Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. We hope to provide enlightening ideas for ways in which your family can enjoy time together while tackling the household to-do list!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014!

It is the official start of a whole new year, and with that, the sense of renewal and hope.  The stressors of real life may be impossible to ignore, but turning the page on a new calendar offers the refreshing reminder for all of us that time keeps marching on...and we may as well enjoy the time we have, and make the most out of the moments we have, together. :)

Here are a few fun ways to reflect on the past year and to ring in the new one!

* Discuss the purpose of making New Years Resolutions.  Create a family resolution, write it on a piece of paper, then stash it inside a Christmas stocking not to be looked at again until the end of 2013. The next time the Christmas stockings gets hung again it will be fun to see how well the resolution was maintained!

* Cut a large circle out of paper or cardboard and draw lines across the center to divide it into a 12-segment "2013 clock," one segment for each month of the new year.  Each member of the family then writes a fun activity or personal goal they hope to accomplish in that month.  It is a fun way to generate inspiration for the new year, and to support each others goals.  Keep it stored in a handy location!

* Learn about the history and significance of New Years Day, and find fun ways to pay homage to your families own unique cultural heritage.

*Eat a good luck dinner!  Our German roots dictate that we eat pork and sour kraut on New Years Day.  The pork is because pigs tend to "root forward" with their snouts, symbolizing progress, and the sour kraut because the green cabbage symbolizes wealth in the new year.

Have fun, make it a great New Years day, and enjoy 2014..together!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Small projects, large laughs. :)

In our simple attempt to involve the kiddo's in preparations for our holiday celebrations, I am grateful to say that these cookies turned out pretty cute and quite tasty.  As easy as a project could be, this one only involved pre-made sugar cookie dough, a few m and m's (the little ones picked out the right colors for the eyes and nose), and a chocolate coated pretzel.  The process of getting the kids involved is the most rewarding experience of all.  Kids who participate regularly in making the holiday get togethers special and meaningful develop a more personal connection to the event and to the people who surround them.

There are unlimited ideas for ways to involve kids on the web but these are our favorite compilation of ideas from  Most of these ideas are cheap, easy, and have some impressive results. :)

Enjoy.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thankful in November :)

Create a "thankful box" to collect grateful statements throughout the month of November.   Simply decorate an old shoe box or mailing box with paper, ribbon, stickers, designs, or whatever creative supplies that you have on hand. Throughout the month encourage family members to regularly drop notes into the box about what they are thankful for.  These notes can be simple, elaborate, or somewhere in between...there is so much to be thankful for. :)  On Thanksgiving empty the box and read the notes aloud for all to share.  These real life affirmations can be meaningful and memorable for all members of the family. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Getting rid of the leaves..and making it fun!

I have often wondered why it is important to clean up leaves before the first snowfall.  After minimal research I discovered a few very simple reasons.  Basically the last thing that anyone wants is a yard, gutter, or sidewalk full of partially decomposed, wet leaves.  Especially after feet of heavy snow pummel the ground for several months.  These partially decomposed leaves are difficult to mulch and make for very heavy trash bags.  Too much leftover leaf debris will also smother lawns and gardens making spring growth difficult or even impossible.  So, there you go.  The proof that this pesky fall chore is essential, despite how time consuming it can be.  Here are a few ways to make raking the leaves fun, and tackling those other necessary fall duties alongside your youngest family members. :)

* Raking leaves game; give older kids a rake and ask them to rake their name or other designs in the yard.  Be sure the gather the leaves they clear as they go.  Or, have kids race to see who can fill a bag of the leaves the fastest.  The winner gets an amazing a date night with parents or the privilege of choosing the next movie. :)

* Cleaning up the community; the same reality applies for leftover leaves that are not cleared away before the first snowfall.  Excess leaf debris can smother attempts for new spring growth in your favorite public areas.  Help keep these areas beautiful all year long by raking up these areas.  The lessons learned from this experience tackled alongside your kiddo's can be beneficial for all.  Having kids fill Halloween themed garbage bags in the shapes of pumpkins can boost the fun of all this raking. :)

Once all of the leaves are cleared there are many good uses for them;

* Create a keepsake craft by gluing the driest and most colorful leaves around the edges of a sturdy piece of construction paper.  Then glue a picture of the family raking up the leaves.  

* Use the dried leaves as colorful seasonal filler to line the bottom of a candle-holder.

Enjoy the loveliness and creativity of the fall season. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Decorating October..with clothes hangers, ribbons, and nature :)

Quick, easy, and fun fall themed crafts made by the most basic supplies. :)

Acorn candle ring; gather several dried acorns from outside.  Use super glue to attach the acorns to each other and shape them into a circle.   Then drizzle them with a small amount of honey, and sprinkle these with cinnamon.  Bake the acorn circles in the oven for 10 minutes at 300 degrees.  Once the acorns are completely cool, they can be used as a sweet smelling decorative candle ring to showcase the natural beauty of fall.

