Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Simple Family Home Evenings: Daniel and the Lions Den Lion Masks

While perusing, (yes perusing… you have to slowly wander so you have time to see what is there and what can be done with it) the Dollar Tree a month or so ago I found a wooden lion mask for a dollar. I immediately picked it up because my little ones loves animals and since we are trying to focus on bible stories for our Family nights I thought it would work perfect for that. So simple.

If your local Dollar Tree does not carry them or is out don't worry a simple paper plate will work just as well. 

Look around the house to see what you have to work with and use that. Yarn, construction paper, noodles, crayons and markers, really anything you can glue down for the mane or just have kids color their plate and cut holes in it for them.

Tell the story of Daniel and then have the kids made their own lion. Good luck!

Simple Easter Decor

While I really enjoy decorating my home for the holidays sometimes it is nice to be able to do it with simple items that can be put up, enjoyed, and taken down with little fuss. 

This year that is how it has worked so far. I have a shelf full of Easter projects/decor items that I tell myself I'll get to every week. An Easter egg wreath, a burlap bunny table runner, decorative easter eggs to hang on an "Easter Tree" that I have ruined once already and must re-do, a giant Easter Egg that I wanted to paint gold that is at the moment half robin egg blue and half the paper mache' it was created from, and last but certainly not least a topiary that I am sure I can make with items around the house. 

But life happens and as the above mentioned projects all wait for their turn to be painted, glued, and stenciled upon I did manage to dig up a few Easter/Spring items and get them up, and even if I don't get to my other projects I have enjoyed the feeling of spring around the house.

White blossoms I got from Michaels Craft store a few years ago.

Dried roses from my husband in a yellow robin tin, and yellow plates. I love yellow for spring and summer.

A sprig of eggs and leaves from Michaels Craft Store Dollar bin dresses up an outdoor wreath.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Product Review: Munchkin Click Lock Fresh Food Freezer Pops

What to do with picky eating kids. You try and try and try some more but nothing works. 

I read recently that it takes a dozen times or more of introducing young children to a certain food before they will actually eat it. 

So hang in there and keep trying. Serve a variety of foods as I'm sure you have read over and over again. One thing that worked for me recently was freezing a variation of things and making it into a popsicle for my little one. I found these on Amazon for $4.72 but then realized it was a Walmart brand and I could most likely find them in store. Which I did. Same price so whatever is easiest for you.

I looked around online wanting to find "the best" and was amazed at the prices of some of the popsicle molds. I decided on these because you can't beat the price if they break and don't work at least I would have used them a few times right.. and two they are perfect for little hands. It is a small portion as well so it is less likely to turn into a huge sticky mess.

And I was right. I love them. The tray will stay together as one or you can unsnap them and use 3 at a time and then the other 3. I love this because a few times the popsicle has not come out so it has been nice to just use one side and hold just the popsicle I want out under some warm water to loosen it up a bit.

The portion sizes are perfect. About the time it starts to melt is when my little one is done with it.

Easy to wash and clean. They don't take up much room in the fridge. 

Last but certainly not least. My little one ATE…. I blended up strawberries in milk and froze those. The next week I used part of my orange, banana, pineapple smoothy and froze that. Both were a hit. 

I especially loved these when my little one was teething and wouldn't touch normal food. Instead of sugary popsicles from the store I knew what was in these and could make whatever I wanted.

Worth the price. So far they seem like they'll hold up for awhile. I would recommend it if you are looking for something similar.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bear Hats, Banners, Masks, and Books

I love browsing Pinterest and being able to see all of the kid birthday party ideas. Some of them are quite extravagant which is fine if you can do that. I can see how you would go overboard on children's parties because they are so excited about it all.

So with that in mind some Teddy Bear party ideas or you could use these for everyday fun if so needed. My favorite Bear Books are included at the bottom of the post. Check them out I think you'll enjoy them!

