Shell Shocked Parents…And The Face Of A Child’s Resilience

One of the exhibits at our local Children’s Museum is a life-size ant hill. The kids love the maze of tunnels. Our daughter is just 2, so my husband and I climbed in with them. We were not as fond of the humid, carpeted tunnels and the smell of sweaty socks as they were – we went in only for giggles.

This time, the fun was short-lived. Our daughter crawled in a second level tunnel and blindly moved forward. I heard my husband shouting for her to stop. Below her, I moved towards them hoping to catch her. Not fast enough.

THUD.

Any parent knows that particular sound – the unmistakable sound of a head face hitting something hollow. She crawled straight over a hole and fell, face-first so her nose and mouth took the brunt of the impact. Cradling her as we crawled out into the light, we surveyed the damage.

A face full of bright red blood.

It. Was. E-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

First, my husband and I froze, our faces mirroring looks of horror and concern. Then suddenly, adrenaline kicked in and I shoved her into my husband’s arms and ran for something…anything…to soak up the blood. Her screams echoed as amazingly helpful and sympathetic staff began arriving to assist us.

I’m not gonna lie – the afore-mentioned adrenaline could easily be interpeted as panic. My thoughts raced down all kinds of rabbit holes…loss of teeth, broken nose, bit tongue, concussion and worse.  Grabbing paper towels and the diaper bag while replaying the thud and the blood in my mind…I wondered if we needed to go the ER. I prayed we wouldn’t.

Running back, I found my poor (amazing) husband sitting, trying to console her and keep the blood off of the museum bench. As we soaked it up from our writhing and screaming child, we made eye contact.

No words required.

Fear. Love. Concern. Prayers. Hope…all at once.

It took maybe 10 minutes to slow the bleeding down to a trickle. It felt like HOURS. We assessed the damage and were amazed there was no external cut. A tongue bite that hardly bled, and a record-setting bloody nose.

As we tried to apply an ice pack provided by the staff, she struggled to get up, screaming to get down. Why? Not because it was cold. Not because it hurt. No, she was ready to play.

Seriously?

My husband and I were ready to go home.

We moved to the hallway and and gave the kids a snack while we continued to try to get her nose to stop bleeding. By now, our main concern was whether she had broken her nose.

Her main concern was what she could play with next.

When the bleeding finally stopped, we changed her clothes, washed up, and decided to try one of the quieter exhibits. My husband and I spent the rest of the time trying to make sure our over-ambitious two-year old didn’t fall on her face again. Or…rather we succumbed to overprotective instincts and annoyed her. Helicopter parenting at it’s finest worst.

To our surprise, we finished the rest of the museum and left with two tired, happy kids. The only evidence of what is now known as the ‘childrens museum incident’ was a bruise on the bridge of her nose. How so much could come out of someone so little and leave only a tiny bruise…I still cannot understand but am grateful for it.

I was amazed by how quickly she moved on from injury. As parents, injuries seem to linger in our minds long after our children move on. Our wandering minds remind us of what ‘could have happened’. But she refused to let even the most epic of bloody noses to stop her fun. We feared she would reinjure her nose, but she had no fear AT ALL.

She chose not to dwell on it – a lesson many adults could benefit from learning. The urge to play was stronger than the urge to wallow. So, she got back up, and got back to the business of having fun.

We left shell-shocked. She acted like nothing happened – with a smiling little face of resilience.

Carry on, Sunshine girl.

Still with a bruise - a smiling face of resilience. Our little tough girl. | thisgratefulmama.com

Still with a bruise – a smiling face of resilience. Our little tough girl. | thisgratefulmama.com

White Knees and Blue Jeans…

White Knees and Blue Jeans | thisgratefulmama.com

Sometimes when my husband has been traveling, I have take too much time to think about random, silly things. And sometimes I decide to write about those things. This is admittedly one of those posts.

Ok?

Now lets talk about blue jeans.

Don’t worry, I’m not claiming to be a fashion writer (no one would believe that anyway). What I am claiming to be is a mama with blue jean problems.

