By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Activities with Kids, Creating a Home, Family Focus, Kids Crafts, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I believe that building traditions strengthens families. It adds to the “special sauce” that makes your family unique from all others. Not only that but it is just plan fun to have things to look forward to on a daily, weekly or yearly basis.
This year, I have been on the hunt for some new Easter traditions to begin with our family. Easter is so rich with meaning. It simply makes sense that we should develop special ways to remember and celebrate Christ’s resurrection!
It can be easy to go overboard and try to do too much and unintentionally add stress where celebration should be abounding. Below are a few ideas that I have found and plan to try this year. I have jotted them down on the calendar, spacing them out, in the hopes of preventing this overload. However, I am going to make a point to abandon any activity that pushes us into the “stress” rather than the celebration side of things.
Not only is this cake adorable, but it looks like it will taste better than the Empty Tomb Cookies (shown below) that we made last year (they are a lot like divinity and I am not a big fan of all the sugar).
I did love the symbolism in the cookies however. If you are interested in going the route of baking something that magically becomes “empty”, another option that looks fun are these Resurrection Rolls.
2) Try making our own natural egg dye. I’ve meant to do this for a few years now but it takes some planning ahead so this year I am determined and already have my grocery list for the items I want on hand (such as canned beets). In the meantime, I am trying to ignore the box of Easter egg dye that I recently got at the dollar store. I found the Eco Crazy Mom blog and the Spoonful blog to be great resources for the ingredients I will need to have on hand for the natural version.
3) Watch a kid friendly version of the Easter Story. I have my own personal tradition of watching The Passion of the Christ movie on Good Friday. It never fails to cut me to the core and leave me breathless with gratitude for the sacrifice our Savior made on our behalf. However, I don’t believe that my kids are emotionally ready for the graphic display of torture that Christ endured. Thanks to the Life as a Mom blog I was directed to this website where we an watch a kid friendly Easter movie for free.
4) Read Benjamin’s Box while opening our Resurection Eggs If you don’t plan to use the eggs alongside the book, consider using the free printable by This Simple Home or this one by Play Eat Grow to easily make your own (the exact items and verses used by these blogs differ from those in the book). I have read several ideas on how/when to read this story along with the use of the eggs. I decided to follow the idea from Want What you Have and begin opening the eggs 11 days (the book highlights 11 different parts of the Easter story) before Easter with the last egg opened on Easter Sunday. I also prepared a “tree” as she did to hang the verses on that accompanied each daily egg. You can see the verses in a jar next to the base of the tree on our dining room table just waiting to be hung.
5) Make Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels. I had no idea that pretzels could be tied to Easter but according to Good Cheap Eats they tie in perfectly (pun intended). Click on over through the link provided to read more!
P.S. All these Easter ideas (and a few others) can be found here on my Pinterest page.
What Easter traditions does your family enjoy? Are there any you are thinking of trying for the first time this year so some you have abandoned along the way?
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Home Crafts, Kids Crafts, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Monday, May 14, 2012
I have been meaning to have my kids do some artwork that I could frame for quite sometime. I finally decided this would be the week, no more putting it off.
My initial plan had been to let the kids use finger paint to create a painting on scrapbooking paper (or any paper that is acid free so that it won’t yellow over time) and then to let it dry and frame it for the wall. However the homemade finger paint that I attempted to use was too thick I came up with a “plan B”. I went to Target and purchased a frame with a mat. I opened up the frame, removed the mat and allowed them to paint it any way that they wanted to with their crayola paints. It was fun to see how great they both turned out even though they were so different!
We allowed the mat to dry and then I marked it with their name and date. Then I chose a recent photo of them and placed it in the mat and put it back in the frame. The end result turned out really awesome. I love that I have both a personal art piece but I also see how old they were at the time that they created it! I decided that they turned out so well that I purchased another frame for them to paint as a gift for my moms birthday. An idea like this could also be fun as a class gift to a teacher (each child could add a few fingerprints or brushstrokes) with the class photo enclosed. If you have additional ideas, please share and feel free to pin this post on Pinterest!
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Home Crafts, Kids Crafts, Organize Me!, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Monday, April 30, 2012
Last week I shared 7 steps to organizing your child’s art. Now I want to share a fun way to display your child’s art.
(Total cost for this project is less than $30.00)
1) Start with a magnetic strip from The Container Store.
