Ten Thoughts Tuesday

ten

Since I am obviously not able to keep up with my blogging these days, here’s a few of the thoughts going through my head this week:

1.  It’s Tuesday – that’s not nearly close enough to Friday.

2. Big Brother will be having his 8th birthday party on Saturday and I am praying that it goes well and he has a great time with his friends.

3. The first school project of the year has been assigned and it is a diorama of an animal’s habitat for Science class.  Big Brother chose the camel as his animal.  Do you have any idea how boring the landscape is for a Middle Eastern desert?! Beige, beige, and more beige.

4. Tomorrow I get to help chaperone the first field trip of the year.  It is at a nursery (the plant kind, not the baby kind) so it could be interesting, assuming the love bugs stay away.

5. Speaking of love bugs, I am so OVER Florida love bug season.  I don’t mind the occasional mating bugs flying around, but they have been EVERYWHERE lately and in droves!  The Princess is not a fan and is overly dramatic (shocking, right?).  Her screams regarding love bugs are enough to push me over the edge.

6. Big Trouble is obsessed with PRETENDING to go potty (not sure if this is better or worse than him saying he is scared to go).  He will literally sit/stand on/by the toilet for half an hour until I finally make him leave the bathroom and then he will promptly pee in the new clean diaper (or on the floor) the minute we exit the proper area.  Same old, same old.

7.  I helped a young mom out in Target this week when she spilled her coffee all over her cart only to have her 3 year old yell out “Mom, you made a mess!”.  I have totally been that mom on numerous occasions and this happened during one of the few times I have ever been to Target sans ANY of my kids so I helped her transfer her goodies into my empty cart before they got ruined and I found someone who had a wet floor sign because she didn’t want to just leave the mess on the floor.  She smiled that grateful (and tired) smile of a Mom who knows when someone isn’t judging, only sympathizing from experience.   You don’t find that much anymore (believe me, I have learned this with Big Trouble) so it made me feel good to offer any assistance that I could.

8. I took Big Trouble grocery shopping this morning after I dropped the big kids off at school.  He was incredibly well behaved, mostly because he kept taking everything out of the basket part of the cart and trying to stack it up in the seat next to him; and he said good morning to nearly everyone we saw.  Surprisingly, he didn’t break anything and we only had a tiny milk leak when he roughly tossed the milk up onto the conveyor belt.  I couldn’t believe he was strong enough to lift the milk!  I wish he could always be so helpful and happy.

9. Big Trouble’s preschool has a “cooking” center where the kids get to help make their snack once a week.  The first week, he kept coming home and talking about “the butters”.  I knew there had to be more to the snack than the butters but he couldn’t quite explain it.  I finally remembered to ask his teacher and she said they had made toast and used cookie cutters to cut shapes out of it and then put butter on it.  That made much more sense, but I love that he keeps saying butterS.  Kind of cute.  Clearly, he is having a blast at school and not missing me at all.

10.  I signed up to volunteer in the Princess’ class on Monday mornings to help the teacher with the homework folders.  It doesn’t take long and I am happy to do it.  It kind of makes me sad though because you can tell which kids have helpful parents and which are really struggling.  That has to be tough for the teacher too.

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Embarrassing Kid Moment #247,023

child commentsThe following event occurred yesterday morning whilst I was in the store grabbing a pack of diapers for Big Trouble (who is obviously still determined to break me in the potty training department since we were getting yet another pack of diapers, not underwear).

The Setting:

Big Trouble was being quite the little gentleman and this trip to the store had me beaming at the people passing by as I showed off how well my little boy was behaving.  Yep; pat on the back for being an awesome mom;  isn’t he just the cutest little thing?!  I made him.

The Incident:

Then he opened his mouth and SHOUTED a question that no one ever wants to be asked loudly in public:  “MOM, DO YOU NEED TO POOP IN THE POTTY?”

Shh!  No honey, Mommy’s just fine right now, thank you.

He wasn’t satisfied so there was a follow-up question:  “NEED TO PEE-PEE?”  (people are now staring and snickering)

No baby, Mommy already went to the potty.  Do you need to go?

