Let Them Cut Paper – Building Skills

Since we are talking back to school activities. Here is another great post from Courtney that she shared over on Rusty and Rosy. Go check it out!

back to school skills, craft for children

I know many of you read the title and went running in the other direction thinking I had lost my mind! As a former kindergarten teacher I was always amazed at the number of kids who came to school and had never held a pair of scissors before, let alone cut anything. Using scissors is a fabulous fine motor activity that really helps children in many areas, especially writing…

{Read The Complete Article and Check Out This Fun Activity HERE}

What are your favorite back to school activities to practice?

Practicing Lunch


My son is going to be starting his first year of all day school within the next month. With being at school for a full day I realized he would be eating lunch there, too, which makes me a little nervous. My mom gave me the great idea to “practice lunch” here at home where I can monitor and prep him on the do’s and don’ts for lunch at school. So, I went to the store and picked up both kiddos a lunch box (little sister has to have one too if we are going to practice) and found out from my nephews what the setup is for lunch at school and how long they have. The goal is to pack our lunches in the morning and keep them in the fridge for lunch time. I can watch and make sure he knows how to open everything, eats everything within the allotted “lunch eating time”, eats his own food only(my big worry) and then make sure he knows how to clean up his lunch, too.

Back to school prep ideas


Just the few times we have “practiced” has taught me a few things about what to put in and not put in his sack and makes me feel sooooo much better about him eating on his own. Plus, he thinks this is the coolest activity, so I get Mom Bonus Points for doing something we have to do anyways…eat!

How to prep for going back to school

Lesson’s learned from Practice Day 1:

  • This practicing is going to help him get over the excitement of carrying a lunch to school.
    • He had his sack for 3 minutes prior to eating and was so excited he kept tossing and catching it. Just doing that he cracked the lid of his sandwich container and sprung a leak in his drink pouch slowly soaking his entire sack!
  • Go for box drinks and not pouches when starting out. The box drinks will be a little more sturdy and less likely to leak
  • Plastic bags for sandwiches may be the way to go for the first little bit. =-)
  • He does not do well when others have different foods than him.
    • We need to practice with sister having different food than him.
  • He almost can get the straw in his own drink.
  • And he needs to practice more on cleaning up after his lunch.


This post was originally posted July 19, 2011

What are your favorites for sack lunches?

(please share!)



5 Fun Ways to Motivate Your Kids {Review Juicy Fruit}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, and its advertiser. All opinions are 100% my own!!


Gum, Gum, Gum! As a kid I have fond memories of the 25 cent packs of Juicy Fruit chewing gum we use to get when we were really good at the grocery store with my mom. I was excited to find some new varieties of Juicy Fruit at my local Walmart that I could use to start fun new memories with my kids! #CollectiveBias Juicy Fruit will be having some neat demos at local Walmart locations July 25-27 from 11-4 and also August 1-3 from 11-4 (Friday and Saturday) and 1-6 (Sunday)! You have to check out their new fun yummy products for yourself!

photo-124Summer Fun


My kids love chewing gum but don’t get it very often. I have found that gum can be a fabulous motivator for my kids! Here are some great ways to use it in your families #JuicyFruitFunSide:

5 Fun Ways to Motivate Your Kids with GUM


Bed Fairy: When I was growing up we had a bed fairy that would randomly stop by our house when we were off at school or out and about. He would check to see if we had made our bed and if we had a shiny quarter was left on our pillow. Now a quarter wouldn’t excite my kids all that much but a big piece of gum left on their pillow definitely would! I have to say the first time we did this there were a few tears from the unmade beds but now they are much more conscious of making their beds with out being told!! Win one for mom:)Bed Fairy


Reading Chart: I am fortunate to have kids that like to read but they don’t always read the books I want them too. So I have made a list of 12 books that I want them to read this year (classics and books with good messages). When they complete the list they earn an entire container of gum. A whole container of 72 pieces all to themselves is the end all be all of prizes!!!juic5 fun ways to motivate your kids

They can work on the list however fast they want. They can read one book a month off my list or hurry through and read all 12 at the beginning of the year but whenever it is complete the gum is theirs!!! You could adapt this to whatever fits your child. Maybe you just want them to read 12 books the end result is the same.

5 fun ways to motivate your kids


Grocery Store: Most of you know I have 6 kids and going to the grocery store can be a pain with all of them in tow but I have come up with a fool proof plan to make it go more smoothly!!! The most annoying thing to me is when my kids ask “Can we get that?” or “I want that?” multiply that times 6 and ANNOYING!! To combat against this I give my kids a big bubble blowing piece of gum before we go into the store and they are so busy and distracted chewing and blowing bubbles they don’t ask for anything! Woohoo another score for Mom!


