The Valentines Day Giveaway From Knotty Origami And La Cookie Company!

This is a sponsored post giveaway written by me on behalf of Knotty Origami And La Cookie Company.  

 
 

All Opinions Are 100% Mine.   

 
 

Valentines Day Giveaway Knotty Origami La Cookie Company

 
 

 A Beautiful Valentines Day Giveaway

From Knotty Origami And La Cookie Company Is Here!

 
 

ENTER HERE TO WIN

 
 
 

A Winner Will Be Selected Via Random Drawing

at Noon (CST) on February 12th, 2014. 

 
 

*Must by 18+ Years Old & Resident of the Continental U.S. To Enter*

 
 

You can win the following pretty gifts!

 
 

The Penny Knot Necklace & Fancy Kusudama Flower

 
 

Both of these items are hand-crafted and can be found in the Knotty Origami Etsy Store!  

 
 

A Box of La Cookie Company Hojarasca Cookies

 
 

These cookies are so delicate, flaky, and sweet that you could find yourself eating them like popcorn!

They have become a dessert staple in our home.

My family cannot get enough of them….And they make very pretty party treats!

 
 

la cookie company-2-6

 

 La Cookie Company

And a few other sweet gift items to fill the lovely prize basket that you can read about when you

 
 

ENTER HERE….

 
 

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY GIVEAWAY!

 
 

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How To Find Laredo Family & Kid Events!

Ever Wonder What's Happening In Laredo For My Kids?

See Below For Links To The Laredo Community Round-Up!


 

 

The New Critters And Crayons Laredo Community Round-Up Is HERE!

Now, you can find out about events and activities in Laredo, Texas

for families and kids MUCH MORE EASILY

and across the social media platforms you use most!

 

The Laredo Round-Up is no longer a long list of flyers!

 

The New Critters And Crayons Laredo Community Round-Up

is a set of Social Media tools that span

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube

to help you find Laredo Family & Kid Events much more quickly!

 

 

To learn more about

HOW TO NOT MISS AN EVENT IN LAREDO,

 

 

Check Out The Infographic Below

and head over to The New Laredo Community Round-Up Page! 

 
 

The Critters And Crayons Laredo Community Round-Up

 

 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE LAREDO COMMUNITY ROUND-UP INTEREST LIST ON FACEBOOK!

 

 SUBSCRIBE TO THE LAREDO NEWS & EVENTS LIST ON TWITTER!

 

 

 

FOLLOW THE CRITTERS AND CRAYONS LAREDO COMMUNITY ROUND-UP PINTEREST BOARD!

 

 

ENJOY LAREDO!

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Making Molecules With Kids!

I woke up yesterday morning to quite a surprise.

Back in November, I posted THIS to The Critters And Crayons Facebook Page.

Santa was going to be bringing the kids a cool Molecule Building Kit.

He totally did.

But, the kids thought it was more like a set of tinker toys and they built car shapes, and crocodiles, flowers and other things out of the contents immediately.
 

BUT YESTERDAY Our daughter said,

I made the particles on the back of that box Santa brought us.

 

PARTICLES?

I promise I have never used the word “particle” with my child.  Where did she learn that word?

She says she learned it when Batman was talking about splitting up something called “Particles”.   Go figure.

She didn’t know what she had made, but it was a real joy to  RELEARN all of the molecules I hadn’t looked at since 11th grade Chemistry class!

Water Molecule (H20) From Critters And Crayons "Making Molecules With Kids!"

Water Molecule (H2O). Two Hydrogen Atoms Linked To One Oxygen Atom!

 

Our 6-year old was fascinated to learn that the water we drink and that comes flowing from our faucets looks like the model she’d made in its tiniest, tiniest building block form!

She had also formed the molecule below  without knowing exactly what she had made while following the diagrams on the back of the kit box…..

 

Hydrogen Peroxide Molecule From Critters And Crayons Post "Making Molecules With Kids!"

The Hydrogen Peroxide Molecule (H2O2).

 

I explained that the stuff we use to clean her ears and earrings looks just like the model she made if we were able to see it in its smallest form-  Lots and lots and lots of these make up what we use in that brown bottle!

WHOAH.