“NO!  DID YOU TOOT?”

Good Lord, NO!  There are no bodily functions going on right now so please stop shouting!

“I GET DIAPERS.  I STINKY GROSSY! MOMMY STINKY GROSSY! HA HA!”

Oh my Lord, please just come with me to the self-checkout so I don’t have to face a real cashier!…..

End of Scene.

Needless to say, I was quite embarrassed by this happy outburst.  I assume it was payback for my constant barrage of questions concerning his potty training process and lack of progress, but who can say?

I know I can’t be the only one with crazy kids who say things like this, right?!

Turns out, I’m not.  So, here’s a few more fun things that other kids have said!  I would love to hear your stories, too!  Misery loves company! 🙂

Ten Thoughts Tuesday (AKA: Yes, I’m Still Here)

tenThings have been CAH-RAZY around our house over the last few weeks so I haven’t had the time I usually do to blog.  Hopefully things will start calming down now that we are getting into the rhythm of school again, but until the calm arrives, here’s a few random items affecting my life right now.

  1. Big Trouble is still refusing to use the potty.  Story of my life.  I am convinced he was put here on Earth to test my ingenuity and patience.
  2. We just got a “Best Of” dvd of the Wiggles.  I have never seen Big Trouble sit still longer than while watching this (yes, I count his randomly standing up to dance as sitting still because he will eventually sit back down to watch some more and he’s not trying to escape or get into any shenanigans).  Best purchase EVER.
  3. My older kids are driving me nuts with their picky eating.  Pasta is quickly losing its appeal and there’s only so many times I can give the “Brinner” option.
  4. I am on my 2nd round of antibiotics since school started.  First for strep throat and now for what appears to be a sinus infection.  Good times.
  5. My house is taking a lot longer to clean than I originally anticipated.  This is partly because I have been sick, but also because I am actually going through everything and donating/trashing/organizing the way I said I would.  Who knew that after 8 years of accumulating things that this would take time? Will I ever finish?!
  6. I have to go for a meeting of just the 3rd grade parents tomorrow night at my kids’ school.  Apparently 3rd grade is a very big deal and I need to know about every aspect.  FUN!
  7. My husband agreed to co-chair the “walking school bus” this school year.  Basically the kids just meet up on the first Wednesday of each month, at the main square of the neighborhood that the school is located in, and walk safely to school with a group of parents and teachers.  They get a stamp on their card each time they participate and they can earn prizes for being active.  I get to participate with them on the first walk tomorrow.  I am not that excited seeing as though I have to drag along Big Trouble and I have to walk all the way back to where we started once they reach their classes.  Yes, I am a terrible example of laziness.  But, at least I’ll have help since hubby HAS to be there!
  8. Today Big Brother told me about the Sunshine State Books program.  I haven’t fully learned exactly what is involved, but there are 15 “longer” books that are recommended statewide for 3-5 grade levels and 6-8 grade levels and if you read a few, you get something special at school.  If you read all 15 by the time the school year is over, you are a super star.  So, this is how I am going to get him to stop rushing through the easy books and just take his time and enjoy a longer book.  At least that’s the plan.  Right now he is very excited about going with me to the public library tonight to get his first two books because there is a waiting list at the school library and his brilliant Mommy found a way around it.  Score.
  9. The anniversary of my 29th birthday is next week.  Since my husband and I share a birthday, my mom is coming on Saturday to celebrate just me and she worked out a special trip for my husband to celebrate just him on Sunday.  I think that will be a perfect balance so that we can enjoy sharing our birthday on the actual day, even if it means that I have to acknowledge that I am getting older.  I’m still 29 if anyone asks.
  10. Our tv is in the process of slowly dying.  We got a new one when they were on sale for Labor Day (Happy Birthday to us), but we are having issues getting the old one off of the wall mount.  What a pain.

Needless to say, we’ve got a lot going on right now.  So, please forgive me if my postings are just here and there.  I’m still trying to keep up with everyone at night after the kids go to bed and hopefully I will catch up with myself one day too!

