Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Clothespin Christmas Activity Advent Calendar

So if you are anything like me you might have left making you activity advent calendar to the last minute.....But don't worry! I got your back!

Christmas Advent Calendar Free Printable

Not only did I find this straightforward calendar but I have some great tips on how to pick fun yet low-stress activities for the month.

And I even made a free printable to make pulling this calendar together super easy!

I saw this inspiration for my cute advent calendar here. When I saw it I just loved it and thought that it would be no trouble at all to make!

Which is exactly what I needed since I left it to the last few days!

So Let's Get Started!

Things you will need:
  • A glue gun and glue
  • Tape
  • 25 clothes pins
  • A Cardboard Circle (the one I had was 4 inch)
  • Wrapping paper
  • A little piece of ribbon
  • My Free Printable

Christmas Advent Calendar Free Printable

Step One - You need to measure out your middle cardboard circle. So get the cardboard and your clothespins, lay out the clothespins to see how big of a circle you need. You could use a plate or a round lid to help you. I had a little 4-inch cardboard cake round that I used, which I think worked fine, but I did use mini clothes pins so if you are using regular size ones you will need a bigger circle. Once you know how big of a circle you need simply cut it out.

Step Two- Take the Cardboard circle, lay it down on the wrapping paper and then cut a piece of the wrapping paper that is about 1 - 2 inches bigger than your cardboard circle.

Step Three- To make it easier for myself, I glued the cardboard down to the middle of the wrapping paper.

Step Four- To make sure that you get a nice edge around the circle, snip toward the center of the cardboard circle without cutting the cardboard.

Christmas Advent Calendar Free Printable

Step Five- Once you have made those cuts all the way around fold them down on the cardboard and tape them down. You could glue them down if you wanted, I just found it quicker to tape them down!

Step Six- Turn the circle over so you have the nice side facing up and then with your glue gun, gun the clothe pins on. Make sure you have 25! I found these super cute little mini sparkly ones at my local dollar store which I just fell in love with! So I didn't have to decorate the clothespins myself! Now if you are using the regular ones, you can use them just as they are, which I think looks great! Or if you wanted you could very easier paint them, or even put some washi tape on them to make them a little fancier! Anyway once you are done whatever you want with them glue them to your cardboard circle. Make sure that you have the part of the clothespin that will hold the number facing out!

Christmas Advent Calendar Free Printable

Step Seven - Once the glue has dried, turn it over and make a loop with your ribbon and glue it to the back so you have something to hang it up with.

Step Eight - Print off your FREE PRINTABLE, to make sure they hold up longer I suggest printing them off on cardstock paper. Then cut them out.

Christmas Advent Calendar Free Printable
A little preview of your printable
Click HERE for your Free Printable

(An optional step is that you could laminate them to help them last until next year, you would just have to write the activity with a whiteboard mark.)

Christmas Advent Calendar Free Printable

I just love how it looks! With mine I really like how they over lap and the day you are on is the one that will show up on top. 

But if you do not like the overlapping look just remember to make you cardboard circle bigger that way you will have more space in between each of the clothespins.

Step Nine - The last step is now that you have the numbers all cut out and ready to go you just have to write each day activity on the back.

Here are some tips to keep the activities low stress.

Work in activities you already are planning to do. For example, I know that we will be going to get pictures with Santa, so I would use that as the activity for that day!

Plan on using decorating for the holidays as the activity or activities! I like to draw this out for a few days! For example, one day the activity will be setting up the Christmas and putting on the lights. Then the next day would be decorating the tree. I also use setting up the nativity as an activity on its own day.  So as you can see you could really spread that out! This will make life so much easier for you!

For younger children have Christmas coloring pages for them to do, I used this activity a few times last year it was so great because I would have them color while I was making dinner, and having them entertained while I made dinner made everyone happy!

So as you can see just keep it simple!

That way everyone can enjoy the activities including you!

I have also included a few links to other blogs that have lists with some more great activities you can use on your Christmas Advent Calendar this year. Go here, here and here!

So you should have no problem putting it all together, even if like me, you left it to the last minute!

Merry Christmas!!!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Snowflake Coffee Filter Craft with a Mindfulness Teaching Bonus

This a fun winter craft that is great to do 
with a wide age range of children!

Things You Will Need:

  • Coffee Filter
  • Markers
  •  Scissors
  • Water Spray Bottle
  • Garage Bag

It really is a wonderfully simple craft to do that your kids will love, and very little clean which is always the best!

 Step One – Flat out the coffee filter and let your kids go crazy with colouring the filters. Let them colour them in whatever way they want, the more colour the better! 