And, then we had fun looking up the rest that she had constructed so quietly in the play area….

 

Molecules From Critters And Crayons Post "Making Molecules With Kids!"

 

Can you guess what they all are?

Don’t worry.  I had to look them all up, too!

Top Left:   Diatomic Nitrogen Molecule (N2) 

Top Right:  Hydrogen Peroxide Molecule (H2O2)

Middle Left:  Diatomic Oxygen Molecule (O2)

Middle Right:  Water Molecule (H2O)

Lower Left:  Methane Molecule (CH4)

 

What I love about this molecule kit is that it invites kids to play and learn without even realizing it.

There is a lot to build upon from this very beginning point of building the molecules according to the diagrams and explaining what each of the molecules actually IS to a first grader.

We can keep these models up, or break them down again- but, as the years progress, we will be able to delve into more complex concepts like the differences between Diatomic Molecules, Ionic Bonds, Covalent Bonds, Organic Compounds, and other things I’m going to have to get smart on, all over again.

I found our kit at a local craft store, but you can find them online, too!

I am so glad I happened across this “Making Molecules” activity for kids.

 

The FloraCraft Molecule Kit

 

I need to remember to thank Santa next year for the awesome toy.  And, I think I may have him throw in a “Chemistry For Dummies” book for me, too.  :)

Speaking of Chemistry…..

 

I came across some amazing ideas centered on Chemistry and Molecules….

 

Hostess With The Mostess did a round-up of Clever & Creative Mad Scientist Party Ideas For Girls

Lightbulb Books Made Molecules Using Straws And Play Doh

High Hill Homeschool’s Marshmallow And Toothpick Molecules

Kids Activities Blog Atoms & Molecules:  10 Fun Ways To Learn!

 

So, do you remember anything from your 11th grade chemistry class?

 

Oh, Good.  I thought I was alone. 

 

HAPPY SCIENCE LEARNING!

 

 

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Parenting Is Like Sledding. Sled Optional.

My kids often surprise us with the unspeakably comical things that they say.

They also make us pause when their questions require an honest and thoughtful answer.

We’re coming off of a holiday trip that bore some of the typical challenges of traveling during an already busy season.

Sometimes, reality didn’t match the idyllic scenes in a Hallmark Movie for the various tugs and pulls of life, and family, and obligations.

Essentially, it was a normal holiday season- one that many might relate to, and one that might lead a child to ask a simple, but very thought-provoking question of her parents like our six-year old daughter did tonight on the way back from a drugstore where we bought vitamins for immunity support to stave off any more festive seasonal illness-on-the-go.

 

“Mom?  Is It Easy Having Kids?”

 

I could have answered her quickly with a fleeting and dishonest, “YES! It’s Super Easy!”, but I’ve got a sort of rule about not lying about that kind of stuff. 

I don’t want to be the Army Recruiter who promises someone a job in a highly marketable computer field who then lands him in a basement working with dot matrix printers circa 1985.  That’s just bad Mommy PR.  So, I told her the truth.

 

“No.  Having Kids Is Not Easy.”

 

Our First Grader looked concerned so I elaborated,

 

“But….It IS Awesome!”

 

Our daughter was confused.

 

“How can something be hard and awesome at the same time, Mommy?”

 

I didn’t have any concrete examples to give in that second.

 

But, I told her that most things that are completely awesome

in our lives are usually not that easy.  

BUT, THEY ARE USUALLY WORTH IT.

 

I may have blanked on examples but our daughter threw one out.  She said,

 

“You mean like if we’re sledding

and we have to walk all the way up

to the top of the hill in the freezing cold

so that we can sled down super fast

and have all that fun

spinning all the way down?”

 

I didn’t think I could put it any better myself so I told her that was pretty much exactly right.

Really, that is about the best metaphor I could think of that I didn’t think of at all.

Maybe, to complete the parallel, I could have added a few crash-and-burns at the bottom of the hill, some broken sleds, or a dud slope or two to round out the analogy, but I felt pretty good she now understood that something can be TOTALLY NOT EASY while still being simultaneously TOTALLY AWESOME.

That’s Us.

We Parents.