Have a great week!

We’ve Mastered Another Skill…Just Not The One I Was Hoping For

Today, Big Trouble started drinking from a straw.  I’ll hold for applause.

SUCCESS!

SUCCESS!

Now, this may not seem like that big of a deal, but seeing as though he gets soaked every time he tries to drink out of a regular cup, it really is!  The kid can literally take a dime-sized amount of water and make it look like he just survived a flash flood.

But now, thanks to this new development, we can start using the “big kid” cups with lids and straws instead of sippy cups or the “ok, guess we’ll go get a bath now” cups!  I’ll admit that it was torture so fun making weird faces and trying to give him samples of how to sip from a straw, only to have him just make noises and/or accidentally blow spit bubbles and laugh.

Mind you, this has gone on for nearly a year.  The kid has no interest in my time frame for ANYTHING.  I’m just now starting to get that (can’t imagine where he gets his stubbornness from).  But, I keep trying like the idiot that I am because I that’s my job.  And, nothing makes me feel like a bigger success than finally seeing one of my kids master something they have been trying to do; even if it is as insignificant a milestone as drinking from a straw.

The moment I saw my troublemaker give me a huge victory smile, thus drooling out most of the liquid he had just learned to sip up, I held my head high, looked to the sky and thought, “yeah, I taught him that” (not the drooling part, just to clarify; the actual sipping from a straw).  I am a success and so is my boy!

Then I turned back to look at my precious little one who was making me so proud…and I see this:

"Wook at my hat, mom"

“Wook at my hat, mom”

Yep.  That’s the inside of his consistently unused potty seat sitting there, upside down on his head.  I did not teach him that.  Guess we still have a little work left to do on some of our skills….sigh.

It’s Almost Back To School Time….Hooray!

I’m the first to admit that I have been a little slacking in the blogging department this Summer, but I feel like my brain is all over the place between camps and “vacations” and having 3 kids home 24-7, etc.  To say that I have been overwhelmed is an understatement.  However, in just one short week, all 3 kids will be starting school. YES, BIG TROUBLE IS GOING TOO!  They are so excited; I am more excited.drink

This will be the first time in 8 years that I will be home alone without at least one child with me.  I am not exaggerating.  I am never AT HOME without a kid.  Yes, I get to break away with the occasional doctor’s appointment or grocery store trip (sidenote: how sad is it that I look forward to the dentist and taking the car for an oil change because that is my “time off”?!), but if I am at home, there’s always a kid with me, making it virtually impossible to thoroughly clean.   Suffice it to say, our house always looks like a tornado hit it and I AM SICK OF IT.cleaning

So, as I try to survive the last week of Summer, I am reminding myself that I will actually have up to 9 hours of quiet a week.  I have no recollection of what that feels like but it sounds like heaven.  I plan on going on a cleaning spree a la a “Clean House” episode and getting rid of a lot of stuff that the kids will never miss (shhh don’t tell them and they will never know).  Goodwill and other various charities will be the recipients of our goodies and I will smile victorious.

I am hoping these few hours a week will allow me to catch up on all of the things that I have let go over time because I have been too tired or exasperated (maybe even sneak in a coherent blog here or there).  I have BIG plans.  We’ll see.  These plans are contingent upon Big Trouble not getting kicked out of preschool for being big trouble and me actually being able to function without a child around (I sometimes have trouble speaking without the kids around because I am not used to NOT being interrupted so I am fearful that this might carry over to everyday actions).

But, assuming all goes to plan, I will finally have a (semi) clean house and I will also be able to volunteer at the kids’ schools when the classes need parents and I won’t have to ask my husband to take an earlier lunch or drag Big Trouble with me.  These are the days I have been working for over the last 8 years.  And, who knows?  Maybe I will finally find the right part time job that will allow me to get back into the adult world, while still maintaing the balance at home?  One can dream, right?  (This dream goes right under the dream of Big Trouble actually using the toilet instead of just playing with it – Lord, bless his poor teachers.)

