Crafty | DIY | guest posting | Party

Crafty Activities for Kids’ Parties

By on April 13, 2013

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One of the primary challenge that comes with hosting any kids’ birthday party is keeping all of those little ones busy until it’s time for their own parents to take them home. Between the excitement and the sugar contained in a typical birthday party just keeping up can be more than a parent can do. Games will wear them out, but choosing craft activities will give them an opportunity to be creative while they play, and may even leave them with a great souvenir to take home with them.

 photo 3407019537_c79b5663f1_z_zpse86965a4.jpgPuppets
Wendy Piersall
Finger puppets are great fun and each child can take home their own set! Use pipe cleaners or fabrics, and don’t forget the classic brown-paper-bag-puppets we all made when we were kids. For longer parties or sleep over celebrations, you could also have them decorate a cardboard puppet stage and come up with a show to put on before the end of the night. Flex that visual creativity AND their storytelling skills, while building a little story-time into the evening to mark the time to bring it to an end.

Manish Bansal
A mural is an excellent activity for kids, and something that your child can keep and decorate their room with to remind them of the great party you threw for them, and of all the friends who wanted to come and celebrate him or her. This is probably an activity best planned for outdoors or in the garage, but with the careful use of a tarp or a series of newspapers, it can be accomplished inside pretty safely. Remember to make sure that each child is getting a chance to participate and a space to work in, whether or not they’re the most artistic of the group.

Decorating T-shirts is lots of fun, and each kid will have a specially made item to take home! Use crayons or grease pencils for younger kids to reduce the mess, but for an older group consider setting up outside for tie-dye. It’s really a very simple process, requiring only die and rubber bands, and anyone can do it. All you do is twist up a part of the blank T-shirt and put the rubber band around it, then dunk it into the color you want. Trial and error will lead them to the best combinations of colors and the patterns they prefer, so having a few blank shirts for each child is a good idea.

It’s all about color
This does require a few more elements than most of the craft ideas proposed above, but your party guests will be blown away when you teach them to use mirrors and paper to make a homemade kaleidoscope! Let the kids cut up the colorful paper and decorate the outsides of their tubes, then learn about refracting light when it comes time to put together the mirror and enjoy the beautiful colors. Each one will be entirely unique, and the kids will love taking home the kaleidoscope they made themselves.
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Working with clay is a great activity for kids as it gives them an opportunity to really get their hands dirty while being creative and productive, but it can seem impossible to accomplish at home, since a proper kiln should heat up to nearly 2000 degrees. However, there are some great no-fire or air-dry clays on the market. Ceramics made with these items won’t be waterproof or oven-safe, but they will be handmade and great for decoration or storing things like keys and change.

Author Info: Jenny Franklin is a mom, a party planner, and a freelance writer. She currently writes for PartyPail, girls’ birthday party supplier.

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Guest Post: Business Ideas for Moms

By on February 28, 2013

When a baby becomes older than 12 months, a stay-at-home mom gets a bit of spare time to occupy with a part-time job. Of course, it is not enough for something serious and ambitious, but that will do for doing something at home. For example, when your child is asleep you can translate, write, edit, do web design and programming, bookkeeping, develop architectural projects, knit, sew and so on. It all depends on your skills and hobbies. 
Someone more suitable option to prepare meals for take-out, small, close lying firms. You can still engage in the manufacture of colored edible ice for cafes, bars and restaurants. All that you need is to buy a form, fill it with water, add fruit/vegetable juice and freeze. Or you can start baking. Homemade products can be delivered a walk with the baby.
If a young mother has a good taste, it can offer services in the design of photo albums. You need a good camera to take high-quality pictures and if you don’t have it your option will be to buy a professional camera using one of short-term online loans offered on many websites. You can negotiate with relatives, shoot and make the album a memorable event as the meeting of the mother and child hospital. Some parents also like to arrange photo albums gradual development of the baby up to a year. To do this once a month, you can come in and give little photo shoot crumbs. 
The simplest and most common way to earn money is a walk with the kids. When going with a child in the street, grab a neighbor kid for a small fee. Those who have suitable living conditions can arrange a home kindergarten for three or four children. 

Guest Post by Tanya K., owner of  Personal Finance Blog for Women

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Guest Post: Parents Say the Darndest Things!

By on December 17, 2012

There’s some things you expect to tell your kids:  Be nice, don’t hit, use your inside voice.  But there are other things that you find yourself saying as a parent that you never dreamed would come out of your mouth.

The list below are 30 things my friends and I never expected to say to our kids…but we did.

