That’s Not My Baby Gender Reveal

Recently I was handed the responsibility of hosting a gender reveal party for my brother and sister in law. They wanted something simple but unique and after a great deal of thinking I finally hit upon an idea. I came up with a game where mom and dad had to hunt through the group looking for their baby.

I created 20 index cards featuring pictures of animals and a silly sentence explaining why that wasn’t their baby. For instance, on the index card featuring a baby lion I wrote “That’s not my baby it’s claws are too sharp”. One person in the group had an index card attached to the ultrasound picture with the words ” That’s my baby SHE is so perfect”. Each index card was placed in a brown envelope and closed with pink and blue ribbons. I attached the ribbons so that when they were pulled it was easy to open the envelope and uncover the index card. This worked out really well and even the little kids participating in the game were able to easily open their envelopes.

Since the day was nice and warm we chose to play this game outside and we had the entire family line up and we passed out the sealed envelopes. My brother and sister in law had to start picking family members one at a time to reveal what was in their envelope. There were a lot of laughs as people uncovered baby skunks, turtles and hippos. Finally, after going through most of envelopes they called on my sister in laws Grandmother to open her envelope. Grandma opened her envelope and immediately started to cry once she realized that she had the ultrasound picture. With a shaky voice she read out “That’s my baby SHE is so perfect!”. Everyone started laughing and crying with excitement and it really ended up being a lot of fun and super special.

Now prior to the party I had marked one of the envelopes with a heart on the bottom because I wanted to make sure Grandma was the one who got to make the announcement. How many Grandma’s get to tell their granddaughters whether they are going to have a boy or a girl? I am glad that this worked out so well and wanted to share this idea in case anyone else would like to use this for their gender reveal party.

For the record this idea was inspired by one of my kids favorite children’s books produced by the Usborne Publishing company. Usborne has a whole line of That’s Not My…. books for young readers. I think one of the first baby gifts that I will be giving baby girl once she arrives will be one of these books for her library.

Materials Needed

Blank Index Cards 1 for each guest

Two colors of ribbon

Small paper sacks or gift bags 1 for each guest

Images of baby animals ( I found a ton of these online through Pinterest)

Craft Glue

Permanent Marker

Hole punch

Paper Clip

Print off pictures of baby animals or you could even hand draw the animals on each index card.

Write out silly sentences for each animal picture starting each sentence off with “That’s not my baby it’s __________________”. Glue animal picture to the card.

Attach ultrasound picture with a paper clip to an index card with a sentence that says “That’s my baby (insert he/she) is so _____________” (If you are selecting a certain individual to receive this make sure to mark the bottom of the bag with a tiny symbol).

Cut strips of ribbon for the bags I did 6 inches of pink and blue for each bag.

Place index cards inside paper sacks or gift bags and punch a hole in the top.

Fasten 2 strands of ribbon to each bag and tie two knots to keep bags sealed.

Game Time!

Once you have everyone arranged either into groups or in a line have the expectant parents take turns selecting an individual to reveal what is in their bag. Individual selected has to pull there ribbon to open bag and than read off their card and show the picture they received.

Keep going until the ultrasound picture has been chosen.

If there are cards left you can have people read them off after the gender has been revealed.

As a special memento you can retrieve the cards and put them into a little book bound with ribbon.

This was super affordable I spent under $10 for all of the supplies and I purchased everything at my local Walmart!

Let me know what you think of this idea?

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Advertisements

Commonly Googled: How to homeschool for free…

google search engine on macbook pro

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I wanted to see what questions Google was being asked about homeschool so I turned to the Google search engine and typed in how to homeschool and the first thing that popped up for me was how to homeschool for free. When I first began my homeschool journey years ago the financial burden was something that had concerned me because we had very limited finances. I wanted to provide the very best in education and was worried that our budget would restrict the quality of our resources. After a great deal of research I learned that it was possible to homeschool for free without affecting the quality of the education we provided.

If you are thinking of homeschooling and wondering how to do this either with little money or no money I recommend reading Homeschool Your Child For Free by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski. This is a great book that breaks down how to homeschool various age groups and subjects for free and where to find free resources. I found this book in my local library and loved it so much that I hunted down a used version online. Over the years I have read and reread this book countless times and have always found great advice and inspiration.