Well, I am rambling (which is why it has been hard to actual sit and write a blog these days) but that’s where I am right now.  My kids are starting to grow up.  Part of me misses the baby days (they seriously seem so easy looking back now) but a bigger part of me is excited to see where they are heading and where I am heading.

I am MOTHER; hear me roar….or sigh….ask me

We Are Back And Just In Time To Remember Why We Put Potty Training On Hold

Well, we survived our trip out West.  I must admit that Big Trouble, while still active and randomly crazy, was pretty good on all four flights we had to make, despite the crazy times we were flying.  It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it could have been MUCH worse.

I should have some pictures up later this week showing off a few of our adventures, but until then, here’s an update on our return to potty training.

When we last left you, things weren’t going so well with Big Trouble and his dependance on diapers.  I started seriously trying with him in January.  It was pretty difficult because of the fact that every day we had to leave to do drop-off and pick up for my big kids so I couldn’t just stay home for a few days while he went naked or in big underwear (thanks a lot for that “tip” educational potty books – who has time for that?!).  I kept trying here and there, but 2 months later and still no real interest.

So, as any other good (tired) mother would do, I called it quits until we returned from our trip to San Francisco.  Let’s face it; Big Trouble is trouble enough without having to deal with taking him to the bathroom every 20 minutes on a plane and then in strange places we have never been before.  I just couldn’t go there.

But, now here we are, back at home and I no longer have any excuses.  The kids are home with me full time until school starts again so I can actually stay home a few days in a row to try things out again.  I am ready!potty

But, as usual, Big Trouble has other ideas.  He has now developed a fear of the large potty.  “I scared” is his mantra any time he ventures toward the bathroom.  Lovely.  So, I pulled the little Cars potty back out of storage and convinced him not to immediately take it apart, and while he was very encouraging to the rest of the family regarding our use of the potty, I couldn’t convince him to sit on it anymore!  Fantastic.

watching other kids relaxing on the toilet has to be motivating, right?

watching other kids relaxing on the toilet has to be motivating, right?

Back to the library I headed and re-checked out the original potty dvds along with a new one about being a potty pirate.  He was intrigued this time (although it took me actually sitting my big butt on his potty for him to get back on).  He was excited about being a potty pirate and actually sat on his potty for almost an hour with a drink in hand, watching all of the excited children sing about bodily functions and being big kids.  I offered him an m&m as encouragement.  NOTHING HAPPENED!!!

Finally back on the potty and being a potty pirate (at least in his heart)

Finally back on the potty and being a potty pirate (at least in his heart)

He finally stood up; I was frustrated so I let him put his diaper back on since it was only day 1, and we headed back to join the rest of the family.  Within 1 minute of the diaper going back on, he peed (while chanting “no more diapers for me” from the pirate dvd – oh the horrific irony).  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  It’s like he’s doing this on purpose to drive me nuts!

So, once again, I am going to need some kind thoughts and prayers sent my way as I travel down this road AGAIN with Big Trouble.  He is clearly going to live up to his name in this endeavor, too.  I may even give him a promotion to Major Trouble.

Getting To Know Us – Part III: Interview with Big Trouble

children-quotes-funnyWell, I said I would try to do this with Big Trouble too, but it didn’t turn out quite as well as I had hoped as he is 2 and could care less what I want.  So, instead of trying to get him to answer my questions, here’s a few of his random thoughts and conversations as they occurred over the last few weeks (with my thoughts added in).

