Space Sensory Bottle

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We are currently doing a Solar System unit in our homeschooling. It has been a really fun science unit to work on because there are so many fun hands-on activities that can go along with it. I created a glow-in-the-dark solar system sensory bin for the kids to play with and also made them this Space sensory bottle.

One of the great things about this particular sensory bottle is that it is naturally weighted because of the rocks. This adds an extra sensory element and some children (and adults!) can find this particularly calming.

This Space themed discovery bottle is naturally weighted which provides more sensory input.Materials needed:

I created this discovery bottle in layers because I didn’t want for the figures to all get stuck at the top and it turns out that was the right call. I put a layer of fill, then half a handful of the decorative rocks, then a space shuttle or satellite or astronaut or two and then repeated the process a few more times. Layering the fill and rocks created pockets for the objects from the Space Toob to sit in.

This Space sensory bottle is naturally weighted. Kids can also use it as an I-Spy activity.This also created an I-Spy type of element to the space sensory bottle as well. The kids could search for the space crafts and astronauts (and their favourite character, the monkey in space) and find them by turning the bottle different ways.

There is also an auditory feedback element to this sensory bottle as it gets tipped back and forth during play.

Space Sensory BottleThis does contain small parts, so if younger children are going to play with it, you may want to secure the lid by gluing it in place with a hot glue gun.

If you are looking for other sensory ideas, you may want to follow my Sensory Activities for Kids board on Pinterest or sign up for our email newsletter updates.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Sensory Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

Cheeseburger Pie

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This recipe takes the flavours of a cheeseburger and puts them inside a pie crust. What child wouldn’t love that?! I kind of think of it as the winter version of a hamburger.

Cheeseburger pie has everything you would expect in a burger and if you want to, you can even serve it with ketchup and a side of fries!

Cheeseburger pie is like the winter version of a delicious BBQ'd hamburger. Kids (and adults) love this recipe!This recipe makes two cheeseburger pies. For our large family, that’s one meal. If you have a smaller family, you could easily freeze the second for another meal or use it for leftovers or lunches.

Cheeseburger Pie Recipe:

2x 9″ unbaked pie shells (I buy the frozen variety)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup mustard
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup bread crumbs
1 – 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2/3 cup tomato sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Prick the pie crusts several times with a fork. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes until golden. Cool.

Cheeseburger pie is like the winter version of a delicious BBQ'd hamburger. Kids (and adults) love this recipe!In a medium to large bowl, mix eggs, milk, onions, seasonings, bread crumbs, and raw beef. Mix well. Spread beef mixture into the two pie shells. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Remove the pies from the oven and speak the tomato sauce over the tops. Sprinkle with the grated cheese, garnish with paprika and put the pies back into the oven.

Bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Cheeseburger pie is like the winter version of a delicious BBQ'd hamburger. Kids (and adults) love this recipe!Serve with a salad or fries (or both) on the side. My kids like to put ketchup on theirs.

If you’re not going to eat the second pie, you can either freeze it raw and cook it the day of serving or cook it with other one, freeze it afterwards and reheat on the day of serving.

Looking for other make-ahead ideas? Follow my Freezer Meals board on Pinterest and be sure to check out how you can make 10 meals in one hour.

beef and chicken dump recipes

Top Parenting Posts from The Chaos and The Clutter

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Being a mother of many certainly doesn’t make me a parenting expert but it does provide me with a lot of opportunity to practise. By the time I’m a grandparent, maybe I’ll have this parenting thing figured out!

Top Parenting Posts of 2015 from inside The Chaos and The ClutterI try hard to balance the line of maintaining my family’s privacy somewhat but also sharing with you things that have worked for us, strategies that help, situations that were challenging to handle, and thoughts about parenting in order to hopefully help other families.

In 2015, these were my 5 most viewed parenting posts:

#5. For the Mom who Doesn’t Feel Like Enough – I know that I am not the only mom who struggles with feelings of inadequacy. I hope that this brings a bit of encouragement and perspective.

#4. 5 Triggers for my Mommy Anger – In my attempt to stop yelling at my kids, I analyzed some of the common triggers. It seemed to resonate with other moms as well.

#3. Helping a Child Through Trauma – Parenting kids who’ve been affected by trauma has been the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. These strategies have helped us and them.

#2. Why I Marched my 12 Year Old Into the Police Station – When I shared this personal story publicly, I wasn’t expecting it to go viral and when it did, I was worried about what the response to such a controversial parenting decision would be but the response was overwhelmingly positive and I still get emails and questions about this one. While that was a hard day for me, I’m glad that some good came out of it in the form of people talking about it and considering what messages they are sending to their kids with some of their parenting decisions.

#1. Two Words That Will Transform Your Family – It makes me happy to know that this was my #1 parenting post in 2015 because it means that it helped a lot of families. Over 130,000 people read it so it had the potential to affect a lot of families. It has truly made a difference in our family, adding more peace into our home and I’ve had readers contact me expressing that it has done the same for their families as well.

I hope to continue to be write things that inspire or encourage other moms and that help families in the process. Let me know what you’d like to read more about and I’ll try to make that happen.

To read more great parenting inspiration and tips, check out this series of the top parenting posts of last year.

This year's best parenting tips

Family Scripture Valentines

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From the time my kids were very young, I noticed that the Valentines cards sold in the stores were designed for kids who are in a classroom whether it is a preschool class or school room. Since very few of my kids attended preschool and then they were homeschooled, those boxed Valentines just didn’t fit our situation. I wished that someone would create Valentines that could be given to family and neighbours because those were who our kids wanted to make Valentines for.

Family Scripture Valentines - These are perfect for preschoolers or homeschoolers. While I waited for someone to ‘invent’ Valentines that were more homeschool and pre-school friendly, we made our own Valentines cards. This year, it occurred to me that perhaps if I were wishing for Valentines for family members, there may be others wishing for them too!

I’m really excited because with the help of my friend Richele, I was able to see my wish for family Valentines come about. I came up with the wording on the front and back and she designed the cute bits. Designing cute bits just isn’t one of my strengths.

These family scripture Valentines cards are perfect for kids who aren’t yet in school or are homeschooled. They are also great for kids who want to give cards to their grandparents and cousins in addition to giving them to the kids at school.

Scripture Valentines for the whole familyOn the front, these say things like “Daddy, you’re the best” and on the back, there is a coordinating scripture. There are Valentines for dad, mom, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, and cousin. There are also a few blank ones so that your kids can make them for neighbours or friends.

To download and print off these free Valentines, simply enter your email address below. You will then be subscribed for our email newsletter (which only comes at most once a week) and you will have access to all current and future subscriber-only treasures including this one.