Crafting Away

I am still here, just crafting up a bunch of baseball shirts, homeschooling like usual, and gearing up for LOTS of projects to have available for you very soon. With Teacher Appreciation week, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day all just a month or two away, I have to plan ahead!

Baseball Mom Shirt

I do have an Easter decor post coming for you soon!  Can’t wait to show you the simple canvas that says it all.

I’m still crafting… just been busy

Have you been wondering where I have been?  Blogging has had to be pushed to the side thanks to life getting a bit hectic.  I have been working on orders, getting fabrics cut and ready for orders and for my own Christmas presents that need to be created, and just trying to stay on top of homeschooling (one of my sons got a bit behind).

I have still been creating some projects for you.  Here is one that I am STILL working on thanks to a major FAIL.

Foam Wreath FAIL

I have a couple other recent projects to show you but you will have to wait until I can write a post about them!

December will be here on Saturday so stay turned for  my December Celebrating Fun post!!!

Teacher Appreciation Week!

I am not sure who thought it would be a good idea to have Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation week at the same time of the year, but alas they are.  That means lots crafting and gift giving is in my near future.  Since Teacher Appreciation week is coming up next week, I thought I would give you a look at what I am planning on giving to my boys’ teacher this year.

Some of you might be thinking – But don’t you homeschool?  What do you mean teachers? Isn’t that you?  Well, yes I am my oldest son’s teacher for the most part but he does have a supervising teacher that we turn all his work into.  So she deserves a treat for putting up with my emails and questions all year long ;)  As for my preschooler, he attends preschool 3 days a week so I like to give a smaller gift each day instead of just one gift.  I was a teacher so I know all the hard work that goes into teaching and how nice it was to receive little treats! My older son also has a piano teacher so I might just throw in a little something for her as well!

I have been pinning ideas for a while now on my Teacher Appreciation board on Pinterest.  Here are the ones I am going to be using this year!

Gift #1 – PICKED  basket of treats(courtesy of Eighteen25)

Couldn't have Picked

You can find the blog post here detailing what you need to make your own, as well as the link to print your very own tag for your gift basket!

Gift #2 – Supplies 4 Teacher (courtesy of Less Cake, More Frosting)

LCMF-Supplies-4-Teacher

Here you can also download the free printable tag.  Instead of filling it up with necessary classroom supplies as she suggests, my plan is to load up a cute little gift bag with a light duty staple gun and staples since I constantly see my son’s preschool teachers doing the whole “wack the opened up stapler against the wall” thing when they are changing up the classroom decorations.  The best tip I EVER got as a teacher was to use a light duty staple gun!  Saved me so much time when putting up bulletin boards. I am hoping to find a staple remover that slips right under the staples too (not the pinching kind that looks like it has vampire teeth) to include as well.

Gift #3 – Can’t live on Apples alone… (courtesy of Little Pumpkin Grace)

Apples and Hugs

This is a a nice and easy gift to give – I mean, come on, who doesn’t like some chocolate!  I will need to create my own tag since I  think a printed one looks nicer than a handwritten one.  So now I am hunting for just the right container to put the hugs in!

Of course you could always create a personalized gift for your child’s teacher too!  A couple years ago I made these adorable crayon letter frames that the teacher’s just loved!  In fact they are still proudly displayed in their classroom (I know because those teachers are my preschooler’s teachers this year – bummer, no reusing gift ideas for me!).

Crayon initial

Let me know what you are planning on doing for your child(s) teachers this year!  I love getting new ideas for appreciating teachers!

More Busy Bag Swapping

Last month’s Busy Bag swap was such a success with my friends we of course wanted to have another one ASAP! So it was decided that we would take the month of March to work on our bags {however, many of my friends are just like me and waited until the week of the swap or even the day before to get them done, guess that’s why we are all friends right! }  I posted about last month’s swap and showed you all the great activities the eleven of us made for our little ones.  This month brought even more fun to the mix.

This month many of us weren’t able to get together all at the same time to do the swap so I just had a few friends over and then everyone else dropped their bags off.  Then I sorted out all the activities into separate bags so that we each had all eleven activities {this is where I got to walk around my dining room table about 100 times first putting each group of bags in a pile and then walking around placing one of each kind of bag into separate bags for each mama}.