Don’t lick your brother.
Don’t pet the spiders.  They bite.
Don’t hang off the bunk bed by your feet!
Don’t hide apple cores under your mattress!
Don’t pee in the lego box…EVER!
We don’t kiss the computer screen–even if there are cute puppies on it.
We don’t lick spilled milk off the floor!
We don’t eat electricity.
We don’t chew on sandpaper.
No, we can’t have cake for dinner.
No, you can’t ride the dogs.
No, you may not go on the roof!
No, you can’t slide down the fire tower railing!
No, we can’t swing from the balcony
No, you can’t hang a rope off the ceiling fan and swing from it.
Get off the refrigerator!
No feet on the toilet!
Food in the trash stays in the trash! 
Yes, that does make a circle…but don’t bite me again.
Take my bra off your head…that’s not a toy.
The toilet plunger is not a gun.  Put it back.
The kitchen knives are not pirate swords!
Lollypops are not for sharing.
My shirt is not a kleenex!
Toy planes can’t really fly.  If you throw them off the balcony, they break.
I’m sorry, I can’t kiss the boo-boo on your tongue.  Maybe a hug will do?
If you climb up the walls, you get to clean the footprints off.
You have to stop digging there–you’re exposing the foundation of our house.
Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato need to go back in the fridge now.
What do you mean you have gone to school all week without underwear!?

So, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to say to your children?

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Guest Poster Allie: We’re All AP Moms

By on December 2, 2012
Hi, I’m Allie – The Practically Green Mom. I’m guest blogging for Bren today!  

 Here’s a little about me: I have a 15 month old. I live on coffee. (That pretty much sums it up.) This is a post I wrote back in May regarding the infamous Time magazine cover. It’s just a reminder that as moms, we should all support each other, and do what works best for our families! (Chances are, you’re a better mom than you think!)

We’re All AP Moms

(originally posted on May 11, 2012) By now, you’ve all seen it. Or at least heard about it. The latest cover of Time magazine. (If
you’ve been living under a rockyou really have no idea what I’m talking about, please Google “time magazine breastfeeding cover”) It’s making waves across the country. Breastfeeding and La Leche League groupies are rejoicing in the fact that a child who looks old enough to be in middle school has a boob in his mouth. The “other” mommies at the playground are either 1) appalled by the inappropriate nature of this photograph, and/or 2) feeling mega mommy guilt for being unwilling or unable to do so themselves. I thought about bringing the debate over here. How old is too old for a child to be breastfed?! But, when I actually got a chance to read the article this afternoon, I was surprised to see that the article had very little to do with extended breastfeeding (ie: breast feeding past the age of one). It’s actually about Dr. Bill Sears and his family (who are well known for The Baby Book, The Vaccine Book, etc.) and how parents take their attachment parenting (AP) philosophy to the extreme. I will admit, I kind of wanted to be one of those AP, super-crunchy moms. But things don’t always work out as planned… Enough Mom guilt for one day, though! As it turns out, according to these “eight principles of attachment parenting“:

  • Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  • Feed with Love and Respect
  • Respond with Sensitivity
  • Use Nurturing Touch
  • Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
  • Provide Consistent Loving Care
  • Practice Positive Discipline
  • Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Even though I’m not a stay-at-home Mom, won’t breastfeed my son until he starts kindergarten, and will not co-sleep until he goes away to college… I am still an AP mom! (And so are you, provided you don’t abandon your child at the grocery store. Anymore. That one time he really needed to be taught a lesson…)

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Guest Poster: Jaime’s take on Pregnancy

