Cloth Training Pants

4 Trainers Framed

This past month while grocery shopping at Costco, I became ill. Among my list of needed items were 3 different boxes of diapers together totaling $100.00.

I am traditionally a cloth diaper user. I believe in the savings and environmental benefit. I have used the same set of Bum Genius diapers for a span of four years or more on my three daughters. These have held up great through the years, but alas they finally met their end this past year. They were last graced by the bum of my three year old, who hasn’t worn them for months. She’d grown agitated with the way they fit her busy body and I’d grown agitated with their deteriorating state. So they have been boxed.

I had high hopes for transitioning smoothly from these to underwear with quick potty training. When training wasn’t so quick, I resorted to the ease of paper pull ups for my own sanity.

While standing in Costco, I came to realize that my sanity was costing me a pretty penny. I needed a box of  regular store brand paper diapers to put my three year old in at night. I also needed a box of regular store brand diapers in a newborn size to see my unborn baby through until she is big enough to fit the new cloth diapers I have waiting for her. Neither of these purchases much bothered my frugal senses.

It was those darn pull ups that I had been purchasing every few weeks that made me ill. I knew of a remedy, but it too would be costly. I stood and asked myself, “Should I invest precious time and money into sewing cloth training pants?” I knew the sacrifices required in answering yes. It would mean hours of designing and sitting at my machine. It would also mean some initial investment. I ultimately decided that the wise thing to do would be to make these sacrifices in order to save the family money.

Training Pants Pattern

Since I had enough sense to save the absorbent inserts from my old cloth diapers, the materials I needed to make a set of 7 training pants only cost me around $50 total. Which is the equivalent of a bulk box and a half of the paper pull ups I had been consistently purchasing. I measured my little three year old and used my the shells to my old Bum Geniuses as guides to design my own pattern. After a test run and some tweaking, I had something simple I could mass produce.

I used wick-able stay dry material for the lining and pull fabric for the outer shell. Of course my favorite piece was a notion that I had never used before, but always wanted to try . . .fold over elastic. I was so excited to find these adorable colors to liven up my daughters new pants with! They turned out to be incredibly easy to sew with too.

I purposefully used the thin extra insert from my old cloth diapers as opposed to the thick heavy ones. After a few days of my three year old wearing them, my predictions rung true. A lighter insert was absorbent enough to soak up a light leak, but not enough for a full flow (if you know what I mean). I wanted this. I wanted my daughter to be uncomfortable about wetting herself (down to her socks sometimes) so that she would recognize what an accident was. These training pants provide only enough absorbency for well . . .training. They are certainly not leak proof and hopefully that will speed up the process of getting her potty dependent and permanently in big girl underwear.

So far I have put these new training pants through several washes and they are holding up great. They are also forcing me and my little girl to committing to the potty training process. The paper pulls ups gave us too much room for laziness, since they behaved much like a regular diaper in absorbency. Lord willing I will have number three potty trained soon and only number four to be born will require diapers!

Conjunction . . . junction

5 Conjunctions with clips

Conjunction junction what’s your function? I cannot get that school house rock song out of my head after arranging this activity for my second grader! Ahhhhh! Somebody help! Oh well.

The focus with this activity was obviously to teach about conjunctions found in sentences. Since I am trying to steer away from worksheets and busy bookwork in my approach to education, I make a constant effort to find and create as many “hands on” forms of learning as possible. This isn’t always so easy when it comes English and grammar.

Conjunctions however, proved not as difficult as I thought. I simply printed off 5 conjunctions on card stock paper and hole punched either side of the word. Then I looped colorful paper clips inside the holes. I then typed and printed out a slew of clauses for my little pupil to combine with these conjunctions using the paper clips as fasteners.

Conjunction Sentences

It’s an easy activity that can be done again and again. The time it took to construct the conjunctions was minimal and they can be used and reused. I may have my second grader write her own clauses as well to intensify the concept even more.

All in all I think it’s an activity that will have a lasting impact. Who wouldn’t enjoy and remember colorful paperclips? I know my girls are constantly stealing them out of my drawers to make necklaces and little inventions all the time of their own accord anyhow!

Mini Cupcake Liners Transformed!

Cupcake Liner Steps

I needed a fast and inexpensive DIY project to help make a recent birthday celebration special. Searching online for ideas married with thorough shopping at one of my favorite local craft stores bore my own creation. Basically what you see above is a package of $2.00 mini cupcake liners that have been flattened, sandwiched back to back, and sewn together in a line to form different length streamers. This fun project took all of 15 minutes to construct and another 5 to hang. I accompanied it with some balloons and a quick table centerpiece and was finished in no time. Though it was cheap, it certainly didn’t look that way to me. I will be sure to keep this in my reservoir for the future. The best part about it, is that it was a guilt free throw away!

