5 Ways to Teach Children Gratitude

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There’s nothing more powerful in changing our lives than having an attitude of gratitude. But in today’s society, it is SOOOO easy to overwhelmed with wants, efficiency, and discontent. I love November because of Thanksgiving, but if you are like me, I don’t want November to be the only month my kids show thankfulness. You too?

So here are 5 simple ways you can teach your children how to have a heart of thankfulness. I mean after all, those who are more thankful and content have an overall more satisfied and happier life (there’s tons of research out regarding how it effects so many areas of life like self-esteem, optimism, etc. Go check it out!)… And isn’t that what we want most for our children?

Daily Gratitude

This one is SO simple and something I try to practice myself. Each day as I tuck my ids away to bed (or even periodically throughout the day), I’ll ask them to name something they are thankful for. Some of the answers are TO DIE FOR cute. Seriously! I think my son is thankful for garbage trucks nearly every day ūüėČ

Encourage Generosity

This past year we’ve been attempting to make major changes in our clutter around the house.¬† As a part of that, we’ve all given away a TON of stuff (Checkout my 5 Steps To Break Free From Clutter if you want to ditch clutter). We encouraged the kids to choose one thing to give away each day. I was actually amazed at how little resistance we experienced from them.¬† They were actually very excited to give to others.

Turn around the No

It’s sometimes so hard to go into a store with my kids because I feel like I get bombarded with the “I need this” or “will you buy me this” questions.¬† I hate using the word no and try to use it sparingly but geesh….shopping can be downright exhausting.¬† A huge focus for us this year is to eliminate ‘stuff’ so that we have more time and space to focus on our relationships.¬† So now, instead of just saying no I remind them of why we are saying no…. so that we have more time and money to spend on things we all enjoy like vacation, trips to the zoo, or Disneyland.¬† The no to the impulse buy becomes now something they are excited about and willingly put the item back on the shelf.¬† Kids crave relationship. And while they would love the latest and greatest toy, they more desire YOU.

Encourage them to Serve Others

I grew up serving people who were homeless or living on the streets and I cannot say enough about how it shaped my view of the world, gratitude, politics, and so much more.¬† Last year our family took coffee and breakfast to people who were homeless the day after Christmas.¬† It was an AMAZING experience for them. But in this stage of life, I just don’t feel it’s practical for us to do on a regular and ongoing basis.¬† So we’ve found other ways to serve.¬† We’ve connected with an amazing organization called Safe Families.¬† It’s given us the opportunity to bring children into our home, love them, and serve them.¬† My kids then have hands on real life, tangible exposure to serving those in need.¬† There are so many ways for families to serve together, whether it be as simple as picking up trash, serving food in a homeless shelter, giving gifts for Operation Christmas Child and others.

Please and Thank You’s

There is some thing so fundamental in manners that can have profound impacts on gratitude.¬† But rather than forcing your kids to say them just out of formality, make them meaningful (this is similar to why I never force my kids to say sorry).¬† When saying something is forced, it loses its value and meaning.¬† A gentle reminder such as “did you say thank you when Maya gave you a flower” reminds kids that even simple actions are something to be grateful for.¬† Just the same, encouraging them to write thank you notes reminds them of how many things in our lives we have to be thankful for.

 

Do you have any fun ways you teach gratefulness? I’m going to share some of my favorites in the next month and would love to highlight yours! Drop them below or email me renae@renaefieck.com

Secret to Saving Kids Artwork without Clutter

What the heck do we do with all the pictures, drawings, school projects, and little gifts from our kids? I mean, I love them all but my daughter’s love language is gifts. ¬†So we are ALWAYS getting special pictures, drawings, or crafts from her because that’s her way of showing how she loves us. ¬†But I’m on a journey to eliminating clutter from my life. ¬†I want more space. ¬†I want a chance to breathe and not feel like I’m CONSTANTLY cleaning. ¬†Is it wrong to want a clean house AND be able to enjoy time with my kids?