Teddy Bear Hats

  • Place a plate on a piece of card stock and trace half of the plate so you have a half circle. 
  • Cut it out.
  • Wrap it until you have a cone shape.
  • Add your favorite bear items to the hat.
  • Bear shown was cut out from felt pieces and glued to the hat.
  • A party hat was added to the bear. You could do it with just the bear. Or just use stamps or crayons/markers to decorate your hat and don't worry about using felt.

  • Punch holes in the side of each cone and add string or elastic long enough to go around your little ones head.
  • Draw on any pieces that you need to with a permanent black marker.

Teddy Bear Banner/Bear Masks

I'll have to get a better picture to add. This banner was ripped down and some what broken/destroyed as I was taking a picture of it. So I need to do a few repairs. 

I purchased some craft foam from Walmart and using different sized plates and cups in my kitchen cut out different sizes of circles for a bear head-dessert plate, nose-small bowl, eyes-plastic medicine cup, ears-glass. Ears and head where cut out of brown, the nose was white, and the eyes black. I then cut out my own triangle shape for the snout of the bear and added a little mouth with a sharpie marker. Hot glued it all together and then glued it to some twine. Worked great….. well until it was ripped down because I hung it too low for curious little paws! I'll try and get a better picture up soon.

*You could easily turn these into bear masks by cutting large holes out for the eyes and adding elastic to each side so it winds around the child's head. Children could then help make their own mask and wear as part of a party or bear day.

My Favorite Bear Books… I own them all and love them.

The Teddy Bears' Picnic
 Jimmy Kennedy
 Illustrated by Alexandra Day

The Christmas Bear 
Written and Illustrated by Henrietta and Paul Stickland

The Bear Snores On
Karma Wilson and Illustrated by Jane Chapman

Friday, March 14, 2014

Easy Saint Patricks Day Cookies

Looking for a quick St. Patty's Day treat? Look no further than Oreos Mint Cookies. Serve them as is or dip or drizzle them with chocolate and sprinkles. You are guaranteed a quick hit with all ages. 

Just make sure to enjoy a few yourself. I may or may not have eaten most of these. Ooops! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How is Losing Weight like Growing Spring Flowers?

How is losing weight like growing spring flowers? I'll tell you. I have been trying to lose weight for weeks. Scratch that. Months. I lost quite a bit/most of my baby weight and then hit a plateau.

In mid November I told myself I would get it off by Christmas. Terrible idea. Who can lose weight during the holidays. I thought the motivation of being around family and wanting to look my best would do it. It didn't. I enjoyed many a holiday treat and told myself I would start again on New Years.

Well…… New Years came and went. I gave a few days of effort before the exhaustion of having two small children led me to tell myself that it was too hard and with little to no sleep and little to no time it was not going to happen.

And then it happened. I rediscovered Katrina and Karina from Toneitup.com. Granted these two have never had children and are young and get to work out by the beach but they look great, they are highly motivational and they have a workout that they make for you. This was early February and they were currently in the middle of the Love Your Body Challenge set to finish for Valentines Day.

I was excited. I jumped all in. For two weeks I followed their website and Facebook page diligently completing all of the workouts and doing my best to eat well. At first the workouts were hard then certain moves became a little easier.

After a week of sick children with no time to work out I lost my motivation again and as I tried each day to find the time to workout I became frustrated and began to eat terribly again and tell myself it just was not worth it.

On my way to the mailbox last week I looked down at my flower bed and saw these. The day or two before they had been small pieces of green just beginning to pop out of the ground. Now they were up a few inches. A day or two later I looked at them again and they were noticeably taller yet again. This time I was frustrated again with my weight and I just looked at these flowers and thought, "Weight loss takes more than a day. Just like these flowers take more that a day to grow to a full tulip." No duh is what you are thinking. I know that weight loss is a gradual process but somedays I just want to be my old self and it seems like working out and eating right take weeks and weeks to see results. It does take time to see results but when I looked at these flowers twice in a week and could physically see their progress I finally came to the realization that I already knew but needed to remember…..just a little each day is all it takes and and little by little just like a flower pushing up from the ground you'll get to where you want to be. If you fall/don't make progress one day that is ok. Try again the next day. With small little chunks you can bite off what you want until you are able to get to where you need to go. 

