Sunday, October 28, 2012

* Instagram and Hurricane Sandy

(Dew-covered Spider web on our morning walk!)

So I recently set up my Instagram account and with 
some encouragement from my photographer cousin. 
I'm really enjoying it. 
It has turned out to be a fun way to grab my phone 
and snap a quickie photo of whatever we're up to at the moment. 
A way to document the little moments in our daily life.
I also get to see what my friends are up too with their own lives - so fun. 

If I could figure out how to link it to my Pink and Green Mama Facebook page
I would, but I'm technically challenged so I've only been able to 
figure out how to link it to my regular (private/personal) FB account.

Are any of you on Instagram?
I would love to follow you and see what you're up to. 
(all caps, not meant to sound like I'm screaming!)
Here are a few recent photos/scenes from our daily life.

My view from the kitchen, while cooking dinner a few nights ago.
"C" balancing on her pods from Discount School Supply
(they were in this post, they're called Hop Around Steps)
while watching Daniel Tiger -- Pippi our greyhound was supervising.

Turned our never-used Ikea Paper Dispenser into 
a Washi Tape dispenser
in the art studio = big hit with the kids!

"E" spooning with Pippi the dog on a Saturday morning,
they're almost the same size -- Pippi outweighs her by 7 lbs. 

Mission Gift Wrap Organization Complete!
My new wrapping paper station on the back of our guest room door 
made with Elfa parts from the Container store last weekend
The best part was that I opened up two storage shelves in our garage
and had all the parts except one piece from our old pantry. 

Visiting my happy place - the ribbon aisle at Michaels Thursday.

"E"s finished Salt Map of Virginia in a Pizza Box project
she turned in on Friday. She did all of it and it's awesome.

Building a fancy block house with the girls last night in our playroom. 
Made these mini bean bag worms with the girls today!

In the meantime, we are battening down the hatches
and getting ready for what is supposed to be one whopper of a big storm,
Hurricane Sandy.
The local news and weather people are calling it a 
We stocked up on food, I'm baking cookies today, making our favorite bean dip,
and charging cell phones.
Geoff picked up his work computer and blue prints so he can work from home
and the girls have already had school cancelled for the next two days.
We're planning to hunker down and hang out.
Hoping to keep our power but expecting to lose it.
We had a storm that was much smaller than this in the spring
and lost power for 4 days. 
We will be crafting, reading and snacking. 
Good thing we have a full bowl of halloween candy and some bottles of red wine!

 Hope all of you stay safe too.
I expect to be off-line for a few days or a week...or two.

Stay dry. Stay safe.
Hug your kiddos.
and... Happy Halloween!

Pink and Green Mama, MaryLea

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

* Avoiding Sibling Rivalry and Encouraging Sibling Friendships with Play

One thing you may not know about me is that I'm an only child.
Deciding to have two kids was a huge leap of faith for me. 
I didn't want our oldest daughter to grow up alone, I wanted her to have 
a sibling but I was scared to death about how to parent two kids
and how to avoid sibling rivalry.
Well, flash forward into year 10 of my parenting journey
and year 6 of raising two daughters and I have to say it's better than 
I thought it would be and there will always be sibling rivalry no matter what I do. 
That doesn't mean I'm off the hook as a parent to not interfere when 
the girls fight, bicker, or bully each other -- I certainly do step in and let 
them know it won't be tolerated but I also try my best to encourage them to 
work things out on their own when they can (a useful life skill later in life.) 
One way I do this, is to encourage my daughters to be friends with each other.

This was hard at first, there is a 4 year age difference between my girls. 
When "C" was a baby, "E" (age 4) was really not a big fan of hers.
She put up with her and let us know pretty regularly that she liked it better
when she was "an only child." It was not an easy process.

Fortunately, "C" worshipped "E" and eventually she won her over. 
She smiled first for "E." If I needed a photo of "C", 
I just asked "E" to stand behind me and she would always light up for the camera. 
"E"s name was her first word other than "Cat" and before "Mama." 
Once "C" was mobile, they started to play together.

They not only became playmates but also best friends. 
How did I get them to get along?
I wish I had a secret recipe for success that I could share, this is pretty close...
I just read an article on Mom's Homeroom about 
It is spot-on in explaining that siblings need to learn how to cooperate
and that it isn't an easy process. By setting up classroom-tested
and curriculum-based games for your children, they will learn how 
to play cooperatively with friends and siblings just like they do at school. 

What kinds of activities? 
I will say that I got them to play together and the activities
we shared encouraged their friendship and bonding.
Without realizing it, I did most of the things on the list in this article.
Here are some examples from the MSN article: 

with tiny jars and cotton balls with herbs/perfume/extracts.

Create a Child's Play Area in the Garden/Backyard-
our backyard has several kid friendly play areas 
including their own fairy gardens.

Encourage Artful Collaborations and Craft time together - 
yep, we have that one covered.

Making Life-Size MuralsBody Tracing (my girls love this!)

Build Something Together - Blocks, need I say more?!

Imaginative Role Play with Props 
(Set up pretend businesses, hospital, restaurant, etc)

Toys that have to be shared, such as....
Blocks, Trains, Musical Instruments, Puzzles and Puppets
Dress- Up Clothes and in our house.... Sensory Boxes! 

Reading Children's Books Together

How do you encourage your kids to play together?

Pink and Green Mama
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

* Finding the "FUN" in School Fundraising Projects and Some Silent Auction Project Ideas!