 

We’re all trudging up a slope,

looking for a safe route,

eyes on the peak,

moving forward when it hurts,

striving upward when we fall,

willing onward when we’re cold,

and getting to the end

as honestly and happily as we can

so that the long and arduous trip

might all be worth it

for one magnificent launch,

followed by a brief 

and validating

soar to the bottom,

on a cheap, round sled

that spins you like a top

until you crash,

or fall,

or coast to a stop,

Hoping For The Coast,

Always Hoping For The Coast,

so that we might trudge back up

to do it all over,

Again.

 

That’s Us.

That’s Parenting.

It’s Not Easy Having Kids.  But, It IS Freaking Awesome.

 

It’s Like That.

 

 IT’S ALSO LIKE THIS.

 

Parenting.  We Got This. From Critters And Crayons.

 

Trusting Clutches, Giant Smiles, And Closed Eyes

 

 Astride Quiet Screams And Immense Hopes

 

 That You Will Coast,

 

Coast Without Crashing,

 

 Still Smiling, Still Laughing,

 

Without Breaking Anything,

 

After That Fervent And Amazing Ride

 

Hoping You Didn’t Lose Your Sled On The Way…

 

But Even If You Had,

 

It Would Have Been Worth

 

Every

 

Terrifying

 

 Moment. 

 

So, to wrap it all up in a nice, pithy little phrase:

 

Parenting Is Like Sledding.  Sled Optional.

 It’s  Easy  AWESOME!

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Teaching Kids About Culture With The Elf On A Shelf

We have a very Curious Elf On A Shelf.

 

Teaching Kids About Culture With The Elf On A Shelf

 

Time is scarce so our elf, is very thankfully, not too into mischief and messes.

He IS a very curious Elf, though.

Each morning, the kids find him on top of something that came from a different place in the world.

And, each evening, we sit down at the computer together and they excited ask questions about whatever it is that they found the Elf sitting on or in or under that morning.

We simply Google Away together.

And, each image or map or costume they see triggers another question and another search.

An example of what our curious Elf On The Shelf taught the kids this morning when they found him on the Mongolian String Instrument was that it was not simply a “HORSEY BANJO”, which is what they called it when they found Snowflower Flaky Sassypants sitting on top of the traditional horse-handle like a rocking horse.

It’s called a “MATOUQUIN“.

 

It is from MONGOLIA.

 

MONGOLIA is in ASIA.

 

 The MATOUQUIN is shaped like a TRAPEZOID.

 

 

The kids now know that Snowflower The Elf is NOT simply  sitting on a Horsey Banjo.

So far, we’ve explored Mexico, Afghanistan, and Mongolia alongside our very globally curious Elf On A Shelf.

I wonder where she’ll take us tomorrow?

 

HOW DOES THE ELF ON THE SHELF BEHAVE IN YOUR HOME?

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It’s All About Winning In First Grade Girls Basketball

One thing I am over the moon about is that our 6 year old girl loves to play basketball.

It is pretty much the only sport I know how to play.

I am nearly 40 years old and truly have no concept of what “fourth down” or “offsides” means. Basketball is IT.

It has been amazing to watch a team of girls go from not knowing how to simply dribble at the try-outs, to watching them practice fast break drills.

The hoops are lower and the rules at this early level of girls basketball can pretty much be boiled down to the following,

“You Are Allowed To Travel All You Want,
Just As Long As You Remember To Double-Dribble In Between!”

They often forget.

It is a real highlight to watch a little ponytailed girl fight for the ball, and with exuberant intent, take off down the court in a full sprint, protecting that ball like it’s the hot Black Friday Toy Of The Year.

One thing that all of our girls can do this year is protect the ball. We have come up with a drill wherein the first one to grab the rebound or the fumbled ball yells, “I’ve got it!” so that team-mates don’t continue to try to wrestle it from her.

WE ACTUALLY PRACTICE NOT STEALING FROM OURSELVES.

One of the funniest things to see in a game is how desperately and self-sacrificially these 6 year olds will throw themselves on a basketball, and how difficult it is to pull it from their grasps. The person who seems to have the most difficult time getting the ball out of a little girl’s hands is the referee.