Cupcake Liner Finished Product

Snowflakes with Rulers

Blue Snow Bordered

Every August through September our local grocery store puts back-to-school items on major discount. This past year I came across a pile of wooden rulers for twenty five cents each. I racked my brain for a crafty use for such a cheap item. I’m ALWAYS on the look out for opportunities such as this, because crafts can be quite pricey and stressful if one is not careful enough.

I eventually came to SNOWFLAKES! Even though the end of summer is a little early to be thinking about blustery weather, I knew that I would thank myself in the blink of an eye for having prepared something ahead of time. So I purchased 16 rulers to stack on top of one another and make 4 snowflakes with. If you include the paint, hot glue, and buttons, this craft came to barely $10.00, which calculates to about $2.50 a snowflake. In my opinion that’s not bad. Especially considering the paint can be (and will be) saved for other projects in the future.

Construction for this project was a cinch. We simply painted on color and glitter, hot glued the layers together at the center once the paint was all dry, and then covered the center hole with a cute coordinating button. It was fun for the girls and fairly stress free for me.

Haikus Bordered

I don’t mind doing a craft for a crafts sake in our homeschooling, but I wanted to take advantage of our time together and teach . . . something. Since my girls already know about the basic wonders of snowflakes, I settled on haikus. We had read a few over this year, including the long one I wrote about cornucopias and I wanted to give them a chance to write their own. It proved to be a great exercise for language in practicing syllables. It was adorable to watch them test sentence after sentence on their little fingers to see if what they came up with would fit five and then seven beats. They did an excellent job in the end with very little help from me, which I’m happy for.

White Snow with Haiku Bordered

Both my five and seven year old wrote out their haikus (which is bonus practice for each of their writing skills) and we hung them from the bottom of their snowflakes with decorative yarn. To show off all of our creations, I attached them to the walls using poster putty. Since the rulers were so light, they stuck very well and to this moment haven’t budged. The snowflakes are right next to our Christmas tree and the glitter sparkles so beautifully in the evening glow of lights. It’s only too bad that these will eventually have to come down again and be stuffed into a baby box!

Snowflakes All Bordered

Thanksgiving Place Mats – Rewritable

Thanksgiving Placemats Title

Well I said there was a craft coming to correlate with my cornucopia history lesson and here it is! I thought it would be an excellent idea to make our own place mats to use on Thanksgiving Day and incorporating the cornucopia or “Horn of Plenty” was a cinch.

Thanksgiving Placemat Supplies

The supplies needed for this project were mostly basic for those who have scrap booking supplies handy. The only things I had to buy were contact paper and colored poster board.

To make the construction of this project more smooth and to save time, I precut all the rectangles, circles, and coloring pictures (including a large cornucopia) my girls would need to layer. They had their hands full enough with gluing and coloring to make for a creative experience. Besides, I doubt my five or two year old would have had the patience all that scissor handling would have required!

The goal was for the place mats to be constructed similarly to the above photo. I put my two year old’s together for her and just let her color away. This kept her involved while at the same time, gave my five and seven year old a visual guide.

Placemat Process

As a perfectionist I can tell you that it took ALL of my self control not to direct my older girl’s placements during gluing. The urge to take over and make sure everything was centered almost conquered the belief that my girls needed to be free to own the experience and practice those skills for themselves. But I kept my distance because I know the genuine work of my children’s hands are precious keepsakes and my involvement would have killed the innocence.

Once my girls were satisfied with their mats, I covered both the front and back with clear contact paper and trimmed it. I was forced to trim tightly to the edges because I had cut the poster board a little large. It’s ideal, however, to have a lip of contact paper all the way around so that liquid spills (which with my girls happens three times daily) do not seep through.

Thanksgiving Placemats Example

The last final touch, which I am so tickled to share, will explain why there are three blank rectangles to the right of the place mats. These are the spaces we created to write down things we are thankful for. Contact paper is compatible with dry erase markers which makes it possible for us to erase and rewrite a new set of “thanks” as often as we want! What child doesn’t like to write and erase? This feature far extended the life of and excitement for the project. Not only that, but many thanks were able to be encouraged and given to our Lord at the perfect time of year!

