6 Garden Themed Activities for Kids

It’s time to get out in the garden! Whether you plant veggies or flowers, there’s no doubt about it, kids love to garden. Digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and watering the plants are all things kids can help with. Waiting on the plants to grow is the hardest part. Keep kids interested with these Garden Themed Activities for Kids.

6 Garden Themed Activities for Kids

Gardening with a Toddler | My Big Fat Happy Life
Garden of Eden Small World | Wugs and Dooey
Learning about Plants: Activities and free printables for kids | A Little Pinch of Perfect
Tissue Paper Flowers | Hands On As We Grow
Handprint and Footprint Flower Craft for Kids | A Little Pinch of Perfect
Pretend Play Garden | Pre-K Pages

Good Tips Tuesday LinkUp Party

Good Tips Tuesday 1/6 | Golden Reflections Blog

We want this to be a resource for you to find Good Tips for your life, home, kids and everything in between! So what kinds of posts are you able to link up now? Check out this awesome list!

  • Recipes & Cooking Tips
  • Homemaking Tips
  • Parenting Tips
  • Kids crafts & Activity Tips

Your hosts each week are:

Golden Reflections Blog

Simply Sherryl

A Bird And A Bean

Happy Brown House

A Diligent Heart

The Gracious Wife

Learning 2 Walk

Good Tips Tuesday

Now let’s get to today’s Good Tips Tuesday party!

  • Link up your recipe/cooking, homemaking, parenting, and kids craft/activity tips below (4 per person please)
  • Please link directly to your post, not to your main blog page. All links that do not follow this will be deleted.
  • Visit other posts in the party, comment, tweet, pin and let them know you came from GTTuesday!
  • We will feature 4 posts each week, picked via random.org. We will each be picking our favorite post from the week and pinning all of the featured posts and favorite posts to the GTTuesday Pinterest Board!

Follow Heather @ Golden Reflections Blog’s board Good Tips Tuesday #GTTuesday on Pinterest.

Disclosures:

We can’t wait to see all the amazing posts you will be linking up this week!

Blessings,

Heather, Sherryl, Erin, Sara, Marlene, Michelle, & Alecia

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5 Delicious Recipes for Spring

When Spring hits, I’m ready for a bit more color and fresh flavor to my food. Don’t get me wrong, I love the savory comfort food of the fall and winter, but by the time Spring arrives, I’m craving fresh fruits and veggies in my recipes. Today we’re featuring 5 Delicious Recipes for Spring from the Good Tips Tuesday link-up.

5 Delicious Recipes for Spring, featured on Good Tips Tuesday

Amazing Lemon Cheesecake | Delightfully Curious Designs

Coconut Lime Chicken Bites | Sherryl Wilson

Sweet Red Pepper and Caper Quinoa Salad | Tie Dye Lemonade

Fruit Smoothie Pops | Dabbling Momma

Lemon Strawberry Shortcake Trifle | Blogging Mom of 4 

Good Tips Tuesday LinkUp Party

Good Tips Tuesday 1/6 | Golden Reflections Blog

We want this to be a resource for you to find Good Tips for your life, home, kids and everything in between! So what kinds of posts are you able to link up now? Check out this awesome list!

  • Recipes & Cooking Tips
  • Homemaking Tips
  • Parenting Tips
  • Kids crafts & Activity Tips

Your hosts each week are:

Golden Reflections Blog

Simply Sherryl

A Bird And A Bean

Happy Brown House

A Diligent Heart

The Gracious Wife

Learning 2 Walk

Good Tips Tuesday

Now let’s get to today’s Good Tips Tuesday party!

  • Link up your recipe/cooking, homemaking, parenting, and kids craft/activity tips below (4 per person please)
  • Please link directly to your post, not to your main blog page. All links that do not follow this will be deleted.
  • Visit other posts in the party, comment, tweet, pin and let them know you came from GTTuesday!
  • We will feature 4 posts each week, picked via random.org. We will each be picking our favorite post from the week and pinning all of the featured posts and favorite posts to the GTTuesday Pinterest Board!

