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All Posts By

Jessica Blackwood

Tie Dying with Kids

Tie Dying with Kids

By | Kids Fashion, Parenting

Tie Dying with Kids

At our house tie dying is an exciting craft for the kids. They like to do it every couple of months so that they have a good supply of colorful t-shirts. My 9 year old is happy to be known as “tie dye boy” at school because he has such a vast supply of dyed shirts. It is a relatively easy craft that parents can enjoy as well as kids.

We had a tie dye baby shower for my youngest and had onesies, hats, socks, crib sheets, receiving blankets, burp cloths, etc… for the guests to tie dye. It was a lot of fun and we got tons of great looking stuff for the baby. Many of our guests tie dyed for the first time ever this day, which was pretty cool, and they were very surprised with how well they did once they saw the finished products.

My older boys decided they wanted to make twin sized sheets and pillow cases for their beds, now that the baby had so much tie dye stuff. They are used to doing shirts but had never done anything larger so we figured this would be interesting. Natural fabrics are best for dying, so we bought plain white cotton sheet sets at the store.

We use tie dye kits from a craft store to do our dying. We aren’t professionals so that works well for us cost wise. The pieces turn out beautiful and the color holds well. The first thing we do is get dressed in old clothes that won’t matter if the color splashes. Next we set up a work area; we like to do it outside in the grass to avoid messes in the house.

Now we let the kids get the items they will dye and use rubber bands to tie them up. Sometimes, they want a specific pattern and we will use the internet to look up pattern ideas. If this is the case then the adult will usually put the rubber bands on for the child. If they are not concerned with a pattern, then we will let them do the rubber bands themselves, both ways turn out great.

If you don’t want rainbow colored hands, wear gloves! The gloves that come with the kit aren’t the best so we usually buy medical type gloves. Mix the colors per the instructions on the kit. Some people prefer to wet their pieces prior to coloring, we usually just color them dry, and either way will work fine. Now for the fun part, choose your colors and start dying! Some of our best looking items came from letting the kids do them completely on their own. After coloring is done we bag each item individually, usually in grocery store bags, and let sit for 24 hours.

Once the 24 hours is up we remove the items from the bags, take the rubber bands off (save them for next time!), and rinse thoroughly in the sink with warm water until the water runs clear from the items. Now throw all your tie dyes in the washing machine in warm or cold water and wash as you normally would with soap. Dry and enjoy your amazing finished products that you can proudly proclaim you created yourself!

If you love tie dye, then you’ll love the Grateful Dead Tie Dye Sippy Cup like we do!

— Jessica Blackwood is a mother of 3 boys from Pennsylvania

Outdoor Concert Checklist

By | Kids Fashion, Music, Parenting

When going to an outdoor concert or music festival with my children I have a go to list of must haves to bring along with us to make the experience as comfortable as possible for all of us. Every venue differs so it is wise to check the venue rules and regulations beforehand but in general when it comes to kid supplies they are pretty reasonable. Here is our outdoor concert checklist …

1. If there are no seats a blanket to sit on. We like the waterproof ones so damp grass doesn’t soak through.

2. Camping chairs if allowed

3. Blanket to cover with (sometimes it gets chilly after the sun goes down)

4. Easy snack foods

5. Bottled water

6. Sunblock

7. Bug Spray

8. Jackets or hoodies in case they get cold

9. Foldable wagon-this has been a life saver! It doesn’t take up much space in the car, makes lugging around all the kid supplies much easier, and if a little one falls asleep during the show you can put them in the wagon to sleep then pull them back to the car when it is over.

10. Glow sticks for kids to wear so even in the dark they can play nearby and you can see them. Can also be used if a child is sleeping on a blanket to surround them with glow sticks so people will notice them and not step on them.

11. A couple fun outdoor toys; we like to bring balls, Frisbees, hula hoops, and Orbits.

Our children really enjoy going to see outdoor shows and everyone can have a great time if you are well prepared. If you do some research there may be more free or low cost shows in your area than you would have realized, which we try to attend to save money while having fun!

