Monday, December 30, 2013

Little Passports New Years Eve Traditions Around The World

Little Passports New Years Eve Traditions Around The World

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...Happy New Year! As people in the United States start the new year with fireworks, parades, and resolutions, people around the world are also doing everything they can to welcome 2014. Join Sam and Sofia of
Little Passports as they visit friends in other countries to see how they start the year!

Colombia
Are you looking for travel and adventure? In Colombia, they say that if you grab your suitcase and run around the entire block as fast as you can at exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve, you will get to travel in the new year. Sam and Sofia love joining their Colombian friends to participate in this tradition—they are always looking for their next adventure!

Greece
Sam and Sofia join their friends in Greece to celebrate New Year's and St. Basil’s Day on January 1st. The Greeks start the year off with a fun-filled day of food, festivities, as well as time with family and friends. One favorite way to celebrate is eating the Vasilopita or St Basil's cake, which is similar to a pound cake and is baked with a silver or gold coin inside. Whoever finds the coin in their slice of cake will have a very lucky year!

Japan
When it’s cold outside, you might want to slurp down a giant bowl of steaming-hot noodles! But for the new year, not just any bowl of noodles will do.
Little Passports always enjoys joining their Japanese friends to eat “long-life” noodles. Imagine a dish piled high with long, winding, uncut noodles! Many Japanese believe that eating these long noodles will bring health and longevity. What a yummy way for Sam and Sofia to start the new year!

Scotland
Do you pay attention to who enters your house first on New Year’s Day? In Scotland, on January 1st, people keep a close eye on the door because whoever enters first determines the family’s luck the next year. According to tradition, the “first-foot” must bring gifts—such as coal to wish others’ warmth and shortbread to wish everyone full bellies throughout the year. When Sam and Sofia visit their friends in Scotland on New Year’s Day, they always bring gifts!

Bring
Little Passports into your child's life in 2014 to teach them about all of the fascinating cultures around the world!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kids New Year's Activity

Every year, I have my kids reflect on the past year, This includes things they learned in our school studies, life lessons, fun activities, hobbies, favorite movies, favorite foods, etc. Here's a few things that can help you compile your list.

Childs Name:
Favorite Food: Pizza 
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Fruit: Stawberries
Favorite Movie: Odd Life of Timothy Green
Runner Ups: Frozen, Little Mermaid
Favorite Book: Ivy and Bean Series
2013 Christmas Gifts: American Girl Doll, Clothes for her American Girl Doll, Crochet booties for AG Doll, AG Doll Meatloaf and Chocolate Chip dogs, Tracing Tablet, Bracelet Charm, Nerf Rebelle  Bow.
  • Loves crafts
  • Favorite Christmas present is her American Girl Doll
  • Still loves to write and illustrate mini story books
  • Has recently started to expand on her drawing skills by copying drawings from photos on the internet
  • Knows how to count by 2's, 5's, and 10's to the 100's
  • Knows how to count even and odd numbers forward and backward to 300
  • Has learned how to tell time and count money
  • Introduced American History this year and loves Native American history
  • Has a strong interest and talent in lyrical dancing
  • Has developed her voice in singing and has sung in front of larger groups. Sang in front of 21 family and relatives on Christmas Eve. 
Once you have that typed out and printed, you can either put it into a small box along with ticket stubs and other mementos from the year. Save the box and open it at the end of next year to see what's changed. Another great way to save their info is to roll it up and tie a nice ribbon around the roll. Then drop it into an empty transparent ornament that you can then decorate with the year.

I also have a pdf of something your kids can complete on their own.

Monday, December 16, 2013

15% off Holiday Sale at Little Passports




Just a friendly reminder that the Little Passports holiday sale for 15% off all subscriptions will end on 12/17! Read on for details on how you can earn an extra $5 by using our pre written post below! The content is ready to go with your affiliate links embedded. Lets make this holiday season a huge success!