Follow Heather @ Golden Reflections Blog’s board Good Tips Tuesday #GTTuesday on Pinterest.

Disclosures:

We can’t wait to see all the amazing posts you will be linking up this week!

Blessings,

Heather, Sherryl, Erin, Sara, Marlene, Michelle, & Alecia

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The Post I Never Expected To Write About Adoption

Well, it’s time I peel back the curtains a little bit and tell you about our adoption journey the past 8 months. I’ve hinted on more than one occasion that things were rough and there was a guest blog post I wrote on We Are That Family where I gave some cryptic details, BUT very few people knew the extent of our heartache. Even now, I’m ashamed to share it, but I know that speaking truth is the beginning to healing. Giving words to sorrow has always been the door to which I find comfort, and I must walk through the door before me.

Our girl experienced extreme trauma in her life before coming to our home. I won’t share details of her trauma publicly because it is her story, but it was extreme and affected her deeply. Trauma literally rewires the brain and causes all sorts of things in children as young as she was at the time of the traumatic events. As we peeled back the layers, we began to see more clearly that we were not the right fit for her. Her trauma reactive behaviors were severe, multi-faceted, and so very, very scary. We hunted down every resource available to us locally to help her, but it was “too little, too late.” Her needs are extreme and the level of therapeutic parenting that she requires is beyond what we can provide for her with other small children in the home. We cannot compromise the well-being of our biological sons for the sake of “saving” her.

frozen hat

While she looked healthy and happy to outsiders and in pictures, we saw a very dark side of things within the walls of our home. Our happy home had become more of a prison with alarms on doors, surveillance cameras, extreme safety protocols, and more. She is, to put it very mildly, mentally ill. As I type this, she is in her 2nd psych hospital stay and has been there for over a month. The first time was the day after Christmas and she celebrated her 6th birthday there. During her 7 months with us, we went through 3 forensic investigations with CPS, an interview with a detective, 2 psych hospital stays, an ER visit for self-harm, death threats with a viable plan (we later found out she was attempting it one night, but backed out), suicide watch, countless hours of therapy…and it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to keep her safe from hurting herself or to keep others safe from her. Our love wasn’t enough.pink gloves

We have agonized over what is best for our family and for our beautiful girl. We truly love her and are heartbroken for the road we have walked with her. We are even more heartbroken for her past experiences that, essentially, made it impossible for her to receive and reciprocate our love. Ultimately, we have had to be very honest with ourselves about what we can handle and what cannot continue to happen in our house. We have made the decision to disrupt her adoption placement with us and not finalize the adoption. She will not return to our house when she is released from the psych hospital and has been moved into the residential treament portion of the hospital.

waterfall

We know this may come as a shock. It is to us, too. I remember reading about adoption disruptions when we first started our adoption journey and judging what I couldn’t understand–and here I sit in the very same rocking boat after being pulled out from the waves of this storm. We know we have loved her the best we knew how. We take comfort in the fact that we gave her a safe place to share her story, sought justice for her, pinpointed her specific therapeutic needs, showed her what a loving family looks like, and most importantly, exposed her to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the only one that can truly heal her anyway.

water shed

We are now trying to piece our lives back together and heal from the second-hand trauma that we have experienced. Our boys have suffered. My husband has suffered. As the primary caregiver and target of most of the aggression, I have suffered immensely. Not one of us is walking out of this unscathed. Our entire family has been touched by this, but we are clinging together for comfort at the feet of the cross. We know our Savior isn’t surprised by our circumstances, and for some reason, we were asked to walk through this for His glory. We know that if we hadn’t taken her when her emergency placement was presented to us, she would still be in a hopeless situation with her abusers. I have to believe that, while this is terribly difficult, there is purpose for the pain. God will rebuild our lives just as He has done so many times before.

