St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Activities

Well, so if you’re homeschooling, you may not officially have a Spring Break… or if you are public/private schooling, you may have kids who are constantly wanting SOMETHING to keep them busy!  Either way, I’ve got two fun activities for you that kids of all ages could enjoy this week as we prepare for St. Patrick’s Day.

First, if you’ve got kids under age 7, who are working on spelling, reading, or even just recognizing their color words, this super fun and easy craft stick rainbow activity is for you!  I wrote for my kids, but for older kids you could easily practice spelling and handwriting in a small space by having them write the color words on the sticks.  (Or older siblings can write for the younger ones!)

I simply had my kids squeeze glue (working on those fine motor skills!) onto the back of a thick paper plate (to provide a nice solid backing).  Then, lay the labeled craft sticks in order of the rainbow.  (I purchased colored craft sticks at Walmart, but you could also have them color or paint plain sticks.)  Then stretch your cotton balls and glue on top.  Once it is totally dry, you can cut off the excess plate and display your beautiful rainbow!

I wish I could take total credit for this next idea, but I can’t.  I saw on Pinterest somewhere a cute rainbow handprint painted sign… and then I downloaded this FREE set from Teachers Pay Teachers that was created by Lindsey from The Teacher Wife.  The two activities melded together well.

The thing I love about her free printable activity is that it’s very flexible for kids of all ages and stages.  To make my pots, I simply cut black construction paper out around Lindsey’s pot template and then cut out the coins from her template from yellow construction paper.  Becca decided she would draw her picture first, and then tell me what to write about it.  She is the one who picked that it would be a friend theme – the actual writing template says “Who is worth more to you than gold?”  She decided that Gray’s should have his friends, too, so I used the blank pieces from the set and just printed out pictures of him with his friends since he wasn’t interested in drawing them on the paper.  I just asked him who he wanted me to include and he told me.

There are multiple other template options in the set that would work for a variety of different ages.  In fact, the two blank pot pieces I used for Gray’s pictures could also easily be used in comic strip fashion and made into a pot of gold comic book by your older artists who are really dying for an engaging project this week.  I would love to see how you modify this to make it your own!

The rainbow painting was simple – I just pulled out paint, painted each child’s hand for each color, and used legal length paper to fit the most handprints together on one page.

**Note – baby wipes work great to get paint off between each color, and then you can do in-depth soap and water cleaning when you’re all done.  I prefer to use acrylic paints because they dry quickly, but they are prone to staining clothing, so if you prefer, use a washable finger paint or add dish soap to tempera paint before using.

 

Rainbow Science with Celery!

Looking for a fun, easy, and inexpensive science project to keep your kiddos excited this Spring Break in prep for St. Patrick’s Day?  Here’s a project that you can take as in depth as you want, or just set it up and leave it and look back every day!

What you’ll need are some tall cups (we used some old plastic ones), red, yellow, and blue food coloring, water, and some celery.  You’ll also need some kitchen shears or a knife to trim and split the stalks.

For our experiment, we set a control group of three stalks – one in each color – and then we also had our experimental group to see if the colors would mix and blend together over time.  We talked about why scientists often have a control group, and in this case we wanted to be able to simply watch the capillary action without the color mixing aspect.  For our control group, we also chose to use stalks with no leaves.  (Becca’s idea – remember, to follow your child’s lead and have them share their reasoning behind their ideas.  Learning comes through experiencing!)  In the control group, we created several small slits in the base of the celery stalks to speed the absorption of the colors.

Then for our color blending experiment, we split the celery stalks down the center, about halfway up the stalk, and then created smaller slits in the base of the stalks just like in the control group.  By putting the three glasses of red, yellow, and blue water into a triangle, we could easily stick a stalk into red and yellow, one in yellow and blue, and one in blue and red.  We talked about which colors we were trying to create, and Becca told Gray all about how mixing colors works, which was a great learning experience for both of them.

Then, Becca made her predictions.  She predicted that the blue would climb the stalk the fastest, and that purple would be the first color combination we would see show up.

By just a few hours in, the blue color in the control group was already showing, and hints of blue were showing in the experimental group as well.  She was so excited that her first prediction was correct!  We’ll leave the celery stalks out for one week and discover if the colors will blend in the stalks, or if they will stay as separate colors.

For older kids, you can easily use this lesson to discuss how roots distribute water to the rest of the plant, and even to illustrate how our blood vessels carry blood to the rest of our bodies.

ALTERNATE IDEA: If you have easy access to white carnations, they are easy to do this with, as well, and the results are quite lovely (and will be pretty to look at for quite a while.)  Just be careful when you split the stems in half to put into the colored water because they are easily breakable.  Also, you won’t need to create slits in the base of the stem, simply make sure to cut the stem at an angle for optimum water absorption.

