Now if I could just keep the kids away from it....
When my dad was moving, he gave me this old coffee table that my parents had in their house years ago. It was an ugly orange-tinted stain and had scratches all over it. I wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons, but when I got it home, I realized it really did not go with anything in my living room. I didn't want to throw it out, so I got creative with it. Here's what I started with...
As you can see, it does not compliment my new couch at all.
It was pretty beat up from being stored in dad's garage and probably from moving so many times.
And this is it now!
I used some paint I had at home. Chocolate and cream colors to match my couch. I also covered up those ugly scratches. I applied two coats of each color, then I covered it all with a clear coat to protect the paint.
I think it's a beautiful table now :)
Now if I could just keep the kids away from it....
I saw this little chair at Salvation Army, and although it was in rough shape and ugly, I saw it had potential. So I bought it for $2.99! Here's what I did... First, I washed off all the dirt and dust. Then I went to town on it with the paint scraper. I used sand paper to smooth the edges and a few rough spots.
I applied a bright white base coat.
This was all done freehand without stencils, so pardon my uneven circles.
Little scrolls along the bottom give it the princess touch.
And ta-da! An adorable kid chair that my daughter LOVES!
Total cost: $2.99! (I borrowed the scraper, and I used sandpaper and paint I had lying around the house.)
If you like this, feel free to pin it to Pinterest, and bookmark my blog so you can see more of my DIY projects! :)
This may appear to be a happy, loving group of siblings. You may look at this picture and think, "I bet they are just little angels!" Now, I could say, "Imagine the left one with a pitchfork and the right one with horns", but I prefer not to refer to my children in that manner. The truth is, they ARE little angels, but they disguise it VERY well. In reality, behind this beautiful picture is a dysfunctional family with serious problems. By serious, I don't mean drugs, alcohol, or abuse. By serious, I mean there are a lot of emotional issues, wild and unruly behavior, mommy's nervous breakdowns, disrespect, fighting, hitting and kicking, screaming and yelling, tantrums and teasing. Sound like your house, you say? Fear not, exhausted moms, for I have something that just may help!
Have you ever heard of Love and Logic? If not, check out their website sometime. They have a lot of helpful tips on how to handle different behavior situations. I usually find the idea I need, then tweek it to fit our family better. Here are a few tips I'll share with you:
Terrible Tantrums: My four year old daughter throws horrible, violent, and rather frightening tantrums. They usually start with her huffing and puffing, then the flailing of the extremities begins, followed by the screaming, then running around the room and hitting or kicking anything and anyone in sight. I am being completely honest here, these tantrums were so bad that I actually ended up locking myself in my bedroom and hiding until she gave up 10-15 minutes later. I would sit on my bed and cry, ready to give up, as I listened to her slam doors and knock things over. I knew something had to be done.
I tried a few different things until I finally found one that worked. It's actually a few combined into one. So here's what we do now. I posted a "I can calm myself down" sign at her level, and I refer her to the sign when I notice her getting upset. If that step fails and the tantrums becomes worse, I kneel down to her level and ask if she needs a hug ("Hug It Out" technique). If the hug fails, I tell her she needs to "Go Cool Off". In the corner of the dining room I posted a sign at her level, right above her little chair that says "Cool Off Corner". She usually will go when I suggest it, but if she refuses, I pick her up and put her in the chair myself. She then gets a smiley face ice pack to hold so she can "cool off". We set the timer for four minutes (minutes=age). After the timer goes off I ask her if she is cooled off enough to get up and play. A few times she has said no and asked to sit longer. I just say "Okay, take as long as you need". When she has decided she is calm, I put the ice pack back in the freezer and we sit down and talk about what happened. I make sure to include the questions "What made you angry?", "Do you think that was the right way to act about it?", "What should you have done instead?", and "What do you need to do now?". We always follow our calm down talk with a hug. Good as new!
It's definitely not easy, but if you're consistent and stick with it, the child will get used to it, and eventually the tantrums will become less frequent, and the child will soon learn to recognize their angry feelings and calm themselves down before the tantrums start. If this helps ANY of you frustrated moms out there, then I am happy to have posted this! :) Next problem...
