A Really Awesome Mother’s Day Gift Idea PLUS Win $30 Gift Card

A Really Awesome Mother’s Day Gift Idea PLUS Win $30 Gift Card

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably know about my friend Carli. A former foster kid, Carli found herself six months pregnant and sleeping on the streets with no car, no job and nowhere to go.  She was introduced to my brother in-law (a pastor) and he brought her home to us.  We asked her to come stay in the guest bedroom of my parent’s apartment.  It’s certainly not a nice room, but it’s safe and dry and has given us the opportunity to get to know Carli.  I now consider her a friend.  She is hard-working and kind and smart and funny and we just love her. Carli works hard. Since she moved onto our property, she got a job (at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club) and a car (from a kind donor) and has a plan to start school in the fall after her baby is born (she wants to be a teacher).  She also started a business.  Ambitious, right? The business started when she found an old piece of wire in our barn.  Two hours later, she handed this to my parents: It’s a beautiful wall hanging.  Made out of old, rusty wire. My sister immediately took her to Hobby Lobby and bought her some wire and beads and told her to start getting creative.  And Carli’s business, Twisting Hope, was born.  Since then, her business has grown as she’s made beautiful pieces, come up with a business plan and started to dream big. Here are a few of the things she has made: Amazing, right? All this said, Carli’s baby Isabella is due this...

15 Easy Things to Do With Your Kids… Today

Summer is (finally) here.  And I am so, so (did I mention SO) excited to not be driving back and forth between every corner of Austin with the baby in the carseat.  We can finally stay home.  Of course, that leaves the question:  What do we DO at home?  Here are 15 easy kid-friendly and mom-friendly activities that you can do…with things you have on hand at home today. 1. Do chain drawings.  Draw a tiny picture in the corner of a page, then pass the page to another child and have them add something to the picture.  Keep going until the pages are filled. 2.  Make homemade lemonade.  Experiment and create new flavors:  Strawberry lemonade, nectarine lemonade, basil lemonade. 3.  See how quickly your kids can get completely soaked by standing in the sprinkler.  Time them. 4.  Make cloud dough– Mix 1 cup flour with a few tablespoons of baby oil until it’s soft in texture.  Give them measuring spoons and cups to play with it. 5.  Go bug hunting. 6.  Go online and plan your dream vacations.  (So what if it costs $10,000 a night to stay at the Princess resort your daughter wants to visit…she can dream, right?) 7.  Bake cookies. 8.  Look through cookbooks and plan your next feast. 9. Make Letter Pictures. Draw your kid’s names in bubble letters and have them draw pictures of things that start with those letters. So, if your kid’s name starts with a J, he can draw jelly beans, a jar or a jump rope. 10.  Build a playdough cafe. 11.  Have a picnic.  And yes, PB &...

Seeds, Life, Herbs and Spaghetti

Advice from my mom: “Your kids may be too young to learn about S-E-X but they’re definitely old enough to learn about the birds and the bees.” Her point? If kids start learning young about God’s plan for life– in an age-appropriate way– then when the time comes to have “the talk”, they won’t be surprised, but instead will be ready, haven been given a framework on which to hang these ideas. Plus, she also says that as a parent, you have to become the “expert” to your kids– so that when they hear something at school, the first thing they’ll think is “Well, my mom knows a lot about this, so I’m going to go home and ask her.” My mom’s pretty smart, isn’t she? So, how do you teach preschoolers about the birds and bees? You teach them about life! This Spring, we’ve been growing our own patio herb garden. We started out by going to the store and buying pots and seeds. I let my kids pick the pots they liked and the seeds they wanted to grow (my daughter picked the packet that had the prettiest pictures, my son picked the biggest seeds). When we got home, we talked about how God can take a tiny seed and with proper conditions, turn it into a plant. We planted and fertilized the seeds and diligently watered them. A few weeks later, the plants sprouted. More water, fertilizer and sunshine and they started to grow. And now, two months later, we have beautiful, thriving herbs– herbs that we can use for spaghetti sauce, salads, pizzas and more....

