Activity: Make a Mr. Shape Scarecrow with Education.com

Nothing says “Fall” like a spectacularly spooky scarecrow! And if you pay attention, you can see them everywhere this time of year. You can point them out to your child at the grocery store or in neighbor’s yards. This Halloween, you and your child make one of your own using some old clothes and a little creativity. Your child will practice his shape recognition along the way and he’ll get to see his scarecrow come to life. Not to mention he’ll be doing some serious recycling while he’s at it!

What You Need:

  • Paper plate
  • Markers
  • Popsicle stick
  • Glue
  • Yellow yarn or construction paper for hair
  • Fabric scraps or construction paper
  • Tape
  • Old long-sleeved shirt, pair of pants, and gloves
  • Straw hat
  • Lots of plastic bags for stuffing
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper or newspaper (optional)
  • Safety pins

 

What You Do:

  • Help your child stuff the clothes with the plastic bags. The most effective way to do this is to scrunch the plastic bags into balls and then stuff them into the clothes. Do this until you have filled out the clothes completely so that they’ve got some body to them.
  • Add gloves to the ends of the sleeves. You can stuff the gloves with tissue paper if you like, or just leave them empty. You can attach them to the ends of the sleeves with safety pins.
  • While you’re making your scarecrow, talk to your child about the different shapes he sees within the scarecrow. Does he see any triangles? Are there any circles? Or squares?
  • Using markers, have your child draw a face on the paper plate. He can make it as scary or as friendly as he likes! Glue or tape a popsicle stick to the bottom of the back of the plate to hold the “head” up.
  • Help your child cut different sized strips of yellow construction paper for hair or use yellow yarn. Glue onto the plate.
  • Place the popsicle stick head into the neck of the shirt. You might need to reinforce it with some more scrunched-up plastic bags. Add a straw hat on top. You can stuff the hat with some newspaper as well if you like.
  • Ask your child to name some shapes. Help him draw them on paper or fabric. Have your child cut them out. These will be the patches for the scarecrow’s clothing.
  • Tape the patches all over your scarecrow’s clothes.
  • Sit your scarecrow outside in a visible place for all to enjoy! This makes for a great Halloween decoration to ward off those crows and any other unwanted guests!

*This guest post is courtesy of Education.com and this activity is exclusive to Crunchy on the Weekend!

The Chore of Cleaning: 5 Quick Tips

the-chore-of-cleaning

Cleaning. We all have to do it, and most of us, don’t enjoy it. If you’re a parent (especially of little ones), it can sometimes be nearly impossible to keep the house clean and straightened up. I’ve finally gotten to the point to where I can kind of accept the house being a total disaster so I can take a break here and there. Ideal? No. But, sometimes necessary.
 
When I do need to clean, I prefer it to be as painless as possible! In the past, I used a cleaning schedule. I know, it sounds horrible, but, it’s not! Check out some of my quick tips below and also find out what my new favorite cleaning product is- it’ll change the way you clean!

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The Art of Marriage With Kids

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Marriage after kids is a completely different animal compared to marriage before kids. Marriage is hard work and takes effort. If someone tells you otherwise, don’t believe it. And, don’t believe every photo and tweet and post on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow us to share only a sliver of our life with others, and let’s be honest, we always show the best of the best instead of our worst. It’s easy to see others with a “perfect” life and feel jealous. Always remember that nothing is perfect. Having a solid, real marriage with bumps and imperfections is more important than trying to look the best on your Instagram.

My husband and I had a pretty solid relationship before welcoming our daughter into the world. We weren’t perfect and never wanted to be and we still aren’t. He puts up with my stubbornness and indecisiveness. I put up with his everything (ha!) :)

After bringing a child into the world, we were in this new unchartered territory of our relationship. Some days, it felt like we were just totally out of sync and couldn’t stand each other and other days, I felt like I was going to completely burst with the love in my heart. Add in some postpartum depression and anxiety and it could get WEIRD. But, throughout all of those huge adjustments, my heart full of bursting love wins each day no matter what, even if I’m not the best at showing it.

Throwing kids into the mix makes certain aspects of marriage trickier than before, but, it is so crucial to focus on your marriage and relationship so you can teach your little ones about some important qualities in a strong, healthy relationship. It’s a constant effort and we’re still trying to figure it out, but, we TRY to remember to do the things below! We’re working on all of these and it’s sometimes a struggle to fit them into our schedule. That’s real life though! It’s always a work in progress, and, taking baby steps is better than no steps at all.

