Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How to Make Simple Valentines for a Party


Hi Everyone-
Yesterday I showed you our Valentines Boxes that my toddlers made.
We also had to prepare the snacks for their party this week.

 I wanted something:
  • simple
  • cheap
  • and practical.
 I wanted my kiddos to be able to partake in getting the Valentines ready. I didn't want to be the mom staying up til' midnight trying to get it all together while my kids were sleeping. I wanted to do it with them.

We started our week out by talking about Love and what Love is. It has been the focus of our morning devotionals as we go into Valentines day. So, having my kids prepare the Valentines that they are to give out is a great way for them to practice being Loving, Kind, and Giving to others.

So we put together "Wild About You" bags.

Supplies:
20 Bags from Walmart- $1.47
Animal Crackers- $1.88
Scrap paper laying around in craft closet
Markers
Cricut- (For those of you who can use scissors- scissors work fine)

I didn't want to go with the typical paper Valentines because my kids are 4, 2, and 10 months. So it's not like they could even read it or enjoy putting those together. But they do like animal crakers, stuffing bags, and helping twist tie them.

It was really quite simple:

1. Have Toddlers help stuff bags full of Animal Crakers. (Yes, their hands were clean. I made sure of it.)
They both really enjoyed doing this. While we were stuffing bags we talked about who we could give them to and about practicing Loving others.

2. Use the fancy cricut to cut out hearts. (Again scissors will work. I just can't draw a heart more or less cut one out. I'm craft handicapped. I just do the best I can and put the machines to work.)



 3. Next we had an assembly line going. Toddlers would twist bags together. I would add the twist tie.


 See this is quick, easy, and cheap.

4. Write "Wild About You" on all your hearts.
 Typically, I would prefer  the kids to do this. But they can't write all those letters yet. 


5. Have kids help staple the hearts to the bags. 







And you're done.

We have just created a simple snack for a toddler Valentines party that kids will love!

 Not to mention the cookies aren't "that bad" for you.

 They are much better than that yucky fake chocolate that stores sell at Valentines day.
 YUCK!
 If I'm going to put unhealthy calories in my body, I want the good stuff!


 Everyday either at suppertime or when I'm tucking my kids in, I ask them
"What was your favorite part about today?"
Today they said, "Making bags with you mom. That was fun!"

You see, kids don't care what it looks like. They just want your Presence. 
 Oh I forgot a very important step.......



6. Let your kids eat all the crumbs.



Enjoy! I hope this helps!

You might check out my post Valentines for a Friend Valentines for your Husband, Valentines Tea Party with your kids, and then Make a Wreath.


 Oh and before you go and make your "Wild About You" Valentines be sure to Subscribe to my Craziness by email so you don't miss anything and we can hang out together in the blogosphere world and go like my Facebook page so we can connect over there as well! 


 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How To Make Valentines Boxes With Your Toddlers

So with Valentines this week my kids have a couple of parties to go to. What about you? Do you have a lot of parties to go to?

We needed to make a Valentines box for one of our parties.

I don't know about you, but sometimes Pinterest makes me feel like a complete FAIL because

1. I am not crafty (secretly I don't even like crafts- I just do them to spend time with my kids doing things together)
2. I don't have time to browse Pinterest for the perfect toddler box
3. I usually don't have all the supplies on hand

So,  I decided that we would just work with what we have. What does it matter if it's not magazine perfect? In all honesty, it will probably get thrown in the trash this weekend. You see, I'm anti-clutter so I don't think twice before tossing something.

But, I did want to spend some quality time with my kiddos creating their box.

Supplies:
Empty Kleenex Box
Empty Oatmeal Box
Glue
Scisors
Paper
Whatever Crafty Stuff you have laying around the house

First we emptied all our tissues out of the box and just left them on the counter. This was very hard for me because I'm anti-clutter. Seriously,  if things sit on my counter it goes in the trash. But, nonetheless it was for the kids, right?


You will need to glue construction paper on the box to cover up the store bought floral design. 



First, I tired hot glue. It didn't stick. Then I tried cement. It didn't stick. Then I tried school glue. You guessed it. It didn't work either. So then my 4 year old and I just decided to tape it all together. Is there a difference in hot glue guns? Sheesh- this is hard work. 

 

And while you are covering your empty tissue box go ahead and cover your empty oatmeal box for the super hero toddler boy in your life. 



Let the work begin.

Moms- This is very important. Let your toddlers decorate their own box.

It will be fine. I promise. No one is going around giving out blue ribbons to the craftiest mom whose toddler has the cutest Valentines box. I promise. And if you do find somebody doing that- then they have too much time on their hands and could come to my house  and put their time to good use by  blessing  me and doing my laundry.


We have this big bin that I keep in an extra closet full of crafty stuff. It was a gift from Nana for Christmas. GREAT IDEA! If there are any Nana's out there reading this- make your grand-kids a huge craft box. It has helped me on all these snow days. Though- my husband isn't a big fan of eating glitter on his dinner plate or sitting in finger paint.