(See the category Kids Learn – Holiday – Cornucopia Haiku for a breif synopsis of the history of the cornucopia)

 

A Cornucopia Haiku

Image

For Thanksgiving this year I will be teaching my girls about cornucopias. In my research I have learned a lot. I was expecting these to tie into the American Thanksgiving story, but their origin is much older than that. I discovered they are explained in a Greek mythology depicting baby Zeus accidentally breaking off his nursemaid’s (a goat goddess) horn, which in turn poured forth bounty eternally. I found that many historical paintings and statues depict Greek gods or powerful figures holding cornucopias as a sign of plenty. In fact the word cornucopia means “horn of plenty” in Latin.

Even though I intend to give my girls the full truth behind these horns, which have been Americanized into weaved wicker and false fruit decor. I wanted to highlight our faith in the Lord our King and Creator above all. So in a creative moment on this Saturday afternoon a haiku was born. I wrote the following to highlight where true bounty comes from. It’s simple, it’s fun, and I think just right for my second grader and kindergartener.

A Cornucopia Haiku

By: Christina K. Cappon  2013

  There is a large horn,

spilling great bounty for all

who have sincere need.

There are red apples,

quenching thirst with life giving

juice buried inside.

There are green pears,

sitting in misshapen squats,

with freckles abroad.

There are orange pumpkins,

who’s stems droop falling asleep,

dressed in lumps and bumps.

There are purple grapes,

small all huddled together

like sweet family.

There are yellow corn,

peeping out of hairy husks

ready to be seen.

There are brown walnuts,

with stubborn shells to be cracked

for reward inside.

There is a large horn,

spilling great bounty for all

who have sincere need

God holds this large horn,

as a ready offering

for all His children.

It is the Lord God

who holds all bounty in hand

as creator king.

His love pours freely

and His promised provision

for those who fear Him.

Reach forth to take hold

of God’s blessing and goodness

his bounty for all.

Receive your good choice,

apple, pumpkin, pear, or corn

grape and walnut too.

Give thanks to the Lord,

creator and provider

for your sincere need.

 I intend to tie this little lesson in with a Thanksgiving placemat craft. You will have to watch my blog to see how I tie that in and how they work out!

Pumpkin Cycle Spinner Plates

Spin the Cycle Title Photo

I love it when my girls and I “stumble” upon education. We were at our local library a while back checking out books. Lord love those librarians who display seasonal reads atop their shelves! Staring at me eye level was the book “Life Cycle of a Pumpkin” and I picked it up. To my surprise, when we got home, my girls wanted me to read it over and again. They were enthralled.

Book

I decided to encourage their excitement towards this fall topic and develop a craft that would dedicate the life cycle of a pumpkin to their memories. Thus our Pumpkin Cycle Spinner Plates were born! It’s a very simple, very cheap, and very fun project.

pumpkin supplies

The following supplies are needed for each student for this craft, two paper plates, a sponge brush, orange paint, a brown foam sheet, scissors, a stapler, glue, coloring utensils, a craft brad, glitter glue, green ribbon, and a hot glue gun. Of course some of these may be omitted for a simpler version.

To start our pumpkins, I dressed my girls in their worst clothes and let them go paint happy on their paper plates. To their delight, they were instructed to cover every inch in orange. Afterwards, as these were laid aside to dry, they each cut out a stem for their pumpkin from a brown foam sheet, which I later stapled to the back of the top plate.

Cutouts

Next I handed my girls a sheet of images depicting the steps in the life cycle of a pumpkin to color and cut out. Since I had a hard time finding the images I wanted online, I was forced to draw and copy my own. I will definitely be saving a master copy for the future!

Pumpkin Steps

After those were done and the plates were dry, I traced out a small triangle on the side of the top plate for my girls to cut out. This would act as a window. Then I laid the top plate over the bottom plate and lightly marked six x’s on the bottom plate with a pencil to direct them where to glue on their images. Once the order of those images were double checked and the glue was sufficiently dry, I placed the top plate back over the bottom plate and poked a hole through both dead center using a pencil. This was where I secured a small brad , which gave us the spin we wanted. The bottom plate could be turned round and round, windowing one step in the life cycle of a pumpkin at a time!

To add a little pizzaz, we also glittered lines on the face of the pumpkin and added a green bow over the staple holding the stem in place, using a hot glue gun.

Spin the Cycle Title Photo

The best part about this educational craft is that my girls get the opportunity not only to show off their art to anyone and everyone, but also explain the life cycle steps of a pumpkin that they learned.