Disrespect: Some of you may agree that disrespect is NOT acceptable. If you don't agree, then you probably don't care how your kids act or what they say, which means you're probably not even reading this. Which brings me to my first tip... Kids do what they see. If you want your kids to be respectful, then YOU need to be respectful. Teach them respect by being respectful to others in how you act, and things you say or do. If you show them respect, they are more likely to show you respect. For instance, if you're constantly yelling and saying things like "Why the **** did you do that?!?! What is wrong with you?!?!", then think of how you're teaching them to react. They're going to think it's okay to respond with yelling and hurtful words. But if you instead say in a calm voice "Why did you do that? Do you think that was a good choice?" then you're going to get much better responses from the child, and they will know you care and respect them enough not to yell at them, even though you may be angry. Just remember to stay calm! As hard as it may be to not raise your voice, you have to learn to control it before it comes out. Bet you didn't know your child's behavior was a 50/50 deal, huh?
So here's what happened tonight at my house.. My seven year old daughter was caught breaking a few rules while we had company. I tried to calmly tell her she broke the rules and gave her a few warnings, until I finally had to ask her to go up to her room until I could go speak with her about her behavior. Well, she didn't want to go up to her room, so she instead started crying and having an emotional meltdown right there in front of our guest. I was SO embarrassed! I finally was able to persuade her to go to her room (threatening to take away her favorite toys). She tried sneaking down a few times, but I just reminded her of the consequences. During her time in her room, her little sister joined her to keep her company, and all they did was fight! I was so tired of hearing the screaming and yelling and tattling! I'm sure our company was tired of it, too!
After our guest left, I asked them both to come back into the living room. I told them plain and simple "I am NOT happy.". I could tell by their faces they knew I was serious. We sat in a circle on the floor and I told them to tell each other one thing that makes them angry about the other. One said "I don't like it when you pinch and hit me.", and the other said "I don't like it when you shut the light off and scare me.". I said "Okay, was that so hard?", they nodded, "So why couldn't you have said that to each other upstairs instead of fighting?", they shrugged. I had them apologize to each other and hug. Then I had them tell each other one thing they like about the other. One said "I like your smile.", and the other said "I like it when you read to me.". By this time they were both smiling and no longer scowling at each other. I told them both something I like about them, and we again "hugged it out". I explained to them how important it is to show respect to each other and to everyone else, like our guest. After putting them both in a better mood, I sent them off to bed, and the rest of the night went smoothly.
If you just take the time to talk to them, listen to them, and hug them, life will be a LOT easier, I promise! Something so easy can seem so difficult, but it's really not hard. It just requires a little patience and lots of love :) Don't give up!
Oh, and as for the little guy in the middle of the picture, well, he really IS a little angel ... for now ;)
I've decided to take on the challenge of homeschooling... again.
My living room has been transformed into a preschool! I have extra kids coming and going. I stay up late each night working on lesson plans and preparing the next day's projects. I only have a couple hours in the day to accomplish any housework that needs to be done. My dishes are stacking up. My carpet needs vacuumed. My bathroom needs scrubbed. The kids' room... take a wild guess what THAT looks like! But my 3, almost 4, year old daughter is learning. Every day I think to myself, "Is this worth it? Maybe I should just pay the $160 each month to put her in a real preschool." But then I remember the reasons why I decided to do this. 1. My daughter is hard of hearing, and being in a large classroom with the teacher talking from the front of the class, she will miss out on a lot of things being said. 2. My daughter works better one-on-one. 3. Only I know how to handle her random outbursts, what calms her down, and how to address it. 4. Preschool is expensive. 5. I like spending more time with her. 6. Preschool is expensive. 7. I want her to learn sign language so she can communicate better with me. 8. I want her to learn from a Christian perspective by not glorifying Halloween, but learning the true story behind Christian holidays when they approach. 9. She likes to snack a lot during the day, and our flexible schedule will allow for that. 10. Preschool is expensive!
