Empowering Kids For Back to School Lunch Packing

Kids are capable of so much more than we give them credit for so much of the time.  Over the past few years of eating lunch with the girls and their friends at school, I have come to realize that what gets packed and what they eat are often not the same thing.  We decided to put the packing into their hands so they would eat what they take, with a little guidance of course.

I made the list of what goes in the box and put it on the door of the fridge.

Then I filled the snack basket with choices that are acceptable by our parenting standards (and a drawer in the fridge with string cheese that also counts here as well as fresh veggie slices and cut up fruits).

We keep the fruit basket filled so that makes that easy.  They can pack more than one fruit and/or veggie.

As for the sandwich, we have lunch meats, cheeses and the old standby, PB&J.  We keep the condiments on the low shelf inside the drawer so they can reach them and find them easily.

And last we have a great drawer filled with fun napkins, straws, plastic utensils and leftover party stuff for them to choose from.

We are available to assist but on day one (today), the girls did GREAT!  They were totally empowered and excited to have packed their own lunches.  YAY!  They each earned one more check for their lists which means more allowance.  Double YAY!

Happy New School Year,


Posted in Education | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FREE Back to School Printables

It is that time. It is here. We are going BACK TO SCHOOL!!! Here are three fun printables that you can use with your kid at home or in a classroom environment.

You can download the printables right here by clicking on the picture of what you want!

ABC 123 – All About Me

Back to School Word Search

Back to School Questions

Have a fabulously successful year!



Posted in Education | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A Year of American Girl Wardrobe Giveaway

A Year of American Girl Wardrobe Giveaway

We have something special for you! 27 wonderful ladies have teamed up to bring you the “Year of American Girl Doll” Wardrobe Giveaway. This collection includes clothing and accessories for all holidays and occasions in a year. Your 18″ doll will be ready for any occasion! This outstanding giveaway is brought to you by the following co-hosts, sponsors, and contributors~

1. Diana of Diana Rambles – Diana, aka FreeStyleMama, the coordinator of this giveaway, is a self-described creative crafty mama of three who blogs about food, crafts, family and fun. She also is a blog designer and seamstress.
2. Laura of Laura Kelly’s INKlings
– Laura Kelly is a licensed artist and creative project designer for ilovetocreate.com. She blogs her journey with hopes of inspiring and stimulating creativity in others.
3. Katrina Thennis of The Chicken Wire – A wife and a mother of three, blogging about homeschooling with a fun mix of faith, family and farmstead added in.
4. Char of Doll Diaries
– Char is the founder and blogger at Doll Diaries where girls of all
ages are inspired to create, play and share doll related activities. There is a weekly feature of wonderful ideas of doll lovers around the web.
5. Amy of SewsNBows – Amy is a fabric hoarder and sewing pattern collector who enjoys sewing children’s clothing and accessories. Her beautiful creations are showcased on her blog.
6. Gina of Gina’s Craft Corner – Gina is a wife, homeschooling mother of two young girls and a bagaholic. Visit her blog to see her latest handbag creations, sewing tips and tutorials, along with other easy DIY crafts.
7. Jenny of Learning and Growing the Piwi Way
– Jenny is a proud wife and mama who enjoys blogging about teaching her
kids, the books she reads and food. With another job relocation always
just over the horizon, most of the projects she writes about are an
attempt to distract her from packing.
8. Debbie of Heartbeats~ Soul Stains
– Debbie is a wife, mother of seven, and nurse living in Hawaii where she shares what life is like in a large household; recipes, giveaways and just about anything that gets thrown her way. She and her children have survived many obstacles and tragedies, but have persevered through it all, with faith and love.
9. Stephanie of The Tip Toe Fairy – Stephanie is a 30-something stay-at-home mom of three, ages 4 to 14, who blogs at The TipToe Fairy about sewing and crafty tutorials, delicious recipes, book reviews, and more. She is an avid sewist, crafter, book lover, and cupcake baker.
10. Dee of Meatloaf and Melodrama – Dee is a blogger, freelance writer and mom to five active kiddos. She writes about easy crafts, DIY projects and simple family meals.
11. Jessica of Jessie’s Girl Clothing – Jessica started sewing for her daughters and loved it so much that she didn’t stop; and kept finding more things to sew. She loves a challenge so making custom (whatever she makes) really excites her.
12. Anna of Doll It Up – Anna shares projects and inspiration to sew, craft and create for dolls. From easy to advanced projects — come and create, repurpose and PLAY!

Winter Outfit – Starabella Doll Design
Coat & Boots Set – Tickie’s Treasures
Valentine’s Dress – Aunt Sissy Originals
St. Patrick’s Day Outfit – Laura Kelly’s INKlings
Easter Dress – Kimmie Sew Crazy
Spring Outfit – Jazzy Doll Duds
Fancy Dress – Doll Fashions by Luanne
Summer Outfit – Mini Me Doll Divas
Bathing Suit Set – Jessie’s Girl Clothing
4th of July Dress – Doll It Up
Mermaid Outfit – The Tip Toe Fairy
School Uniform Collection – SewsNBows
Fall Outfit – Camelot’s Treasures
Halloween Elsa Costume – Cat’s Meow
Christmas Formal Outfit – Darlin Girl Creations
5 pair of Shoes – Confetti Doll Designs
Two Bags – Gina’s Craft Corner
Months of the Year Headbands – Punch Place Plus
Wooden Bed – Meatloaf and Melodrama
Bedding Set & Nightgown – FreeStyleMama
Girl & Doll Scrapbook Set – Learning and Growing the Piwi Way

A Year of American Girl Doll Wardrobe Giveaway
Enter the giveaway using the PromoSimple entry form below.
18+ yrs, US & Canada Only. Official Rules at bottom of the entry form.
Bonus entries unlocked after required entry.
The more entries, the better chance you have of winning.

