Monthly Archives: August 2013

Preparing for Kindergarten: 5 Tips to Start the School Year Right

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“For those of you who are sending your child to kindergarten for the first time, we understand the trepidation.  For those of you who are going through this for the second, or possibly the last time, congratulations on getting another one out of the house!”

So began kindergarten orientation on a muggy night in May in a room filled with (mostly) nervous parents of four and five year olds about to leave Pre-K for the big K.

This September will indeed be the last time I send a little one off to kindergarten… times three! Our triplets (my “babies”) are leaving the roost and, like most Moms, the notion of sending them off to school leaves me with mixed emotions.  If you feel the mix of anxiety and excitement, these tips should help to ease the transition… for everyone involved!

  • Prepare them. Encourage them to do things for themselves. Though you may not think so, your aspiring kindergartener is capable of zipping and unzipping, snapping and unsnapping, getting dressed and undressed, carrying a backpack and even packing their own snack.  Though your instinct may be to coddle your “baby”, don’t. Giving them a bit of independence is the best way to prep for the school year.
  • Prepare yourself. Transitions are tough and I’m not one who naturally embraces change but, sending your cutie to kindergarten is change for good.  Don’t make it a bigger deal than it is.  Preschool is over and it’s time to take the next step  – a step that your child is very likely ready for, even if you’re not.
  • Visit.  Most grammar schools have awesome playgrounds; take your tot there for an afternoon of exploring and playing  — after all, that’s a big part of what kindergarten is all about.  Getting familiar with the school and surroundings will make that first day a lot easier.  For both of you!
  • Read to them. Read with them. Read. Read. Read.  Point to the words.  Ask questions.  Encourage conversation.  And then, read some more!
  • Stock up now.  You’ll probably get a list of items to fill that little backpack on the first day.  It will likely contain some combination of crayons, glue sticks, tissues, wipes, and even a nap mat.  Get these things now, while sales are in full swing, shelves are stocked and the last bit of summer lingers before you.

As that evening back in May came to a close, we were advised to “embrace the moments this summer; the school year may be bumpy at first but it’s going to be a fabulous journey.”  And, as one who has been down this road before, I can assure you it is.

DIY Backyard Hollywood Sign

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Hurray for Hollywood! Nothing says tinseltown better than the iconic Hollywood sign. To bring a little bit of the Hollywood Hills into your own backyard, check out our fun DIY backyard Hollywood sign craft. We had such a blast making ours!

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What you will need:

Cardboard letters (ours are from Paper Source)

Silver confetti

Spray adhesive

Instructions:

Step 1: Spray your first letter with adhesive.

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Step 2: Shake confetti over the letter (be generous…you can shake off the excess later and reuse.)

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Step 3: Repeat with the rest of the letters.

Step 4: Arrange in your backyard!

DIY Secret Admirer Message Boards

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Got a crush? So do we…on these adorable DIY “secret admirer” message boards! We’re celebrating crushes this week at Moonfrye, and these easy message boards couldn’t be cuter for writing down messages to that special someone you’ve had your eye on!

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What you will need:

Wooden discs (we used 10″ pine circles)

Chalkboard paint

Craft sticks

Colored chalk

Paintbrush

Hot glue gun

Instructions:

Step 1: Paint wooden discs with chalkboard paint and allow to dry.

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Step 2: Using the glue gun, attach a craft stick to the bottom of each disc.

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Step 3: Write your messages…then leave them somewhere the object of your affection will be sure to see them!

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DIY Glitter Star Hollywood Headbands

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What says Hollywood more than shining stars? We’re celebrating LA this week with these super cute DIY glitter star Hollywood headbands! My girls had a blast putting together these simple accessories for themselves and their friends. They’re an easy way to add a little LA glitz into everyday life…

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What you will need:

Glitter foam paper

Exacto knife (adults only, please)

Fabric ribbons

Hot glue gun

Instructions:

Step 1: Cut out stars from the foam paper using the Exacto knife (remember to protect your work surface with cardboard or a phone book before you begin.)

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Step 2: Using a dab of hot glue on one point of each star, overlap the cutouts to form a chain.  You’ll want enough stars to wrap across each child’s forehead and extending just behind their ears.

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Step 3: Cut two lengths of ribbon for each headband, leaving enough excess to tie into a bow. Using the glue gun, attach one ribbon to each side of the star chain.

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Step 4: Tie onto your child’s head and enjoy!