There are several sizes and styles but the exact one that I got was the Mighty Magnetic Strip ($12.99). IKEA has something similar intended for kitchen knives however they look to be a little thicker (I like how thin the Mighty Magnetic Strip was). There are some magnetic boards from IKEA that look to be nice and thin like mine is and the price is good too starting at $7.99.
2) Create your own custom magnets.
The strip that I bought comes with some very small, very powerful magnets. However, because of the danger of magnets around children, I opted to make some larger ones. To do this I found some family photos with smaller face images. I cut the images into small squares and glued them to thin cardboard (such as a cereal box) to give them some added strength. Finally, I glued the images to my magnets. You can find more detailed instructions on making homemade photo magnets on a previous post from our blog. Keep in mind that children’s art can be heavy so choose strong magnets (think construction paper with glued on lentil beans).
3) Add some vinyl lettering.
I wanted to make this area of the wall look intentional and give it some additional “pop” so I ordered custom vinyl lettering from Expressions By Elle. I have ordered from Chauntelle in the past and have found her to be very easy to work with. We emailed back and forth as she sent me examples with different fonts, colors, layouts and sizes for me to consider. Although places like Target and Kohls are now starting to offer vinyl lettering, I love that I could create my own quote and specify the exact size and font for my project (PLUS I love supporting other work at home moms)! Even better is that the overall price was about $14.00 which is at or below what I have seen at the big box stores.
4) Put it all together!
The final look is fun and “organized” while still being totally flexible. The “art” can be displayed and then rotated as often as you like and when you are done, the art can go into your art bin!
When Hunter saw the finished “art wall” he said, “MOM, you put a tattoo on the wall??!!”
Total project cost:
Magnetic strip: $12.99
Vinyl lettering: $14.00
Magnets: simply the cost of the photos (less than $1.00)
Total: just under $28.00
If you don’t already have a system for displaying your kid’s artwork, I hope you are inspired. Next week Monday I will share an alternative idea that I am using in another location in our home that I think you will also enjoy.
How do you store or display your kid’s artwork? If you liked this idea, consider pinning this post on Pinterest!
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Home Crafts, Kids Crafts, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Monday, March 5, 2012
I just finished making my third “art bookmark” and wanted to share the process for those of you who may enjoy this unique and creative way to turn your child’s work of art into a useable gift. Some of you may remember the instructions below that I originally posted in May of 2010.
Several years ago when my husband and I were house hunting I discovered something about myself. I have a hard time “envisioning” what could be without having something of inspiration to start with. Where he could look at a home and totally gut it and refinish it in his mind I had a hard time getting past the yellow carpet or ugly tile bathroom. BUT if you give me a home decorating magazine with photos of adorably decorated homes and let me look at the same home again I can totally strip down and redecorate it mentally. I need inspiration! But once I have it, just set me loose and I will run free.
This perhaps is why I enjoy reading so much. I love to be inspired by others who are doing something that I want to do better or learn more about. I previously showed you how to make a memory tree out of reporposed fabrics which was a craft inspired by Handmade Home Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures written by Amanda Blake Soule. This last week just before this book was due to be returned to the library, I was inspired by another project in this book–making bookmarks out of your children’s art. I know that I said the memory tree was my favorite project of all time but this one is pretty great too, maybe it is my new favorite !
What you will need:
-light colored fabric (the size depends on how many bookmarks you will make and what size you want them to be)
-felt for backing to your bookmark
-embroidery thread (the number of colors depends on your preferences)
-embroidery hoop (optional but very helpful)
-pinking sheers (optional)
-pencil or pen
-a budding artist
-sewing machine (optional)
-a ribbon or fabric scrap (perhaps some remaining fabric from your memory tree project or another outgrown outfit)
1) I started by cutting out my light colored fabric (3 inches across and 6 inches long). However I found that cutting it first made it a little hard to hold inside my embroidery hoop. In retrospect, it would have been easier if I would have cut out the fabric rectangle at a later step. So I suggest that you mark out the area that you plan to use for your bookmark with tape or a pencil line (in order to help your child know where to draw) and leave enough room around the edges of the bookmark for you to easily hold it within your embroidery hoop.*
2) After cutting the fabric with pinking shears (this creates a cute look and reduces fraying) I taped the edges down to the counter and let Ashlyn draw a portrait of me. I added the month and year at the bottom so I would remember when it was created. *As I mentioned above, I suggest you wait to cut the bookmark out until later in the project.
