50 Jar Gifts: idea #14 – Playdough Jars

rainbow playdough photo from nicolehastings.com by cathryn via Pinterest

Here another idea geared for children. We know that kids can sit still longer if you can keep their hands busy. So how about handing out jars of colorful playdough when you want to tell them a family story? You could encourage them to be inspired by something in the story on what they create. If your story has something to do with making something with your hands that would be a perfect fit too.

I was amazed at all the different recipes for playdough out there now. You can make playdough using jello, with glitter or glow in the dark. It can even be edible or gluten-free. Jars are a natural fit for packaging and story playdough. It prevents it from drying out and it looks pretty too. Here are some ideas from Pinterest that I found intriguing.

DIY Jello-o playdough tutorial from Our Little Coop

Homemade Glow in the Dark Play Dough with instructions


How to Make Glitter Playdough


Homemade (edible) playdough party favors

Gingerbread Playdoh from Maddycakes muse

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos15

Want some more ideas? Visit my Pinterest board dedicated to jar gift ideas.


50 Jar Gifts: idea #13 – I Spy Jars

image by Spell Outloud via Pinterest

I find I spy bottles fascinating. They are easy and inexpensive to make. I think it would be fun to make jars with objects that represent favorite family stories or things about a specific ancestor. I can just imagine a group of cousins with identical I spy jars gathered around listening to stories about their family while they try to find the item. Another option is to create an I spy jar to help in telling just one story. The items in the jar could represent different parts of the story. It would be awesome to make a story book to go along with the jar. How about a series of I spy jars with companion books waiting on the shelf for the grand-kids to come by?

Rice is the most common filler but lots of other things work like beads, bird seed, wheat or a mixture of small items. I hope the images below will get your creative juices going.

image from brainintrainin.com via Pinterest

I Spy Bottle Tutorial on Southern Disposition

image from Tara Teaches

image from Meet the Dubiens

glitter spy jar from inspire co.

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos14

Want some more ideas? Visit my Pinterest board dedicated to jar gift ideas.

50 Jar Gifts: idea #12 “Parents” Story Prompts

Parents Story Prompts

The third in the series of story prompt jar gifts with questions geared for parents. The idea is a set of questions in a jar that you can pull out to help parents to remember and record some of the events from their lives. I printed it on chipboard but they could be printed on cardstock. There is a different color on each end of the question so that once you have answered it you can turn it over in the jar and keep track of which questions you haven’t answered yet. The questions are intended you spark your memory and lead you to other thoughts and memories. Let your them flow and see where they take you.

back of story prompt sheets

The first sheet in the file is the back of the story prompt. This sheet is optional but it helps in keeping track of which set of story prompts the question comes from and adds more color to the jar. I start by printing six copies of the first page (full bleed if your printer has that option) and then feed these pages back into the printer to print the question pages. (You should refer to your printer manual to know the right way to feed these into your printer.)

Story Prompt Question Sheet

The next six sheets are the questions. After printing these pages need to be cut apart by cutting the sheet in half (the long way) at 5.5″ and then every 1 1/16″ to finish cutting the questions apart. I also like to use a corner rounder on each question but that is optional. But it looks nice and will help the questions not get so dog-eared with use.

Story Prompt Question Sheet

Story Prompt Question Sheet

Story Prompt Question Sheet

Story Prompt Question Sheet

Story Prompt Question Sheet

The last page has an insert for the canning jar lid (wide mouth quart or pint and a half work great) and a set of tags to tie on to the jar with simple instructions. There is a journal cover so that you can also give them a place to record the memories for sharing and future reference. Cut another piece of chipboard or heavy cardstock for the back along with some blank or lined paper for the inside. Then bind them together by your chosen method. I’m lucky enough to have a wire binding machine but you can get the journal bound at your local copy center. This sheet isn’t strictly necessary but it helps pull the gift together into a nice package.

Jar Lid, Tags and Journal Cover Sheet

I put the jar in a gift bag along with some treats to munch on while answering the questions to help get them started on recording their memories.jar gift logos13

Feel free to use these files for personal use and gifts. You can download pdfs here.

Questions come from those at StoryCorps.org.

50 Jar Gifts: idea #11 – Craft Kit

snowman craft kit by Michelle of chalkboardblue.com

Do you know someone who likes to make crafts? How about gathering together supplies and packaging it into a jar? The supplies could be for a specific craft, like the snowman kit above or just a gathering of supplies.

