DIY Halloween Costumes

As a parent, I do not like spending money on cheap things for myself or for my family.  I think that overall it is a waste of money.  I would rather save and buy something that costs a little more, but is better quality.  This is really true when it comes to Halloween costumes.  Last year was the first year that my children kind of understood that they had to dress up and walk around to get candy.  So off we went to the stores to find the costumes that they wanted to wear.  My son wanted to be Jake from Jake and the Never land Pirates, my daughter it didn’t really matter.  After checking out a few stores, I was shocked at the poor quality of the costumes.

I really didn’t want to spend the money on those cheap costumes.  I proceeded to call my mom and ask her if we ever bought our costumes and if so, were they always that cheap.  She informed me that we always made our costumes.  She explained that it was cheaper and better quality to make our own, it may have not been exactly the same, but we didn’t know the difference.

So off to the fabric store I went with a picture of Jake in my hands.  We were able to create my son’s costume with a pair of sweatpants, a white t-shirt and some fabric.  Was it exactly like Jake?  No, but my son thought it was great.  So what is going to happen this year?  This year my son is going to be Batman, and my daughter is going to be a flapper.

Here is how we are going to do it and not buy a specific costume.  My son is batman, which really includes an all black outfit, a belt, cape, mask and a batman logo on his chest.  So he will have a black shirt, black pants, I have already made him a cape, the belt and logo I will be making using a pattern online.  The only thing that I didn’t really want to make was the mask, so my wonderful husband picked up a perfect better quality mask for $5.  He will have the whole outfit for less than $15.  The best part is that he will be able to wear the shirt and pants many times over.

My daughter is going to be a flapper, which is really a fun dress with fringe on it.  We picked up a pink one at a consignment event for only $12.  It is a little big, but she can wear it more than once.  The best part is it is a Children’s Place dress.  All I need to make or buy is the headpiece.  So for less than $15 she will be a flapper.  The best part is that she will be able to wear it again and again.

So how can you make your child’s Halloween costume this year?

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Preschool Chore Chart Printables

It is never too early for kids to learn how to help around the house.  It can be as little as learning to pick up their own toys, to helping set the table.  Children love to help, and what better way to help them learn to contribute to the household.

Now that my children are 2 and 3, we wanted a way to track things everyday to show our children what they have accomplished.  I have compiled a list of different chore charts for younger children.

Homeschool Creations has a Chore Chart that has pictures to help younger children know what they need to do.

Here is a Chore Chart from Chart Jungle.

 

My Frugal Adventures has this one

Here is another one from ChoreCharts

 

A Grateful life has this one

 

Coming up is how I set up our chore charts.

 

 

Tips to Get your Child to Love to Read

I am a firm believer of starting your children off early when it comes to reading.  I am the type of parent where I want them to destroy books, because that means that they are going through the pages and looking at the pictures, creating their own stories.  We have over 700 books in our library, another 700 on our kindles, and even more in our library to sell.  We love books in our house and we encourage our children to pick one up.  We have them on all levels of the house, in the car, in their backpacks, in the diaper bag.  We take them with us on our kindle/Ipad/Phone.  We are never without access to some type of books.  I have created a list of tips to help get your child to love to read.

  • Start them early: Allow them to feel it, start with the board books, or even the soft books.
  • Do not correct them: Do not correct them when reading.  If they are reading the book upside down, just allow it.  Remember that they have a grander imagination then we do as adult.
  • Read with them: Sit down and read with them.  Start off small with very short books.
  • Follow their lead:  If they only allow you to read the first couple of words of the page, then be it.  Don’t stop them and correct them.  You want to engage them at their level, not y0urs.
  • Choose books they are interested in:  This one was the hardest for me.  I wanted to read all of my childhood favorites and not their favorite.  Once I gave in and read what they wanted to, they sat longer and enjoyed it more.
  • Choose characters that they know: Their are books for almost every character that your child could love.  Mine happen to love ScoobyDoo.  So I make sure to have as many ScoobyDoo books I can find, that way I encourage more reading from him.
  • Ask them to read to you:  I always find it interesting what they “read” to me.  They really can understand a story from the pictures.
  • Repeat: Read the same book over and over and over again.  They love that!  It also builds their love to read that story.
  • Be animated: The more animated you are in reading the more they will get into the story.
  • Add Props: If you have the opportunity to add props, whether bought or made.  It makes it more interactive.
  • Take them to the Library: Library is great for activities and readings, while there you can pick up a few books.
  • Have fun!