Promotion Ends: 12/17

Promo Code: MERRY15

Text Link:
15% Off site-wide at Little Passports until 12/17 Win a trip to Belize from Little Passports!

Fine Print: Offer is valid through 11:59 PM EST December 17, 2013. Order by December 17, 2013 for holiday delivery - applicable only to US addresses. 15% Off applies to first month of monthly subscriptions or 15% Off subtotal of 6 or 12 month subscriptions. Giveaway Rules: Little Passports Giveaway Rules

Little Passports is offering 15% off all of their subscriptions, which means you can buy a 1 year subscription and save almost $20! If you place an order before December 17th, you qualify for holiday delivery, meaning you can have your first package arrive by December 24th or before! (Hello stocking stuffer!!) This offer also applies to the monthly and 6 month subscriptions so you can choose whatever option you want and get this great deal when you use this code at checkout: MERRY15

In case you don't already know what
Little Passports is, let me give you the highlights:
-Monthly subscription kit for your children that teaches them (and sometimes us parents) about new states and countries around our world
-Your child gets their own faux passport to update with stickers included each month so they get to remember all of their "trips around the world"
-Wonderful activity sheets that keep kids stimulated for hours and a beautiful world map to help them visualize everything they are learning about!

And one more important note about
Little Passports...

This Holiday, Win Your Family A Trip to Belize From Little Passports!
Can't believe it? Neither can I!
Little Passports is partnering with Luxury Link to give away a trip to Belize, worth $5,000, to one very lucky family. It's easy to enter, and they’re offering bonus entries for participating in fun games, trivia questions, and more. Take 1 minute to enter this giveaway, and maybe YOUR family will win the trip of a lifetime! Win a trip to Belize from Little Passports!

Friday, November 29, 2013

50% off Black Friday Reading Eggs Deal!

Wow! I've been waiting for a deal like this all year! Reading Eggs rarely discounts their subscription at more than 30% off. The normal price for a twelve month subscription is $69. I woke up to a 50% off deal in my inbox that only lasts 48 hours. That was this morning, so now there's probably only 30 hours or so left.

You cannot get this deal by going to their website only. Click on this Link or banner below and add the subscription plan you want. Under promo code, type in  "NVB388". You can pay with a credit card or through Paypal.

I just checked the email again... This offer expires Midnight, December 1, 2013! Believe me, this is a deal that is hard to come by. Each additional child is $34.50 (half off the regular membership price).

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our Lovely Little Chore Chart... Free Template!

If only there was an easy, no hassle way of getting my children to pick up after themselves! This is how I felt a few months ago, but ever since I implemented a reward system, my children have been much more cooperative. They're actually pretty excited to clean up because they know they'll be rewarded with "Happy Mommy Tickets" in which they can redeem for various prizes such as snacks, tv/movie/computer time and even money.

I started out gathering free clipart and putting it into the computer and designing the chore cards.



I laminated the cards and punched holes near the top. Then I organized the chores into the time of day the chores should be done and when the kids completed a chore, or activity, they would hang the chore card on the bottom hook in the "Done" row.

This version of the chore chart can be downloaded for free in a few days!

I wasn't too happy with this version as the kids would often perform the tasks in a different order. I wanted the chores to be within sight and have them check them off with a dry erase marker.
 
The latest version of the chart is laid out in a basic chart format. The photos are visible and the kids can check off what they have completed using a dry or wet erase marker.
 
I have three children that can use the chart, so they each have a different colored marker and they mark off in the same box as their sibling. So you might have a few different colors next to "brush your teeth". I prefer the wet erase markers as dry erase can easily come off when another child is marking a spot on the chart. Just lightly mist with water at the end of the chart week and wipe off.
 


The chart is filled in by
two of my kids up to Tuesday.

For every 4 completed tasks,
they're rewarded with a
"Happy Mommy Ticket".

You can decide how many completed
tasks are needed for a ticket.

I created a custom layout to fit a long frame I had. The templates I created for you should fit a standard 8 x 10 frame. This will print on a standard 8.5" x 11 sheet of paper that you will need to trim down to 8" x 10".

