Monday, September 22, 2014

Homemade Gifts by Kids - Create your own ISPY Book

Since the Holiday season is slowly approaching I thought this might help you guys out! For the next few weeks I will share with you some of my kids' homemade gifts. We love giving and receiving meaningful presents, especially when they are perfectly fitting the person on the other end. 

The iSpy Book

My kids made this for their cousins' birthdays. It happened to be their favorite kind of book at the time and my kids were very excited they came up with the best gift!

Do you know someone who is a big I SPY Book fan? 

In that case, keep reading...

First, have your kids pick a group of toys they would like to use and set up their first scene. You can either have the kids take a picture or take it yourself (usually depends on each individual kid... some four year olds could be very skillful with a camera ;-)

We also secretly went to their house and set up a scene from their actual toys (luckily they were out of town and we were taking care of their house ;-)

After we took all the pictures we wanted, we uploaded them to iPhoto and edited them. We cropped them and also fixed the exposure and color if it was needed.

I use Shutterfly for all my photo books but if you have a site that is your favorite, you can use that one. Shutterfly has many coupons available most of the time and sometimes you even get the book for free - you just pay shipping. Using their templates we turned our idea into a fabulous book!

After you upload all your photos, you place them onto the pages, and decorate with different embellishments (if you wish of course). Then go back to the pictures and come up with the riddles, which you place on opposite page!

This was such a fun project that we all worked on together for couple weeks. We took our time, went back and forth to adjust different things, but at the end it was all worth it. My kids wanted to have their own copy as well so I had to order two.

We made sure to personalize the book with messages for the boys and personal pictures of all of them together!

Here is an idea for a title page photo ;-)

The boys loved the gift so much!

I hope this helped and have fun with this project!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kids and Chickens - Why is Chicken Keeping Beneficial for Our Kids

Old McDonald had a Farm ... which little child wasn't in love with this song at some point in their life? We live at least part of this song daily here at our little backyard farm and I see the impact of caring for animals on my children. 

We can go and see animals at the ZOO or a petting place but to experience the ownership that brings on responsibilities in the children is priceless. We have had chickens even before our kids were born, so they both came to live into the farm environment. Last year, we finally decided to get them each a pet chicken. Up until that time, all our chickens were sort of pets that had to go every few years because they would stop laying eggs. But I realized how important it was to them to have a feathered creature here to stay.

And that's how we came to Brownie and Whiny. This above is Brownie - they are both Bantams, miniature chickens. I like having small chickens for the kids, because they are easier for them to handle.
Many times I catch the kids hanging out with their birds. Here is T enjoying afternoon rest with Brownie. 

 Having chickens keeps my kids connected to the reality of where food comes from. They also learn responsibility and compassion towards animals, something that God intended for us to have and to teach to our children. When we come to a slight bump and we have to deal with some emergency in the coop, kids are always involved and they help us solve the problem. Here is Whiny when she nearly died as a baby and we helped her back to life by feeding her sugar water using dropper. 

They LOVE collecting the eggs from nesting boxes and feeding the girls!

During the winter months we grow earthworms for our chickens for healthy snack... what kid doesn't like to participate in something gross right? Our daughter used to be afraid of these wigglers and this exposure helped her feel comfortable and now she handles them without a problem!

 Generally kids love animals and it is up to us parents to nurture that relationship. To close this post, let me list some suitable chicken breeds for you to consider:
  • Silkies
  • Cochins
  • Australorps
  • Bantams
  • Sussex
  • Delaware
  • Red star chickens
are all friendly breeds and are best to make special connection with your kids. Well, this is so exciting and I hope you will start your little chicken coop soon!