Friday, October 31, 2014

DIY Little Red Riding Hood Group Costume Tutorial

This year, Monkey came up with the idea of being Little Red Riding Hood for our costume party this year. I was game, because it makes a great group costume, plus it’s based on a book, which makes me happy.

I was the grandmother, and Bo was the wolf. We tried to convince Josh to be the huntsman, but he didn't go for it. Oh well, his loss. :-)

This is how we made our costumes (and apologies on the strangely blurry photos- I don't know what was going on with my camera that day).

Grandmother Costume

I had an old costume that my parents bought for me to attend a Civil War dance when I was in Junior high. It still doesn't fit right- too big in the bust and too small in the arms and neck. I wonder what kind of pattern was used for the tutorial for it to fit so strangely? But never mind, it was perfect for a grandmother costume. 

I made a mob cap using this tutorial, and I was done!

Wolf Costume

I used the base from Bo’s poodle costume. I switched out the poodle tail and poodle fur for a wolf pelt we found at the fabric shop. I also added a patch of fur to the back of the costume and made ears using felt and the wolf fur, which we attached to her hair with hair ties.

Red Riding Hood Costume

I had Monkey wear one of her everyday dresses as the base.

I made the hood using this tutorial. It ended up being huge on her- I’m not sure why because I followed the instructions and they were meant for a toddler. I also decided to go ahead and line the entire inside of the cloak in white fabric. It made sewing the hood on a little tricky, but I liked how finished it looked when I was done. The girls can wear this hood now for a long time and keep it in their dress-up box.

We gave Monkey a little bucket to carry and her costume was done.

I loved how simple these costumes were to make and how cute we looked together!

Share pictures of your costumes with us on the Schooling a Monkey Facebook page!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Giveaway: Gifts Perfect for Tots

first birthday gift guide giveaway
This week, I am participating in a giveaway in celebration of Mom and Crafter's son's first birthday! If you have a little tot in your house, you will love these gifts that are being shared with you today!
View the sponsors and the details of the giveaway below:

Hosted by: Moms and Crafters
Moms and Crafter's big boy has just turned one! With so many people asking around about the perfect first birthday gift, Moms and Crafters has put together a 1st birthday gift guide, together with the ultimate list of best gifts for a first birthday, from the perspective of a mom. You can check out more of the features of the Year of Parenthood Celebration event, including loads of 1st birthday resources, with more coming soon! To top it off, Moms and Crafters arranged this amazing giveaway! One winner will receive the entire prize pack, valued at approximately $258! Check out the reviews on each of the prizes below, then enter to win.

First Birthday Gift Guide Giveaway Prize List:

first birthday gift guide giveaway

Bright Starts Hide n Spin Monkey | ARV $40

This fun, friendly monkey is a favorite! Put the balls in the monkey's hat, and watch them spill out of the barrel. With loads of lights and sounds, baby is sure to be entertained for hours.

Bright Starts 3 in 1 Step n Ride Li0n | ARV $40

Another great toy from Bright Starts! A year is the perfect time to learn new skills such as walking and riding... This versatile convertible toy will save you lots of space as it converts from a ride-on to a walker!

Freshly Picked Moccasins | ARV $60

These fun leather soft shoes are perfect to keep feet warm! They are great for new walkers who do better then they can feel the floor.

Menucha Mommy 'n Me Bracelet Set | ARV $30

A great gift for a little girl, this adorable gift set indulges Mommy as well. Because, isn't she the one who has been investing lots of love this past year?

Austin Lloyd Mystery Box | ARV $50

This subscription box is full of age-appropriate toys. Everything in it is eco-friendly and non-electronic. It features high quality toys that will delight baby again and again.

Funbites | ARV $13

This easy to use food cutter will cut baby's food to bite size pieces in one quick, easy step. It comes with a popper to pop the food out of the holes. Available in 3 shapes and many vivid colors.

Yummi Pouch Brights Set | ARV $15

Reusable food pouches are a great way to do teach baby to self-feed while saving money. You can choose what your baby eats, while doing something good for our earth.

That's Not My Tractor | ARV $10

This fun book is a touchy feely book by Usborne to develop sensory awareness. It's a board book so it's more durable for little ones. (If out of stock, it will be replaced with a different book of similar value.) Open to residents of the US ages 18+. Enter to win using the giveaway tools form below:
Disclaimer: Sponsors mentioned above are responsible for prize fulfillment. Moms and Crafters and the participating blogs can not be held responsible for sponsors who do not follow through. Moms and Crafters received these items free from the company for review purposes. No compensation monetary or otherwise was received for the running of this giveaway. If you'd like to see your brand featured on Moms and Crafters, contact Menucha at

Monday, October 27, 2014

Giveaway: Blog Ad Space and $75 to Amazon

Happy Monday! This week, I have teamed up with some other bloggers for some cool free stuff that you can win! If you are a blogger, there is a ton of ad space available and a $75 gift card to Amazon so you can treat yourself to something on your wish list or use it to get a start on your Christmas shopping.

Participants: *Raewyn - Be A Warrior Queen // *Laura - Side Street Style // Taylor - Pink Heels Pink Truck // Katie - Beneath the Chandelier // Betsy - Musings of a Museum Fanatic // /*Chelsee - Southern Beauty Guide // *Brittany - Everyday Thoughts // *Gayle - A Gayle Force // *Christine - Life With A Side Of Coffee // *Lix - A Classic Notion // Brenda - Schooling A Monkey

*Indicates this participant is giving away ad space


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meanwhile, in October

October has been so busy for me!