I saw somewhere a picture of a triangle that showed mom’s sanity, a clean house, and happy kids on each of the points. ¬†The meme stated, you can only choose 2, which 2 are you going to choose. ¬†For a long time, hands down, I wanted happy kids and happy mom to be my choice. ¬†But you know what I realized….a clean house was a HUGE contributor to my sanity. ¬†I don’t think you have to choose between the 3. I think you CAN have a balance of all 3.

So in my quest to eliminate stuff without losing the memories (or breaking my dear daughter’s heart), I found an app called Keepy. It’s been amazing. ¬†It has both a free and a paid version (with the amount of drawings we get, I totally bought the paid version).

You can take snapshots of your children’s drawings, crafts, projects, whatever and store¬†them. You can have multiple kids all stored in the same account. You can store voice recordings of your child telling you about the picture or take a picture of your child holding the drawing so you can document age too. And best! You can add “Fans” so grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends can see all the magical drawings and leave messages too.

 

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It’s definitely a timeless way to preserve and capture memories without all the clutter. ¬†And if you did want to print all of it in a book, they make it pretty seamless too with having photobook¬† and other photo gift options (although I haven’t tried that part yet).

If you haven’t snagged a copy of my FREE 5 Steps to Breaking Free From Clutter, you should totally do that! Breaking free from clutter has changed my life. I finally feel like I can enjoy time with my kids because I’m not spending day in and day out picking stuff up.

6 Steps to End Picky Eating

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Picky eating is SO hard for parents! It’s the struggle between feeding your child what they’ll eat just to make sure they eat, even if it’s NOT healthy or nutritious versus holding your ground and them not eating anything. It’s a really really hard spot for you to be in. ¬†When I work with some of my clients, families are often struggling with a kiddo who will eat only a handful of items (commonly goldfish crackers and chicken nuggets). And while not all picky eating is that extreme, you may benefit from some of my tips with your own kids.

Here are my top 6 tips to turn around the struggle with picky eating and the endless mealtime battles. They can be exhausting, I know!

  1. Make meal times enjoyable. Meals should be a social experience. Eat together. Talk about your day or what you’re thankful for. Engage. Meals should be a family experience, not with kids eating individually.
  2. You are responsible for providing a meal, and your child is responsible for what they eat. No pressure, no force feeding, no bargaining, no polite bites. It’s hard sometimes to resist the urges, I know!
  3. Keep meals and snacks consistent throughout the day. Both you and your kiddos should have regularly schedule times to eat every 2-3 hours. It’s good for your metabolism, your satiation, energy, sugar levels and so much more.
  4. Always have at least 75% of your child’s plate be preferred foods with 25% being non preferred foods. And try to create family meals that are composed of both preferred and non-preferred foods so you are all eating the same foods. No more short order cooking!
  5. Learn to play with your food. It doesn’t have to necessarily be at meal times but creating spaceships, boats, mustaches or the like with non-preferred foods can desensitize aversions and increase the likelihood that your kiddo will try one those non-preferred foods. I encourage families to play with food in lots of different environments.
  6. Even if your kiddo refuses a food once, feel free to continue to expose them to that food. It can take between 7-10 exposures to determine whether or not they actually like a food or just opposing it because it’s new!

Was any of this new to you? Comment below with what you plan to implement.

P.S.- If you’re looking for an awesome kids nutritional shake, my kids LOVE this one!

Scrub a Dub Dub, What do you have in the tub?

My husband calls me a hippie. ¬†I don’t think he realized it when we got married (neither did I!) but time as slowly progressed me into a more and more natural person, parent, and professional. ¬†I know I still have lots of areas to improve upon but it’s one slow step at at time (did I mention that we just got a chicken coop!?!? sooo excited! I will blog more about that when we get the process rolling. We bought it off craigslist and have a few things in the next few weeks so chickens probably won’t happen for a few weeks!).

But as a part of this journey, I’ve started trading out chemicals for more natural products. ¬†Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it absorbs whatever we put onto it. I’m picky with our sunscreen (and have a homemade recipe here) and we use coconut oil as a moisturizer 99% of the time. ¬†I’ve been playing with homemade cosmetics (I will share!). But being frugal, I just can’t throw away soaps people give me (aka…I get lots of Bath & Body soaps as gifts). ¬†So when I was given a bar of Believe Soap, I was thrilled to be using something way more natural that didn’t require me to buy soap when we still have some in the shower.