This giveaway was coordinated by Diana Rambles!

Posted in Dolls Dolls Dolls | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookies with FRESH Strawberries

We have, our actually HAD, a ton of strawberries.  In getting creative with ways to use them, I mixed them in a batch of Betty Crocker oatmeal cookies.  They are AWESOME.  If you decide to do this (which I highly recommend), I have a few baking tips that will make it work out. 

First, mix up the batter just like the package says to do, WITHOUT the water.  The juice from the strawberries makes the difference.   Add 1 cup of chopped strawberries to the batter and mix gently.

When you make your cookie balls, roll them in a mixture of half sugar/half oats to cover them and absorb the extra moisture from the berries.

Put them on a baking sheet and bake as directions read.

Let them cool and eat them!  YUMMMMMY!!!

Happy Creative Cooking and Baking (and Playing with Food),


PS:  This is what batter was left over.  Yes, I ate it right out of the bowl.

Posted in Baking and Sweet Treats, Creative Cooking | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fun Family Times With Clear Creek Rafting Company

I have been blogging about exploring Denver with kids.  Last week we had a family in visiting from Iowa and we decided to go white water rafting, with the kids!  We researched online and determined that with what little we knew, Clear Creek Rafting Company in Idaho Springs was the best fit for us.  Boy oh boy were we ever right.  We had a total blast and I can’t wait to share it along with out awesome pictures.

We arrived at the scheduled time and they were totally organized and ready for us.  We met our guide, Ken, and he led the way.  We changed into wet suits and special little booties then  put on jackets and life vests and cute little helmets.  Ready to go, we headed up the mountain in a van pulling the raft.  On the way, Ken gave us the training we needed for emergencies and had us all feeling comfortable and safe.  We unloaded and he taught us the strokes we would need to use then we put the raft in and loaded up with me and Ryp in front as captains.  We learned to “High 5″ paddle style.

And about that view…it was beautiful.

It was super fun and only moderately scary.  The kids had a ball, laughing and screaming.  We stopped at one point and they got out to swim in the FREEZING water.  Ken was super fantastic with all of the girls.  His patience, encouraging ways and clear directions when added to his enthusiasm and charisma make him my favorite guide ever.  Okay, so he is my first but nonetheless I am sure the best.  Zoe loved him so much she gave him her newly ice dyed t-shirt and a hug!

When we got back and changed, everyone picked out a t-shirt to purchase.  The selection was stellar.

We took a few pictures of the scenery, including ones of each other.

Then we headed to the BBQ restaurant that Ken recommended and it was every bit as good as he said it would be.

Here is the last picture I took as we drove out of town.

Until the spring (when we will definitely be going back to do the intermediate course), we have the memories to hold us through.  Well the memories and the newly added items to our gift wish lists which now include helmets and vest of our own, wetsuits and KAYAKS.  We like being on the water.

For more information about Clear Creek Rafting Company, visit their website here!

You can also follow them on Facebook here!

Living in Colorado is amazing!  We LOVE it here.



Posted in Explore Denver With Kids | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Back To School Teacher Gift Ideas

Back to School is such an exciting time.  We always love the day when we get to “Meet the Teacher” best.  Here are 10 ideas of gifts that you can make to take when you go to meet your teacher.

This Glue Art is super fun and really easy for kids to create.

Back to School Glue Art

These jars with Sculpey Clay are a lot of fun and can be filled with goodies.

Back to School Sculpey Jars

All classrooms should have a BOXTOP collection jar.  Of course this is so cute that the teacher might take it home to use.

Boxtops For Education Jar

Here is another adorable gift in a jar idea from A Night Owl Blog.

Pencil Mason Jar Teacher Gift

A snack bag is a must.  This adorable one was created with one of my new dies from Ellison’s Pet Shop collection.

Back to School Snack Bag

This felt board is adorable and would be awesome for an early learning teacher.

Kunin Group Felt Board

I totally love this too!  Angie created an embellished pencil pouch for Buttons Galore that is adorable.

Embellished Pencil Pouch

If you are in a hurry and need something awesome, this printable from 100 Directions is perfect!

I love this DIY candy dish from Make Life Lovely, especially filled with chocolate!

DIY Apple Candy Dish

And I think this teacher gift is swell from Live Laugh Rowe!

Back to School Pencil Treat

And with the Duck Tape craze, Tanner created these awesome supplies!

Duck Tape School Supplies

Ta Da!  SOOOO many great ideas for celebration and appreciating teachers.  They matter so much and are the difference makers in kids’ lives.  Creating a little magic for them surely makes their days brighter.





Posted in Blog Hops and Linky Parties, Craft Projects, Crafts For Kids, Education | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wooden Stick Scarecrow

Fall is the perfect season to create fun scarecrow projects and celebrate the season of the end of the harvest.  Here is a really fun and simple one that is great for kids.

You will need popsicle sticks, Aleene’s glue, yarn, felt, buttons and google eyes (or whatever fun crafty things you have around the house).

Glue your sticks together to create a scarecrow head and let them dry.

Then add your decorations with glue and let dry before you use it as a decoration.

That’s all!  HAPPY Fall Y’all!


Posted in Crafts For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment