Crafts with Nightcat: Spotlight on Family Blogger Kayla Aimee

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Crafts with Nightcat: Spotlight on Family Blogger Kayla Aimee

 

KAweb1Kayla Aimee is mom to a micro-preemie baby girl named Scarlette and founder of the faith and family blog, Kayla Aimee Writes. Her blog not only features DIY projects, her home renovations and travels, but also offers support and advice to other parents of preemie babies and babies with long-term NICU stays.

 

Anchored, Aimee’s first book, released this past summer and is a “memoir of finding hope (and humor) in the most unexpected.” Aimee’s work has been featured on the Today Show and the Huffington Post.

 

Recently, Crafts with Nightcat got to chat with Kayla Aimee.

 

Crafts with Nightcat: We love how your blog is always evolving based on your family’s journey. Tell us more about yourself and Kayla Aimee Writes.

 

Kayla Aimee: Thanks! I’m a sweet-tea loving southern girl and mom to two. Our daughter Scarlette is headed to kindergarten so I’m currently in the midst of an emotional upheaval about all that. And we just welcomed our newborn son Ridley this past April, so I am currently writing this under extreme sleep deprivation. That might account for all the aforementioned emotions. My husband and I are about to celebrate a decade of marriage and I’ve been blogging for just as long! I love writing and am thrilled to currently be working on my second book. Kayla Aimee Writes is a place to hold my stories and share the things that I love — like crafting and traveling. I hope that visiting my site is an uplifting part of someone’s day.

 


CWN: What inspired you to create Kayla Aimee Writes?

 

KA: My long-term college boyfriend broke up with me and I thought it would be a good idea to write about that on the internet. Obviously I was super young and made wise decisions. 🙂 Eventually it turned from an angsty online journal to a dedicated place for me to really focus on my writing and build a business out of words + pictures. I’m that girl who just loves to share about things she likes. Yesterday I overheard a woman at Target talking about her pregnant daughter and stopped her to tell her all about my favorite baby product. (That’s either very awkward or very endearing.) So it has been wonderful to share our favorite finds or fun craft projects or stories about our family and have that be the avenue that allows me to stay home with my kids. I feel really lucky to be able to combine the things that I love into a job that involves my kids.

 


And since my writing style is narrative, it’s fun and special to have a comprehensive documentation of our family history over the past decade in story-form.

 

ziplock_bag_painting_1CWN: Do you remember the first crafting project you and Scarlette completed together? What was it?

 

KA: Yes! And I have pictures because I was the Quintessential First-Time Mom. I also have instructions on how to do it — it was this Ziplock Baggie Finger-Painting project. Scarlette was born at 25 weeks and only weighed one and a half pounds at birth. She spent nearly six months in the NICU and needed a lot of therapies when we left the hospital. She refused to touch certain textures or get her hands messy so this was a great way to slowly introduce her to finger painting while containing the mess.

 

gratitudejarsCWN: What is your favorite kid-friendly craft and why?

 

KA: We have a tradition of keeping a Gratitude Jar each year during the holidays. It is such an easy craft to do with your kids and a great way to teach them about thankfulness and instill in them a love of serving others. Here are the directions + printable gratitude cards that you can use to do this craft with your kids!

 

CWN: Do you have an anecdote about an unusual experience that inspired a blog post? Please share!

 

KA: This is so funny because my blog is where I document all of my “misadventures.” There are too many to even name! One of the funniest is the time I was trying to potty train my two year old and so I took her to buy some Buzz Lightyear undies. She wanted to know if I was also going to get some Buzz Lightyear undies and I sadly had to tell her no. So when we went to checkout she handed them to the cashier and cheerfully told the teenage boy behind the register that her Mommy did not wear any underwear. Clearly she had a terrible grasp on “context.” That led to me writing an entire series on my blog called Stuff Scarlette Says, which documents the hilarious shenanigans my kid gets me into. It’s probably the most popular thing I write. My secret dream is to one day write a children’s series based on it.