For a simple, printable list (without descriptions) of the following, click here!

Date each other– just because you’re married now doesn’t mean you should stop dating each other. Make sure you set time aside each week, month, whatever, for just the two of you- no kids, no distractions. You don’t have to go out every time or spend a ridiculous amount of money. Stay in, order pizza, get some beers, and watch a movie or play video games. Make a nice dinner together and snuggle on the couch with a drink afterwards. Enjoy each other without any distractions- simple as that.

Unwind together– we’re still working on this and trying to make it a routine. Find something comforting and relaxing that you can enjoy together at the end of the day. Lately, we’ve been using our new electric kettle (AMAZING- thanks Rosewill for creating this amazing kettle that we use every day!) to enjoy a cup or two of tea in the evening after our kiddo has gone to bed. Even if we watch TV while drinking it, it’s still something we’re sharing. It’s amazingly relaxing and helps you to unwind after a long day of life and having to be an adult!

Exercise together– this is another one we are working on. My body is a mess so we’ve decided that some light yoga is a good start so I don’t kill myself ;) We’ve tried once so far and it was an epic failure trying to do some relaxing yoga with a rambunctious toddler slapping us in the face and tickling us when we have our eyes closed…not our best plan. However, for me, I push myself harder and put more effort in when I’m working out with my love. He motivates me and that is extremely important.

Pray together– if you are religious, this is something that will bring you so much closer. It’s awkward at first and it’s still awkward for us, because, neither one of us is an out-loud prayer. Knowing what’s weighing heavy on your partner’s mind is huge, and, seeking God together is an extremely bonding act. We also enjoy doing devotional plans through the YouVersion app- there are a ton of plans for every aspect of marriage. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend watching “War Room”- whether you have the strongest marriage out there or your marriage is about to break its last thread, watch it. I can guarantee you will take something from it that can only do good for you and your partner.

Talk together– simple as that. Don’t just have the typical day-to-day conversations. REALLY talk WITH each other. Discuss things you’re passionate about. Discuss your fears and troubles. Discuss the joy in your life. Discuss real life and how it isn’t exactly how you pictured it, but, you’re still grateful and blessed. After we had our daughter, she was nursing non-stop and sleep was not on our radar. Instead of me being awake by myself nursing her, my husband would get up, too, and we honestly had some of the greatest talks and discussions during those late night/middle of the night feedings. We learned so much about each other and ourselves. That was one of my absolute favorite things after bringing our sweet girl home.

Support & respect each other– this is a hugely important aspect of any relationship. It’s not always easy to remember because daily life moves in and we forget that our partners need more than just hugs, kisses, and other physical affection (although very important also!). Try to remember to build your partner up. Ask what is weighing heavily on their mind or if there is something they need from you. It means more than you think.

Make time for *ahem* “the fun stuff”– But seriously, physical intimacy is an important aspect of marriage. It is bonding in a completely different way. Make time for it because it is extremely important to nurture that bond and special aspect of your marriage.

Never stop working on your marriage– this one is hard, because, some days, it is really easy to get lost in the everyday routine. Even if you think you have the strongest marriage in the world, you can always benefit from cultivating an even greater amount of love and understanding in your relationship. Cherishing your bond is crucial. If you’re not working on your relationship, it becomes easy to turn into “roommates” versus spouses and partners in life.

Check out the following info-graphic with the most recent marriage figures thanks to For Your Marriage!

Click to enlarge :)

Marriage Snapshot in the U.S.

 

Marriage is a daily work in progress. You’ll have “off” days, good days, terrible days, and amazing days. All that matters is how you handle each day and how you can improve on yourself and your marriage.

What is your favorite part of marriage? What do you struggle the most with? I’d love to hear it! :)

 

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Must Have Apps for Preschool & Kindergarten + GIVEAWAY

Must Have Apps for

*GIVEAWAY! 5 lucky winners will win a 90- Day Subscription Pass to the PlayKids App! Click here to enter!*

Before we got pregnant, and, once we did get pregnant, I swore I would not let our kiddo play with unnecessary technology at a young age. Television? No way! Play on my iPhone? Not a chance! 

