5 Simple Ways to Get Your Kids Writing Again

If OMG and BTW seem like they are referring to a person’s initials, you are not alone. The way in which our children communicate in today’s techno advanced world almost seems like another universe for most parents. And although we all find convenience in sending emails and receiving instant responses, quicker is not always better. Many moms would agree that driving through a fast food restaurant every night for dinner may be a lot easier and faster, however I bet most would agree it is not the better choice than taking the time to cook a home made meal. Although there is nothing terribly wrong with the occasional drive thru (or e-card) lets take the time to teach our kids that it is important to actually pick up a pencil once in a while!
I admit, it is not always easy to get your children to eagerly do a writing project when assigned for homework, let alone just for fun. Getting children to pick up a pencil and put down the video games and cell phones may seem like a comical idea, however, as parents we need to encourage our little ones to do just that. Unless we want our kids to be paralyzed without the crutch of the computer’s spell check and unable to communicate outside of texting lingo, we need to get them writing once in a while…the good old fashioned way! Here are some simple ideas to not only get them to practice their writing skills but also some ideas that might even get them interested in writing more (I did say might).

Here are 5 simple ideas that just might spark your child’s creative writing skills… or at least get them writing anyway!

1. Make it FUN for everyone!
Lets face it, children are not going to be eager to do a writing assignment if they see as it as a another chore or just more homework. Lets make it fun and really encourage them to be creative! Get their creative juices flowing with this fun family idea:
Make it Secret Story Sunday!
First, gather up all the members of the family (if they are too small to write independently perhaps partner them up with a parent) and have them brainstorm some really fun topics or subjects for stories. Give everyone a couple pieces of paper and have them write down whatever comes to mind like “Vampires” or “The Beach.” Then, place all the topics in a jar. Every Sunday morning (maybe at breakfast) have each family member pick a topic and keep it a secret! Have everyone write a story at some point during that day about the topic they selected. Share these stories in the evening maybe after dinner or sometime everyone is together. Not only will this get everyone in the same place at the same time- but it just might inspire your little budding author!

2. Teach them GRATITUDE and why it matters

The next time you receive a thank you card or thoughtful note in the mail share it.
Even a five year old can understand that doing nice things for others is rewarding. Express to them how good receiving that card felt to you. Encourage them to always express their gratitude towards others as well. In fact, I say it should be required for children to send thank you cards for things they receive in the mail. It may take a push or two, but eventually children will understand that it makes others feel good to know that you are thankful, plus they will feel a sense of pride in sending that card off in the mail. Don’t leave the little ones out, small children can do this too! If they are unable to write independently, have them draw a picture and then dictate to you their message you can write at the bottom.

3. Turn WHINING into WRITING

The next time your child “wants” something (like that remote control he cannot live without), have them write a request to you. Have your kids “put it in writing” from now on. Have a designated jar or box for all written request. Have them include their name, what it is they want to have or to do and why they should be granted their request. You can make this more fun for you by also having them write what it is they are willing to contribute in order to get it. Have a day like the first of every month where you promise to review all request and pick one to fill. Not only does this get them writing, it may reduce their whining!

4. Let them COMMUNICATE with their pens!

As a child, I had a pen pal and treasure the memories. Let your children exchange letters with another child their age. The back and forth written dialogue really is exciting for children. They learn to communicate through writing and the natural question and answer format that takes place. Not only will they be anxious to write to their pen pal, they will learn valuable patience while they await a response letter. Once they exchange a couple of letters they will be hooked! You can find pen pals for your children through online services (parents make sure you do the research) or simply have them exchange letters with an out of town relative or family friend.


5. Have them HELP you
You can sneak in simple writing assignments by having your children help you with everyday tasks. For example, let your child write out your grocery list as you verbally list items you need while digging through the pantry. Not only will they be having to access a unused vocabulary (how often does a 12 year old write asparagus?) But they will be learning small life lessons about household responsibilities. Also, have them help you address out going letters or bills. This is an exercise that will come in handy for them in years to come. The point is, if they can help you, let them- it may not seem like a big deal but little life lessons add up to bigger ones.

These are five ways in which you can get your kids sharpening those pencils. My point is to get creative and get them writing. It is important that we teach our children how to communicate with the written word….after all what ever will they do when their cell phone battery goes dead or the power is out and the computer wont turn on?!

Written by Tori Tait
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How to Style it Right with Photos

Do you love photos in your home? I know I do- but like so many, I am just not confident about my display choices. Thank goodness I know someone who is a “photo-guru” if you will. Jill at Cool Photo Ideas has given us the how-to when it comes to displaying our cherished photos or prized art pieces in our homes.

