All posts filed under: Cute & Simple (Friday)

Cute & Simple: Camp Invention

By Leslie Lindsay It has been a week of math, science, fun, creativity, and critical thinking for my 6 year-old.  “Camp Invention” was the place for my spritely redhead who loves inventing and creating.  A national program, a subgrop of Invent Now, this creative and motiving team of teachers, volunteers, and junior camp counselors made this an enriching week of hands-on problem-solving and brain-storming.  Held at a local elementary school and sponsored in part by our school district, I was more than pleased when my budding inventor asked, “Mom, can I do this again next summer?!”  Running like a school day–starting bright and early around 8:45pm and lasting till the quintessential 3:30 “school’s out” time frame, the schedule of events was divided neatly into classroom lecture and exploration, including modules (you know we’re talking nerds when the word “module” comes into play!) in wild animals, decoding and dechiphering, atomic journey, power play, and edison’s workshop.  Snacks, lunch, and friends round-out the day. Today was the Inventor’s Showcase, the grand finale in which kiddos lead us …

Cute & Simple: Fathers and Daughters

Just recently, I came across a new author and his book.  It’s perfect for Father’s Day, which is right around the corner.  Of course, I must share. Kevin Renner, who wears many hats, but of late is best known as “father” and “author.”  Inspired by his book, “In Search of Fatherhood: A Mother Lode of Wisdom from the World of Daughterhood,” is his tip lists for fathers and daughters.   Each list presents 10 things a father can do to improve his relationship with his girls and vice versa for daughters to fathers.  I will shorten the list to 5 each, for the sake of space/time/and to keep your interest fresh.  If you like what Mr. Renner has to say, well then…you may just have to run out an buy the book : ) RECOMMENDATION FOR FATHERS: Everything you say communicates.  You knew that already.  But what you do communicates more. Retire now.  Not really.  But know that your daughter really needs you right now, while she’s young. Play catch, hang out, take her to your …

Cute & Simple: Designing a Year-End Keepsake

I don’t know about you, but when my ex-kindergartner bounded off the bus for the last time this past school year, I was suddenly laden with papers, projects, and memories of the school year.  Sure, some are better than others, so I carefully culled through the pile extracting my favorites, therefore winnowing the collection to something a bit more manageable.  And now–well, I am in the process of arranging them in a book.  It’s one of those “pre-made” scrapbooks from Hallmark.  I found it on sale a year or more ago for something absurdly cheap.  I snatched it up.  I kept it for this purpose.  What’s inside?  Name, school attended, grade First day of school memories Information and photo of teacher Information about classmates (photos, how many, why I like, who I like) Stuff in my desk, who I sit by, what I like most about my desk Favorite subjects and why…favorite unit (Kate’s was the baby chick unit) School holiday celebrations (add photos) Field Trips (add photos) Birthday Party if celebrated at school Last …

Cute & Simple: Poolside Blues

There is nothing relaxing about going to the swimming pool with two kids.  I know, I just returned from a trip to the cool blue waters.  Perhaps it’s because yesterday was the last day of school and excitement is running high.  Maybe it’s because at home I have a smattering of dirty lunch boxes, backpacks, and mounds of masterpieces to deal with.  Perhaps it’s because I still haven’t unpacked last night’s picnic remants.  I don’t know…but I do know that there is nothing cute nor simple about the convergence of school and summer.  So, for the last week or so (since Memorial Day), my oldest daughter has been begging to return to the pool.  About 5 times a day she inquires about it.  Then add in the fact that she wishes to attempt the “big slide” for the first time.   She asks about that about once every 10 minutes.  But she is smart enough to phrase her questions differently each time.  As we were getting organized in the locker room of the pool, I could see …

Cute & Simple: A bus driver surprise

As a parent of a full-day kindergartner, I was a bit apprehensive about plopping my first-born on a big yellow bus.  But that all changed when I got to know Ms. Jayne, the bus driver.  Calling us ahead of time–in the days leading up to the first day of school–leaving a detailed message about how she was excited to be my daughter’s bus driver, the time and location of pick-up, as well as giving us her cell phone number, my anxieties eased.  Ms. Jayne is always friendly, right on time, (waits a minute if we are lagging behind), and almost always has a smile on her face.  She has been patient and kind with kids who aren’t always patient and kind.  She gets to know the kids on her route, the names of their parents (and younger siblings!), and she even rescues left-behind items–a shoe, a jacket, a scarf…”Is this Kate’s?!” she’ll say to me as she dangles a hair accessory out the bus door.  So, it’s no surprise that we had to do something to …