Any mama knows just how inconsistent body weight and shape can be during child-bearing years. Both weight and shape change drastically – first with pregnancy, then while nursing, then when finished nursing. Add in varied dedication to eating well and working out and you’ve got a recipe for a clothing size roller-coaster.

For this reason, every pair of jeans I’ve owned over the last 5+ years are still in my closet – an impending avalanche of folded denim. All fit at some point but maybe just 1 pair fits WELL at any given time. But I can’t only wear one pair of jeans. SO…the rest have problems.

Too tight, too low, too wide, too stretchy, not stretchy enough…what is a mama to do?

The nothing-fits-the-waist problem:

With my body shape, most jeans fit well everywhere but the waist. For the life of me, I cannot find pants that stay put! Does anyone else have this problem!? No one needs, or wants to see what these jeans should be hiding.

The belt-solution: Cinch it tight and sit in peace. However, it often causes pants to pucker. Sigh…as if any mama needs extra bulging in the tummy region…

The shirt-solution: Buy only tunic length shirts and tanks. Sit down because you’re covered. Literally.

The buy-jeans-every-month solution: Expensive! But if you must, commit to buying second-hand jeans – already washed and shrunk.  The only jeans that fit me now I snagged for $3 on clearance at Clothes Mentor. Be sure to keep the old, you may need them to survive the next round of the body-shape roller coaster.

The I-used-to-wear-heels problem

Before kids, I wore heels all the time and bought jeans long on purpose. Now, heals are rare. Why? Heels are hard on your back and even worse for a mama lugging a purse, diaper bag, and one or two children all at once (like a glorified mama pack-mule). Plus, bending down an extra 2 or 3 inches to reach a child’s hand…well, that’s gonna hurt.

If I do manage to find jeans that fit my waist, they are often too long. So, they’re now tattered and worn out on the bottom. Why keep them? I’d rather jeans be too long than show too much.

The hem solution: Tailoring length is a good idea. I’m not getting any taller so fixing the length will prevent the ripped-up-heel look. My jeans are already ripped up…be proactive people.

The white-knees problem

My favorite jeans are so dark they can stain other stuff and probably smell like indigo dye – less casual and seem to go with everything. They hide minor stains from dirty hands and faces that regularly gravitate towards mama legs like a bug to a light. But for the mama of small children, these jeans only look new briefly. The knees fade and will soon look starkly white against rich indigo beauty.

The never-wear-dark-jeans-around-kids solution: Oh wait, is there any other time to wear jeans? Oh, yeah…on a date some time, or girls night (yes, please). Wear already worn out jeans at home and save those unfaded dark ones for a special occasion (and hope they still fit) .

The dye solution: Check out what modern thrifter did to restore jeans with white knees. It should work. When I stop regularly crawling around and kneeling with children I plan to give it a whirl.

The embrace-it solution: Precious mama, if your knees are white, you’re doing exactly what you should be. Those white knees are a badge of honor. They tell of afternoons spent crawling after a giggling toddler (probably pretending to be some kind of animal), giving horsie rides, wrestling, tickling, rolling with laughter, and kneeling in prayer or to soothe an ‘owie’. White-knee problems are nothing compared to the joy of doing all that.

The comfort problem

A serious issue with jeans is they just don’t have the stretchy, knit goodness of leggings. Now don’t go thinking I’m saying leggings are acceptable substitutions for jeans – leggings are not jeans. Leggings require a very long shirt, a skirt, or that I’m staying home inside all day. Otherwise, you will find me crawling after a toddler in white knee-d, uncomfortable jeans and a tunic length shirt.

The  stretchy-jeans solution: Not my favorite look, but oh-so-comfortable.

The stay-at-home-so-you-don’t-have-t0-get-dressed solution: Viable at least once a week. Your kids and husband may not agree.

The skirt solution: Summer means skirts and dresses…as long as you can figure out how to crawl around on the floor in one.

The truth of it all

Although jeans may never fit just right, I think we can call agree that like most mama-problems, jean problems should be a badge of honor. Although our bodies have been through the ringer, every loose-waisted, uncomfortable, white-knee’d pair of jeans is worth it.

