The Power of Moms



Back to School Theme

I think every child has started school, except mine! We start really late this year and we have not even had our Back to School dinner. Every year, we like to have a special dinner where we celebrate the upcoming school year. I usually make crowns with the grade for the kids to wear and sometimes they get a gift. I previously blogged about our 2011 and 2012 dinners.

A few years ago, I was inspired by Stephanie of the NieNie Dialogues to create a family theme for each school year. I loved this idea and we started implementing it last year. Since our children are pretty young still, we wanted to keep it simple. Both my husband and I agreed that we want this year's theme to be "Be a Bucket Filler." I had my friend create a printable for me to hang in our home.


(Photo courtesy of Stephanie of thewildberryroad. I love her shop!!!) 



Earlier this year, I cam across the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids  by Carol McCloud and LOVED it! It encourages positive behavior in children and they can visually see how kind and mean words can affect others. My daughter wants to be a bucket filler instead of a bucket dipper and is constantly looking for ways to fill other's buckets. When we explain to her that her behavior was dipping from our buckets, she quickly understands and tries to correct that behavior. It is such a simple and easy way to reinforce good behavior in our home!


We also bought Bucket Filling from A to Z: The Key to Being Happy by Carol McCloud which gives children a variety of ways to be a bucket filler. There are other Bucket Filling books and a website to explore.

I love these books and excited for our school theme! I also love having a visual in our home all year long to remind us what our theme is.

Do you have a theme? I would love to hear it! Comment below or comment on our Facebook page!



Painting with leaves

This is something I'm certain we've all done before, but I was amazed that there were so many ways you could go about this!  The process is pretty straight forward, so I won't go into too much detail.  Paint the textured side of the leaves with tempura or acrylic paint, then press the leaf to the paper.  So simple, yet it provided nearly an hour of creativity and fun for my 4 year old.  


Some variation ideas include:

White or silver acrylic paint on paper or fabric, then dye or watercolor in a dark color for contrast

Use flowers, fruit, vegetables, pine needles, feathers, etc...

Use a clothes pin and transform flower petals, grass, feathers and leaves into a paint brush!


Inside Out Therapy

My 4 year old daughter has always struggled with emotions.  I remember her, at a very young age, sobbing uncontrollably because she saw a cartoon drawing depicting an angry face.  So when the movie Inside Out was released I was eccstatic, and incredibly nervous all at the same time.  I knew that she would appreciate the humor, but would it trigger a anxiety driven freak out mid theatre?  I was hesitant.

Luckly, we took her to see the movie and she loved it.  She proudly toted her Disgust doll along with us, and gave it frequent snuggles throuhout the screening.  At this point Disgust was the only character from the movie, beside Joy, that she would interact with.  

We decided to use the dolls as an exposure tool, eventually working our way up to Anger.  When that doll was first placed next to her in the cart, I thought she was going to leap out.  She was so petrified that I almost gave up not wanting to traumatize her.  I'm so glad that I perservered, as the change in her is quite remarkable.  


It has opened up a dialouge about her emotions that she would not entertain before.  The different characters help her face different challenges and fears, and have made her a much more open and confident kid.  They have been such a therapy tool for us.  She did eventually, with the help of Sadness, become "friends" with Anger.  This is an image from that day.

And while we still have a long road ahead of us, I'm so proud of her accomplishments so far.


Nature Printing

This is a simple, quick summer craft that my kiddo loved.  You'll need to gather the following:


Freezer Paper (or any waxed paper)

A smallish hammer or mallet

masking tape or painters tape 

A variety of colorful flowers and leaves (would be really fun to gather these from a hike)

Something to print on.  We used a childs apron that we purchased at Hobby Lobby, but you could print on any fabric and most fiber based papers.


Simply take your flower or leaf and place it, most colorful side down, onto your printing surface.  Cover it with a small piece of freezer paper and tape in place like so...


Now simply take your hammer or mallet and gently tap the flower.  I found that on leaves I had to do a lot more than a gentle tap, I really had to whack those things to get them to release much pigment.

Lift the tape, and be amazed!


It really was a fun quick activity that we will definitely do again.  My daughter loved being part of each step in the process and pretty much wore it the remainder of the afternoon.  





Three Tips for Travelling with Kids

I, probably like you, scour the internet for tips on travelling with kids. We have done numerous flights, one cross-country move, and many road trips. We love to travel. After almost eight years of travelling with kids, I have narrowed down my travelling tips to three.

1. Lots of movies

2. Lots of snacks

3. Always make the kids go to the bathroom before you leave a stop because without fail, they need to go five minutes later.


I used to bring lots of toys and games but quite frankly that ended up in dropped toys which resulted in tears and games led to arguments which you cannot escape from being strapped into a car! When flying, less is more. It is so difficult flying with small children and having enormous bags to cart around. Thank heavens for Ipads and digital movies!

One activity that we do love while road tripping is each of us pick a favorite song and we take turns listening and singing to each song. Even my two year old can tell us a song she loves. She will usually screech at us that she wants to dance so we do our best to dance in our seats. This usually goes on for about four rounds and we all love it!

What suggestions do you have for road tripping or flying? Share below in a comment or on Facebook!