3 Year Olds: Whoever named terrible 2′s definitely had never had a 3 year old!! I would say 3 year olds are by far the hardest age. They are stubborn, vocal and just don’t care what anyone thinks. On the other hand I have never found a 3 year old that wouldn’t do just about anything for a piece of gum! My particular 3 year old can be bribed oops I meant rewarded with a piece of gum for just about anything that stubborn little stinker doesn’t want to do. I say more power to anything that helps get 3 year olds to do what they need to do without total meltdown from mom and child!!!

5 fun ways to motivate your kids


School/Homework Helper: I homeschool and every kid has that subject that is not there favorite. For some its math or spelling or homework for kids that are in school all day long. I have found that if a child can get through their assignment without complaining, whining, or tears than a piece of gum is the perfect reward. Putting it on the table in front of them as a visual reminder helps too.

5 fun ways to motivate your kids

I would love to hear fun ways you motivate your kids! Please share:)

Tips for Surviving Summer at Home with Kids

Product has been provided to assist in this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

cleaning with children

We are a good month in to our Summer Break and I have come to realize that I have my own survival tips for spending the summer at home with the kiddos.


Tip #1: Reduce

One of my first successes, was reducing all the kiddos clothes down to the minimum. Each are allowed 7 shirts hanging in their closet. The rest we have hung higher up in the closet or folded and put away in boxes. I’ll admit, the putting away was not my quickest moment. It took a couple of weeks! Reducing the clothes has reduced the chaos in their rooms and has definitely reduced the amount of laundry I need to wash AND fold. Laundry for the whole house can be done in less than 5 loads a week. It’s been heaven!

Laundry with children


We’ve also taken the same theme to our pantry and toys. It’s so nice!


Tip #2: Give Everyone A Chance To Help

Too often I try to do everything myself, which leads to one crazy mama! When we work together we can get so much done. I’m constantly reminding the kiddos (and myself) that it takes 5 people to make our house a mess and if there is only me to clean, it takes WAY too long and we miss out on doing fun things.

To make helping happen, I have learned it easier when I am able to provide easy and safer ways for the kiddos to help like using Ology All-Purpose Cleaner and Paper Towels. My girls are always trying to clean the counters, but I never let them for fear of the chemicals in most cleaners. With Ology I do not have to worry about that because their cleaner is free of harmful chemicals and it does not contain any harsh solvents, dyes, ammonia, or artificial fragrances. And the Ology Paper Towels are tree free, which means they are made from readily renewable sugar cane husk and quick-growing bamboo that regenerates in as little as six months. Pretty cool! Both products can be found at Walgreens and are a great price of $3.99 per bottle and $3.99 per 2 pack of towels.

How to get your children to clean


My oldest daughter was super excited that I even let her spray the cleaner on the counter. So, this is a win, win for us!


Tip #3 Consistency

I get a lot less resistance from the kiddos to do chores (or anything else) when I am consistent. First thing in the morning they have to eat, make their beds, and straighten up their rooms before they can watch anything on Roku. At night, they each have a room they are in charge of cleaning…you get the picture.


Tip #4 Remember to Have Fun!

And above all, fun is a great motivator and we don’t always have to wait until we are done with our chores. Our favorite way to clean lately has been a 5 min clean up, where we try to spend 5 minutes in every room of the house to do a quick clean up. Seeing if we can beat the timer has turned out a lot more fun than we expected.

Learn more about Ology at Walgreens on Facebook and Twitter

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet SM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meets SM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product. 


Drive In Movie Night at Home {Review}

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been
compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Summer is upon us and it is always hard to find budget friendly activities that are FUN for our family of 8. I believe I have hit the jackpot with this activity!  We are having a pizza party and a stay home drive in movie night .#SummerGoodies Pizza is always a crowd pleaser but can be pricey when ordering take out. This is an easy problem to fix with DIGIORNO oven ready pizza’s! We started our family activity by heading to our neighborhood  Walmart and getting our supplies. We purchased the DIGIORNO Design A Pizza Kit, DIGIORNO Rising Crust Pizza, and pizzeria! from DIGIORNO. #CollectiveBias

photo 1-002Concession Stand, drive-in, pizza

We gathered the rest of our movie night supplies and off we went to go home and get ready!

photo 2-002Concession Stand, drive-in, pizza

We set up our night by getting our camping chairs out and setting up the room. If you live someplace cooler than sunny Arizona I would totally do this in the backyard but when it is still over a 100 degrees at movie time an air conditioned family room is much more comfortable!!