Your children won’t ever remember if your jeans didn’t fit quite right (except when they tease you about ‘mom-jeans’ as teenagers).

They will remember YOU – kneeling to pray, soothe them, and talk face to face.

And, how you loved to PLAY with them.

Like you, they will fondly remember both of you giggling as you crawled after them, gave them rides and smothered them with tickles and kisses.

Wear those white knees proudly – and keep up the good work.

It Takes a Village {to Raise a Child With Food Allergies}…And This One’s Fantastic

It Takes a Village To Raise A Child With Food Allergies | thisgratefulmama.com

Allergy parenting requires effort, practice, persistence and vigilance.

And like many parenting challenges, allergy parenting isn’t always an easy job.

Sometimes it is a lonely job – sometimes the combination of ‘what ifs’, label reading and substitute-treat-making can weigh us down and consume our thoughts and time.

But this IS a rewarding job.

A smiling child eating a nut-free cupcake with his friends at a birthday party makes that late night baking worth it.

And even the opposite – a child, disappointed they can’t enjoy a treat but safe from a life threatening reaction. Challenging, but STILL worth it. Every day our children stay safe is a reward in itself. A job well done. Prayers answered.

We are not alone in this. And, we allergy parents are not the only parents striving to keep our children safe from potential harm, whatever it may be.

Having a peanut and tree nut allergic child has opened my eyes to the great lengths those in our community will go to in order to protect just one child. Often, attention goes to those who refuse to accommodate an allergy – but in my experience those who take such a stance are few. 

In reality, most people in this community strive to protect any, and every child.

My child.

Your child.

In our community, examples of people who have gone above and beyond to protect our son are endless and often leave me choked up just thinking about them.Today the attention goes to those who DO extraordinary things, sometimes daily for our son and other children:

  • When my mother-in-law calls me from the store to read ingredient labels and confirm what she buys is safe
  • My mom often takes extra time to make homemade cobbler instead of buying a pie, even when she’s busy
  • My sister does the hair of a baker and trades for magnificent, delicious, professionally made nut-free cakes
  • Friends call ahead to confirm safety of snacks and meals before they come over or we go there
  • Parents help their children wash their hands after they’ve eaten a snack when playing with our kids
  • The preschool director and teachers enforce a nut-free food rule for the program
  • Volunteers and staff from church text questions about safe snacks
  • Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends have learned how to use an Epi-pen and how to read food labels
  • Caregivers listen attentively and read and follow allergy action plans
  • We are included time and time again, even though for many, accommodating us takes some extra effort
  • Friends and neighbors check in before potlucks to tell us what they are bringing is safe for our son – and often point out items they know are not safe to keep me informed
  • A neighbor and daughter with nut allergies looking out for our son, sharing their experiences, doctor recommendations and encouragement
  • Last year we asked our church to pray for our son’s safety and for healing from his allergy. Our prayer note card was returned a year later, signed with dates and names of those who prayed all year long
  • Restaurant managers and chefs patiently answer questions and prepare food safely for our son
  • Friends and family spend time researching safe products on their own
  • People graciously allow me to hang out in their kitchen, reading every food label in sight and asking 20 questions
  • Members of the No Nuts Mom Group (and No Nuts Mom Group of MN) share their experiences and provide invaluable recommendations, advice, prayers, and encouragement – if you are a food allergy parent and NOT part of at least one of these groups, you should really check them out!
  • A neighbor texts me from Target with a picture of a new ‘nut-free’ product
  • And on…and on…

These are examples we have been TOLD about. I am certain there are efforts done silently – without recognition. People spend extra time grocery shopping, doing their own research, and asking questions on behalf of our son.

Family, friends, neighbors, children, parents, educators, church staff and more…I recognize YOUR efforts. YOUR hearts and actions demonstrate love and service to our whole family as we all work to protect children. And you do so willingly and intentionally. With joy – without expressing burden.

Often, steps taken by others to protect our son take me by surprise – unexpected gifts of protection we didn’t ask for but gratefully receive.