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(I meant to take a picture before I started using it but forgot, so here’s a picture from their website).

I got a full bar of Winter Citrus and a couple small samples of Lavender Oatmeal and Refreshing Mint.  So here are my thoughts.

  • 100% vegan (A+)
  • All Natural products, literally the ingredient list was mostly essential oils¬†
  • Handmade

Their website says they even use herbs freshly picked from their garden when possible! And even can custom order soaps for you because they hand make them.

  • They are $5/bar (it’s really not that much!)
  • Safe for the whole family

Because there is nothing toxic and these are natural products, I feel comfortable and safe using it on anyone in my family (do you know what kinds of  toxins are in baby soaps??)

  • Made in California¬†

if you are a Californian, you are supporting local business!–if you aren’t, then you are supporting small business! (A+ for both)

  • Lathers well¬†
  • Scent is pleasant and subtle¬†

Being an OT I am acutely aware that many people are sensitive to smells. This would be the soap for you if you are overwhelmed by many of the scented products. ¬†It smells earthy, pleasant, and is subtle enough that you don’t think you are washing yourself with a slice of orange. ¬†I tend to like things with a little more scent but I know many don’t so it’s a great middle road. ¬†If you are one that likes stronger scents, maybe try one of the other flavors. My guess would be Rosemary & Mint or similar would smell a little more.

  • Long Lasting

I’ve been using the soap for a few weeks now and it really doesn’t look like I’ve made a dent in the size of the bar. I could see it lasting awhile.

  • Can be used on your face, or body

When I tried it on my face, I got a little in my eye and it wasn’t super pleasant but most soap isn’t. So if you use it on your face, just be sure to wash extra carefully

  • Essential oils can promote healing

It’s one thing to wash your body with just soap, but soaps using essential oils can promote healing while you use them.

My overall opinion…

I don’t know if I will order more soap for awhile (I still have lots) but if you are looking for a natural, vegan, handmade, local option, this is a great place to start. ¬†My only preference would be to have a little stronger scent but it gets an A+ from me in all other categories!

Check them out! Have you used Believe Soap??

How to Give Your Baby/Child a Massage

Can you even imagine the impact physical touch has on a baby? Research over and over again demonstrates the power of human touch on development. It’s been a dream of mine to become an infant massage instructor because of my strong passion for touch and baby development. ¬†As an OT, I find it extremely beneficial for children with various needs. ¬†I wrote this as if it’s for babies but I have to admit I still do it on my toddler. ¬†Many of these strokes and benefits are great for a child of almost any age.

Massage is beneficial for:

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Promoting sleep
  • Increasing digestion
  • Body awareness
  • Emotional connection and attachment between caregiver and infant
  • Tactile stimulation/can reduce or prevent tactile hypersensitivites
  • Visual stimulation/facial attention/eye to eye contact
  • Auditory stimulation/Communication (often parents talk and communicate with baby during massage)
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Pain relief (i.e. teething!)
  • Establishing routines
  • Relieve Colic
  • Improved lymphatics
  • Reducing edema

Massage stimulates many of the bodies systems, including, the nervous system, immune system, digestive system, respiratory and circulatory systems.

When to do massage

Really when you do the massage is up to you. ¬†However, my recommendation is that it be done as a part of your bedtime routine. ¬†After bath before putting on pajamas is a great time. ¬†If you don’t do a bath, it’s still a great thing to incorporate into a bedtime routine. ¬†There are particular strokes that are intended to be alerting and others to be calming. ¬†Obviously if you are doing it before bed, you would want to choose calming strokes. ¬†In the morning before getting dressed might be a great time to do some of the alerting strokes.

