Wednesday, March 20, 2019

11 Different Things to Do For Easter Baskets, This Year



Easter is coming along with all of it's traditions! While we must never forget the reason why we celebrate Easter, it's still a fun time to do things with family and friends to celebrate.

My household likes to do many things to make the day memorable to all. We'll go to church, have an Easter egg hunt, give the kids their own Easter baskets, and then eat a big lunch or dinner.

I don't know about you, but I get overwhelmed when I go to the store around Easter time. There are always HUGE pre-made baskets with toys that look like they'll break within the first five minutes of using them and many of these baskets are expensive.

I usually try to go the cheaper route and buy the $0.99 basket with the $0.99 grass and then look for all the cute, less breakable options of things to put into the baskets. Things that my kids really don't need, things that break, or candy that they'll eat in one day even though I tried to limit their intake, but they sneak the candy away while I'm cooking and now their tummy hurts.

A Different Way to Do an Easter Basket


This year, I'm deciding to try something different.

I see all the Facebook videos and all the Pinterest pins and I love almost every single one of them. Why? Because these baskets are useful. Because these baskets have a purpose. Because these baskets are practical!

Disclaimer- This post will contain Amazon Affiliate Links. This means that if you purchase something from one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. All wording and suggestions are my own. I was not asked to write this post and the idea is entirely my own .

Easter Basket Options


Who says that an Easter Basket has to be brightly colored with a long stiff handle that is hard to store after its use? Instead of using a regular wicker basket, maybe try buying something that you could use for storage after?

Here are some options that you could use instead.

Canvas Baskets



Now, I know this isn't your traditional type of Easter basket, but the prints are cute and you can use these to store toys or whatever your storage needs are, after they've been used. 

They do present a problem if you want to use them to help collect eggs. In this case, try to braid some string or yarn through the handles to make one large handle and then just cut it off when you're finished.

Back Pack


These are very different, but kids could use bags just like we could use purses or totes.

Laundry/Storage Baskets



This is just another, useful option. It's larger and more costly, but your child could use this basket to either store toys or laundry.

Regular Easter Basket


If none of these options interest you, you can always still use the regular Easter baskets like these.... But, you might want to go to Walmart or Target where they'll be a little cheaper and you don't have to buy them in packs. 



Things to Put Inside Your Basket



These options may depend on the size of your basket, but here are just a few ideas.

Rain Boots



Find one of your child's shoes that still fit them and get the size of the shoe before you order boots. My husband and I always like to go a size bigger so our kids can grow into them. 




We live in the Midwest where there is mud season, so this is a great way to keep the kids' feet dry and also not worry about getting all their socks muddy.


Rain Jacket


My husband and I had such a difficult time finding rain jackets last year. We had no problems finding them for ourselves (the adults) but it was like every store we'd go to didn't have them. After we had just given up trying to find any, we found some at Osh Gosh. We quickly snatched them up, but rain season was almost over. 

Don't be like us, get your rain coats sooner than later. 




Umbrella 


I know, I know, this is all rain gear so far, but it's very useful, especially if you live in an area that gets rain. Besides, kids look adorable in rain gear and even more adorable when using an umbrella. If you're an Instagram mom, you wouldn't want to pass up a chance for pictures!




Chalk 


Finally! Something that isn't rain gear related! Chalk is really a great thing to have, unless you have no outdoor space to use it with, but I'm hoping that you have something that your kids can draw on outside.

My kids like to draw on the inside of our fence. It's a wooden one that we haven't treated lately and I don't worry too much about it because when it rains, the pictures go bye bye. It's fun to watch them make up different pictures on each board or try to teach each other like they're in school.


I tried to teach my kids to play four square like I did back in the day, and chalk made it happen. Their unwillingness to learn it, ended it.


Balls  


Speaking of four square, you're going to need a ball for that! Balls are great for exercise and hand eye-coordination and all sorts of motor skills.





Bubbles

Ugh! I don't like bubbles in the house. They're slimy and always end up on my floor, but if you make a rule that bubbles go outside, it's not so bad.  Because... well, bubbles are fun and mesmerizing.



A Bible


I wanted to put this one last so that it's fresh in your mind. The whole reason for Easter is because of the sacrifice that God made when he sent his son Jesus down onto this earth to die for our sins. We used to have to make our own sacrifices to be forgiven, but it became too much because man sins all of the time. So Jesus became our answer. Though he had no sin, he took the place of another sinner and then was beaten and humiliated then killed. Satan had thought he won that Friday, but lo and behold, death had been defeated when Christ rose from the dead on that glorious Easter morning.

If you believe that, like I do, it's important that we remind our children why we celebrate this day. If you already have a kid's Bible, then read them some stories. If you don't then this would make a great gift for your child. 

I'd recommend The Beginners Bible for small children. It's easy to read and colorful to keep your children's attention. You can read my review here.



There are also great options for older kids too. You can find them almost anywhere that sells Bibles. Walmart and Target might be limited, but Barnes and Noble and other big book shops might have them. 

Another great Bible for kids is The Jesus Storybook Bible.



