Lessons for Learning with Chelsey

One of the things I love about blogging is having the opportunity to meet some amazing people.  If you’d like to follow a blogger with a sincere heart and some great ideas you’ll want read on to learn about my friend Chelsey who blogs over at BuggyandBuddy.com. Chelsey’s goal is to create and educate with love.  Her blog covers creative ideas for holidays and seasons, indoor/outdoor and sensory play, and tutorials. She also has a learning section with information on literacy, math, writing and science.

Her blog includes some spontaneous lessons for learning like “Lessons from a Bathroom Scale,” and her enlightening series called “Photo A Day” where she took at least one picture a day of her children for a whole year. After seeing all the cute pictures, I’ve determined that I need to take more pictures of my two boys.

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Chelsey is a former elementary teacher turned stay-at-home-mom and is married to Paulie (currently an elementary teacher) and mother to two wonderful children; Theodore (Buddy) age 1, and Lucy (Buggy) now 4.

A Lesson in Art

buggy-and-buddy-sketchbookOne of my favorite posts from her blog is “Art Sketch Books with Kids” where Chelsey talks about her daughter Lucy lacking confidence in her writing and drawing skills.

Chelsey writes, ”So, summer came, and I remembered reading about a project (with) a challenge to use your sketchbook everyday. I thought hard about doing it, but was really nervous. I don’t think I’ve ever even owned a sketchbook in my life. I am NOT an artist and do not feel creative in any way. I’m a very math/science type person and definitely have a type A personality. Creative is the last word I would use to describe myself. So how could I model creativity for my kids?”

When I read these words I was very surprised. Chelsey seems like a super-creative mom with fantastic ideas just pouring out into her daily activities with her children; as is evidenced by the fantastic ideas and posts she writes about on her blog.

Isn’t this the challenge we all face as moms?  We question our ability to teach and inspire our own little ones.  Want to find out how Chelsey solved the challenges she faced?  I think you should read her post, both she and her daughter learned from the experience, and they overcame their fears.

Q&A with Buggy and Buddy

I had a chance to talk with Chelsey about her blog and I wanted to share with you what this encouraging blogger had to say about blogging.

Q. Why do you blog, and where do you find inspiration?

A. “Blogging provides me with the opportunity to instill a love of learning in my children, while also allowing me to share my experiences with other parents and teachers. I also love all the great friendships and connections I’ve made with so many readers and bloggers. My main inspiration comes from my children. I love observing what they seem interested in and building from there.”

Q. Tell us something unusual about yourself that a person might not know from reading your blog.

A. “I’ve lived in 11 different cities all over the country. I think I’ve finally found my hometown!”

Chelsey and her beautiful family live off the coast of California where she gets to experience her favorite weather – cloudy days at 63 degrees.  In addition to blogging, Chelsey enjoys baking, making lots of lists, attempting to sew, reading, playing any type of game involving words, and watching birds. Chelsey shares on her blog that some of her favorite things include: coffee ice cream with a heath bar, the colors brown & green, seeing her kids laugh, sleeping through the night, not dancing to the beat, and having pancakes on Sunday.

I truly enjoy reading Chelsey’s blog. For some inspiring posts on science, reading, and crafting with kids I encourage you to head on over to BuggyandBuddy.com.


Create Easy and Cute Father’s Day Gifts

I was searching for ideas to create the perfect Father’s Day gift when I came across this video on YouTube by “Hey Kayli” titled, “Fun Father’s Day Crafts!!”  Kayli is a DIY enthusiast with a knack for creating inexpensive yet useful home decor and organizing items.   Her favorite tool is a hot glue gun and she delivers beautiful results both in terms of finished product and instructional videos. This 7 and 1/2 minute video includes two craft ideas: a cream soda “Pop” carrier and a children’s handprint wall art.

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Fun & Easy Father’s Day Gift Craft Project

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This Father’s Day gift is truly special.  It is personalized for our family and includes two recent family photos and the tiny handprints of our three and one-year-old.  It is relatively easy to make and can be completed in less than two hours. One of my favorite things about this craft was the discovery of these beautiful retro-signs with red and grey lettering from Retro Father’s Day Clip-art Labels.  I printed my retro-sign labels onto white card stock. You can choose to use the retro labels or create your own Father’s Day graphic for your Father’s Day photo box.  In the photo above, the lid is tilted up to display the artwork.

