Giving Thanks With Wee Ones

Every November I start a project to get my kids thinking about what they are thankful for. In the past we have always made paper chains, but I just love their little drawings so much that I have to keep them and frankly, I’m running out of room to store the things! So this year I decided to try something new. I have since seen this on Pinterest as well as in a magazine (Family Circle I think), which only validates the sheer genius of the activity.

Firstly I had the task of once again explaining what “thankful” means, that it is things we already have, and not necessarily just “stuff”. I am thrilled and tickled pink to say that tonight while doing our project and deciding what we would be thankful for today, Thing 1 triumphantly declared that he was thankful for me!! It does not get any better than that.

Here is the project in progress:


Things 1 &2 and I do one each every single day and will continue to do so until Thanksgiving. I will share what I’ve cooked up to keep them busy while I cook soon hopefully (I know I’ve been a dreadful blogger!).

I started off by doing a Google image search for leaf coloring pages for kids. I used this free coloring sheet as my template and just cut tons of them out of colored paper. I hole punched each one, threaded some yarn through tying it to the top of the leaf and pinned some larger strands of yarn to the wall to tie the leaves onto for our banner.  Then we just color and tie them on staggering them by tying one tightly and the next loosely and so on.  After they color I also like to write whose is whose and what the picture is on the back of their leaves so I can compare each year and see how they grow in thanks.

My kids are really learning what thankful means, and are truly starting to think about it every day before project time, and I am truly thankful that I get to sit down and color and chat with my two amazing little creatures who in their thanks never fail to awe and amaze me.


Stuck On You

My kids love glue. I think all kids do to be honest. We like painting with it, pasting with it and, on occasion, putting it on our hair and skin and adhering glitter, paper, or anything else we can get our little hands on  to ourselves, much to the dismay of mother’s bathtub drain. So, I found a way to make our own about a year and a half ago from Sustainableecho, and it works great on pretty much everything – including wood and knick knackery (if you don’t say anything to Dad, he’ll never know – so SHHH!!). Here’s how we do it!img_0781

1 c. Flour

1/3 c. Sugar

1 1/2 c. Water

1 tsp Vinegar


Stir flour and sugar together in saucepan. Whisk in 3/4 c. water until a thick paste forms. Whisk in last 3/4 c. water until smooth. Put on medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in vinegar once desired consistency is reached. I use a small wire sieve over my funnel when bottling to keep out any big chunks. If your mix is super chunky near the bottom, just take the back of a spoon and stir it through your sieve mushing it through.

Let cool and craft!img_0783img_0784

All Tied Up

So, this post really doesn’t have anything to do with saving money or being frugal, but rather is a really nifty little craft idea that will benefit both camping families, and those who lean towards being more of a movie buff crowd. My kids are always demanding “camp spots” at movie and down time during the day, meaning they want their blankets laid out just so and their pillows put exactly where their precious heads will land. Once they lay down and find themselves comfortable, the realization hits – “now that we’re laying ON our blankets, we aren’t covered up!!” And so begins the dragging out of every blanket we own. It would be cute if mom weren’t left folding queen size comforters every night of her life for an hour. While cruising pinterest once again, I spotted a no sew sleeping bag post (same idea behind a tie blanket), so of course I immediately pinned it and went back during nap to see how this fabulous item was made – the link led to a picture. That’s it. There was a url on the bottom of the photo that I followed to a site that makes doll bedding and clothing, but still, could not find instructions or even the image. Apparently I’m competitive, because I came to the point that I said the hell with that! I’ll make a better one! And thus the genuine camp spot was born! We will be using ours on movie nights, stargazing on the deck, camping and for sleepovers in mom and dad’s room on stormy/scary nights. So here’s how we made this wonderful item!
You will need –img_0768