You can often see the referees attempting to get the ball after repeated pleas for it. When they get ahold of it, they nearly lift the determined girl’s body up as a rigid unit since she has encased the ball in a tight fetal position, sealed with the resilience of Super Glue, eyes closed, and with a clenched will to NOT LET GO.

We may also not have our shots perfected, but they are generally headed in an upward AND forward direction.

This is a vast improvement from where we started 2 months ago.

Getting the ball INTO the basket, or simply NEAR the lowered basket, is on the long-term training agenda. Just you watch. We’ll be swishing soon.

It is helpful to remember that these are skills that are cumulative.

We’re going to get it.

Besides, these young ladies and future UCONN Point Guards and Forwards have already demonstrated a tenacious spirit and drive to WIN.

As you can see, they are a formidable bunch in pink.

Attentive. Driven. Ready To Go!

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-1

The diminutive hoopsters with matching pink hairbows (which will surely result in technical fouls in later years if worn during a game) are pounding the court!

Go Pink!

On those hairbows, the greatest problem with them is not that they are particularly hazardous in the under-the-basket brawls for the ball.

It is that they tend to fall out, and the little girls spend their time searching for the fallen bows on the court rather then focusing on their part of the zone defense.

It’s a little comical to watch. “I Got Her! I Got Her! Wait a minute. Where’s my hairbow? There it is by the boundary line!”

And a nice little hole is made for the fast break straight to the basket.

Often, the little girls end up tossing their hairbows to mom in the sidelines as they run up the court after a basket was made because they were obliviously searching for their lost hair bows.

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-2

Even so, the B Team is waiting with baited breath for the chance to go in and redeem that error!

We’re down by 2! Put Me In, Coach!

Well, Sorta.

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-3

I have absolutely no idea why we lost.

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-4

Killer Instincts.

We’ve got ‘em.

We may have lost the basketball game, but some of these girls were TOP DOG in Rock Paper Scissors.

My daughter can often be overheard after a hard-won Handsie-Game on Sidelines as saying, “ROCK ALWAYS WINS! I LOVE ROCK!”

And, don’t get me wrong, we didn’t just lose because second string likes to play Say Say My Playmate.

Lots of parents want to know what the Red Shirt Policy is.

Some of those opposing team kids look like they’ve already started memorizing multiplication tables.

They probably already know how to tie their shoes and keep their letters facing the right direction. I bet their lower case “b’s” don’t look like “d’s”, anymore.

Just saying.

It can’t possibly be this.

It's All About Winning In First Grade Basketball Humor-4

Just give us a couple of years.

Cumulative.

It’s All Cumulative.

We’re working on dribbling without looking, fast break drills, a crippling man-to-man defense, and a very cool double-back-hand-reverse slap for Say Say My Playmate, in the meantime.

DO YOUR KIDS PLAY SPORTS IN EARLY ELEMENTARY?

ANY FUNNY OBSERVATIONS?

PLEASE DO SHARE!

** HUMOR DISCLAIMER: I am by no means implying that there is any wrongdoing by any teams in the league we play in. That snippet about the Red Shirt policy was thrown in for comedic effect. I’m sure there are lots of reasons for 5 ft tall 1st graders with uncommon hand and eye coordination to abound on some teams.**

 

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The Merry Basket Giveaway!

This is a sponsored post giveaway written by me on behalf of Knotty Origami, Vella Naturale, Just Stitch, Susan Hammert of The Pampered Chef, Oma’s Homemade Dogfood, And South Hills Designs By Eliana.  All Opinions Are 100% Mine.  

 ***

 

Rendy Brel***….Your name was selected as the winner of the Merry Basket Giveaway! Please contact me at crittersandcrayons(at)gmail.com to confirm by Noon (CST) on December 19th, 2013. Thank you to all who entered! Merry Christmas!

Critters And Crayons is excited to announce

 

 

 

The Merry Basket Giveaway!

 

 

 

The Merry Basket features wonderful products from the following businesses!

