5 Cool Crafts to Keep you Warm this Winter

coolSeriously.  It has been cold this winter.  I mean bone chilling cold! Florida has been in the 40’s and Texas got snow!  I live in North Alabama and it seems that nights are in the teens or single digits are becoming the norm.  While some areas that may seem warm-this is the south and it is plain cold.  Plus it is darker and dreary.  The children are on the edge -the cold was fun for a while because they could freeze everything, but after a while-it is just cold.

So on a day a few weeks ago when it was like 6 degrees or 9 degrees or some extremely cold day I asked my kids-what could we make that would keep us warm this winter.  And just like that they came up with a list of crafts and a few foods to keep them warm.  Since the cold weather doesn’t seem to letting go of us, we are working on staying warm.

  1. Making Scarves.  My kids love it when we make scarves.  We have many both from fleece and knitted.  There are some simple ones and more complicated.  We made a simple one.
    • Robby wanted to make a scarf that like he saw at Disney-it was Mickey ears on top and it was long with mittens on the end.  He has not found his “fabric” of choice yet.  Check out these other fun scarves at Spoonful.
    • Looming Scarves.  I have made the kids scarves from looming.  I find it relaxing and an easy alternative to knitting.  I normally only do this in the winter while watching TV and the minute the weather becomes warm I quite.  If I would stay with it I would have lots of gifts!  LOL
    • Isaiah saw this one and was hooked!  So we one day we happen to be at Hobby Lobby and picked up some fleece.  This was easy, easy, easy!
    • This looks fun-but I have never done anything with felting.  Have you?  This would be great for older kids or maybe you want to be a little brave?
    • No Sew is always a key word for an easy warm craft!
  2. Hand Warmers.  Robby was trying to describe to me these things that broke and that he put all over him at a camp out with friends.   Finally I got they were  hand warmers.  He asked if we can make some.  I told him sure,  I think if we just sew little squares, put some rice in them, and then they can pop them into the microwave before going out.  Kinda like bean bags but with rice. Should not be that hard right?   Come to find out, these are pretty popular.
    • A cute heart hand warmer. Here I that it may be better to use corn (but not pop corn!)
    • Ok so not one you make but a fun experiment in hand warmers!
    • Here is a Ziplock  hand warmer.  This is what my son whats to make.
  3. Make your own soap and bath salt.  What a better way to warm yourself up than a nice hot bath!  We have  made a fun oatmeal lavender soap using a kit from Hobby Lobby.  I had it sitting around for a few years.  I poured my mixture into a lined cookie sheet and then just cut it.  And then I cute one into tiny bits, the kids love those.
    • I always think that soaps that smell great are fun to use!  I love all the wonderful suggestions on fragrance oils here on Bramble Berry. They have lots of great resources for making your own soap, (along with lip balms which I am researching!).  I would love to learn how to make cold process soaps-they are so beautiful!  Maybe for a warmer day though!
    • Create cards to send.  Valentine day is around the corner and on these really, really cold days-set out all the cut craft supplies and get creating.  Better yet, invite some friends over to have a card party!  Make it an adult party and break out the wine and cheese, or involve the kids and have hot coco and cookies.  If your church has a list of shut in’s send cards.  Look at this fancy Valentine Card Making Party on HGTV.  Or this one at Better Homes and Garden.
    • Make a Sun Catcher.  On cold days we try to follow the sun.  We have lots of windows and I am so thankful for that.  Making fun sun catcher is a great way to focus of the warm sun on a colder day.
      • Some awesome ideas for lots of sun catcher and stain glass windows at The Artful Parent.
      • I have never seen a sun catcher made with pony tail beads, but this was worth checking out.
      • Buggy and Buddy make a fun sun catcher with crayon shavings.
      • Of course there is my kids favorite sun catcher with tissue paper.  Check out these cute hearts at First Palette.

As the winter keeps blowing all this cold air, hopeful you will keep warm with these ideas.  Need more ideas, check out my craft board on Pinterest.

Now I know you may be wondering what food ideas the kids picked to keep themselves warm.  Hot Coco, warm cookies, grill cheese and soup.


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How I Teach Upside Down Children Fine Arts


I just bought Vivaldi: The Four Seasons.  The music is filling the area.  Babies are babbling to the notes.  This is how I teach fine arts.  I have no set curriculum.  I am not against one, just really never found one.

We follow the list of artist and composer from Ambleside online  Every three months the kids are exposed to a different ones.  

AnnieQ sings all the time.  She can hear a song once and know it.  She sings and makes up words all the time.  I have apps on the iPad that teach them music theory-when they want to learn it.

They learned the basics of the recorder by just learning and reading about it.

Here is where some of the big sensory issues come to play.  When I give Isaiah and AnnieQ water paints to paint with.  AnnieQ will very carefully paint something.  Isaiah will end up with it as finger paints.  AnnieQ hates to have her hands dirty.  She cannot handle the feel of things like wet grass.  Isaiah could care less.  More the mess the better.

We were at a wedding a few months ago.  AnnieQ was on the go moving and dancing.  Isaiah could not transition into that dancing mode-even though he dances all the time at home.  For him there were too many people and it was too loud.  He sat by me the whole time.