  • The Princess, after smacking Big Trouble in the face with a beach ball: Are you ok, sweetie? (notice she gets all big sistery AFTER hitting him on purpose); Big Trouble: I am better than ok!  (This is his new way of answering questions.  I have also asked him if he is pooping in his diaper and he responds with “I am better than pooping”.  I have a little optimist on my hands….and a big poop machine who often tells me that he is a “grossy, stinky butt and dat’s funny.  No. No, it isn’t).
  • Upon watching his big brother and sister go into a different room so they won’t be bothered by him, he runs after them, bangs on the closed door screaming, “Help! Let me in guys!  Hey, guys.  Open the door. (as though it was a mistake that he was shut out – poor little brother)
  • A conversation with me: “Do you think you would like to pick blueberries with mommy?”Big Trouble: “I love pooberries!” (um, ew – he has also called them boogerberries, so fun!).
  • As I was leaning over to pick up a basket of laundry, I feel a tiny hand on my butt and I hear a little voice say, “Shake your booty. Haha.  Dat’s funny.”  (Yeah, I’m definitely doing something right around here).
  • While playing Family Feud with Big Brother and practicing his juggwing (juggling) skills along with The Wiggles DVD, Hot Poppin’ Popcorn, I overhear this little gem: Big Brother says to him, “tell me something we all know about Brad Pitt.” (I think this may have been an actual family feud question because I’m fairly certain Big Brother has no idea who Brad Pitt is).;  Big Trouble answers: “2 Balls”.  (Yes, my mind went there even though I knew he was talking about juggling the two bouncy balls in his hands and was not remotely referencing Brad Pitt.)
  • While putting a new load of laundry in the washer, I hear the load I just pulled out being dumped on the floor by Big Trouble as he shouts to me, “Don’t worry Mommy, I get them.” (So glad I have his “help” or how else would I get anything done?!).

Getting To Know Us – Part I: Interview With The Princess

Recently I have been coming across a lot of really cute blogs where mothers have asked their kids different questions and had the kids answer honestly.  I thought this would be a fun “experiment” to do with my kids too, so here’s part one!  **Disclaimer – I may randomly add my thoughts to these answers in parentheses so you can know what went through my mind as she answered**

Getting to Know “The Princess”, Age 6

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher, a mommy, and a cashier at Publix (sounds just fine to me)
  • What brings you the most happiness? when I go to Nuberri for frozen yogurt (this is Daddy’s go to place when we have no idea what we are going to do on a weekend – we’ve gone through several customer loyalty cards)
  • When do you feel the most loved? When my Daddy hugs me (apparently, my hugs are not enough?! Hrmphf)
  • What are you afraid of? the dark  (I was surprised at this answer because I would have said she was afraid of thunderstorms as she always goes and hides under a blanket when she hears thunder – this usually leads her to accidentally falling asleep so it may be the thing I look forward to the most on a long Summer day – maybe I am projecting?)
  • If you had one wish, what would you wish for? to be a princess (There is a reason I refer to her as “the princess”)
  • What is the funniest word? potty (I’m just glad she didn’t say anything else)
  • What is the hardest/easiest thing to do? the hardest is to write supercalifragilisticexpialidocious; the easiest thing to do is Kindergarten math (I can attest to the fact that it is hard to type supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…twice.  But, I thought Kindergarten math was pretty hard when I had to help her.  Glad she is so confident.)
  • What is the best/worst thing in the world? worst is seeing a monster and the best is getting to be with a nice family (I love that she is still innocent enough to think that seeing a monster is the worst thing, but wise enough to know how important family is)
  • What makes you mad? when my brothers call me poopy (it definitely is a sore spot with her)
  • What is the meaning of love? happy with heart kissing (I have no idea what this means, but it sounds nice)
  • If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? I would buy the toy cleaning set from ToysRUs so that I could clean the house (I find this answer extremely hilarious because I have an arsenal of real cleaning products here that she is more than welcome to use at any time, yet she has never done it without complaining about how mean I am for making her help)

