Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Throwback Crafts to make with your kids that you made as kid (#Netflix #StreamTeam)

Thank you to Netflix for sponsoring this post. As part of the Stream Team I get to talk about a theme each month.  This month's theme is Throwback!

I was a child of the 80's and to tell you the truth- I loved it!  The hair, the colors, the music!  AND- I love that some of it is coming back!  This month I have gathered some fun crafts that I did as a kid that I will be doing with my kids this summer! Apparently we made a lot of bracelets in the 80's! :)

Lots of how-to for different knots

We used to make these out of the sides you took off the printer paper (Remember that?!)

Not only is it fun to do crafts from my youth it is also fun to watch shows with my kids that I watched when I was their age!

Here are the shows that I am watching on Netflix with my kids that I also watched as a kid:

What crafts do you do with your kids that are from your childhood? 

*Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix Stream team.  However all opinions are 100% honest! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Easy DIY Wedding signs (15 minute Craft) #CraftLighting

I love being a part of craft lighting every month!  I like being challenged to think of an easy craft for each theme! This month's theme is weddings.  Since i don't have any weddings that I am going to this year I created something for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary. But this could easily be used as wedding or bridal shower decor.

I made 2 signs... they could be used anywhere... the card basket, guestbook table, head table, etc...

Here is how I made them:

#1 Circle Wedding sign:

1. Gather supplies: Embroidery hoop, Canvas (or other study fabric), Pom-pom trim, paint/brush, hot glue gun.
2-3. Iron your fabric and place in the hoop. Trip edges off and secure with hot glue on the back. 

4-5. Decide placement of the pom-pom trim and use hot glue to attach it to the back.
6-7. Use a pencil to draw out your letters and then paint over.  

#1. Rectangle Wedding sign:

1. Gather supplies: Cardboard scrap, Canvas (or other study fabric), Pom-pom trim, paint/brush, hot glue gun.
2. Iron the piece of fabric that is at least 1 inch bigger on each side of your cardboard.  
3. Cut a slit into each corner.

4. Fold over the top and the bottom using hot glue to attach it.  either cut off or fold over the extra fabric at the corners.  repeat for the other sides. 
5. Decide the placement of your pom-pom trim and hot glue it to the back side.
6. Using a pencil draw out your letter and then go over it with paint. 

Tip on making letters with paint.  If your paint is too thick it will make it harder, so I add a little bit of water to my paint to help it go on smother.  Also you want to keep your brush full of paint so you will have to reload often. 

join in the fun with more easy and fast wedding crafts:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mountains of Laundry (#FreeToBe)

Here is me being real.  Ever seen the mime: Clean home, Happy Kids, Your Sanity- Choose 2.
Yep - that is spot on in our house.  I usually rotate the one I drop out on a week-to-week basis.  Sometime the house is a wrack, some times I am the one that is the mess and other times the kids are stuck with no toys, and me saying no to everything, because we just cleaned up! But the one thing that I usually always put on the back burner is ...
 #FreeToBe In A Free Home
Laundry... anyone else out there drowning in it?  It always seems that just as I have folded the last sock in the last basket and finally put it all away into the drawers - I go downstairs to the laundry room and it is already full of clothes!   I mean who thought that I should be the one in charge of keeping up with a family of five's laundry!  

Here is the honest state of our laundry right now... we are good at the washing and drying (because a machine does that part) it is the folding and putting it away that bogs us down! 
Yes- you see 4 baskets of unfolded laundry... what you do not see is the other 2 that are upstairs in my room to dig through when I am getting dressed in the morning.  I like to think that I am being efficient- you know cutting out the middle man of the folding and putting it in a drawer- I am saving time- right?! 
Hey kids- don't worry you have clean underwear... it's just in the basket in the hall!  Clearly I am in no position to tell you how to keep up with your laundry!  
Here is what I can tell you about...
This little girl:
Whose skin is super sensitive.  She gets a rash just thinking about something itchy!  And since I have 3 littles running around I do not have time to think about harsh chemicals in the laundry detergent!   That is why we have started using all free and clear

You and your children shouldn’t have to worry about harsh dyes and synthetic scents, and that’s why all free clear lets kids be kids.  Hypoallergenic and fragrance free products mean you're worry-free when you wash your child’s clothes and blankets in all free clear.  All without sacrificing a deep clean – thanks to the all free clear OXI mighty pacs and all free clear OXI boosters.  
 #FreeToBe In A Free Home
So even though her clothes might not be folded in her drawer... at least they are clean and free of anything that will give her a rash! 

Here is a $1 off coupon for you to try it out for yourself: 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Is there such thing as a "normal" Family {#StreamTeam #Netflix}

Thank you to Netflix for sponsoring this post. As part of the Stream Team I get to talk about a theme each month.  This month's theme is on Family.  Here are some of my thoughts on families:

Families don't look like they used to.  The Husband-wife-2.5 kids family is not the usual thing now.  The Cleavers are no longer the norm.  The once traditional “nuclear” family has evolved into a kaleidoscope of possibilities.  There are so many ways that families come together.  Parents can have: biological kids, adopted kids, foster kids and step kids.  Some families have all of the above!  Multicultural families and blended families are happening more and more.  And with all this complexity it is hard to know how to be a successful parent.

