I didn't know Jen before this Swap either...she's an out-of-towner from Cary, North Carolina. She has been fun to get to know her after the millions of emails that we've exchanged. She is super precious! And I can't wait for you to see her precious busy bag...my kids have been loving this one! Isn't her adorable little Eden just a tiny version of Jen? Too cute...
Name: Jen - I'm an out of towner (Cary, NC)
Kids/Ages: Eden - 2.5 and Hudson - 6 months (they have the same birthday!)
How do you spend your free time: decorating, reading, sewing, cleaning, NAPPING, hanging out with great friends! And if I can do any of those things outside it's 1,000 times better!
When you were a child, what was one of your favorite ways to spend your day? I loved playing with my cabbage patch doll, Katie. I had her name officially changed on her birth certificate because the one she was given was terribly unfortunate.
Fondest memory with your mom as a child? My mom passed away when I was 17 and at least once a day I wish she were still here! But I'd say cooking cookies/desserts around Christmas was an all time favorite.
What does special time with your children look like? One of my favorite things to do with Eden is to have her sitting on my lap, facing me. I ask her what she wants to talk about and the conversations are hilarious, educational, and everywhere in between. Playtime on the bed is also a family favorite! I love feeding H on her bed, and she plays with her animals :)
Favorite outdoor activity with your kids? Going on a walk!
A favorite tradition that you want to pass down with your children? Oh man- there are so many! Waking up on your birthday with a room filled with balloons, special dinner/dessert on the first day of school (MDO/preschool), throwing a birthday party for Jesus each year and inviting our friends, cooking those same treats I cooked with my mom on Christmas, cutting down our tree in the mtns. each year...
When I first read about my assigned busy bag task I thought "oh, this will be super easy, super quick, and super affordable". All this ease threw me into an "I'm not going to think about this for a while attitude" and I literally thought nothing about it. Fast forward 2 whole weeks. I walked into AC MOORE to find that not only were pom poms scarce (thank you pinterest) but expensive! I'm talking 4.99 (on sale!) for a bag of 100 expensive. Assuming I made 50 pom poms per bag times 26 busy bags that's a LOT of money to fork over. Then my mind started racing about just how many poms I'd have the pleasure of hot gluing and I started to have an panic attack right there in simple crafts. Fast forward 2 stores, 1 piece of chocolate (or that's what I keep telling myself) and 20 min later and I hit the mother load. Thank you Dollar Tree for being fully stocked and selling 80 pompoms for just $1 each. 15 bags and $16.01 later I was ready to glue. The ride home had me attempting all kinds of crazy math figuring out just how many pom poms I needed to put together. I never did figure out the number sans calculator (turns out it's 1,200) but it honestly wasn't nearly as bad, or as time consuming, as I previously thought. For a major type A personality like me, it was all sorts of fun setting new personal records for the number of pom bags glued per hour. PR was 17 min for a bag of 80 if anyone's at all interested :)
Now that I've officially talked your ear off, here's what you really want to know:
Supplies (to make 26 busy bags):
15 bags of pompoms - $16
2 large rolls of magnets - $15
2 bags of 24 (mini) hot glue sticks - $5
Lots of print outs (7 per busy bag) - $80
Cookie sheet or Aluminum Baking Sheet
Hours of endless fun for the wee ones - PRICELESS :)
But for anyone that's counting the total to make 26 busy bags with around 43 pompoms per bag and 7 fun sheets and directions card was $116 (there are definitely cheaper crafts out there), but it was incredibly mindless and those without a stitch of creativity will be able to make this happen!
A few tricks I learned along the way:
* Cut all your magnets at once. You'll get into a gluing groove and stopping to cut will really cramp your style.
* Cut your magnets a little bigger than you may think - your blister-less fingers will thank you.
* Put the hot glue on the magnet and not on the pompom - your glue gun will stay fuzz free that way.
* Crank the iPod and listen to music as loud as you can stand it. The monotony of gluing will be enjoyable that way. Plus, if you spend all day listening to kids tunes your ears will enjoy some grownup sounds!
Directions (grab your pens girls...it's VERY complicated)
1. Glue magnets to the back of pompoms. Did you catch that? I repeat, glue magnets to the back of pompoms. Just ONE step ladies! Love that!
How to use a pompom busy bag: (See here for all examples.)
1. kids can design pictures freely onto the cookie sheet/baking pan
2. black and white templates can be created for kids to fill in creatively. Here are some printouts.
3. color templates can be used to encourage kids to match the correct colors. Here are some printouts.
4. use the pompoms to make patterns, sort by color, or to count.
5. use the pompoms to create shapes
6. use the pompoms to create letters and numbers
A lot of the color templates listed I couldn't use because I didn't have the right colors, or enough of them so I got brave and made my own. I love the way they turned out! Here's some pictures of the pompoms in action. These are all phone pics...my apologies!
Eden matching colors on the gumball machine :)
Forgoing the "matching" and making me a "fluffy ladybug" instead :)
A little fun with free form shapes...okay I helped a little!
Tried to get her to arrange according to color...she kind of got bored of this quickly :)