Tag Archives: activity

Joyful Impressions: Week 3

Joyful ImpressionsWe’re making more memories over at chez moi.  Tons of fun, lots of friends, and very yummy…. you know, the best kinds of memories!

EJ has a little group of friends who happen to be mostly girls.  And we’ve had them over at other holidays to decorate cookies together… I would love for this to be a favorite memory for all of them – “Hey, remember when we were kids, and crazy Ol’ Mrs. Leigh used to have us over to pour gobs and gobs of sugar on sugar-frosted sugar cookies?  Good times!”


And I do believe that a good time was had by all!


Not all of EJ’s little girl-friends were able to make it, and his one best guy-friend was kept at home by a sick mommy (we hope you feel better, Mrs. Evans!).


But the crew that gathered did enough decorating for them all.  We had an expert frost-er, a patient decorator, and the kid who dumped sugar and sprinkles very liberally over everything he saw.  Guess which one was my kid. 


And you can’t tell from the pictures, but more cookies really were decorated than eaten.


I wish I had a wonderful new recipe for sugar cookies to share with you… I really do.  But the 3-day ordeal that ended in me running to the store at 6:30 in the morning to purchase a mix to bake up the cookies we actually decorated left me with no recipe to share.  I’d actually be able to start a new blog (not just a post – a whole blog!) with only the bloopers and outtakes that this activity alone provided me.


But look at their masterful creations…  this just screams Christmas-time to me (it also screams sugar-high… look at how thick the sugar sprinkles are encrusted on those cookies!  You know those are going to give you a good crunch when you bite in!).

I hope that my boys will always treasure these times together, laughing and spending time in fellowship with family and friends.


Want to join in our Joyful Impressions? Just post a fun Christmas-y tradition, craft, recipe or activity on your blog. After posting, just click the Mr. Linky below to add the link to your post (not the link to your blog, but to your actual post).  And just to be nice, link back to this post, so others can participate, too!

When you’re done, come back and look at the other posts and find some more fun stuff to do with your kids!



Filed under activity, carnival, christmas, food

Joyful Impressions: Week 1

IYK joyful 3

Welcome to our month of Joyful Impressions!

So I had a bit of an unintentional break from things last week – no blogging, no letters, no verses… but I’m back in the swing of things!  My week off did give me a chance to think about some of the special things I’m going to do with EJ.  I also thought about what was happening last year at this time… and guess what happened a year ago this month?  I met Amanda!!!

I promise I will get back to our activity this week, but I wanted to give you a bit of background.  Amanda and I were paired up during a swap, and I tell you, she completely spoiled me!  She took so much of my likes into account and sent me the perfect swap package – it helped that we have a lot in common (Atlanta girls who love Jesus and HCJr UNITE!).  And as you know, Lydia and EJ are very close in age – 2 weeks apart, in fact.  Lydia slipped a couple special things into the swap package for EJ, which I discovered anew as I pulled them out with our Christmas decorations.

As I thought about this past year of knowing Amanda and everything that has developed (a long-distance friendship and this blog!), I thought about how important it is to let the people we care about know how important they are in our lives.  The Christmas season just seems to make doing that easier…

So EJ and I wrote a Letter to Lydiafor our Joyful Impressions and Letter L activity this week.  He doesn’t know how much Lydia’s momma means to me, but one day he’ll know… and I can’t wait for them (Lydia and EJ) to meet one day!


I think this was EJ telling me, “No!  Don’t take a picture of me, Momma!”  Got to love it.

We sat down with some magazines and picked out pictures and words that start with the letter L.  I also cut out some L’s by themselves, just for good measure.  EJ got out his trusty glue stick and started gluing, and then “wrote” a little letter to Lydia.  I couldn’t quite read what he wrote, and he wouldn’t tell me… hopefully Lydia will know what it all means.  I wrote a little something as a translation, but again, he wouldn’t tell me if I got it right.


Amanda, don’t let Lydia read this.


