Laresa Watkins

A Christmas Tree for the Birds

Jan 3, 2015

The saga with our Christmas tree continues.  We have redecorated it for New Years and hung on to it as long as I can stand it.  When I told Charlie yesterday that it was going outside, he started to protest, until I told him we were turning it into a home for the birds and squirrels.

I’m not sure what people who live in a city do with their trees, but here we have tons of options.  We can throw them in the woods, tie a weight of some sort on them and throw them into a pond to make a little home for the fish, or just set them on fire.  We even have a nearby tiger refuge that accepts the trees as donations.  Apparently, the tigers love to play with them.

After talking with my mom and mother-in-law, I learned that my latest idea wasn’t a new one, but I still think it’s pretty cute.   It satisfied Charlie’s need to keep our tree forever, and it will give us something to do for the rest of the winter.

To make our Christmas Tree for the Birds, we strung popcorn (leftover from our Christmas popcorn tin) into garland.  We hung it on the tree (which Jason stood up on the fence in front of our house), then smeared globs of peanut butter onto the branches.  The kids pressed more popcorn and bird food into the peanut butter.

A Christmas Tree for the Birds 2


A Christmas Tree for the Birds 1


We look forward to keeping our tree stocked with goodies for the animals that populate the woods, and to watching them from our front door!

What do you do with your Christmas tree?

Charlie and Maddie’s Thanksgiving Lunch

Nov 20, 2014

A few weeks ago, I read A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to C and M.  In the book, Charlie Brown (accidentally) has all of his friends over for Thanksgiving lunch.  Of course, C wanted to invite all of his friends over for Thanksgiving lunch, so the kids got to choose a few friends to have over today.

We sent out Evites, then began planning our lunch.  We decided to make our lunch like the first Thanksgiving, and I was surprised, upon looking further into it, that the first Thanksgiving was really nothing like the Thanksgiving we celebrate today!

Here is some information about our lunch today.

When the kids got here, they decorated vests that I had cut out of paper grocery bags.  You just cut up the middle of the bag, cutting a hole in the bottom of the bag for the head, then turn the bag inside out so the writing is on the inside, then add arm holes on each side for their arms. Then the kids colored their vests.  Here’s Charlie modeling for you!!




The kids also made headdresses using construction paper, feathers, and tape.  We dug out the Halloween makeup to paint their faces.

Maddie, of course, had to be an Indian princess!



The kids sat on the floor to have their lunch, just like the pilgrims and Indians sat on the ground, or on a stump.



And our lunch was really strange, but simple!  We had fish sticks, rice pudding, carrots, and plain cranberries (like the first Thanksgiving), plus some pizza (which the pilgrims did not have:)).



While the kids were eating, I gave them a little info about the first Thanksgiving.  It was really interesting to learn that they actually ate eel, cabbage, carrots, and spice pudding.  There was no sugar (so no pumpkin pie or cranberry salad), and possibly no turkey at the first Thanksgiving!

This was a really fun day for us, and required very little preparation or work on my end. It would be good for a group of kids, or a fun lunch for you and your kids one day before Thanksgiving.  And who doesn’t love fish sticks?

If you do decide to do it, you should check out Scholastic’s website  or Mother Hubbard’s website for some great information on the first Thanksgiving!


Loving Kiwi Crate!

Sep 14, 2014

This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.


We got our newest Kiwi Crate shipment a couple of weeks ago, and we have really been enjoying it. For those of you haven’t heard of it, Kiwi Crate is a subscription box full of great, ready-to-go crafts for your kids. This month’s was dealing with water, which is right up our alley!

Both Charlie and Maddie loved the first craft: watercolor fish.  The crate included a set of markers, some coffee-filter-like paper cut in the shape of fish, and a spray bottle.  They colored the fish, then sprayed away.  The colors spread out and mixed together into a really beautiful pattern.  Kiwi Crate included several full pieces of the paper, also, so we’re going to make some other watercolor masterpieces later this week.




