How to make ribbon tassels or bike streamers

Both daughters wanted streamers to add to their new (used) bicycles.  They discovered streamers by accident when C took them to the toys store.  They were on for $8, for the plastic kind.  Hubby thought they were not-so-pretty and can't justify the cost.  He told the girls, mommy can make you nicer one and for cheap !  C really knows me :-)  I'm all about saving money !

Today our city had a down pour !  It was nice and pleasant all week and just when the weekend rolled around, gray clouds gathered and brought with them the cold rain.  We stayed in today, danced around all morning and all tried to do headstands. I can't believe I can still do it !  Yay me !  Anyways, after lunch the girls reminded me of our outstanding project.  We all went to Michaels to grab ribbons for the streamers.  I also got a whole bunch of new picture frames for another project I have in mind !!

What you will need to make a set of bicycle streamers:

- 3/8" inch ribbon, any color you like
- 2 safety pin (medium size, mine is 1 inch long) or use PAPER CLIPS if your kid likes to pick on the tassels (if they yank on it the pin might break and poke them) 
- scissor

We picked 5 colors, they were 3/8 inch ribbon, each roll was $0.89.  For each color of ribbon, cut 4 X 18" inch strips.  Cut on angle to avoid fraying.  Each tassel will have a total of 10 ribbons, 2 strands of each color.

Tie each strand of ribbon into the safety pin.  When done, push the big top size of the safety pin or the wider end of the paper clips into the pin hole on the handle of the bike.  There you have it !  Super easy right ?  We made 2 sets for $4.98 ($0.89 X 5 X 1.12 (tax)) !  Not too bad right ?  And we still have ribbons over for other projects.

The rain stopped and this little one is out testing the streamers :-)

Great helper part 1

Bee didn't want to eat her lunch yesterday.  I told her she should try to finish because we shouldn't waste food.  There are people in the world that has little no food, some are starving and some died.  It's hard to think about that, that with all the food waste we throw out here in North America, they can save someone's life.  I get really sad thinking about it.  Why am I here and they ended up over there ?  Why I get to enjoy living in a warm dry house with food in fridge and pantry while others have no home or food.  I feel so blessed to be here and feel sad over why others can't have just the basic life necessities like food and water.  Then I remember something I read, about how we are the arms and legs of Christ.  We are to reach out and share our blessings with others.  I think with all the imbalance in the world, those who have more and those who have little, those who have enough and those who have none, we, those who are considered the "haves" are to share our "haves" with those who have less than us.  We don't sit in our comfy chair and wait for God to do the "balancing" of the world, He put us here for a reason, to be people who do that.

Right now we are collecting money for local women's shelter but once we are done with this I want us to collect money for a cause that our family all want to support.  Bee always say "Mom, I want to help you and help people.  When I grow up I want to be a great helper!".  What a noble idea.  I really want my kids to learn to care for others, other than just immediate family, but others who need assistance.  I desire and pray for them to be kind, to be compassionate, and to feel a sense of responsibility toward others.  We try to talk to them about it, and model kindness to them, but I think a family project that includes them will speak volumes !  I volunteer lots before the kids and we donate regularly, but we forgot to explain to the kids the "why" of it !  Why do we do what we do !!!  We are called to serve others, just like Jesus did.  We don't live just for ourselves.  I think Bee is old enough to understand now.  We can pick a cause we want to help out together this fall.  It will be a great experience for all of us I am sure. 

Easy peasy tee pee set up for kids

The peonies are blooming in our garden !!!  Before they all die away, I thought it's high time I cut some and bring them inside !  as they are so lovely to look at while I mind the kids.  While out there with some free time before dinner, I had an idea to set up the tee pee !  I been wanting to do this for a while now.  I even bought the bamboo sticks but just haven't got the time to get to them !  But today, right at this time, I have time :D  If you want to try this, you will need:

- 6 bamboo sticks, $1.19 from Rona (they came in 8 feet high and we got it cut down to around 6 feet to fit into our car)
- 1 flat bed sheet, I used a queen size for mine but I think a king flat sheet will cover better
- 2 strings, 1 to tie the bamboo sticks together (at least 30" long) and 1 for the sheet 

What I did is I gathered all the sticks at the top, tie the string around the sticks then across and around each sticks !!!  Basically just tie them all over so they don't fall or slide out :-)  Then I took each stick and arrange it on the grass so they form a hexagon shape.  Take the bottom end of each stick and push it into into the ground to keep it in position.  Mine barely dug in but they stayed up and kept the shape ok.  

Next, gather up the mid point of the flat sheet, wrap it around the area where you tied the bamboo sticks and use another strong string to tie around the fabric to keep it together and you're done !  There's no specific way to tie the bamboo or sheet, just tie which ever way you need to keep them from falling apart :D  We also decorated the top of the tee pee with ivy vines and flowers and some wild climbing plant we found in our garden !!!  That part was really fun for the girls.  They gathered up all the stuff and I lifted each of them up to throw the vine over the bamboo sticks.  The structure set up took about 7 min. and decoration took another 5 min.!  Not so bad, not so bad at all.

