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Don’t Cut Your Pumpkins!!

Kiddos With Their Pumpkins

Kiddos With Their Pumpkins

Don’t cut your pumpkins!!!

If you are like me, you don’t look forward to trying to carve pumpkins into jack o’lanterns. In fact, I am totally paranoid about using sharp knives and carving instruments with my little ones. So, to satisfy their desire to decorate pumpkins while keeping my anxieties quiet, we just don’t cut, carve or otherwise mutilate our pumpkins.

Do decorate your pumpkins!

You can do so many things with them without cutting, and they should last all the way until time to decorate for Christmas! I love to do a pumpkin with a thankful theme. My children like to make pumpkins representing themselves. We have also done pumpkins that were just randomly decorated. Be inspired by what you like! I’m more about making fall decorations with my pumpkins and less about making them holiday oriented. Most Halloween themed things don’t pass my rules, anyway, since I don’t allow witches and wickedness in our décor this time of year.

Big Sister Pumpkin

Big Sister Pumpkin

Be creative and have fun!

My kids chose their pumpkins this year. They each chose a small one to represent themselves, and my oldest daughter picked a miniature one to represent their baby sister. They wanted to do their own decorating of their own pumpkins, and to give me ideas of what they wanted me to do for baby sister. 🙂

We used materials we had on hand. My deceased mother in law absolutely adored Halloween, and we wound up with some of her craft supplies. I allowed my kiddos to choose some items from those as part of their pumpkin decorating. We wound up using sequined candy corn and stars, googly eyes, ribbon and paint on the bigger munchkins’ pumpkins in the designs of their choosing and creation. I helped very little, since they were having fun and I wanted them to have pride in creating their own. We used smaller googly eyes, a real piece of candy corn for a nose, raffia and pipe cleaner for the baby’s miniature pumpkin.

Big Brother Pumpkin

Big Brother Pumpkin

Have a safe and happy autumn!!!!

We managed to decorate these with no booboos and minimal stress. My biggest concern was making sure the paint and glue stayed on the newspapers I laid out on the kitchen floor where we were working!

What kind of decorations have you done this fall?

Check out our No Carving Pumpkin Family! I think it’s pretty stinkin’ cute for fall décor!!!

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Pompom Pickup

Pompom Pickup

Pompom Pickup

Pompom Pickup 2My little guy loves activities that require hand/eye coordination and concentration. I am constantly coming up with quietly stimulating little things for him to do while my daughter is doing her kindergarten, and that’s one category I focus on. This activity is perfect for keeping him engaged for a good period of time, at least until he picks up every single pompom. He’s very goal oriented, and cannot stand to quit before every pompom is conquered! 😉

You don’t need much for this. A container (a plastic jar or a clean empty apple juice container works well for me), a bunch of pompoms Pepperell Assorted Pom Poms, Standard Colors, 300 Per Package
(cotton balls would work, but colorful pompoms are more fun) and a pair of tongs of some sort will do it.Pompom Pickup 3

Give your munchkin the pompoms and container, then demonstrate how to pick up a pompom with the tongs and place it in the container. Watch him try until he succeeds, and praise him profusely, then challenge him to see if he can get all of the pompoms into the container all by himself.

My son loves this activity so much, he asks for it. He’s so very proud of himself when he gets all of those pompoms in the container, he goes charging around the house bragging about it. 🙂

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Animals At School

Baby School Scholar

Baby School Scholar

For anyone who is homeschooling and has children not yet old enough to participate in formal education, you know one of the biggest challenges is balancing the needs of the little ones with the ability to teach the older and allow them to concentrate. Thankfully, I had fun with a lot of preschool and baby school type activities with my oldest before she started kindergarten, and can adapt most of those ideas to use with my two year old little guy. I document a lot of them, because he has so much fun and he’s so doggone cute. 🙂 I was thinking that maybe someone else might find some of our little “baby school” activities useful in their own homeschool or quiet times with their kiddos, so I’m going to start sharing some.

One activity both of my little ones have loved is oversized animal flash cards. The exact ones I have are these Animals (Slide and Learn Flash Cards) that are really neat, but these are a nice, inexpensive set that will work for any of the activities I’m sharing using my flash cards Animals of All Kinds Flash Cards. I can come up with a lot of different activities using these, and easily keep a toddler happy with them for half an hour or more. Here are a few fun ones for you to try with your baby schoolers.

Big or Little

Big or Little

I have Bambam sort the cards by whether he thinks the animals are big or little. This is a good one for him to start the day with, because he’s good at it and it builds up his interest and confidence.

Another activity he enjoys is sorting the cards by whether they have fur or not. This is slightly more challenging for him, but usually not too difficult for him to reason out, which is a good thing.

Color Sorting

Color Sorting

For variety, I have him stack the cards according to the color of the trim. This one makes him have to focus on a completely different part of the cards, so he feels like it’s a new activity and it keeps him interested for longer.

Some other things we do with the cards are sorting them by the following categories: No feet, two feet or four feet? Can they fly or not? Is the animal a baby or grownup? Scary or nice? Pet or wild (I started with farm, pet or wild, but my kids think farm animals make great pets, so I dropped that. LOL)?

