"Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which all loveliness arises." -Pedro Calderon de la Barca.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Getting Kids Out!

Disclosure: This post is the the second in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program.  I am doing this because I believe in their mission.  Everything expressed will be my own opinion. #ARBB


It seems like in the age we live in that we have to pry ourselves away from technology.  
Adults and teens are always checking something "important" on a cell phone or lap top.
At home and school kids are glued to game consoles or TV.   
We're so paranoid of strangers we don't let them play outside without us. 

We've been trying to get outside as a family at least one day a week.
Arkansas has so many beautiful parks and trails!
This past week we went on a slow hike on the Two Rivers Park trail.

What do you see?

A few bottles of water, some snacks in a backpack, and the family was all we needed for a fun Sunday stroll.

With the older kids we played some games as we walked:

One was "What living creatures do you see or see evidence of?"
(They found people, dogs, butterflies, bees, wasps, spiders, and trails that deer had made.)

We also played "What shapes can you find?"
(My son saw vertical lines in the pine trees, angles in the bent branches and grass, spheres in the berries.)

Their favorite game was "If you were stranded in the forest, what could you eat?"
(This gave us a good discussion on what was and wasn't edible and we took pictures to research berries and mushrooms.)

They ran and climbed trees.

For the baby there was so much to see, and hear, and smell.  Learning with all the senses.





But the best part was that we had fun as a family together! 


Did you know that studies have shown that children who play outdoors have less stress and anxiety, better cognitive development, lessened ADHD symptoms, better vision, and more Vitamin D?


Other great ideas to get your kids outside NOW:

  • Blow bubbles 
  • Lie on a blanket and name shapes in the clouds
  • Watch the birds at a bird feeder
  • Plant a garden or help with a community garden
  • Splash in a puddle together
  • Make a designated "NO TECHNOLOGY" day 
  • Catch fireflies in a jar
  • Find some constellations in the stars or have them name their own

More great ideas for Outdoor Fun can be found HERE on the Arkansas Better Beginnings website!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

On Reading to Babies (or It's Never too Early)

I adore reading.
My kids also love a good book, maybe because we started reading to them from day one 
(and even before!)  They all read very early, and honestly the only thing I did the same was to read to them constantly. 
Kiddos at the Hilary Rodham Clinton Children's Library

You can make reading to your baby an on-going game by: 
  • Having siblings read to each other 
  • Reading cookbooks or food labels aloud while cooking
  • Pointing to pictures and words in magazines or while opening mail   
  • Giving them soft or board books to play with during tummy time
  • Reading signs aloud when driving
  • Reading your own books/magazine/newspaper aloud when nursing or feeding baby
  • Attending story-times at your local library or bookstore

Aimee loved this book at our library visit.  
I read "One.  One blue ball.  One baby.  Baby girl, like you! "  
She really liked this page, so we read it a few times and she was done with the book.   At four months her attention span isn't very long but every moment counts!

Remember that hearing your voice is what makes the learning experience.  You don't have to read the exact words on the page, or finish the whole book to make it a valuable lesson! 



This beautiful, green-build library not only has great books but a theater, classrooms, teaching kitchen,  greenhouse, craft rooms, computer lab, and walking trails! 

I'm proud to be an Arkansas Better Beginnings Ambassador!  They have great resources for parents, families, and care givers on their website here.  

This Saturday (August 23, 2014) they are offering a breastfeeding seminar at the Mosaic Templars Museum in Little Rock.  Register for the event on their website above. 

*FTC Disclaimer: As an ambassador for Arkansas Better Beginnings, I am compensated for some posts. However, I am doing this because I believe in their mission. Anything that I write will be my own, original, genuine thoughts. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Maternity Shirts to Baby Dress!

I had a few maternity shirts with those lovely belly stains on them... 
in other words "not fit to donate or sell."  
Looking at the shirts I thought that there was a lot of nice, soft, material in a maternity t-shirt, and the backs of the shirts were perfectly fine
so I started searching for free patterns on Pinterest.  
  
Now, I am not an expert at sewing so I wanted something very easy to get back in the swing of things.  
Found this one for a baby Cap Sleeve Dress on Shwin & Shwin that was adorable and thought I'd give it a try.
Cutting out Bodice from Maternity T's
(was debating putting those molas on the dress)

Aimee is 4 months old tomorrow, but large for her age.  She's about 15# and 29" long so she's wearing a 6 month size in most everything, even larger in some because of her height.  This free pattern was a size 12-18 month, but looking at it I didn't think it was that huge so I made it to size.

I used the backs of two maternity t shirts in the end, a teal green one and a purple one.
For the skirt I didn't follow the pattern because it didn't fit on any of the shirts right.   I ended up taking the purple t shirt and just cutting off the bottom of it all the way around (about 10 inches long) and then gathering that and sewing it on the bodice.

My first attempt revealed that the bodice was way too long as well as the skirt, but width was fine.

"Mom, this is too big!" 
So, I cut the skirt off the bodice and cut length off of both, then resewed.

This was perfect.  BUT, my stitching wasn't very straight and seam showed on skirt...
SO
I used the binding that had been around the top of the teal v-neck t shirt and cut it off to make a belt of sorts.  I stitched it on using a decorative stitch on my machine and black thread.  I left the ends hanging like a real belt, and then made a fabric flower out of the purple fabric.
Floppy Flower and Belt Detail 

To make the flower I just cut the end of a sleeve off at about three inches
then folded it and sewed a basting stitch and gathered it into a rough flower.  Then I stitched those stitches together on the back and hand stitched it on, gathering where I thought it needed it.

I think she likes it! 
It was really quite easy to work with jersey.  I'd been scared to try but think making t-shirts for her would be so simple.  I have several other dresses cut out from patterns I'm making myself, so I'll keep you posted!
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