 

CWN: What do you hope to achieve with your blog in the near future? In the long term?

 

KA: I took a hiatus this year because I was on bedrest during my pregnancy and to enjoy having a newborn at home. So my short-term goal is to get back into my routine. In the long term I hope to continue to develop as an author and create writing that brings people hope and humor. I want my writing to be a bright spot in someone’s day, giving them a bit of encouragement or just a good laugh. There is a lot of darkness in the world and I hope that I can alleviate that for someone with a well-placed word.

 

CWN: What is your family’s favorite summer activity?

 

KA: Running through the sprinkler in the backyard. The kids think it is fun, no one has to pack up a bunch of stuff and lug it to the pool, and I appreciate getting my plants watered without effort. It’s a win all around.

 

AnchoredCWN: What do you wish other people knew about Kayla Aimee Writes? Is there something that surprises most when they first learn about your blog?

 

KA: Mostly people are surprised that blogging can be a job! I think people are always taken aback by how much time and effort it takes to maintain a site that provides for your family. I’m really blessed to have been able to take it from hobby to job but that means a lot of hard work. It also has brought some amazing opportunities like writing a book or getting to be on the Today Show or visiting Ireland. I love what I do and I am really passionate about helping others get started — I have a step-by-step guide to help people who want to do the same thing here and I authored an ebook that goes more in depth on the subject.

 

Another thing would be how great the online community is. I think the internet sometimes gets a bad rap but every single year for the past four years my readers have helped donate enough supplies to give every single family in our local NICU a gift basket full of helpful and encouraging gifts. Our family distributes the basket every year on Christmas Eve and it is a huge undertaking, one that we could never accomplish on our own. It is amazing to see people of all walks of life come together through one little blog to bless other people in their time of need.

 

KaylaandScarlettereadingCWN: Here’s a silly one. If you and your family had to be stranded on a deserted island, but all your human needs (such as food and water) were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

 

KA: A toothbrush and my kindle, loaded with books. I need books like I need air. I mean, okay not exactly like I need air on account of things like “anatomy” but pretty close.

 

CWN: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

 

KA: I’d love to invite you to read the first two chapters of my book for free! My other secret dream is getting to give away free stuff like Oprah, so this is a small start 😉 Just click here and the first two chapters will head for your inbox!

 

Visit Kayla Aimee’s blog at KaylaAimee.com.

Follow Aimee on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Watch Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

 

Crafts with Nightcat: Spotlight on Family Focus Blog

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Crafts with Nightcat:

Spotlight on Family Focus Blog

 

PICScarlet Paolicchi is a stay-at-home mother of two and founder of the mom blog, Family Focus Blog. Her blog offers eco-friendly advice and tips on parenting, food, travel, decor, discounts, giveaways and fun family activities.

 

Family Focus Blog has been named #3 in Cision PR’s top 50 U.S. Mom Bloggers list.

 

Recently, Crafts with Nightcat got to chat with Scarlet Paolicchi.

 

Crafts with Nightcat: We love Family Focus Blog! Tell us more about yourself and the blog.

 

Scarlet Paolicchi: I started the blog about six years ago. I just decided to give blogging a try and I ended up being surprised by how much I enjoy it. I love having an outlet for myself as an individual, not just as a mother. I love that I am creating something that can serve as a resource to others and having fun doing so. I enjoy meeting other writers through my work and interacting with other parents.

 

CWN: What inspired you to create Family Focus Blog?

 

SP: My friend had a hobby blog and I thought I would try my hand at it.

 


CWN: Do you remember the first crafting project you and your children completed together? What was it?

 

SP: Not precisely. I always enjoyed doing arts with my daughter and making decorations for holidays. I do remember when she was about four she tore her tights and as I showed her how to stitch them. She was really interested in helping so I let her. She did so well that I told her we could embroider patterns on her tights if she wanted and she did so we made a heart and flowers.

