Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Camp @ Home: Week 1 Kindness

Summer Camp @ Home

Week 1 - Learning to be nice to others

Since it was my sons idea for the first theme. He came up with learning to be nice. Works for me. I figured I would add a little to it with character building. Did you know that teachers are required to teach at least 5 minutes a day of character building. I think that's great! Here are some of the ideas I have planned for the week. Should be fun!

Events & Activities:
Going to a mall events. Since it was already planned. I will have him practice manners. Like opening doors for others. Saying please and thank you. Going out of his way to do nice things for others.
Bake cookies for two of our neighbors. One I mentioned in the hug post had just lost her husband. The other is an older couple that is always so nice to us.
Visit an animal shelter nearby and donate treats and cat food. Try to walk a couple dogs if possible. I called but never heard back on that. So, we will see if that is a possibility.

Donate toys to kids/shelter. Might be at the end of the week. Since I need to locate a shelter. But, I'm going to have my oldest go through his toys and find ones to give to kids that might not have toys. Maybe a women's shelter.

Email family. Have my son tell me what to type in a letter to family and pictures included. I'm sure he will love to hear the responses back. Maybe we will actually write a letter. I'm so used to instant gratification ;)

Visit a nursing home. I used to volunteer at a nursing home in high school. Before college. It really was a great experience. I remember coming back during a college break. I used to sit and paint this ladies nails and she would tell me stories about her life. Well, I hadn't been there in about 6 months and she thought I went off and got married. I'm sure they would love the company from the children. Although, I'm not sure it will happen this week. Since we would probably need to fill out paperwork etc.

Visit with the Grandparents and Great Grandparents. Maybe make them a present before leaving.
Create a kindness chart or bucket. Then we can write down all of his random acts of kindness and fill it up. Nice way for him to see what he has done.
Plant seeds of kindness. Another idea to use instead of a chart. This goes along with the book The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Basically, to show my son how each act of kindness grows.

Reading: I found some great books for the kids. All are great character builders. They are all on hold at the library.
How full is your bucket? for kids / written by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer ; illustrated by Maurie J When Felix wakes up one morning, he finds an invisible bucket floating overhead. A rotten morning threatens his mood--and his bucket--drop by drop. Can Felix discover how to refill his bucket before it's completely empty?

PreSchool-Grade 2 Using the activity of making and eating cookies, the author defines some important concepts for young children, such as respect, trustworthiness, patience, politeness, loyalty, etc. The book begins: COOPERATE means, How about you add the chips while I stir? and continues with one definition per page. For example, FAIR means, You get a bite, I get a bite….; REGRET means, I really wish I didn't eat so many cookies; and CONTENT means sitting on the steps just you, me, and a couple of cookies. Lovely pastel watercolor illustrations show appealing children and anthropomorphic animals interacting with one another and the treats. Although books dealing with this type of subject tend to be didactic and preachy, the utilization of the cookies to explain the concepts is a brilliant idea and works well on a child's level. The text is short and clear, and the book is delightful to look at and browse through. This is a good choice for one-on-one reading or to start an interesting class discussion.
Learning about love from the life of Mother Teresa / Brenn Jones.
Mother Teresa -- Growing up -- The missionaries of charity -- Calcutta -- Pure heart -- Living simply -- Nobel Peace prize -- A worldwide mission -- A new challenge -- The saint of the gutters -- Web sites.

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
This picture book admirably conveys the miracle of a seed. Flower pods burst and dispatch their seeds on the wind; the air-borne seeds are subject to myriad disasters; and the ones that make it through the perils of the seasons to become mature flowering plants are still susceptible to being picked, trod upon and otherwise damaged. But nature allows for survivors, and so the tiny seed grows into a giant flower, releasing its seeds and continuing the cycle. As he has demonstrated with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other books, Carle has an extraordinary kinship with nature. Here we have not just the explanation of the life of a flower, but drama, lessons of life and a lovely spirituality. This is a reissue of the original 1970 edition, with expanded, expansive collage illustrations. The pages, like the seed pods, burst with color. Ages 4-8.

This one is for me to get ideas from.
Do one nice thing with friends and family -- Do one nice thing for children -- Do one nice thing for pets and the planet -- Do one nice thing that heals -- Do one nice thing in town -- Do one nice thing around the globe -- Do one nice thing for soldiers -- Just click! Do one nice thing online.