But mere words can not adequately express my gratitude. Most days, I find myself gratefully praying blessings over those in our life who have gone out of their way to bless us and to protect our son. Often I am at a loss for words, sitting quietly in the peace of knowing that God knows just how grateful I am even if I can’t adequately express it – grateful to others, grateful to God, grateful beyond grateful.

They say it takes a village to raise a child – it certainly takes a village to keep an allergy child safe.

To all those who keep our child safe – Thank you. Your kindness, thoughtfulness, and efforts often stop me in my tracks. I joyfully thank God for each of you. Even the tiniest gesture means the world to us. You are actively invested in our son’s well-being and your individual and collective efforts matter.

I pray for chances to bless you and your family as you have us. If your family ever faces a challenge and needs a special accommodation, we are happy and ready to help – to go above and beyond as you have for us.

I am grateful for each of you who invest in keeping our child and others in our community safe.

It does take a village.

And from where I sit, THIS village is fantastic.

Thank you.

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces Tutorial

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Over the past few months, I slowly bought supplies with coupons or when on sale to make photo pendants. It was something I really wanted to try but did not have a specific project in mind. I finally had all supplies just days before recent family birthday celebrations.

Perfect timing to make personalized gifts.

The process was easy and gave a stunning result – even for a beginner like me.

Last week I jumped the gun and showed the final result before this tutorial was ready. As promised, a detailed description of how the pendants were made is included below. Since then, I’ve been on a bit of a photo-pendant making binge, creating gifts to give for birthdays and holidays to come.

Ahem…some of you have one of these coming to you in the near future :)

Supplies

Steps

1. Select, edit and crop photo

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces Tutorial | thisgratefulmama.com

Photos were edited using PicMonkey. Photos were printed to size using Power Point – check out quick instructions here.

2. Cut photo to size

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces Tutorial | thisgratefulmama.com

If your photo is already sized correctly, just cut along the edges and slightly round the corners with an X-acto knife or scissors. If not, align the tile over the photo, trace around it and cut just inside the lines. Check your work and trim any overhanging edges before proceeding.

3. Apply photo to the glass tile

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Apply a pea sized bead of diamond glaze to the tile. Use either the tip of the diamond glaze bottle or a paint brush to spread glaze evenly across the tile, removing bubbles as much as possible. Align and press the photo onto the tile, face down. While not fully secure, adjust as needed. From the center, sweep your finger outwards to seal the edges and remove any remaining air bubbles. Allow to dry a minimum of 10 minutes or until the photo no longer seems wet

*Note: be sure to wait for the glaze to dry before proceeding or it produces a dark shadow that looks like a wet spot and remains even after drying

4. Seal the tile

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Apply a pea sized bead of diamond glaze on the back of the photo. Use a paint brush to evenly coat the back of the photo. Use the residual glaze on the brush to seal the edges. Allow to dry a minimum of 1 hour.

5. Affix baal to the tile

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.comDIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Apply super glue to the baal. Align over the top, center of the tile and press firmly into place. Obviously avoid contact of super glue with skin – we all know super glued fingers are no fun! Check alignment quickly and adjust if necessary. Allow to dry fully.

 6. String pendant with beads

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Once the pendants are dry, string with mixed glass beads of your choosing.

 

Diamond Glaze and Super Glue come in large quantities so there will be plenty of leftovers for future projects – I’m looking forward to experimenting with different shapes and sizes of glass tiles.

I’d love to see if you make your own pendants or necklaces. Please share in the comments if you do!

 

This post was shared on the {Wow me} Wednesday at Gingersnap Crafts link party

Wow Me Wednesday at Gingersnap Crafts

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point

How to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Without Photoshop {Using Power Point} | thisgratefulmama.com

While I would love to own Photoshop, I don’t. For my needs, most photo editing can be done well enough with other software. So far, I can’t justify the purchase, no matter how much I want it.

A recent glass photo pendant project, required printed square 7/8 inch photos. For a quick project, I didn’t want to spend a ton of time figuring out how to size the photos.

In my former job, I used Power Point to quickly resize and print both large and small non-standard sizes. Once I remembered this, I knew Power Point could achieve the desired result without learning a new method.

No Photoshop? No problem.