Would you like to share your fun Christmas craft, tradition, recipe or activity with us? Well, link up with today’s Joyful Impressions Carnival!Just write a post on your own blog about a great Christmas/holiday/winter activity.  Make sure this idea is kid-friendly and ideally shows your kids the truth about the season or impresses God’s Word on their hearts.

After posting, just click the Mr. Linky below to add the link to your post. (Not the link to your blog, but to your actual post.) And just to be nice, link back to this post, so others can participate, too!

Then come back and look at the other posts and find some fun stuff to do with your kids!


And if you’d like to post this month’s button on your blog, please do!  Grab the code in our sidebar!

IYK joyful 3


Filed under activity, carnival, letter of the day

Fall Impressions: Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of Fall Impressions!

This idea has been all around the web lately, and in fact, last week Karla shared with us her beautiful Thanksgiving Tree.  I don’t remember doing anything like this as a child, so this idea fascinates me – having the chance to physically be able to write down and see everything you are thankful for – everything that the Lord has done for you.

We are working with the letter J this week, and “jar” begins with J… so we made our very own “Joy Jar.”

Creating it was very simple – I didn’t think things would stick very well to a glass jar, so I printed the words “Joy Jar” onto vellum and made a little slipcover for the jar for us to glue things onto.  I had found some fall confetti that I thought would be so pretty on the jar, so we got started with our gluesticks… 

Joy Jar

As we were gluing shiny turkeys, leaves, and acorns to the jar, I started asking EJ what he was thankful for. He’s been telling us for the past week that he is thankful for his Uncle Drew, so he’s been on the right track… we talked about other family members and his friends. Daddy added that he was thankful for the food God gives us, and the warm house we have… it was a really nice time of sharing that I hope carries on through the years. 

 Joy Jar

We added the confetti to the strips of paper, too, and I plan on asking anyone who comes over this season to write down some things they are thankful for and add them to our jar.


Joy Jar

I will add that this is not how I wanted the jar to look.  I had confetti all over the top of the jar, too, and it looked like a crown of leaves!  There was a lot more confetti all over it, too… all of this I added after EJ lost interest and wandered off.  When he came back, he did not like the way I decorated the jar.  He removed all the confetti from the top and a lot from the sides.  And truth be told, this even happened one more time – I decorated it the way I wanted it again, and then I put it up on the counter so EJ couldn’t reach it.  But when he saw it, he started crying and wanted to “fix” the jar again.  As I was ready to stand my ground, my husband asked me if I did this with EJ just for this blog, or if I did it for him.  Thank you, my love, for reminding me why I really did this activity with EJ, and for helping return the joy to our family.


To participate in Fall Impressions, write a post on your own blog about a great fall/autumn/thanksgiving activity.  Make sure this idea is kid-friendly and ideally shows your kids the truth about the season or impresses God’s Word on their hearts. This activity can be a craft, a tradition, an activity or whatever else pops into your mind! Be creative!

After posting, just click the Mr. Linky below to add the link to your post. (Not the link to your blog, but to your actual post.) And just to be nice, link back to this post, so others can participate, too!

Then come back and look at the other posts and find some fun stuff to do with your kids!




Filed under activity, carnival

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Twirly helicopter up close

One of the reasons I am excited about homeschooling the boys is that I will get to see the joy in their faces as they learn or try something new…  The joy on EJ’s face when he realized H was for helicopter, and more importantly, his momma knew how to make helicopters… ah, this is one of the faces I hope I can remember in the middle of a tantrum.

Remember those twirly-helicopter-things from when you were a child?  I thought I did, too – until the ones I cut didn’t fly.  They just kind of flopped.  So I tried folding up the bottom – still flopping – then I added a paper clip to the bottom as well.  That worked beautifully (I also tried not folding the bottom up and just using the paper clip, but they didn’t do as well as both folding and paper-clipping)!  When I finally looked this activity up online, I saw that many other sites recommend some extra cuts and some extra folds on the bottom half of the helicopter – I didn’t want to mess with all that “extra” work, and my simple version worked very well!