You will need three frames for morning, afternoon and evening chores/tasks. Or you can laminiate each sheet and simply tape it to the wall or stick it on the refrigerator.
We're a homeschooling family, so our afternoon chart is filled with a lot of school related tasks.
Skip the afternoon chart and just use the Morning and Evening chart if you feel the afternoon chart does not apply to your family.

Feel free to email me with any suggestions.
 

Toddler chart coming soon!
 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Our Homeschool 2013

Our homeschooling has been going pretty well so far. In the past I felt like I was winging it, especially last year with being pregnant. But the baby is here now (4 months old) and I feel more in control.

Bean and Pea are in 2nd and 3rd grade. The only difference is their math level. We've started to use Saxon Math this year and I actually love it! There are mixed reviews on the Saxon method, but repetition has worked well for us so far. We're in our 4th week of school and 4th week of Saxon and so far the repetition is welcomed by my children.

In the past, I've used MEP Math. It's free and all the worksheets are available to download in pdf format. It worked well for us because I was able to download onto the ipad and have the kids use the Notability App to mark down their answers. I couldn't print up the lessons/worksheets, so this made it easier. However, the kids didn't like the lessons, and since I couldn't print up the lesson plans, it was even hard for me to understand some of the questions. There were lots of tears with MEP. This was just our experience.

This is our 4th year since we started to homeschool and I've learned quite a bit about my childrens' learning styles. It's true... it can take a couple of years to finally get into the groove.

Saxon has helped me stay focused. I'm not going to jump around different math topics only to find by the end of the year, they're trailing behind. This is our 4th week, and I already see a great improvement in my daughter. My son is doing great but he has yet to be challenged as we've already covered a lot of what is being presented. The challenge is coming up very soon, but I have faith that he will be able to understand it.

I never purchased the Saxon Meeting book mainly because of the reviews. I chose to purchase the 2nd and 3rd Grade Daily Warm Up Worksheets that can be used in place of the meeting book. You can purchase them for $2.75 at http://www.ibeleave.com/store/ In my opinion, they have saved me a lot of time and make the daily meeting time run more smoothly.

Since I have never purchased the Meeting book, I'm not entirely sure if I'm missing any important pages/graphs. I figure I can make my own graph or find free templates online.
As for Language Arts, we use a variety of different programs.

Once in a while I use First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (Vol. Levels 1 & 2) (First Language Lessons)

 
Spelling: AVKO Sequential Spelling


Reading: They read 20 minutes a day from books we check out from the library. I also have them read books on Reading Eggs and they complete reading comprehension quizzes as well as lessons on parts of speech, vocabulary, putting vocabulary words in alphabetical order, identifying grammatically correct and incorrect sentences, and a few other language arts lessons.

US. History: I knew that this year would be a good year to introduce our nations history. I searched and searched for a low cost curriculum and came across this wonderful and FREE curriculum created by another homeschool mom. I really can't believe it's free! Everything is laid out day by day and week by week. There is a total of 36 weeks and plenty of flexibility. I go to the library to search for the books listed in the curriculum and I end up checking out many others to suit my children's grade levels. Go to Guest Hollow for the complete curriculum.

Science: Guest Hollow offers a free science curriculum broken up into weeks.






Friday, July 26, 2013

Little Passports Review

I wish I had this when I was a child! Little Passports is such a fun way for the kids to learn more about World Geography. Little Passports is a monthly subsciption service that introduces kids to a new country every month.

This was the very first shipment, which included everything to get started on the world journey... a nice map of the world, a passport to mark off which countries Sam and Sofia have visited, a photo of Sam and Sofia in their garage, a boarding pass which has a secret code you need to go online for more learning adventures, an activity sheet and a letter from Sam introducing himself and Sofia and letting your kids know they will be receiving more from their visits around the world.

Little Passports makes Geography exciting. Although, this is only the first shipment, the kids were so excited to receive a package in the mail from them and are looking foward to learning about traveling around the world.