Leo’s Pad Preschool Learning App

The draw of the iPad is intense with our three year old. He’s often found climbing on things to find it and has figured out the password to unlock the home screen to let himself play his favorite preschool learning apps. Honestly, I don’t blame him–I love fun technology, too. Usually, when Asher plays the iPad, he will open an app, play for a few minutes, and move on to another app. Lately, I’ve noticed him choosing a particular app and staying within the app for a longer period of time.

Review Leo's Pad Preschool App by Kidaptive

Disclosure: I was provided this product for free for the purpose of this review. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are honest, and I was not required to post a positive review.

The app my three year old son has been drawn to is Leo’s Pad, an adaptive-learning series for preschoolers by Kidaptive. Designed by Stanford researchers and world-class animators, Leo’s Pad Enrichment Program is a stunningly beautiful app jam packed with learning.

Leo's Pad preschool app

What I like about Leo’s Pad Preschool Learning App

  • Amazing graphics–This is the most beautiful app I’ve ever seen. The graphics are seamless, not choppy or awkward when they move. The graphics are very detailed, much more like a painting than minimalist clipart graphics used in some apps. Here is a screenshot of one of the beautiful ocean scenes:
    Leo's Pad preschool app screenshot
  • Encourages social skills–There are times when kids are encouraged to share with one of the characters and do nice things for the characters. For example, one time the activity was to paint on an easel and give the paintbrush to one of the characters when my son was finished.
  • Multiple levels–There are six chapters that unlock when the early learners have mastered a level. While parents can unlock a level, the app wants them to play a number of times to keep them from breezing through the games and to master the learning. Big thumbs up!
    Leo's Pad preschool app by Kidaptive
  • Creative Skill Learning and Reinforcement–The activities are creative and woven in the storyline of the “app-isodes”.  There are auditory reinforcements that go along with the visual learning. For example, when a color is chosen on the paint easel, the child hears the color name.art on Leo's Pad preschool app by Kidaptive
  • Photo avatars for the non-readers–This was a huge positive for me. Since each child is working on their own level of learning, each child has a user profile. I liked the option of adding a picture for my three year old to help him independently find his profile. Don’t worry, if you’d rather not load a picture into the app, there are several cartoon character profile pictures available instead.
  • STEM focused–There are lots of higher-order thinking skills woven throughout the activities and I noticed a large portion of the activities were designed to cover STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I love STEM activities for my boys–science experiments and engineering get my boys excited!

What my kids think about Leo’s Pad

They love it! To them, it’s an interesting and fun game. As a mom and a master’s level teacher, I know it is teaching them and doing so much more than just entertaining them for a while. While never pleasant, kids fighting over who gets to play first is a sign of a great app. Although Leo’s Pad is targeted for preschool, my second grader enjoyed playing, too.

My Only Hangup

If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you’ll know that I’m a frugal girl. I believe homeschooling can be done well without spending a lot of money, especially in the early years, and can be done with common household items. Normally, we stick to FREE apps or go without. On the rare occasion that I pay for an app, it is less than five dollars. At a price of $24.99, Leo’s Pad does not currently fall within my app price range. However, you get what you pay for, and with Leo’s Pad, you know you’re making an investment in your child’s learning, not just entertaining them.

Leo’s Pad has a trial available for the first chapter. I encourage you to download it and see this app for yourself. Your kids will love it and you might just think it’s worth the investment. Download your FREE TRIAL of Leo’s Pad Enrichment Program. While you’re downloading, be sure to download Kidaptive’s FREE companion parenting app, Learning Mosaic.

Coupon Code for Leo’s Pad

If you like Leo’s Pad and want to purchase it, get 20% off with code IHOMESCHOOL if app is purchased via https://shop.kidaptive.com/. This code will not work via iTunes. Coupon valid until May 31, 2015.