In order to homeschool your children successfully you need to provide access to books, activities and lively discussion. The first step is providing access to books and even if you don’t have an extensive home library you can accomplish this by taking advantage of your local library. Here you can find books and resources to really teach any subject or topic. The next key to success is to engage your children in activities outside of the home where they can experience new things and learn while having fun. Check with your local metro, state and national parks in your area because many times they provide free activities and events. We have done bird watches, butterfly walks, fishing, hiking and a number of other activities all for free through our park system. With a little online research you can find museums, zoos and field trip opportunities that are free for residents on certain days of the week. Finally, you can utilize lively discussion to educate your children. I love having conversations with my children discussing what we have learned and there thoughts and feelings on the situation. Recently, when discussing the American Revolution I had my kids split into Loyalist and Patriots and argue their stance from that perspective. This was a great way for them to practice what they had learned in a fun way while really gaining an understanding of the issues the colonist were dealing with during that time period.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to break the bank and you can provide a quality education at home for free. Of course you will still need to provide things like pencils, paper, glue and other craft supplies but you don’t need an expensive boxed curriculum to homeschool. Make sure you do a lot of research and read as many books as you can on how to homeschool. This will help you develop a plan for your school year which will basically be the map you need to navigate your journey as a home educator. Anyone can homeschool if they have the desire, the initiative and the willingness to provide an environment that encourages and promotes learning.

Below you will find links to some great information about homeschooling for free. If you have a specific question about homeschooling for free or in general let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Free online homeschool

 

Online Homeschool Community

 

Free Online Math Game

 

Preschool Science Curriculum

 

Education.com (access to lesson plans, worksheets and other resources for a small monthly fee)

 

The Free Reading Program

 

Starfall

 

TeachersPayTeachers (While there is a fee for some of these resources you can find free worksheets and lesson plans)

 

The Good & The Beautiful (Language Arts courses Level 1-5 can be downloaded for FREE)

 

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (Free books for kids 5 and under. Not available in all zip codes)

 

 

My Favorite Bread Recipe

hecticeclecticmama.com

There is nothing more comforting than the smell of freshly baked bread oh wait there is… eating freshly baked bread. Over the years I have tried so many different bread recipes and I have also created my own because bread is pretty simple it’s simply flour, yeast, sugar, salt and oil. You can play around with a variety of ingredients to customize your very own bread recipe or you can try my favorite bread recipe.

 

Homemade Bread

1 cup of warm water

1 tbsp of yeast

1/3 cup of honey ( you can also substitute sugar, maple syrup or even molasses)

2 tablespoons of oil

3-4 cups of all purpose flour

3 tsp of salt

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix together the warm water, yeast, oil, honey and 1 cup of the flour let this sit for about 5 mins in a warm location.

Add two cups of flour and sprinkle the salt over top using your hands or a wooden spoon to combine ingredients. At this point your dough may be a bit sticky you can add additional flour a little at a a time until you have achieved a smooth ball of dough. Let the dough sit for about 30 mins or until doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled I like to spread a piece of parchment paper on my table and then I use my rolling pin to roll it out into a flat disk. Using your hands fold the dough like a tight jelly roll tucking in the ends and firmly sealing the center.

Flip loaf over seam down and cut in 3-4 2″ deep slits so the bread can vent while it’s baking. Let your loaf rest for 30 mins or until it has doubled in size again.

Now that your loaf has doubled in size it’s time for it to go into the oven and bake for 35mins @ 400 degrees.

Remove dough from oven and allow it to cool fully this step can take an hour or two but it ensures that the bread finishing baking all the way through.

Slice your cool bread into slices and enjoy with your favorite toppings.

 

20190108_224018~3

 

 

 

The Grinch v.s Ebeneezer Scrooge

christmas christmas decoration christmas lights christmas tree

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

It is a family tradition in our house to read both The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love both of these stories and I am very proud to have both books in my personal library. These are two books that in my opinion should be a part of every parent’s personal library because they teach important life lessons. If you don’t have these on hand but want to incorporate this lesson with your kids check out the resources below to find the stories online for free.

Typically, we read and discuss these stories separately but this year we are doing things a bit different. This year we are going to tackle these books together comparing and contrasting the books as a whole, the main character, and lessons taught by each story. Below you will find a list of questions I will be asking of each of my children to answer. I think that these questions will help them flush out both stories and really dig into the transformations taken by both of these incredible characters.

The Assignment: My oldest will be answering these questions and turning it into a five paragraph essay while my youngest two will be creating a story plot worksheet for each of the books.

 

How are Ebeneezer Scrooge and the Grinch similar? How are they different?

 

How is the setting of each story similar? How are they different?

 

How does the Grinch change in the story and what caused that change to occur?

 

How does Ebeneezer Scrooge change in the story and what caused his transformation?

 

How are the life lessons in both stories similar and/or different?

 

Which story do you personally feel did a  better job teaching the lesson?

 

What did these stories teach you?

 

Additional Resources:

https://www.education.com/worksheet/article/story-plot/

http://web.mit.edu/tere/www/text/grinch.txt

https://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Charles_Dickens/A_Christmas_Carol/

 

 

 

Best way to start the day!

white cup filled by coffee

Photo by Jonas Mohamadi on Pexels.com

We have all heard the old adage that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. I remember rolling my eyes when my mom used to announce this fact every morning.  While I may not have fully appreciated this when I was a child my mom was right and breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day. Not only is it the best way to fire up your metabolism and create the energy you need to tackle the day but it also sets the tone for the day.

