Outdoor play idea and a new post-Halloween tradition: smashing pumpkins

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

This year our family started a new post-Halloween tradition:  pumpkin smashing.  Normally I might process the pumpkin and save it for pies and bread, but this year the pumpkins that we carved were a bit past their prime and starting to decay.

My husband and I thought breaking the pumpkins open so we could explore their insides would make an excellent learning and messy play activity for our family.  Any time we can all play outdoors and make a mess together is a good time for us!

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Organizing kids’ spaces: labels and containers

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

I mentioned on Monday that the inspiration for this week’s mini-series was inspired by the organizing and decluttering bug I’ve been bitten by this Autumn. Before the holidays arrive and our home is filled with guests and new things, I decided that I wanted to sort out, tidy, and organize around the house, especially in my children’s spaces.

I certainly don’t have it all figured out,  and I have to admit that I don’t really try  to keep things around here spotless. However, while a little mess doesn’t bother me, chaos does and so I try to keep it at bay.

Today I want to tell you two more ways we stay organized: labels and creative containers.

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Organizing kids’ spaces: color coding

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

I think it must be the changing of the seasons, but I’ve been feeling the organizing and decluttering bug this Autumn.  Before the holidays arrive and our home is filled with guests and new things,  I’m taking some time to sort out, tidy, and organize around the house – especially in the children’s spaces.

I thought it might be fun to share a little mini-series with you this week about some of the  simple things that we do to help stay organized at our house (not always an easy task for the six of us).

Today I want to tell you about a super simple system we use to keep track of items:  color coding.

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Weekend links: play, learn, and explore in November

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

It is November, and the turning of the calendar page means we’re also changing our clocks, having an election, remembering our Veterans, and celebrating Thanksgiving.  At our house it also means wool socks, stories in front of the fire place, and an extra blanket or two on the beds.  After a busy Summer and back-to-school season, the pace slows a bit before we begin the December holidays.  In November, we take a deep breath and savor the season’s change in all of it’s golden beauty.

We’ve got a fun November planned for you at SimpleKids.net.  Coming this month I’ll be adding to the Unplugged Play Series, sharing some of the ways our home is set up to help the kids stay organized, hosting our last Holiday Kids’ Gift Craft-along, and at the end of the month the other Simple Living Media editors and I have cooked up a big network wide surprise!

Looking for some ways to play, learn, and explore with your kids in November?  I’ve rounded up a few for you in today’s Weekend Links.

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Simple projects for exploring your family tree with your kids

The following was written by editor Kara Fleck and originally appeared in November 2010.

November is here, which means that it won’t be too long before the official start of the holiday season.  Families will gather, some of whom we haven’t seen since last year (or perhaps longer).  Around holiday tables, families will share stories, remember loved ones no longer with us, and celebrate new generations.

Remembering

This can also be a time of year for remembering loved ones who are no longer with us. My oldest daughter has been especially interested lately in stories about my husband and I’s grandparents (her great-grandparents) and in the various branches of our family tree.

We’ve been talking with Jillian about things like how her Grandpa Fleck loved peanut butter and how thrifty and creative her great grandparents were.   We’ve been discussing personality traits we share and  looking at photos and seeing familiar facial features.

We have been making phone calls and sending emails, talking to other family members in an effort to learn as much as we can about what the generations who came before us were like.

I feel like it is important to find out the stories of our family history so that my kids can get to know their ancestors as more than just names, but as people with dynamic personalities whose lives contributed to who we are today.

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