So I'm re committed. I'm back to following and watching the Tone It up Girls as they get ready for spring and summer. My children are sick again so it has been about a week since I have been able to do anything but one day while their naps overlapped I had a whole 20 minutes to myself and was able to squeeze in one quick arm workout. I would have loved an hours time to do their full workout for the day and shower but that is not what I had. So I used what I had and went with it. I'll try again tomorrow and the day after that. I will lose this baby weight by trying a little harder each day. Not trying for perfection but trying my hardest. And that is ok.

I'll do my best to keep weight loss tips and my progress posted here. I have always been into fitness and eating right and feeling good and have been trying to get back to all of those things and find a way to incorporate them into my new family life. It is quite a bit easier to make those things a priority when you are single I have found. Let me know your tips and tricks for motivation or how you find time to stay active. I'd love any help on the topic!

If you have not heard of Tone It Up google it now and give it a try. I think you'll love it.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

How Do Dinosaurs Books and Dinosaur Activities

Looking for a quick but cute read with illustrations that will put a smile on your face? Look no farther than Jane Yolen and Mark Teagues How Do Dinosaur books. There are quite a few of them in the series and they are each amusing to the adult reader as well as the child.     
Dinosaurs of enormous sizes act as the children in the books while the parents try and get them to go to bed, go to school, make friends, learn colors, and eat their food. At first the dinosaurs scowl raise a fuss, and are very disagreeable. They then turn into the little angels that your little ones are…. or are trying to be! 

Other Titles:
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food
How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten
How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You
How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors
How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms
How Do Dinosaurs Go To School
How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday
How Do Dinosaurs Play All Day
And many more.

Dinosaur Activities to Go with Your Dinosaur Book

Day in the Life of A Dino

"Dinosaurs may be extinct from the face of the planet, but they are alive and well in our imaginations." -Steve Miller, Freaks!

Kids love dinosaurs and nearly everything about them. Their sheer size makes it impossible to ignore these creatures that once ruled the earth. Whether you are trying to teach children about dinosaurs or just looking to have some fun hopefully you'll find something to try.

Make Your Own Dinosaur Skin-

Paleontologists can guess about what dinosaur skin looked like and felt like but because it did not fossilize well they don't know exactly what color dinosaurs where. Dinosaur skin impressions have been found leading us to believe that dinosaur skin may have been similar to reptiles. Bumpy, scaly, rough. Create a piece of "dinosaur skin" and let children feel what a dinosaur may have felt like.

Supplies: Plate, Cardboard box, or other flat surface for your skin to sit on. Clay, and small rocks gathered from outside. (Rocks should be roughly the same size)


  • Form your clay into a flat piece of skin. The shape is entirely up to you.
  • Place the rocks in the clay as close together as possible in a single row.
  • Continue to make rows of rocks until the clay is completely covered.
  • Dry Clay so the rocks will be stuck in the clay. (Overnight)
  • Let Children touch and feel the skin. 
Educational or Party Ideas:
  • Dinosaur skin color is unknown as well. If you would like you can have the children paint the skin in different colors or patterns. 
  • If you would like each child to have their own piece of skin simply make the pieces of clay smaller and have each child make their own.
  • Make several pieces and use as a scavenger hunt for a classroom activity or birthday party. Hide the pieces around the yard,school, home and ask the kids to find the different colored pieces of skin.

 Make Your Own Dinosaur Skin

Dinosaur Footprint-

By using size on something like a foot children are able to understand how big dinosaurs were compared to them. Make a giant dinosaur footprint and then have children make traceable footprints of their own. 