Getting to know me (THE QUEEN), as told by The Princess

  • What’s my favorite TV show? Real Housewives (It’s not my favorite, but it definitely is a guilty pleasure)
  • What do I drink? Coke (I don’t drink alcohol so this is how I make it through the day with 3 crazy kids.  Don’t judge, especially since I have only had Starbucks twice this month.)
  • What do I eat? taco salads (well, I do enjoy a nice taco salad)
  • What do I do for fun? Take a Nap. (I’m not sure this is considered fun, but I would definitely choose it if given the option)
  • What do I like to read? The Great Gatsby (I just re-read this after seeing the movie – luckily she didn’t give away my obsession with random YA series such as Harry Potter, Beautiful Creatures, The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc…..)
  • What do I wear? jeans and a t-shirt and flip-flops.  You never wear skirts but sometimes you wear dresses. – she says this with disappointment and then a slight hint of hope for the future (I’m very predictable, and apparently sad and pathetic in my choice of clothing)
  • What do I do with my friends? Go out to eat (I am a huge fan of getting to eat AND hold an actual adult conversation for more than 3 seconds)
  • What is my favorite song? Something by One Direction (um, NO.  That would be Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, not some cheesy boy band from Britain that I am constantly subjected to. But, it could be worse; she could have said something by Justin Bieber)
  • What do I do when you’re school? Play with Big Trouble, make him take a nap, and probably go to the playground sometimes. (Yes, that is exactly how I spend my days when I’m not eating bonbons and watching Real Housewives.)
  • What do I do when you’re in bed at night? Help Big Trouble go to bed and watch tv. (This is true on certain nights)
  • What do I dream about at night? Your kids. (Sorry, sweetie, it’s Johnny Depp)
  • What is my favorite store? Target (Not sure this is actually my favorite store, but it is really close to our house and it’s not Walmart so we are there A LOT)
  • What do I buy there? Diapers and Wipes (hoping to delete diapers and add big boy underwear to this list very soon)
  • What’s my favorite thing to do with you?  Take care of me when I am sick. (You know, there really is nothing I enjoy more.  …seriously?  That’s what you picked as my favorite thing to do with you?  Should I take this as a compliment?)

And there you have it.  Stay tuned for thoughts from Big Brother and Big Trouble….if they decide to cooperate. 🙂  Feel free to try this with your own kids!  The answers are always great and surprising!

Reposting Because I Still Feel This Way…

I started writing a post on how I feel especially old and decrepit lately and every word felt oddly familiar.  As luck would have it, I found an old blog I wrote 2 years ago that said the exact same thing.  It’s good to know that some things never change.  So, I have updated a few pertinent facts, but kept the original post pretty much in tact because I STILL FEEL THIS WAY!  Am I the only one?! (Please only answer this if the answer is no because I’m not sure my old lady brain can handle a yes!)

In the modern world of today, I am not that old, even when you consider that I have an advanced degree, have been married for 9 years and have 3 children.  But most days I get stuck in my own warped sense of reality where being 29 (give or take a few years because I stopped counting – if you ask my kids though, they will willingly tell you the truth with great flair as I wince in the corner) means I am almost 85.  My bones are starting to make strange noises as I hobble around the house; I am more than happy to enjoy an early bird dinner as well as a 7:00 bedtime; and polyester clothing is starting to look appealing.

My beautiful children have given me a sleep schedule consisting of approximately 8 minutes a day, resulting in the area under my eyes looking like what can only be described as those black reflective thingies that baseball players wear to keep the sun out of their eyes.  My dark hair is also getting ‘lighter’ in stray pieces.  And by ‘lighter’ I don’t mean in the George Clooney/Anderson Cooper “silver fox” kind of way; I mean I skipped gray and went straight to the institutionalized white of a mad scientist from a horror movie.  Luckily, I have lots of free time and money to go get my hair professionally colored…..I have time to go to the store and buy a box of color…..I have time to rip the strays from my head while I sit on the couch watching my stories and eating bonbons like all stay at home mothers do during the day.  We won’t even discuss how my former washboard abs now look like a tiny map of the New York subway system (at least it’s a cool city).

I blame my kids for most of the issues I have with my body, but the truth is, they also provide solutions for me.  For example, the 2 lbs of sand they bring home every day in their shoes is a great exfoliant for my weary feet.  And the endless supply of markers and paint are an excellent way to touch up my roots while on the go.  My creaky bones have also become the percussion section of our family band, so it just works!

Maybe it really is time I just started accepting my lack of youth and learning to love the old lady within.  They say with age usually comes wisdom…..or dementia.  Either way, BINGO! (now where did I put my Fiber One bars?)

Summer Camp Recycled Crafts – Part 2

As promised in Part 1, I’ve got a few more “green” crafts from Summer Camp to share with you and here they are!