Most Microsoft Office suites these days come with Power Point. As long as you have a photo cropped to the shape you want, you can easily resize and print in a jiffy.

No Photoshop required.

First, edit and crop your photo and save a copy. PicMonkey is my favorite for quick edits, but any photo editor that can crop a square photo will do. Once you have the photo, printing the desired size is simple:

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point

1. Open a blank PowerPoint presentation. On the View tab, select Slide Master

The slide master view will open and the slide master tool bar will display at the top

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

2. From the Slide Master tab, select Page Setup

The page setup menu will open

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com | thisgratefulmama.com

3. Set Height and Width to desired size and select OK

Minimum width and height is 1 inch. Don’t worry if the photo you need is smaller. Just enter 1 inch – gridlines will be used to size smaller photos

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

4. Select Close Master View

The slide master tool bar will be closed. The Home tool bar will be displayed

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

5. On the View Tab, check Gridlines box

Also check the boxes for Ruler and Guides

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

6. Click on the box next to ‘Show’ to open the Grid and Guides menu

The menu will be displayed

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

7. Change spacing to 1/8″ Inches and select OK

Or select the appropriate fraction for the desired size and select OK

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

8. From the Insert tab, select Picture

When the insert picture menu opens, navigate to the desired picture and select OK

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

9. Use the grid lines and ruler to resize the image to 7/8 inches

The photo will be displayed, taking up the full size of the 1 inch x 1 inch slide. Use the ruler and grid lines to adjust the size as desired. This photo was re-sized to 7/8 x 7/8 inches

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

10. Save the image and print

Be sure print settings are set to full-page slides

10 Simple Steps to Resize and Print A Small Square Photo Using Power Point | thisgratefulmama.com

This process will also work for other sizes and shapes. I recommend saving the blank 1 inch x 1 inch slide if you need more than one photo of the same size. You can use the same method to set any size you need. And, with sizes greater than 1 inch, you can skip the grid lines altogether!

Any size, any shape – in no time.

No Photoshop required.

101 Rainy Day Boredom-Busters For Preschoolers and Toddlers

101 Rainy Day Boredom-Busters For Preschoolers and Toddlers | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Play

  • Bubble wrap – Pop!
  • Dominoes – set up and watch them fall
  • Indoor camping – why not roast marshmallows over the stove?
  • Closet fort – a very private, very dark fort
  • Go on a trip – pack ‘bags’ and take a trip on a couch-airplane
  • Build a toy city – block  homes and businesses, masking tape roads
  • Blanket fort – a pile of books and flashlights. Be sure to climb in and read to them in the ‘dark’
  • Play Doh – change it up with cookie cutters, silverware, Lego men, matchbox cars or simply explore color mixing
  • Animal pretend –  act out different animals and guess what they are (our son calls this playing ‘Wild Krats”)
  • Opposites – learn what opposites ARE, then get silly practicing doing the opposite
  • Obstacle course – send them through, around, over and under
  • Tongs pick up – give tongs to pick up toys
  • Marshmallow and toothpicks – build bridges, buildings and more
  • Puddles – make good use of those rain coats and rain boots and splash like you won’t get wet!
  • Foam letter tiles – call out different letters to find and stand on, put them in alphabetical order, or create words
  • Float or sink bath party – put on swim suits and guess which toys will float or sink, then test it out
  • Expanding foam capsules – found a pack for $1 at Target. Just as fun as when we were kids
  • Balloon rockets – tape a straw to a balloon and send it down a string. Set up a few ‘tracks’ and race them
  • Giant Tic-Tac-Toe – use masking tape for a giant Tic-Tac-Toe board
  • Indoor bowling – set up an indoor bowling lane with empty plastic bottle ‘pins’
  • Store, restaurant, or library – practice counting money, writing orders and following directions
  • Act out a story – help them act out a favorite book or bible story – record to watch on another rainy day
  • String spider web – grab a ball of string or twine and crate a web – ‘cut it out’ when it gets too tangled
  • Dance or jump party – find some peppy music and let loose
  • Indoor sand – fake sand is so fun!
  • Paper airplane games – throw through hoops, see how far it can go, throw from top of stairs
  • Shadow puppets – a great activity for that closet fort. Silly voices and a silly story make them tons of fun
  • Dress up – it never gets old
  • Board games
  • Hide and seek – focus not only on hiding but on counting!
  • Simon Says – we always play outside but it’s a great activity for a rainy day
  • Puzzles – do as many as they can OR find a puzzle a little (or a lot) out of their skill level and work on it together