After the first shipment, the remaining shipments will include little thumbtack stickers to place on the world map to show the country Sam and Sofia are visiting. Included will also be a glossy 4x6 photo that has to do with that particular country, souvenir(s), learning/activity page on that country, passport sticker of that country's flag to place in passport, boarding pass with a secret code to the Little Passports website for activities and games, a travel sticker to place on the luggage, and a nice letter from Sam and Sofia telling you about their visit in that particular country.

When the kids first opened the package, they loved the little blue suitcase! It's a nice size for their little hands and very easy to open and close.




They opened up the suitcase and were delighted.
Here's what was inside:


My favorite part is the map. The size is perfect, about 3 ft wide.

Little Passports has a variety of subscription offers and you can cancel anytime.
It's pretty affordable, even if you pay by month.

As a homeschooling parent, I find that Little Passports can be a great supplement to our Geography lessons. This is obviously not a complete geography lesson, but Sam and Sofia make it fun to explore the countries further.

I can't wait to try out the Little Passports USA Edition for 7-12 year olds! :)














 
 

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Ultimate Princess Party

It's officially summer and the party invitations are rolling in each week.
For the little girls, a Princess themed party seems to be the most popular.
But how do you make yours stand out from the rest?

Now you can have your little princess have the best
Princess Birthday Party ever with a few tips and suggestions...

There's tons of Princess Themed products out there
to make your party a success, but if you're in the mood,
I will also show you how you can make a lot of things yourself.

Stay connected as I will continue to add to this post...

First Thing on The List...
You Need Princess Party Invitation
   

PhotobucketI've made numerous Princess Themed Invitations for my family and friends. It's a great way to showcase more than just one photo of your little Princess. Check out

        MissPicturePerfect.com

You can also buy a variety of non photo card Princess Party Invitations...
These are just a few of my favorites...
Fit for a Princess Fit for a Princess
This cheerfully sweet invitation features a princess tiara.
The tiara is styled with layers of colorful jewels.
Bright white enclosure cards are available.


Crowned Princess Crowned Princess
This fairy tale invitation has a birthday girl wearing a large princess crown.
The pink background is patterned with floating white hearts.
Bright white enclosure cards are available.



Party Favors are next on the list...
Photobucket
Fill Cute Princess Loot Bags with jewel lollipop rings, candy necklaces,
and tiara shaped lollipops!


Craft Ideas...

 photo crafts1.jpg

You can have all the guests make tiaras or wands
as an additional party favor for the party.
Complete the look and teach them how to make a simple Non Sew Tutu!
Learn how with my free tutorial.
Presew the elastic or buy elastic headbands. Cut the tulle strips ahead of time.
All they have to do is tie them on. Not only will the little girls get to take these home,
but they can wear them at the party to add to the ambiance of the event.
They will remember the party each time they wear their "party favors"!

A few great craft links:

 










Party Decorations


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Little Passports for Your Children This Summer

If your family isn't taking a vacation this summer, Little Passports can help your child "travel" and learn about different cultures around the world. For instance, did you know each year between June 21 and 24, different European countries celebrate Midsummer’s Eve and Midsummer Day (the longest day of the year!), including Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway? Traditionally, people prepare their houses for Midsummer celebrations by decorating their homes with colorful flowers and wreaths.

Little Passports has fun facts for your children to learn all sorts of information at their own pace. You can sign up for a 1 month trial, 3 month subscription (Perfect for summer!) or a 1 year subscription. Let me know what you and your kids think of the Little Passports Box when you open the mail next month!