Looking for easy and fun rainbow activities for your toddlers?  Check out these ides from my friend, Melissa over at Rolling Prairie Readers!

Monthly Meal Planning Kit

UPDATE: As of March 27, this kit is ON SALE FOR ONLY $7!  Order now to cash in on this great deal!

Friends, I have been working on this kit for what seems like forever!  I’m so glad to finally be ready to share it with you!!  So many people ask me about my monthly meal planning, how it works, and how it saves my family money… so I decided to share my secrets with everyone!  Check it out!  

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Click the photo to order your kit now!

So what’s included in the kit?

You’ll get the binder cover and directions/opening letter, a checklist for your tasks, along with a complete set of March-December 2017 calendars that are ready to print and write on.  You also get list sheets to record what’s in your freezer, fridge, and pantry, and list sheets to record your family’s favorite meals and new recipes you want to try.  Exclusively this right now for Lent, you also get access to five printable Bible verse cards that are available in either black and white or color for whichever printer format works best for you.

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PURCHASE YOUR COPY TODAY!
Simply follow this link, order your “ticket,” and the link and password will be emailed to you within 24 hours so you can open the files!

UPDATE!!!  Here’s what people are saying about this kit!  (And thank you to those who are already responding!  WOW!  I appreciate your comments and support so much!)

“It is an amazing packet, Christy!  Things that seem like easy-peasy when you are planning, but when you’re sitting down to do it, it’s not always that simple.  Now it is a packet that you can have it laid out in front of you.”

“I love what you have done!  It is very helpful for paper-planning.  The verses for the fridge are a nice addition, esp for Lent.  Would love to see more of those for just life in general.”  (And I like this idea – I’ll work on that – thanks for your feedback!)

“The Bible verse cards for Lent are beautiful!”

“SHARING!! I love this! Thank you for your hard work and sharing your amazing skill and insights with us!”

Priorities

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Man, life gets busy.  Doesn’t it?  I mean, seriously.  I sat down to lunch with a dear friend yesterday.  She moved to Michigan almost a year ago.  But as we talked, we realized a full year went by between when I saw her last and their move.  Because as we also discussed, the years fly by, but the days go by so slow.  ‘Tis the season.  We have a four and a half year old, and a two and a half year old.  The hours between when room time is done and when bed time arrives are the longest of the day.  They typically include a lot of extreme emotions, too – lots of laughter, and lots of screaming and crying (and that’s just the kids… not to mention the rollercoaster I ride with them…)  And it’s honestly so hard to get up every day, knowing the rollercoaster awaits, and look at my to do list and to prioritize what is really important, and what is fluff that can wait til the next day.

Y’all!  Please tell me I’m not alone in this struggle.  Stephen Covey makes it sound so dang easy.  Oh, just put things into categories, and then go with it.  It doesn’t matter how many cute stickers I put in my planner, y’all.  Some days, I don’t just use them.  I don’t write down all the things that need to be done because they are just too many to write.  I don’t need to write “dishes” and “laundry” on my calendar every day.  No, they have become as inevitable to me as death and taxes.  Every single day of my life as a mom of two kids, those things will haunt me.  Until one day they won’t, and then I will wonder at how long it takes for the laundry to pile, and how many hours the sink will sit totally empty.  And I’ll miss it.  I know I will.  Because I spend time with friends who are empty nesters, and they tell me to treasure these moments.

So I’m trying.  I try to prioritize my kids needs first.  I’m trying to stop and take time to build with magnets and play with trains and push them on the swings.  Because work and housework and responsibilities like paying bills and planning church lessons are all a means to an end.  They are good things.  Things that need to happen because I have committed myself to them.  But those things will amazingly still be there to do when the kids are long gone.  They won’t be little forever.  As evidenced by the fact that we have now lived in this house five and a half years… we’ve been married eight and a half years… and our two beautiful babies aren’t babies any more.  Time keeps marching on.  As I sit and type this, the house is silent.  It’s just the hum of the refrigerator, the bubbling of the fish tank, and… the ticking of the clock.  Because time is marching.  Always.

