One of the most fun activities for kids is finger painting. There's something about that cool, wet paint on a piece of paper that brings out your inner Picasso!
I decided to make homemade finger paints with an aromatherapeutic twist. A simple paint with some essential oils added in for a little bit of extra pizzazz. Bonus points for the fact that the oil I used is known to calm little ones! I'm also totally excited to say that I know exactly what is going into these paints.
Here's what you need:
1/2 C, Flour
1 C. Water plus additional cold for getting to the right consistency
Lavender Essential Oil
First of all, I'd recommend that Mama or Daddy makes the paint beforehand to avoid any curious little fingers getting burnt! :)
To make the paint:
Place your flour and water into a large pot over medium heat on your stovetop. Stir it until it starts to come up from the pan. Take off the stove and stir in additional cold water until your paint reaches the consistency you'd like. We made a thinner paint and used about 1/2 C. of extra water.
Divide your paint into bowls. Your amount of bowls depends on a number of colors you want. Stir a few drops of food coloring into each bowl until you get your desired color and add a pinch of salt.
Last, add a drop of lavender essential oil to each bowl and stir.
See how easy that was?
We like to use these paints on paper and even on a cookie sheet or a highchair tray. They are a great sensory activity for little ones and a great art project for big kids. We've even packaged them in jars before and given them to families as Christmas gifts. The possibilities are endless.
You can store any leftover paint in the fridge. I would say this paint keeps for about 2 months.
What was your favorite art project as a child?
With Thanksgiving arriving soon, my mind has been on gratitude. Particularly, how to incorporate gratitude into the hearts of my little ones.
I came up with an idea for a gratitude tree. A simple wall decoration that we can look at and remember what we're thankful for. This is also a great keepsake item because you can switch the leaves each year to reflect each child's changing interest. Obviously, I have toddlers, so you see things like Elmo, sippy cups and Thomas on mine!
Here's how you do it.
Construction paper with brown, red, yellow and green colors
Tape or Glue
First, outline a tree trunk on brown construction paper. You'll most likely need two sheets for this, depending on how tall you'd like your tree to be. I outlined my tree trunk by drawing two straight lines on one sheet of paper and two curved lines on another sheet of paper. Cut your trunk out and drawn a few lines with a black market to give your trunk some texture.
Next, you'll make your leaves. I used a leaf template to save time. Just print, cut out the leaves and trace onto the colored paper. You'll want to make a few different types of leaves in varying colors for a vibrant tree.
After you cut out your construction paper leaves, it's time to get to the fun part, thinking about what you're grateful for. You can make this a fun family event by asking each member what they're grateful for. If you have little ones, be prepared to laugh at their answers! Little ones are grateful for the most simple of things and we can learn a lot from them! Write each thing you're grateful for on a leaf.
To set your tree up, tape your trunk to the wall. Then, arrange leaves on top of the tree. I arranged mine in a half circle with some leaves overlapping to create a more realistic look. You can also place some leaves by the sides of the trunk to make them look like they're falling down.
Be sure to take a picture of the tree each year or save a few leaves to see how your family grows in their gratitude.
How are you showing your gratitude this Fall?
I don't know about you, but since I had babies..my primping time has gone from virtually unlimited to..zilch. The problem is, if I don't take a few minutes for myself at the beginning of each day, my self-esteem goes down and I'm not as prepared to tackle my to-do list. So, I perfected the 15 minute Mama routine. Here it is:
Foundation and Concealer
Foundation can make a world of difference. It makes you look put together and gives you a blank canvas. It covers everything with just a quick sweep! I like to put a few drops on over my moisturizer and blend quickly with a brush. If I am sleep-deprived, I'll add a swipe of undereye concealer.
This instantly brightens up a face. I choose a universal shimmery pink shade because it looks natural. You can place this on the apples of your cheeks for a rosy glow, or under your cheekbones for more definition.
I don't like to fuss with my eyeshadow when I have a busy day. Ain't nobody got time for that! I use a neutral pallet from the drugstore that has just three shades. A light brown, a cream for highlighting and a slightly darker brown for definition. It takes just a couple minutes to put this on and it gives your eyes a little bit of sparkle and polish!
Mascara can instantly make you look more awake, especially if you have naturally sparse or light eyelashes. I use just one swipe to finish my eyes.
