Special Edition Showcase: DIY Robot

Last week, a blizzard and an internet outage and holiday travel combined to prevent me from sharing a weekly Showcase with you.  However, my friend Rachel of Small Notebook emailed me a Showcase idea that I absolutely cannot wait until this Friday to share.

The week between Christmas and New Years often allows for lots of downtime for families – downtime that can be both a blessing and a challenge.  I think the spirit behind this project may inspire some DIY fun in your home:

It started innocently enough. My husband Doug sat down with Lane to practice writing letter L’s, but soon they grew bored with that and drew a robot instead. Doug didn’t realize that at 6:30 the next morning, she would insist on making that robot.

With only a little coffee to help get him started, he looked around to assemble robot parts: pennies for eyes, a rubber band mouth, canning jar rings for feet, and lots and lots of tape. Soon Lane had a new BFF for tea parties, nap time, and even a trip to Home Depot.

“Why do we buy toys?” my husband wondered.

The next day she wanted to paint. Most of the time when she asks to paint, I try to think of any reason not to, so as to avoid the cleaning up. But this time, following my husband’s lead, I said, “of course we can paint!” and she went to town decorating her robot with muddy browns and purples.

20091219 - Lane and Doug drawing

20091220 - Lane and robot

20091220 - Robot

Isn’t that so much fun?

When our older daughter carefully constructed puppets for a puppet show using just brown bags and markers, my husband also wondered why on earth we buy toys for them.

May this week bring much creativity and innovation to your home!

Simple As That: Reconnect with Nature


I never cease to be amazed by the power of community, and I am so thoroughly blessed by the community here at Simple Kids.

Last week when I shared some thoughts on Resisting the Rush, Erin of exhale. return to center shared this thought in the comments:

i had lost track of when christmas is (despite two advent calendars!). i thought there was an extra weekend between now and christmas and earlier this week when i realized there was not, i went into quite a tailspin.

what helped to get me out of it was getting outside. my kids and i spent yesterday afternoon hiking in the woods talking to the gnomes and fairies, photographing moss, listening to birds.

it was just what i needed to refocus on what is important to me during this special season…simple beauty, magical moments, and being fully present with my loved ones.

today we’ll spend some time making ornaments for friends and then getting back outside for another nature walk!

(And Erin shares more thoughts on this in her note to self: go outside post.)

Oh, how badly I needed to hear this encouragement!  I must confess to being cold-weather-resistant.  It has been chilly here since December began, and I’ve chosen huddling inside my warm home over getting outside.  After I read Erin’s thoughts on the power of reconnecting with nature, I realized I was suffering from a lack of outdoor inspiration.

My toddler and I put on coats and hats and went for a brisk nature walk.  We were delighted to find bunches of still-green needles and pinecones right in our backyard.  We gathered them up, and now we have a nature display right inside our front door (pictured above).

For more inspiration from our Simple Kids community, make sure to read through the comments and follow the links in the Spotlight on You! Showcase from last Friday.

Read more on celebrating today’s Winter Solstice here.

What is the weather like where you are? Have you been able to get out and connect with nature at all?

December 18th: Spotlight on YOU!


We are absolutely up to our eyeballs in glittery sugar and swirly ribbons and holiday cards and all manner of Christmas business in our home this week.  To be very honest, I’ve really not had much time at all for blog reading, so I’m afraid I don’t have any weekend links to share today.

I do, however, want to open up the Showcase to you this week. I know so many of you have shared incredible recipes, posted precious pictures, and published inspiring words this month.

I would be honored if you would take a minute to share your link in the comments!

What would you like to showcase this week?

December 11th: Gift Guide Showcase

christmasgifts Photo by Zecheriah Judy

I am experiencing lots of technical difficulties this week – perhaps my internet connection finds it difficult to move quickly in the winter in the same way that I do?

This week’s Showcase will be short and sweet.  Though the most organized amongst have surely completed gift shopping, I know there may be a few in our community still working on tackling the gift list (including yours truly!).

Today, I’m showcasing some of the gift guides I’ve come across in the past few weeks. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but hopefully it will spur some inspiration either for this holiday season or for gift-giving the year ahead!

Playful Learning Gift Guide: Presents that Stand the Test of Time

No Time For Flash Cards: Our Favorites, Reader Favorites, and Books Every Home Needs

Imagination Soup: Educational Holiday Gift Guide

thelongthread: handmade GIFT GUIDE 2009

Make and Takes: DIY Holiday Gift Guide 2009

And Twins make 5: 2009 Holiday Gift Guide (complete with discount codes)

If your family is looking for frugal and/or homemade gift ideas, check out the Frugal Friday: Gifts for $10 or Less link-up going on today at Life as Mom!

Finally, my past two columns at Simple Mom may also inspire a gift idea or two: 10 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas for Kids and Handmade Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens.

And, speaking of Simple Mom, today Tsh is sharing some delicious ideas for creating edible gifts!

I’m curious – am I the only one who hasn’t completed Christmas gift shopping? Also, have you found some gift guides that you think might be helpful for others in the SK community? Feel free to share the link in the comments!

December 4th: SK Showcase and Weekend Links

We have had some wonderful discussions this week on how to have an uncomplicated holiday season.  As usual, the SK community shared some wonderful insights in both the Mission Impossible? and Three Most Important Things articles.  Make sure you have read through the comments on those!

For this week”s Showcase, Lola from maxylola shares some ideas on turning old paintbrush handles into a very cool DIY fishing game.  To find out how to go from this:


to this:


read Lola”s tutorial here.  This would be such a fun and easy handmade gift for some little fishing fans in your life!

I don”t know about you, but my blog reader is full to overflowing with a plethora of holiday treats.  There are so many wonderful recipes, crafts, and activities being shared on blogs this month, I know I could never feature them bet-online-casinos.com all here.  Here is just a sampling of some of what I have found:

Simply Practical

Simple Mom: 20 Ways to Stay Healthy (and Happy) this Winter Season

Simply Delicious

My Kitchen Cafe: White Bean Chicken (or Turkey) Chili
Picky Palate: Broccoli Cheddar, Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Monkey Muffins

Inspired Projects

Childhood 101: 12 Days of Christmas Garland
Skip To My Lou: Christmas Crafts
thelongthread: 10 Minute Santa Ornament
Learning Vicariously: Shrink Plastic

Inspired Images

Angie Warren Photography: three girls & their horse
SouleMama: Postcard No. 9

Inspired Words

FIMBY: preparing for a perfectly wonderful un-perfect Christmas

I”d love to know – what did you read or write this week that you would like to share with us?