Another craft included in the box was a sailboat.  The kids decorated the sails with some fabric puff paint, and the next morning we assembled their boat, which they have played with every night in the tub.  The rudder can be turned so the boat floats in different directions.







There were also a couple of extra science experiments in the kit.  Charlie loved flattening out modeling clay to see if he could make it float, and we also saw how many drops of water could fit onto a penny.



So far, I am really enjoying our Kiwi Crate subscription.  Every kit comes with plenty of extras, like markers, scissors, paint, and paper, that you can keep and use on other projects.  Also, for a busy mom, it is so convenient.  I love having these great crafts coming right to our mailbox.  No trips to the store required!

If you are interested in trying Kiwi Crate, click here!  You will love it as much as I do.  I just saw that the next few months is the time traveler series, and in our next shipment we get to build a castle.  Can’t wait.

A Trip to the Dairy Farm

Aug 26, 2014

One thing I am loving about homeschooling so far is the field trips we get to go on.  Since Charlie began kindergarten last week, we have been on 2 field trips!  This may seem excessive, but I know that in another couple of weeks all of our usual fall/winter activities will have kicked into gear and we won’t have many days to go places, so we’re trying to do some extra stuff now.

I have always enjoyed touring factories and other places, so today’s field trip to a nearby dairy farm, Homeland Creamery, was right up my ally. It was a gorgeous day to visit a farm and be outside, and any trip that ends with fresh, homemade ice cream has to be good, right?

Here are some pics from our morning.  I only had my phone with me, so they aren’t the best pictures, but you get the gist!

Maddie liked the hayride around the farm to see all of the cows.

Maddie liked the hayride around the farm to see all of the cows.


Charlie and Maddie practicing milking a cow.

Charlie and Maddie practicing milking a cow.


One of the best parts of the trip was getting to feed a baby calf.

One of the best parts of the trip was getting to feed a baby calf.


photo 2-8


Sam, Aaron, and Bethony came, too!

Sam, Aaron, and Bethony came, too!


We did some shopping in their store after the tour, so we’ll be enjoying their ice cream for a few days!  So good.


***The winner of the toilet targets from Good Golly Graphics is Casey Corder!  Congrats, Casey!**

“Busy Box” for Younger Siblings

Aug 25, 2014

busy box for younger siblings1

We have finished up our first week of homeschooling and I am really pleased with how things are going.  Charlie seems to like school so far, and it is so rewarding to me to see him learning and to get to experience this with him.  I know every parent says this about their child, but I am pretty sure he is the smartest kid out there! 🙂

If there is anything that I know I need to improve upon, it is what Maddie does while I am teaching Charlie.  She is not ready to start school yet (“Im not old enough,” she says.), and I honestly don’t know how I could concentrate my efforts on both of them.  She spends a little time playing on her own, but is also spending a lot of that time watching television, which I don’t really like.

I was talking to my sister-in-law about this, and she suggested that I make a box for Maddie, a box that she can only play with while Charlie and I are having school.  She made one for my nephew to play with while she is talking on the phone.

I thought that was a great idea, and when I mentioned it to my mom this morning as we were on our way to do some shopping, I knew that it was going to happen!

Mama bought this cute container:

busy box for younger siblings3


Then we walked through the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby and scored some really good deals to fill it up for the Madster:

busy box for younger siblings2

Some of these things I already had at home, and I plan to also go through her toys and pick out some of the things she hasn’t played with in awhile and forgotten about.

The “Busy Box” looks so cute sitting on my fridge, and I can’t wait to show it to Maddie later today.  My hope is that it will keep her occupied while I need to concentrate on Charlie, and cut down on her TV time a little bit.

I would love to hear some other ideas for keeping a younger sibling occupied while you are having school with your older children.


*My drawing for  set of toilet targets ends tonight, so go enter now!  Just click here and enter!*

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