Monday, November 9, 2009

Christmas Service Countdown Calendar

I am a sucker for Christmas countdowns and advent calendars. So when I saw this DARLING Christmas countdown calendar on, I knew it was my destiny to create one for myself. Each day has a laminated piece attached with a magnet that has a good deed behind it. Brilliant! Once again, she has an awesome tutorial so I'll let you check hers out. I ended up getting a board that was bigger than 12x12, that's why I have more of a patchwork look, but I am so so so excited to use it this year :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Welcoming a new baby...

Ever since I was preparing for the arrival of my 2nd child, I have been trying to come up with ways to involve the other kids and make the event a celebration, rather than an event that throws a stick in their spokes.

Each child gets the baby a small gift. Now I cheat with this one, because there are so many little things you need to get and stock up on, especially if it's not your first and you aren't having a shower to stock up on stuff, I just get the things I would normally buy (ie. bottles, socks, onesies, washcloths, etc.) and let each child choose an item and wrap it. There is something magical about giving a gift...they love it. We exchange these gifts right at the hospital when they all meet each other for the first time.

Baby gets each sibling a small gift. Coloring books, small toys, dollar store long as it's wrapped, it works :)

Buy a baby. This works really good for toddler and younger preschooler siblings who don't really get how much their world is about to change. Buy a little baby doll a bit before the baby comes, and use it to teach about how to hold the baby, how to be soft with the baby, how to change the diaper, etc. I don't know if I can give credit to the doll, or if I have just been lucky, but knock on wood, I haven't yet had a problem with the kids being too rough with the new baby. They wait to get rough for at least a couple of months when the baby is big enough to defend him/herself ;)

A Nursing Basket. I got this idea from a friend so long ago, I can't remember for sure which friend it was. But if it was your idea, you know who you are...cuz I don't ;) Get a small basket and fill it with stickers, easy games you can play with one hand or less, a special coloring book/crayons, special toys, etc. This special basket can only be played with when you are nursing the baby, so instead of the younger kids feeling put out and neglected because you are occupied frequently throughout the day, they get excited to play with what's in the basket. I typically only do this for the first couple of months...they figure things out and slowly ween themselves from needing the constant attention during that time. Good stuff.

Make parent/adult time for the other kids in those first few days. My husband is the one that manages this after our kids are born. He brings children's books to the hospital and not only reads to the new baby, but reads to the kids as well. He also makes sure to take the kids to do something fun before I come home from the hospital with the baby. If you aren't in a situation where you can do this, solicit the help of relatives or neighbors to take your kids to the park, $5 pizza, anything where the focus can be on them rather than just the baby.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to play with your kids...

I just started this book last night, and I think it may very well be my favorite parenting book of all-time. It's entitled "Piggyback Rides and Slippery Slides: How to Have Fun Raising First Rate Children" by Lynnae W. Allred. This book has honestly been an answer to many of my prayers recently, and I can hardly wait for my kids to wake up so I can try some of this stuff on them.

Some of my favorite things I have read so far include:
  • How one of her favorite memories with her grandmother was when she took time away from all the many chores she had on their farm, and set up a little table in the living room for an impromptu tea party. Decades later, she still remembered even tiny details.
  • Bedtime is playtime - goes against everything I thought I knew, but WOW!!!
  • Playing games at dinner will bring your family closer...I am giddy to try these out tonight
  • "One of the first rules for turning work into play is to relax about the outcome and enjoy the journey more"
There are SO so so many ideas in here of games, activities, name it. I don't feel like I can share all of them because she wrote the book and not me, but if nothing else, get it from the library!!! Seriously, it's that good :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

PVC Pipe Swords

Another winning idea actually came from my neighbors. They made these awesome swords for their family reunion, and we got to borrow them. They kept the boys in the family occupied for hours!

For each sword, you will need:
  • pvc pipe (I think it's 3/4 inch...small enough to fit in the hole of a swim noodle)
  • swim noodle (each swim noodle makes at least two swords)
  • pvc pipe end cap to keep the tip of the pipe from being too sharp
  • electrical tape (we had red, white, and black).
  • glue to secure pipe to noodle
  1. Cut the pvc pipe to the size you want...we had 3, kid, and little kid ;)
  2. Cut the swim noodles to be about 1 food smaller than the pipe you have to make sure you have a pvc pipe handle (at least two fist lengths) and place the noodle around the pipe. Glue the pipe to the noodle.
  3. Wrap the noodle with LOTS of electrical tape. Make sure you secure it to the pipe...none of the noodle should be showing when you are finished. Take extra care to make sure the tip of the sword is covered in an extra layer or two.
  4. Place the end cap on the handle of the sword. Glue if necessary.


One of my favorite traditions that we have done at my dad's family reunion and that we started this year in the Skelton reunion was the raffle. Each person that wanted to participate had to bring at least one item to donate. We gave each person 10 tickets, and then the mayhem began ;) The more people the better for this one.

Some of the favorite items up for grabs in years gone by have been:
  • Every year my grandma hand makes a quilt that is the last item up for grabs. The one she did this year had squares my grandpa had actually made. It was VERY special!
  • Giant tub of cheese puffs
  • Grandma's jar of pennies
  • A can of reddi-whip
  • Squirt guns
  • Unwanted movies
  • Unwanted books
  • A stuffed pheasant
  • Dollar store toys
  • Anything else you can think to bring!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Family Yahtzee

I got this idea from a blog I found on one of my friend's links, and I had to try it. She gives a great tutorial so I won't repeat that here.

A couple of changes I made was I didn't put paper over the whole box...I used it more as an accent. I also added the quote, "The family the plays together, stays together." along with a family picture on the side.

I had a bunch of birthdays coming up, and thought this might be a fun idea. I bought the box at Roberts with my 40% off coupon, which made it about $1.65. I had a bunch of the wooden blocks already, and I made the score sheets on the MS Excel and then took it to Alphagraphics to copy and bind. Each pad cost around $3 for the copies and the binding. I had all of the paper and the modge podge, the paint, and the golf pencils, so it ended up being a very inexpensive project. The pics are bad, but I think it turned out really cute!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A life celebration

So this last week, we celebrated what would have been my dad's 56th birthday. My dad passed away within a few weeks of my wedding, so my kids never got the opportunity to know him. So to help reaquaint them them to him, we had his favorite birthday cake, told stories and looked at pictures. With so many in our family passing away, I like having these celebrations throughout the year, not to mourn but to celebrate the lives that have so deeply molded our lives, but that we may not have had first-hand experience with. And what kid doesn't love any excuse for a birthday party?! It was a great success!