How do you tie into to telling your families stories? Well if your family has a story about a snowman the snowman kit would be the perfect opportunity to share that story. One year when we went on our annual Christmas tree cutting trip we found a huge snowball someone had made. We took the opportunity to take family photos on and around the snowball. It was a memorable occasion. So pick a craft that reminds you of a family story.

image from Breann Suttles on Pinterest

contents of the jars above

Or if an ancestor who enjoyed a certain craft or hobby and kit related to that would work great. My grandmother learned to paint when she was older. A jar with painting supplies would create an opportunity to share about how Irene enjoyed taking classes on painting and went on many outings to paint landscapes.

Jar filled with crafting supplies via The Shine Project

Another option would be to have some of the craft supplies come from buttons or fabric etc that were once owned by an ancestor. I’ve inherited much of my grandmother’s thread and buttons. A kit could also give you the chance to teach a skill such as sewing or knitting or something like wood working or candle making that a used to be common knowledge for our ancestors that we don’t often learn today.

image from ashleyannphotography.com

image from Geraldine Martinez

You could also put together a kit or scrapbooking and encourage a family member to record a story from their own life. There are so many possibilities. Start brainstorming and see what you can come up with that ties into your own family stories.

Jared Craft Projects via homespunfair.blogspot.com

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos12

Want some more ideas? Visit my Pinterest board dedicated to jar gift ideas.

Family History Writing Challenge – doors open

It is time to commit to this years Family History Writing Challenge by The Armchair Genealogist. I’m in, I signed up yesterday. I don’t know what/who I’m going to write about but I know that I want to take the challenge and see what I can do in 28 days. I’m going for the 250 words per day challenge but if your up to it you can choose 500 or 1,000 words per day. This will be an interesting experience for me. I’ve never done a writing challenge before. Anyone else up for the challenge? Sign up here.

Joy Jar

P10402842013 is over and while I haven’t posted a Joy Jar list for several weeks, I wanted to do one last list to finish off the year.

  • sky ready to glue
  • heated mattress pad
  • A to Z book
  • warm day
  • good night sleep
  • music
  • Gandy’s foot better
  • feeling better
  • ordering new Crocs
  • signing in choir
  • Bill’s birthday gathering
  • an extra hour
  • hair cut
  • sleep
  • lovely day
  • sleeping pups
  • pain killer
  • cough drops
  • cough medicine
  • data plan
  • ice cream
  • chocolate
  • family & Christmas
  • my new printer
  • Snoopy finished
  • finishing Emma’s blanket
  • Dune growing up
  • audio books
  • lights
  • Bill’s help
  • clean air
  • Pinterest
  • Nature Club
  • Primary Program
  • yarn
  • Dune and Emma romping with Lotus and Maybe
  • sunshine and blue skies
  • Emma having well-formed poop
  • Bill’s help
  • help for Gandy’s foot
  • seeing “Day of the Doctor” with Bill
  • Dune
  • my sister
  • Christmas treats
  • finding chipboard
  • warm slippers
  • wire binder
  • new phone
  • friends
  • Emma
  • silly girls
  • Christmas decorations
  • quilt finished
  • a new start
  • Jeremy clearing our sidewalk
  • help of friends
  • fresh snow
  • my “wall”
  • sky board cut
  • 7-up floats
  • visiting another Primary with Dune and Emma
  • printer working smoothly
  • inspiration
  • Emma having well-formed poop
  • Bountiful Baskets
  • ice cream
  • Blue Skies
  • fresh produce
  • Gandy’s foot improving
  • whipped cream
  • family
  • my nieces
  • fruits and veggies
  • color
  • smart phone
  • Gas Buddy app
  • audio books
  • blackberries
  • Gandy
  • Christmas Gifts finished
  • Gandy sleeping on my computer
  • internet access
  • music
  • Dune’s one year birthday
  • clear head
  • having an appetite
  • graham crackers
  • candy window done
  • hot chocolate
  • finding storm glass ornaments
  • videos of Zodiac
  • Banta stories
  • continuous ink supply
  • finding a “Z” ornament
  • Lime pie
  • wireless keyboard and mouse
  • snuggling with the girls
  • warm slippers
  • Christmas songs
  • puppies
  • a new year coming

It is kind of hard to comprehend that 2013 is gone. It has been a good year with plenty of challenges. I’ve learned much but have so much more to learn. Here is to a great year ahead!