 

 

One Handmade, Adjustable, Burgundy Celtic Knot Necklace By

Knotty Origami

 

A Three-Piece Variety of Natural Soaps By

Vella Naturale

 

One Handmade Coffee Coozie From

Just Stitch

 

One Package of Gourmet Dog Food And Treats From

Oma’s Homemade Dog Food

 

One Mix ‘n Chunk Tool From Susan Hammert of

Pampered Chef

 

One Mini-Locket And Charm From

South Hill Designs By Eliana Marroquin

 

 

 The Giveaway runs from

 

 

Tuesday, November 26th at Noon (CST)

 

 

until

 

 

Tuesday, December 17th at Noon (CST)!

 

TO ENTER THE FREE GIVEAWAY,

OPEN TO CONTINENTAL U.S. RESIDENTS AGES 18+ 

 

(And To Read The Official Rules And Eligibility Requirements),

 

Go HERE

 

Or Enter Using The Form Below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Thanks For Entering!

 

Best Of Luck To You!

 


A Hopping Popping Christmas Literacy Event!

I hope you’ll come out to to see me and my friends at Laredo 8 HEB Plus for a super fun literacy event on November 30th!

I’ll be reading some old Christmas favorites and the kids are going to enjoy some fantastic stomping on the Bubble Wrapped Floor and Christmas Tree Painting With…..

 Bubble-Wrap, of course!

 

 

HEB Plus Critters And Crayons Literacy Event A Hopping Popping Christmas

 

 

SEE YOU THERE!

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Kids Play In The Same Language

 

 

Kids Play In The Same Language

 

Kids Play In The Same Language.

 

They just a find a way to get over the minor obstacle of competent verbal communication.

One of the best aspects of living on the US/Mexico border is the opportunity for our children to experience a different culture and language.

I was reminded of this today as my children played at an indoor play area.

I posted about it on the Critters And Crayons Facebook Page and realized that such a great thing really warrants its very own blog post.

Our 6 year old daughter ran around playing tag with a new friend.

She ran up to me and said,
 
 

“Mom! I made a new friend!  She doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish!   So we made up a game!”

 

 
 
I asked how they played that game.  And our daughter answered,
 
 

“I teach her English and she teaches me Spanish!
It’s called Speaking Different Languages!”

 
 
I noted how brilliant that was.

It is, isn’t it?
 
 

When you have so much in common,

like the need to be gleeful in the moment

for the sake of loving that moment,

then language is not a worthy foe.

 
 

That’s something children have figured out.

A reader commented on Facebook, “And a child shall lead them.”

Yes.

 

Kids Play In The Same Language

 

And So They Shall.

And So They Do.

 
 

For more posts on bilingualism and culture with kids…..

 

But, She Doesn’t Like Me….

 

Bilingualism, The Border, Dora, And Kids…

 
 

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Family Night No-Carve Jack-O-Lantern Bar

We chose not to carve pumpkins this year….

 

But, We Totally Turned Family Night

Into A No-Carve Jack-O-Lantern Bar!

 

family night jackolantern bar-1-4

 

We rolled out that awesome roll of butcher paper in the kitchen to get our Family Night Jack-O-Lantern Bar ready for action!

Then, we put the pumpkins and craft materials along the paper so we each had a workspace.

 

I didn’t want to waste anything in our first aid kit, so I used a leftover white crepe paper party streamer and googly eyes to make a mummy pumpkin!

 

family night jackolantern bar-3

Mommy’s Mummy Pumpkin!

 

Our pre-school son used the gold and white paint that was set out, the sponge brushes and googly eyes to make his Scary Vampire Jack-O-Lantern!

 

family night jackolantern bar-2-5

Our Son’s Scary Vampire Jack-O-Lantern!

 

My husband used the shiny stickers and googly eyes to make a Man-O-Lantern with a goatee!

 

family night jackolantern bar-4

Dad’s Man-O-Lantern!

 

And our fashion-loving first grader blinged her squash out!

 

family night jackolantern bar-5

Our Daughter’s Jeweled-Up Pumpkin!

 

You can see how we did it here!

 

family night jackolantern bar-2-4

We’ve never done this before, but the Jack-O-Lantern Bar Family Night was a big hit!

We love how the whole family looks in squash form, with everyone’s personality looking right back at us on those pumpkin faces!

 

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!


DID YOU DECORATE FOR HALLOWEEN THIS YEAR?

 

HOW DID YOU MAKE YOUR JACK-O-LANTERNS?

 

 

 

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