 

Ashley’s currently-reading book montage

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?We're Going on a Bear HuntWe're Off to Find the Witch's HousePolar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?From Head to Toe



Ashley’s favorite books »


Share book reviews and ratings with Ashley, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Ashley’s read book montage

 

Curious George Goes to an Ice Cream ShopHarold and the Purple CrayonThe Berenstain Bears Go Out for the TeamThe Magic School Bus Taking Flight: A Book About FlightWhere's Spot?The Magic School Bus on the Ocean FloorThe Magic School Bus Hops Home: A Book About Animal HabitatsCurious George Visits the ZooThe Magic School Bus Shows And Tells: A Book About ArchaeologyCurious George Gets a MedalCurious GeorgeCurious George Rides a BikeCurious George Goes to the HospitalCurious George Learns the AlphabetThe Snowy Day
Harry the Dirty DogThe Berenstains' B Book (Bright & Early BooksThe Foot BookThe Ear Book (Bright & Early BooksMarvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!


Ashley’s favorite books »

Share book reviews and ratings with Ashley, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

 

 

Do you have any suggestions or tips for helping your child love to read?  Please comment!

Tips for Using Cloth Diapers on Vacation

As you know I love cloth diapering my children.  My son potty trained at 2.5 years-old and my daughter will be about the same age when she is potty trained.  At this point we have been through a couple of vacations while fully using cloth diapers.  I really thought that it was going to be difficult and way too much work, but really it wasn’t that bad.

My family takes a yearly vacation to the beach with both my side and my husband’s side of the family.  Last year I used disposable diapers for the 4 day vacation with my family and noticed that my son took 3 HUGE steps back in the potty training.  Before the vacation he would tell us when he went and would want to be changed immediately.  He was really getting good at noticing when he went.  After using disposable diapers for the duration of the vacation, he no longer mind sitting in the pee, and he wouldn’t tell us he went.  It took a couple of weeks to get him back to where he was.  After that I knew that the second vacation I was going to cloth diaper him and my daughter the entire time.

I knew that the week vacation we take with my husband’s family has a washer and dryer, so it was no big deal to be able to take the cloth diapers and continue using them throughout the week.

Below are tips of cloth diapering while on vacation:

  • Bring twice as many as you think you might need
  • Bring 2 wetbags/diaper pail liners
  • Bring cloth diaper safe cream
  • Bring laundry soap you use for the cloth diapers
  • Bring disposable inserts or liners to cut down on the laundry
  • Think about using prefolds, as they are easier to wash and dry
  • When you get to your location, scope out where you are going to keep your diaper pail or wetbag
  • Think about bringing a hand washing machine, if you know that their will not be a washing machine

It is something that can be done and something that people do all the time.  Please comment with other tips you have for using cloth diapers while on vacation.

Ashley

Tips for Potty Training

So we now have 1 potty trained child and 1 that is very close to starting.  There are some tips that I have learned over the last year to help ease the process.

  • Start early: It is okay if you didn’t, but start now.  Start by putting them on child on the potty, whenever you change their diaper.  Don’t force it if they don’t want to, you don’t want to have a negative affect.
  • Ask often: Ask them if they have to go often.  Some recommend every 15-30 minutes.
  • Change them often: I know that this is a no brainer, but change their diaper after every time they have told you they have gone.
  • Take them every time they ask: Every time they ask to go, take them.  Encourage them, even if you know that they went 10 minutes ago.  You want to encourage the “feeling” they may have until they figure out the actual feeling.
  • Be patient:  They are learning, they will make mistakes and will have accidents
  • Wait until they are ready: If you try and push them too early, you will have more accidents and have more issues.  Wait until they show signs and understanding of going on the potty.
  • Once you put them in underwear do NOT go back to diapers:  Some days and weeks it may seem like there are many accidents or that they don’t know that they need to go or even regress.  DO NOT put them back in diapers.

There are some things that I have done that I feel have helped.  We cloth diaper with an all natural insert that lets my daughter know when she has gone.  She feels it and there is no pulling away that happens with disposable diapers.  We take my daughter when we take my son to go potty.  Every time she tells us she went pee we sit her on the potty.  We also stop using diapers all together.  Within a couple weeks after my son requested underwear, we took the diapers away during nap and bedtime.  It was rough the first week or so, we had to change the sheets almost every night, but he now wakes up and goes.  We also don’t make a big deal if he doesn’t make it to the potty.  We understand that he is still learning.

