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    December 15, 2014
    DIY Quiet Bags

    Sometimes, you just need your kids to sit down and shut up. It’s harsh, I know- but whether you’re going to church, a PTA meeting, a wedding, a long car ride, or any other instance where kids can get fidgety- you might just need to keep them distracted for a while. And this post by Hilary at Pulling Curls has the perfect solution- “Quiet Bags”. It’s a soft bag filled with quiet activities that will keep the kids busy for an hour or so. She made them to bring with the kids to church, and I think it’s a fantastic idea. Here’s more info:

    -Make it a “special” bag- don’t let them play with it any other time except for church (or meetings, etc.).

    -Find things that are FUN and QUIET to go in it- toys, books, coloring pages- whatever works.

    -Bringing food is also a great option when kids are old enough for solids!

    Photo Credit: Katie Tegtmeyer 


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    December 26, 2013
    How to Wash Small Plastic Toys

    Let’s be real for second. Kids are gross. We love them, but they’re gross. They carry diseases, are constantly dripping out of their nose or mouth, and their hands are always sticky. ALWAYS. Chances are, if you have youngsters that are old enough to not eat plastic toys (like Legos and other things with small pieces), you have a ton of them lying around (and you’ve probably stepped on them more than once…OW!). If you’re like me, you try not to think about how germy these toys are. You can throw stuffed animals in the washer, and just kinda spray Lysol on everything else, but that doesn’t usually cut it. Well, when you see how genius this idea from Kiddos at Home is, you’ll want to kick yourself. Simply gather up all the small toys that you want to clean and put them in a mesh bag. Make sure the holes in the mesh are small enough that the toys or parts wont fall out. Then toss it all into the washer! This is especially a good idea if your kids have been sick or there is something going around.

    Photo Credit: Rob Young 


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    December 2, 2013
    A True Warrior’s Task: Getting Your Kids to Clean Their Rooms

    Clean Your Room” is the most terrible thing any kid can hear, and the most dreaded thing any parent can say. It often leads to insane fights, tears, shouting, and can be one the biggest struggles when parenting. I know when I was little, getting me to clean my room was like pulling teeth while herding cats. At the same time. I’m still a little messy, but I like to think that I’ve improved. The point is, kids will often not see the logic in cleaning (when they’re just going to mess it back up again) until they are much older. Fortunately, Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less has some tips to make the whole process a little easier (hopefully):

    Set an Example I couldn’t very well expect my kids to keep a tidy room if I wasn’t willing, able, and downright determined to keep a tidy house myself.

    Be Consistent We start our day by cleaning.For better or for worse, it has become part of our daily routine

    Be Firm I simply don’t take no for an answer.  I don’t plead or waver or back down.  

    Get Rid of Excess Stuff Clothes & shoes that are out of season or no longer fit get put in storage or brought to Goodwill.  Toys are still kept to a minimum.  Papers & junky party favors or prizes are usually tossed immediately (when the kids aren’t looking!)

    Make it Easy to Put Stuff Away My girls both know where things go because everything in their room has a home. 

    Make it Fun I will readily admit that I don’t always make it fun, but the days that I do are definitely far less painful then the days I don’t. 

    Photo Credit: Joe Goldberg 


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    October 2, 2013
    Wordless Wednesday: Barbie Bath Boat!

    Photo from Crafts Collection


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    September 19, 2013
    Playroom Essentials

    You’d think setting up a playroom would be a no brainer- you just throw some toys in a room, right? Maybe paint it in bright, kid-friendly colors? Bam, done! Well….you could do that. But if you put a little more thought into your child’s playroom, it can have a big impact on their playtime and learning experiences. The wonderful folks at No Time for Flashcards have a few essentials that should be included in every playroom:

     It’s lived in, it invites play, this is not a space that needs to be clean and tidy all the time. There is a place for everything that enters the room so that we can find things easily but it’s not the living room ( although that probably has some books and toys in it too), it’s the playroom a place to explore not continually clean! Items that you should include: Blocks, LOTS of books, a table and chairs, dress up area, practical life area (play kitchen and baby dolls for both boys and girls), puzzles, musical instruments, reading area, and an art zone!

    Photo Credit: whgrad 


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    September 9, 2013
    Toys for Kids Made out of Cardboard

    Right now, the trend is to buy shiny plastic and electronic gadgets for your kids. To me, that’s pretty ridiculous. Yes, Gameboys and Ipads are fun and can be educational, but toys do not always need to cost you an arm and a leg. Kids can be just as happy playing outside with sticks, or inside in a fort made from blankets and chairs. That’s why I love this post at Apartment Therapy by Lauren Hufnagl– it has 15 different toys that you can make from cardboard. Cardboard! It’s cost effective (read: free), and great for the eco-conscious parent. Plus, the kids will have a blast. Here are some ideas:

    Cardboard Playhouse

    Creatures and Large Animals

    Small “Cities” for them to Bicycle through

    Dollhouse and Castle

    The best part is, the child can help you build it (or at least decorate it how they want)!

    Photo Credit: Design4LittleOnes 


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    July 1, 2013
    Toy Wreath Idea

    Always tripping over junky little plastic happymeal toys in the floor? What about the little dolls that your kid likes, but doesn’t play with anymore? A great way to keep them without throwing them away is to create some fun, kid-approved playroom decorations. For example, Kate at And Everything Sweet created this awesome toy wreath. She gathered up a box of “junk,” added a dollar store wreath and some hot glue, and voila! What a cute way to deal with old toys that your child is not quite ready to let go of yet.

    What a great way to bring new life to all those cast away toys!!! (so much more fun than tossing them out)

    I totally agree!

     


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    June 12, 2013
    Wordless Wednesday: Victorian Toys

    Photo by Flickriver.com.


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    May 23, 2013
    Making Dino-Tails

    I am so lame that last Halloween I bought a cat-tail from a store. I mean, seriously, I could have figured out some creative way to make one myself… glue and a garbage bag? But this tutorial might actually help inspire me to make a dino-tail for my nieces and nephews!

    From Running with Scissors,

    This is a simple, fun, toy for kids.  I designed these tails with two straps that wrap around their waist with velcro in front making it easy for them to get them on and off themselves.

    These have been fun during these long winter months when we have to play inside.  My boy has “dino fights” with his dad where he wiggles his bum to use the tail as a sword…it’s pretty cute.

    Love it! Try it!


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    May 30, 2012
    My Favorite Toys

    When I was growing up, three very distinct toys come to mind as my favorites:

    1.  Chatty Cathy Doll.  Oh how I loved my Chatty Cathy. Her eyes opened and closed as she tilted back and forward. I would pull the string in her back to make her talk, “Will you play with me?” and “I love you!”  So sweet!

    Photo from here.

    2.  My next favorite toy was my Suzy Homemaker Oven. I waited all year for Christmas to roll around and get my dream oven. How exciting to bake my own cakes!

    Photo from Etsy.

    3.  Finally my favorite toy of all time was my purple banana seats bicycle. I rode it EVERYWHERE. Back then parents just didn’t worry about all the bad people out and about like we do today. This was my bike, minus the basket and streamers.

    Photo from le tour babe.

    What were your favorite toys?


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