What oils/lotions to use

My number one recommendation is coconut oil, an extra virgin organic version is great (This is what we use. I purchase it at Costco). ¬†There are many benefits to using coconut oil and will maybe write a post just on the benefits of coconut oil. ¬†Make sure that whatever oil you choose is something edible so that if they get it on their hands (or feet) and then into their mouth that it’s completely safe. ¬†At bedtime, I like to add some lavender oil¬†into the coconut oil at bedtime. ¬†I apply it to the feet and finish with a little on the chest, both areas which are covered by my children’s pajamas. ¬†I never put it on the hands, which could get into the mouth. ¬†If you choose another edible oil, just be sure to avoid nut oils due to possible allergies. It may also be helpful to test out whatever oil you choose on a small part of your baby’s skin before applying to the whole body in case your child does have an allergic reaction.

Where do I give the massage

Definitely choose a place where both of you are comfortable and will be for the time of the massage. ¬†When I’m doing it before bed, I like to do it on the baby changing table. ¬†Another benefit to this is that I give the massages with the baby completely naked. ¬†Thus if we have any sort of accident, we don’t have to worry about it getting on anything it shouldn’t. ¬†Make sure that the temperature of the room is comfortable and warm, and sometimes it’s also helpful to keep your baby slightly covered with a blanket throughout the massage (cover his legs while massage his arms). ¬†This is especially helpful keeping your baby warm after a bath. Make sure to pay attention to sounds and lighting as well. ¬†Some calm music might be beneficial. ¬†Be sure to avoid fluorescent lighting which can put off a slight flicker.

How do I give the Massage

Now to the fun stuff!

  1. Hello Baby!¬†I always start with my hands still on the baby’s chest. ¬†It’s helpful to ask the baby if you can give them a massage prior to placing your hands on them. ¬†It let’s them know what’s going to happen. ¬†Listen/read your baby’s body language. ¬†If they communicate to you that they don’t want it, respect that. ¬†Additionally, remain aware of what your baby is communicating throughout the massage. ¬†Never force a stroke if your baby appears uncomfortable. ¬†Establish some eye contact, and non-verbally communicate that your baby has your attention. ¬†You can talk to your baby and tell them what’s going to happen. ¬†I love to use this time, as well as the rest of the massage to speak affirmations, prayers, words of wisdom, etc. over my baby.massage (1 of 24)
  2. Warm Up. Generally, I’ve applied the coconut oil to my hands and want to distribute it around the body and give a quick warm up. ¬†I’ll lightly stroke¬†my hands in an upward motion from the chest up towards the shoulders and down the arms.
  3. Order of Massage. I typically start with the CHEST and then move to ARMS. Then FACE. (I don’t ever start with the face. Some babies won’t tolerate face till the end. ¬†I like to use coconut oil only on the face and thus after I do the face, I add the lavender oil into the coconut oil in my hand for the rest of the body.) I then do LEGS and finish with the BELLY. I rarely do the BACK but you are more than welcome to.
  4. Massage Strokes. You can do all the strokes or pick just a few. ¬†It’s within the freedom of what you and your baby agree upon.

Calming Strokes: strokes that move away from the body (from shoulders/hips to ankles/wrists tend to be calming).   Additionally, strokes that go with the direction of hair growth tend to be calming. Provide a firm, consistent, rhythmic pressure and stroke pattern. 

