DIY Busy Board Fun for Toddlers

Jenna has the baby of our entire family now (he’s the youngest of eight grandbabies for our parents), and it’s hard to believe he’s not a baby anymore. He is such a blessing, and pure joy – nothing can stop him from smiling.

Nine years ago, when we started having kids, we wish we had the knowledge that a quick stop to Home Depot could be the discovery of a DIY sensory activity for our kids that would last hours! Leo is the lucky one, because he got one of his very own.

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Whether you call it a sensory board, an activity board or a busy board, it’s all the same thing that keeps toddlers busy for hours. It’s genius. It’s so engaging for kids, and good practice for their fine motor skills.

The full tutorial of our DIY Busy Board is on Momtastic. Check it out here. IMG_1601

Choose Kind: DIY Wonder-Inspired Keychain for Kids

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Happy New Year! Last year we were so touched by R.J. Palacio’s best-selling book Wonder, the theme of kindness (woven beautifully throughout the book) has become a priority in our own lives this year.

We must be kinder to ourselves and one another. And as mother’s, it’s so important to teach our children to be kind. If we can show them by example that kindness, even a small act of kindness, can change lives, they will choose to be kind. Maybe they will have courage to stand up for that one child who is being bullied. Perhaps they will be a friend to that one child who feels forgotten, and show him/her love. Or, hopefully they will have the opportunity to remind a child who looks different from them, that he/she is beautiful.

Just as R.J. Palacio said, “Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”

We all have different stories, and we were all made to be different. But, everyone can be kind. We have good and bad days, so some days it may come be more difficult than others (especially when others hurt and deceive us), but if we try to remind ourselves about the power of kindness, it may just make our hearts feel lighter, and let more love in in 2018.

To remind our kids about the small acts of kindness they can show their friends at school, we made Choose Kind keychains. They are made from a somewhat unconventional material from Oriental Trading Company, but with our free printable by Jenna, the discs were easily transformed.

Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Drill a hole into the top of the wood circles.

Step 2: Paint the front and back of the circle blue.

Step 3: Print the free printable, and cut out the paper circles on card stock paper. Once the paint is dry, add Mod Podge to the back of the printable and press it down in the center of the wood circle.

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Step 4: Apply 2-3 thin layers of Mod Podge over the printable and the wood circle.

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Step 5: Add the keychain loop on top, and add it to your kids backpacks.

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girl-with-a-backpack-and-diy-keychains

If you haven’t read Wonder yet, do yourself a favor and read it. There are so many life lessons to take from it and apply to your daily life. Here’s a quote from the book that will give you something to think about as you make your resolutions, or goals for the year.

“It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.” ~ Wonder

DIY Essential Oil Roll-Ons

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We are obsessed with our doTERRA essential oils. It’s an everyday necessity in our homes. Jenna’s rubs Lavender on her boys before bed. Jodi’s rolls Lavender on her temples all day, and Peppermint when her headaches just won’t quit. Jessica can’t sleep without her lavender-filled diffuser, and when her family has that pesky winter cough, she rolls Breathe blend on their chests. We can’t neglect to mention our love for On-Guard, and that amazing Deep Blue Rub.

We’re so happy we made DIY essential roll-ons for Momtastic because we realized how easy it is, and now it’s a new favorite hobby. Get your roll on with us, won’t you? Read the full tutorial at Momtastic.

Interested in learning more about the oils we love? Email us at hello@jsorelle.com or check them out here.

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Wrapped with Love: DIY Gift Tags + Keychains

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Gift wrap at Christmas time is an art. Sometimes the gift wrap is so pretty, it’s hard to actually want to open it to see what’s inside. We often wonder why we spend the extra time to make gifts pretty when it’s quickly ripped open and thrown in the trash. There is no perfectly sane reason to the wrapping madness, but there is a rhyme and reason. First, it may be vain, but it’s the truth – it’s pretty.  We (women) like to do things that look pretty. We want the gift to reflect our own personal style, and when it’s wrapped before Christmas Eve (rare in our houses), it’s an added bonus of “pretty” under the tree. Second, our grandma use to save the wrapping paper from opened gifts. She carefully opened every gift without a single tear, gently folded it, and kept it or re-used it.  If she were still here with us, she would keep it. If anyone out there is like my grandma, we better make the wrapping paper worth keeping.