Step Two – Now because my kids are young, I did this step myself but if you have older children they could do this step. You will want to hold the filter in half, 4 times, then cut out whatever snowflake design you would like! 

Step Three – Once you have them all cut, spread out the garbage bag. The bag is just to keep the clean up to a minimum. When you lay them on the bag be sure that they are not overlapping.

Step Four – This part my kids just loved! You get your Spray Bottle and spray the filters till they are completely wet. 

Step Five – Let them dry! I let them sit overnight to be sure they were fully dry.  Then once they are dry, put them up on display!

Another great thing about this craft is that there are some wonderful opportunities to teach your children the practice mindfulness, as you are colouring talk about the different colours, describe them, are they bright, dull, do the colours make you feel anything? When spraying the water on the coffee filters describes how the colour moves, talk about that movement.

As you have these simple discussions with your children you are teaching them to be in the present moment. You are helping them focus solely on what they are doing. And when you talk about how the colours may make them feel, you are teaching them to not judge themselves harshly when they feel a wide range of emotions. Which in the future may help them break out of a negative thought pattern.  

I hope you enjoyed this craft, be sure to subscribe to my blog that way you will never miss a post! There are a lot more crafts, and tips on practicing mindfulness to come! 
Monday, November 20, 2017

A Simple Craft to Teach Children About Mindfulness

As I continue to learn more about and start to practice mindfulness in my life, I also want to teach my children this as well so they can reap the benefits of this lifestyle practice.

While I was listening to a podcast about mindfulness (side note here, I cannot for the life of me remember which podcast it was, sorry! I really need to start writing these things down!) the guest (again can't remember who! Again I will start keeping notes!) brought up some simple ways to introduce mindfulness to children.

One way she brought up was by getting a snow globe and spending a few minutes and talking about the snowflakes. About how they are falling, fast or slow? Are the falling straight down or are they spinning around? Really whatever you want, the point is to take a minute or two and describe the flakes. By doing this you are living purely in the moment, just focusing fully on what you are doing in the present moment, observing the snowflakes.

This simple and short activity through play teaches children to just be present in the moment.

And me being me! I immediately thought I could do this as a craft with the girls!

They would love a homemade snow globe! 

And the best part is it really is a simple craft to make with kids!

Things that you will need:

Glass Jars (I used baby food jars but you could use mason jars as well)
A small toy that will fit on the lid
Baby Oil (you could use just water but I personal think the sparkles float better in baby oil)

If you are using baby food jars be sure to remove the labels first.

Then glue the small toy to the middle of the lid. And then set it aside to dry. I waited a day just to be on the save side but depending on what glue you decide to use you might not need to wait as long.

The next thing to do is add some sparkles to the jar, you don't really need a lot to have it look fantastic! Although if your children helps you pour in the sparkles you might end up with a lot more then you meant to! But that is fine, it still will look great!

Once you got the sparkles in there, pour in the oil. Just keep in mind that you can't fill it up too much as you will have to remember about the oil displacement due to the little toy on the lid.

Then once the oil is in there, and you make sure that the toy is stuck to lid really well, put some glue on around the edge of the lid and screw on the lid super tight!

Let it sit and dry.

Then once dry, have fun with your children watching the sparkles! Play around with it! Shack it up really hard and watch and talk about what happens.

It may seem simple but your kids will love it! 

And it will teach them all about living in the present moment. 
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

6 Months with Baby #3

And in a blink of an eye, we have pasted the 6-month mark! Every time I sit down to write these monthly letters it always blows me away on how fast time seems to pass.

The other things that always gets me, is how much you continue to grow and change even within these first few months.

You are now rolling both ways, front to back and back to front. This has been great as you seem to love the ability to control how you spend your time on the floor. The only downside about this is that it freaks me out a little because when you are rolling from being on your tummy going to your back; it always looks like you are going to break your bottom arm, due to how far you seem to bend it! I have to hold myself back to running and helping you every time and give you a chance to figure it out yourself. And low and behold you always work it out and will roll over with no problems, so I guess I need to have a little more faith! 

This last month you toys have become your favourite thing! You have shocked me a few times on how excited you get after I have given you a toy! You just seem to find such joy in the bright colour or the delightful sounds they often make. And of course, at this stage of life, everything goes straight into your mouth! So the better you are able to chomp down on a toy the more of a favourite that toy seems to become!

And the fact that toys are entertaining you more has given your sisters another way to play with you! They are so good and enjoy fetching your toys over and over again as you learn about gravity and its effect on your toys. Thank goodness cause I can only play that game for so long!

