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!


About Me

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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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