Connect with Leo’s Pad

Find them on Facebook (3 pages to choose from)–Kidaptive, Leo’s Pad, and Learner Mosaic
Find them on Twitter @Kidaptive or @LeosPadApp

5 Home Management Tips & Tricks

Seems like no matter how well I think I manage my home, I can always learn more. In my quest to be an effective wife, mother, and homemaker, I love learning new tips and tricks to help me save time, money, and extra effort. Our Good Tips Tuesday linkers never cease to amaze me with the tips they share!  Whether it’s menu planning, organizing, or keeping the kids happy & healthy, there is something for everyone. Make sure not to miss these highlighted posts from last week!

5 Home Management Tips & Tricks

5 Home Management Tips & Tricks:
5 Creative Home Organizing Tips | The Road to Domestication

A 5 Minute Task to Help Avoid the Flu | The Health Minded

Make-Ahead Freezer Meals | NepaMom

The Many Uses for Epsom Salts | The Health Minded

Simple Menu Planning | A Life in Balance

Good Tips Tuesday LinkUp Party

Good Tips Tuesday 1/6 | Golden Reflections Blog

We want this to be a resource for you to find Good Tips for your life, home, kids and everything in between! So what kinds of posts are you able to link up now? Check out this awesome list!

  • Recipes & Cooking Tips
  • Homemaking Tips
  • Parenting Tips
  • Kids crafts & Activity Tips

Your hosts each week are:

Golden Reflections Blog

Simply Sherryl

A Bird And A Bean

Happy Brown House

A Diligent Heart

The Gracious Wife

Good Tips Tuesday

Now let’s get to today’s Good Tips Tuesday party!

  • Link up your recipe/cooking, homemaking, parenting, and kids craft/activity tips below (4 per person please)
  • Please link directly to your post, not to your main blog page. All links that do not follow this will be deleted.
  • Visit other posts in the party, comment, tweet, pin and let them know you came from GTTuesday!
  • We will feature 4 posts each week, picked via random.org. We will each be picking our favorite post from the week and pinning all of the featured posts and favorite posts to the GTTuesday Pinterest Board!

Follow Heather @ Golden Reflections Blog’s board Good Tips Tuesday #GTTuesday on Pinterest.

Disclosures:

  • By linking up and including a picture, you agree to allow Golden Reflections Blog, Simply Sherryl, A Bird And A Bean, & Happy Brown House, A Diligent Heart, and The Gracious Wife to use your pictures and links in future featured post/photo collage like this one. Your photo may also be used for promotion on all social media outlets of all the before mentioned blogs with the corresponding link # given of your entry.
  • If you include your e-mail in the link up form below you will be added to a weekly e-mail reminder when the link party goes live. Your e-mail will not to added to any other lists or given out, please see our privacy policy for details.

We can’t wait to see all the amazing posts you will be linking up this week!

Blessings,

Heather, Sherryl, Erin, Sara, Marlene, & Michelle

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DIY Bean Bag Tutorial

Beanbags are a childhood staple. As a teacher, I often used bean bags in my elementary classroom for lots of different learning activities. The possibilities are truly endless! Homemade Bean Bags are a perfect easy beginner sewing project and can help use up fabric scraps. The materials are practically free, and even if you have to buy a bag of beans for the filler, each beanbag only costs pennies to make. Make a set for the kids in your life and enjoy hours of fun!

DIY Bean Bag Tutorial

 

DIY Beanbag Tutorial

Sewing level: Beginner
Time: 5 minutes
Cost: $0-$5

*Affiliate Links are present in this post.*

Materials:

Square scrap fabric
Sewing machine
Thread
Beans (any will do!)
Hand Sewing Needle (optional)