In my family, I have noticed that a quick breakfast of cereal leads to a lack of energy, chaos and emotional breakdowns all day long. Some days the quick breakfast of cereal can’t be helped but the majority of the time we slow down for a nice hot breakfast. Having a hot breakfast of waffles, eggs or even oatmeal sets the day up much better. We have the energy, the patience and the motivation to get through the day and we are much more productive individually and as a family. I am not sure if it is the food itself or that a hot breakfast sets a slower pace and allows everyone to wake up gently. Whatever it is I like starting the day off with a hot breakfast. One of our personal favorites happens to be the waffle recipe I share below.

If you are rushing through life and slinging bowls of cereal every morning and noticing the same thing I did with my kids then I challenge you to institute a hot breakfast. I know how busy and hectic life can be and the idea of waking up 15 mins early to make the hot breakfast seems like torture but I guarantee you will reap the benefits all day long.

 

Quick Tip:

The Waffle Recipe I share below calls for buttermilk and I rarely have this ingredient in my fridge. I learned that you can substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a 1 cup measuring cup and then filling it to the top with plain old milk.

If you’re out of milk you can substitute buttermilk for sour cream.

 

Super simple

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

I know that there are a lot of people out there who do not like the flavor of cranberry sauce but I am not one of them. Thanksgiving dinner in my house is not complete without the cranberry sauce. Not only do we enjoy it with the main meal but I like to keep it on hand for leftover turkey sandwiches. I like to spread a little cranberry sauce on my bread and then layer on lettuce, leftover turkey and a slice of Havarti cheese. It might sound a bit strange but the flavors really do compliment one another making this a gourmet sandwich. This is my recipe for homemade cranberry sauce and it is very simple and can be made for under $4.00. You’ll have plenty of cranberry sauce for your turkey dinner and enough to use on sandwiches throughout the week following Thanksgiving.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

`

 

Fun, Free and Spooktacular!

autumn background blur candle

Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

I can’t believe that its already the middle of October! Halloween is only 21 days away and we are working hard to fit in a ton of fun and spooktacular activities. This morning we ventured to Blue Creek Metropark in Northwest Ohio for a nature scavenger hunt where we also hunted for leaves. We really had a blast and I love getting outdoors with my little ones and making memories with them. Not only did we have fun but we learned how to identify the leaves we found on the ground and we discussed how and why the leaves change colors. We collected a number of leaves for a science experiment that I have planned for later in the week where we will use Chromatography to separate the different pigmentations in the leaves. I will share more information about this experiment later this week in case you want to try this with your little ones.

Today though I do have something fun to share with you and your family and its a great worksheet from Education.com. I absolutely love this website and we print worksheets and lessons from them all the time. A few months ago I was allowed to share a fun math worksheet and was beyond thrilled when they asked if my readers might be interested in Halloween themed worksheet.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Education.com I strongly urge you to click the link below to see all that they have to offer. Whether you are a full-time homeschooler or perhaps looking for supplementary worksheets you will be amazed by the variety and quality of the content on their website. In the meantime enjoy this fun, free and spooktacular treat from Education.com.

 

Find the spooky words in this Halloween word search from Education.com! Find more fun language arts games here.

word search_halloween

word search_halloween_answers

 

 

Making Math Fun!

pexels-photo-256428.jpeg

Math can be a difficult subject for little ones to master and often it means tears for our children and for us moms and dads as well.  The good news is that Math doesn’t have to be a tearful journey, in fact, this is one subject where you can have a great deal of fun. Incorporate fun games like trouble, Yahtzee, card games or make up a game that gets your kids using their skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Another great way to make learning fun is to find themed math worksheets that help students practice their skills. My youngest loves “fruit math” so whenever we work on drills I print off math worksheets that have a fruit theme. Colorful worksheets that are interesting to look at can easily turn boring math into fun math.

Reinforce your child’s subtraction skills with this ocean themed three-digit subtraction worksheet. Continue the fun of mastering their math skills with other great subtraction resources at Education.com!

subtraction_subtraction_under_the_sea3

subtraction_subtraction_under_the_sea3_answers

I really do believe that the secret to creating lifelong learners is to make the learning process fun. You will definitely have days where you feel overwhelmed and you can tell that your children are feeling overwhelmed as well. Instead of pushing through and making a stressful situation worse step back and change up the routine. Put away the textbooks and play a game that incorporates math or print off a fun themed math worksheet. It’s okay to change up the routine and try a different approach it will benefit your children and your sanity too!

 

** A special thank you to Education.com for allowing me to share one of their themed worksheets 🙂 **