I let my kiddos pick things out of the craft box and choose how they wanted to decorate their Valentines box.

As you can see, my girl wanted lots of glitter, hearts, and lips on her box.




My boy just wanted Super Man. That's fine. He's my Super Man.



So there you have it. A homemade Valentines box for your kiddos made by your kiddos.

C'mon Moms- Let's keep it real. It doesn't have to be Pinterest Perfect. Just let them have fun and cheer them on along the way.

As we were making our boxes for our Valentines party this Thursday, I forgot that we had a party today! I didn't have time to go to the store to buy Valentines for the kids and for sure didn't have time to make some. So I did what any mom would do. 

I emptied the candy bowl, put it in a bag and counted it as our Valentines to give out at party #1.



So go moms-- Be Awesome and let your toddlers make their own Valentines box.

Oh and before you go make the box be sure to Subscribe to my Craziness by email so you don't miss anything and we can hang out together in the blogosphere world and go like my Facebook page so we can connect over there as well! 

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cupcake Date for around $5

So a while back I wrote about my Top Ten Favorite Toddler Dates under $5

One of my most constant prayers is for the Lord to help me reach my children's hearts.

You reach their hearts by spending time with them loving them and affirming them. God made each one of us with a deep sense of wanting to be loved and appreciated by someone.

Having your children's hearts lets you be their #1 influence. Whoever has their hearts will also have their ears and will be a significant influence. And the biggest and most important influence you could have is to teach them about the Love of Christ and His extravagant grace.

It is really important to my husband and I to cultivate those relationships with our kids. We want to really know them. And to really know them you have to spend time with them.

They won't remember the specific toys or birthday presents but they will remember time spent and if I pursued them. Do I make them feel valued and affirmed?

So with all that being said I want to share with you about a little gem we have in our area.

Sassy Sweets.

It is where I took my daughter for a mommy/daughter date one day after getting some groceries.

We each had a cupcake and just talked and laughed about anything and everything a 3 1/2 year old wanted to talk about. No technology- Just chatting. It's quite fun and refreshing to enter the world of a 3 year old!



Sassy Sweets is the cutest place! I am so glad to have it in our area.  It is decorated in all glitz and glam with peacock blue, black, sparkles, glitter, and bling.

What a great place to take a little girl out for a date! Even if the whole "girly" thing is "not your thing". Bling and Cupcakes are always cool. It's always good to have a little refined in with your rough and tuff.


My daughter enjoyed looking at all the decorations and pointing them out to me. She was delighted.
Even the bathroom was blinged out!

Life is a gift to be cherished and celebrated.

 Sassy Sweets is a great place to celebrate life, love, and relationships.

The atmosphere is spectacular and not to mention the great service and that excellent cream cheese frosting!

Now go- Be Awesome and Eat a  Cupcake-Invest in a relationship today!



Chime In:

What is your favorite date with someone under 4?


PS: We had so much fun that we had to go back!





















 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Creating a Family Culture

Join The Adventure

Who doesn't love adventure and fall? This time of year is just so cozy!

Can you say Pumpkin Pie? Pumpkin Spice Latte? Campfires? Chili Dogs? Hikes through the woods?  and lots of snuggling!

We recently took our family on a hike. Our kids call it an
 " adventure".


It is hard work but so worth the effort.

My husband and I enjoy backpacking and camping together. But, having such small kiddos can make it a little bit harder to do those types of things as a family.

But bringing them along with you on the adventure is so worth it!

Doing things as a family builds unity and helps tie those hearts together.

What you do with them today is shaping your legacy for tomorrow. 

Doing things together- especially things that you love- are huge in building your family culture.


Our kids had a great time and are still talking about the "adventure" and asking when we are going to go on the next one.


Was it hard for us taking 3 kids under 3 years old on a 2 mile hike? Well..... a little.
Our 7 month old was obviously carried the whole time and 2 year old man got a piggy back ride on the last 1/2 mile out from mom. (Can I please just add that it was up hill!? Good thing I like to exercise and have an awesome running partner who keeps me in shape! lol)


The memories made and the joy from the kids are worth every iota of effort to make things like this happen.




God is so cool that he created family. He basically created a "small group" for you to hang with and do life with. Ummm Awesome!

But creating and cultivating a small group that wants to be together will take effort on our part.

We must put forth the effort to build a family culture and create an atmosphere of love, comfort, and security- all while pointing them towards Jesus. 

In Proverbs- It says:
"The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands" Proverbs 14:1
Building a house will take intentional effort.

But....

"Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain." Psalm 127:1

Unless you are building your house on the Lord- It will not matter. So the most important thing when building your family culture is that Jesus is the center of it.

What kind of house do you want to build? 
What kind of family legacy do you want to leave for Christ?

So don't be afraid- plan something fun as a family. It might take a bit of effort but it is totally worth it.

It doesn't have to be elaborate. It just needs to be together. Ours was free! We are blessed to live at the foot of the Ozarks in Arkansas so there is lots of outdoors stuff to do in the fall.