Easy HairstylesMy beauty routine has to include some sort of hairstyle! This is challenging most days, but I've found a few simple styles that are cute and functional. "Scrunch" and go waves are my current favorite. You just wash your hair and while the hair is wet, spray hair spray on your hair and "Scrunch" your hair using your hands. This generally gives a cute air-dried look that's fairly effortless. Bonus: You minimize heat damage too!
You don't have to completely cut out primping from your life! Just use your time wisely, choose to highlight your features in a simple way and you'll be prepared to take on your day.
What's your favorite feature?
There's a lot of talk nowadays about letting your child be who God created them to be. On the other end of the spectrum, there are a lot of parent's who say that controlling their child's every move is key to raising a good member of society.
Studies have proven that there are many emotional and mental benefits to letting your child embrace their uniqueness. Children who are taught that what makes them different makes them beautiful are more creative, have higher levels of confidence and are better-rounded individuals.
Here are a few ways that you can help your child embrace their unique traits:
Find What Makes Them Special
Be quick to share with your child unique character traits that you notice in them. For example, my little one is highly energetic and has a big heart. He also prefers quiet and sings whenever he gets the chance. I make sure to notice whenever he's singing and compliment him on it because that is something that makes him uniquely him. Other unique traits might be book-smarts, organized, flexible, athletic or a cuddler! Identifying these unique things with your child is even better because it gives them a sense of self.
Let Them Explore
Let your child find their niche. Offer them countless chances to read books of their choosing, take classes to learn things they're interested and go on trips to places they mention. Let them draw, paint, or play in the grass. Even if an idea seems a little out there, don't completely discredit it. My Mom did a great job of letting us choose our unique interests. In my family, we had interests ranging from hair and makeup to rock collecting!
To celebrate our children's uniqueness, we need to model celebrating the differences in others. Whether that's the way people look or the things they're passionate about, try to make sure that the language used to talk about other people is positive. We can teach our children that everyone deserves respect, even if you wouldn't choose to live your life the way that they do.
When we celebrate the uniqueness in our children, they are given the freedom to be who God created them to be. They're given permission to live out the destiny they're supposed to and to fit their own version of awesome.
How do you maximize your child's unique traits?
Were you a child who loved to read? I was! I used to spend hours reading stacks upon stacks of books. Then, technology updated and I was introduced to cable TV and video games. My reading time was drastically reduced! I decided that I want my children to grow up with a love of reading that stays consistent, so I decided to include a few things into my parenting style:
Nearly every day, I'm reading a classic book out loud to my children. You can find us reading books like, "Little House on the Prairie", " Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Ramona". Not only do we get extra snuggles, but my littles are introduced to a whole world they might've never seen! Hint: Being extra dramatic helps keep their attention. They like funny voices and to help act out scenes.
Nothing frustrates a child more than not being able to understand something they're reading. When you're giving a child a book, make sure that it's not too challenging. It should be enough to stretch them,but not enough to frustrate them or make them not enjoy the story. I do this by giving my little ones fun board books with bright colors, cool textures, and funny stories.
Pick Books that are of Interest
If you want a child to continue to love reading, you have to make it interesting for them. My Mom did a great job of this by letting us read books about things we were interested in. I incorporate this into my own parenting style by paying attention to what my children are interested in at the moment and finding books to read to them about that topic. We've had a great time learning about bugs, bats and the real story behind their beloved Winnie the Pooh!
Be an Example
I want my children to see Mama reading just as much, if not more than they do! I'm making an effort to read my books in front of my little ones and to talk about what I'm excited to be learning each day. Often, they'll see me reading and want to pull out their books too!
Reading opens up many doors for our kids, not only in the learning world, but also worlds of imagination. How do you make reading a priority in your family?
A good night's rest. Something we all want, yet few of us really get. It's extremely important to do our best to get enough sleep. Whether your reason for no sleep is a teething baby or insomnia, there are some great tips out there that can help you improve your quality of rest. Here are a few of my favorites:
Essential oils are a great, natural way to improve your sleep situation. My personal favorites are Lavender and Frankincense, both of which are proven to help with insomnia and calming the body. Many oils come in a pre-diluted blend, but if you prefer to save money by purchasing your oils undiluted, you can mix a couple drops with some almond or coconut oil and place on your body. The best places to do this are your neck and your feet. You can also purchase a diffuser or even place a few drops on your pillow.