And then, reality set in. It started with a quick episode of Sid the Science Kid so I could get the dishes done without a million interruptions. Next, I downloaded a drawing app on the iPad and my iPhone so my daughter could scribble to her heart’s content! “75% of kids have access to a “smart” mobile device at home!”

Now, let’s be honest. Parenting is a much different game once you’re actually THE PARENT and you have a kiddo who needs you every minute of the day. You can say you won’t do “this” or “that” as much as you want, but, I can guarantee you will break that promise to yourself more than once. The best part? IT’S OKAY. Seriously. Yes, you should limit the screen time, but, your kiddo won’t be scarred for the rest of their life because they watched a few episodes of Bubble Guppies so you could keep your sanity :) You do what you have to do! 

So, when our daughter DOES watch television or play on our phones, it’s not just whatever she wants. We always choose the more educational shows that either teach skills, morals, lessons, or things like colors, etc. Also, screen time should NEVER replace good ole’ playin’ outside and getting fresh air!

By the way, she LOVES calculators so when she comes up to me and says “Calc? Calc?” in her sweet baby toddler voice…I open the calculator up and she balances our check book and budget. Just kidding ;) A mom can dream right?

Now that she is getting older and learning everything around her, we wanted to branch out and find some more educational apps appropriate for her age! Our top favorite- PlayKids. It’s educational shows, activities, books, and music all rolled into one. AMAZING.

So, which apps are the best for your little ones who want to know everything they can? Check them out below!

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1.) PlayKids* by Movile Internet Movel S.A.- FREE w/in-app purchases & subscriptions: Best for children ages 3 & up!

This is our favorite app. Our daughter LOVES it and I feel good about letting her use it. We use it as a positive “treat” throughout the day and at potty time. 

– Kid Safe & COPPA Certified 
– Education Shows & Videos
– Developmental Games & Puzzles
– Books, Nursery Rhymes, & Lullabies
– Language Learning

Kids will be able to play games that help develop important skills such as motor coordination, memory, language development, and school-age skills. This app is also always ad-free which is great as a parent- no worrying that your kiddo is seeing inappropriate ads or that they will end up downloading something they shouldn’t! The entire app is age-appropriate all the time. It also supports offline access–perfect for car rides or trips to grandma’s. You can download it free and they also have a full subscription so you can view EVERYTHING. This app is so easy to use and has customization for your kids.

We’ve been using it for a few weeks now and my 20 month old daughter’s understanding of so many things has improved dramatically. I think she’s a smarty pants anyways, but, this app definitely helps reinforce what we teach her. We also use the PlayKids app for potty time! Our daughter expressed interest in her potty early on so we always gently encouraged it. Lately, she goes “shi-shi” and “doo-doo” in the mornings right after she wakes up. Toddlers are not known for being patient or for staying put so I’ve been using the app to keep her occupied long enough to sit. She gets to listen to a few audiobooks or watch an episode of Daniel Tiger while she goes potty and I get a chance to do my morning face wash and other things! 

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2.) AlphaTots Alphabet by Spinlight Studio- $2.99 

The alphabet is one of the first things we teach our kids. This app uses action words to teach the letters of the alphabet. Not only are letters reinforced, language skills can become stronger as your kids learn more new words! This app has “26 fun preschool puzzles and mini-games that helps kids learn the alphabet!”
• An engaging alphabet sing-a-long song.
• An interactive alphabet that helps kids recite their ABCs.
• Upper- and lowercase versions of every letter.

3.) Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings by PBS Kids- $2.99

Little kids usually have big emotions and they don’t always know how to express them in the best way. When your kiddos are interacting with other kiddos and adults, it’s important that they can share how they’re feeling in a positive and constructive way. This Daniel Tiger app helps young kids learn about different emotions and how to handle them. With several games and activities, your kids will be “grr-ific” at expressing themselves! 

4.) Park Math by Duck Duck Moose- $1.99

Math is an extremely important subject growing up and it seems that it’s only gotten more difficult for our kiddos! This app focuses on numbers, counting, addition, subtraction, sorting and patterns by using several fun activities. Park Math was created for kids ages 2 through 7 so it’s extremely versatile! This app makes math fun to learn for kids!