 

Family Focus Blog_Pic3CWN: What is your favorite kid-friendly craft and why?

 

SP: That is a hard question because it depends so much on the age. However, in general my favorite crafts are either very artsy where kids can express creativity or very functional where they learn to make useful things.

 

CWN: Do you have an anecdote about an unusual experience that inspired a blog post? Please share!

 

SP: We like to use our recycling bin to make crafts. We have made bin houses from milk cartons, paper beads from magazines, and a cornhole game from a used box.

 

CWN: What do you hope to achieve with your blog in the near future? In the long term?

 

SP: I hope to keep reaching more families with fun crafts, recipes, and parenting articles that they find useful. In the long term I hope to keep adding contributors to share more great information with more parents.

 

CWN: What is your family’s favorite summer activity?

 

SP: We love to travel, see new things, and try new things.

 

Family Focus Blog_Pic2CWN: What do you wish other people knew about Family Focus Blog? Is there something that surprises most when they first learn about your blog?

 

SP: I have contributors and sometimes people ask me why. I love being able to offer more perspectives because I know there is always more than one way.  I love seeing a father’s point of view represented, for example.

 

CWN: Here’s a silly one. If you and your family had to be stranded on a deserted island, but all your human needs (such as food and water) were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

 

SP: My dog and my cat. If they are already with us, lots of books and colored pencils!

 

CWN: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

 

SP: I love interacting on Facebook and Instagram so I hope to meet some of your readers there!

 

Visit Scarlet Paolicchi’s blog at FamilyFocusBlog.com.

Follow Paolicchi on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

Watch Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

 

Crafts with Nightcat: Rock Candy

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Crafts with Nightcat: Rock Candy

 

This Thursday’s Crafts with Nightcat combines a lot of fun: crafts, science and candy!

 

Rock candy is easy to make and is also a cool experiment for kids to learn some science while enjoying a tasty treat.

 

Your family will love checking on the rock crystal growth each day. Plus, the end result is yummy, homemade candy!

 

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Items:

— 3 cups of sugar

— 1 cup of water

Skewers or candy sticks

— Jar or glass

— Large saucepan

— Clothespins

Optional: Food coloring

Optional: Candy flavoring

 

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Instructions:

  1. Combine equal parts sugar and water into the saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves.

  2. Slowly add sugar is small amounts until it no longer dissolves in the water. Water will look cloudy.

  3. Add optional candy flavoring. Continue to heat water until it comes to a simmer.

  4. Remove sugar-water from heat. While it cools, cut skewers to fit inside the jar.

  5. Dip sticks in water and roll them in sugar. Allow sugar-coated sticks to dry.

  6. Once the sugar-water is cool, pour it into the jar. Add optional food coloring.

  7. When sticks are completely dry, place them in the jar. Use clothespins to make sure sticks do not touch the bottom or sides of the jar.

 

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Keep in mind, the sugar to water ratio is about 3:1, so you can easily double or triple the ingredients to make a whole rainbow of rock candy.

 

This tasty experiment is fun for kids to check on daily. It should take a week for the rocky candy to grow a good amount, but they can be left longer too. After the week or so is up, place the candy on a plate to dry and then you’re all set. Enjoy!

 

If you want to teach the family about the science behind the candy, check out the explanations here, here and here.

 

Was your rock candy experiment a success? Share your family’s experiences in the comments below. Thanks for following Crafts with Nightcat!

 

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h/t: Bloglovin’

Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

Crafts with Nightcat: Moldable Sand Dough

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Crafts with Nightcat: Moldable Sand Dough

 

It’s Thursday and that means I’ve got another purrr-fect Crafts with Nightcat for you.

 

This one goes out to all the aspiring sculptors out there. It’s also great if you just want to play around with some next-level, mess-free sand!