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Watercolor Art for All Ages

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Every mom has days when she feels inspired. After a couple early morning hours cruising Pinterest, and a quick trip to the crafts store to gather cool supplies, it’s a breeze! And there are those other times; times for just family and lazy summer afternoons, times when you want low muss-no-fuss times, but still you are hoping for high impact. We had one of those the other day, my girls and I. Here is what we came up with!
his project requires few supplies , so it is also easy to take on the go- to the beach house or family cabin.

Family rating: Ages 3-100
Bonus: This technique is especially pretty, framed as wall art. Choose complimentary colors if you have wall art in mind.

What you will need:

  • Crayons – light & medium  colors work best
  • Watercolors- go dark and experiment with different colors for effect.
  • White Sheets of 8 x11 Card Stock
  • small size foam brush or large watercolor brush ( For younger kids, or faster projects go larger on brush size)
  • A couple bowls of water and paper towels for clean-up

First Zoe drew her original art design. White color crayon was a little too tough to see on  the card stock, so she switched to pale pastel. I helped her outline some art until she was pleased with the general look of her drawing.

Next she chose different colors of watercolor paint and had a fun time painting over the drawing and discovering how vibrant her crayon drawings became. She kept switching colors and ended up liking the chalkboard effect of different colors combining to make a lighter black. Framed in black, this artwork looks awesome on the wall!

Get the whole family involved, create and discover your own chalkboard effect amazing art!

How to Make Rock Candy

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“We can?” One asks.

“Right now?” Another confirms.

“Let’s go!” The third decides.

Their voices are braided perfection. Excited and urgent and childhood all threaded together in what my summer has been like.

They run up the driveway and through the garage. I bite back the urge to remind them to put on their shoes. Running barefoot is a rite of summer. I wouldn’t dream of taking it away from them this late in the season.

My neighbor leaves for a jog, another is walking her dog, a group of cyclists speed by. I sit and wait and enjoy the quiet, the sun, the slow.

Moments later, my three carefully step outside, fingers wrapped around jars, colorful straws splayed, tools gripped in free hands.

They work as a team, which is the best part of summer for a family; The chance to reconfigure your fit.

And they do no, three months into summer, they fit.

They curl up and read – long arms and legs and pointy elbows and knees entwined. They create plays out of construction paper shields and masks cut with newly deft fingers and makeup “borrowed” from me. They run through sprinklers in birth order, head tipped to sky, mouth open wide, drinking contraband water on the go. It’s the most delicious kind, so I’ve heard.

Although there are bumps, their fit is smooth. A mother’s heartstrings on display.

So when they walk back to me — rock candy jars in one hand and silver spoons and butter knives in the other — and settle onto the driveway ready to dive into sugar, there’s nothing for me to direct or say or remind. I just sit back and watch them taste the sweetness of sharing summer with your siblings.

How to Make Rock Candy

You’ll need jars, thread or a wooden skewer, 1-2 clothespins, 1 cup water, 3 cups sugar, and (optional) food coloring.

Cut a length of thick cotton thread a few inches longer than the height of the jar, and tape it to a pencil. Place the pencil across the top of the jar, and wind it until the thread is hanging about 1 inch from the bottom of the jar. Or, clip a wooden skewer into the clothespin so that it hangs down inside the glass and is about 1 inch from the bottom of the glass. Set this aside.

Bring the water to a boil and begin adding the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all of the sugar is dissolved. Once no more sugar will dissolve, remove the pan from the heat.

If you’d like, stir in several drops of food coloring.

Cool the sugar syrup for about 20 minutes, then pour it into the jar. Lower the skewer straight down until it hangs about 1 inch from the bottom and isn’t touching the sides.

Carefully place your jar in a cool place where it can sit undisturbed. Your crystals should form in 3-7 days!

I should note that we did not do the first step of this process. We’re rule breakers like that. We put paper straws into the jars instead because we thought they’d be so pretty, and they were. So our rock candy was small and messy and needed to be eaten off of a spoon, which, for the record, was just fine with us.

Poured Paint Planting Pots

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Backyard gardening is such a fun way to spend time as a family. We’re always looking for new plants and flowers to grow. These poured paint planting pots are the perfect craft to make our garden feel extra-special (and add a little pop of color, too!)

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What you will need:

Terra cotta planting pots in various sizes

Acrylic paints

Paint brushes

Masking tape

Newspaper

Instructions:

Step 1: Cover your work surface with newspaper and place pots on top, upside down.

Step 2: Use masking tape to cover the drain hole in the bottom of each pot.

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Step 3: Pour paint over the pots, alternating colors.

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Step 4: Allow paint to dry fully.

Step 5: When paint is dry, turn pots over and use a paintbrush to paint the top rims.

Step 6: Let the rims dry and you’re ready to plant!