  • Fabric CD Coasters – At the same local shop we found the old VHS cases (The fantastic Sharing Tree if you live in the Tallahassee area – you can fill a huge tote bag full of scrap/recycled materials for only $5!), we also found bulk used CDs and Fabric Sample booklets.  We used these materials to create fun coasters for the kids to give as gifts.  You simply trace the CD onto the fabric with chalk or a pencil, cut it out, glue it on one side of the CD and cover the fabric with Mod Podge to seal it.  We used small pieces of Duct Tape to cover the hole in the back just to guarantee the liquid wouldn’t seep through there and we placed little foam pieces on the back to raise the coasters off of the table a little.  So easy and with so many fabric choices available (even from old shower curtains, drapes, towels, etc., that you have lying around the house), the possibilities are endless if you want to match them to your home decor or create as a gift!
We used all different types of material (from thin satin and gingham to very thick, almost carpet-like fabric)

We used all different types of material (from thin satin and gingham to very thick, almost carpet-like fabric)  These were still wet with glue, but they dried solid and work GREAT!

  • Cereal Box Collages – We cut the front and back cardboard pieces from recycled cereal boxes to use as a mat for creating a collage.  We then let the kids create a theme by using old magazines as inspiration.  The children used animals, fun shaped letters, and other things to create theirs.  This could be a totally free craft to create on a rainy day if you have old magazines, a cereal box (or even a shoe box or mailing box or the back of an old book that is falling apart) and some glue!

    My son decided to go through the magazines and find ads from different products that he recognized and creating a collage of those.

    My son decided to go through the magazines and find ads from different products that he recognized and create a collage of those – ANY theme would work.

  • Cupcake Liner and Egg Carton “Flower Garden” – For the end of the week luncheon centerpieces the second week of camp, we let the younger kids make “flowers” out of cupcake liners, popsicle sticks, and other tiny odds and ends.  We then placed their flowers into egg cartons which they painted green to resemble a patch of grass.  It was really interesting to watch some kids really decorate the inside of their flowers, while others were content to just glue a single button or pom-pom inside and call it a day.  In the end, it was a simple project but also a colorful one that the kids enjoyed.

    Our little "gardens"

    Our little “gardens”

  •  Crystal Light Find-It Game –  I have done this craft with my own kids (as seen in this post) and they had a blast so when we realized that we had enough random materials to let the pre-K and Kindergarten kids make this, we ran with this adapted version.  Instead of soda bottles, we used empty Crystal Light containers that were donated to our class.  We also had a small package of birdseed so we used that instead of rice.  Turns out, both containers and both “filler” items work just fine.  You simply fill the container 3/4 of the way with whatever filler you choose, add random “treasures” (such as lego pieces, foam cutouts, buttons, beads, Barbie shoes, etc. – whatever items will fit in the container) to the top of the filler, seal it with either glue or duct tape, as shown in the picture below, and shake it up good so that the items are mixed into the filler.  *Remember to make a list of the items you will be searching for, just so you don’t forget!*  Now the kids have a game for the house or on the go!
    The birdseed and items to find (pre-shaking)

    The birdseed and items to find (pre-shaking) 

    find it 2

    Our finished product (minus the clue card)

Pet Rocks – As an extra time filler, we brought back the 70’s fad, pet rocks!  All you need is paint, little googly eyes, yarn or confetti and rocks from your yard or garden.  Surprisingly, even the older kids seemed to like this.

I was told that these pet rocks were modeled after the monsters in "Monsters Inc." :)  Very creative.

I was told that these pet rocks were modeled after the monsters in “Monsters Inc.” 🙂 Very creative.

During the camp we also used the fabric samples to create bookmarks and decorative binder clips (although I failed to get a shot of those).  We really enjoyed finding new ways to use left over materials and recycled materials.  Not only did it make crafting less expensive, it allowed us to repurpose items that you might not think could be repurposed.

Thanks again to everyone who helped me with ideas in my original post and I hope you are inspired to try a few of these projects yourself!