Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Elf Pictures

This was the first year we actually had the Elf come visit us (although we "met" him 2 years ago). Each night our elf would fly back to the North Pole and then return again by morning. The kids had fun trying to figure out where Elmo Elf would be each day. Many days he brought something back with him. Just little trinkets and toys or things to make or eat, even toys for the pets.

He brought the Elf on the Shelf movie and watched it before we got up.

One morning he left tiny pretend cameras and had used my camera to take pictures of himself. I think our Elf got a lot of ideas from Pinterest.

Monday, December 5, 2011

EMM: Use Online Bill Pay

Although I don't usually pay the bills for our family, I know Paul is using online bill pay. I know this because other the past year he has asked me for stamps less and less. Also, I've noticed that the checks I write (for things I can't do online for) are sometimes the only ones in the book for weeks. Sometimes I know because I'll hear his frustration when a website is down and he has to either wait or pay with an actual check.

By using online bill pay we've also seen less mail because statements and bills are coming through email. Of course the kids aren't too happy about this since they like to help me carry in the mail!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pinterest 28: Hanging Pictures

I hung this photo using the tip I got from here. I tried to get a picture of the toothpaste but it wouldn't show up. But it did work fairly well.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pinterest 27: Homemade Crayons

The kids and I made these one day. Then we decided to let Logan's class make them for show and tell letter C. This website is in Spanish (I assume) but I think it's easy enough to figure out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pinterest 26: Christmas Bedtime Stories

So, honestly I have avoided Pinterest lately, it can really suck your time. But keeping with my attitude of putting my pins into action, here's my latest accomplishment. I got the idea for this Christmas countdown from a photography blog.

I wrapped 24 Christmas books that we already had and placed them under one of our trees. I am going to let one child choose a present each night in December and that will be the bedtime story I read.

Monday, November 7, 2011

EMM: Donate Clothes

I started purging when I was pregnant and on some level I have continued doing that. I keep a container in the garage (just outside the door) that I throw donation items in. Once it gets full I take it to the donation truck (or set up for a pick up). With kids, I have taken some of their outgrown clothes to consignment sales or given to friends. But lately, I've just been donating the clothes.

I learned a long time ago that I have no desire to sew on buttons, so if I have a shirt that has a button come off, I'll just safety pin it back and then donate it. I've also been trying to get Paul to get rid of clothes he knows he'll never wear again.

Typically in December the church collects cold-weather items. I don't anticipate that we will have anything, but I'll probably purchase some gloves and hats to donate.

One of the tips in the book, suggest labeling the items. I'm not sure I will do this since I collect as I go, but I could certainly try.

Monday, October 17, 2011

EMM: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I was never really too concerned with recycling until we moved into this house several years ago. They didn't have separate recycling pick-up at our last home, but this area does and it has made it so convenient. Also, from what I understand at least a portion of the recycling proceeds goes to help the animal shelter. At home we separate out the paper to take to one of the local schools to help them out.

I think the hardest part about recycling at home is getting guests to do it as well. I'm not hard-core about it but would love to make it easier for guests to recycle when they are here. But at this point I don't have space for a multi-container trashcan.

I do think it is time to get another recycle container. We've been doing such a good job of separating that the one we have is overflowing most weeks by the time they come to collect.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pinterest 24 & 25: Pant Hanger Book Covers

I combined 2 pins with this project. The first is from a baby's nursery, the second from an apartment. I bought the hangers at Target in a wood that matched Logan's furniture. I had been taking the jackets off the books and just throwing them away (until I saw the pin), but then I started saving them. I let the kids choose 2 from a few. The great thing is that I can change them as often as the kids want.

Logan chose the top one with Chinese kids photos and the bottom one is the book we just finished reading.

Sophie chose the jacket from her favorite book (no picture of that, it's on the other wall) and I chose this one.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Accomplished, Finally

My car has been a mess for a while. Family vacation back in June started it off. Then we went to visit my sister a few times and never seemed to have enough time to really get it cleaned in between. Now that work/preschool is back in session it was definitely time to clean it out. Thankfully, Paul took on the hard part. We got everything out including the car seats. Paul took it to be washed on the outside and vacuumed, then came home and cleaned the inside. While he did that, I cleaned the car seats.

Looks pretty good! We switched them when we put them back. It was funny to see the kids reactions when they went out to get in the car!

Pinterest 23: Pringles Storage Can

Lots of great ideas here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Maw Susan Sews

This blog originally started as a place to keep track of all that I accomplished in a year. But sometimes it's nice to show off other people's accomplishments, too.

My mom was busy this summer sewing clothes for all the granddaughters. Here's a few she did for Sophie.

This is the outfit she made for Sophie's birthday party. It actually had a different pair of pants, but I didn't get a go shot of the entire outfit.

Sophie posing for the camera.

This is what I got when I told her I needed to take the picture to show Maw Susan.

This was one of the first one's she sent, but I had to send it back so that she could put a ribbon on it. The first thing Sophie did when I put it on was pull it down.

Monday, September 12, 2011

EMM: Thank a Teacher

This is the fact that jumped out at me today, "The single most important factor in determining student performance is the quality of his or her teachers."

My appreciation for the teachers at the preschool is 2-fold now that I have kids. Before it was more about the great job they did because I was "the boss". Now it also involves how great I think they are for all they do for my children.

I put my kids in a different program for part of the summer so I could go into the office. I took this for the teachers and staff on their last day. You can see more here.

I had this basket for the teachers for their first in-service day.

Here was their gift on the first day of preschool.

