Category Archives: Kid Stuff

Snowflakes for the Newtown, CT Students Return to School ~ How You Can Help!

Everyone has been deeply affected by the tragedy that took place a week ago in Newtown, CT.  All of us at Suede Sofa were teachers prior to turning in our plan books for diapers and mommy blogging.  I was a 1st grade teacher, Lara was a music teacher, and Robynn was a science teacher and school counselor.  Now being stay-at-home moms we felt compelled to do something for the children of Newtown, CT who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School the day of that senseless act that stole the lives of 20 children whose ages are similar to that of our own.

snow

The following letter explains a simple snowflake project that you can do with your children or grandchildren to send to the Newtown PTA to help decorate the new school that the children will be going to after the Christmas break.  Although my children are too young to understand what took place, I was happy to make a special snowflake with each of them to send off in hopes of putting a smile on the face of another child.

snowflake~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Day 13 – Advent Calendar

Advent Day #13 – Have a s’mores night in front of the fireplace or outside around a firepit.

{You may choose to simplify the process big-time and do something as easy as  pick one person a day from now ’til Christmas and pray for them.  It doesn’t need to be time-consuming, stressful, or cost you anything.  Do what works for you and enjoy the season with the ones you love!!}

Alternative Activity: Rest in the fact that the Great “I Am” has your back regardless what season of life you are in.  (Click on any of the following for encouragement in any area you are facing.)

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Day 7 – Advent Calendar

Advent Day #7 – Put movie tickets in your Advent Calendar.  It could either be real tickets to a movie threater or handmade tickets to watch a family favorite such as “Frosty the Snowman”, “Polar Express”, or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. If you don’t have children or are single, you get to pick your favorite!!

{You may choose to simplify the process big-time and do something as easy as  pick one person a day from now to Christmas and pray for them.  It doesn’t need to be time-consuming, stressful, or cost you anything.  Do what works for you and enjoy the season with the ones you love!!}

Alternative Activity:  At night sit with only the Christmas lights on and gaze at the Christmas Tree while you reflect on the blessings you have in your life.

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Our Twist On the Advent Calendar

One tradition our families have begun includes that of celebrating the arrival of Christmas with an Advent Calendar.  And although we love the excitement and anticipation that an Advent Calendar can bring, last year we tired of making the focus on giving our kids more stuff, even if it was as simple as a small piece of candy.

So we put our heads together and decided this year we wanted to do something different.  We wanted to focus on what Christmas is really about – giving and reflecting on the true meaning of this incredible holiday.

As I began to prepare for this post I did a little research on what Advent really means.  It turns out that I had a lot to learn about this subject from my Catholic friends (I know Catholics aren’t the only one who celebrate Advent.  They were just the ones I got my info from so I’m giving them credit.)

According to Catholicism.about.com and other sites, Advent really means “little lent” and should be a time of increased prayer, fasting (for some), good deeds, and penitence.  In layman’s terms it is a time for us to take stock of our lives.  To take a look inside and see if our heart is right with God.   As we approach Christmas with this attitude of humbling ourself it brings us peace and joy as well as a heightened sense of anticipation.

In the spirit of Advent, this year our Advent Calendar is going to consist of doing kind things for others and cherishing the moments we have with family and friends.  But most importantly it will consist of us preparing our hearts for Immanuel – God with us.

Each day from now ’til Christmas we will share with you ideas you can use to celebrate this season using the Advent Calendar.  Maybe you already have an Advent Calendar tradition.  Then go with it.  Or maybe you are looking for new ideas.  Hopefully you will find some here.  Our biggest piece of advice is to do what works for you and your family.  That may mean doing a handful of activities on the weekend when your family has more time to spend together and then skipping days during the week when your schedule is on overload.

You may choose to simplify the process big-time and do something as easy as  pick one person a day from now ’til Christmas and pray for them.  It doesn’t need to be time-consuming, stressful, or cost you anything.  Do what works for you and enjoy the season with the ones you love!!

