Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Activities: Binoculars

My son loves to explore. He looks for bugs, rocks, shells and pincones.  He also loves to look at the moon and stars. I decided since he loves to explore it was time to make some binoculars. It seemed like a fun way to make exploring even more exciting. 

Make your own pair of binoculars and start exploring.  Here's what you need. 


2 toilet paper rolls or paper towel roll cut in half

Paints, markers or crayons



Hole punch

Stickers (optional)


Take the rolls and decide how you want to decorate them. You can use paints, crayons or markers.

After the rolls are decorated glue them together side by side.

Next take a hole punch and punch one hole on both sides.

Measure the yarn around your neck making sure you have enough to make the binoculars hang like a necklace.

Use the yarn to string through the holes and tie a knot at the end to secure it. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Activities: Summer Reading Programs 2012

PBS Kids and IVillage have a FREE six week reading program and a chance for you to win daily prizes for participation.

PBS Kids and JetBlue get a travel activity booklet and track your minutes. You can also send a postcard with Hooper.

Barnes and Noble – Read 8 books and get one FREE. Get a passport online. For grades 1-6.

Feed Your Brain – Half –Priced Books gives $5 for reading 300 minutes or more each month. For ages 14 and under.

Chuck E. Cheese – Read books for two weeks and redeem 10 tokens on your next visit.

Read for the World Record with Scholastic Books. Schools and Students help set a new world record. Sign up with your school or on our own. Keep a reading log online. Schools with the most minutes will be published in the 2013 Scholastic Book of World Records.

Sylvan Book Adventure – Children choose from a list of over 7,000 titles and take multiple choice quizzes and earn points. Redeem prizes with your points. For grades K-8.

Summer Break Reading Challenge Book It Program – Students can read 5 books and become eligible for a chance to win a prize package. For grades K-6. June 15 through August 15.

Pottery Barn for Kids Summer Reading Challenge – Read books from the list and track your progress. Enter for a chance to win a backpack full of books and receive a free book at your local store.

Check with your local library to find out what they are offering.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Activities: Pet Store

The summer months bring us looking for activities that are free, cheap and fun for the whole family. This next activity is all of them.

A trip to the pet store, even if you don't have a pet it's a wonderful place to visit. A local pet store will provide lots of learning and your kids will see new animals. It's like going to the zoo but cheaper.

We have a couple of pet stores close to our house and we love seeing what animals they have available. Our pet stores have birds, cats, ferrets, hamsters, rats, fish, lizards, hermit crabs, snakes and turtles.

It's fun to see the animals interact with each other and find out new species of fish. My son likes to read all the signs in the store and try to figure out which fish is which. We also like to ask questions to learn more about the animals. The workers are usually very helpful and friendly.

On certain days the pets stores offer an adoption day and they allow you to pet some of the animals and get more close and personal. It's a wonderful opportunity to adopt a new pet and to help the local shelters.  Check with your local pet store to find out when they host adoptions.

Summer Activities: Local Library

A trip to the library is free and fun. It’s a great place to take your children this summer. They have tons of programs available for children of all ages and resources for everyone in the family.

Libraries are great places for everyone to learn about something new. Most libraries have  DVD’s, CDs, magazines, audio books, computer usage and more. Check your local library to see what they offer. 

 Our state has the Metropolitan Library System and each library is joined together so you can get resources from all of the libraries. If there is a book or something else that you want to check out and the current library doesn’t have it available, you can get it sent to your nearest library and pick it up a couple of days later. They can do this with almost any media they have.

Libraries offer programs for all ages. They have concerts, craft classes, animal classes and educational classes too. They are free to the community.

During the summer months the libraries offer a summer reading program for kids birth-teen. The children get rewarded for how many books they read and get entered into drawings for prizes. Over the years we have gotten coupons, trinkets and tickets to our local museums and sports games.

The library system also has an app that you can download on your smart phone to check out audio books. It’s a free app and free downloads. You check them out using your library card and listen to them and after the lending period is up they get check back in automatically. The app is called Overdrive. Download it to see if your local library is available.

