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Back to School Inspirations

Can you believe it is almost that time again?
Where did the summer go?!

Well, I figured I'd better get a move on with the Back-to-School Ideas.
Check out these amazing ideas to help you and your kiddos prepare for the year ahead!

Back-to-School Pictures
at Mommy Minded

Notebook Paper Tote
right here, at Sun Scholars

at Mommy Minded

Back to School Treat
at The Blackberry Vine

Back-to-School Hair Clips
at A Little More

Butterfly Bookbag Tutorial
at Taidye Original

Back-to-School Countdown Jar
at Everything Moms

Back-to-School Countdown
at Happy Home Fairy

Back-to-School Survival Kit
at Everything Pink

kits inside
Teacher's "Aid" - First Day Survival Kit
at Bee in Our Bonnet

Lunch Bag Tutorial Round-Up
at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Lunch Box Love Notes
Right here... at Sun Scholars

Edible Crayons
at Gourmet Mom on the Go

Charlie Lola
Fun Sandwich Gallery
at Funky Lunch

Back-to-School Themed Birthday Party
at Little Sooti

Back-to-School Teacher Gift Ideas (with free printables)
at The Crafting Chicks

Mini Apple Oreo Pops
by The Crafting Chicks

Krispy Apple Treats
at Gourmet Mom on the Go

Fruity Fun Skewers Recipe
Top 20 Lunch Box Recipes
at Allrecipes

Bento Menu Library
365 Lunch Ideas
at Laptop Lunches

Healthy Lunch Box Ideas
at Fresh for Kids

Quick Recess, Lunch and
Snack Recipe Booklet
Edition 4
Quick Recess, Lunch and
Snack Recipe Booklet
Edition 3
Quick Recess, Lunch and
Snack Recipe Booklet
Edition 2
5 Day Healthy Lunch Box
Meal Plan
Edition 1

Kid Calendar
at The Fabulous Farm

Large image
Lambswool Green Pencil Scarf
at Folksy.com

#2 Pencil Nails
at The Daily Nail

A Cozy Homework Corner
at Charlotte's Fancy

Book Cover Tutorial
at 33 Stitches

Wow... so many awesome ideas out there!
If you think you have one I should include in my list of inspirations, please let me know!

Happy Last Days of Summer!

For the Kids Friday #21

YEAH!!!  It's time for another For the Kids link party!  It is official!  We are in China and already connected!  We will be living in a hotel for a few more days, then comes the task of making our apartment on the 24th floor a home!  A big change from our life in Iowa!

I hope to share some of our new life with you all soon.  I also know that my craftiness will be put to the test!  I've visited the Chinese fabric market, so I think I'll be covered there.  There is nothing even close to a craft supply store here, from what I can tell.  But I will do my best to share with you all of the projects I manage to put together while we are here in China!

Ok... enough about me!  Check out these awesome posts shared at last week's party!  Thank you all for sharing each week.  I just LOVE seeing what you're doing.

Featured below?
If so... grab this button to share on your blog!

Sun Scholars

Slumber Party Snacks
at Hungry Happenings

Ready2Read Unit 1: Level 7
at The Moffatt Girls

Starfish S'mores
at Hungry Happenings
Ice Cube Painting
at Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Little Nora Jane Twirl Dress Tutorial
at Whildflowers & Whimsy

Preschool Unit : Money Activities
at Preschool Alphabet

Hot Car Crayons
at Come Together Kids

Awesome!!!  Thanks for sharing!
... now show me what you've got this week!

This Week\

1)  I would LOVE for you to first be a follower of my blog.  (And why wouldn't you want to be?!)

2)  Grab my For the Kids Fridays Button and place it somewhere on your blog.  Be sure to link back to me!

3)  Link up as many KID-RELATED activities, games, recipes, parties, gifts, clothing you've created, crafts, traditions, lessons, and so on... that you would like to share.  Please add a different link each week.  They can be old or new... this is just a place to share ideas for our kids to enjoy.  Bonus points to those that serve some educational purpose too!  Link must be to the specific post, and not your general blog page.  Please don't link to your store.

4)  Share the love and comment on at least one other link.  Everyone loves to get feedback.

That's it!  Have fun, and thanks so much for participating!

Family Tree Inspirations

My father-in-law began working on a family tree a few years ago.
He began digging into family records and getting names and dates from family members.
He also began putting everything together on an online family tree database.

I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me to make something really special for him as a Christmas gift.  He'd done all of the work, and I was going to turn it into a family keepsake, as well as a piece of art.

Here is what I created...

 ... and in a closer look, you can see the names hand-printed on the family tree.

Of course, by this point, the family tree is branching out in new directions.  It didn't end with my father-in-law, so we had to add names down into the roots.  I thought forever about how I was going to go about this, because I thought the grandchildren were important to add.  This is how I added them to our tree...

I first drew a light pencil sketch on a good quality water color paper.
I used water colors to paint the tree, adding lots of swirls in various colors.  You might notice on the full shot that the colors of the tree move from left to right, from dark greens, to lighter greens and yellows, to oranges and reds.

I used simple brush strokes (and let me just tell you now... I am by no means an "artist" when it comes to these things!)  I do love working with watercolors because they are so forgiving!  I added some leaves, but still thought that I could do something more.

So, I came up with the idea of adding a 3-dimensional component to my tree.  I painted additional pieces of watercolor paper that I let dry, then cut into swirls that I glued onto my tree.  I also cut small leaves that I glued to the tree and then painted.  I added two little blue birds for fun, as well as a heart "carved" into the trunk of the tree.

Once I had all the names I could get (and as much of them as I could... I didn't always have a middle name, or the maiden name, but I used what I had), I used a fine-tipped Sharpie marker to write them on the branches.  I made one boo-boo in my spelling... EEK!  I'm a master at hiding my mistakes.  Ok... I'm a perfectionist who has mastered the art of making my work look perfect even when it is not.  You may notice in the image above, one of my additional swirls overlapping a name that I had to correct.  Works for me ;)

Again... I'm not an artist.  I think this is it for my painting skills, but I think I pulled it off.  I had it professionally framed, and I think it made a beautiful gift.  My in-laws proudly display it in their entry, and my oldest daughter has spent a lot of time admiring it.  She thinks we need to make one for our house.  I agree :)

So... Interested in making your own?
Use my idea, or check out some of these other amazing Family Tree Inspirations.

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

Family Tree Craft Project Family Tree Calendar
at HOME Made Simple

Thumbprint Tree Thumbprint Tree
at Factory Direct Craft Blog

at Putti Prapancha

at Quiltsy

Paper Scrap Family Tree
at Crafting a Green World 

at Craft Lovely

at So You Think You're Crafty

at Ruffles and Stuff

Free Family Tree Templates

at Martha Stewart

A printable blank family tree on which to record 4 generations of Our Family.