Cute & Simple: Preserving Memories

The end of the schoolyear is amongst us.  All differnt types of parents have all different  reactions to the “end-of-times.”  I fall squarely into the great-now-what-am-I-gonna-do-with-this-ball-of-energy-I-call-my-daughter-for-90-days?!  Easy.  She’s going to YMCA day camp.  (Yes, I finally got the tedious paperwork completed to send her).  But, that doesn’t mean I’m a completely hands-off parent.  In fact, my energetic 6-year old is also very crafty.  Something we have in common!  Sooo….with that in mind, we plan to make some creative art projects using all of last year’s art work.   Your child is likely bringing home lots of projects as they clean out desks and classrooms in preparation for the end of the school year.  Save them.  Set them aside.  Mark a date on your calendar to do something with them.  Here are some ideas: Turn them into placemats.  Get large paper, about 18″ x 12″ and make a collage, sticking with a theme, with her favorite pieces of art. Take it to an office suppy store and laminate for about $2-4. Don’t be afraid to cut apart projects …

Cute & Simple: Hair Accessory Chaos

If you are a parent of little girls who have hair–long or short, then you are probably all too familiar with the hair accessory chaos.  It has taken over my home and car…and sometimes even my bread drawer!  In fact, just today I retrieved two teeny-tiny hair clips that were wedged into the cupholder of my Honda (along with a plastic ring and a Squinkies bubble).  Sigh…. My first suggestion to  my daughter was, “Maybe it’s time to get your hair cut?”  “Noooo!!!” She screamed as she grabbed her head, cradling it between her hands as though the volume of my request was too loud (not the case–it was her displeasure of the prospect of a haircut that was too loud).  “Okay,” I sighed.  “Then we need to do something about this hair junk being left all over the house.  I am tired of picking it up.”  She agreed, but she didnt’t really help.  At least not until recently.  Not until she saw how cute and simple it was.  When I was perusing the aisles at …

Cute & Simple: A Painted Party

We had a fantab-ulous time at Color Me Mine in Naperville, IL for my daughter’s 6th birthday.  Here are some photos of the shin-dig, along with some crafty ideas you can re-create for your own child’s party.  My daughter and I especially had fun with the pencil-crazy-band favor she handed out to her classmates at school.  Most schools these days have a “no food” policy in place.  What’s a parent to do?  I typed up a quick little ditty on the computer–adding fun fonts and text color, adhered them to cardstock, securing to the pencil with a crazy band.  Done!  She’s already looking at pencil designs for next year’s pencil favor.  Other ideas: Make a bookmark out of cardstock, stickers, and markers (you can also purchase pre-cut bookmarks for less than $3 for a pack of 12+).  Tiny containers of Play-Doh with a label indicating the birthday child’s name and age Gel-clings appropriate for the season–look at the dollar store or dollar section of Target for small, individually-wrapped packages, or cut large sheets of them …

Cute & Simple: Painted Invites

Party time for my first born is just around the corner and I have been crafting yet another masterpiece.  I got this idea by flipping through a summer camp catalog for art classes. Since my little Picasso is asking for a painting/art party for her 6th year, I stuck with the theme as I created these pretty simple invites.  Here’s what I did: Purchased inexpensive plastic artist’s pallets at Michaels Found card stock in the colors of the rainbow (Thank you, Roy G. Biv) Punched them out with a paper punch found in the scrapbooking supplies Hand-lettered all of the party information on the punched out “paint” chips Secured them into the pallet with hot glue (no other adhesive seemed to work–I tried) I slipped the invitations into clear cellophane bags, sprinkled some swirled confetti inside (looks sort of like paint), added a paintbrush (packs of 12 sold for $1!) and tied it together with some coordinating ribbon.  Sure, it took a little time.  I started about 6 weeks ago and worked on them a …

Cute & Simple: Rainy days and Hallmark always make me feel good

I’m not sure if there is anything cute and simple about this cold, dreary, rainy April Fool’s Day.  Unless for you, rainy days are simple days.  They used to be for me.  I used to love a random rainy day so I could feel less guilty about doing my “lazy things.”  A cold rainy day just seems to call, “hot cocoa/tea, a book, and a nap.”  Yes.  Simple.  But not for me.  Not today.  After the normal busy morning running around town getting things done, I was ready for a break.  I love breaks.  It’s just I don’t take them very often.  But I digress.  Kelly and I hopped into the Hallmark store earlier today and I have to say I was utterly amazed at how sweet and thoughtful she was while we shopped.  Aside from the fact that Hallmark is really not the place to bring your 4-year old, she was relatively well-behaved.  We were there looking for a birthday card for Nana.  Kelly wanted to pick it out.  So, after perusing the cards …