  • Indian Milking: Form a C shape with your hands. ¬†Start near the hips/shoulders and stroke down the extremity towards the feet/hands. ¬†Always have a hand in contact with the baby, thus one hand will be supporting at the ankle/wrist while the other is providing the stroke. ¬†Once you stroke down, the opposite hand then returns to the hip/shoulders and strokes down the other side of the extremity.massage (2 of 24)
  • Back and Forth:¬†With baby lying face down horizontally across your lap, place both hands together at the top of the back. Slide your hands back and forth from the shoulders to the bottom, moving your hands in opposite direction.massage (24 of 24)
  • Swooping: With one hand on the buttocks and one at the base of the neck, glide your hand from the neck down towards to buttocks. ¬†Provide this same stroke from the buttocks down to the ankles.massage (21 of 24)massage (22 of 24)
  • Squeeze and Twist: Place both hands side by side in the shape of a C near the hips/shoulders. Move them towards the hand/foot while twisting hands in the opposite direction.massage (3 of 24)
  • Open Hand: Hold the baby’s hand in your hands and use both thumbs simultaneous to massage outwardly to stretch and massage the palms.massage (4 of 24)
  • Fingers and toes: Gently squeeze and rolleach finger and toe, moving away from the body.massage (5 of 24) massage (8 of 24)
  • Top of the foot: use one thumb after the other to provide pressure on the top of the foot from the ankle towards the toes.massage (7 of 24)
  • Ankle/Wrist circles: with your forefinger and thumb on the opposite side of the joint, provide slow rhythmic circlesmassage (6 of 24)
  • Chest Open Book: with thumbs together in the middle of the chest, slowly move up towards chin and then out towards armpits, and then moving down along sides of the body and back to beginning point while maintaining consistent pressure. It is a heart like movement.massage (10 of 24)
  • Integration: With both hands on the body, move from the chest down to the toes. Good for the beginning and the end of the massage.

Alerting Strokes: strokes that are fast, irregular or light tend to be alerting or facilitating.  Those that move in the opposite direction of hair growth tend to be alerting. Strokes that move toward the body (from ankles/wrists toward shoulders/hips tend to be alerting).  

  • Small Circles over the back: create small circles moving along both sides of the spine.massage (20 of 24)
  • Combing: With your finger tips touching the back and the hand in a sort of raised, spider like position, quickly “comb” the baby’s back from the neck to the buttocks. ¬†This stroke should become lighter and lighter, creating a feather like stimulation in the end.massage (23 of 24)
  • Swedish Milking: Same as Indian milking, however, move from wrist/ankle towards hip/shoulder.
  • Foot Press: provide gentle pressure with the thumbs to the bottom of the foot, moving from the heel towards the toes.massage (9 of 24)
  • Rolling: With the baby’s arm or legs between your hands, roll your hands back and forth as you move up and down the extremity.massage (19 of 24)

Strokes Specific for the Belly (when performing belly strokes, you may want to make sure you have additional towels, etc. in case the massage effectively helps clear the bowels.)

  • I Love You: Begin by making a vertical I like stroke on the left side of the stomach. Form an L on the baby’s belly moving from the Right upper corner, across the top of the belly and then down the L side of the belly. ¬†Stroke in an upside down U stroke moving from the Left to Right. (A side note: these are the baby’s Left and Right, not yours)massage (11 of 24) massage (12 of 24) massage (13 of 24) massage (14 of 24)
  • Paddling: With your hands flat, using the outer pinky side of your hand, stroke it down along the belly. Rotate your hands in a rhythmic fashion.
  • Sun & Moon: Use one hand to form a rainbow arc across belly, moving from left to right. ¬†The other hand forms small circles in a clockwise rotation. ¬†Do both movements simultaneously.massage (15 of 24)
  • Bubble Search: Walling your finger tips from the left to right at the height of the belly button.

Strokes Specific for the Face

  • Down the side of the nose: using either your thumbs or forefingers begin on the bridge of the nose near the eyebrows. With moderate pressure stroke down towards the base of the nose with your fingers simultaneously.massage (17 of 24)
  • Smiling face: With thumbs placed together under the nose, simultaneously move thumbs towards the cheek and down towards the chin and back.
  • Circles around the jaw: create small circles with your fingertips around the jawline. This should be very gentle.
  • Jawline Stroke: begin with fingertips surrounding the ear and simultaneously stroke down along jawline towards the center of jaw.
  • Eyebrow Stroke: Move from the middle of the eyebrows, stroking along the brows out towards the sides of the face.
  • Ear Rolling: beginning at the top of the ears, roll your fingers along the edge of the ear down towards the ear lobe.massage (18 of 24)

When should I not give a Massage

If your baby has a medical condition, always discuss with your physician prior to giving a massage.  Some examples of when to avoid a massage before discussing with a physician would be an acute infection, cardiac or circulatory conditions, orthopedic disorders, or edema related to an injury or heart failure.  Open wounds, surgeries, or other skin conditions would require consult prior to giving a massage.  Hemophilia, hematoma, and some cancers are also contraindicated for giving a massage.  If your child is receiving PT or OT services, it would be helpful to discuss massage techniques that would be beneficial for your child in particular, specifically in regards to hypotonia or hypertonia.

