Friday, August 31, 2012

Where Have all the Swaps Gone?

When I first started blogging, I loved joining swaps. I met some of my favorite bloggers through swaps.  For awhile, I was joining every swap that looked the least bit interesting. Some of my favorites are the ParTea Time swap with the the ParTea Planner (who no longer blogs) and the Bits and Pieces swap hosted by Everday is a Holiday. I also hosted a few myself.  I love getting mail and getting to know other people so it was a win-win!  My last swap was Amy Powers' Birthday Treasury Swap.  Unfortunately, that was the one and only swap I ever participated in where my partner left me hanging. Such a disappointment!!! Still, I love swaps.

I realized last night, though, that no one seems to do them anymore. I can't remember the last time I saw a creative blogger announce a swap opportunity.  It's a lot of work to put something like that together but they are always so fun. 

When I'm not feeling melancholy about the lack of swaps these days, I am excited about starting the newest Brave Girls Club class next week called Art School.  I think I have all my supplies ready and I can't wait to get started!  I also have the big ART IS YOU retreat here in Petaluma to look forward to.  I am taking Cathe Holden's class and, from all the sneak peeks she has been posting, I think it is going to be great!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Snoopy Ears

I'm here and I actually have made something to share with you but I haven't taken photos yet.

My mother had surgery last week and, even thought it was fairly minor, it has really set us back.  I had to take a few days off work to care for Noodlebug.  He and I went to the Schulz Museum yesterday morning and had some fun doing crafts together.

They handed out a poem to glue onto the back of one of the crafts and I was surprised to find myself suddenly crying after reading it. I'll share the poem later.

I have been feeling really emotional lately.  Maybe it's because Noodle is growing up so fast and the window for having another child is closing.  I don't know.  I am so blessed to have had the privilege of being a mom.  And I find myself treasuring little opportunities with my son more and more.  I read that extra book at bedtime.  I take advantage of any snuggle time presented.  I try to actively listen to his stories and not get distracted.  I take time after work to do things with him instead of sort the mail or get caught up in household stuff.  I let him play in the bath a little longer and don't rush him into bed. Because you never know how many more of those opportunities you will have.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Something New

I've decided to try something new.  I'm adding a few affiliates to my blog.  There are a few products and companies that I really believe in and I want to share them with you. In the interest of full disclosure, I am an affiliate for the following companies/products:

TEA COLLECTION---fabulous, ethnic-inspired clothing collections for kids and women

KIWI CRATE---craft kits delivered to your home for ages 3-7

PICK YOUR PLUM---a new crafty/creative pick daily!

ACTION PACK--an e-magazine full of activites for kids

That's it!  If they start an affiliate program for Sparkle Stories, I'll be signing up for that one!!! I really believe in all of these products and businesses.  You'll see me post about something new and exciting from time from time but mostly these new opportunities will reside in my sidebar where you can find them. I enjoy all of these wonderful businesses and products and I hope you will too!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Kiwi Crate Fun

You've heard me talk about Kiwi Crates before.  This subscription service brings a fun educational craft experience right to your doorstep!  I especially love the fact that virtually everything you need is already included in the box.  No gathering of materials necessary!!!

Noodlebug always gets excited when he sees the green crate sitting on the doorstep.  When we opened yesterday's box, he knew right away what the theme was:  ROBOTS!!!

The activities don't take a long time to do so they are perfect for doing between preschool and dinner.  (or whenever I get home from work)

We did the first activity in the box which was to create and robot and then move your robot through a series of mazes.  Noodle took his robot-creation VERY seriously:

Once the robot was done, we named him Mr. Roboto.  We then took our magical magnetic wand and moved him through a series of mazes.

Maybe we'll do the second robot craft this weekend.  To get your own subscription to Kiwi Crate, go here.

(if you sign up using this link, I will get a credit and you will get a discount)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School with a Growing Boy!

My little guy started his new preschool. He is still in a Montessori school (love love love Montessori!)  but he is now with bigger kids ages 3-6. It has been a much tougher transition for me than him.  I loved his former preschool. His teachers were like family.  With only 12 students a day, he got a lot of personal attention. Plus, I know that both teachers had special affection for him.  Now, he is with 24 children a day.  He seems to love it, though!

I entered the above photo in Tea Collection's Little Citizen of the Month contest.  Not to sound like an ad but I really love Tea's clothing. Since my background is in anthropology, I love the fact that Tea gathers inspiration from other cultures for their clothing.  It's hard to find little boy clothes that doesn't have the typical designs of dinosaurs or trucks or superheroes, etc. 

If you are on Facebook, would you consider "liking" Tea Collection and voting for my little guy?  We would win $100 which would help buy new school clothes.  This little guy is growing too fast!  Currently he is 47 inches tall and 45 pounds and he just turned 4 in May! 

Here is the link!

Hope you are having a good day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pin and Do! --- Mind Jar

The first time I heard about Mind (or Calm) Jars was on Amy Powers' blog.  Amy took the idea and made a spy jar out of it.  When I ran a search on Pinterest, I found a variety of ways to make these jars.  I loved the idea of finding a visual way to help children (or adults) calm down.  Watching glitter drift through a jar seemed like a wonderful meditation. 

I used a juice jar and filled it with two small tubes of glitter glue along with some loose sprinkled glitter.  I used about three cups of hot water.  I'm not entirely happy with the results.  The glitter doesn't take very long to settle at the bottom. Next time, I will probably use a smaller plastic peanut butter jar. (safer in case Noodlebug drops it)

(his nails aren't dirty...that's nail polish)

Still, Noodlebug finds it captivating....

Maybe we'll have to make another one!!!

For now, I can check this Pinterest pin off my list!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

DIY Budget Castle

This past week, we got a Playmobil catalog and Noodlebug has been pouring over it.  He immediately spotted this castle and said he would be putting it on his list for Santa (I's a little early):

(image source)

This castle retails for about $199.  There is no way that is in Santa's budget.  We might be able to afford ONE action figure.  

I was in Michael's on my lunch break today and saw this:

An unpainted castle!!!

I only had a 20% off coupon today so it came to $15.99.  If you had a 40% off coupon it would be $11.99.  Score!!!

Noodlebug was pretty happy with my budget rocket that I gave him for his birthday. I'm hoping that with a little work, I can make this little castle into something fun in time for Christmas. I'll keep you posted on my progress.