Sunday, July 17, 2011

I challenge us...

Okay I admit. We are horrible at sitting at the table to eat our meals. Honestly I think a lot of it has to do with not having an eat-in kitchen. That and our dining room table almost always has at least two laptops and a pile of mail sitting on it.

But that's going to change. I hear by declare a challenge. The Kratzer family is going to eat EVERY meal at the table from now until the end of the year. (Because I think it'll be habit by that time... not we're going to suddenly not eat at the table on January 1st.) Of course, there will be exceptions for movie & pizza night or when company is over and we can't all fit around the table. But every normal meal will be at the table.

Can we do it??

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh the Places You'll Go!

In our family, we love road trips. My in-laws recently moved close to Cleveland and that opened up a new world of travel opportunity for us. The weekend before the fourth they treated us to a few days in Washington D.C. During that weekend, we managed to travel through six different states, as well as our nation's capital.

When we returned home, I thought about how cool it would be for Luke to see the progress on what states he's visited. My first thought was to get a smallish map and just mark it with star stickers. But that's not fun. Then I thought I could mount the smallish map on a bulletin board and pin the states. But that would double the project cost, which I didn't want to do. So I got creative.

This was my final project.

It was super easy to make. Here's how I did it.

A roll of self-adhesive cork board
16x20 backless frame (no glass)
16x20 presentation board
An overhead projector
An outline of the map
A transparency
Staple gun

What to do:
1. Measure & cut your cork board to 16x20.
2. Mount it on the presentation board.
3. Copy your map outline on a transparency. Place your mounted cork board on a wall securely and use the overhead projector & transparency to enlarge the map to the size you want it. (My board wasn't so secure and moved several times.)
4. Trace the map onto the cork board with a Sharpie. (Watch out for those New England states... they're tricky ones!)
5. Let dry for 15-20 minutes to avoid running.

6. Paint the states whatever colors you'd like. (I used the transparency to "map out" my colors so I didn't have any of the same colors next to each other.)
7. Once dry, put it in your frame. Use a staple gun (or nails would work, too) to secure the cork board in place.
8. Use pins to mark the states you or your family has visited. I found these cute stars (along with flowers, hearts, moons, & butterflies) at our local Meijer store.

I also found some clearance frames at Target for $1.32 each and clearance county maps at Borders for $.50 each and framed our city & surrounding cities to place around his room.

I'd say for a seven-year-old, he's travelled to quite a few states already!

And as an added bonus, here are some other ways to use a cork board map:
*Mark places you've been as a family- mom & dad in one color, each kid in another color.
*Mark the states as you "travel" to each one as a social studies unit throughout the school year.
*Mark where relatives live across the United States.
*Keep track of current events you hear about or study.
*As you study U.S. history, add a tag to each pin and mark where key events have happened.

I'd love to hear how else this board could be used! Leave a comment and share your ideas!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Saturdays from a Jar

Yesterday I posted about our Summer Bucket List.

On it it says, "Saturdays from a Jar."

I will explain.

Have you ever had one of those Saturdays? Where each one of you is itching to do something, but you're not sure what?

We do. A lot.

This is my solution to life's most perplexing question... "What do you want to do today?"

Saturdays in a Jar should actually be called Saturdays in 3 Jars.

One is labeled with a $. A second is labeled with $$ and the last, pretty obviously, labeled with $$$.

This is, of course, is so we can have something do to any Saturday, no matter our fundage situation. Surprisingly enough, I have a lot of $ activities and it was really hard for me to figure out the $$ and $$$ activities.

Let's fast forward to Saturday. This {very possible} scenario takes place...

"What do you want to do today?"

"I don't know what do you want to do?"

"I don't know, but I don't want to sit around all day."

"Luke, any ideas?"

"Buy Legos and have a Lego-putting-together-party?"

"Um, no."

{Cue the bright lights & angelic music}

So we pull from one of the jars- most likely the $ jar. And we may pull out "Create a sidewalk chalk city." or "Go to the splash pad." or "Wash the cars (and the bikes!)"

If we pulled from the $$ jar, we'd get to have friends over for an ice cream sundae party or go to the beach.

And, on the Saturdays when we saved up our cash during the week (ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh my. Sorry, fit of laughter there), we could pull from the $$$ jar and go to the drive-in theater or go to a Silverhawks game!

The fun thing is, if we think of other ideas that aren't in the jars already, we can always add them!

If you did Saturdays in a Jar, what activities would you add?


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I'm Kristin. Married since 2002 to a super cool guy named Joel. We have a super amazing boy named Luke and a super cuddly pup named McCarthy. I'm not a very consistent blogger (at all) but I do go in spurts. I like to keep people on their edge of their seats. Ha!
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