A Calming Routine
Studies show that there are huge benefits to having a night time routine, so I decided to create one of my own. My routine consists of a shower or bath, a cup of tea and a few chapters of a book. I've found that this signals to my body that it's time to wind down and I've been able to fall asleep so much better.
Turn Off The Tech!
If you're anything like myself, chances are, you use your phone or tablet to help you fall asleep. From scrolling through updates to reading on a Kindle, the blue-light from our devices actually hurts our chances of getting a good night's sleep. Make a pact to put the phone down. If you absolutely must read before bed, try a good old fashioned physical copy of a book and a bedside lamp. Or, purchase a device that has a built-in blue-light blocker (Most Kindle Fires!).
Natural supplements like melatonin have given many sleepless people awesome results. You can easily find these at your local drugstore and they have no harmful side effects. Do your research and find a supplement that works for you!
Your sleep affects more than you think! Without sleep, your mind gets groggy, you have a hard time losing weight and your attitude goes downhill. How do you make sure you get enough rest?
We've all heard of those parents who have unrealistically high expectations. Maybe you were even raised by them! While we all want our kid's to succeed in life, there is such a thing as placing too much pressure on them. Here are a few realistic expectations you can have:
Be a Good Friend
Be kind to other children. Share. Treat other kids with respect. Those are some of the things that a good friend is made of. Emphasizing the importance of being a good friend will make loving people be second nature to your child.
When your child makes a mistake, expect them to take responsibility for it and own up to what they've done wrong. Expect them to say sorry and to make things right the best way they can.
It's realistic to expect your child to help with the household chores. After all, they live there too! Even a two-year-old can do basic things like clean up their toys and help make their bed. A lot of parents like to give allowances for the completion of these chores to sweeten the deal a bit.
Respect their Teachers
I've heard so many horror stories from teachers who get disrespected on a daily basis. They get sassed, sworn at, things are thrown at them..you wouldn't believe the things these teachers endure! Teach your child to respect their teachers. Teach them to help their teacher where they can and to not join in the disrespectful attitude that their peers have.
Stand Up For the UnderdogI'm sure if you ask your child, they'll tell you that they've witnessed some form of bullying. Bullying is a hot topic in many chat rooms and forums, but we rarely talk about it in our homes. Expect your child to stand up for those who are being bullied. This doesn't mean coming to their defense every time the underdog gets a mean word thrown their way, but rather befriending those kids. It means that your child helps include them and make them feel loved. It also means that your child tells someone in charge when they witness bullying.
What things do you expect from your children during the school year? The best way to make sure your expectations are known is to communicate them!
If your child has been back to school for, say, a week..chances are you've heard the lunchbox woes. The longing for sugary treats, for that extra something special to make the day go faster. It's especially trying for little ones whose parents are health-conscious. Just because you don't give into every snack food fad doesn't mean that you can't make your child's lunchbox sparkle. Here are a few ideas that don't involve a lot of sugar!
This might seem cliche', but kids absolutely adore finding notes of encouragement in their lunches! I've written notes with prayers for their day, wishing them lunch on a test, or a note acknowledging something good they've done recently. Other great ideas include jokes or a word puzzle.
This is an extra fun surprise and it's a great way to really show your child that you're paying attention to their individual taste. Pencils, stickers, temporary tattoos, erasers, lip balms and lotion don't cost a lot. My tip: Stock up when you see these items on sale!
Healthy TreatsIf your children absolutely MUST HAVE a sweet treat, there are healthier ways you can go about it. Here're a few suggestions:
- Apples with yogurt "dip"
- Homemade granola bars
- A protein bar
- Veggies cut into fun shapes with ranch to dip
- Protein Balls made with peanut butter, honey, oatmeal and a few chocolate chips
- Sugar-free cookies or candy
- A special smoothie packed in a thermos
The Bento Factor
If you can't join them, beat them! The Bento box fad is at it's prime right now, with so many cute ideas. A Bento box is a plastic lunch container that you can find either online or in general stores like Wal-Mart. It has a lot of compartments which means that you can fit a lot of different things in there! Think of it as a more sophisticated version of a Lunchable. If you want to get extra fancy you can get ideas from Pinterest to make themed lunches.
Lunchtime doesn't have to be a source of conflict in your home! With these simple tips, your child can be the envy of the cafeteria while still getting the nutrients they need. What was your favorite lunchtime treat? What ideas are you going to use for this year's lunchbox goodies?