I cut up, folded, and paper-clipped a nice little pile of them to try to save me from having to bend over to pick one up every. single. time.

pile o' helicopters

Then, using extreme caution, I stood EJ up on a chair in the kitchen and let him at it.  Really, I was quite careful – I was next to him the entire time…. I thought he might have more fun if the helicopters flew from higher up.  And he did – have tons of fun, I mean. 

Flying helicopters

I think in this picture he was making helicopter sounds or something similar. 

Flying helicopters

OK, so I was standing right next to him the whole time, except when I was laying on the floor. 

Flying helicopters

 We had so much fun playing with these helicopters.  We even had helicopter races!  I think this would be a really fun activity for older children, too – perhaps to experiment with the shape of the helicopters, as well as the amount of weight more paper clips would add to them.  We’ll file this one away to come back to in several more years. 


If you didn’t get a chance to enter on Monday, check out our Bloggy Giveaway! 


Filed under activity, letter of the day

A giraffe gaff…

As I mentioned last time, I had all kinds of grand giraffe plans in my head.  The one I tried to implement yesterday involved a tall, regal giraffe made out of pantyhose, and EJ would color spots on him with markers, and he would be called “George, the Gentle, Giant Giraffe,” and he would forever serve as a gentle reminder to EJ about… well, gentleness.


I meant well – I really did.  I even took step-by-step pictures of the process, even after I could tell that it was going to be a flop, just in case it turned out well and I could post a little tutorial.  Ah, well…

Since I had cleaned out my sock drawer to find an actual pair of pantyhose, I also knew I had some spare socks that I could use, so I whipped up a sock puppet giraffe.  I cannot believe I have never done sock puppets with EJ before!  He was enthralled!


I popped another spare sock on my hand and let EJ go to town with some googly eyes and some Sharpie markers.  Yup, you heard me – I let a toddler go at me with Sharpies.  Amazingly, not a dot got on me!  The sock, on the other hand…


EJ took his responsibility of decorating this guy very seriously.  Even the inside of the puppet’s mouth was colored.  Then I cut some slits in the top of the sock and pushed a pipe cleaner through (for ears, or antlers, or whatever those little nubs are on the top of a giraffe’s head).


We then played with those sock puppets for a full hour.  They had names, they played every type of ball known to man, they ate 34 different things in a row, and they touched everything in the house…

But most important, they were gentle with each other.


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Go, go, go, go for G!

I will save you all the gory details – but today is the first day we’ve had in well over a week to actually get to getting on with our letter of the (2) week(s) – G!!!

Creation of George the Giraffe

I’ve had several giraffe crafts bumping around in my head, and this is the first one to make it out.  Introducing…

George, the Gentle, Giant GiraffeGeorge the Giraffe

a fill-in-the-blank story by EJ and Momma

Once there was a giant giraffe named George.  He was green, giant, and gray.  He loved to eat grapes and grass (and also green leaves!).  One day, George’s mommy and daddy came home with a new baby brother giraffe for George.  The baby giraffe’s name was Gerald.  Gerald was great (and he was not a giant giraffe like George, yet, because he was still a baby)

Gerald liked to run around and jump, and play football, and go, but it bothered him when baby Gerald got in the way.  George was always telling the baby to “Go away!”  But George’s mommy and daddy reminded him that he needed to be gentle with Gerald.  George remembered that God wanted him to be gentle, too, and from that day on, George became the gentle, giant giraffe.  He and Gerald now like to eat gooey things, and play guitars, and go on walksThey watch gorillas jumping, and they love Gam and Great-Gam, and they go for walks.

The end.


OK, so I also had an ulterior motive to doing a story about a gentle giraffe… EJ’s not so gentle with Dieter right now, and I hoped that this might be a good moral tale for him.  I’m not sure how much he got it, but he got really into giving me details about what they like to do.  He only needed little reminders to try to stick with “G” words.  It didn’t always work, but I think the story turned out well.

