Winter Activity for Children

P1010383The sweetest, and arguably the most difficult, time of year occurs between mid- December to early- January. We busy ourselves with holiday preparations, cooking and baking, gift making and gift giving, family gathering and traveling, and not to forget the regular every-day chores of laundry, cleaning and meal preparing.

This is also the time of year when our children are not in school for four-to- six hours per day, five days a week. Very quickly, without a routine, they become anxious, bored, frustrated, and temperamental. Who can blame them? Each one of us would have difficulty if our lives drastically change over night.

Many of these negative feelings can be prevented, and temper-tantrums can be avoided, with a little bit of planning. Here is one activity suggestion that can induce family bonding, and not whining, for a morning or afternoon during the winter school break.

I am warning you now… This Winter Activity for Children post will be picture heavy. 🙂

What you will need:

One large pine cone per child

Peanut Butter

Bird Seed

Cake pan to place seed in

Yarn or other type of string to tie around onecone

What to do:

Go for a walk with your children where you know there are conifer (evergreen) trees. This can be at a park, a playground, a school, near any commercial building or along a country road. Gather more fallen pine cones from the ground under the trees, especially if the cones are closed, than you think you will need. This will give you a better selection to choose from when you begin your project at home.

Take home your pine cones and tie a 12- 18 inch piece of yarn around the widest portion of the pine cone, being sure to leave a “tail” to tie around a tree branch a little later. Next, “frost” the open pine cones with smooth peanut butter (this will be messy, and children will love it!), and then roll or sprinkle the frosted pine cones with your bird seed over a cake pan. Again, this part can–sorry, I mean, will–be messy. The cake pan will help contain the mess of little seeds rolling about the kitchen. Lastly, hang the peanut butter frosted and bird seed sprinkled pine cones outside on a tree branch to give our feathered friends a treat.

Thinking of giving this winter activity as a gift? Here is an adorable FREE poem to give with the pine cone, seed and yarn in a bag: Winter Activity for Children .

Rolling "Frosted" pine cone in bird seed.

Rolling “Frosted” pine cone in bird seed.

Sprinkling extra bird seed onto peanut butter covered pine cones.

Sprinkling extra bird seed onto peanut butter covered pine cones.

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Completed pine cone in need of yarn. Was it difficult to tie yarn around the pine cone after it was coated in bird seed? YES! I suggest working with the yarn earlier in the activity.

A second completed pine cone hanging form the tree.

A second completed pine cone hanging form the tree.

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Completed pine cone hanging in the tree.

  Thanks for stopping by! Please share your thoughts and comments below… I’d love to hear form ya!

Love ya,

Kristen

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Creative Decorating for Valentine’s Day

For the last few years I make the 14 Days of Valentines for my sweet hubby celebrating the fourteen days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Though my sweet hubby LOVES finding a surprise gift every day, and then shares with the world what he got, I only create the 14 Days of Valentines every other year to keep it fun and unexpected.

So what do I do on the “off” years?

Flower arrangements, candy heart boxes, and re-used white Christmas lights with red garland. All of the displays were beautiful, and no one would fault me re-creating anyone of those displays again. I feel happiest, though, when I can make something new and exciting for my family.

This year the theme is Candy & Sweets.

We recently moved to a new house that has an adorable fireplace mantel. When I explained my idea to the children about decorating the mantel with lots and lots of candy, each one of them became very excited to help gather the list of supplies we needed for this most unusual event (candy is not common in their diets).

With a short trip to the local Thrift Store to pick up a few vases (I like square-shaped vases… more contemporary) and to the local Winco grocery store to pick up candy and sweets in bulk, we had the makings of a great mantle. Add a paper-heart garland (click here for how-to directions by Crafty Betty Joana) and the mantel is complete.

Project CostsIMAG0368

4 Varieties of Candy: $11

3 Vases (I already owned two): $7

2 Scrapbooking Papers: $0.99

Total: $19

It only took an hour to create this look (this includes making the garland) with the help of my four-year-old daughter. And the best part? We (they, actually) can eat the decorations all month long! This makes for happy children and a happy hubby.

Valentine’s Day Candy, Shiny Glass Vases and Paper Garland: $19

Valentine’s Day Candy, Shiny Glass Vases and Paper Garland: $19

How My Four-Year-Old Daughter Changed My Perspective

Journal entry, January 22nd

“It’s no secret in our family that I’ve been considering a career in medicine for the last two years. Earlier today I was a little upset to learn that a friend is now considering medical school. I was upset, not because she is planning to go, but because I will not be going” due to a recent choice to make Motherhood my career over pursuing Medicine–a career that would take me away from the home. This decision, though I knew it to be best for the family, was difficult. My negative attitude toward my friend’s new choice showed me that I wasn’t yet convinced in my own decision.

The journal entry continues:

“Later today, however, I had a conversation with [my daughter] that opened my eyes. We were in the truck waiting in the bank drive-thru for the teller to complete the deposit. [My daughter] said, ‘Momma, when I’m a big mommy, I want to drive a van.’

Appalled at the notion of driving a mini-van, I gasped, ‘Why?!’

‘Because I want to drive around with all my babies. I want to have lots of babies.’ [She] continued to share with me her vision of her future with four children, two girls and two boys, and her plans to be a good mommy.

What happened to me? To society? As little girls we played with and cared for our baby dolls as if they were our real children. We mimicked the things our mother did and dreamed about the time when we too could be a mother.

And now? We tell our daughters they can be anything they want to be, but do we ever encourage them to pursue that most sacred role of mother? Motherhood is frowned upon and belittled by society. ‘Anyone can do it’ is the general feeling amongst women today, and yet, no one is doing it. We commonly choose to leave our children’s care in the hands of another. As women, we think the only way we can feel fulfilled with a sense of purpose is to do something, ANYTHING, but be a mother.

As I tried to explain my choice to be a full-time mother over becoming a doctor to my friend earlier in the day, prior to my conversation with my daughter, she said, ‘Wow! That sounds hard.’ Yes, it is hard (see: Motherhood:The Truth). ”

My four-year-old daughter and her two brothers provide me with ample opportunities everyday to teach me patience, long-suffering and fortitude.

They also teach me how to be a better nurturer. As Julie B. Beck, 15th President of The Relief Society, said in a speech given in October 2007 about mothers and their roles as nurturers:

“To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers… create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore… women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a “house of order,” and women should pattern their homes after the Lord’s house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women.”

My daughter’s willingness and excitement to be a mother caused me to reflect about the person I want to be, which is the theme of the Sherlock’s Home blog for 2013 (see: 2012: A Year of Self Discovery).

Conclusion of journal entry:

“What other job exists that allows me to work with God, following the example of Jesus Christ, with the Holy Ghost as my constant companion? Where else can I directly impact the eternal life of another person(s) and learn important skills & values in the process?

This day I learned that I should encourage my daughter to do and be anything, including and especially, to be a mother. Thank you [daughter] for teaching me.”