We were given this Bible as a gift from our church on baby day- which is when the parent's of the church got to parade our babies and toddlers down the aisles to show how we were building the church. This one is more descriptive and is geared more towards grade school kids, vs toddlers.

We also must not forget Bibles for your teenage girls and boys. It's the same word, just different devotional applications written for the different genders.



The youth is the future of our world, and it's important that we raise them to do well for that future.

Conclusion

These were just a few different things to place inside your kid's Easter Baskets, this year.You obviously don't need to do these and anything that you've done before and will do in the future is ok... except don't give them alcohol or drugs- because that's bad.... and illegal! (Sorry, trying to bring in some light humor. Is it working?)

I left candy out, but that doesn't mean that you can't give them some special treats (I know I still will). and if you want to put in grass or something like that as a filler, please stay away from anything plastic and stringy if you have pets because it's bad for them if they eat it.

What do you think of this list?
What do you do to celebrate Easter?
If you do something different than Easter and it's not ritualistic killing or something equally terrifying or satanic, what do you do?

Have a wonderful Easter!


Thursday, March 14, 2019

ADHD and Reading- The "Aha!" Moment






Looking at this picture, you'd think, "What a good brother! He's reading to his brother and sister." When I look at this picture, I see more than just that. I see a miracle. I see a blessing. I see answered prayers and opened doors.


Why does this picture mean so much to me? You might think that I'm overreacting, but there is a different side to this story.

My son has ADHD. Last year, he was in second grade and could barely read. I never even knew he was so far behind, I just thought he hated to read. It wasn't until my daughter was in Kindergarten that I learned she was expected to be able to read what my son was doing in the beginning of second grade at the end of her school year and heading to first grade.

I thought that what my son was doing was normal, after all, I didn't know how to read until I had my "aha!" moment, either. I thought that one day it would just click.

After learning how far behind he was, we got him started on his diagnosis journey. We had gone through many rough patches before we found a good solution that worked well for him. The change was almost immediate. With help from a sight words wall, he was finally picking up on his sight words and then easily learning the rest.

Related- An Easy Way To Teach Your Child To Read





By the end of the school year, my son had learned three years worth of reading and writing because he suddenly understood. 

He wasn't having tantrums anymore because he wasn't embarrassed to be called on at school. 

He doesn't need me to read captions and titles for him anymore. Because he can do it on his own.

He helps his sister with her homework so I can cook dinner and he enjoys reading to his siblings.

We haven't ventured very far into chapter books without pictures, yet, although we've been trying to read the Box Car Children. It's ok, though, because I know he can do it.





He really likes to read the Dog Man and Captain Underpants comics. They're easy for him and they have pictures. He read this Dog Man book from cover to cover in one day. That was A LOT of practice and it's ok! Because he's doing it!

One day, he wasn't even trying and then the next day it just clicked. He KNEW what he needed to do. It was so awesome!

So yes, when I see him reading to my other kids, it feels so sweet and amazing because he couldn't do it before and now he can. We don't struggle to get him to try it because he just does it. If you knew what it was like before, you'd see that miracle and this blessing.

Free ADHD Blog Resource of 5 different websites for parents of children with ADHD

Here is a list of his favorite books if you're interested:






Did your child have and "AHA!" moment?
What are some things that your child struggled with?
What worked for you to get your child to learn?

Related Posts- 





Thursday, March 7, 2019

Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough



One thing that I don't like to have on hand because of the mess is Play-Do. I shouldn't be so insistent about not having it around, because I really enjoyed playing with it as a child and I was allowed to play with it at Grandma's.... Hmmm.. I don't really recall playing with it at home, though. I guess that's because Grandma doesn't mind the mess.

Whenever my kids play with Play-Do, it ends up getting mashed into the rug or in little Suzie's hair, or getting shoved up a nose or somewhere where you don't want that colorful mess to be.

However, there really isn't a no Play-Do rule in my house and in the winter time I find myself running out of idead for my kids to do that aren't always "Go watch tv or play a video game. Sometimes I like for them to do something productive like clean the house and pick up their toys, but on those days where I JUST DON'T want to hear them arguing with me or picking fights with each other, Play-Do sounds like a pretty good thing to have on hand.... But wait, I don't have any. 

So what should I do?

I know! Make some of my own!


How to Make Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough

What You Need for Play Dough

Making play dough is about the easiest thing you'll ever do in your life. For this recipe, we just have to ingredients: 


  • Any fun things you'd like to bring out. I like to use sprinkles, candy eyes, chocolate chips, and whatever other fun edible things I have left over from previous baking experiments. 



How to Put It Together

Seriously, this is so easy, just mix together 1 cup powdered sugar and 3/4 cups peanut butter. If the dough is still sticky, add more peanut butter.



It's so easy, even I can do it!




I had to hold his hand back for the picture, otherwise, every time I tried to take a picture of him eating the dough, it was already in his mouth being consumed. 


Conclusion

Let me tell you, I was very frustrated when taking pictures for this post. I had cleared a space (because my whole counter is always filled with something) wiped it up, and made the dough without a hitch. 