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Supplies List:

  • One black Sharpie Marker
  • Photo box
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint tray
  • Mod Podge
  • Brown Paint or Stain
  • Scissors and/or paper cutter
  • Krylon polyurethane spray-on Clear Coat
  • Printed Labels (see above)
  • Scrapbooking Paper or any colorful paper for the handprints and label background

I purchased all of these supplies at Walmart.

Step 1: Disassemble your Photo Box

You want to remove the glass and backer-boards from the photo box.

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Step 2: Paint your Photo Box

I used sample paint in a brown color from Valspar.  You can select any color and have a sample size of paint created at any Home Depot or Lowe’s store. I painted all four sides as well as any exposed frame.  I also painted the lid on both sides.

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Step 3: Trace and Cut Paper for Handprints

I used the backer-boards from the photo box to trace a square shape onto the backside of the scrapbooking paper that I liked.  I cut the paper into square shapes. Using a small paintbrush, I painted my children’s hands with black acrylic paint and pressed their hands onto the square pieces of scrapbooking paper.

I highly recommend performing this procedure with only one child at a time. Also, keep some paper towels close by.  Be sure to have a wet paper towel and a dry paper towel to clean your child’s hand immediately after making the print. Acrylic paint may or may not come out of clothing or be cleaned from other surfaces. Use with caution.  You can try a washable paint, but I find that the acrylic makes a nice crisp print that dries quickly.  I used a black Sharpie marker to write each child’s name and age next to their handprint.

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Step 4: Cut your Retro Labels

To create the final product you see at the top of this tutorial, you should be able to print “The World’s Greatest Dad” without needing to resize anything. To create the extra signage that you see on the sides of the box, you’ll need to resize the printables and print them at 40%.  I just adjusted the size on my printer settings to 40%.  Feel free to play around with the printables until you get them the size that works for your project.   To cut the labels I used a paper cutter.  You can also use scissors.

To create the blue frame around the “World’s Greatest Dad” label on the lid of the box, I traced the outside of the lid onto the backside of my scrapbooking paper. Then I traced the label centered inside of that.  I then picked a distance between the two and drew a third box using a straight edge which would be the cut line for my paper boarder “frame” around the label. I cut the blue piece of scrapbooking paper and trimmed as needed to make it fit the box lid.

When in doubt, always perform a dry fit before you glue anything.  This will ensure a perfect fit.

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Step 5: Mod Podge your labels to the Photo Box

Make sure your photo box is dry.  Brush mod podge onto the back of the scrapbooking paper and secure it to the box lid.  Use your hands to press out any air bubbles.  Mod podge dries clear so don’t be afraid to use it generously. Do the same thing to the “World’s Greatest Dad” label and center and secure it on top of the scrapbooking paper.

For the labels on the sides of the box, cut an extra piece of white card stock in the exact same size as the existing labels and used mod podge to glue them together. Use mod podge to glue each label into place.  This will give the side labels that extra sturdiness that will be needed.

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Step 6: Once Dry, Spray your Box

The final touch is a coat of clear polyurethane to protect your project. The Krylon I used had a full-flow spray so I only had to barely press the nozzle to release the coating onto my photo box.  I coated the lid on both sides and I coated the box from top to bottom to ensure solid protection and sheen.

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Step 7: Once Dry, Reassemble your Box

It takes awhile for the polyurethane to dry.  Follow the instructions for drying times on your can.  Once the photo box is dry you can reassemble your photo box.  I used photos on two sides and handprints on the other two sides.  Feel free to customize your Father’s Day gift for the Father in your life.  You may want to paint the box the same colors as his favorite sports team or shirt. You can also include your children in any portion of this craft as long as they are mature enough and have the proper skills. Be creative and have fun.

We’ve already presented this gift to my husband and he loved it.  I’m sure the Father in your life will too.


Learning through Play for Preschoolers

With a three year old and a one year old at home I am always on the lookout for great resources to inspire learning through play for my preschoolers. If you’re looking for some steadfast blogs that have rich content and tons of resources to help you not only educate but also have fun with your preschooler you’ve come to the right place.  Here I’ll share with you my top five resources.

These bloggers have so many printable downloads and ideas for games and activities you’ll never run out of things to do with your little ones.

1. Carissa at 1+1+1=1 has created a virtual “Tot School”.

This online-school isn’t really a school at all, it’s a place to find ideas for spending focused time each day with the tot in your family. The purpose of Tot School is to help you expose your child to early learning skills through fun play.