Busy Bags

Here are the activities we created for our little ones this month:

Button Snake
Chalk Blocks
Pipe Cleaner toy
Beads into a Water Bottle
Beads into an ice cube tray 
Discovery Bottles
Moon Sand
Magnetic Pom Poms
Lacing Cards
Matching Jars
Playdoh Mats

I can’t wait for next month (and neither can my friends!).  We have now done 22 toddler busy bags and will move on to preschool level bags next month.

School starts up again next week so we will have lots of time to play with our new busy bags while my oldest his completing his work.  Did I mention before how much my OLDER boys enjoyed the bags as well!  It is crazy how some plastic eggs and a pencil fishing pole are fun for all ages.

Busy Bags in Action

Well here they are in action like I promised!  Last Monday, I was trying to keep Zachary away from TV (since he had already watched 2 shows enough for the morning) so I decided to let him try out some busy bags.  They kept him entertained for an hour!  We still have some work to do learning to put one away before getting out another and asking to play with them before just tearing into them, but so far so good.

Here are some of the bags in action with links back to the posts where the ideas came from:

Egg Carton Sorting

Egg Carton Sorting

Pool Noodle String

Pool Noodle String

Fishing Game

Fishing Game

CJ Fishing

Pom Pom Stuff In

Pom Pom Stuff In

My older son wanted to enjoy the bags as well but unfortunately for him they just weren’t challenging enough (these are the toddler busy bags!).  So I decided to create a quick busy bag for him.  I had just seen this idea on Pinterest and knew it was one that would be perfect for our swap when we moved on to the preschool bags.  Since I already had clothespins on hand and a deck of sight words, I just gathered up the materials and a sharpie and got to work.  Just a few minutes and the bag for my almost 5 year old was done.  I wrote the uppercase letters on one side of the clothes pin and the lower case on the other.

Clothespin Sight Words

Clothespin Sight Words

I can’t wait until the next month’s swap and the next set of busy bags!  The boys are loving them and I know that this busy mama will love them too.

Busy Bag Swap!

Can I just say it once again?!?  I love Pinterest!  Not only for the eye candy that the dream homes and cute outfits provide, but for all the practical things.  I am a busy homeschooling mom of four so I am constantly pinning things that will make homeschooling even better or fun.  Next year I will be homeschooling my two older boys so all the more reason to find things to occupy the little ones (that involves something other than TV).

Enter Busy Bags…  I have a board on Pinterest called Things for the Boys.  There I post fun activities or ideas I want to remember.  When I started to see the quiet books and the busy bags my interest was piqued!  This was the solution to keeping my little ones occupied in a way that was educational and fun.  Then one day I found a pin that lead me to the blog Second Story Window about hosting a busy bag swap.  There were so many ideas for busy bags for both toddlers and preschoolers (the ages of my younger boys).  Plus, all the work was already done!  The ladies behind Second Story Window had already created all the bags, hosted a swap and created a google doc with all the links to the various bags already done!  What a blessing that was.

At this point, some of you might be wondering what Busy Bags are.  Essentially they are self guided activities that don’t need much explanation or supervision.  Many of them work on some basic learning skills (patterns, sorting, shapes, etc) as well as, fine motor skills.

Immediately, I decided to see if there was interest among my group of friends to have our own swap.  And that is how the ball got rolling.  The bag ideas were divided up and we each got to work!  Our plan was to each do one toddler bag a month for 3 months so that we would have LOTS of activities for our little ones.  After we complete all of those, we will go on to the preschool bags.  I hosted the swap at my house so the mommies could have some fellowship time and the kiddos could play a bit.  Eleven of us participated so I made 11 of the same bag (mine was the Velco Shape Sticks) to give away and in return I got 10 different bags!

Velcro Stick Shapes
Busy Bags

I’m so excited to let the boys explore their new busy bags (come back for a follow up post of the bags in action!).  And head on over to Pinfluence.com to see my friend, Heather’s post about the bag she created for the swap!