This past week in my Bible study at church we heard some amazing words from Beth Moore.  She read a survey question from a mom that hit me.  This mom said “You’re only as happy as your saddest child.”  Beth went on to say that when we lean on God, “[He] can take our mourning and turn it to wild dancing.”  That really has resonated with me.  Because I so often get caught up in the fears and sadness of whatever emotional rollercoaster my kids are riding.  And then I realize that it’s my job to help them lean on Him to help get off the ride.  Granted, Gray is too young to understand, but Becca is very much in tune to talking to God and asking Him for help.  So I guess all of this is to say that this week I have started realizing my number one priority is to lean on Him, and to put my kids in a close second – teaching them to also lean on Him.  Everything else is just details.  They fall way down the priority list.  Because really, if I lean on Him, and teach them to lean on Him, everything else will fall into place.  No, the dishes won’t do themselves, and sadly neither will the laundry.  But I will find strength to do the things that need to be done when I FIRST place my trust in Him.  It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it IS the most important.

How are you prioritizing your life?  It’s a challenge to remember to keep God first.  Sometimes it’s hard to even put the kids above all the chores!  It’s a daily struggle.  As Beth Moore says (in her Esther study), “It’s tough being a woman who feels responsible for the ‘how.'”  But y’all, the beautiful truth she goes on to share is what has gotten me through this week.  She said, “Girlfriend, we are called to OBEDIENCE, not to figure out how to solve everything!”  Isn’t that beautiful?  Read it again.  We are called to OBEDIENCE, NOT to figure out how to solve every problem.  So put God first.  And let Him organize the rest of your priorities.  Because all those things are important.  Friendships are important.  But when you listen to Him, He will bring you back together with a long lost friend at exactly the right moment.  Trust me.  That’s exactly what happened to me this week.  It all works out because He’s got the details.  Let Him handle your priorities.  When the emotional and physical rollercoaster you’re riding is just too much and you feel like the drama is going to pull you into the deep, let Him come in and rescue you.  He promises He will.  And y’all, He KEEPS HIS PROMISES!

Be blessed!

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Being a Mom in 2017


This year holds a lot. My oldest baby will turn five this year. Five. She’ll start to kindergarten in the fall. Gray will cut more teeth, learn more words, and discover new physical abilities. But being a mom of two little ones in 2017 is so much more than the big milestones.

It’s waking up with a sinus headache at 3 am and finally conceeding to the need to get up, eat some crackers, put on some peppermint oil, and take some Advil. It’s walking in and turning on the Christmas tree that needs to be put away because its soft glow is so calming and simply peaceful.

It’s a tiny zebra left on the automan and an airplane on the couch. It’s homeschool papers spread on the bar next to travel agency work and Christmas gifts that still need to find a home. It’s looking past the chaos to feel the peace within about the parenting decisions we’re making.

It’s the memories. Oh the memories. From just a few hours ago – of cuddles with my sweet girl and her telling me I’m the best mommy in the whole world. Of my precious boy saying “I wuff you Mommy,” totally on his own as I laid him into his bed last night. And from ten (how could it have already been TEN?) days ago, when I woke early and anxiously awaited their waking and running down the stairs to see the gifts that Santa brought. Oh the peace that comes in those joyous memories.

But being a mom of two little ones also comes with lots of struggle. They both are working hard to discover who they are, and both of them have strong wills and are willing to fight hard for their independence. I know this will grow them into strong, responsible, world-changing adults. But it pulls at my heart when their wills conflict, and fighting insues. It tears at my insides when they go against my gentle requests and I have to get stern and yes, even submit punishment that sometimes in my frustration comes out quite a bit too harsh. In those moments I fight hard to find the peace I wish they were fighting for, and not against.

And it’s not just them I feel I battle on a daily basis. It’s the laundry and the dishes and the crumbs of food and playdoh and pieces of sensory bin activities that are just forever plaguing me with task after task. It’s the responsibilities that go hand in hand with working from home, homeschooling preschool (that isn’t really PREschool level anything), and the desire to do more of my own hobbies and just never. Finding. Enough. Time! And yet, I still find ways to carve out time for the things I want to do- the things that bring me peace.

In the past, I have selected a word of focus for the year, or purposefully not selected anything for various reasons. But this year in 2017, I am choosing to focus on peace. It’s something I pray for our world, for our nation, for our state and for our city. But most of all, it’s something I pray for our family and for my heart. I pray that in the midst of the struggle, in the midst of the clutter, in the midst of the wonderful, that I would always be able to stop and find peace. Contentment with what I have been given. Joy in the blessings- even the sorrow. And that I would be able to bring God’s peace into our family in a calm, gentle way that also displays His strength and His power, that my children and my husband might see in me just a tiny glimpse of Heaven’s peace.

Maybe this is why I’ve always had a negotiator personality. Maybe this is my time. Like the great queen of ancient Persia, Esther, this is the time God has called me to stand up and be that peaceful negotiator that He made me to be. For such a time as this.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