George the Giraffe

I think I need work on my giraffe’s face, though – don’t you?  He looks like a smug dog, or something…


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Fabulous Fall…

Today’s craft: Our Fall Family Tree!

I’m sure there are tons of examples of this on the innerwebs – but I modified one I saw on First School from a “family hand flower” to a “family hand tree.”  Basically, we I traced each family member’s hand onto a piece of construction paper, and then we I cut each hand shape out.  EJ loves to use his scissors, although his ability to cut out shapes needs work.

New at cutting with scissors

Then came the exciting part for EJ – the glue, of course!  I had glued a large cut-out of a tree trunk onto a 11″x14″ piece of white paper, and EJ struck with the glue.

Fall Family Tree

While I made suggestions for the first two leaf-hands to go on the top of the tree, EJ decided the other two would be “falling” from the tree.  Well done, kiddo!

Fall Family Tree

I love this little family tree!  I might put our names on it later, so in 20 years I don’t forget which hand is EJ’s and which is Dieter’s. 

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The dried fruit “activity”

So, I gave you a bit of a sneak-peak at my fruit-drying endeavor on Tuesday… I prepped everything Tuesday night based on the amount of time the little booklet that came with my dehydrator said each fruit would take to dry.  Based on the booklet, everything should’ve taken 12-16 hours to dehydrate – so I got it going late Tuesday hoping we could enjoy a sweet snack Wednesday morning.  The times were off for my fruit, though.  Everything dried much quicker than that.  I turned the dehydrator off when I woke up in the morning, so everything only took about 10 hours to get to the states that I describe below.  Because of that, next time I can involve EJ more in the whole process – the drying process itself will be come the activity.  However, he did get enjoy the fruits of my labor (ha! get it?).


We don’t usually sit on the floor of our kitchen and eat. Only on special occasions.

Let’s start off with the disappointment… They are in all the other pictures anyway, so I might as well get them out of the way.  The bananas were gross.  Please avert your eyes if you have a weak stomach.

banana - yuck

Not only did they look gross, they smelled gross.  Bluh.  I have no idea how they tasted.  No one would touch them.  Can you blame us?

The apples fared much better.  Very nicely dried, no discoloration (thanks to a dip in pineapple juice beforehand)… while a dried apple does not have a very appealing texture to me, that’s just a personal preference.  EJ and Daddy ripped through them with no problems.  I think Dieter could also eat these without much problem… they are soft and kind of sproingy.


Finally, at last, the pineapple.  I had very high hopes for these little guys – thanks to Mrs. Cory in the 3rd grade, who dried a spectacular bunch of canned pineapple slices for our class on Hawaiian-Luau day.  The way I remembered those amazing pineapples was my goal… so sweet, so sticky, still a tiny bit juicy inside… 


My pineapples were over-dried.  But while they did not live up to the memory I have held in my heart for years and years… they were still delicious!  How can you go wrong with sweet pineapple?  They were definitely the family’s favorite.  Although they were a bit crunchy, and very chewy, and a tad bit difficult to eat….


They also made delightful finger puppets. See?


EJ is going through a phase where he does not want his picture taken.  I think it’s more a phase where he does not want me to do a thing that I like… like take pictures of my children, sing, hold Dieter, kiss him, etc.  Anyway, that’s why he’s not looking at the camera in any of these pictures.  In fact…


… most of the pictures I took of him looked like this one.  I will hand it to him – he did not allow his obvious displeasure with my picture-taking to interrupt his enjoyment of the dried fruit.

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And… we’re on to “E!”

I’m thankful for new beginnings… after my struggles last week with the letter D, I was fully ready to move on to the letter E, with all new activities and verses….

Letter E

I found a new website that I am having a fun time poking around on… Christian Preschool Printables.  I got the printout of the earth on that site – it also has a wonderful memory verse on it… “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).  He’s already memorized this one, and I’m still mentally chewing over how the Bible verse is going to work for us and why I’m the one struggling with it.  I’ll let you know when I have it all figured out.