September and October are always busy months around here.
The girls head back to school and in addition to all of the new
routines with bus stops, homework, and packing lunches my inbox gets
flooded with requests for volunteer opportunities at school.  
It's also the time of year when all of the school fundraisers start or get planned.
Word gets out that I'm artsy and crafty and before you know it I'm being 
recruited to make posters, flyers, silent auction class project items, etc. !

I was recently reading a (very timely) article over at Mom's Homeroom website
written by the Scholastic Staff about "Putting the 'Fun' in Fundraising."
They did a really great job about how to break down
school fundraising projects into manageable chunks.
I have always found the pressure of school fundraising 
to be very stressful and intimidating!
You want the fundraiser to do well so your kids can experience great opportunities 
for their schools like scholarships and cultural events but I am never 
comfortable asking people to donate money. 

The Mom's Homeroom article is written like a "how-to manual"
on how to run a successful school fundraiser.
wish had this article a few years ago when I was being recruited
 by our daughter's preschool to help with their annual silent auction!
Projects like that always stress me out.

Today I also wanted to share with you some of the projects I've helped work on
for my daughter's schools over the past few years.
When I was working on these projects,
I couldn't find a lot of examples online
with ideas for things like Silent Auction Class Projects.
My original post about some of the Silent Auction Projects from 2010 can be found here.

For the Silent Auction projects for my daughter's preschool, I had a very small budget.
I saved up my Michaels and JoAnnes craft store coupons and
purchased unfinished wood projects, tun lunch boxes, and picture frames.
The kids were very young so I had to keep the projects simple enough
for them but cute enough to get their parents to bid some money on them!
I primed and painted the wood projects with simple colors at home.

I came up with a theme for each class's project.
Themes included things like:
Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar
Frogs in Space (for the "Frog's Class")
Woodland Animals for the "Cardinal" and "Bear" classes
Flower Garden for the "Bee" and "Dragon Fly" classes

Then scheduled time to visit each classroom and sit in the back
to collect finger prints from each of the students.
Helpful Tips: I set up a little station with washable acrylic paint and baby wipes
to clean fingers. I also had a chart/sketch of the project that I wrote each child's name on
so I could label the project at home with sharpie after the paint dried.
I added details to the finger prints to transform them into things like
bugs, critters, frogs, flowers, etc.

This is the finished Woodland Animals child-size chair. 
Each child's fingerprint was turned into a critter and I 
labeled their names with sharpie. After everything dried, I sealed the projects
with clear acrylic sealant. 

This was a tea tray garden scene with each child's fingerprint 
transformed into an insect - we also painted a "Hand Wash Only" 
glass flower vase this way!

For this Eric Carle Hungry Caterpillar Collage, I cut out the fruit
with paper and used each child's fingerprint as the holes from the caterpillar!

This was probably my favorite project. With the 4 and 5 year olds, 
I gave each child a paper house shape and asked them to decorate them 
with oil pastels. I assembled them all into a big framed collage with an 
"It takes a village" quote in the bottom corner. I can't take credit for this 
awesome idea, I found it on the Laugh, Paint, Create blog
Check out her post here to see the wonderful collages she made with her students!

This year, the elementary school is taking a break from the usual
wrapping paper, cookie-dough, etc type sales and doing a 
"Plain Vanilla" fundraiser. No frills. 
Just asking every family to donate $20 per kid in the school. 
We're having some ice cream themed socials (think: ice cream parties
and root beer floats for participation) It's super easy and I think everyone 
appreciates it's simplicity this year. I made the giant ice cream cone with scoops
for the front lobby -- we're coloring it in as we reach our fundraising goal. 

Whatever kind of fundraising project you do for your kids,
remember that it is for a good cause and volunteering your time
and talent to your child's school helps -- every little bit does make a difference!

Pink and Green Mama

All projects posted are mine and all opinions expressed are my own.
This blog is part of an incentivized online influencer network for Mom's Homeroom.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

* Make Fall Leaves With Elmer's Glue and Chalk

Today's project is a classic "art teacher" project.
If you draw a picture with glue on construction paper
and let it dry, you can color over it with chalk or chalk pastels and
it will create a stained glass effect.

The girls and I decided to give it a fall twist
and make leaf pictures.

It's very pretty on dark paper
(think: black, navy blue, or purple) but you can do it on any color.

We split this project up into two different days
to allow the glue time to dry
and because that was just the way our schedule worked out.

You can use whatever kind of glue you have at home...
We made examples with Elmer's School "Gel" glue,
White School Glue, AND a Glue Gun. 

The glue gun is nice if you're in a hurry because it's dry
immediately so you can color right away but it's hard to keep small
hands and fingers from getting burned while drawing with a glue gun.
You could ask kids to sketch their picture/design lightly in pencil or chalk
and let an adult trace over it with a glue gun. 

For "C" (age 5) it was easiest for her to sketch her leaf on the paper first
with a crayon or pencil 
(she actually used a white china marker because that's what was on my art table!)

Then, she traced over her drawing with glue. 

It's hard work using all those little hand and finger muscles 
to squeeze the big bottle of glue!

After the glue drawings were dry (a day later)
the girls got to work coloring in their leaves with chalk pastels.
** Note: This picture was taken as they worked after breakfast 
on the weekend - pardon the PJs! **

You can wipe off any excess chalk from the glue lines with a bit of tissue
or a baby wipe. 

"E"s beautiful Rainbow Oak Leaf!

"C"s beautiful Rainbow Leaf!

Happy Fall (rainbow) Leaf Crafting!

Pink and Green Mama

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