Monday, January 18, 2016

The Debt Jar Update - Finding Hidden Money in Your Budget

Want more ideas for spending time with your kids?  Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page or Pinterest and sign up for emails to keep up with all the latest crafts, activities, and kid-friendly recipes! 

It's only been two weeks and we're already making progress on our jar! I know it won't continue at this rate, but we're taking advantage of the excitement and momentum of the new year to put a little dent in our pennies.
The Debt Jar - How to Find Hidden Money in your Budget

If you're just joining in you can read about the idea behind The Debt Jar here and how much we're trying to pay off.  The first week, we focused on finding hidden money in our budget.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Laura Numeroff Week at Daycare

Laura Numeroff has to be one of our favorite authors. Over the years, we've collected quite the collection of If You Give a _______ a ________ books and I thought it was time for us to collect them all and do a few weeks focused on these stories.  These activities were actually spread out over about three weeks, but we could have easily gone on for several more weeks!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Debt Jar - My 2016 Resolution

As 2015 comes to a close, I can't help but think about all the blessings of the past year.  It's another year that I've been home with my children.  We have more food and clothes than we need, a roof over our heads, and the good health to enjoy it all.  Keeping all our blessings in my, I have my own set of goals for 2016:
  • I want to get in better shape (goodbye baby weight!).
  • I want to take some time each week doing something that I love just for me.
  • And I want to kick our debt to the curb.
 photo DSC_1286_zpswwpmxyza.jpg
Eight years ago, we made the decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom.  It was scary and nerve-wracking because, quite simply, we couldn't afford it.  On paper, there was no way that we would be able to afford for me to leave teaching, but after some encouragement from friends we decided that I would take a year leave and try to start my own in-home daycare.  At the same time, I was introduced to Dave Ramsey and decided that we should also pay off all our debts.  Right away, there were problems.  I was making less than half of my previous salary and we were trying to pay off debts.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Keep the Grinch Away From Your Christmas Disney Vacation This Year

Disney is a magical place any time of the year, but it's especially magical during the holiday season. Or, at least it's supposed to be. My family and I just returned from a short trip to Disney to say farewell to the Osborne Lights. My hope is that sharing our experience will help those of you traveling to Disney this holiday season to avoid some of the pitfalls we ran into.
 photo Disney_zpstjkrcdav.jpg

Monday, December 7, 2015

Paper Plate Mistle-"toes" Wreath for Kids

As we were putting out our Christmas decorations this year, the kids came across this wreath from last year and they were so excited about it that I knew I had to share it with you guys (even if it is from last year). This was one of those crafts that started as one thing and then became a combination of crafts that we ended up loving.

I often hear complaints from daycare providers that they don't see the purpose of doing crafts with toddlers. They never end up looking like they "should" and they make such a mess. While I agree that they often make a mess while crafting, I think these sweet souls are missing the point of crafting with little ones. In our house, craft time is a great time for developing vocabulary, learning about shapes and colors, engaging our senses, and developing fine motor skills.  Yes, sometimes we want the crafts to look a certain way, but most of the time I let the kids explore and create any way they choose.  This was one of those crafts where there were many versions of the finished product.
 photo Paper Plate Wreath2_zps0eww3kxj.jpg

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

B for Bell Sensory Painting

It's Christmas season and that means we'll be sharing lots of our Christmas activities and crafts in the next few weeks. One of our favorite activities from last year was this process painting craft. Yes, this one is from last year. What can I say? Sometimes, the weeks get away from me and I just don't get to post everything I want to, so I saved it for this year. And, as anyone who blogs will tell you, I'm cringing a little at the pictures that I took with this one. Let's just say that I am so glad I got a 50mm prime lens for Christmas last year!  In any case, your kids will love this activity!

 photo Bell Painting_zpsjkfymyll.jpg

Friday, November 27, 2015

Last-Minute Grandparent Gifts from Walmart Photo

In our family, the grandparents are always the hardest to shop for. Their homes are already filled with things they don't need, and they have discovered that the things they want most are not available in any store. I've found over the years that what they cherish most are homemade gifts and pictures of the grandchildren. Thankfully, I'm in a great position to provide both of those things, and this year we're getting some extra help from Walmart Photo.
 photo Walmart Photo Collage_zps3sr3h908.jpg
With 3,500 locations nationwide, Walmart Photo offers a wide range of photo products both in the store and online that can be ready in as little as an hour.  Mobile Image Transfers in-store are quick and easy with the Fujifilm Kiosk Photo Transfer App. My favorite feature of Walmart Photo (and one I've utilized many times) is the ability to order and pay online and then just pick your items up at the store.  I do this routinely for our photo crafts and when the kids remind me that they need pictures for school.  (Surely, I'm not the only parent whose children wait until 8:00 on a Sunday night to let them know they have a project due).

Last year, we made photo calendars for both sets of grandparents (and one for us). There is nothing better than turning the page to a new month and seeing a happy memory from the previous year staring up at you!  Plus, Walmart Photo gives you the option to add photos and pictures for birthdays and anniversaries. My mother has a lot of grandchildren so she loves this feature!

This year, we are branching out a little with our photo gifts.  I was recently given the opportunity to work with Walmart Photo to create some photo gifts and I know the grandparents are going to love them!  The ordering process, both online and at the kiosk, is extremely user friendly.
 photo DSC_0929_zps6icwgqw1.jpg
Our first product was an 11 oz Photo Mug.  Truth be told, I was obsessed with the love script on this design and I'll probably be keeping this one for myself!  But, there are TONS of other options, including adorable Grandparent collage mugs that we will be ordering next.  Truly, every grandparent needs a mug with their grandchildren on it! I can't imagine anything that could make the morning brighter than smiling kids and coffee! And, here are my favorite pictures from our recent family photos that I'll be adding to that collage mug.
   photo Favorite-121_zpsm3ge7vhh.jpg   photo Favorite-91_zpss3yhpfaj.jpg photo Favorite-102_zpsd2atjmwc.jpg   photo Favorite-111_zpsba89esep.jpg
Many of these photo mugs are only $10 through January 5, 2016!  This includes the 11 oz ceramic mug, 11 oz Colorful Mug (only in stores), and the 14 oz Collage Tumbler (online only).  For those mugs that are not $10, is running a 25% Rollback on all mugs through January 5, 2016.
 photo DSC_0936_zps13z1gtex.jpg
To complete our gift set, I ordered a 6 piece photo coaster set with one of our family photos from this year's Fall Photo Shoot.  The coasters are very lightweight, but extremely sturdy.  They have a cork backing to help prevent slipping and a high-gloss surface.  These are perfect for Instagram square photos! photo DSC_0928_zpszrozhaay.jpg

Plus, if you order these online, you can choose six different photos for your coasters.  This is especially helpful when you have a large family or just a lot of cute photos to choose from, like this adorable photo of our baby girl!  
 photo Favorite-21_zpsk03oep0z.jpg
Or my favorite photo of my husband and I.
 photo Photo Coaster_zps9eckaubr.jpg

There's still plenty of time to take advantage of both Photo Mug Sales and the Coaster sets from Walmart Photo!  Combine them for an affordable and coordinated gift set for the grandparents!

If you're looking for more gift ideas, I hope you'll check out our Kid Crafts page for lots of thematic craft ideas.  You can keep up with all our favorites activities, along with all our own learning fun by following us on our Facebook or Pinterest pages or signing up for emails


 Be sure to visit Walmart Photo's brand page on where you can read other bloggers' posts.
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+.