— Jessica Blackwood is a mother of 3 boys from Pennsylvania

Flow Arts To The Music

By | Kids Fashion, Music, Parenting

I would like to introduce you to a fun pastime you can enjoy with your children while listening to music. It is called the flow arts and there are many different types. They are fun for all ages, some of them can be good exercise, and the best part is, it is all about your own personal flow. There are no expectations or specific ways you have to do these activities.

Our family saw a girl hula hooping at a music festival once, not the typical just around your waist hooping that would come to most people’s minds. She was dancing with her hoop and using it in ways I’d never seen, it was a beautiful. We decided we wanted to learn more about this and did some research. We have since become lovers of the flow arts.

Hula hooping is great exercise and there are many ways to use the hoop and variations of hoops. They come made of different materials, sizes, and weights. Most come decorated with colorful tapes, while some are LED, and even fire hoops! My 9 year old started fire hooping (under very close supervision) at 7 years old and he thinks it is the coolest thing to show to his friends. Look up hoop dance videos if you would like to see this style of hula hooping.

Just to name a few of the other flow arts there are poi balls, devil sticks, staff, fans, and orbits (which are really easy for kids to use) but the list definitely doesn’t end there. Most of the flow arts also have LED and fire varieties. These are all things you can look up on the internet and watch videos, prepare to be amazed! The videos you see may be professionals, but my kids started to enjoy these things at the ages of 3 and 6, so keep in mind you don’t have to be as good as a professional to enjoy it. Throw on some of your favorite tunes, pick up a flow toy, and dance along to the music!

— Jessica Blackwood is a mother of 3 boys from Pennsylvania

Love for Music

When Your Love for Music Rubs Off on Your Children

By | Music, Parenting

I am the mother of 3 boys, Bradley 7 months, Jacob 6 years, and Nicholas 9 years. We were never the family to listen to kid music in the car. Instead, they grew up listening to what mommy and daddy enjoyed and our love for music. That being mostly classic rock with a few new things thrown in here and there. Our family listens to a lot of Pandora and Spotify; not really normal radio stations. It gives me a happy feeling inside when a song comes on that a typical kid now a days wouldn’t know and my kids start rocking out and singing all the lyrics.

We don’t do much television watching in our house so music is almost always playing. It has come to the point now where when we talk it sparks song lyric quotes. I said “oh lord” one day and my 9 year old fed off my words and sang “won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” then he laughed and said “I can sing a song off almost anything you say mom.”

My 9 year old gave me a mother’s day card this year and on the back of it he drew a picture of the world with our five family members on top of it and wrote “Lord I’m sitting on top of the world.” He explained to me that it is one of his favorite Grateful Dead lyrics and that with his family by his side he feels like he is sitting on top of the world every day. Within the last year he decided he wanted to grow his hair out long and wear lots of tie dye and band shirts. He said at school he is nicknamed tie dye boy and he is unique among the other students, in a cool way. I was also thanked for encouraging him to be free and to be whatever he wants to be. It is good knowing I am not forcing my musical tastes and interests on my child; he genuinely enjoys it and wants to be involved.

Our Love For Music

I feel my kids personalities were definitely shaped by listening to the music we do daily. They have been to kid friendly music festivals and concerts and have the time of their lives there. Parents who think they have to lose their hobbies when they have kids are wrong in my opinion. As long as you can be responsible your kids can enjoy the things you do alongside you. I hope that my kids continue to enjoy classic rock and introduce their friends and their future family to it. My 6 year old told me “Mom can you believe none of the kids in my class know who The Beatles are? That is crazy!” I am sure as the years pass he will make them fully aware of who they are.

I have a couple stand out memories so far revolving around music with my kids that I will never forget. First, sitting around a campfire while my husband plays guitar and the whole family sings along with him. Second, family karaoke night in our living room, the songs my kids choose to sing amaze me. Finally, being at a music festival and watching my kids hula hoop to the band on stage with a crowd of people around them saying “wow they are so good!” These are all moments I will forever cherish and none of them would be possible without the classic rock music we hold so dear to our hearts.

— Jessica Blackwood is a mother of 3 boys from Pennsylvania