DIY · Guest Blogger · Tips

DIY of the Day: Busy Bags by Cassie

Hello, everyone! I’m Cassie, I am a mommy friend of Alison.

Although, our friendship started long before we added the mom title. We met on Facebook years ago and have still stayed in touch. She has documented many of the big moments in my life with her photography, consoled me in my late night whines through texting, and just has been an all around amazing friend who understands that, YES, I ALWAYS have my phone in my hand and although I saw your text days ago when you sent it, I’m just now replying because I suck. KEEP THOSE MOMMY FRIENDS!

I believe there are three truths you need to know about me
before I go on to my DIY of the day.

1. I am a stay at home mother of two toddler boys.
Yes, TWO. TODDLER. BOYS. My oldest son is three and my youngest is two. I sometimes find myself envying people that have twins, you know, same everything in most cases. On the same page with shots, sleeping, motor skills, cutting the same size food for two plates, potty training, you get my drift. With two kids 18 months apart, that is a little bit of a challenge…& yes, I still have my hair…barely. Having boys is messy, gross, stinky, loud, dirty; I could go on forever with all the synonyms in the world that define these boys. However, I do love them to death and I wouldn’t change anything about being a mother or their ages.

2. My three best friends are Pinterest, the Dollar Tree, and the Target dollar spot or Bullseye’s Playground as they call it now. I’m infamously known for creativity, but I’ve just revealed to you my big secret, my best friends. I tend to get all, if not most of my ideas from Pinterest and spiral off with my own onward from that. I love to plan! Ah, planning is my number one hobby, not second to doing anything crafty. I spend all of my money at the Dollar Tree and this girl lives for Target. My husband enjoys art. He’s an amazing drawer, painter – you name it. We incorporate various mediums of art and crafting into our children’s everyday lives. I usually have a craft planned out every day with them. We think it’s super important for them to be free and express themselves through art.

3. Did I mention I’m a stay at home mom? I spend all of my time at home, minus the few times I leave the house to do my “mom” errands, which are never anything fun. I’m with my kids 24-7. I rarely have any alone time. My husband works night shifts and usually overtime on the weekends when he is supposed to be off. And even then, we almost never have sitters. It has to be planned in advance and it’s once every few months that we get a free night. So, you’re probably wonderingHow the hell do I stay sane? Most days I ask myself the same thing, over and over and over again.

“Parenting is hard, but it’s by far the toughest
and most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”

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Name: Cassie
Mom of two toddler boys
Guest blogger alias: Mombie


DIY of the day

About a month ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and stumbled upon a video of someone’s child writing their name at daycare. This child was the same age as my three-year-old, Noah. After that, I kind of started stressing about the fact that even though we do some things at home, am I teaching him enough? Is learning what he’s supposed to every day? What’s he picking up on from me? Like I said before, I stay home so my children do not have a need to be in daycare. Plus it’s really not in the budget, it’s more of unnecessary spending. I want my children to excel and be fully prepared for when he goes to Preschool. I want Noah to write his name at three years old. I want him to say the whole alphabet for me. Needless to say, I definitely went through an hour or two of pressuring myself. We all do it! I tried to think back on everything we do together in a day to see if I’m being the mommy I know I should be – instead of the selfish mommy that knows he will watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for an hour or so, and in that hour, I can get ahead on my chores for the night.

I have not been the best mommy I could be. When it was just Noah and I, I did everything I could for him to surpass the baby expectations. After I had Patrick, I slowly fell into what I like to call the “Mombie” stage.

“Mom-Zombie doesn’t know what the hell she’s doingdoesn’t know what day it is, or which kid is which – who is Patrick, who is Noah? She lives off of caffeine and doughnuts. She wears the same sweatpants four days in a row…You know, I can’t be the only ‘Mombie’ out there.”

I’m still a work in progress. I’m putting myself out there in hopes to touch others and tell you (loud and clear) we’re not all perfect. I put on the best facade so others think I have my shit together, but I really don’t. (Do any of us?!) & just recently I realized, that’s okay. My children are so loved, genuinely happy, and don’t want or need for anything. We’re doing just fine. I’m doing my absolute best with what I have to offer my children.

So, for the sake of this whole entire post and my annoying stressed out, anxiety-ridden mind, I spent the last week perfecting these ‘Toddler Busy Bags’. I wanted to meet my goal as a Mombie while actually being able to stay sane; meanwhile, teaching my children and keeping them busy with something fun. Today, I’m going to walk you through how I created the “busy bags” as well as give you some ideas for your own!

  1. The first thing you’ll need to do is think about what you want in your Busy Bags.I spent an embarrassing amount of time on Pinterest, or what I like to call a Friday night. LET’S BE REAL. I’ve saved so many things to do! I will leave my Pinterest board. (feel free to check out what I saved)I want to also point out that I didn’t use actual bags. There are many different ideas instead of bags you can use. I saw binders (which is our system), shoe boxes, or plain ol’ bags – I’m sure there are SO many more options out there as well. I chose binders, because everything seemed to fit in the binders perfectly and I keep them up on a shelf so only the adults can access them.

    I purchased most of the things for the busy bags from the Dollar Tree. They have a TON of things to offer in the teacher section as well as the craft section of the store. Plus, you can’t beat the price! The three binders and all the pencil pouches that house our activities were from the Dollar Tree.

2. Now let’s talk about what’s in our busy bags!

I recently found a website that offered FREE busy bag activities that I completely fell in love with! (Check them out here: Busy Bags) You will need a printer and a way to laminate the sheets. I couldn’t believe they were offered for free, so I needed a good excuse to finally get my hands on a laminator.

I used the Playdoh mats printable, the fruit and veggie sorting printable, as well as the hamburger game printable. SO CUTE!

3. Next, you need to figure out your busy bag system – what to print, what to put where…

I labeled each pencil pouch with the activity inside, clipped them into the binder, and we were ready to go! I can remove them, take the whole binder, or just grab one. The binders are flexible, so they tend to hold more bulk in the center, it works out great. The labels for it were also another Dollar Tree find!

I printed out some crayons from a separate website. We use them to go over colors (which works well for my two-year-old) and I also added different shades of each color in pom poms to challenge my three-year-old and show a variety of colors.

busybags5.JPGThe second busy bag is once again all from the Dollar Tree, I picked up at least 5 different bags of these Lacing Shapes from the teacher’s section in the store. Each has three pieces and three shoe strings. At first, I was a little skeptical about them, but I took some to a restaurant we had lunch at with my parents, and EVERYONE was lacing them while we waited for the food. It kept the toddlers and adults happy.

Now, my last idea goes back to the long story about wanting Noah to learn to write his name. This is not in a bag form, but it’s still easy to access and carry along with you to places.  I grabbed Noah and Patrick their own binders and thought of the idea to laminate pages from a letter tracing book and having them write on the sheets with dry erase markers.

Now once I typed that into Pinterest, of course, others have thought of it and that idea spiraled into tracing numbers, tracing shapes, tracing their actual names. In my Pinterest folder linked above, you can find the website that allows you to type your child’s name in and they create the tracing sheets for you FOR FREE. Not to mention, I found a TON of books from, you guessed it, the Dollar Tree as well as Target! I found their favorite characters of the alphabet books and if you have older children you want to challenge, they had plenty of other books to look through as well!      

Until next time, stay sane MomMesI hope you guys enjoy making the busy bags! Let us know how it goes for you guys.

Love,
Mombie: Cassie

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