If you haven’t been to your local library lately, check it out. It’s full of exciting things to learn about and I promise your kids will find something they like. If you have kids that don’t like to read the library offers comic books, craft books, magazines, art books and books on drawing. They are sure to find something fun.

What’s your favorite thing to do at your library? 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Activities: Travel or Nature Journal

Here's the first installment of Summer Activities. I hope that you enjoy coming back everyday to find out what's new and follow me on Pinterest to see all the activities I have. 

This summer I plan on going to quite a few places around my city and nearby towns. We also have one big trip planned to Big Sky Montana too. It should be a lot of fun. I wanted to make sure my kids had something to write down their new discoveries and journal about their days. 

The little travel journals I made here are the done the same way just in a smaller size. I let the kids decorate them with letters and stickers.

 The Happy Gang with the Nature Journals

Here's this weeks line up.

Week 1:
Sunday: Travel/Nature Journals
Monday: Library Trip
Tuesday: Pet Store
Wednesday: Summer Reading
Thursday:  Binoculars
Friday: Root Beer Floats
Saturday: Pet Rocks

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer Activities Coming Soon

I've been working hard on a list of Summer Activities and I'm almost done. I'll be posting the first week on Sunday and then sharing an activity everyday that you can do together. It could be crafts, cooking, going places or something else all together. 

I hope you will check back everyday for summer fun. It's going to be super exciting and I don't want you to miss out. 

Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest to keep updated.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crafts: Sun Prints

Last summer I had my nephews over at my house and had them make sun prints. They really had fun making them and while we waited we had Popsicles. 

It was a great summer activity.

Here's my post on MetroFamily Magazine to find out how to make your own prints. 

Note: If you use scissors please supervise the children.

Here's our day of fun. 

Popsicle Time

Our Finished Prints


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preparing for Summer

Today is our last day of school and I have been trying to prepare for the next 100 days together. I'm trying to schedule activities we can do at home and away. 

It's hard to prepare because my boys are so far apart in age and what one child likes the other does not. You would think I would be great at coming up with ideas since I write this blog but not so much. 

I started a list last night of different activities and I'm working on organizing it. When I'm finished I plan on posting it here for all of you to see. Hopefully it will give you something to do this summer with your kids. I'm also planning on starting a new board on my Pinterest for 100 Days of Summer. I think it would be cool to keep all the projects and activities together in one place. 

Give me a couple of days and I'll start the list. It's going to be super fun and I hope encouraging and inspiring. 

What are you doing this summer? What summer activities does your family like?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

10 Steps to Finger Weaving

I remember doing this when I was in grade school. My friends and I would set on the steps in front of the school and make a ton of bracelets and necklaces. One year my mom made me make some for our Christmas tree. It took forever to make it long enough but I did it and it made a nice addition to the tree.

Over the years I’ve made these with my nieces and taught them how to do it too.

Step 1
Wrap around your thumb about 3 times. Take the yarn and weave it in and out of each finger. Start behind your index finger and go back and forth. 

Step 2
Now take your yarn and go around back and wrap it around the front. Lay the yarn just above your bottom yarn. 

Step 3
Take the yarn from your middle finger and pick it up and go over the yarn above and put it over your finger. Do the same with your picky finger.  You should now have all four fingers wrapped. 

Step 4
Now take your yarn and go around back and to the front and over all four fingers. (like shown)

Step 5
Take the yarn from your index finger and pick it up and go over the yarn above and put over your finger. Continue until all fingers are done. (your fingers should look like what is shown)

Step 6
Continue Step 5 about 3 more times. Take yarn off thumb and pull the string to see the length. Continue step 5 until desired link. 

Step 7
When you reach your desired link stop. Take the yarn you are using to wrap around your fingers and this time take the very end of the yarn and put it through the bottom of your wrapped index finger. (like shown)

Step 8
Take the wrap off your finger and continue with the rest of your fingers. You should have nothing on your fingers when you’re finished. 

Step 9
Pull the string to make the end tight. Take other end and pull it too.  