If your baby is upset or distraught, it is best not to give the massage. ¬†You want this to be an enjoyable experience for your baby. ¬†Sometimes you can talk to your baby and begin with the hands on the chest pressure stroke. ¬†If the child calms during this stroke, he may find some calming from continuing the massage. Please read your baby’s cues carefully. ¬†It is extremely important to not overwhelm your baby’s sensory and nervous systems.

Other Tips

  • Watch out for hair whirls. ¬†They can be very disorganizing if stroked over.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after a feeding to provide massage strokes to the belly.

Homeschool Preschool Program

We’re on a budget, as most people should. But we anticipate that budget getting smaller and smaller in the next few months as my disability/maternity payments end. I don’t want to return to work as much as I was which means we have to make budget cuts. I’d love for my daughter to still take advantage of a “preschool-like” program but we can’t afford to send her to a formal preschool at this point. ¬†Being an OT, who works with children, I am aware of many skills they need to develop. ¬†As well, I can be quite creative. ¬†The key words in that…”can be.” ¬†I don’t feel I have the time to be creative and intentional like I want to be in educating her. ¬†I set out trying to find some material to use and ran across this program.

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God’s Little Explorers Preschool Program. ¬†I love it. ¬†It incorporates gross motor skills, fine motor skills, alphabet learning, number learning, sensory exploration, Bible stories, and more. ¬†The thing I love about it most…I can look at what I’m supposed to do each day and do it! I don’t have to come up with it all on my own. This feature alone makes doing it 4 days a week practical for me. ¬†It cost my $14 and I downloaded it. I knew it was exactly what I was looking for right away. I’m still incorporating things of my own and from my OT world as well, such as using the Handwriting Without Tears wooden pieces¬†(she’s still not quite 3 and I don’t want to push writing letters yet, but will do more with actual formation of letters later, using HWT).

I do wish that it followed more a developmental approach to learning the letters (i.e. it starts off with X and diagonal lines are the hardest to learn.), but I’m just adapting it and not expecting that she’ll perfect any of it right away. ¬†I’m just wanting her to engage with the material for exposure rather than expecting that by the end of it she’ll be able to write all her letters.

There are 28 weeks of lesson plans, 4 days a week. It gives suggestions for books to read, sensory activities to do, self-care activities, bible songs, etc.

We started this week. My daughter was super excited to wake up to find little X’s around the house for our “X marks the spot” treasure hunt. ¬†We made a pair of binoculars, a journal for her to keep her letters and projects in, a box for her to store all her supplies in, and a learning map. ¬†Today we went on a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood identifying objects that were shaped like rectangles, forming the letter X with various mediums (wikistix, wooden sticks, etc), and making the sound of “ks.”

I’ve been using it as special time for her alone during my son’s first nap. ¬†But we ¬†try to incorporate the information throughout the rest of the day too. Singing the song we learned, “The B-I-B-L-E” song.¬†cross (1 of 4) cross (2 of 4) cross (3 of 4) cross (4 of 4)

 

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Do you eat your Easter eggs? Growing up, we always ate them but it never occurred to me that some people don’t till today. ¬†As I was chopping away at all of our ingredients to make these Easter eggs, my husband made a comment about the amount of work to get natural eggs when we don’t eat them. ¬†I was surprised because I always have and had planned to make an egg salad sandwich with these eggs in a day or so. If you don’t eat them, it may be worth your while to just buy the boxed dye because this isn’t super quick. ¬†But it is also fun to see how natural ingredients can turn the eggs colors.
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We had great success with some and not with others. ¬†If you’ve tried any, let me know what you’ve had success with.

Our greatest success: Turmeric. I’ll list the ingredients below in order of success. We had no success with the cabbage.