Kitchen Fun

  • Make their own recipe – help them choose and measure ingredients. Write down their very own ‘recipe’ (yogurt parfait, french toast and toppings, trail mix). Decorate their own recipe box
  • Tea Party – boys and girls will enjoy this, especially with water in the tea-pot and snacks – make it extra fun by dressing up and talking in silly voices
  • Homemade popsicles – juice, fruit, blend and freeze
  • Jello juice jigglers – cut out shapes with cookie cutters
  • Bake – practice following directions, measuring, mixing, and making observations (smell, color, texture)
  • Make healthy trail mix – practice counting and picking healthy snacks – raisins, crasins, roasted soy beans or chickpeas (or nuts), sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and maybe surprise them with a few mini marshmallows

Create

  • Paper plate frisbees – decorate and toss for some indoor fun
  • Create ‘rain’ with shaving cream
  • Pipe cleaner fun – make shapes, decorate a colander, sort them, make flowers
  • Build a box car and enjoy a ‘drive in’ movie – what to do with old boxes and paper plates? Make cars. Add popcorn and a PBS show…
  • Make photo prayer cards – print and cut out pictures of friends and family and glue onto index cards. Grab a few per night to pray for loved ones
  • Activity jars – a fun idea to make together!
  • Glue paper scraps – one of our son’s favorite activities is to take all his paper scraps and glue them into something (they turn out amazing – birds, houses, you name it!)
  • Make a Mural – stretch out a long roll of paper and create a long story or one long picture
  • Diorama – remember making these in elementary school? Provide a shoe box and help them make a scene from their favorite book, or a city of landscape for Lego people or mini dinosaurs
  • Record a video – record a video message or photo sign message and send it to a loved one or friend
  • Rainy day art – water colors make great rainy day pictures, or just open the box of art supplies and let them create
  • Decorate and celebrate – let them decorate with leftover streamers and party supplies and throw a birthday party for their favorite bear or toy
  • Write and mail letters – create cards, practice writing, and mail a special note or card to a loved one
  • Explore color mixing – grab paints and explore mixing different colors together
  • Indoor snow storm – cut paper snow flakes and string them up all over
  • Create a blog post – I’d love to post something the kids wrote if they are interested in doing so!
  • Paper chain – make enough loops to count down to the next big activity, birthday or holiday
  • Make up a song – encourage them to sing a silly song or make up their own words to a familiar tune
  • Crazy crayons – you kept those broken crayons for a reason!
  • Jewelry – practice fine motor skills with beads and string
  • Life size portrait – trace their body (use the backside of wrapping paper if you don’t have a big roll paper) and let them decorate it
  • Write and illustrate a story book – fold paper to create a book to illustrate and help them write their own story
  • Make photo pendants – yes, even a child can do this with help
  • Cut straws – cut straws into ‘beads’ then string together or glue onto paper
  • Large connect the dots – on the biggest roll of paper you have – as high as they can count (and higher with your help!)

Science & Learning

  • Non standard measurement – see how many body-lengths a room is, then measure with their feet, their favorite blanket or toy. Measure with a measuring tape to tell them how big it really is
  • How Crayons were Made – old school Mr. Rogers Neighborhood video of how crayons are made – and then do some drawing
  • Homemade balance – explore weights
  • Sensory guessing box – have them feel inside and guess what the items are
  • Play I Spy
  • Clean pennies – using vinegar and salt. Vary times and make observations
  • Extract DNA from a banana – did you know you can extract DNA that you can SEE right at your kitchen table with supplies you have in your house? It is so cool! A preschooler can than do this (and yes, even YOU who may not know much about science)
  • Explore capillary action – use food coloring and celery or some fresh-cut flowers
  • Plant beans in a jar – you know that bag of beans you bought for soup but didn’t use? Plant some beans and learn about the plant life cycle
  • Watch a documentary – find a kids animal or nature documentary on Netflix (watch for G ratings and be prepared to fast forward through animal hunting scenes as needed for your child)
  • Make your own rainstorm – by exploring steam and condensation
  • Tornado in a bottle – with two 2-liter bottles, water and duct tape
  • Baking soda and colored vinegar – pour baking soda on a baking sheet + drops of food-colored vinegar = foamy colored bubbles
  • Oil and water – explore both mixing and freezing
  • Measure rain fall – put a container outside (bucket, cup, anything will do) and measure the rainfall as it comes down
  • Learn about rainbows – and why God made them
  • Explore speed and distance – set up a ramp and see which car goes the furthest and which is the fastest