The 20 Minute and $8 Skirt (Really)

I’m not a seamstress. I AM, however, a see-something-I-like-and-try-to-replicate-it kind of girl. So, when I saw a cute two-layer skirt at the mall that cost $46 (!) that I really, really wanted for Kate, I decided to try to make my own. And here’s the thing: It cost me less than $8 to make and took me less than 20 minutes AND anyone could make this even if you’ve never sewn a thing in your life. I promise. My four-year-old helped me. What to buy: *  1/2 yard of cotton calico fabric (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby.  It was 30% off and cost $5.99/yard to begin with) *  3/8  yard of a coordinating but not matching calico fabric (Again, Hobby Lobby) *  3/4 yard of 3/4 inch wide elastic *  1 pkg single fold bias tape (that matches the fabric) or 1 pkg ric-rack (2 yards total) How to Make it: 1.  Measure your child’s waist.  Take fabric #1 (the one you bought 1/2 yard) and cut it into a rectangle that’s width is DOUBLE your child’s waist size.  The length is up to you.  Kate’s skirt in the picture above is 12 inches.  You can go longer or shorter.  Kate’s rectangle measured 35 inches X 12 inches. 2.  Take fabric #2 (the one you bought 3/8 yard) and cut it into a rectangle that’s double your child’s waist in width and 3 inches SHORTER than the rectangle you already cut.  Kate’s second rectangle measured 35 inches X 9 inches. 3.  Carefully sew bias tape or rick rack onto the hem of each piece of fabric. 4.  Once...

Kid Activity: Tye-Died Cards How-To

What you need: –  2 cans shaving cream –  1 large plastic bin –  1 box gel food coloring –  Toothpicks or sticks –  cardstock –  Squeegee   Steps 1.  Spray a large stream of shaving cream into the plastic bin.  Add dots and streaks of food coloring on the shaving cream in whatever colors you want to use. 2.  Use a stick of toothpick to swirl the shaving cream and food coloring together. 3.  Take a piece of card stock and fold it in half.  Carefully smash the card stock into the shaving cream, wiggling it around to make sure the entire card is covered. 4.  Remove the card stock from the shaving cream and move it onto a solid surface (we use the plastic lid from the bin). 5.  Use the squeegee to remove shaving cream from the card, leaving the colors. 6.  Let cards dry for 1 hour before using.  ...

Kids Activities: 15 Things Your Preschoolers Can Help You Do in the Kitchen

2012 is all about intentionality at the MacPherson house… and this month, we’re focusing on intentional DOING.  And that means instead of just being, I’m going to focus on intentionally doing things all month.  Playing.  Talking.  Reading.  Cooking.  Working.  DOING things together.  So, as part of DOING month, I’m going to be putting together a series of lists that give you easy ideas on how to intentionally do things.  Enjoy! 15 Things Your Preschoolers Can Do to Help in the Kitchen 1.  Cut and chop.  Yes, I let my kids use knives.  My 4-year-old cuts strawberries using a plastic cake knife and my 6-year-old cuts things like green beans and tomatoes using a regular paring knife. 2. Fetch ingredients. Send your kids to the fridge to get milk or to the pantry to get sugar. 3.  Read recipes. If they can’t read yet, have them find letters, point out numbers and guess at what ingredients the dish calls for. 4.  Grow herbs. Plant basil, oregano, parsley and cilantro in small pots and let your kids grow and water their own herbs.  Then send them to go pick what you need for recipes. 5.  Crack eggs. Yes, it can be precarious to let little hands crack eggs, but if you have them practice in a separate bowl from your other ingredients… and are okay with throwing away a few eggs if there’s an accident, cracking eggs can be a lot of fun for preschoolers. 6.  Empty the dishwasher. Let them sort silverware or put away everything that’s unbreakable. 7.  Add spices. Who cares if there’s a little extra cinnamon in...
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