5.) Word Wagon by Duck Duck Moose- $1.99

Spelling tests are introduced early on for kids in school! I clearly remember studying for spelling tests, and, when you’re a little kid, that can be kind of intimidating! Word Wagon focuses on letter names, sounds and spelling of 4 and 6 letter words. This is a great app for kids 2-7 as it focuses on easier words and then more difficult ones. A great tool for your kiddos while they’re in school!

 

Have you heard of any of these apps or used them before?
Tell me about your favorite educational app(s)! :)

 

PlayKids App Giveaway
If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers
*I received a complimentary subscription to PlayKids in return for an honest review of the app. All opinions are my own and I received no other compensation. 

Sprouting Threads- A Mom’s New Best Friend + GIVEAWAY!

Our kids need to wear clothes…well, at least need to be clothed in public (I’m lacking in patience for disapproving stares just as much as the next mama)…and Sprouting Threads is changing the way parents shop for their kids’ clothes.

How many times have you bought an adorable new outfit for your kiddo, and then, it’s outgrown in a few weeks or months? I mean, kids grow like weeds! I know, as a mom of a toddler, that clothes do not last long in terms of sizes and I feel like this kid has a wardrobe that would fit in the closet of a Kardashian sister. But, she can’t wear half of it because she never.stops.growing.

Sprouting Threads is your solution :) Not only do they have a simple process in place that takes the work off your hands (Woo hoo! Mommy win!), they carry some of the most fashionable and adorable clothing you can find. The BEST thing? You send back the clothing that your kiddo(s) outgrows and you receive a credit towards your next order so you can save money (another mommy win!).

So, here’s the deal!

You head over to Sprouting Threads’ website , enter in your kiddo’s details (you can add more than one kiddo!) and complete their Style Survey (based on your tastes and how you like to dress your kid(s)! It’s quick and gives you a great look into the clothing you will receive- NEW and RETHREADED!

Decide how many outfits you want to receive, if you want ALL NEW threads or 1/2 NEW, 1/2 RETHREADED, and how often (monthly or seasonal). Make sure you read all the terms and details below your choice- you don’t want to miss any of it!

Enter into the Checkout Phase and complete all those fun details that get you one step closer to adorably dressed babes :)

Check out the video below for a visual walkthrough!

 

So, what do you do when those adorably dressed babes no longer fit into those clothes you received a few short months prior?

YOU.SEND.THEM.BACK. 

No, seriously. You send them back to Sprouting Threads as RETHREADED clothes (some restrictions apply such as no stains, tears, excessive wear, and on the acceptable brand list)! Now, another kiddo can get some awesome wear and tear outta the clothes while you get a credit towards more clothes for YOUR kiddo!

Before subscribing, you can send in any qualifying pieces and get a credit towards your first purchase!
YES PLEASE!

You can even send in pieces that aren’t from Sprouting Threads as long as they meet the guidelines! If the pieces aren’t accepted, you have the option of them sending the duds (pun intended) back to you or having them donated! Talk about reuse and recycling :) Eco-friendly is always a huge plus in my book!

Are you hooked yet? I hope so!

The current brands that Sprouting Threads is currently accepting, sending, and rethreading can be found here! They accept over 80 different brands!

If you aren’t sure about a brand or have a question, give the lovely people over at Sprouting Threads a shout at rethread@sproutingthreads.com and they’ll take good care of ya!

Now, are you ready for the BEST part of this entire post!? 

One lucky person (mama, dad, gramma, aunt, grampa, whoever you may be!) is going to win a box from Sprouting Threads with the following:

2 (two) outfits- 1/2 New & 1/2 Rethreaded
Valued at $100.00!

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Enter below and good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Details: Giveaway begins at 5:00am Mountain Time on Friday, May 22, 2015 and ends at 11:59pm on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Prize Details: Free box from Sprouting Threads with 2(two) outfits (1/2 new clothing, 1/2 rethreaded clothing). Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email as well as posted to our social media and blog accounts:
Facebook.com/CrunchyontheWeekend
Twitter.com/CrunchyWeekend
Instagram.com/CrunchyontheWeekend
Pinterest.com/CrunchyontheWee
www.CrunchyontheWeekend.com

Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that Crunchy on the Weekend is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. I have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. I will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you in obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify Crunchy on the Weekend within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or WordPress are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

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