photo 2-001Concession Stand, drive-in, pizza

Next we set up our concession stand. The kids are so excited about this part it just might as well be Christmas. I set it up and they just got to look at it and stratergize how they were gonna get what they wanted. They each got $2.00 in quarters to spend and nothing else so they had to pick and choose what they wanted to get. This was so much harder for them than I thought it would be but a great math activity! I love throwing in learning activities when they aren’t expecting it!

photo 3-001Concession Stand, drive-in, pizza

First off of course was our pizza party! We pulled out our oven ready DIGIORNO pizza’s and got to work. We popped two of our pizzas in the oven and while they cooked we made our DIGIORNO Design A Pizza Kit. I picked the spinach, tomato, red onion and pepperoni kit. There were so many choices it was hard to choose but I am so happy I picked this one it was delicious! The kids had a blast helping put the toppings on. Having the kids interact with food always helps kids be adventuresome and try foods they wouldn’t normally try.

photo 1-001Concession Stand, drive-in, pizza


The other pizza’s that we picked were the pizzeria! from DIGIORNO pepperoni and the DIGIORNO Rising Crust cheese pizza. These were all kid approved and super yummy! Add a side salad and dinner was a complete hit.  A huge plus was the cost savings. DIGIORNO oven ready pizza’s are great to have in the freezer for a fun family night at a fraction of the cost of ordering delivery pizza.

photo 1Concession Stand, drive-in, pizza

Now let our at home drive in movie night begin, after a trip to the concession stand of course!

photo 3Concession Stand, drive-in, pizza

You have to try this activity out at your house! My kids exclaimed it was the most fun movie night ever!!! It will definitely be added to our summer traditions list.


Homemade Chia Pet Head

Getting creative with a chia pet head

What fun we had watching seeds grow as hair from our chia pet’s head! Creating your own chia pet (or head) is super easy and a great activity for everyone to see nature in action!

How to create a human face chia pet

What You Need:

  • Soil

  • Sawdust (optional. It is just a filler)

  • Nylon – (Can get knee highs for pretty cheap at the store)

  • Chia seed, wheat grass seed, regular grass seed, or any other herb seed

  • String or rubber bands

  • A little bowl for your creation to sit in



Cut nylon to size you would like your chia pet to be (you can always make it smaller later). Get nylon wet. Add seeds to toe area or where you would like “hair” to grow. Add plenty of seed so you have a lot of hair! Keep the directions for the seeds so you can refer to them later. Add 2 handfuls of dirt on top of seeded area. If you don’t have enough dirt, you can add sawdust to fill the rest of the nylon until you get desired size. Allow room for give so you can “design” your pet.

how to make a homemade chia pet

Now you can create your pet into something other than a potato! You can make a head, caterpillar, or anything you want. My son thought it would be fun to do a head! You can use rubber bands or string to tie off different areas. All I had was string from when I used to do cross-stitching and it worked great!

make an easy chia pet at home

Tie off the area you would like and then shaping afterwards is easy (like, if you wanted a more pointy nose instead of a round nose).

Home Made Chia Pet - Chia Head 4

Our “Man” with ears and a nose

Then decorate. My son said he needed eyes and eyebrows.

Home made Chia Pet Head

After “Man” has been shaped a bit more and given some more features.

Place your creation in the little bowl in an area where everyone can watch its hair grow. Our seed directions said to keep the dirt wet until seedlings appeared, which took about 5 days. We made him on a Monday afternoon and by Saturday night you could see a few tiny sprouts that were able to get through the nylon. By Sunday morning he had a full head of hair and by Monday morning ( a week after he was created) he had an inch of hair!


What I Would Have Done Differently

If I could have…I would have bought the Chia seed and invited a ton of mom/kids over and made these. We could not find any wheat grass seeds or chia seeds in small packets (we looked everywhere!). We finally found some chia seeds at the health food store, but they were $14 for a pretty big bottle and I didn’t want to spend that much or have that much seed leftover. So, we ended up using regular grass seed that we used for our backyard. It worked nice, but it would be fun to have something growing we could use.


chia pet hide and go seek

Keep a good eye on him. After a good morning of cleaning and play, I noticed “Man” was missing! The kids claimed they did not know where he was. I finally found him under the trampoline and now my son admits (2 days later) that he moved him because, ” ‘Man’ wanted to hide from the sun!”



This post was originally posted on May 17, 2010 on our original blogspot. This was one of our first of many activities!

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