I also had gifts for the kids to give there teachers. I used those wax soda bottles with a note that said "Just soda you know, I think you are the best teacher."

I have a whole pinterest board devoted to teacher appreciation and I can't wait to shower the teachers with hugs!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pinterest 22: Block Puzzles

This site has some great ideas.

Target Spot had these foam blocks and the kids have been playing with them all summer, sorting them and stacking them. I made these patterns and let Logan figure out how to do it. It may actually be too easy for him.

Pinterest 21: Soda Appreciation

I did a slightly different version of this idea . I bought those old-timey wax soda bottles and put a few in a baggie for each of the kids teachers for their first day of preschool. I included a note that said "Just SODA you know, I think you are the best teacher ever!" I would have liked to do actual six-packs of sodas but between both kids they have 7 teachers and I needed something smaller to carry.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pinterest 20: Magnetic Word Match

Camp Slop had some great ideas including this one. I used some of my scrapbook stickers and created the cards with pictures and the matching letters. As you can see from the flag one below, Sophie doesn't quite get the point, but that's okay. Logan will help her.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pinterest 19: Straws & Fuzzy Sticks

I decided to change out our table activities today and found this idea at Fun Frugal Mommy. Sophie had fun putting the straws pieces on the sticks but I think she liked pretending to drink with them more.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pinterest 18: A Cut Above

I made these for the teachers first day of Preschool. Char actually decorated her scissors first, but I didn't do that (although I may try that at another time).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pinterest 17: Color by Letter

These worksheets will be great for the older kids at preschool.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pinterest 16: Purse Picture

Stacy Julian had this idea. So I decided to do it the next time I cleaned out my purse. My bag is both my everyday purse and also the diaper bag, so it carries a lot.

So, what is all that stuff??? Here's the breakdown:

1. My bag from Two Red Hens

2. Make-up bag

3. Bag that holds 2 diapers and cream

4. Misc. kids stuff (crayons, first aid spray, kleenex)

5. Tablet of folding activities for the kids

6. Picture accordion of the kids

7. Travel package of wipes

8. Paint swatches to take to preschool to make a matching game

9. Lipstick case (holds chapstick, gloss, and a lipstick)

10. Coupon holder (which currently has 6 non-expired coupons in it)

11. Packaging from items I need to purchase (so I'll make sure I get the right things)

12. My wallet

13. Nail file (never leave home without it)

14. Gum

15. Book I'm currently reading

16. Notebook and post-its

17. Camera

18. Keys

19. One of the folding activities

20. Receipts for preschool stuff

21. Stickers for the kids

22. Bib for Sophie

Amazingly, it all fit back into the bag!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pinterest 15: Preschool Rocks

This gift was originally a Father's Day present. But I put it together for the first day of teacher in-service at the preschool. I had enough for all the teachers plus our support staff...receptionist, bookkeeper, pastor, custodian.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pinterest 14: Apples & Hugs

Jessica sounds like a great mom who truly appreciates her kid's preschool teachers. I put this basket together for my kids' teachers at the summer program they attended.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pinterest 13: Salt & Rice Sifting

This blog has some good ideas based on the Montessori method. I got this activity ready while the kids were napping and left it for Paul to do with them (while I watched a movie alone). After they had been playing awhile, he came in and said "I don't know if you realize how messy this is." Sophie had a hard time keeping the sifter over the tub so there was salt everywhere.

I found this sifter at Target. It's actually a sink drain strainer. It cost about half what an actual sifter did, but worked just as well. Score!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pinterest 12: Ice Cube Painting

There were several pins about using colored ice to draw. I love how this blogger used straws in her ice cubes. I actually just did mine in a popsicle maker. On this day we just drew on the driveway, but I think I will try it with paper another time. As you can see, Sophie liked eating the ice. They both also figured out that they could draw on their bodies. I like all these ice activities, especially because it's been so hot. They are cheap and fairly easy to clean up. I had the kids where their swimsuits, then I just hosed them down.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pinterest 11: Musical Salt

We did a couple of activities at the same time because they involved ice. This picture is from the end after we finished the musical ice one. I had a bag of ice in the outside freezer so I put it in a cooler, let it melt a bit then we poured salt on it. The website where I saw this said it really wasn't music and she was right, it was more of a snap, crackle, pop. But the kids tried some different things, listening for the sound of the ice. Just before we went inside, I let them throw the ice chunks, breaking them up on the driveway.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pinterest 10: Colored Ice Cubes

So, this is a terrible picture. It was hard to get one that didn't show too much. And the ice melted fast in the bath, but the kids love having new stuff in the tub. At first they didn't know what to make of it. Then they started trying to hold them and pointing out how they colors were mixing with the water. They looked a little confused when it disappeared. We will definitely do this again, you can see the original idea here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pinterest 9: Mayo Jar and Craft Sticks

I've had the empty mayo jar for months, just wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. Then I saw this site. I found some colored craft sticks and let the kids put them through the slot.

I wasn't sure if Sophie would be able to do it but she figured it out.

As they got better at it, we started asking about the colors and requesting certain ones be put into the jar. I'll need to see if I can get some more jars for the Preschool.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pinterest 8: DIY Glitter

According to this site, we should have had our own homemade glitter with just these few items: table salt, food coloring, and an oven.

We followed the instructions, and put it in the oven for 10 minutes.

Looks about the same as it did going in.

So, as far as creating glitter, this was a BUST! But my kids enjoyed pouring salt and mixing the color in. Then we watched it "cook" in the oven. Since it didn't really do anything, I just added it to our I Spy bottles (which I still haven't glued shut yet).