Gluesticks and Stones

A place where I share my latest projects. Kid's crafts, Pinterest gone wrong, DIY, recipes, organization, and a little bit of snark thrown in on occasion.

Janelle is a winner of Top 25 Creative Moms - 2013

Where do you discover new kid-friendly crafts?

I get inspiration from so many places. Much of my inspiration comes from projects I remember my mother doing when she taught Kindergarten, and crafts I remember making as a child. Sometimes, I look at a pin on pinterest and try to figure out how to do "my own take" on it. I have a few favorite blogs that serve as a jumping off place.

Most of it, though comes through trial and error. This past Christmas, I was determined to make salt dough handprints for J to send to his grandparents. However, the recipe I used didn't work right and we had a sloppy mess! (It was fun, but a huge mess.) So, I tried again, this time the dough was right, but it took longer to bake than the "recipe" stated - much longer. The hand prints that were supposed to be out of the oven at 9pm weren't done until 3 am. Then, of course, when it was time to paint them into the adorable reindeer that I had seen on Pinterest, my son didn't want to paint them that way. He wanted to paint them all his favorite color, red. Then, he added in blues, oranges, and yellows. They looked a little, how shallI I put this, like the rainbow had thrown up on them. But, they were gorgeous because he made them and was so very proud of them.

Which, I guess, is my ultimate answer to the question. I discover new, kid friendly crafts through my son. Many times, I imagine a particular project, put out the supplies and envision one thing in my head, only to have my son do something entirely different, but more special. He definitely inspires me the most!

(And, if any of us are going to do crafts with and for kids, that is the most important part, right - giving our children the opportunity to create and craft using their own trial and error, their own experiences, and their own experimenting.)

What's one creative product you would recommend to all moms?

Glitter Glue, it makes everything sparkle!

Ok, I am only half serious. I don't have any real expensive creative products, but I did invest in an inexpensive thermal laminator, which I love to use for making placemats, bookmarks, and preserving some of my son's favorite art work.

We are also big fans of the Do-A-Dot markers. My son has a lot of fun painting with them, but they are also useful for learning letters.

Rather than investing in any large scale creative product, I tend to favor offering a lot of options when we craft. So, I have a small stash of colored noodles, feathers, chenille stems (which I will ALWAYS call pipe cleaners), pom poms, glitter, white glue, glitter glue, paint, buttons, tissue paper, etc. That way, when we are making something, my son can decide what he wants to use, and how.

How do you encourage your child to explore their creativity?

When I went from being a "working outside the home" mom to being a "stay at home" mom, my son no longer went to daycare or preschool. I wanted to be sure that he would still have the social time with friends, but I also wanted to make sure he would still be doing arts and crafts, and enjoying creative play.

The social time with friends came through a wonderful Mommy and Me program we have here in Burbank. What a great experience that has been.

In order to encourage creative art time, I took all our markers, crayons, scissors, colored pencils, stickers, paper, dough and dough accessories out of the closet and put it on a bookshelf in our dining room. My son can go to the supplies and get what he wants, even when we are "doing a craft." I also try to get him involved when I am doing a "grown up" craft, but giving him some supplies to make what he wants. I often put things out as an invitation, and he can choose whether or not he is interested. Sometimes he is, and sometimes he isn't, but it is always his choice. We try to always make it about the process, rather than the results.

To explore his creativity in play, I tend to favor toys that require him to build, to make the noises, or to act out the parts. We try to keep toys that "do the creativity" for him to the minimum. I keep his halloween costumes out all the time so he can dress up, and I try to join in the playing whenever he asks me to. Obviously there are times when I can't stop what I am doing to be the Orca Whale, the Pirate Princess, or Mommy T-Rex, but when I can, I growl, hold my arms and hands close to my chest and play along with much gusto.

We don't turn the TV on for most of the day, he usually only watches while I prepare dinner, and we try to be creative outside as often as we can, too.

What are you most looking forward to as a mom in 2013? Please include a link to a picture if it's relevant.

Janelle Vaughan

To be honest, I am trying not to look forward to anything. I want to take each day as it comes and savor it as much as possible. Since I have recently quit my job to be a SAHM, I am glad to be able to spend more time connecting with my son. But, I am definitely trying not to spend more energy looking forward than I am spending looking at the right now.
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What unhealthy eating habits or cravings have you developed since becoming a mom? Please include a picture if it's relevant.

Janelle Vaughan

Ugh - too many to mention. The worst one is the old, "My son only has a few bites left on his plate - I'll just finish it." I don't make him clear the plate, but for some reason I often do.
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How do you keep stuffed animals under control? Do you corall them in a net, arrange them on shelves, periodically get rid of the unloved ones? Please include a picture of your solution.

Janelle Vaughan

A few of his favorites keep him company in bed at night, a few of them have been culled, the rest are in his canvas toy box.
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Do you use your slow cooker/crock pot even in summer? If you have a great warm-weather crock pot recipe, please share a link to it with other moms!

Janelle Vaughan

I use my slow cooker all year long. It's warm here in Southern California almost year round, and we love soups, bbq, oatmeal even in summer.
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Do your kids have a favorite non-violent video game that you'd recommend to other parents? Please share a link to the product an tell us why you AND your kids love it.

Janelle Vaughan

My four year old LOVES Endless Alphabet. I swear it is responsible for teaching him the sounds that all the letters make. It updates constantly with new words for each letter, and my son gets so excited when there are new words. He loves the animations of the letters as you spell words, too! It's available for Apple IOS, Android and Google Play.
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