Monday, August 23, 2010

Organizing Kid's Art

If you have kids, chances are you have many of their art projects, and chances are you have wondered how to get a handle on that ever growing pile!  I have struggled with this, but I finally feel like I have it under control.  I am keeping and storing some of their art.  I am displaying some art for everyone to enjoy.  I am giving away some art for others to enjoy and I am keeping some art digitally to save space.

I don't think any of my ideas are original, I have read about this topic for years and here is my attempt to pass along some of the best ideas to you.

One of my favorite ideas came from Family Fun magazine recently.  I taped some beautiful creations to the inside of my cabinet doors in the kitchen.  It makes me smile every time I open the cabinet doors and I think I appreciate it more because I don't see it all the time.  Our guests will see it too when we offer them a drink and open the cabinet to get a glass and it will be a nice surprise for them too.  I plan to add more to inside of  closet doors too!

For the kids' rooms I took large poster frames and covered the cardboard backing board with a great product I found a Michael's, a small roll of fadeless paper large enough to cover a bulletin board.  I think arranged their art pieces on the solid background color and adhered it in a collage format.  It looks great and they enjoy having some of the art work from years ago on the wall.  Everything stays put, corners of paper stay down, and the art work is protected from the chaos of kids' rooms!

I have found art projects that have cotton balls, googly eyes, lots of glitter, popsicle sticks or other dimensional qualities do not store well.  I think it is best to take a picture of theses art pieces and keep the picture, not the piece!  Digital photo frames are a great way for kids to see their art work again!  If you are going to photograph artwork, take a few minutes to set up and use a solid color sheet or towel on a table or against a wall and zoom in as close as possible for the best outcome.  It makes the creation looks even more special. You can put all of the photos together in a photo book, check out my older post on this subject here.

If you are going to mail pictures or cards to family members, throw a masterpiece in there too!  They will  love it! Look at your kid's art pieces and scribbles, you may want to cut out one part of it that will fit in a envelope.

It's important to have an area to put art for the short term, as in at least half the school year.  I have emptied a file cabinet drawer of "junk" for this purpose.  I have used a magazine holder for this too, the kind you might set beside a chair.  I have used a decorative box about the size of a paper box- TJ Maxx is a great source for pretty boxes and containers.  I put almost all the artsy stuff they bring home in my spot and then later I go through it and decide what to keep and what to toss.  After the school year ends and I have already done all the above, then I store what is left for long term storage. Don't forget to label what you are keeping with a name and year or grade.

There are hundreds of other ideas out there too!  Good luck taming the pile!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thoughtful Homemade Gift for Kids: Card Making Kit

A card making kit makes a great homemade gift for kids, especially young girls.  To start you need a container to house your kit in and I like the desktop 3 drawer organizers like you see pictured above.  The small ones work well, it does not need to be large enough to hold full sheets of paper. Then you need blank cards, you can buy these with envelopes in most craft stores or you can make your own with folded paper.  After that, have fun filling with lots of goodies that will allow a young person to create their own cards for any occassion.  Here is a list of things you can put in your kit:

  • Cool Pens
  • Small pieces of colored paper
  • Stencils
  • Adhesive
  • Fancy scissors
  • Stickers
  • Fronts of old greeting cards 
  • Ribbons and yarn- take a popsicle stick and wind a small amount of yarn on it for the kids- less to get tangled!
  • Scrapbook accessories or other things to glue on cards like buttons
  • You could take the time to cut out some images out for them from magazines or old calendars

Include a sample card to the child using the supplies in the kit.

If you are a crafter or scrapbooker and have extra supplies on hand, this could be a very cheap gift to put together.  Remember kids don't need all the fancy things you will see in the craft stores for this, take a trip to your local dollar store and be creative while saving lots of money

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Money Saving Tips for Children's Birthday Parties

It seems every child's birthday starts with a theme and from there it can get kinda crazy and expensive. Whether you are looking online or in a store, if you choose all the items that match your theme, you could spend way too much money on things that will be thrown away.

For a fraction of the cost, you can transform a roll of themed wrapping paper into cool party decor! Forget about themed plates, cups and napkins and buy the cheaper solid colors instead. You can use the wrapping paper like a table cloth, table runner or you can cut it into rectangles for place mats.  Fancy scissors would make a pretty edge but not needed. You can also decorate the door of your house with wrapping paper (if it is a home party) or make a nice background for birthday banners and signs on the walls and even a photo backdrop. Get creative and remember it takes very little for the idea of a theme to show through.

Another money saving idea for party decor is to use what your kids already have. Young children's toys can be used to create a centerpiece for the table- dinosaurs, super heroes, princesses, trucks. Older children's sports memorabilia or bedroom decor can help create a theme around the party area.

And one last note about parties- stop the treat bag insanity!! I understand the concept, but what parent today needs a bag of small junk to trash later. If you feel you have to do a treat, do some research and be creative. Most parents don't mind a treat bag of snack type foods, they can keep these in the car or throw in lunch boxes. Photos make great "treats", a photo of the whole group, or with the bithday kid.

Hope one of these tips help you plan a great birthday party!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shopping at Sam's Club with Selina

Most of you have shopped at Sam's Club before, it is a neat place. It is not always a place to save money, you can end up buying tons of things you don't need or don't like when you get home. Here is a list of some things I have bought at Sam's and like enough to keep buying.

Herr's Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels - 44 oz. jar $6.62
Everyone loves these!

Frigo® Cheese Heads® String Cheese - 48 ct. $7.78

I think this is a great deal, but it also great tasting string cheese. Some string cheese tastes a lot like nothing to me, this has a great mozzarella cheese flavor.

Bakers & Chefs™ Kosher Petite Pickles - 46oz $3.62

Delicious pickles in a maneageable sized jar.

Member's Mark® Whole Pickled Okra - 64oz $3.36

This is a big jar but its the same price as those little tiny jars in the grocery store. Buy a jar and split in with a friend or neighbor if you are worried about waste

Craisins and Almonds
You can buy a big bag of both of these at a decent price and I love them together for a snack. And of course throw some craisins on your salads.

Croissants and Sub Rolls
in the bakery section
You will 2-3 times as much bread as you do in a grocery store for about the same price. Next time you need lunch for a crowd grab these and save some serious money.

Deli Meats
This is sold near the meat counter and the turkey I buy is sold in 1lb 6oz containers for under $7.00. This is great deli meat! Make your own subs with the sub rolls and this meat.

I buy lots of other things too, but I can't imagine having to go back and buy these things regularly in a grocery store, I couldn't afford it!