Step 10
Take the ends and tie it together to make a bracelet, necklace or whatever you like. 

 Note: In case your wondering what happened to my hand, I fell on the floor furnace when I was about 1.  

Do you finger weave? What have you made with your finger weaves?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kool-Aid Popsicles

I was thinking about my mother the other day and it reminded me of things she would do during the summer. She would make Kool-Aid Popsicles. When it was hot outside this was one of my favorite treats. It’s easy to do and it costs little money. If you have 7 kids like my mother you learn to be thrifty and creative.


Ice cube tray

Favorite flavor of Kool-Aid




Make Kool-Aid according to package.

Next pour Kool-Aid slowly into the ice cube tray.

Cover tray with foil.

After you get the tray covered. Take a toothpick and punch a hole inside each ice cube. 

Put the ice cube tray into the freezer. It will take about an hour or longer for ice cubes to form.

When the Kool-Aid freezes take cubes out and eat. Toothpicks can poke you a little when your eating so be careful and make sure to dispose of your toothpicks so no one gets hurt.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Summer time is the best time to get out and play with chalk but what are you going to do with all those little pieces of chalk that end up in the bottom of the bucket? Don't throw them out instead turn them into something even more fun for the kids.

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Click here for directions.

Most of the recipes I've seen tell you use cornstarch and other things but with this recipe all you need is chalk and water. 

What else can you do with your sidewalk paint? Paint pin cones or make a picture on paper.

Note: This is from my MetroFamily Magazine Craft Blog.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Family Game Night

Family time is so important. We enjoy playing together as a family. There are days when it’s not so easy, when one child doesn’t want to do what the other does but when it come together it’s magic.

I found the best way to work in family game time is by getting dinner done by 5pm. That gives us enough time to eat and play. Everything that needs to be cleaned up gets put on hold until after we are done playing. However, we do put the left over food away first. If this won't work for your family pick another time that does. It might be that a certain day or the weekend will work best.

One of the boys favorite things to do is throwing a ball around outside. We get out the football and chase each other around. The last couple of days have been great weather for getting out and playing. We also play basketball.

On those days we don’t feel like running around we will do something like sidewalk chalk drawings, nature walks or go to the park. 

When the weather doesn’t hold up and we are stuck inside we play board games. Board games are becoming a thing of the past but they are a wonderful resource for learning and having a good time together. There are so many board games out there that teach math skills, money saving, life lessons, spelling and creativity. 

We also like to play the Wii. There are some great family games out on the market. We like Wii Sports, Carnival Games, Rock Band, Just Dance and the Wii Fit. It’s been a good investment for our family because it gives us something to do together. My boys are 12, 5 and 9 months and finding something we can all do together is really hard. The Wii makes that possible. It can turn game time into something competitive and exciting. 

This is his bowling pose. 

Family Time doesn’t have to cost money it’s just takes time. Time is important for your FAMILY. Take the time to find things to do together and enjoy being with each other. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quick Kids Trail Mix

This recipe is one I use with my family when we go on long car rides, a day at the park, hiking or going to the zoo. There is something for everyone to like about it. I love that it is simple to make. Just throwing some thing together and your done. 


2-3 cups Cheerios

Bag of Goldfish Crackers

1-2 cups M&M’s

½ package of Peanuts

1-2 cups Dried Cranberries (Craisins) or Raisins


Add all ingredients in a bowl and serve. This can be made with more or less of each ingredient. You can also add cut up beef jerky, semi-sweet chocolate chips and other kinds of nuts. Store in an air-tight container.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Crafts: 7 Mother's Day Presents You Can Make

Happy Mother's Day!

Celebrate Mother's Day making your own special artwork. Here are several ways to say I love you.

Make pretty flowers using a stalk of celery. It's fun and turns out beautiful. I think any mother would love them.

Click here for instructions.

This is a valentine's coupon book but you can make it for mom too, just add Mother's Day Coupon Book to the front instead. Include some chores your mom would love you to do. I'm sure she will appreciate it.