Supplies: Air Dry Clay, Paint, Flat Surface/Piece of Cardboard or Plastic, Paper, Pencils

  • Trace a large dinosaur footprint onto your piece of cardboard.
  •  Using the molding air dry clay cover the entire surface of the footprint with clay. 
  • If you prefer you can add extra clay and mold the footprint so it looks like a dinosaur stepped in the clay.
  • Paint it to look like mud. Let dry overnight.
  • Have children trace their feet and place the two side by size for a size comparison.
Make a Dinosaur Footprint


Finding dinosaur bones is hard work and paleontologists have to be careful with the bones as the dig in the dirt. Using Chocolate Chips cookies is a fun way to let children "dig for dinosaur bones".

Supplies: Napkin, Toothpick, Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • The cookie itself is the dirt
  • Chocolate Chips are "dinosaur bones"
  • Toothpick is the paleontology digging pick
  • Use the toothpick to remove chocolate chips from the "dirt"
  • Have the children see how many chips they can safely remove without breaking the cookie.
  • Enjoy your chips and the cookie!

Dinosaur Heads

Children love to wear their own creations. This activity is a little more time consuming and will probably need the help and guidance of an adult. But the end result is worth it. You can spend as much or as little time on these as you would like. They are nice to have as a teaching prop that can be used over and over again. But if they are just for fun you can let the children each make their own and use them for play.

Shoe box or other box that will loosely allow a child's head inside
Masking Tape
Modge- Podge if desired

  • Make two holes in the sides of the cardboard box for eye openings
  • Crumple up the newspaper to form the shape of a dinosaur nose
  • Attach the nose to the front of the box between the eye holes
  • Children paint their creation
  • (If you as the adult are making it you may want to paint it nicely and modge-podge over your final product. This will make it harden up and last a little longer.)
  • Put it on, have fun, and let the playing begin.
Educational or Party Ideas:
  • Dinosaur Eyesight- Eyes of a Dinosaur- Make two boxes. One with eyes facing forward like a T-Rex and one with eyes on the side of the head. Let the children try on both boxes to see that some dinosaurs could see like humans (eyes in the front) while other dinosaurs had eyes on the sides of their heads and could only see that way. 
  • Day in the Life of a Dinosaur- Put head piece on and have children act out different dinosaur activities. See Below. (T-Rex Hands) You can do an obstacle course of some kind with these.

Tyrannosaurus Rex Hands

With Black or Brown Gloves and a bit of light sewing you can turn average gloves into T-Rex Hands. 
Simply purchase or find a pair of old gloves and sew down the last two fingers and the thumb. When children/or adults put their hand into the glove they will have only two fingers to use. Just like a T-Rex.
Tyrannosaurus Rex Hand

Education or Party Ideas:
  • Use as part of an obstacle course or alone. Have children put on two gloves with only two fingers that are usable. Give them small tasks to do while their have the gloves on. Unwrap candy, hold objects, tie their shoe, etc. This will let them see how a T-Rex was only able to use two tiny fingers.
  • Use with Dinosaur Heads above to complete a dinosaur costume and do a full obstacle course as a true "dinosaur". If doing the course as a T-Rex use a piece of ribbon to tie children's elbows to their sides. This will further make them more like a T-Rex as they had tiny arms. Use yarn to wrap around chairs, playground equipment, trees, etc. depending on your location. Wrap the yarn around items to make a course that children have to step over, crawl under, go around objects as they are dressed in their dinosaur heads, gloves, and feet. 
  • An alternative to doing a course with yarn. Use masking tape on the floor to make places where children run, walk, zig zag, jump, crawl etc. This is a lot of fun!

T. Rex Nose-Does Your Nose KNOW?
Tyrannosaurus Rex had an amazing sense of smell. This helped him hunt. In this activity you'll teach the children how to smell like a T-Rex. 

  •  Find several small jars/containers that you can put a cotton ball inside of. 
  • Find several strong smells: Cinnamon, Vanilla, Chocolate, BBQ sauce etc. Anything that smells enough that children can detect it and know what it is.
  • Place the smell on a cotton swab and place it in the container. It is best if all the containers match or are made in some way that children can't detect the color and texture of each item.
  • Have each child take turns smelling each jar to see if they can tell what is in each.