Care Bears. Give thanks
The Berenstain Bears: Kindness, Caring and Sharing
Arthur. The boy with his head in the clouds
Pay It Forward
More posts to come on Summer Camp at Home!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chalkboard Glass Jars Teacher Gifts... Tutorial Too

Chalkboard Glass Jars (Tutorial below)

My son finished his last day yesterday! I had been thinking about this idea for quite awhile. I had the jars and the chalkboard spray paint. I just wasn't sure what I was going to do with them. I did some research online and couldn't find anything like what was in my mind. Since his teacher and assistant teacher couldn't get their present in the Summer I just did it ;) Here is what I came up with. I figured they could use them to put their pens and pencils in or stuff for the classroom. I had my son write thank you on the jars after I was done. But, explained they could erase and write what they wanted. They really liked them!! Plus it's a "Green" present since we recycled!

You will need:

  • 2 Empty clean glass jars (mine were Ragu)
  • Chalkboard Spray Paint (I used Valspar)
  • Painters tape or masking tape
  • Newspaper or something to cover
  • Ribbons
  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks (a heavy duty glue would probably work)
  • Chalk to prep the surface
1. Clean the glass jars so there is a clean surface. I used peanut butter to get rid of the sticker goo. It worked! Just put a little bit on the sticky areas, let it sit for a couple minutes and rub or scrape off. Worked like a charm. Clean that after. I put them in the dishwasher.

2. Tape off the top and bottom where the round part starts. I used a newspaper on the top in a cone shape. I didn't have a purpose for it before. But, then I realized when spray painting that it came in handy for turning while spray painting.

3. Spray paint the jars. I held mine in the air by the paper Gave me better leverage and I could see if I was missing spots. I did 4 coats. Letting them dry in between each coat. It says it's ready to go after an hour. But, I say overnight before using the chalkboard.

4. I grab some cute coordinating ribbon I had in my stash. I have a little ribbon addiction. So, that took awhile choosing the right colors with his teachers likes in mind. Heat up the glue gun. I always burn my fingers using that thing! I applied the top ribbon first. Applying the glue in the threads of the jar then sticking the ribbon on flat. I folded the end for a finished look. Then I applied the ric rac on the chalkboard edges for a finished look.

5. I prepped the surface in the morning. Taking chalk and rubbing it all over the chalkboard paint. Then wiped it off. So, it was ready to go. That was actually hard for me. Since I like a clean Then I had my son write thank you on each one. I thought they turned out pretty cute!

What have you transformed with chalkboard paint?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Power of a Simple Hug

Our block is pretty quiet and to themselves. Weird compared to the blocks I lived on growing up. But, I always try to talk to the people that live on our street. Well, the newest couple was older...maybe in their 80's. I always said hi and talked if I had a minute. Well, I asked how she was and she said not good. I asked why and she said her husband had a stroke and passed away two weeks ago. I felt so bad. I can't imagine being alone after being with someone for so long. I don't know her that well. But, I gave her a hug and told her I would pray for her and to ask if she needed anything.

On our Learning to be Nice week we plan to make something for her. Little Man's idea. Not sure if you guys remember that "Free Hugs Campaign" You Tube video awhile back about hugging. I cried when I watched it the first time (add every time But, I remembered that video and gave her a hug. Weird how a hug can mean so much. I know that sounds goofy. But, in my head I was thinking will she think it's weird and instead I just did it. She even asked my son for a hug after and the little goober chickened out and took off running. I'm going to try to hug more often :) Now to just work on little man's hugging etiquette :). He of course didn't hear the conversation about her losing her husband. I explained that later and told him it was okay to hug her if she asked.

My Grandma with my cousins daughter

My family actually wasn't very huggy growing up. Then I moved away to college near my dad and my step family is very huggy. I actually learned to give a real hug from them. You know the ones that make you feel good. Well, I brought that back home with me on my first break from college. I'm glad I did because my Grandma passed my Junior year in college and I can't imagine not getting lots of hugs from her before she passed away. Now my family hugs without me there. Which makes me happy.

I found the link. Worth watching.