This year, our wrapping is simple, but it has a fun and clever gift tag, which doubles as a gift. Gotta love that! Everyone will get a little keychain from Oriental Trading Company that Jenna made adorable printables for. There are 9 difFerent saying and styles to brighten one’s day, and they are all FREE for you. Everyone needs a reminder every once in a while about how awesome, amazing and beautiful they really are! These keychains do just that!

The printables are classic black and white; however we added some pizzazz to some of them with loose confetti, washi tape and of course, tassels. These make great stocking stuffers, gifts for girlfriends, teachers and of course, gift tags.

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Here’s how to do this insanely easy DIY.

Materials:

Step 1: Print the file, and cut the cards out. Click here for the free file.

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Step 2: Decorate the cards for some extra color and texture if you wish.

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Step 3: Add a To: and From: on the back of the printables, or on a separate sheet of paper that’s cut the same size, so the recipient can remove it, and keep the cute printable on front!

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Step 4: Insert the paper into the acrylic sleeve. Add tassels if you want.

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Step 5: Attach to the gift and you are d.o.n.e.!

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kraft-gift-wrap-with-keychain-gift-tags

Merry everything!

Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post. 

A New Holiday Tradition: The Giving Jar + Free Printable

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Christmas brings out the giving spirit in everyone. It’s that time of year when people think beyond their own needs, and consider how they can help loved ones and strangers in need. Whether it’s giving a special gift, or donating time, money or food, it all counts…and it changes lives for the better.

Our kids are young, but this year we tried to teach them about the joy of giving, and helping others. They don’t fully understand what a text donation to Red Cross means, and they don’t quite know the impact of go fund me donations. All that is good, but it has to be tactical for our kids – something they can see, touch and feel. They participated in bake and craft sales to raise money for kids affected by the hurricane in Houston, and made blankets for others in need. But, we wanted something extra at home to keep that giving spirit alive; not just during the holidays, but year-round.

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Let us introduce you to The Giving Jar. It’s a small, but mighty, jar with a small sisal tree in the center to remind us of the spirit of giving at Christmas time, but with enough space around it for money. We retrofitted the traditional glass milk jar from Oriental Trading Company to be more like a DIY piggy bank.

This bank is for sharing only because once it’s full the kids are going to give it to someone in need. In this day and age, it may only be enough money to buy a fancy cup of coffee, or perhaps a new pair of socks. But, the point is not what or how much it can buy, but the way it can make someone feel. The recipient, perhaps in a rut or time of sorrow or struggle, will hopefully feel a bit of hope. A little love can go a long way to lift one’s spirit, and that’s what we hope our Giving Jar will do.

We hope you make one with your kids this holiday season, or anytime throughout the year. Yay, we have a free printable for you to use, too, from Jenna at Fleur de Lis, a paperie. This is a thoughtful and affordable gift to give other families this holiday, so they can have a giving project of their own.

Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Add a glue dot to the bottom of the sisal tree, and glue it to the bottom of the jar.

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Step 2: Add vinyl stickers to the outside so text on the jar reads, The Giving Jar. You can also use a paint pen to write the words.

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Step 3: Cut a small slit on plastic lid that fits on the glass jar. Make sure it’s large enough to fit money.

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Step 4: Fill it with money.

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Step 5: Attach our free poem to the jar (it explains the gist of the jar to those who participate, and those you give it too). Get the free printable poem here. It reads:

At Christmas time we share joy in the spirit of giving to others in need, 
But why just on Christmas do we do a good deed? 

It’s best to give all year long,
and make kindness part of our daily heartsong.

This is the giving jar to bring year-round joy,
for any man, woman, girl or boy.

Fill this jar with spare change as best you can,
give it to someone who needs a helping hand.

Try it once and you will see,
your heart will be filled with love and glee.

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Step 6: Give. Then, give again.

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Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post.