We’ve been busy crafting for the kids valentines party at school. 

It always brings back such wonderful memories of elementary school and receiving valentines from the entire class and getting loaded on sugar from crappy candy!  Sounds awesome!  I think it’s just the innocence of it all, before you get older and start wondering if you’ll get a special something from your crush or will you be the only one that doesn’t get a valentine (man growing up is tough). 

I went today for a tour at a Charter School we are thinking of sending Ryder to.  The wave of memories and experiences flooded over me as well as the fear of what’s to come with my kids.  I have many fond memories of growing up and school but I also know how cruel kids can be and how tough adolescence is (especially now).  So as I watched the children arrive on the campus and greet each other and share high fives, a smile, an embrace, etc.  I noticed what a community feel there was at this school.  It was small, the classes went from Kindergarten through 8th grade, a couple of the older students sat in the middle of the campus with congo drums, drumming a steady rhythm to greet the students in the morning and all the students in the school gathered for their morning pledge of allegiance, their world peace pledge and announcements.  World Peace pledge!?  I thought to myself, this is a school I can see becoming a part of.  I continued to be pleased as the tour continued.  I left the school and felt, for the first time in a while since we’ve started this kindergarten search, a sense of relief and ease.  I no longer felt, Oh My God, what is going to happen to my sweet little boy amidst all of these older kids, how will he be influenced, will he be bullied, etc etc etc! 

I know I may over react a bit and the universe always has a plan and everything will work out – but oh the thought of leaving our perfect little universe at his current preschool – it just reaks havoc on my emotions!  I hope there are others out there feeling the same way (I know some of my friends feel this way too) but are there others of you, whom I don’t know, that feel this way or have felt this way and made it through this?

I know it will all work out and we’ll all survive – but….. I’m a mama and mama’s worry and mama’s don’t want their children’s innocence lost or their feelings hurt or the physical being hurt.  I try to remain grounded and centered and to breath……… we will get through. 

Happy Valentine’s Day/ weekend to you and yours.

We never really got too crazy with Valentine’s Day around here, until we had kids.  I think once Doug and I went out for dinner and it was such a hoax that we never did it again- it was overpriced, not so good and way too crowded.  Everyone who never goes out, goes out on that night (kinda like New Year’s Eve).  I know I sound like a bah humbug but I don’t need a specific day to tell Doug how much I love him – that happens everyday (well most days !). 

But then we had Ryder and Ryder started school and I remembered how much fun it was to hand out valentine cards and have a little party and eat candy, etc.  So last year was our first year for this at his preschool.  We are discourage in bringing candy/cookies/sweets and I didn’t want to buy junk made in China – it was a big delimma.  So I had this recipe for homemade playdough I had been looking at for months so I thought this would be a perfect present for the kids, it  was homemade and it wasn’t toxic.  Perfect.  So Ryder and I went to work on the playdough.  Then we had to figure out a pretty package for it- so we stamped red hearts on little brown lunch bags.  I was very happy with the end result and we had tons of fun working on it.

I do remember, though, we did it the night before and it was a bit stressful towards the end (I don’t like feeling rushed with something like that).  So I had been thinking about this years Valentine’s gifts for his classmates and I am borrowing from a party favor my friend received at a birthday party.  I couldn’t resist – I thought it was brilliant.  We gave compostible plant containers with a bag of organic potting soil and a seed (Ryder has decided on sunflower seeds) .  It helps that I work at a home improvement center, but I thought that was so cute and clever.  Ryder has made some paintings and went heart crazy- we cut out hearts from the paintings and glued them on to hearts we cut out of construction paper.

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I love the idea of getting children involved in gardening and not everyone has a garden-but this is something that will get their hands in the dirt

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and give them something of their own to be proud of as they watch it grow.  Plus – how cool will it be when these sunflowers grow to be bigger than the kids!  I remember my best friends Dad growing sunflowers and they were HUGE and I always thought they were so rad!  And how can you not smile when you see a sunflower- it’s like looking at a big smiling face.

We had so much fun putting them together and passing them out to all of Ryder’s friends and teachers at his party.  I hope they enjoy watching their sunflowers grow.

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Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day and I would love to hear what type of crafts you and your little ones did for Valentines.

This was the first “official” valentines day for Ryder.  I say this because it’s his first valentines day at school and you know how it was back when we were little- everyone gave each other little valentine cards and those little heart candies.  I normally don’t get too into Valentines day but this year I thought it would be fun because Ryder, now, has classmates.  Now the question is what to do?…… Everything at the store is Made in China and I just couldn’t bring myself to giving out gifts that could potentially (most likely) contain lead or any other toxic substance and would be on my recall list the next day.  So I found a recipe for homemade play-dough, perfect, the kids could actually eat the entire ball of playdough and not get sick at all.  I thought it would be fun for Ryder to do – so Wednesday morning we got up and started making our play-dough. 

 ryder making playdoughryder stirringpink playdough

 It actually came out good- the purple color came  out a little “mucky” looking but not totally awful. 

playdough balls

Now we had to figure out something to put it in – I looked everywhere for little white bags to decorate (and not made in china- close to impossible).  I ended up buying the old-school brown lunch bags and as I left for work last night I told Doug what my concept for the bags was and he and Ryder did an awesome job! 

 bags

 I had bought a package of cheap sponges to cut into shapes for stamping- so Doug took a sponge and cut it into a heart and he and Ryder dipped the heart sponge into red paint and stamped the bags.  I think they look adorable and it was “made with love by Ryder”. 

bags on paradebags in a row

Ryder was so excited to put the balls of play-dough in the bags and bring them to school today for his friends.  Again, he felt that pride of ownership- he made these presents for his friends.

ryder with valentine

For any of you interested in making the play-dough- here’s the recipe (I got it out of Parent’s magazine)

1 C flour

1/2 C salt

2 tsp cream of tarter

1C water

1Tbsp veggie oil

food coloring

combine dry ingredients in pot

combine wet ingredients in bowl

pour wet ingredients into pot of dry ingredients (slowly) while continuing to mix- over medium heat- keep stirring until ball is formed.  Let cool and store in air tight container.

Super easy and fun- and you can make all your own colors