Now go hug someone ;)

Hosting Summer Camp at Home...

So, I have been rolling this idea around in my head for a couple weeks now. This will be my oldest sons first "real" summer vacation. I'm not big on running around between drop off and pick up for Summer Camps. Plus my favorite part of Summer Vacation is having my little man home with us. So, I wanted to make it fun and eventful without too much "Mom, I'm bored!"

We're going to have themed weeks and activities, books, movies, cooking, places to go that will teach us something about the theme. I asked little man what he wanted to learn. He came back and said he wanted to learn how to be nice to people . Bonus points for that answer. So, that week will be Learning to be Nice week. Can't believe he chose that. I must have done a good job so far ;)

Some other ideas I have:

Learning to be nice
Get to know your neighbor (I'm making it a goal to get to know our neighbors)
Water Week
Healthy Living
Reading Week

Keep checking back and I'll try to give you some ideas for summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to Joe...

So, Saturday was Joe's birthday. I had been wanting to surprise him with a "big" gift for once. Since I am a SAHM it's not as easy to surprise him for birthday's. Since he can see the bank statement ;) So, I hunted for something he would like and we could use to spend quality family time together. So, I got him this little number from Sears.

It's a Kenmore 596 sq. in 3 Burner Gas Grill with Side Burner. I had eyed his present for over a month. I just couldn't buy it till his birthday. Since I had no where to hide it or I would be tempted to give it to him early. I had his parents pick it up on their way to his birthday party. He was nicely surprised. I baked him a cake and we ordered pizza at his request. I even insisted on singing happy birthday with the candle lit. He's not big on spotlights on him. But, I think I made his day special and it was nice having his parents over. Can't wait to use it. Have to get the propane tank filled. Weird they don't include the tank with the grill. I couldn't find my camera in time to take pictures either. But, it was a great day.

We had such a nice time with his parents over that I am having them over for Sunday Dinner. Which will be my first time cooking for them in the 7 years Joe and I have been together! Not stressed about it though. I'm making my yummy Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, Corn, and Rolls. You would think we would grill But, I want it to be a special family meal. Sit down style.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walking Down Memory Lane...My Boys

I stayed up late last night watching old home movies of my boys. I found myself tearing up. Crazy how fast they grow up. Watching their little personalities grow and develop with them. I'm so glad I have the video function on my camera! I can't imagine not being able to see how they once were. Funny. My boys are like little clones. They make similar sounds (my oldest when he was a baby) and look very similar. The little curls on the back of their hair flip the same way.

Here is a picture of my oldest. He's my perfectionist in training. More mellow, loves to talk, do craft projects, relax, articulate, and is always content.
Here is my youngest. He's going to be the life of the party. He is a little comedian, likes things his way (hoping that's just the, explorer, snuggler, and basically a little firecracker.

They are my little Yin & Yang ;)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

3 Day City Wide Garage Sale

I was gone all weekend at garage sales. The city I live in holds an annual garage sale where pretty much every block has at least 2 houses participating. Lots of traffic. But, lots of fun. My poor boys got pulled along on a walking garage sale I figured the traffic is a pain. So, we would just walk. So, I couldn't buy anything big. Since it wouldn't fit in the stroller. Lots of what looks to be junk. But, I have plans of making the the 2 plastic picture frames into chalkboards. One for the kitchen and one for my oldest son. I spent a whopping $.50 Gotta love that bird...hehe. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep the clock. Might be kinda neat looking and one of a kind. Hopefully, you'll see there transformation soon.

The Perogie maker from 1984! Looks like it was never used. Only $.75 and I figure one use will make it worth it. It makes other stuff too. I'm thinking of making little pizza rolls. Joe goes through those fast. Basically, you roll out your dough, put it on top of the form, make indentations into the compartments (24 I think), put in your favorite filling, then put on a top layer of dough, use a rolling pin to create the seal and perforate the edges, flip and they all pop out! I guess I like a new tool for the kitchen.

Then my last purchase. The little Rolodex for $1.50. Guess it's not really little. I have to think of another use. My cell is my personal rolodex...minus addresses. But, the size is great and the little compartments can be removed to hold longer items. Maybe for mail on the counter. Do you think spray paint would work on it? Not a fan of oak.