 

Yep, moldable sand dough, or “sticky sand,” is a cool craft you can build and shape. It also vacuums up easily, so it’s a quick clean-up. Plus, it sticks to itself, but not to skin!

 

Here’s how to make your own sticky sand…

 

1

 

Items:

— 5 cups of play sand (Tip: Home Depot sells large quantities for under $5)

— 3 cups of all purpose flour

— 1 cup of vegetable oil

— Container

 

2

 

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in container.

  2. Mix well. That’s it!

 

3

 

Once you’ve gotten the ingredients all mixed up, add beach-themed items—buckets, shovels, sea shells, etc.—for even more fun.

 

Moldable sand dough will last all summer long when it’s stored in a covered bin or container between play times.

 

What did your family sculpt with the homemade sand dough? Share your Moldable Sand Dough experience in the comments below and check back next Thursday for another Crafts with Nightcat!

 

h/t: Growing a Jeweled Rose

Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

Crafts with Nightcat: Nebula Jar

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Crafts with Nightcat: Nebula Jar

 

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Nightcat, here. It’s Thursday again, which means it’s time for a new craft, and this one is out of this world!

 

I’m going to show you how to make a super cool homemade Nebula Jar.

 

What’s a nebula? Well I’ll tell you. A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. Or simply: a colorful dust cloud in outer space.

 

Here’s how you and your family can make your own dazzling cosmic dust!

 

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Items:

— Glass jar with lid

— Tempura paint (2-3 colors)

— Cotton balls

— Glitter

— Water

 

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Instructions:

  1. Fill 1/3 of jar with water.

  2. Add a few drops of paint to water and mix well.

  3. Add glitter to the mixture.

  4. Stretch out cotton balls and add them to the mixture, filling the bottom of the jar with cotton and pressing them down in the water with a stick.

  5. Fill another 1/3 of the jar with water and add a few drops of contrasting paint. Mix and repeat steps 3-4.

  6. Fill final 1/3 of jar with water and repeat steps 2-4.

 

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Now you have your very own homemade nebula!

 

To make this craft more of an educational experience, head over to NASA.gov to learn all about nebulae. Then you and your family can discuss the ins and outs of interstellar dust clouds together.

 

Tell us about your family’s experience making a nebula jar in the comments below. What did the kiddos think? If you enjoyed this craft project, next Thursday I’ll bring you more Crafts with Nightcat!

 

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h/t: MomDot

 

Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

Crafts with Nightcat: Mess-Free Finger Painting

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Crafts with Nightcat: Mess-Free Finger Painting

 

Hi, friends! You can call me Nightcat. I like balls of string and snuggling. Each Thursday I’ll be offering a cool craft idea for you to do with the whole family.

 

First up is a fun, no-mess finger painting activity that can be reused over and over again. Mess-free finger painting? Yes, it’s real. No paw-washing required!

 

 

Items:

— Ziplock freezer bags

— Paint (alternate options: add food coloring to shampoo or hair gel)

— Masking or painter’s tape

Optional: White paper

 

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Instructions:

  1. Squirt a color or two of paint (or alternate substance) into a Ziplock bag. Freezer bags work best, since they’re more durable. Seal the bag, making sure to remove all of the air first for painting ease.

  2. For contrast, add white paper under Ziplock bag. Tape edges of the bag down to the surface. Watch the little ones draw!

 

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This is a creative way for children to mix colors, make handprints and draw—all without getting a drop of paint on their fingers.

 

As a precaution, I suggest washable paint in case the bag breaks. You’d never guess the strength of a toy car’s tire until it rolls over a sealed bag of paint!

 

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For a cool twist, instead of drawing over white paper on a counter, secure the bag to a clear door or window.

 

Personally, I love that the bags are easily removable when company comes over, and reusable again and again.

 

Share your favorite family-friendly crafting past time in the comments below, and be sure to check back next Thursday for more Crafts with Nightcat!

 

h/t: The Hippie Housewife

 

Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!