Friday, May 24, 2013

How To Make a Tutu Without Sewing

Video Instructions on How To Make a Tutu






Materials Needed:
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Needle and Thread
  • 1/2"-3/4" Width Roll of Non Roll Elastic (Amount determined by waist size)OR elastic headband for waist (if you do not want to hand sew the elastic ends together)
  • Tulle From The Roll/Spool (fabric stores sell tulle by the yard from a bolt, which is usually 54" wide) or 6" by 25 yard roll of tulle
  • Optional: Paper Towel Roll to bring elastic waistband around
  • Optional: Quliters Lip Edge Ruler, Rotary Cutter and Mat to cut even strips. Extremely helpful when cutting tulle from the bolt.
If using tulle from the bolt, you will need to purchase at least 5-6 yards of tulle for a baby/toddler size. Ages 4 and up will need at least 8-10 yards of tulle.
If using tulle from the roll, purchase 6" by 25-yard rolls of tulle. You will need 2-3 rolls for a baby/toddler size and 3-4 rolls for ages 4 and up. I personally love using tulle ribbon from a roll/spool. It's normally used for wedding decorations and gift-wrap. It's easier to work with and quicker to cut.
Cutting Tulle:
If using tulle from a bolt, you will need to cut it down into 6" strips. A quick and easy way to do that is to roll the tulle into a tube... it should look like a tube of gift-wrap paper.
One end of the tulle will have a folded edge (that's how it comes from the fabric store). Using a Rotary cutter, mat and quilter lip edge ruler, cut an inch or two from the folded edge so you have a clean edge to work with.
Starting on that edge, measure 6" and make your first cut with a great pair of fabric scissors or rotary cutter. Then measure 6" over and cut again. Repeat every 5-6” until you have cut the entire length. You may have to adjust the strip width to make the strip width as even as possible.
If using 6" by 25-yard rolls of tulle, you won't need to cut 6" strips, since the roll already comes in a 6" width. You do have to cut each strip to your desired length. Let's say you want the tutu to be 14" long. Double that length to 28" and cut each strip to 28" long. You determine length.
Some strips might not come out completely even, but it really is okay once all strips are tied on. Any mistakes can be hidden.
Waistband Construction:
Measure child's waist and cut elastic 2" smaller than measurement to allow for a snug fit. Sew both ends of elastic together by hand or with a sewing machine.
For a non-sew waistband, purchase stretchy headbands from your local drugstore. Most stretchy headbands come in one size so this option may not work for all waist sizes. If you're lucky, you can find stretchy headbands in childrens sizes.
Making the Skirt:
  1. Fold your strip in half and bring it behind the elastic waistband to form a loop.
  2. Bring the ends of the tulle strip through the loop. Pull down the end to tighten. Make sure not to pull it too tight.
  3. Continue tying slipknots or regular knots around the entire waistband. You will probably use between 40-60 strips of tulle for a baby/toddler tutu. A good rule of thumb is to squeeze in at least 4 knots per inch of your waistband measurement.
And there you have your finished tutu!
Learn how to make 20 tutu variations today using the tips and techniques in my ebook, How to Make Boutique Quality Tutus For Fun & Profit! Get started today! :)

Stella & Dot is offering up to 50% off sale items and free shipping on orders over $100

Fabulous sale alert! Stella & Dot is offering up to 50% off sale items and free shipping on orders over $100+ from 5/24-5/27. Below are a few of my favorite pieces . . .

The
Stella & Dot Leona Pendant Necklace makes a bold statement and is adored by both celebrities and fashion editors alike. Each necklace is one of a kind because the stone is hand-cut.

The
Stella & Dot La Coco Clutch - Black can be partnered with a simple top or
can be used to accessorize dressy attire for summer benefits and galas--the options are endless!

Dressing up for a picnic or summer festival can be a blast.
Go in style with the the gorgeous
Stella & Dot Cleo Fringe Statement Earrings.

Be sure to check out Stella & Dot's Memorial Day Sale today! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Craftsy Mini Courses for Free!


The courses on Craftsy are awesome! So awesome, they've got a few FREE mini courses available.
The best part is that you're able to test them out ans become familiar with the courses available on the website.
 
The next 2 Craftsy mini-courses I'm going to take are:
 
1. Sewing Machine 911: Give your sewing machine some TLC with the help of this free course. Learn to clean and maintain your sewing machine with tips and tricks taught in this class.
Although I already know how to sew, I believe this class would be a great refresher and I might even learn a few tips.