As parents we are may be dealing with things we never planed on.  I mean, Elementary school kids pretending to play "house" do not often have step kids in their stories?  And thanks to a lot of children's movies a step -mom is a horrible mean lady out to get you.  Yet, there are a lot of nice people out there being step parents. And if you don't have any step-kids of your own I am sure you are connected to some.  My niece and nephew are now step kids.

Jeannine (co-author of this blog and my best friend) has a family that includes a step-daughter, 2 biological kids and 2 kids adopted out of foster care.  They are a multiracial blended family.  And it is a beautiful family.  But it is not without it's difficulties.

My family is not what my childhood self thought it would look like.  I thought I would have kids that would look like me.  I look almost exactly like my mom.  Like,  my mom's high school friends were confused when they came for a High School reunion one year. But my kids, very obviously, don't look like me... they are from Korea (and I not).  My family was formed through adoption.  And since we choose to do international adoption we now have a multiracial family. I was not present at their births, some one else took care of them for the first 9 months of their life.  My kids life started with loss, loss of a parents and a culture.  We try to include as much Korean culture as we can but it is not the same as living there.  When I show up for conferences at my kids school the teachers are sometime confused which kid I belong to.  All of this adds complexity to our family.  We did take some classes on multiracial families from our adoption agency and it did help up get an idea of what we were getting into, but I don't think any class could prepare us for what it truly is like.

And is true for all families.  Many families have biological kids and one of them has special needs.  Or one of them has behavior problems that they don't know how to handle, or mental health issues.  I don't think anyone is prepared for that and it is not covered in our birthing classes!

So what do parents need these day to help get us get through these complex issues?  I believe it is support.

I am part of an adoption moms groups that meets once a month just to encourage and support each other.   We all come from different walks with adoption, some have adopted domestically, some internationally, some through foster care.  Some kids came to us  days old and some kids came to us years old.  But we are all there to love and support each other.  We talk about the hard things and get advice without judgment.

And since Jeannine and I both have complex families we talk to each other about the hard and sometimes ugly things of parenting.  I am so grateful for this friendship and that my kids can see other family that were formed unconventionally.

We have to find our support and we have to be support to others.  It is the only way we can thrive in this very difficult role of parents.

It is also great that more complex families are showing up on movies and tv shows.  We love Netflix for our TV watching!  Some of the shows that we like for our kids are:

Sophia the First (Blended family)
Spy Kids 4 (Blended family)
Word girl (she is adopted)
Jessie (3 out of the 4 kids are adopted)
The Tigger Movie (Finding where you belong if you don't look like everyone else)

*Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix Stream team.  However all opinions are 100% honest! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Personalized Photo Teacher Thank You Card

The end of the school year is fast approaching, and if you are a mom with kids in school, you know exactly how busy this time of year can be. End of year parties, field trips, dance recitals, summer sports try outs, graduations, proms, the list goes on and on. 

One of the most important things for me to do at the end of the school year is to show all my kids’ teachers some love. When I look my kids and see how much they've grown and how much they've learned, I know I have their teachers to thank for so much of it. There are so many beautiful teacher-thank-you ideas on Pinterest, but they can be hard for me because with 5 busy kids at this time of year I don’t have a lot of time or money to spend on extravagant crafts and gifts. 

Here is something I adapted from this Pinterest post, which is adorable, but I wasn't feeling the sidewalk chalk today. It's sweet, fairly simple, and didn't cost me anything except ink and paper that I already have in my office. I included a coffee shop gift card with it. 

All you need is a camera and a computer. I used Microsoft Paint to draw the flower and Photoshop Elements to merge the pictures together. If you have other programs, you might be able to figure out a similar method.

Step 1: Take a picture of your child. You want to use a background that contrasts with his or her clothing, hair, and skin. If you have a green screen that would be great, otherwise just a plain wall works too. My son is dark so the white garage door was my background.

Step 2: Open Microsoft Paint on your computer, draw your picture. I used the thin brush to outline the pot, flower, and leaf, then used the fill bucket to easily fill in all the spaces. Make sure your lines are all closed up! I don’t have much experience drawing in Paint, hopefully your artwork is a little better than mine! I had to redo it a couple times. Add a text box with your message, “Dear Teacher, Thanks for helping me grow, ~ Student”. Save as a JPEG.
{An alternative would be to manually draw the picture with crayons, markers, etc, and then use your camera or scanner to upload it to your computer}

Step 3: Open your photo in Photoshop Elements. Using the image extractor, cut out your child’s body from the image (This video shows you two different ways to extract the image in PSE. I used the second method. If you're not using PSE, you'll have to Google it). I recommend saving this as a separate JPEG just in case you lose it. 

Step 4: Open your Paint drawing in PSE, crop to size 8x10.

Step 5: Drag and drop the photo of your child onto of the flower drawing, creating a 2nd layer, then using the arrow tool on the left, resize the image to fit where it belongs.

Step 6: Save as a JPEG and print! If your printer isn't great, you could have it printed somewhere locally, many places offer inexpensive 1-hour printing for small prints.  

There you go! A quick and easy Thank You card for your child's teacher. 

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