Can you think of any other games you can do with animal flash cards?

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Cloud Dough

So much fun!

So much fun!

Has anyone made their own play dough? I hadn’t, but I was looking for a new project for little miss creative when I saw a recipe for something they called “cloud dough”. It looked so easy, fun and super duper cheap to make, I had to give it a try.

The recipe? Two parts corn starch to one part hair conditioner of choice. I let my little one pick one that was pink and she liked the smell of. Mix until it’s all combined. It will be the roughly consistency of play dough, smell like conditioner, and have a soft fluffy feel to it ( hence the cloud part).

My daughter loves this stuff! She says it is even better than regular

Glittery Dough

Glittery Dough

playdough, because it’s soft and makes her hands smell yummy. We keep it in a Ziploc bag between playing. Our first batch kept for several weeks, then we made a second. It takes very little time or money, and scored high points for Mommy. It has kept her busy for hours, and I even let my little guy play with it some, if I am able to stay by them to watch closely.

A fun change up is one we just tried yesterday. I sprinkled a tiny bit of gold glitter on the table and let her roll the

dough in it, then she squished the glitter all up in it. Now she has sparkly cloud dough, which she calls her sparkly fairy dough. 🙂

Pink Cloud Dough

Pink Cloud Dough

Updating to share yet another twist on this fun dough we make regularly! 🙂 If you’re like me, and don’t keep dyes around on a regular basis, but do

Green Cloud Dough

Green Cloud Dough

keep sugar sprinkles for decorating baked goods, this one is for you! My kiddos had been arguing over what dough was whose, so I was brainstorming for a way to differentiate. I reached for the green and red sugar sprinkles in the spice cabinet and mixed a generous amount into each of their batches separately. My girly girl Princess Peachy wound up with a beautiful pink to make her little heart smile, and my dinosaur loving Bambam got a soul satisfying light green. No more fussing!! 🙂

Who wants to whip up a batch of this stuff? It is super simple, inexpensive and smells wonderful! 🙂


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ABC Fun, Find and Food

Amazing A Sound Hunt

Amazing A Sound Hunt

I am always looking for ways to make learning fun for my munchkins. Lately, one of the things I am doing with my daughter is reviewing the alphabet, making sure she can write each letter well and knows the phonetic sound that goes with each one. She’s not crazy about repetitive copy work, so I am having her do that part first so she can get to whatever fun game or activity I have planned with it.

Here is my lesson plan, if you can call it that, for the “Fun, Find and Food” theme for the letters A, B and C…

Letter A:

  1. Color the A page in her book, then fill in the practice page for writing the letter A.
  2. Attach the coloring page to the lid of a shoebox, as shown.
  3. Have her make the long A and short a sounds, and tell her to search the house for anything starting with those sounds.
  4. Watch as she runs excitedly around the house hollering out words for items to see if they start with the letter A.
  5. Give her a snack starting with an A, in this case, an apple.

Additional snack suggestions: Apricot, Apple Pie, Almonds.

In the above picture, she found: ape, apple, apron, antlers, animal, alligator, angel.

A is for Apple

A is for Apple

Letter B:

Repeat steps 1-5, just for the letter B.

Snack suggestions: Banana, Berries, Burrito, Blueberry Muffins.

Letter C:

Repeat steps 1-5, just for the letter C.

Snack suggestions: Carrots, Cookies, Crackers, Cucumbers, Craisins.

If you want to do all three letters in one day, you could have them collecting the ingredients for their snacks over the course of the three letters, then eat the snack at the end. For example, you could do a fruit salad with chopped apples and/or apricots, sliced bananas and shredded carrots or some craisins. You could also do a fruit trail mix with a mixture of any or all of the following: dried apples or apricots, almonds, dried bananas or berries, and craisins.

Here is an adorable Alphabetimals coloring book that would work well with this activity, if you need a new one: Alphabetimals Coloring Book (Dover Coloring Books)“>

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From Cheap to FREE: Kids’ Summer Movies 2014

Movie Star Munchkins

Movie Star Munchkins

During the summertime, I know alot of parents are looking for inexpensive activities to fill the days with fun. Alot of those activities are available in the great outdoors, but sometimes you might prefer a cooler way to beat the heat. There are alot of awesome programs for seeing great family movies with your munchkins this summer without going through lot of change! Here are a few summer movie deals I have found for the kiddos:

Carmike Cinemas have different promotions according to location. The one closest to me is offering a movie, drink and popcorn for just $4 total. You’ll have to look up your location for their times and promotions.

http://www.carmike.com/Events/Category/8

Regal Cinemas is not free, but they have $1 movies certain days during the summer at participating locations. Check the link for details, to see if your local Regal Cinema is participating, and what their specific schedule is.

http://www.regmovies.com/Movies/Summer-Movie-Express

This is not a theater in my state, but they do have absolutely free movies at certain times during the summer at Bowtie Cinemas. See link for details.

http://www.bowtiecinemas.com/programs/kids-club/

What movies would your little ones like to see this summer?