Tag Archives: activities

How To’s Day: Create a custom clipboard

My sister and I were born seventeen years apart. I got to be there the day she entered the world and from that day on I spoiled her like crazy. I bounced her to sleep on my back on the trampoline, I got her “water and ice” when she asked for it, I took her to preschool and sent her off to her first day of kindergarten with tears in my eyes.

Those first couple years of her life my friends and I got a kick out of carting her around with us and how people assumed she was my child. I took pictures of everything she did and endured countless hours of Teletubbies, Barney and Mr. Rogers.

But as my kids have grown in number and age and as the geographical distance continues to grow between my sister and I we don’t get to spend anywhere near enough time together. So, imagine my delight when she agreed to spend some time with me this last weekend working on this week’s How To’s Day craft.

The plan: To cute-ify the clipboard that hangs in Allie’s room displaying a few of her treasures. The outcome: Pure awesomeness (displayed above and to the right).

Roll of wrapping paper (the thicker/heavier the paper, the better)
Cutting mat
X-Acto knife
Spray adhesive
Mod Podge (or watered down Elmer’s glue)- optional
Small foam paint brush- optional
An extra pair of hands

Step 1: Roll your wrapping paper out across the cutting mat and place your clipboard flat on top. Cut around the clipboard leaving an extra inch or so of paper around the edges to wrap around the back.

Step 2: Lay some newspaper, ads or something to protect your workspace and place the clipboard on top. Place your pretty paper over the clipboard just where you want it and then lift up the paper covering the area below the clip. Spray adhesive on the board and then smooth the paper down.

Step 3: This is where another set of hands is helpful. Have someone hold the clip open while you work around it cutting the paper with the X-Acto knife.

Step 4: Lift the upper section of paper and spray adhesive (this is tricky). Smooth the paper down around the clip.

Step 5: Turn your clipboard over and cut out the corners of your overlapping page as shown to the right above. This will help it fold down uniformly. Paint paste onto the top and bottom strips of your paper and fold it onto the back side of the board. (I would recommend Mod Podge or watered down Elmer’s. We used spray adhesive but at this point it was a gobby, gooey mess. ) Do the same with the long side strips.

Step 6: If you want to, give the whole thing a coat of Mod Podge for durability and shine.

Add your calendar, grocery list, pictures or whatever you fancy and hang your clipboard on the wall!


How To-sday: 8 ways to keep your kids busy so you can get stuff done

For me, working from home doesn’t mean I have a nanny in the other room watching my babies. I don’t have my husband at home working in the other room. For me, working from home means I am mothering and working at the same time.

So, you might ask, where are my kids when I’m interviewing mompreneurs or neurosurgeons or child welfare program directors? Today I’m going to tell you.

Please note that these methods can also be applied when mommy needs a shower, some space, or to finish the last couple of pages of her book. I will ask again, does this make me a bad mom? I don’t think so. I think it makes me a resourceful mom who gives her children lots of opportunities to grow their independence. At least that’s what I tell myself. So here are my 8 keys to freedom, in no particular order:

1. Play-Doh. Moms don’t love Play-Doh. Why? Because it’s messy, it’s messy and it’s messy. And it travels. I find Play-Doh all over my house; on the bottom of shoes, under couch cushions and smashed into bed-sheets. So I don’t get it out too often. When I do, my kids are glued and I can get through almost 15 minutes of a conversation before I am interruped. 15 minutes! That’s like two-and-a-half days in mommy time.

2. Butcher paper. I keep a big roll of butcher paper in my closet and once every so often (not too often or the shine wears off and you will lose minutes) I tear off a sheet, tape it to the wall and plop a bucket of crayons down next to it. It’s been really cool to see the things my kids have created together this way. Unfortunately, crayon tends to stray off the edge of the paper sometimes but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

3. SpongeBob. I don’t like SpongeBob but my kids do, so we compromise. I don’t let them watch it regularly but once every few weeks when I really need some time. And I get it!

4. Pbskids.org. Or “p-b-s dock ord,” according to Jack. This is brilliant because my kids will sit right next to me, one computer over, quietly sharing and learning for as long as I will let them.

5. Print some coloring sheets of your kids’ favorite things — for mine, it’s dinosaurs or Bakugans — and put them at the table with the crayons. Just google “dinosaur coloring sheets” or “spiderman coloring pages” to find just the right thing.

6. Keep a box of toys up out of your kids’ reach (for me it’s a special set of Legos) to pull down only on occasions when you need their attention completely diverted.

7. Believe it or not, this one really works and is my favorite for obvious reasons: Give your child a wet washrag or two or a small stack of baby wipes and assign him or her to wipe all the smudges off the walls. You will have to point them out in the beginning but this is one of my kids’ favorite things to do and will keep them busy for quite a while. And since they are only cleaning up their own handiwork you can feel like you are teaching them to take responsibility for themselves as well.

8. Popsicle sticks! Popsicle sticks and glue, popsicle sticks and markers, whatever the combination just add popsicle sticks and you’re good. Throw in pipe cleaners and it’s a party!

Once the fun of any of these activities wears off, be ready with a small stash of fruit snacks, string cheese, fruit leather or anything that will give you just a minute or two more to wrap up your project and you’re set!

I know I didn’t think of everything, so I will likely run a similar list again. Work-at-home-moms, what did I miss?