If there are things your family does or if you have an idea to share, please do so!  We may even use your idea for one of our days!!

So, let’s get started!!

DaY 1 AdvEnT:  Send someone a card who has lost a loved one this year letting them know you are thinking about them/praying for them.

Happy Advent!!

:)Robynn

P.S.  If you don’t have an Advent Calendar, you may want to make one.  Choose one of the following or find one to make on www.pinterest.com by typing “Advent Calendar” in the search box.

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{Just Decide}

Why do I let inconsequential choices zap so much of my mental energy?  For the last year I have been trying to come up with a filing system for my 1st grader and preschooler’s work they bring home from school.  I’ve been walking past piles and piles of their work for the last year not knowing what to do with it.  Do I keep all of it or only the best ones?  If I only keep some of it, which ones?

I found these cute file folders at Walmart for 50 cents! They will be perfect for helping me organize my girls’ homework.

Have you ever been stuck in the realm of indecisiveness?  You have so many choices that you can’t decide on that you don’t decide at all?  I know I find myself in this predicament in other areas besides my girls’ homework.  All I need to do to free myself from this decision hanging over my head is make a choice.  Yes, sometimes there are many possible choices that would work, but after you have considered all the options sometimes you just have to decide so you can finally move beyond it and get to more important things!

Do you have something that needs to be completed?  Are you experiencing paralysis by analysis?  What are you waiting for?  Just decide!

:) Robynn

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Too Many Treats?

With Halloween right around the corner I am already dreading the sugar high aftermath.  I always sort through the treats that my kids get on Halloween and leave some for them, stash some for me, but I always end up with tons left over.  I recently found this clipping in a magazine and immediately thought about all of the left over candy that I always end up throwing away.  This year I can box it up and know that some VeRy deserving HeRoEs will enjoy a little piece of my children’s HaLlOwEeN while fighting to keep our freedom.  

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Love It! {Farmyard Tales}

Farmyard Tales by Heather Amery

Looking for a good children’s book?  This is currently one of my favorites.  I first heard of it when Lara and her family stayed with my family during their move.  (Click here to read about her moving her house!) Each night Lara would read it to her kids and mine.  After their move, Lara gave us this book as a thank-you gift and now my kids love having me read it to them.  So if you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews check it out!

:)  Robynn~

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{Tricky People Are The New Strangers}

Ok, I just had to share this blog post (the link is at the bottom of this article) I pinned on Pinterest because it is so vitally important to the SaFeTy of our kids!!  In this day and age it can be a bit challenging protecting your kids from predators.  (And disheartening that we even have to have this discussion in the first place!)  However, KnOwLeDgE iS pOwEr!!  So arm yourself with knowledge.

I strongly suggest clicking on the blue links at the end of the article (or here).  They are relatively short lists that contain tips to teach your kids:

PREVENTION TIPS , RED FLAGS & WARNINGS, a THE SUPER-10, PLAY IT SAFE FOR KIDS AND GROWN-UPS!

Whatever you do, don’t stress out!  Don’t panic!  Instead be proactive and prepared.  It will not only protect your kids, it will ease your worries as well!!

HaPpY PaReNtInG!!

:)

Robynn~

http://www.checklistmommy.com/2012/02/09/tricky-people-are-the-new-strangers/

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They Are Paying Attention!

Today I got an email forward from my mom that really made me think.  It was a beautiful poem about what goes on in the mind of a child when we ThInK they aren’t looking.  There are so many times I clean up the toys only to have them scattered around the house an hour later and think to myself….Why do I even bother?  This poem really touched me because it made me realize that as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends we may not instantly see the influence we are having on the children in our lives, but they are always WaTcHiNg us and taking in the little things we do day in and day out.