By on November 30, 2012

I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant, with my second child. I look pretty much like this:
For the first few months, this pregnancy felt like no big deal. I’ve been here, I’ve done this—and I wasn’t even dealing with the violent morning sickness problem I had the first time around (finally managed to keep food down consistently after the 25th week. Couldn’t eat anything, but didn’t have any problems gaining baby weight. Unfair).
Then I started feeling my little guy move.
A lot.
All the time. 
It’s not that my little girl never moved in the womb. She did – for an hour or so in the morning and an hour or so at night. I felt little experimental nudges and kicks that gradually increased in strength, and she would respond curiously to my touch if I poked at her little feet. Normal baby stuff.
But not this guy. It’s a three ring circus in there. He dances. He jiggles. He sometimes moves so forcefully that I lose my balance. His little one-man rock concert is going on all day and all night with only a few minutes intermission between sets. 
I’m terrified. 
I already have enough trouble keeping up with my toddler – and she’s my sweet, inquisitive, motherly little engineer-brain. She likes to explore, to examine how things work, and to observe the people around her. She’s what many more experienced mothers have told me is known as an “easy” child.
She’s easy, and I still can’t seem to get a shower every day. Or even every other day.
If I’m struggling so much now, how am I going to do this when I’ve got a second child – especially one who seems to be practicing Zumba already?
I know it’s all going to be okay. Somehow, someway, I’ll manage – and this, I know, mostly because millions of other families the world over have more than one child and manage to keep themselves and their children alive. It’s obviously possible.
That doesn’t make it any less frightening, though. The prospect ahead of me is sleepless nights full of colic and nursing sessions, followed by days of teaching the alphabet and potty-training mishaps. Meanwhile my dishes will pile up in the sink, the dust bunnies will pile up on the floor, and the laundry will pile up in, you know, the laundry piles.
I like to sleep. I don’t want poo on my floor. I like a clean house.
 At least for the first few months, none of that will matter. 
Things will probably be very similar to how they were when I became a mom the first time around – I’ll feel incredibly accomplished if I get an entire load of laundry folded AND put away in the same 24 hour period. I’ll be forgetting to eat. I’ll probably find myself unable to keep both children happy, and will wind up just sitting on the floor and sobbing with them until my husband comes home to rescue me (and my rescue, I mean, take the kids to grandma’s while mommy has a brief nervous breakdown).
But it’s going to be better this time around. I know that much. It isn’t going to be easier, but it will be better – because this time, I’m giving myself permission in advance to just utterly fail.
I didn’t know what it would be like the first time. I was shocked and horrified to realize that I could no longer just eat when I was hungry and go to the bathroom when I needed to. This time, meh – I already know those things are for non-moms. Going to the bathroom by myself even feels luxurious now – like I’m splurging on a spa-day or something. I don’t expect those privileges anymore, so I won’t have to deal with the horror of losing them.
I also won’t worry about my home turning into a temporary hovel. Usually, yes, I like it to be clean and orderly, and it’s going to really bug me to see everything falling apart and getting dirty – but this time, I’ll know it’s a phase. Gradually, I’ll be able to accomplish more and more tasks in the day. Eventually, I will be able to vacuum the floor AND clean the bathroom. It’ll happen. I’ll get there.
It’s still terrifying. Utterly. Hormones might be partially to blame for the late-term pregnancy insomnia I’ve been experiencing, but I’m not kidding myself – a lot of the sleeplessness comes from knowing what I’m in for. I’m scared, and I admit it – but that doesn’t change the fact that it’ll be okay. 
I’ll get through this. I’m going to be exhausted, depressed, overwhelmed, and I’ll survive it all – and I’ll love every minute, whether I know it or not. After all, all the old ladies who come up to me in the store and fondly tell me of when their children were small must remember how hard it was, too. They were probably drowning just like me, but they were drowning for the best reason imaginable – their kids. 
I’m giving myself this permission to fail and to feel terrible, because I also want the permission to enjoy the craziness. I’m going to have a messy house, and dang it, for once in my life, I’m going to try to enjoy a mess. I’m going to slap together sub-par meals, and I’m not going to feel bad about it. It’s fine. It’s normal. It’ll pass.
And someday very soon, I know I’ll wish that it hadn’t passed so incredibly quickly. The old lady in the grocery store will be me, and the child I’m remembering as I admire someone elses’ baby will be all grown up and on their own. In that time, as that old lady, I intend to remember how very much I enjoyed the craziness while it was there for me to enjoy. 

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DIY | fashion | Featured Poster | guest posting | mommy must haves | Must Haves | Pinterest | Pregnancy must haves | style | Summer

Featured Friday Poster: Merrick from Merrick’s Art!

By on July 20, 2012

I recently was cruising around Pinterest (Shocker!) and found a pin about Merrick’s blog. I instantly became obsessed with how creative and stylish she was. I immediately emailed her and asked her to do a featured post. I know many new Mom’s could use some of her awesome tips and ideas. I am thrilled to welcome Merrick to Featured Friday. Here is an amazing guest post from her!

Hi there, I’m Merrick from Merrick’s Art, where I blog about sewing, style, and family life. I’m excited to be over here on Perfectly Imperfect Mom today talking a little bit about Mommy Style.

Before I became a mom, I was a student, and then spent a few years working as a project manager for a local company. Both of these required getting dressed every day, and looking both put together and appropriate. But once my little Peanut was born, I was suddenly thrown in to the world of staying at home with nowhere to be, no one to see, and no one caring what I looked like. And yet, I could count on one hand the number of times I haven’t gotten dressed and put on makeup for the day in the last two years since his birth. Why? Well, let me tell you.