We've been a little quieter here on the blog, but that's because I've been writing everywhere else this month!

Here is where I've been:

Some of you may not know, but my oldest daughter, Monkey, has ADHD tendencies, which makes getting through the school day difficult sometimes! I guest posted in Sallie Borink's 31 Days of Learning Differently series about the struggles I have had as a parent learning to accept the differences! 

On Busy Being Jennifer this month, I wrote about a super-easy handmade scarf gift for the men in your life!

At Homeschool with Purpose, I wrote about 15 ways to make cooking with your kids more educational and fun!

At Tutus and Tea Parties, I wrote about 8 ways to make Halloween special at home if you aren't as big into costumes, trick or treating, or scary events.

And super-relevant to us today: I wrote about how to keep tots occupied while you are trying to homeschool the older kids at The Natural Homeschool!

I was also interviewed by The Proverbial Homeschooler, and you can learn all kinds of things about us in the interview! 

I wrote about how to avoid homeschooling guilt and the comparison trap at Motherhood on a Dime.

I'm also going to start writing for To The Moon and Back once a month starting in November, so look out for my posts there, soon!

So, there you go! That's what I've been up to this October.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Teaching Art to Kids: Easy Ideas to Get Started

I am a creative person, but I am certainly no artist.

I don’t have trained artistic skills or the mathematical eye for balance and design that real artists appear to have. The art that I teach in our homeschool is based around my personal artistic limits.

Right now, we don’t follow much of an art curriculum. We use some of the lessons in Artistic Pursuits, which helps me see the kinds of art styles out there so that I can introduce them to my children. Artistic Pursuits is a good jumping off point, but it doesn’t include technical lessons or a lot of creative art play for teaching art to kids.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Exploring Art Creatively with Kids

When I was growing up, we didn’t have a TV until I was a teenager. This forced me and my siblings to find different avenues of fun. When I got too old to really play with toys, I turned to art instead.

Over the years, I collected a variety of art supplies and had a lot of fun creating various projects. One Christmas, I made everyone in my family paper folders (a super-fun thing to receive, I am sure). Another year, I constructed a doll house and car garage for my siblings made from cardboard boxes.

My mom placed no limits on what we could do creatively, and almost no material or project idea was off limits. I even spray-painted a piece of furniture in my room on my own once. I didn’t prep the piece, and it was almost a complete disaster, but my mom never scolded me for trying the project.

I want to allow Monkey and Bo the same license to be creative in our home. I am a little more of a control freak than my mother, which makes it hard for me to allow the girls to do things on their own. However, we have collected a variety of resources that they are allowed to experiment with on their own. Every so often, in addition to the exploration of different styles and mediums that we do with Artistic Pursuits, I also give them another resource to experiment with.

Here is what is in our artistic toolbox:

Art Toolbox for Toddlers

  • Crayons (I like the ones with the plastic sheaths that twist so Bo cannot break them).
  • Pencils
  • Varying textures of paper (a glitter paper was of particular interest)
  • Play and cloud doughs
  • Bits of fabric
  • Beads, bits of ribbon, buttons, and pieces of nature (like sticks and leaves) Bo is not allowed to play with these without supervision.
  • Watercolor paint
  • Small canvases

Art Toolbox for Elementary Kids

Tips for Coming Up with Art Ideas

I used to be pretty bad at thinking up art ideas, but that was before I realized you can use almost anything for teaching art to kids.

For example, one project that Monkey did with her grandmother (she has an art degree) used a variety of kitchen tools to create patterns on a canvas. Monkey used bubble wrap as a stencil, a spatula as a filter, and sponges to make a fun mixed-media canvas.

You don’t have to be gifted or a professional artist to come up with fun art ideas for kids. I find Monkey and Bo have the most fun when I let them use their own creativity.

Sometimes, I provide prompts like, “see if you can fill in the whole page,” but often, I give them no instruction at all.

If you want a little more guidance, trusty Pinterest will have everything you need. Here are some of my favorite art boards:

More Ideas for Teaching Art to Kids

Friday, October 3, 2014

Costume Ideas for Sisters: 4 Book Themed Costumes for Girls

If you don't know already, I am a huge book lover. My other site, Daily Mayo, is all about book-related things. One of my goals for teaching my daughters is to instill in them a healthy love for books. I think I am doing all right so far, since Monkey said her favorite book was thesaurus and one of Bo's first words was "book." 

We don't usually do much in the way of costumes, but at AWANA, they have a costume day each year just for fun in October. For this, we like to dress up and have fun, but since it isn't that big of a deal, I would rather put together costumes that are inexpensive or that I can make from the girls' existing clothing. 

This year, I thought it would be fun to see what easy book-themed costumes I could come up with for sisters. The following four sister costume ideas all pull their inspiration from books. 

The best thing about these costumes is you can probably pull them together using only items from your daughters' closet, or find them inexpensively at a thrift shop. As a last resort, you can use the Amazon links I've included for anything you are missing. All links are affiliate links, FYI. :-)

Anne and Diana

Book Inspiration: Anne of Green Gables  



Beezus and Ramona

Book Inspiration: Beezus and Ramona



Rubina and Sana

Ivy and Bean

Book Inspiration: Ivy and Bean



All of these costume ideas for sisters would be the perfect last-minute costumes for any costume party or dress-up event!

If you dress up as any of these ideas, share your pictures with us on the Schooling a Monkey Facebook page!