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

Author: Unknown
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I looked….
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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{How To Add Effects & Words To Photos}

I think it is kinda funny, ME, writing a post about editing pictures.   That’s because I really am techno-challenged.  {Is that a laugh I just heard all the way from Lyndon, Kansas – 90 miles away?!  Yes, I am quite certain Lara is laughing because she has taken too-many-to-count phone calls from me with my computer conundrums!}

Maybe you can relate.  The thought of trying to edit a photo on your computer sounds equivalent to mastering the Amanar vault.  (The famous & incredibly difficult vault of Miss McKayla Maroney, of TEAM USA Woman’s Gymnastics.)  Sorry, I’ve been a bit immersed in the Olympics these days as many of you may have been as well.  :)

Anyway, I want to share with you a couple of internet sites where you can edit photos in a few minutes.  Seriously!!!  It really is simple.  (Sorry, for those of you who are yawning because this is so last year’s news. )

So, it all began with an idea and a pith helmet.  As members of the Chanute Tourism Committee, fellow committee member Jacquelyn Borgeson, and I thought it would be cool to start a Facebook marketing campaign by taking pictures of SoMeBoDy, SoMeWhErE in our town with a pith helmet inspired by our own famous OsA JoHnSoN.  (You never know where the pith helmet will show up and on whom.)

This photo came from the Martin & Osa SAFARI MUSEUM

So, I began to look online for a site where I could add words to the above photo as well as to the photos I take.  I wanted to add our town’s motto “Live The Adventure” along with the name of the people in the picture.

And these are the sites I found:

pixlr.com/o-matic/   – add effects and borders

befunky.com – add words

I’m sure there are sites where you can do one-stop shopping.  I just like these sites and don’t want to spend the time to find new ones.  (At the end of this post I will give step-by-step instructions to help walk you through the process).

Here is the original Osa photo after a border and words were added.  I was going for a postcard-y look…

Here’s another tourism photo:

The original photo…

Add an effect (notice the change of color compared to the original?  I chose a 70’s – looking effect) and a border…

Then add words.

This photo I took in Bonner Springs, Kansas behind Moon Marble Company last fall…

Add effects and border…

Finally, add words.

Here’s a little pizzaz I added to a random wedding pic…

The original…

A photo from my childhood…

The original…

Now that I know how to add effects and words, I plan on making photos similar to this for my girls’ 1st day of school coming up in just a few days!!!

  1. Go to pixlr.com/o-matic/
  2. Select a pic from your own photos or practice by trying one of the photos displayed at the bottom of the page where it says, “Try one of ours.”
  3. Once you have selected a photo it will appear in the white developing tray.
  4. Beneath the white developing tray are numerous effects that you may choose i.e. “Harry”, “Hagrid”, “Karen”.
  5. After you chose the effect you would like, click the double arrows (>>) at the bottom of the page.  This will take you to a new set of effects such as “Beep”, “Bocea”, or “Bubbles”.  I usually don’t use any of these, but it is fun to try them out.  (At this point the meter at the bottom of the page will be on green.)
  6. To select a border, click the double arrows (>>) at the bottom of the page once again.
  7. Once you select the border you like, click “Save” at the bottom of the page.  (The meter will be on yellow.)  Name the photo and chose a location where you would like to save it to i.e. a picture folder.

HOW TO ADD WORDS

  1. If you want effects and/or borders, do the above steps 1st.
  2. To add words I go to www.befunky.com  You can add borders and effects at this site, however, I like the effects at pixlr.com better.  (From what I can tell, pixlr.com does not have word functions.)
  3. Once at befuny.com, click on the box that says, “Add text, speech bubles >>”
  4. On the upper right hand corner click “Upload” and then select the photo you would like to add words to.
  5. Select a font on the left side of the page.
  6. Once you select a font style, the font will appear (in the words “Write Text”) in the middle of the photo.  Click the “Write Text” and a box will appear around the words.  Move the box to where you want the text on your photo.
  7. Change the font size by moving the blue dot under font on the left side of the page.
  8. Change the color of the font by clicking the black block on the left of the page.

Happy Editing!!

:)

Robynn~

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