Jill says,

IT’S ALL IN THE PLANNING

“Give thought to the space you want to liven up. Once you have an area picked out then you can measure the area and get a general idea of sizes of pictures you may want to incorporate. Generally speaking anything smaller than an 8″ x 10″ tends to get lost on a large wall, so be sure to think those things through!”

Oh and this is my favorite tip:

STICK IT TO ME

“Once you know your sizes, lay your frames (or if you don’t have frames yet, you can get a general measurement by taking the size of the image and add about 4″ for the width of the frame. So if you would like to hang an 8″ x 10″ image, trace out a 12″ x 14″ frame) on a roll of kraft paper and trace around them. Cut each frame out separately. You now have “frames” that you can hang on the wall with blue painters tape (which will not peal paint off your wall), to gauge where you will hang your final framed images.”

STAY IN THE LINES

“Keep moving your paper frames around until you love the look! Be sure to allow approximately 2″ between your frames. Then you can finish up your project with ease by simply hanging your frames over the paper spots as shown. The sample shows a great way to create a display, buy drawing an ‘imaginary’ line and then working above and below the line to create an organized look. Perfect for the beginner!”

Love this design tip from Cool Photo Ideas? There are many more where this came from! Check out:

STAGGERING IMAGES & SYMMETRICAL DISPLAYS

Jill knows how to solve your “fear of putting holes in the wall only to find you hate the way the portraits look when they are hung.” Cool Photo Ideas is full of solutions.

This fabulous e-zine is filled with ideas, sources, articles, contests and more – all photo related of course!

Tell me, what area of your home would you like to decorate with photos? Come on, everyone has that empty wall…..

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How to Save Money & Still Have a Fabulous Wedding


Are you planning a wedding? Don’t waste your money on these 3 things that guests could care less about!

1. Trinkets as Favors- The majority of wedding reception favors are left behind once the night is over. Why? Well who really needs one silver 3×5 frame or one heart shaped place card holder? For your favors, consider an adorable edible gift. I do not mean a tulle bag of Jordan almonds either- there are so many options these days. Change to an edible favor and I bet that not too many will be left behind. Bonus- edible favors typically costs less which will allow you to increase your budget on more important things…..like flowers!

2. Personalized Embossed Cocktail Napkins- Yes, I had these at my wedding. Why? I have no idea because it was not 1980. Take it from me, save the $150 and put it towards something else (did I mention flowers would be a good place?). The solid, standard cocktail napkins will do just fine.

3. 200 Ceremony Programs- If ceremony programs are important to you, go ahead and have them. Just please, don’t order one for each guest. Order one for every couple (or just divide guest list by 2). Not every guest will even read your program and after your 20 minute ceremony, the ground will most likely be scattered with tossed programs anyway.

Hostess Tip- To avoid “running out” of programs, have your ushers or site staff place one program on every other ceremony chair rather than handing them out as guests arrive.

I hope these simple ways to save money help you stretch your wedding budget when you are planning your fabulous day!
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Fresh Take on Formal Seating


For your next formal affair, you may want to reconsider those overdone white chair covers. You know the ones, with the giant chiffon bow? I have put together a few pictures on fresh ways you can decorate you chair backs. One simple piece of fabric can do the trick, cutting down on the “fluff” and also your expenses.

Go to your local fabric store and select a color to match your party’s theme. Buy several yards and cut them into strips using fabric scissors. Tie them in a bow or knot (my personal favorite) and you have chair decor for cents each place setting.

Hostess Tip: Matching your color perfectly outweighs finding the perfect type of fabric. Guests will notice color before texture.

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Polka Dot Parties!

This year when you find yourself planning you child’s birthday party, stop stressing and simply think…Polka Dots! This fun and colorful pattern is a hot trend right now, and in good reason. Polka Dots are versatile, allowing you to be as creative (or basic) with the color selection as you dare. With this simple theme you will be able to create an impressive and thoughtful party in a snap! Just start thinking in circles, and you’ll soon realize what I mean when I say, Polka Dots are SIMPLE!

My Tips- Choose 2 colors and go at it! Above: Hot Pink & Lime

All items above can be found at Polka Dot Market!

Head on over to Sally’s Polka Dot Birthday Blog to get great tips on throwing that perfect polka-dotted-party! She has all the tips, ideas, and goods!

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Pumpkin not just for pie!


Pumpkin Shakes

These pumpkin shakes are such a festive {and simple} treat for the fall season. An easy treat to whip up for a festive snack – try this pumpkin shake recipe.

To make this simple shake:

Mix 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup milk

a pinch of cinnamon

Told you it was simple!

Recipe from Martha Stewart

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