3) Once the image is drawn, place the fabric within your embroidery hoop and cover the lines of the image with your thread. I used about 3 strands of embroidery thread but using all the threads would have worked better to cover the pencil lines. (For those of you who may not know, embroidery thread is comprised of several threads twisted together. Depending on the project you may use differing numbers of threads.) Ashlyn had fun choosing which thread color I should use for different parts of the image. She also helped me pull the thread through the fabric. Depending on the age of your child, see which parts they can help with and involve them as much as you can. By the way, do you like my belly button:)?!
4) *This is the point in which I would suggest cutting your light colored fabric out using pinking sheers.
5) Cut your ribbon or fabric scrap in a strip that you can fold over so that both sides show the outside of the fabric. I cut my fabric strip about 1 inch wide and about 3 inches long before I folded it over. Again, I used my pinking sheers so that I wouldn’t have to hem the edges. I had some fabric glue so I used this to adhere the ribbon together between the two layers that were folded over but this is optional. (For my ribbon I used some left over fabric from one of Ashlyn’s outfits that I used for our family memory tree.)
5) Place your bookmark over your felt fabric and cut around the edge so that the felt is slightly wider than the top fabric. You may wish to pin these two fabrics together to prevent them from slipping before you sew them together. I will mention that at first I planned to adhere my bookmark to the felt fabric with fabric glue but found that this didn’t work well for two reasons. First, the bond wasn’t holding well for me and more importantly, the glue was showing through the light colored fabric which I didn’t like. Because this bookmark will be touched and handled a lot I think it is best to sew it anyway.
6) Sew your two fabric pieces together (I used a straight stitch) taking care to stitch the ribbon between your two fabric pieces at the top. If you don’t have a sewing machine you could sew this by hand using your choice of thread.
7) Step back and admire your work!
8) Grab a book and try it out! Here is the current parenting book that I am enjoying: Raising Your Children With No Regrets by Catherine Hickem.
9) Take a photo with your little artist and the project you made together!
For an alternate bookmark option that is super easy:
-Use some cardstock and allow your little artist to decorate it with stickers, stamps or a drawing.
-Add their name and the date.
-Cover it with some packing tape or laminate it.
-Punch a hole at the top and add a ribbon.
Both Hunter and Ashlyn have had fun making these simple bookmarks and sending them to friends and family in the mail with a handwritten note of hello. It is a great way to use up extra scraps of scrapbook paper!
In my opinion these bookmarks make a very special gift (perhaps for Mother’s Day coming up). They are personal, inexpensive and fun and will be treasured for years to come! I hope you feel inspired. . .
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Activities with Kids, Creating a Home, Family Focus, Home Crafts, Kids Crafts, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Our two oldest kids are home from school and we have been really loving the lazy days that provides us. Thanks to Pinterest, I have been inspired with some fun new ideas, crafts and traditions. I will share some of my favorites below and encourage you to see all of the ideas I saved here.
In order to spend the most time with my family, I will be taking a blogging break for the remainder of the year (my assistant may write up a post or two if we decide to have any product sales). Until I write again in 2012, Merry Christmas!
Activities and Crafts:
-Recycling socks with holes into the most adorable sock snowmen you have ever seen! I now have a special place to put all our socks with holes for making more snowmen .
-Gathering up past photo Christmas cards, hole punching them and connecting them with two book rings. Each night the goal is to pray for one family using these cards as prompts. This is a great way to continue to enjoy photo cards from year to year!
-Making peanut snowmen tree ornaments.
-Making snow globes out of baby food jars, glitter and small plastic toys.
-Making a new Christmas Card holder using a wooden embroidery hoop, wood glue and clothes pins.
-Teaching Hunter how to play Monopoly (and finding out he LOVES it)!
-Using the free Jesse Tree advent devotional from A Holy Experience.
-I wrapped up 24 Christmas and/or winter themed books and from December 1-24 the kids took turns opening one to be read.
-A $12 oil pan at WalMart to make a great magnetic surface for fridge letters as well as a drawing surface for dry erase markers.
-These oreo truffle balls were unfortunately VERY GOOD .
-I am wanting to make these healthy peppermint patties!
If you have not read it year’s past I will leave you with one final Christmas reflection. Wishing you peace, joy and hope this Christmas!