As you can see from these images, Carissa’s daughter “Ladybug” loves to demonstrate all the wonderful ways that moms and tots can enjoy “Tot School”.

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2. Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations has a Preschool Corner just for young learners.

At Homeschool Creations  Jolanthe not inly provides “resources, free printables, & encouragement for homeschool families” her site is overflowing with curriculum and information to help you plan your activities and more.

Here are just a few of the fantastic printables you can find at Homeschool Creations: alphabet wall posters, uppercase letter tracing cards, and my ABC bible verses.

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3. Jenae’s blog “I can Teach My Child” helps you become your child’s first teacher.

At I Can Teach My Child you will find teaching tools separated by age from birth on up through six plus years of age. Jenae is a former teacher and her site is chock full of ideas that will help you help your preschooler to learn through play.

Two featured posts from Jenea’s site include “10 Steps to teaching your child to read,” and “33 ways to prepare your child for kindergarten.”

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4. Genny at “In Lieu of Preschool” is a former teacher doing preschool at home.

In Lieu of Preschool is easy to navigate depending upon what you are looking for with special sections on arts and crafts, early learning and play.

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5. No Time for Flash Cards features learning and play for babies, toddlers and kids.

At No Time for Flash Cards you can find posts on books, crafts, and activities. I love the sense of humor that comes through on this blog.  One of their recent posts included “25 Books that will make your kids laugh”.  I can’t think of a better way to spend time with a child.

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Learning through play is not only educational but fun.  Make the most of every teachable moment and be inspired by these great resources.


Adorable Handpuppet Tutorial For Preschoolers

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Want the perfect going-to-bed book and have a preschooler that would enjoy an animated story time? You can make these easy to assemble puppets that will have your preschooler excited for bedtime.

To make “Big Dog” and “Little Dog” puppets like the ones you see above, just follow this easy tutorial.  This blog post will walk you through all the supplies and steps to create adorable puppets that look just like “Fred” and “Ted” from the classic Dr. Seuss storybook “Big Dog… Little Dog.”

This post includes a FREE printable pattern to help you create these fun-loving dog puppets.  You can print the printables onto colored card stock, construction paper, or just ordinary paper that you can color with markers, paint, or crayons to create your own “Fred” and “Ted” at home.

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Supplies List:

  • Construction Paper or Colored Card Stock
  • 2 Brown Paper Bags
  • Wiggly Eyes
  • Scissors
  • Elmer’s Glue

I purchased all of these supplies at Walmart.

Step 1: Cut your Colored Printable Pattern

In the photo below, I’ve cut the pattern pieces and laid them as a “dry fit” onto the brown paper bags.  I’ve also added the “wiggly” eyes to each puppet. Depending upon the age of your child you may ask them to cut the pattern pieces from the card stock or construction paper.

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Step 2: Glue the Pattern Pieces to the Brown Paper Bags

Using Elmer’s glue, glue each pattern piece in place.  On both puppets I started with the shirt and made sure to tuck the shirt under the flap of the brown paper bag.  The order in which to glue the pieces is as follows:

  • Glue on the shirt – tuck it under the flap {see photo below}
  • The paws go on top of the shirt
  • The feet go below the shirt
  • The oval face goes on the “bottom” of the brown paper bag – which is at the top of these photos
  • Glue the ears on top of the face on either side
  • The cheeks are glued on top of the face
  • The nose is glued on top of the cheeks in the center
  • Glue the eyes onto the face centered about 1/2 an inch above the cheeks

If your child is skilled enough you may want him or her to glue all of the pieces of the puppet into place.  Be careful not to glue the flap shut.  Do not put so much glue on the face that it sticks to the shirt.

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Step 3: Allow the Glue to Dry and Trim “Ted”

In the story, Ted is the shorter or “little” dog. You’ll need to trim one to two inches off of Ted (underneath his feet) once the glue dries.

Step 4: Enjoy an Animated Story Time

There are many ways to enjoy the story of “Big Dog… Little Dog.”  You can have the dog puppets tell the story, or if your child is old enough, he or she can use the puppets to tell the story.  It’s a great introduction to the concept of diversity.  Each of the two dogs has different tastes and interests as well as physical stature.

If you don’t own the book, you can still create the puppets and make up a story about how even though the dogs are different they are still friends.  Everyone can benefit from friends who are different from themselves. In the end the two dogs cooperate and manage to solve a problem by working together.  Using these puppets can help reinforce this message and make for a memorable learning time with your little one.


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