Painted pine cone door hanger; start by gathering several large, clean, and fully dried out pine cones.  Use brightly colored acrylic paint and a large brush to gently paint the edges of the pinecones.  Once these are dry (wait at least 6 hours), use a ribbon to tie each of the pinecones onto a long string, then tie a large loop at one end and hang on a door.  This makes a lovely fall decoration and creative way to welcome those who come through the door.

A winding natural thankful tree; using a wire clothing hanger, unwind the hanger and shape it into a spiral design.  Have kids write all the things they are thankful for on a notecard and decorate it with fall stickers or color in with markers.  Use paper clips to attach the note cards on various points of the winding clothes hanger.

Home made potpourri; use acorns, pinecones, and leaves that have fallen naturally and lay them out on paper towel to dry out.  Gather one teaspoon of each of the following spices; cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, and allspice and mix in a large plastic bag.  Add some dried lemon or orange peal for additional flavor.  Add the outdoor items collected and give the bag a few shakes.  Let it sit outside to absorb the fresh scents of nature and for the spices to blend and settle.  Place the contents of the bag in a vase and set it out for everyone in the home to see, smell, and appreciate.

Pine cone wreath; Take a wire clothes hanger and shape it into a full circle.  Use fall colored ribbon to  string acorns and pine cones to the edges of the wire until the hanger is fully covered in natural beauty. Attach a ribbon to the top and hang to display.  How lovely. :)

Pine cone picture frame; Use a large pinecone and piece of that is cut to be about 4 x 6 inches.  Use craft glue to attach the pinecone to the cardboard, then fit a fun fall themed picture upright in the grooves of the pinecone.   Add a few drops of craft glue to keep the picture securely in place.  For extra detail, add glitter to the pinecone, or glue dried leaves around the cardboard base. Enjoy your fun and festive fall picture stand!

Enjoy the fall, fill your home with beauty, and appreciate the changing seasons...together. :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Creating grateful garland

The season of Thanksgiving may still be months away, but with the colder weather, falling leaves, and the looming excitement of the holiday's, the season enters our minds in the early weeks of fall.  There is always time, and interesting ways, to bring attention to and display all that we have to be grateful for.  Creating grateful garland is a fun project that is cheap, simple, and can turn out to be very lovely looking and meaningful to everyone in the family.

What you need; wire clothes hanger, fall ribbon, pinecones, acorns, dried leaves, card stock, markers, and inspiration..

Step 1 ~ Gather all the items you can find outside; dried pinecones, acorns, leaves, etc.
Step 2 ~ Unwind the clothes hanger and shape into one long wire.
Step 3 ~ Use the ribbon to hang the pinecones and acorns at various lengths to the wire.
Step 4 ~ Contemplate all the things to be grateful for; write these on the card stock and use the markers to decorate them with fall colors.  Use the ribbon to hang these cards at various lengths to the wire.
Step 5 ~ Decorate the wire by glueing the leaves to it to cover the wire portion.
Step 6 ~ Hang it up to display, and add more cards throughout the season. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

So fun...So free :)

Beyond games, cards, and the public library... Here are a few fun, and FREE activities to keep kids large minds and little hands occupied during the summer months. :)

Paint rocks; collect smooth rocks from outside, wash and dry, and decorate them using permanent markers.  Personalize the rocks with names, inspirational messages, or colorful designs.  Give these away to family members to use as paper weights or for decorating a garden.

Make origami hats out of newspaper; why throw old newspaper away?  Use the paper to make creative origami hats and other simple creations. :)

Create and decorate your family tree; download this family tree template or make your own using posterboard, markers, pictures, and the unique information of your own family history.

Draw self portraits or pictures of other family members; use chalk, paint, markers, or whatever art supplies are available to create unique and personalized portraits... frame, hang, admire. :)  Get creative! :)

Create a family seal; using thick paper and markers draw all of the symbols that makes your family unique.  Cut the paper into a shape and mount on your wall to display. Or, use this link to create a personalized coat of arms,

Take a virtual world tour!

Write a progressive story; Each person takes a turn writing 2-3 sentences one after another until you have created a whole story.  These stories are always original and often take very funny and unexpected plot twists. :)

Create a "vision" board; Use leftover cardboard or poster board, markers, magazine cut outs, and pictures to mount an original "vision board" that summarizes the dreams and aspirations of you and your kiddo's.

Make oversized "happy birthday" or "just because" cards; take leftover pizza or cereal boxes and fold them inside out. Cut the excess cardboard on the sides and decorate with whatever art supplies are on hand.

Enjoy spending time, and not money..together. :)