2. The Hand-Painted Cake: Elevate your cake with Erin Schaefgen's freehand painting techniques. Create beautiful and edible works of art with Erin's tips and tricks.

Check out all of the other free Craftsy mini-courses by clicking here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

All Craftsy Classes up to 75% off! Today Only!

Craftsy With the warm weather rolling in, it's time to shake off the winter blues and fire up our creativity!

Craftsy is having a one day sale on all their online classes. All Craftsy Classes are up to 75% off!

There are tons of great ebook and online classes that will help inspire you. Learn how to bake artisan breads, decorate fondant cakes, or even master the art of epoxy clay jewelry. There's even a class on recreating your favorite pair of jeans without having to take them apart!

If you're familiar with YouCanMakeThis.com, then Craftsy will blow your mind! :)

Take advantage of this offer and learn a new crafting skill. It expires TONIGHT at midnight MDT!

All Craftsy Classes up to 75% off!

Have a great day!

-Mariana


Online Sewing Class

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Free 4 Week Reading Eggs Trial!

I just received an email from Reading Eggs for a free 4 week trial. The normal trial is usually only 14 days, but I received a special email granting a 4 week trial instead. I thought Iwould pass on this great opportunity to you.

My experience with Reading Eggs has been great. The kids love it and I have nothing but great things to say. Read my full review here.

Simply go register before midnight Wednesday March 20, 2013 and you can start your 4 week FREE trialby typing 4WEEK in the 'Have a Promo Code?' box.
 
 
Learn to Read

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Repurposed Cardboard Box

I've thrown away countless of cardboard boxes ranging from cereal boxes, big boxes of baby wipes refills and diaper boxes. Had I known, I could've saved a lot of money by reusing them. I have baby #4 on the way and I recently had to move my 3 year old daughter out of our co-sleeping arrangement and into her new bed. The transition went smoothly. :)
 
Now I need to declutter the girls room and use the bookcase. I've donated quite a few books so I can use the bookcase for their underwear, socks, pj and toy storage. So the past few weeks, I've saved almost every box and container imaginable so that I can make storage boxes for their bookcase.

For the following project, you will need:

* Carboard Boxes (Preferably the same size)
* Tissue Paper (Different colors to match the scene you want to create on your boxes)
* Modge Podge or Elmers glue slightly diluted with very little water)
* Paint Brush to apply glue evenly
* Extra Cardboard pieces to use as dividers for your box (Optional)
 



 



1.
I pulled out two baby wipes cardboard boxes and cut off the flaps using a box cutter.
 
 
 
 
 

2.
You can start spreading on small amounts of modge podge or diluted Elmer's glue onto the box. Tear off small amounts of tissue paper or glue a large sheet of tissue paper to cover the entire front face of the box. As you can see in the photo below, I glued a large sheet on top. I used this color as my base.

 

3. The bottom tissue layer seemed dry enough and I went ahead and started adding blues, and some turquoise tissue paper. Add the glue mixture or modge podge on top of each piece to adhere it to the box. Be careful not to add too many layers on top of each other because that may cause the layers to become too soggy and rip. You might need to let it dry a bit before adding more layers.



4. Once you have your background, you can add additional shapes or elements to your tissue paper collage. For my daughters room, I repurposed a cardboard box and made it into a cute underwater ocean scene. I was going to go with just a pink and purple combination, but thought I would try something different. :)





5.
After the boxes dry, you can add cardboard dividers inside the boxes in order to divide underwear and socks.





6.
Here's what it looks like filled.




7.
I placed the boxes in the bookcase, and the greatest part is that I only covered the front face of the box. Shhhh!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Free Valentines Day Cards from Little Passports

Saying I LOVE YOU has no language barrier. Little Passports help you say I LOVE YOU in multiple languages!!! Use the link below to download really cute Valentine cards: http://www.littlepassports.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/low-res-Valentine-Cards.pdf