  • Add 2 tbsp turmeric to 1 cup of boiling water. Then add 2 tsp of white vinegar (YELLOW EGG)
  • 1 cup grape juice to 1 tablespoon of vinegar (SUPPOSED TO BE LAVENDER EGG. OURS TURNED OUT SORT OF GREEN)
  • Peels of 6 yellow onions. Add 2 cups of boiling water and let set for at least 15 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar (ORANGE EGG)
  • Peels of 6 red onions. Add 2 cups of boiling water and let set for at least 15 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar (SUPPOSED TO BE SORT OF GREEN EGG. OURS TURNED OUT BROWN)
  • Dice 1 medium beet and add to 4 cups boiling water. Add 2tbsp of vinegar and let cool completely before extracting the beets. ¬†(PINK EGG)
  • Add 1/4 cup cabbage to 4 cups boiling water. Add 2 tbsp of vinegar. Let cool completely before extracting the cabbage (we added the vinegar after straining the cabbage. That may have been our error. ¬†I re-added it to the cabbage and put the egg into the bowl with the cabbage and still didn’t get any color). (SUPPOSED TO BE BLUE EGG. OURS DID NOTHING).

Also, I was wondering why our pink eggs came out sort of speckled and found an article online that said if you leave the foods in the liquid, rather than straining them that you can get some fun effects like that. ¬†When our pink wasn’t working really well, I added the eggs in with the liquid and the beets. ¬†They colored up quickly that way and came out sort of speckled.

This definitely isn’t the way to dye eggs with toddlers either. ¬†The time it took for the color to show up on the eggs is significantly longer than with standard dye methods. ¬†My little toddler lost patience waiting and had a grand time sticking her fingers in the bowls playing with the eggs. ¬†I would suppose leaving the eggs longer or using more condensed liquid (more food to water ratio) would help create more vibrant colors. I may put a few eggs into the liquid in the fridge and see what color changes I notice with increased time.

In order to make your eggs shiny, you can polish them with a little oil (vegetable, olive, or coconut).

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I thought I’d throw in this picture because I was really surprised. ¬†The left is the cabbage strained juice prior to vinegar and the right is after adding the vinegar. ¬†It’s the only one that changed colors when I added the vinegar but it was pretty crazy. Not really sure what I did wrong with the cabbage to get no color on our eggs. ¬†Maybe next time.IMG_7244IMG_7251 IMG_7254

Teaching Kids about Money with DIY Money Jars

Americans in total owe¬†$11.68 trillion in debt (according to here). That’s crazy! We need to train the next generation to get out of debt.

My parents did a great job of trying to teach me about money as I was growing up, but I sure wish I knew more and managed my money better.  I am grateful for all they taught me and hope to teach my children the value of money.

When my daughter’s piggy bank was unexpectedly broken recently, we decided to be a little more money wise with her rather than just saving. ¬†Because even the Bible talks about not just saving our money but using it wisely to make it grow (Matthew 25:14-28), and at the same time not serving money as a master (Matthew 6:24).

I wanted to teach my daughter how to give the first fruits of her money to God and to others. Thus we created a “Give” jar. ¬†She contributes to this jar first. ¬†She then has a “Save” jar which is used for saving and making investments for growth. ¬†She also has a “Spend” jar in which she contributes to last.

I look forward to teaching her more in depth and with more complexity about money as time goes on but being only 2, this is a great place for us to start.

Here’s what we did…And again, we used supplies we already had around the house (teaching the value of conserving money by recycling).

Supplies Needed

  • Glass jars
  • Food Coloring
  • Mod Podge
  • Various craft supplies

banks (1 of 5)

1. Add tablespoon of mod podge, 1/2 tbs of water and about 5 drops of food color

banks (2 of 5)

2. Swirl it around in the jar till covered and then flip upside down and let liquid run outbanks (3 of 5)

3. After about 30 min put them on wax paper in the oven on warm for 10 min.

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4. Remove from oven and let continue to dry.

5. We painted the lids too with just acrylic craft paintbanks (5 of 5)