I took pictures along the way and had some really cute pictures of my son pulling and shaping the play dough, just really digging his fingers into it and making faces with the eye candies and such and then when I went to look at them, my memory card had stopped working! All of those pictures never saved! 

I ended up using my phone to take pictures, but by then, my son was finished with playing and starting to get a little tummy ache from eating so much.

If you don't want to waste the dough and you're not squeemish, you can melt some chocolate and make some peanut butter balls or as Indiana-ites call them- Buck-eyes.

(This post contains Amazon Affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of them, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)




Monday, March 4, 2019

Kids Bake For Good-How to Bake Bread

Over the weekend, my son got to do a really cool thing. He'd been excited about it for the whole week because he knew it was coming and he couldn't wait to do it.

So what was that thing? Well bake bread, of course!

"Huh?" I can hear you think. King Arthur Flour started a program called Bake for Good. It started in 1992 with middle school programs. The classes that participated would be assigned to bake bread to donate to the less fortunate. 

"That's such a noble cause, but about the cost of ingredients? Isn't that something that we have to worry about?" Wrong! Every third-fifth grader at my children's school got to bring home a tote with most of the ingredients. It was kind of cute watching them all pour out of school, swinging their bags. 

Dislosure- I am not receiving compensation from King Arthur Flour or Bake for Good Kids- This blog post was written because this was a class project my son had to do for school. This post does, however contain Amazon Affiliate links which means I could earn a small commission should you purchase fro one of these links. 

What was included?


This tote included two types of flour- one was White All-Purpose and the other one was White Whole Wheat Flour, yeast, a scraper/scourer thing, a booklet with bread recipes, and a bag to put a loaf of bread in. 

What did we need to provide?


The only things we needed to provide were vegetable oil, sugar, and salt- oh and our time and energy. 

More About the Program- This is their own promotion video.


Our Adventure

Step 1. The first thing that you do when you bake, is to wash your hands



Step Two- The next thing to do is to read the instructions and then gather your ingredients.



I think he said he was the Statue of Liberty, here. 

Step 3- Measure and add your ingredients.

The first ingredient was to warm 2 cups of water. 

For precise measurements, look at the liquid measuring cup at eye level.
To gauge the right temperature, you can always use a candy thermometer.

Unfortunately, the thermometer wasn't working, so we used the method the booklet said to use which was to test it with your finger. Too hot will kill the yeast and too cool will not activate it. You want the water to be warm, but not burn you.
The next thing you do is to measure out the sugar and combine the sugar and water, stir until the sugar is dissolved, then add the yeast. 





After that, he had to measure out two cups of white whole wheat flour and pour into the bowl. The instructions didn't say to stir, but we did and then we waited to see carbon bubbles. 




Bubbles!
After we saw the bubbles, he measured and added the remaining ingredients.



Oops! Too much veggie oil!

Ugh- too much again.

All the ingredients are added. Now he's chanting "Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble!"

Evil cackle

Now it's time to knead the dough!

At first he kept playing with it like it was play dough. 

Then he kept slapping it. 

You've almost got it!

After a demonstration from me, he was finally getting the hang of it.

After the nice ball was formed, he had to put it back into a greased bowl, put plastic wrap over it....

Covered it with a towel...

and done!

Flour belly. (fun fact- this apron was made by his daddy. Grandma's been saving it for the grand kids.)
Step 4- Wait. 

Ok, so, your not really done. Baking bread takes some time. We had to wait an hour and a half for the dough to rise.

Step 5- Deflate the bread and shape!

It has grown!
It started to deflate as soon as he started pulling it out.

Slapping it to flatten it. 

Cutting the dough. His sister came to see what those slap sounds were. 

I encouraged him to braid the first one, just for something to do. 


Working hard to smash the ends together- they kept unraveling. 


We decided to shape the second loaf like a regular loaf of bread. He's slicing the artistic lines in. It's artisan now. (My years of working at Subway, years ago, really had me itching to take over, but someone had to take the pictures)

Step 6- Let it rise again then bake.

We had to wait another half hour to let it rise. 

Don't make me put it in here! I'm going to get burned! I had him pose for the picture and then placed the pan in, myself.
 Step 7- You're done!
The bread, is indeed cool, by this time. He's not burning his hands. 

A nice picture with Grandma, the big helper in all of this. 

Conclusion

The whole project was fun to do. It was great for my son because he learned some important baking knowledge, chemistry, and even learned some math while baking his bread. 

It was also conditioning him to be charitable because he got to donate one of the loafs.

We got a tasty snack- each recipe makes two loafs and we were given one bag for donation. We cute it into slices, slathered some butter and jelly, and my was it good!

It taught him kindness and humility- My son decided to keep the ugly loaf for ourselves and donate the nicer one. We thought the ugly loaf would have been the braid because it looked kind of funny whereas the normal loaf looked, well, normal, but as fate would have it, the braided loaf baked beautifully and the normal loaf was bumpy and uneven.  

To have this program come to your school, you can check out the King Arthur website for Kids Bake for Good at this link---> Kids Bake For Good

For bread recipe, click link----> Bread

The camera I used to take these photos was a Nikon D3400. -I'm not a photographer, but I think these came out well without expert experience. So easy I can use it.