Just BE together

  • Watch the storm – count the time between lighting and thunder. Explain what thunder and lightning are
  • Read – start a chapter book or read as many picture books as they want
  • Encourage – make a game out of telling each child what you like about them, what makes you proud of them, and what they are good at

 Practice

  • Sort change – dump change on a baking sheet and sort by size, color, or cleanliness
  • Flash cards – numbers, letters, sight words
  • Tape hopscotch – use masking tape – practice motor skills and counting
  • Somersaults
  • Learn and recite scripture memory verses
  • Write the alphabet – big and small letters

Develop New Skills

  • Gratitude list – help them write their own or start a gratitude journal
  • Quiet time – set them up in a comfy space with their bible and those prayer cards – model what to do by doing your quiet time too
  • Learning while cleaning – sort the toy box by color or shape as you clean it out and put things where they belong together
  • Chores – at this age, it’s still fun to ‘help’. Put them to work matching socks, folding their own laundry and putting it away
  • Photography – let them pick what to photograph and explore what different camera settings do
  • Make music – find musical instruments (or make some). Record it
  • Listen to classical music – explain what instruments are being played
  • Tape balance beam – create a long straight or zig zag ‘balance beam’ out of masking tape
  • Indoor scavenger hunt – make a list and send them hunting
  • Yoga – kids can do yoga and they think it is pretty fun, especially with their own mat
  • Hammer time – let them hammer golf tees into dense styrofoam, or for the more skilled child – nails into a board
  • 10 Minute Challenges – so great!

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

You guys…

I’ve been working on a tutorial, but it isn’t done, and I just couldn’t wait any longer to share a photo of one of these necklaces!

Consider this a sneak peek because I just can’t help myself.

In July, our family celebrated the birthdays of my mom and my husband’s grandma. This year we found ourselves at a bit of a loss of what to give. Neither of them really need anything, nor do they really desire more ‘stuff’.

While they appreciate ALL gifts, personal gifts (especially those involving grandchildren or great-grandchildren) often elicit the most joyful response. You know, the face-lights-up-with-delight kind of response.

Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly collecting supplies to make photo pendant necklaces. I wasn’t sure when I’d make them or who to give them to, but it was something I really wanted to try. Taking my time to buy supplies, I was able to buy everything on sale or with a coupon. As it turned out, I finally had all the supplies in hand, just days before our birthday celebrations.

Perfect timing to make some personalized gifts.

The process was easy and gave a stunning result – even for a beginner like me.

However, I was disappointed to see that when I strung two or three pendants on once chain, they overlapped. It looked good, but it was not what I had in mind.

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Digging through supplies for a solution, I was delighted to find a forgotten bag of mixed glass beads from my last trip to Art Scraps Reuse Store (St. Paul, MN). After some searching, I found this ball chain necklace at Hobby Lobby (50% off on sale for just $1 – can’t beat that). It was just thin enough to string a few mis-matched beads between the pendants.

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

I love how the beads give enough space for the pendants to lay flat. And, because my beads are all different, they make each necklace unique…but you’ll have to read the tutorial later this week to see the rest of them :).

The first two gifts turned out so well, I made another for myself and have been on a bit of a photo pendant gift-making binge…it is going to be so fun to give them away!

Happy Monday everyone!

 

This post was shared on The Shabby Nest Frugal Friday link party.

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