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??

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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.

Supplies:
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
Sharpie
Paints/brushes
Staple gun
Pins

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!

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Kristin
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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