Friday, May 30, 2014

Happy Friday! Let's Hit The Road!

Friday's always bring many a road trip to our little family. One thing I have learned on our travels, is that I have to keep it interesting in the car, since I won't give in to the DVD player brigade! Old fashioned singalongs, license plate games, quiet work and other things are what we like to do! It keeps the family engaged with one another at all times and the kids don't zombie out! This is a game the kids and I love to play! Circle fill, is just a sheet of circles that everyone must decorate in an allotted time period. It does not matter how they are decorated as long as they are each done differently and with some type of design, not just a dot and moving on. 
A magnetic-dry erase lapboard is perfect for 'scratch paper' and for drawing or playing games with siblings. Tic-Tac-Toe, hang-man and so much more!

These awesome lunch containers can be used for so much more than lunch! I use them to hold multiple games and they use less space than if I were to bring them along on their own!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Water Table Learning!

Water Tables are a staple in the Summer, it doesn't even have to be a formal table. You can DIY with a large bowl or bucket...anything you choose! One way I love to make teaching fun is at the water table. We use foam letters (when wet, they stick to the walls of the table) to work on spelling words. I say the word and the use the tongs to grab the letter and wet it on both sides, then they spell the word. It can easily be adapted for an early learning to just find letters as you call them out!

Even younger learners can still have fun by developing their fine motor skills by using tongs to grab things by color or shape! We use these plastic ice cubes in a bowl for our young friends! When a color or shape is called out, they use the tongs to find what we are looking for! So simple and so fun, they don't even know they are learning!!
Happy Wednesday my Friends!

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!!

Happy Memorial Day my friends! What are the big plans for the day? Outdoor fun for us, before the rain comes! Bubbles are always a daily favorite, but we wanted to get creative in order for all the neighborhood kids to have a chance to play if they come over. A 1.00 pack of pipe cleaners makes 50 bubble wands, since each cleaner makes 1 wand. The kids just twisted the pipe cleaners into any shape they want, this week our theme seems to be hearts!

We use our bubble station to fill bubble cups for everyone, so it is just grab and go. What do we use as bubble cups???? The bottoms of water bottles! Perfect for little hands to hold and disposable when the fun is done, can't be beat!
Happy Monday my friends!

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Creativity Rules!

If there is anything I love to do on a daily basis, it's get creative! Even if it's just using a board game in a new way or turning trash into something useful! I posted about our mini greenhouses before, but wanted to show you one in action! This one holds peas! I cannot stress enough, that if children are involved in the growing process they are learning so many things and in the end will ALWAYS taste what they create! A yogurt bottle with holes at the bottom and the bottom of a 2 liter bottle make the perfect house for little sprouts!

The hardware store is better than any toy store when it comes to getting creative for kids.
PVC makes the greatest play tool for water tables. They can piece them together however they wish and use funnels to create water tunnels.

Weekly Inspiration!  MCW strives to inspire everyone out there and when I inspire awesome things, I want to share it with you! Check out this awesome batmobile that was created using an old cozy coupe and some spray paint!! Keep your eyes peeled on garage sales, because these could be had for a steal! I just sold one for 15.00 last month, so they are everywhere!
My kids inspire me, what inspires you my friends? Enjoy every single minute! <3 p="">

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Friday, May 16, 2014

DIY Water Table

As I have spoken about last summer and the one before that and on and on with my Thrifty sandbox and water table, it is AWESOME! What I started noticing though, is that we get a lot of neighbor kids in the area as well and it was getting a little too wet on the floor when too many kids were involved, which meant wet bottoms on kids. I decided it was time to TAKE A STAND :) Less than 20.00 in PVC and it was ready to go!
It sits inside with our 'water toys' as the PVC glue dries but will then be spray painted and ready to roll!! It took less than an hour to put together and is perfect for bigger kids, as those tiny toddler tables are too short and too small. Great for many lessons, play and fun! We cannot wait to get started! Thanks friends and enjoy every minute!

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Outdoor Discovery & A Show...

As I discussed on my FACEBOOK PAGE earlier, I do not have a pretty yard. We work hard to maintain it, but the previous owner had A LOT of ground cover and it has begun to take over the yard. No matter how much we clear and fertilize and move and on and on...well it stays maintained but it's not glamorous. What it is though, is an explorer yard. This yard can be dug in anywhere (as long as they cover the hole when finished), seeds can be planted anywhere and flowers can always be picked. We can always find baby bunnies, birds, squirrels and lately this awesome nest! We examined and studied how tightly wound it was and then we even looked around for the types of birds that were nearby. It was a fun experience for us and passed it on to a friend that is a pre-k teacher and she will share it with her class. The learning continues! 

The kids love to help garden as I discuss every year and as they get older, they can do so much more and choose what they want to plant and do it all on their own!
We used to have a big and bulky puppet theater that the kids outgrew but it was always a pain to store and take out, the kids still love to put on a show and now it's easy to do! A tension rod can be set up in any door way and when you add fabric it is a ready stage! Hang the rod higher and use curtain clips and it becomes a stage curtain that can be pulled to the side for more dramatics! So many shows for so little a price!
Have a great weekend my friends and remember to enjoy every minute!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

In the Country...