Click here for instructions.

Recycle a coffee filter and make mom a whole bouquet of flowers. They would make a beautiful center piece. Grandma would love them too.

Click here for instructions.

Make a Butterfly Sun Catcher. This project will take some help from an adult but it is so wonderful and would make a really nice addition to any window. 

Click here for instructions.

A refrigerator isn't complete without a few homemade magnets. These are cute little magnets for any refrigerator. 

Click here for instructions. 

Moms love keeping journals. It's a perfect way for her to write down her thoughts and spend some quiet time.  

Click here for instructions.

Plant mom some pretty flowers she can add to her outside garden. Make sure you pick some flowers that can come back every year, that way mom can remember how much you love her each year they bloom.

Click here for instructions. 

Does your mom like to read. Here are several books that are super for any mom. Plus be sure to sign up for the giveaway while you're there.

Click here for the article and your chance to win. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

5 Free Apps for Mom

Are you sick of the same old apps. Playing Words with Friends or Hanging with Friends. Here are some apps to help you get organized, find crafts and recipes, find out the song that is playing on the commercial and find free apps from all over the place. 

Want to be more organized, remember important dates, make shopping lists and to do lists.

Check out Cozi. It’s a wonderful app with lists to create and do.

Create a family calendar with color coding so you can easily see what event is going on. Add reminders to send to your phone or email so that you will never forget an important appointment again. You can also share this with the whole family. So if your husband or child has an upcoming appointment you can send them a reminder too or teach them how to add in their own. You can also sync your calendar with Microsoft Outlook and other internet calendars.

Add things to your grocery list and to do list. No more losing your list.

I use to only own an Ipod Touch and you can still use it without an internet connection. Look at the calendar and add events. Plus look at the grocery list and add on too. Check off the things that your getting at the store and always have it with you. If your out getting milk you can look to see if there is anything else you need.

There are tons of great things about the app and the site. Check it out and get your life a little more organized.

This app helps you find new and old apps for Free or that have lowered their price. Find apps for your kids or yourself.

This app will sort the apps for you by pricing and popularity. You can also share the information with your friends about the apps you like.

Here’s an app that is going to be your new addiction. Just like Pinterest but on a smaller scale. The crafts are submitted by craft bloggers instead of everyone out there. Editors review the submissions and choose the ones to showcase.

This app is filled with wonderful craft projects and allows you to save them and share them with your friends.

One thing I love about this app is that I can always link up to the website that it came from. Sometimes on Pinterest I get sales ads.

Sign up is FREE.

Along with Craftgawker there is also Foodgawker.

Foodgawker helps you find new food to try out with some wonderful recipes, restaurant reviews and more.

This app is done with submissions from food bloggers. It’s update daily from editors who pick out the best to share.

Craftgawker and Foodgawker both have wonderful websites that can be checked out as well.

This app is one of my best friends when it comes to music. I can be sitting and watching commercials or my favorite shows on tv and hear a song I like and use my app to find out who sings it. I can also buy it too. It syncs me up with iTunes for easy purchasing.

One other thing it does that I really love is plays the song along with the lyrics. I really like being able to hear it and read along.

There are so many great features so check it out.

Great for the music lovers out there and best of all it’s FREE.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Domino Time

I remember playing with dominoes when I was little. There were only so many things you could do at your grandparents house. Dominoes are a fun activity for indoors when it's raining or to hot to be outside. It also builds your imagination and thinking skills. 

We love playing with dominoes in my house. They are fun to stack and fun to watch fall down. They are also very noisy which makes it extra fun. 

Making a snake seems to be the favorite way to play. Stand the dominoes up on the end and make a line of them just a tiny bit apart so when they fall they can hit the next one in line. When you get them all standing up push down the first domino and watch them fall. 

The other way to play is just stack them up. Make a tall tower, train track, buildings, and garages for cars.


Dominoes are also a wonderful game to play. It teaches matching, counting and other math skills too.  Kids can play and learn.  A good family game.

Have fun with them and let your child explore a whole new world.