The girls had great time running in and out of the tee pee !  Bee found a huge moth in the tee pee and we shooed it away before she can take hold it !  She got quite upset so for a good chunk of time she was pouting and kept saying "mothy mothy" :(  She also got annoyed with me asking her to be still for a second (I try to take a family picture (didn't work)).  Taking pic. with her is getting harder nowadays as she rather play than sit in for family picture.  Totally understandable and expected.  Both her and Love doesn't mind me taking pictures of them while they play though.  I always prefer to take spontaneous pictures of the girls over posing because it not only captures the moment but also doesn't interfere with them enjoying whatever it is they are doing.

It was a fun afternoon for me !  I got to set up the tee pee, decorate it, watch the kids play and managed to capture some of it.   I love taking pictures of the kids !  It makes me happy.  But you already know that with all the posts I posted :) I do really enjoy it.  I have no special technique, pro. knowledge or special skills, other than just take lots of random shots, click click click, and then I surprise myself with whatever I captured :-)  

Here are more pictures:

She lost her first tooth so whenever she holds something that can fit that gap, she puts it there :-)

This is what life is for me at the moment !  Constantly wiping milk mustaches and a baby that licks anything that is near.  

I love this picture !  It's captured them perfectly !  one is all cool in the don't-care kind of way while the other does everything over the top and passionately !

Reduce tantrum by staying curious with our kids

Age 3 is a difficult frustrating age.  I noticed Love can say a lot of things, the sentence makes sense but many of time, it's out of context.  She has an older sister whom she learned a lot of words and phrases from, but the comprehension isn't totally there yet.  She gets stressed and frustrated often because she can't fully describe what she is feeling. It doesn't help that sometimes what she's saying doesn't match up with what she's feeling/experiencing.  I have to remind C and Bee to be patience with her, give her lots of time to express herself, watch for clues and ask open ended questions, to help us figure out what's really happening.

Yesterday at Strong Start, we had a community staff stopped by to share with us some tips on parenting.  One tip she shared (re. bad behavior like hitting), is that as parents we should stay curious with our children,   I thought about it, the word "curious" is very fitting.  It means to explore, to ask questions, to want to know, to be inquisitive.  To get to know our kids and to find out what causes the outburst or tantrum, what I have learned with Love is to take time to observe her.  (Bee wasn't so complicated :) we cruise through 3, 4 & 5 with her).  I also ask her short open ended questions.  Open ended questions allow the kids do most of the answering and give us more info. without us imposing our thoughts on them.  Like asking Love "You're upset.  Tell mommy what makes you go Grrrr !!!"(she does that when she's mad) and I always get something out of her.  For the older one, instead of asking "How's school ?" (something I used to ask and it's so general), I now ask something like "Tell me about the lunch time games you played today" and she would tell me about it and always with other tidbits, like the boy who kissed her cheek.

Temper tantrum for Love doesn't just happen for no reason.  I think when kids misbehave, that behavior is an expression or outcome of an unmet need or an undesirable feeling.  I'm no expert here, just an observation from what I see of my kids.  I also learnt that at 3, kids can only deal with one emotion at a time.  When Love frustrated or upset, she can only deal with that present emotion.  Nothing else mattered to her at that moment.  She needs us to help her to understand that it's OK to feel the way she does, however if she hit or yell or scream, that is not ok and we need to help her learn to express her feeling using worded instead of acting up.

The more I observe and gain more insight into Love's behaviour, I find I can easily pick up when she's in distress, which allow me to calmly ask her how I can help.  I usually say to her "Mommy see you are upset (or frustrated, or angry, or sad, or scare) ?  What can mommy do to help ? " and if she is really upset, she would hit the wall or table and scream louder and I would tell her "Can you talk to me without screaming ?  When you scream I don't understand you so I can't help (show her my sad face) !  Here, tell it to me, in my ear".  I would then lean my ear into her and she would mumble to me the reason for her anger.  Then whatever it is that she's telling me, I would ask her "What should we do ?", she would respond back (more calm, no more yelling) and I would offer, "Do you want mommy to help ?".  I noticed that the more I engage with her, using short questions or comments that she can understand, she can convey her feeling back to me a little better and clearer.  This has been working really well for us.

With Love I always always have to remind myself that she's only 3 :-)  She's so vocal so it's easy to forget sometime, but she's only 3.  She doesn't really have the same comprehension level as her sister and no where near us parents.  Knowing that she can only deal with her present emotion has really helped us in helping her.  Knowing her limit helps me to be more discerning.  I can't completely get rid of tantrum, it's a part of growing and developing for Love.  But I can reduce it by helping her to recognize what she is feeling and helping her with the words to describe it.  I noticed the change in her and me.  I feel I'm more aware of her, more in tune, and can diffuse an outburst pretty fast.  It helps that she trusts me in explaining how she feels.  This makes for faster resolution !!!

I think if we pay attention to our kids, watch them, and listen to them, listen with our ears and eyes, we will have some leading clues on what generally makes them upset or what usually instigate the outburst.  I feel prevention is better than dealing with it and trying to correct them after.  It does take a lot of effort on our part to prevent outburst and to diffuse temper tantrum before it gets out of hand, but we're OK with it.  I rather put in the effort and time than dealing with a kid throwing a full tantrum.  Once they past a certain threshold, it's harder to calm them down and by then everyone is frustrated and unhappy, me included.  Perhaps in a way, it's my lazy approach :D

The more Love can label and communicate how she feels the less frustrated she will be = less opportunity of a melt down.  How good she is with communicating her feeling is dependent on us parents to help her :)