.

Kids Christmas Crafts
And then we opened some pjs and went driving around town to see all the lights.

Christmas Lights

They also have a Lego Christmas Advent Calendar all the kids are sharing and one of those chocolate ones each. That way they always get to open one with chocolate and each third day they get a small lego guy.

What are YOU doing for your advent calendar this year?

Just Rhonda Footer

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Valentine’s Day Sensory Bowl

I wanted to do something with my two youngest that they would enjoy. Eli doesn’t really play with much at all. Then I saw an idea on a blog. Adapted it a bit to what I had and what I could find at the dollar store and viola!!
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A Valentine’s Day Sensory Bowl. Well I put it in two different bowls so they each can have their own and play beside each other.
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In the bowl is dried beans, foam hearts, V-Day confetti, heart bracelets and lots of measuring cups and funnels to play with. Everything except the beans came from the dollar store. Those are from the grocery story and also very cheap!

I am going to put it into a clear container. But I don’t have one yet. So the bowl just sits on the top of my fridge for now.

Lucy loves it and Eli comes and goes from it. (but that’s the way he rolls!) Alden even wanted to play with it a bit when he was home from school!
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And YES they totally get beans and other stuff all over the floor while they play. And you know what? I just sweep it up when they are done and put in back in the bowl 🙂

Christmas Kids Crafts

First up, Carmen I will look for that link – I made those last year but I think I have it bookmarked somewhere.

We’ve been a crafting up a storm around here!!

Handprint angels:
Lucy’s
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Alden’s
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Nativity Cutting, Pasting and Painting practice from here (lots of good ones on here for kiddos!)
Alden’s
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Lucy’s
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HUGE snowflakes. Made by gluing Popsicle sticks together. If we had that half circle thing from math 7 it would make them look perfect but whatever. 🙂
Lucy and her friend Anise holding them up
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And then the garland on the last post with the trees

And of course one of these!!
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What Christmas crafts have you made with your kids so far???

Homemade Christmas

I thought I’d share some of our decorations that are around the house.
A lot of them (as in most) I’ve made. (get ready for lots of pics!)

First up our tree. It is a GREAT tree this year (got it at Save On Foods)
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Notice Eli standing in front of it. As soon as i get out my camera lately he wants to be in the picture and then see himself on the back of the LCD monitor. He’s a goof ball 🙂 (And our stuffed Nativity set the kids play with! Love it too! MIL gave it to me!

Made these at Super Saturday in Calgary last year. SO easy!!
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These stars I found a folding patten online, then downloaded it and cut them out of Bazzill texture cardstock and folded away. Then hung them up! I love them! And can’t beat the price! It’s all cardstock.
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Now these I am ALSO loving!!! I made a whole whack of them! For my birthday Regan got me a slice. (i LOVE IT!) and I saw someone made these last year and I have wanted to do them since! SO easy! Cut them all out and fold them in half and glue four together! Done!
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My friend Jena gave me this when I lived in Nova Scotia. I have three different sizes and I love them all! She made them.
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A special ornament my mom gave us all last year. It came with a cute little poem about how real Angels don’t have wings but to keep this feather to remind us of a loved one gone for Kelly.
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Oh how I LOVE my angel. It’s so ME! Love love love it!
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I love this row of trees! Some are from Super Saturday, some are the craft I did with my SIL’s on Reg’s side.
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My advent Calendar
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SUPER easy decoration: Tree garland. Bought a package from Micheal’s and then just strung them together on white ribbon! Lucy and I did this one together one morning this week.
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Stuffed Christmas Trees: Real easy too!
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A yearly tradition at our house. We’ve been cutting out snowflakes since the year we were married!
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An easy little craft I made with the left over stars from my star ornaments. All cut on the slice.
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A little banner for the window also made with my slice. 🙂
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And gotta add the tree at night
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And for fun effect….
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Next up Kids crafts we’ve done this year so far!!