So, E is for earth, elephant, envelope, egg, and, of course, EJ!  The letter E is one he’s known from the beginning, since he’s seen it in association with his name for such a long time.  One thing that I think is really interesting – because he’s so allergic to eggs, we don’t have them around much, and he’s never seen one cracked open and raw.  So when I showed him a picture of one, he had no idea what it was. 

But the earth… we hit the jackpot with this one!  EJ loves space and the things in it as much as he loves dinosaurs and sports. So we’ve done a lot with the earth this week. 

As always, glue wins.

first earth






I found some paper bowls in my pantry, and I grabbed our blue and green paint.  When I discovered that we were out of cotton balls, I found some little white craft pom-poms… and we made our own earths!

Glue once again reigned supreme – at first, there was not much paint on EJ’s earth – gluing the pom-poms down was the most fun.

painting in action

Then, when he discovered how to squeeze the paint out of the paintbrush (it’s in the handle of these great little inventions), the pom-poms were gone, and the earth was covered!  He also used the pom-poms to spread and stamp the paint around.

EJ's earth and discarded clouds

On the right is what I had in mind for the craft, but I love EJ’s interpretation of the earth. 

Final products

And I loved it when EJ wanted to show his earth to Daddy as soon as he walked in the door.  Beautiful! 

I also found other great earth-things online – Look at this!  Isn’t it fun?  Definitely something I’ll save as a reference for years to come…

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Filed under abc, activity, letter of the day, verse

A tutorial: how to make a drumset out of formula cans

Due to some severe allergies that run in our family, we had to try multiple formulas with both boys to figure out what would work for them.  I always feel guilty about just tossing the empty formula cans, so I try to reuse them in whatever way I can.  With Deeter’s allergies, we wound up going through every formula out there – meaning we had a ton of different size empty formula cans banging around the house.  Get it – banging?  Ummm, anyway… in honor of EJ’s obsession with all things drums, and since he loves his Uncle Joe’s drum set, I thought the week we talked about the letter D would be a perfect time to create a drum set out of the empty formula cans.

painting mishaps

A little bit of background – as I collected the formula cans, I would wash them out to be stored, and I also peeled the labels off of them.  I thought about painting the cans as an activity with EJ, and I’m glad I tried it out first myself.  The smooth, silver paper that the formula cans are covered in are not suitable for painting – the paint scratches off very easily.  As you can see in the picture to the left, I also tried to peel off the silver paper to expose the plain cardboard underneath.  While the paint stuck very well to that surface, the silver paper was very difficult to remove.  In the end, I decided plain silver drum sets were very cool.  And we could decorate them with colored tape afterwards if we wanted to….

 I set out to make two sets of drums – a set of 2 large drums, kind of like bongos, and a set of 6 smaller drums, more like a traditional drum set.  I gathered my hardware and tools…


Tools needed








We had a case of “Assorted Screws and Nuts” laying around, which I thought would be perfect.  The screws all have blunt ends so no little fingers could get poked.  I also used an awl, two small screwdrivers, and some needle-nosed pliers from a tool kit we have.

punch holes

Measure out two holes vertically on the formula cans.  You’ll need two holes so the drums don’t twist on only one screw.  The top can in the picture above has the holes poked in with the awl, and the bottom picture shows the holes widened using one of the small screwdrivers – the holes are also closer together to attach to a short can. 

nuts inside

screws inside






Using a short screw and a corresponding nut, attach two of the cans together, using a short screwdriver to tighten the screw while using the pliers to hold the nut still and do any final tightening as needed.


Et voila!  A fun and very loud drum set of two formula cans.  Now you are ready to attach other groups of two cans together to create a larger drum set.


That is, you’re ready to create a larger drum set unless your 2 year old drummer emphatically declares that… “drums do NOT get attached, Mommy. They need to be alone.”

In which case, you undo all the screws and watch as the individual cans are played with loudly and separately. 

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