Fabric  – 4 yd total for these kid sized units

Foam Pad – I bought the 24″ x 76″ roll and cut it in half to make two

Pillow – I got mine at Walmart for $2.50 a piece for this project

A decent pair of scissors

Total cost of materials seems to be $35 for non-licensed fleece – if you’re getting characters or licensed stuff you’re looking at around $40-$50

img_0769Lay out the fabric you want for the outside of img_0771your bag/camp spot and lay on your pad and pillow so you have your desired length left over for ties around three edges. Make sure however you choose to lay it out that you have enough fabric to do the top as well.  Once you feel satisfied that everything is just so go ahead and put down the fabric for the inside of your bag over the whole thing and cut the side that will become the top of your bag, making sure to leave enough on the side of your pad so that you can still tie it all up.img_0773

img_0772Lay the top over your bag base nice and even so all edges line up – I don’t know why I pulled this back for the picture. It makes no sense to me now. You will probably have to trim some edges, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Once you have it pretty well aligned, just go around cutting the edges into strips. You will end up cutting squares out of all of the corners, but it happens naturally as you go along if you don’t want to worry about it.

Once you have your strips go ahead and start tying double knots all the way around.  I opened my strips and tied white to blue and blue to white for each strip (if that makes sense)tying a double for each pair – one knot ends up on top of another for every strip. Just make sure at some point you decide where you want the “flap” of your bag and don’t make it so the poor kid is tied down! (That’s why I folded it down!!!) Once you get to this point just tie front to back on the single layer of blanket or pad. I found it was easier to fold back my top when I got to a point that I liked and tie up the pad first before going back and tying together the blanket portion. And that’s it!! Here’s the finished product!img_0780

img_0778You can see Thing 2’s camp spot in the back there – I just rolled it up and tied a long scrap around it. They store great! They are both behind this rocking chair in their little rolls! You’d never know unless you sat there (and it’s my spot, so it’s totally off limits!!) Happy camping!

Update 11/14/13

Since this post was published I have begun to sew velcro into the bottom of these so that they can be put through the wash without the pad or pillow – they wash fine with it, but it takes up the WHOLE washer. I also have since done a couple sewn versions. I will be posting a tutorial on that in the near future hopefully!

Mooooommmmmm!! I’m BORED!!!!

This is all I’ve been hearing the past couple of days. We live in Minnesota, and quite frankly, it’s literally too cold to go outside – the people who were too stupid to heed the news when they said not to go outside have now ended up on the news as the cases of frost – bite, so that hopefully no one else has to push it. (I’m sure they will anyway..) Anyway… I had to keep Thing 1 home from preschool today because of an ailment, and we had scheduled an appointment with his doc for this afternoon. So, I plotted out what the heck I was going to do with the kids until it came time for the appointment, and figured that once we got home I would be making supper and we would fall into the normal night-time gig – WRONG!
Unfortunately for me, I never go anywhere, and this lead to my engine freezing up, making us completely unable to get to the doctor’s office. Oh hell! Not that I was looking forward to it, but I really didn’t have anything planned to keep these kids (who are hyped up on the sugar cookies we had made) occupied and amused, and all Thing 1 has to say to me is “I like cold. Cold’s fine. We’re going outside.” Needless to say, that did not happen for him; but I did (of course) go digging through pinterest and found a really fun inside (CLEAN!) activity for the little monsters. As usual, here is the link to the original
The whole thing is simply giving them a basin of water with some dish soap in it and a whisk to make bubbles. She then had them “wash” their play dishes. This sounded great since I obviously can’t leave and am back to a really sparse kitchen (out of milk again already!!!) I of course had to put my own spin on it. So I dug out my huge roasting pan, had them throw in their dirty play dishes, grabbed the whisk and the soap and paraded them off to the bathroom. This is why there are no pictures today. So I put them in the tub sat them down with the roaster and had them make bubbles. This was awesome for about 15 minutes before they started losing interest – enter play dishes! I got another 15 minutes out of that. After that started to get a little boring, mom zipped off to the kitchen and grabbed some food coloring. Two drops on the bubbles every once in a while and they were in business.
They were in that tub virtually SILENT (Oh yes, you heard me right), for an hour – again, not a typo – an hour. They had a blast, and Thing 1 actually broke down his scientific process for me when they got out. Mom gets quiet, kids are happy, and they learned something!!!! Why have I been over thinking this activity business for so long?!