How to Sew a Beanbag

  1. Cut your fabric to a 4×4 square. You will need 2 squares per bean bag. (Mine were 3.5 inches square in the photo. They were fine, but a little smaller than I wanted.)
    Cute two squares for DIY beanbags
  2. With right sides together, sew around the square. Make sure to start halfway down one side and stop sewing early, leaving a 2 inch space.
    Sew two squares together to make beanbags.
  3. Clip corners, making sure not to clip the thread.
    Clip corners before turning beanbag right side out
  4. Turn the bean bag right side out through the hole. Use a pencil to push the corners out.
    Use a pencil to push corners out when you turn the beanbag right side out.
  5. Place beans inside the bean bag. I used regular dry pinto beans that I’ve had in my cabinet forever, but whatever kind of beans you have at your house will work.
    add dry beans to the bean bags
  6. Sew the small opening shut. I used a needle and did a quick whipstitch by hand, but you can also use a sewing machine.
    whipstitch the beanbag opening shut

That’s it! So easy. Now, you’re ready to hand these to the kids and make up a game!

Easy Sewing Projects

DIY Door Draft Stopper {Easy Sewing Project}
DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer {Beginner Sewing Project}
Ribbon Tag Blanket
How to Applique Without an Embroidery Machine

Follow Sara @ Happy Brown House’s board Sewing Tutorials to Try on Pinterest.

DIY Door Draft Stopper {Easy Sewing Project}

As I quietly creep through the house to the coffee maker, I catch a chill as soon as my feet hit the hardwood floor in our entryway. It sends a shiver through me and I make a quick detour to look at the thermostat. It’s holding strong and steady where it was set, but it’s winter and the cold air still finds its way in through the tiniest cracks. A draft stopper, or a draft snake as we called it growing up, is a quick and easy fix for stopping cold air from coming in through door cracks. Using a Door Draft Stopper or a Draft Snake is a great way to lower your heating bill and make sure your home is energy efficient. It just so happens that a door draft stopper is also a very easy DIY sewing project. With some scrap fabric and fifteen minutes, you can stop drafts in your house, too.

DIY Door Draft Stopper or Draft Snake to keep the chilly air from sneaking in the door cracks and helping your heating bill

DIY Door Draft Stopper/Draft Snake Tutorial

Sewing Level: Beginner
Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $0-$10

Materials:

Fabric (mine was from my stash)
Thread
Sewing machine
Measuring Tape
Rice
Twill Tape (optional)

 

How to Make a DIY Door Draft Stopper/Draft Snake

  1. Measure your door and add a few inches. Cut Fabric. I found a piece of fabric in my stash that was perfect, so I didn’t even cut the length.
    Use scrap fabric to make a DIY Door Draft Stopper
  2. Fold in half lengthwise (hotdog fold). Pin the long edge and one short end closed.
    sewing scrap fabric into a DIY Draft Stopper
  3. Sew one short end. Lift your presser foot, turn, and sew all the way down the long side. Clip corners, being careful not to cut the seam.
  4. Turn the tube inside out. Use a pencil to gently help you poke the corners out if you need to.
    turning scrap fabric tube inside out for DIY Draft Snake
  5. Fill 3/4  of the way with rice. My husband helped me with this part.
    DIY Draft Stopper made from rice and scrap fabric
  6. Fold the rough edges on the open end of the tube inside about an inch.
  7. Optional: If you want to add a handle loop for easy storage when not in use, cut a piece of twill tape. Insert it in the opening to form a loop. Pin in place.
    Sew a loop at one end of your DIY Door Draft Stopper for easy storage
  8. Sew shut. Reinforce the opening with more than one stitch. (I scooted my sewing machine all the over to the edge of the table and asked my husband to hold the rice tube while I sewed the opening shut.)
    sewing end of the rice tube for a DIY draft snake

Note: I store mine hanging on a hook in my laundry room when not in use.

I’ve made draft stoppers for all of our exterior doors in our house, especially the door between the garage and our new basement homeschool room. They keep the cold air out and the warm air in. I’d say that’s a pretty fantastic frugal winter sewing project that will keep you warm.

DIY Door Draft Stopper or draft snake

Want more DIY Projects? Buy the Ultimate DIY Bundle and get busy!