Isaiah does better at sports like gymnastics than baseball, but is good at both.  Baseball is too slow in the outfield for him and he does not handle that fast transitions when batting with the outs.  But boy he can hit the ball.  Isaiah moves all the time, bounces and spins.  And is my upside down child always flipping over this and that. In baseball he was the one doing cartwheels (he wasn’t the only one!:)) But with Isaiah you have to really understand him and how he works to get him to do stuff.  He is a great helper and has a HUGE servant heart.  So if another teacher scoop him into a helper stage then he is good to go.  If they don’t engage him right away, we may not be able to leave him some place.

His most favorite place though is The Little Gym.  The two boys took class last year.  This year I didn’t due to Government sequesters I cut a few extras and that was one.  But tonight is parents night out and we parents-need a night out!  I always said if I could find an all day school that functioned like Little Gym I would be willing to send Isaiah there because that is what he needs.  Up and Down, on the go, balanced with some sit down.

AnnieQ takes dances.  We goto Steps of Faith which is a Christian Dance studio. We LOVE it.  They dance to good classical music and contemporary Christian music. They just performed Narnia at Christmas time.  She enjoys dance a lot.  She picks it up very quick and sometimes doesn’t pay attention cause she thinks she’s got it. ( I watch through the glass)

As far as art is concerned, I put different media’s in front of them and they create.  It may try to look like the artist they have seen.  We may have taken a trip to the art museum and they saw something there.

Music we listen from anything from classical to rap.  Toby Mac to Bach.  My kids know many different kinds of various instruments and how orchestras work.  This is just from learning as we go.  We have taken music classes, art classes and loved both too.

Yesterday was AnnieQ’s birthday.  We decided to give her a Nano so she can listen to music to do some task that overwhelm her.  I have put on both fun music and classic music.  There is Bach, Peter and The Wolf, and the Vivaldi Four Seasons.  Also the soundtrack to Frozen (I may have to let that one go:)) I found an old shuffle for Isaiah that I have used with him in the past.  So I guess we will see how this works.

I am in day 5 of a 5 day series. Day 1 I  blogged about how I homeschool my upside down kids Language Arts. Day 2 was about Math. Day 3 was Science. Day 4 was History.

Check out these other homeschooling families and how they teach Language Arts.

Hopscotch with us January 13-17 as we share a round of posts detailing how exactly we teach within our specific niches.

Day 1: how I teach language arts
Day 2: how I teach math
Day 3: how I teach science
Day 4: how I teach history
Day 5: how I teach fine arts



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How I Teach Upside Down Children History


Last year we sorta unschooled history and geography.  No curriculum.  We started off our year off with a trip to New York City, cruised to Canada, trip to the Liberty Bell and back home.  From there the kids just though of stuff they wanted to learn and learned it. We used living books and Google to learn from and videos, live Drive Through History, to broaden our horizon. It worked.
With both older boys I’ve used a Charlotte Mason approach to teach History. I’ve used Beautiful Feet for many years and also have used the resources from History Heritage.
Small lessons. Living books. Notebooking.

This year I tried to used Early American History with the two younger ones and Robby was wanting to Study Ancient Greek History.   I really felt like it was not going well.

Let me pause for a moment.

Here is what I wanted my day to look like.

But really my day may look like this:
6:30-my alarm goes off.
Either my husband or I have already been up with babies hours before.
I attempt to get dress and 1 cup of coffee. And brace for kids.

6-8am emerge children. They can be happy or cheerful or I should back up.  I can simply ask for one to get dress or feed the cat-and we can spiral into a 30 screaming fit just because that task was just too much for that moment.
Just one thing not right -like vitamins not at the right moment-can throw them into a screaming and running through the house.

Even what they wear can be an issue.  Pants, socks and shoes are always an issues.

Other mornings-dress, chores, fed with out one melt down or concern. You don’t know.

I start school with two little ones. I’ve moved them to the kitchen tables things work better with the babies. Two working. Isaiah tapping his foot. AnnieQ screaming “stop it.”  Me- not sure what is wrong. Isaiah doesn’t know. I settle them down. Foot taps-screaming-Isaiah makes the connection-more foot tapping-more screaming. Momma calming them down again and more coffee.

This is now one subject. Me -moving them along. Math -science-lang arts.  Something will be bothering Isaiah.  His clothes are not right.  Too much noise.  My breath is too much for him.  AnnieQ can end up on the floor like a rag doll screaming about I don’t know what.

I turn grab another cup of coffee and then try it all again.  Robby is pretty much self guided (thank goodness!!!) but will come and ask questions when needed. So some subject my kids do better at than others.  Some they don’t.  The way I had history set up this year just didn’t work.  It was too much for them and too much for me.  So I moved to Alpha Omega for all three.  I could use Beautiful Feet with Robby-I have all the books and such.  But I went with easy for me.

Two weeks in and I have to say it is working well.  We can still use the shorter lessons for Isaiah, AnnieQ is thriving off the worksheets, and Robby says it is too easy for him so he is happy.  AnnieQ and Isaiah are starting out with learning about themselves  and families. Plus the 1st grade teacher book came with a lot of extra stuff for the kids to do-Isaiah likes the cutting instead of worksheets.  AnnieQ is not so great a cutting.    It was a good starting place for us.