So, as you can see, I have many reason for choosing to homeschool my child. I tried this with my oldest because I couldn't afford preschool. At the time, our living arrangements made it difficult, but I had the materials I needed to make it possible. By the time she had her kindergarten screening, she was at a 1st-2nd grade reading level! I remember the teacher telling me, "I don't know what you've been doing, but whatever it is, keep doing it!". Now, keep in mind, every child is different. Some catch on easily, while for others it may take more time and effort. This is why homeschooling is great! You can teach at the child's pace! In a regular school, the teacher moves on to the next lesson whether every child is caught up or not, thus letting some kids fall behind and making the rest of their entire schooling experience difficult for them. No parent wants that for their child. They want them to do their best and succeed! So when I realized my 3 year old was going to be a little more work than my oldest, I decided homeschooling would be the best option for her.
I still had all the learning materials I used with my oldest, thankfully. I spent hours searching homeschooling websites and preschool websites, and was able to use ideas I liked from each one to create my own curriculum and lesson plans. I don't have it all typed up yet, but when I do, I will be happy to share it with you all!
So far, preschool has been going great! We've even had a few friends come to visit and sit in during a lesson. We've made it to letter D, number 4, and have learned about Cows, Jungles, Cats, feelings, and The 5 Senses... also in sign language! My daughter is starting to use the sign language she has learned everywhere we go!
I will keep you updated on our progress, and I will definitely let you know when I have our curriculum and lesson plans available for download! Please feel free to share your homeschooling experience with me! I'd love to hear from other moms/dads who also homeschool!
Written by Amanda DeWain
This homemade Christmas countdown calendar is easy to make, and the kids can help! Here's what you'll need before you start:
Step 1: Draw your tree on one side of the poster board, and color it in.
Step 2: Write the numbers 1-24 spaced evenly on the other side and 25 near the top of the tree. A ruler might come in handy if you have one!
Step 3: Draw and cut out 24 ornaments on construction paper, and one star or topper of choice.
Step 4: Use a dot of glue or tape to hang the ornaments below each number, and the star below the 25.
Step 5: On each day of December, take one ornament off the calendar and stick it on the tree. On the 25th day of December (Christmas Day) you will put the star on the top of the tree, and your tree will be complete!
Hint: To reuse the calendar next year, laminate the poster board and ornaments, and use tape instead of glue.
Merry Christmas from Amanda and the girls!
Wondering what to do on a nice warm sunny day? Try this simple and quick craft that the kids are sure to love!
Here's what you'll need:
Step 1. Have the kids color whatever they want on their paper.
Step 2. Holding the paper "landscape" or sideways, tape the ends together to make it a tube shape. Make sure their artwork is facing out.
Step 3. Cut the tissue paper into 2x12 inch strips (or close to that size), and tape 5-6 strips to the bottom of the kite.
Step 4. Make two small cuts on each side near the top of the kite (not too close to the end or it will rip). Thread a one-yard piece of yarn through each hole and double-knot it. Make sure not to knot it too closely to the kite or it could tear the paper if it's too tight.
Step 5. Go fly a kite! Take the kids outside to show off their beautiful kites, and let them fly in the breeze!
Black Hills Moms Club
Here's what you'll need...
~ 2 lbs hamburger meat
~ 1/2 cup milk
~ 16 oz. processed cheese spread or dip
~ 1 tsp. Cajun spice (I used Weber's New Orleans Cajun spice)
~ Potato of choice (hash browns, tater tots, etc.)
1. Preheat over to 375*F. Brown hamburger meat in pan and drain.
2. Add milk, cheese, and cajun spice. Heat until boiling, then remove from heat.
3. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish or baking pan. Top with potatoes. Sprinkle additional cajun spice over the potatoes.
Bake at 375*F for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and casserole is bubbling. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve with a favorite veggie! Ta-da! The kids will LOVE it!