How was your Mother's Day everyone? I trust it was spectacular! It went by too quickly for me but oh well it was nice none-the-less. My sweet little Roman got me this pretty lil donut with his own money <3 p="">
On our way to the Mother's Day festivities, we spotted a yard sale just  outside of our town out in the country and we stopped to take a gander and ended up meeting some of the sweetest people ever. It was on a farm and even though we came to browse the farm, the owner and his daughter showed my kids the animals and toured the HUGE property! I could not believe how genuine and wonderful this family was, and after 1 hour of visiting, we were invited over again soon. Isn't it amazing how you meet people at random and they end up taking a special place in your heart? That's why I love about living where I do. So many people complain about the negatives, but me? I choose to focus on the positives, of which there are always many.
I am a big reader, always have been. In fact, my cousins always joke that whenever we were playing together, I was always reading a book that was bigger than I was. This has never changed and never will but a love of reading has been passed onto my children as well. One thing that is a MUST in our house is reading together every night for at least 20 minutes but usually goes on a bit longer. My tip for parents to make this time even more special is to read with coordinating plush characters. They don't have to be the exact one, just something to let the kids visualize the story more and to let them know you put a little bit more thought into it as well!
Spending time with your children as part of a routine gives everyone something to look forward to daily and even gets them to calm down right before bed. It's amazing how the years have sailed by, but our routine has stayed the course...
Remember dear readers, to enjoy every single minute!

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Water Fun!

The warm weather is here and the kids are eager to play in the water! I had a few projects ready to roll! First is our Garden and it needs a lot of watering! The kids love to water, but often fight over the hose or the can. This plan has them each with their own watering can that they made and decorating themselves! I saved 3 milk jugs and washed them out, after that we headed outdoors with a hammer and nail. They each hammered holes using the nail into the top of the cap while it was screwed on.
*NOTE: Bubble station info can be found HERE & HERE!*

Before they each decorated their own, they had to test it out! How fun! Each child also has their own container garden, while the raised bed is the family garden.

My THRIFTY SANDBOX POST has seen a lot of action with the warmer weather and today I wanted to share one of the other versions it has been adapted to! We use it as a water table as well. My children are too big for the toddler tables but still love to play, this allows my kids and a few neighbor kids to all have fun at the same time. What toys do we use at the water table? Recyclables of course! They can all be thrown away when broken and they are of course always readily available. When using as a water table, we store the sand in a rubbermaid bin in the garage, other bins hold dirt for mud play and miscellaneous stuff like shaving cream and the like, in the winter we leave it outside to fill with snow on a day when it's falling strong and have indoor snow play! This is always a fun way to make 1 bin do so many jobs and the cover allows it to stay clean at all times!
Have a great Mother's Day my friends and remember to enjoy every minute.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

No-Cook Play Dough and Bonus...NO CREAM of TARTAR!!

The Sottile family was in the kitchen for a measurement math class and what was on the menu? Homemade play dough! Unfortunately the weather is warming up a bit quickly and I didn't feel like working on the stove AND we were out of cream of tartar. I was striking out but knew I could work with that!
What you need:
4 cups of flour
1.5 cups of salt
3 TBSP of oil
1 cup of water
1.5 cups of boiling water

Step 1: Mix everything together except for the boiling water.
Step 2. Begin to knead while in the bowl.
Step 3. As you mix all the ingredients, slowly add the boiling water as needed (you may not use it all).
Step 4. (Adults only) As the water begins to cool, continue to knead dough.
Step 5. Flour surface lightly where you will be working
Step 6. Roll out dough and work it until it is pliable and dough-ready
Step 7. Divide dough based on colors you will be using.

Step 8. Place food coloring in 2-3 drops in center of dough.
Step 9. Knead dough until color begins to be absorbed into the dough.
*Color will get stronger the more it gets played with, the kids think this is MAGIC dough!*

Step 10. PLAY!!!!!!!
*For longer lasting dough, store in glass or air-tight jars. We use ball jars and they have lasted 2 years so far!! This is a fresh batch we made today in order to give to friends :)
Enjoy every minute my friends!!

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Garden Fun!

Another year, another garden! It's time to get moving in the garden and we are READY!! ALWAYS get your littles involved and they will not only be gardeners for life but they will learn to love veggies! I also get art work by my kids in the garden, by giving them rocks and we write herbs on them as little garden markers!

While going paint crazy, I had the kids paint a birdhouse that sits right outside our screen porch so that the kids can bird watch. At the coffee table in the screen porch sit a few bird watching guides!
One thing we love to do is show off artwork that our kids do, so what better way than a DIY rain barrel?! This is made from a steel drum and the kids got to paint all over it!
Each kid got their own side and they spent all morning perfecting their work on one of first nice days of the season!!
After all the work, daddy took over putting in a spigot and sealing their artwork to make sure it would endure the test of time. We also dated it to make sure we would forever remember this day!

Outdoor play also means it's time to get the Bubble Station ready to go!!! What are you looking forward to, now that the weather is nice?

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Loving Learning!

Did you know that it's not quite as hard as you think to have children that love to learn? No, really! All 3 of my kids absolutely love to engage in any form of learning, the secret? I make it fun!! Simple toys can become learning experiences when you add in some alphabet or number stickers. Blocks can help with spelling words when you add stickers on those too! Rub on letters on rocks are fun to make and help create a word garden out of rocks! It's NOT expensive to get creative and you usually have the stuff you need on hand already. Look around and let your mind lead the way!
A sharpie on some bath tub slip stoppers creates a fun game for bathtime or water table play! Work on learning numbers for the Little Ones and then make it into a math game with addition and subtraction of numbers! Work your way to Multiplication and Division too! This is so easy to adapt for many different age levels.
Still don't have that stuff laying around? Check your recycling bin for anything and turn it into something else altogether! A yogurt container turns into a green house when paired with the bottom of a 2 liter bottle and you drill holes on the bottom of it, use the lid as the water catcher. Use a crystal lite container to transform it into a see through planter, where you can watch the plants roots as they take hold in the container. 
It's not hard at all to get creative and it's definitely not expensive! Sorry for the delay once again in writing, we have been busy finishing up our school year and then picking up a huge volunteer job that the whole family gets to help out with and takes over our Saturdays! Until next time my friends, when I will share more recycling fun! ~Enjoy every moment!

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