Speaking of your sisters, I swear they love you more and more with each passing day! They are so good at helping cheers you up or keeping you entertained or grab things for you. Sometimes I worry that they show their love a little too strongly but you just seem to soak it all in! You love it when they act silly and will show your delight by laughing and laughing! This, of course, encourages them to act even sillier and you just love it! They are always able to get really good belly laughs from you, I just love watching you three play!

On the sleep front, we are still doing well. At night you now consistently only waking once or twice, which I'm fine with.

And you are taking longer naps now, which have improved your mood greatly during the day. The only thing that is hard is that because you have two busy older sisters, you often don't get a really good morning nap because we are often out of the house.  Sadly I'm not too sure what to do about that because I can't eliminate those activities or outings. Luckily you are pretty good at falling asleep in the car so you do get a few little cat naps, which I guess is better than nothing. What I do try is make sure that we are home in the afternoon so you get at least one good nap a day. 

Your love of solid food is also growing more and more, and the reason I know this is because when I'm feeding you will often give little grunts indicating you need more food in your mouth! I need to get in on video because I find it hilarious! And oh so cute! I feel like you might start eating us out of house and home before your first birthday!

I know that you do have your grumpy moments from time to time but we are so happy and blessed to have you in our lives. You have been with us for only 6 months and yet so quickly you have become irreplaceable. 

We love you so much and look forward to spending much more time with you!

baby photo

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

5 Simple Things Yo Can Do To Be More Mindful

I’m new in this journey of practicing mindfulness.

 So I’m taking baby steps, by making small and simple changes in my life.

Now although they are small changes, they have been helping me so much in being more present. 

So here are the 5 simple things I’m doing to have a more mindful day. 

1) Give yourself 20 more minutes to get ready and out the door. 

For me, the morning is often when I feel the most rushed and stressed! This can unfortunately lead to me freaking out as I try and get three little ones out the door on time. 

But by just waking up 20 minutes earlier, it gives me time to get myself already first and then get the kids up. And because I’m already dressed  I can give them all my time and attention and even enjoy the morning routine as we get ready to take one the day! 

2) When your child says “Mommy, (or maybe Daddy for you) Look at me! Just stop what you are doing and take the minute or two it will truly take and look! Just give them the attention they need. 

I don’t know about you but this request always seems to come right when I feel I can’t give them the attention they want.  

I will say “Please just wait, I’ll be there in a minute” or something like that, then comes the “mommy, mommy look, look!” over and over again! 

And the stress level would raise and in the end no one was happy. 

So I ran an experiment, when they would say “Look at me!” I would stop whatever I was doing and give them my full attention.

 And do you know what happened, it took less than 5 minutes then I could go right back to what I was do.

Now let’s keep it real here, yes there are times when I cannot stop what I’m doing and they do have to wait. 

But the more I strive to become more mindful and enjoy the present moment when they do have to wait, they seem to handle it better. 

3) Look them in the eyes and give them a sincere thank you. 

This is easily my favorite new practice. 

At the bare minimum I tried to do this each night before they go to bed. I give each of my children a big hug and thank them for all the wonderful things they did that day. 

And even on what feels like the worst day there is also something that they did well, even if it was for only a second! 

I have found by always being mindful and being on the lookout for those positive moments it has helped them to know how appreciated they are and how their actions add so much to creating a loving and safe family.

You should see how big they smile when I express my sincere gratitude for their good deeds. By saying thank you it helps them realize that they are an important and valued member of the family. And by focusing more on the positive, it has helped to create more positive moments. 

4) Ask yourself “Does this really matter?” or “This is really that important?” 

By asking those simple questions and doing a quick evaluation, does it really matter if they want to wear some dress up clothes to bed? Does it really matter that they are getting all muddy in that puddle? 

Maybe sometimes it does, but by doing that quick check it has lead me to worry less and given myself permission to just let it go! And just feel the joy that comes with kids feel happy and laughter in the simplest things! 

5) Have family dinner together.

There is a lot of research out there that has shown the importance and benefit of eating dinner together, so this is something I try to plan and prepare for each day. 

It doesn't always happen but when it does it gives us a wonderful opportunity to just be present with each other. It gives us a great chance to hear about each other’s day, to listen to each other’s high and low moment of the day.  And give each other the support and love we all need. each 

And let’s be honest with my kids being pretty young, I just find it so adorable to hear their recap of the day and what the highlight was for them. 

These are the five things I’m focusing on to live a more mindful life. 

I’m far from perfect at it but as I practice being able to pay attention to my emotions and actions without harshly judging myself. 

I can recognize the areas in which I’m doing well as well as the area I need improvement in. 

I would love to have you join me in this journey of self-growth and mindfulness, sign up through email and you will never miss a post! 

mindfulness mindful lifestyle 5 simple things