Recipe and photos by Amanda DeWain
Children become strongly attached to certain people, most of the time family members who they have a special bond with and connect with better than anyone else. Sometimes that person is mom, grandma, dad, grandpa, an aunt or uncle, or even a family friend. But what if the person that child adores suddenly passes away? How does it affect the child? How do children cope and deal with their emotions? Or do they even understand? After a recent family tragedy, I feel I may have an answer. Although, all children are different and react in various ways, I can tell you how it happened for my little one.
For my 6-year-old daughter, it was her grandma, her best friend, her best buddy, the only person she ever really connected with. My mom just passed away suddenly, and my first thought was "How am I going to tell Hailey? She's going to be devastated!" I was babysitting two other children when I received "the call", so there was not much I could do but wait until they went home. My dad, "Grandad", came back later that day and helped me tell Hailey what happened. We told her the news from a Christian perspective, which was "Grandma went to live with Jesus and your baby brother." It broke my heart to see her confused look and then a stream of tears fall down her cheeks. My poor baby has just lost her best friend who she loved dearly, and there's nothing I can do to change it.
Keep in mind, some (most) children will use this as an opportunity to get extra sympathy and, as all kids like, presents. All I can say is DON'T GIVE IN, GIVE LOVE! Show you child more love, hugs, kisses, cuddles, and lots of extra time just you and them. But don't buy them presents just because they make you think it will make them feel better. Chances are, it WON'T make them feel better, and they will just use that excuse again the next time they want something. You might as well write the word "Sucker" across your forehead. Kids do need sympathy and extra love after losing a loved one, but don't let them think they can get away with anything just because they're sad.
What to watch for:
Children who have been emotionally hurt can react differently. There are many signs you should watch for that could indicate your child may need to visit with a counselor to help them deal with their emotions. Some of these signs are: abnormal behavior, unusual poor behavior at school or at home, distancing themselves from friends or family, crying alone, loss of interest in activities they normally enjoy, and signs of depression. Anyone can develop depression, even children, and it should not be ignored. Children who show signs of depression should be encouraged to visit a counselor who can help them overcome their sadness and deal with their emotions better. Personally, I suggest family counseling for the loss of a family member because young children usually don't open up to a stranger, but with parents in the room, the child is more likely to express themselves.
It was a cold and rainy day...
So I hopped on Pinterest and found two awesome ideas...and put them together! I originally found the homemade kids play oven and thought "Wow! My kids would love to make that!" I later found a Pin with the idea of turning baking sheets into magnet boards. My mind wandered with ideas and possibilities. I finally came to this. I'd make the kids oven, and turn the baking sheet into the front of a mini fridge! So here's how I did it:
First, I dug through my collection of boxes in the basement. I found one that would make a perfect oven! I taped the top flaps together. Then I cut out the oven door. I wrapped the front and top of the box with wax paper and taped the ends to hold it in place (you can skip the wax paper or use a different paper, I just used it to cover up all the words on the box). Last, I used a giant Sharpie marker to draw on knobs, a handle, and burners. Tada! The oven is complete! Now on to the mini fridge...
The only other box I had that would work was too weak for the door I was about to add. If you make this, make sure you use a strong sturdy box with strong sturdy flaps. The box I ended up using was actually perfect because it was exactly the same size as the baking sheet! Now on to how we made this... After finding our box, we cut off all the top flaps except for one long flap. I covered one side of the baking sheet with wax paper, then taped the baking sheet securely to the long flap. Your mini fridge door should now be able to swing open and shut. Next, I rolled up some extra wax paper, stuck a piece of rolled tape to one end of it, and taped the other end to the door. Now you can keep the door closed by pressing the end of wax paper with the rolled tape to the side of the mini fridge. We again used the giant Sharpie to make it look like a real fridge with doors and handles. Now the mini fridge is ready to plug in and get cold! (pretend, of course!)
Time to accessorize! I went through the cupboards and found some old utensils, bowls, measuring cup, and a pan for them to use with their new oven. Olivia is already cooking me some pancakes! To finish off the mini fridge, find some magnets (we used alphabet magnets) and stick them on the front of the fridge! (The baking sheet is metal...magnets will stick to it...awesome!!!) Now if we just had some pretend food! Oh the possibilities!!!