Here are six reasons I get dressed and ready (which, for me, includes hair and makeup) EVERY morning:

  1. It gets my day started. I am not completely ready for the day by 7:00am, like my old work days, but even being ready by nine or ten gives me the whole day to get things done.
  2. It makes me feel more productive. There is nothing that makes me feel more lazy and less productive than walking around in my pajamas and bed-head until 5:00pm. Nothing would ever get done if I didn’t get ready every day.
  3. It makes me feel confident. When I wake up in the morning, I certainly do not look my best (surprise, surprise). Putting on makeup, doing my hair (even if it’s just a top knot or a pony tail), and throwing on even just a pair of jeans and a t-shirt makes me feel infinitely better about myself.
  4. It makes me a better mom. Carrying on from #3, feeling confident makes me a better mom. I am more patient, more fun, and more energetic when I’m happy and have taken some time to take care of myself
  5. It allows me to walk out the door any time. It is hard enough to get out the door with a child, but adding getting dressed and presentable to that is just crazy. You’ll never get your errands done. Taking fifteen minutes in the morning to get yourself ready makes it easy to walk out the door (without being embarrassed) any time of the day.
  6. It is a favor to my husband. You guys. I cannot talk about this enough. Coming home after a long and tiring day of work to a messy house, a smelly and sweats-clad wife, and crazy kids is probably the LAST thing a husband wants to do, regardless of how much he loves you. Despite how crazy and busy my days are, I always make an effort to straighten up the house and put on a little lipgloss or perfume around 5:30pm before he walks in the door. He just deserves that.

So now that you know why I do it, let’s talk for a second about how I do it. Because some people think that getting ready every day (especially as a mom) takes way too long, doesn’t allow for comfort, and just isn’t worth it.

Here are five of my go-to Mommy Style outfits that make me feel put together, are super comfortable, and are just as easy to throw on as a baggy t-shirt and sweatpants.

1. stretchy pencil skirts

skirt: made by me, t-shirt cardigan and sandals: target // skirt & sandals: target, graphic tee: made by me

 I just recently discovered my undying love for stretchy pencil skirts. I’d always worn pencil skirts to church or work, but with a graphic t-shirt and a pair of sandals, they can be very casual, so cute, and really comfortable. 

2. jeans & t-shirts

red jeans: f21, scarf: bought in London, tee: hand-me-down (heart by me), flats: payless // jeans: gap, belt: husbands, leopard flats: steve madden via platos closet, button up: target // jeans: abercrombie, tee: hand-me-down, belt: local boutique, necklace: gift, sandals: target // jeans: h&m (maternity), tee: target, necklace: c/o wild about jewelry, wedges: old navy

 Jeans and t-shirts are probably the easiest thing for a mom to wear, right? But it doesn’t have to be so basic. Add a scarf, tuck (or half tuck) your shirt, add a skinny belt, or a big statement necklace, and suddenly your jeans and t-shirt ensemble is put together and pretty, but still comfortable and simple.

3. lightweight dresses

pink dress: target (maternity), cardigan: target, flats: h&m, belt: local boutique // maxi dress & leopard belt: target, cardigan: local boutique, necklace: c/o lisa leonard designs

As with pencil skirts, dresses were something I only wore to church or work in the past. But lightweight, stretchy dresses (especially maxi dresses) are the most comfortable thing you could possibly put on. It’s like wearing a blanket all day long, but you look fabulous.

4. tunics & leggings

tunic: made by my mom, cardigan & leggings: target, leopard flats: steve madden via plato’s closet // tunic: made by me, leggings, sandals & belt: target // tunic: made by me, leggings, sandals & belt: target

 Tunics have become a summer staple for me. They are so simple and effortless, and beyond comfortable. Add a fun belt or a cardigan, and you step it up just a little bit more.

5. pattern mixing

jeans: gap, striped tee: lucky brand via sams club, cardigan, belt & sandals: target // dress: gap maternity t-shirts (turned into a dress), cardigan: f21, boots: target // jeans: f21, top: old navy, belt: target

Pattern mixing is one of those things that is a bit scary at first, but can transform even the simplest of mom outfits if you do it right. Two easy rules to start out: use patterns that are in the same color family, and keep one pattern smaller than the other. Give it a try — you’ll suddenly look like you put way more effort into your outfit than you actually did!

So there you go. Six reasons to take care of yourself as a mom, and five easy ways to do it. Thanks again for having me!

merrick’s art

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