Sick Days

So what do you do when your child is sick?  Do you let them rest in front of the TV all day in or  do you let them play with items while they are resting?

When I was growing up we always had toys to play with like crayons, coloring books, stickers, books and much more.  Items that would keep us occupied without having us run around too much.  It was really nice to have that break from television and actually stimulate my mind, while still resting.

So what do you do when your child is sick?  Have any ideas of items that they can play while still being in bed? Please share!

Ashley

Ideas for Stuffing Easter Eggs besides Candy

  • Buy a puzzle and put the individual pieces in each egg.  Number them so you know you have all the pieces.
  • Buy each child a puzzle and put the individual pieces in the egg.  Have the children sort which pieces go to each puzzle.
  • Fill the eggs with the Alphabet, have the children put it them in order.
  • For younger children, fill the eggs with pictures of animals from different places they live, like the zoo, pets, farm.  Have them sort the animals based off of where they live.
  • Money, either change or dollars
  • Stickers
  • Tattoos
  • Hair Bows
  • Hot Wheels
  • Playdough
  • Legos
  • Coupons- ex: for an extra bedtime story, an extra treat after dinner, stay up 15 minutes later for bedtime
  • Marbles
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Erasers
  • Bracelets/Necklaces

 

Do you have any ideas for filling Easter Eggs?  Please share!

Ashley Myers

Consignment Sales Events!

I have written before about how to save money on Children’s Cloths.  I have also written about how making Baby Food can help you save money.  Today I am going to write about how to save money on other children items.

As my children grow, I have been on the hunt for a few different items like a sit and stand stroller, sippy cups, books, toys and more.  I would not like to pay full price for these items that I may only use for a few months.  Thanks to a friend, I found out about Tot Swap, a huge consignment sales event held a few times a year.  These sales have everything you would need for infants, toddlers and children.  I have been able to pick up toys, diapers, bottles, books, clothes, strollers for pennies on the dollar compared to them new.  The best part is that once I am done using the items I am able to consign at the sale too!

As usual when I pick out anything pre-owned I check to make sure that it is not on the recall list, it is in good condition and it is something that I truly need.

When purchasing pre-owned items I am able to get name brand items for a lot less.  My children still get the same great toy to play with and I still have a few dollars in my pocket.

I strongly recommend you check out if there are any consignment sales events in your area and check it out.  It is totally worth it!

Ashley

 

Fitting in Exercise….

As a working mother of two, I find myself with even less time to exercise than I did before I had children.   Long gone are the days where I get in 1.5 hours of exercise in one day at one time.  Between working full time, keeping the house up, and spending time with my children, I have little time to exercise.

I touched before on tips of how to get in exercise with children, but what if you don’t even have time for that?  My solution is to stay active throughout the day.  Here are some tips on how to stay active throughout the day and get in a little more calories burned!

  • Always take the stairs when possible.
  • Do wall push-ups every time you go to the bathroom, squats if you don’t want to touch the wall.
  • If you are sitting at a desk all day, make sure to get up at least every hour for a little walk.
  • If you have a community bathroom, go to one that is the furthest away.
  • Take 15 minutes and walk around your building.
  • Park furthest away.
  • Don’t put the TV on during the week, you are not drawn to sit down and watch it.
  • Dance with your children.
  • Have you ever tried to pick up your toddler to play around with them, to have your arms hurt after.  Infants and toddlers make great weights.
  • While waiting in line at the store, rock back and forth, or step touch.
  • Keep the diapers in the kids rooms.  It will force you to go to their rooms every time they need a diaper.

Do you have any handy tips for keeping yourself active throughout the day?  Please share

Ashley

Picture Making Topics

There are times when your child comes up and asks you what they can draw/paint/color for you.  Below are a few suggestions:

  • Family
  • Where you live
  • Your Neighborhood
  • What Games they play
  • Favorite activities
  • Favorite animal
  • Holiday
  • Different Seasons
  • Favorite story
  • Favorite TV character
  • Shapes
  • Colors
  • Love
  • Happiness

 

Do you have any other suggestions for children to create?  Please share with us!

Ashley