BUT “history” for me doesn’t stop there.  I guess regardless if they were homeschooled or went to a school away from me I would think this was important to learning about our local history and our family history along with American and World History.

Like the other day Isaiah and I was driving back from the Doctors office and drove by this house.  He made me stop so he could take this picture.



This is one of the older homes in Huntsville.  I was talking to him about how the downtown area us to be the main area of Huntsville.  He wanted to know how lived there, who built the house, where did the family work.  I found out a bit through Facebook friends.

Family history is very important to me.  I want my kids to know where our family comes from. We have history of family who fought in the Civil War & WW2.  My great grand father designed the rose gardens for Mr Heresy.  I have a Great Aunt-Anna Keichline– who was a secret agent in the WW2 along with being the first women architect in Pennsylvania.  My great grand father was a sheriff, mayor and own early Ford dealerships.  It is important that my kids know this history too.  Learned through visiting and stories and seeing pictures.

Pictures are very important for my kids.  It is a visual thing.  Also being adopted they have a need to look more.

I am in day 4 of a 5 day series. Day 1 I  blogged about how I homeschool my upside down kids Language Arts. Day 2 was about Math. Day 3 was Science.

Check out these other homeschooling families and how they teach Language Arts.

Hopscotch with us January 13-17 as we share a round of posts detailing how exactly we teach within our specific niches.

Day 1: how I teach language arts
Day 2: how I teach math
Day 3: how I teach science
Day 4: how I teach history
Day 5: how I teach fine arts




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How I Teach Upside Down Children Science


My children are naturally little scientist.  When they were little they wanted to study cause and effect.  If I threw this on the floor my mommy will pick it up.  And they would test that theory over and over again.  They continue to learn, test, and see what will happen if they do this or that.

They enjoy being outdoors and discovery new things every day.  Living in Huntsville AL, we are blessed with the Space and Rocket Center along with an awesome hands on science museum call SciQuest.

In fact my kids have been taking science classes at SciQuest this year.  They love it!  Science for my kids is very much hands on-using all senses.  I encourage my kids to see something and learn from it.  If they want to know about something we look  it up learn from it.  I remember a few years ago we had a blizzard (OK we are in Alabama-it closed us down for a week-it was a blizzard!)  Robby saw salt and asked about it while we where out as the snow started to fall.  He came home and did and experiment-to see which ice cube would melt first.

And yes, I have had some weird things growing.  Oh wait those may have been left overs in the back of the fridge!  Or maybe not!  LOL  We have grown plants from seeds.  And bottles of weird stuff to shake.  My kids need their hands dirty and each year they find ways to do that.

Now what do I teach!  Well after starting out with two different curriculums for them-after a month I learned that Apologia had an elementary K-6 subject on Chemistry and Physic.  We have done most of the other ones and I was going to start again with space.  And Robby in the Middle school Science.  But Robby rebelled against the large text-book, and the little kids wanted to be with Robby.  So to make all happy and my job easier-I ordered this.

My kids were so excited when this came!  Isaiah’s first comment was when can we blow something up.  I was a little more concerned at this point that excited.  But he was remembering us blowing up coke bottles!

We started this curriculum in mid October.   I also got the journal for each one-the junior one for the two younger ones, regular one for Robby.  We read, learn, note take, draw, watch videos, do experiments, and have fun!

Now-it is not all fun. The thing about learning about  kids who have some sort of sensory disorder is learning what sets them off and what calms them. When it comes to learning what works best for them.  Since we are learning how I teach my kids science-this is a good time to just talk briefly about sensory processing disorder.  This YouTube video has been the best description I have found.

This video is a great video from the point of view of a child!


Each of my kids are different.  My two little kids you see more sensory needs and they are different needs.  And on my part it is learning and understand the sensory needs and how to help them, so we all don’t get frustrated!

When I was waiting for our new curriculum to come I bought the Bill Nye Science Guy  Science Guy Shows and my kids would watch those.  They also like to watch How things are Made and other shows we found on TV.  They love Animal Planet.

I also have found some fun apps that they kids love.  Bill Nye has one. Since we are learning about Chemistry and Physic I purchased The Elements in Action.  Isaiah was fascinated by this app!

We have in-house a microscope, stethoscope, a box of chemicals well hidden and my other science experiment items.  There is plenty of hands on for them to learn outside and it.  And this momma prefers dirt to be out side.

Keeping them moving and exploring is the key.

Ps-Does Star Trek, Star Wars, and Dr. Who count as Science too?  LOL

I am in day 3 of a 5 day series. Day 1 I  blogged about how I homeschool my upside down kids Language Arts. Day 2 was about Math.

Check out these other homeschooling families and how they teach Language Arts.

Hopscotch with us January 13-17 as we share a round of posts detailing how exactly we teach within our specific niches.

Day 1: how I teach language arts
Day 2: how I teach math
Day 3: how I teach science
Day 4: how I teach history
Day 5: how I teach fine arts



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