Take advantage of this awesome season and go build your family culture.

What do you like to do as a family in the fall?

  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Family Life Luncheon

So last Monday was super cool for me.

I was super blessed to attend a luncheon at the Family Life building in Little Rock and meet some super cool girls like Kelcie, Heather, Tracey,  and Stephanie- Plus several more Arkansas Women Bloggers. This opportunity came through AWB.

I can honestly tell you when I got the opportunity to go I felt a little nervous and out of place- because I don't feel like a real blogger. I'm sure if you've been reading my blog for long then you know that I'm super random about when I post. I average maybe 1 post/month. haha! So when I was invited to go with "real bloggers" I didn't think that I'd fit in or that it would be appropriate for me to attend such a cool thing without being a "real blogger". I mean I enjoy blogging- it's fun. But I enjoy my real life WAY more. So real face time with my kids, friends, and family always trumps computer time. It's really not even a contest.
So if you want to read my blog and thoughts I guess you will just have to come over and have coffee with me and read my tangible pen and paper journal. Please Do! I'd love to meet ya!

My kids are still little and need lots from me. Which I love to give. These years are fleeting and you can't get them back.  So I don't always have the time to hang out here at Embracing Grace. So instead, I play pirates, hide and seek, and read cool books to my kids. (and clean up lots of messes)


But I just want to share with you what a great experience it was at Family Life last week. I absolutely had the best time. First we toured the Family Life building and got to hear about all the cool stuff the ministry does and the history and heart behind it. Ummmm. Awesome. In a world where family is not always valued and pursued it was such a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by like minded people who are intentional about pursing family and relationships.

Next we had the privilege of listening to Barbara Rainey share about her Empty Nest years and what the Lord is doing in her life now. I was no stranger to the Rainey's ministry. When my husband and I were getting married our pastor used one of their books to guide us through our pre-marital counseling (which was awesome and fun by the way).


Also every Thanksgiving I pull out one of Barbara's books that she wrote and display it in our home. We read it every year. It has been a blessing to our family. My  husband has even presented the information in this book to our church body and family. It really digs deep and educates you about the Pilgrims. I learned so much that I did not learn in school from this book. Thank You Barbara for putting it together!






Anyways- back to what she is doing in her empty nest years- She has launched a line called Ever Thine Home. I'll share more about this later as I have ordered a few things and want to show you how I'm going to use them in my home during the Holiday seasons. Stay Tuned!

After Barbara Rainey so gracefully spoke and shared her heart with us, we were served and blessed by a beautiful lunch from Family Life. Thank You! We had pumpkin soup- which was delicious. I've seen recipes floating around on Pinterest, but I was way too scared to try it in my own kitchen.

But what I enjoyed most about getting out of my comfort zone and driving 1 1/2 hours by myself with a 7 month old to meet a bunch of ladies that I didn't know- was the connections made.

(Can I just add that my sweet 7 month old was loud on the tour and everyone was extremely gracious to me. I was the only one who braved to bring my baby. )



I got to meet some real faces and see the hearts behind their blogs. It was refreshing and encouraging to meet gals in Arkansas who share a passion for Faith and Family and write about it.



Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Love Dare- Love Listens

Hi Friends-

As several of you know....... I'm doing the online bible study over at Managing Your Blessings. We are doing The Love Dare for parents.

One of the chapters this week was Love Listens. Having a family of 5 with our 3 little ones so close in age it gets easy to just lump everyone together in all our activities and 1 on 1 time gets lost.
 Don't get me wrong I love family time....... but our kids also need some 1 on 1 time with mom and dad to cultivate that relationship as well.

I want my kids to know that I have time to really look into their eyes and see them.

I want them to know that I want to listen to their stories and ideas.

I want them to know that I enjoy them and value our relationship.

So we try our best to make it a priority at our house to let each kiddo have some of their own mom/dad date time.

Here is my list of Top Ten Toddler Dates for under $5 if you are looking for some 1 on 1 time with your tot.

1. Go out for Cupcakes


2. Go to a pet store to look around


3. Take them to a park to play- DO NOT BRING YOUR PHONE- Just play with them


4. Ice Cream- Who doesn't like this?


5. Go to a bookstore-Pick up a kids book and sit in one of those comfy chairs and read it to them while sipping a drink from the bistro


6. Go on a walk or hike (We call them adventures)


7. Go out for a Doughnut


8. Take some toys and a blanket- Go somewhere away from your home and sit on the blanket and build a fort with legos with them. 


9. $1 movies and eat popcorn (We have a $1 movie theater near us)


10. Go Fishing

Date with my little man- $5 Hot and Ready Pizza and a Raspberry Water from Sonic


The point here is not what you are doing.

The point is to really look in their eyes and let them know they are valued.

 Let them know that you enjoy spending time with them.

Cultivate that relationship today so that you will be in their lives tomorrow. 

Reach their Hearts. 

 
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