Instagram is fast becoming my favorite place to find inspiration for my creativity. There are so many amazing bloggers sharing snippets of their easy kids crafts. And with hashtags like #kidscrafts and #rockinartmoms your creativity will be on an adrenaline high.

March Instagrammed CraftsIn this month’s Growing Up magazine, I’ve gathered 9 spring/March crafts from some of my fave Instagrammers. Their blogs are beautiful and so are their Instagram accounts. I highly recommend checking them out and following along.

I Heart Crafty Things/@iheartcraftythings

Pink Stripey Socks/@pinkstripeysocks

Momma-Doo/@ashley_mommadoo

Creekside Learning/@juliecreeksidelearning

Echoes of Laughter/@echoesoflaughter

Tisha and Trey (and Daddy, too!)/@tishaandtrey

@tinylittlestitch/Etsy store: Tiny Little Stitch

@debonou

Growing Up March 2014 Issue 5Check out the crafts hand picked to make this month more special for you and your little ones. Issue 5 is on SALE until Sunday! Only 1.99 for the issue, or start your monthly subscription for just .99. Prices good through Sunday, March 23. While you’re there checking out the crafts, enter your email for 4 FREE songs. Who doesn’t love free music downloads, right?

Growing Up Magazine has partnered with Lisa Loeb, Dog on Fleas, The Okee Dokee Brothers and Heidi Swedberg for the March issue to bring you free music downloads. Until March 23, 2014 you’ll get 4 FREE songs! These songs carry on the theme of adventure for the March issue. To inspire adventure or to create pretend adventures, you’ll find these songs will do the trick.

Free Music Downloads

Traveling Tunes: free music downloadsYou’ll find all you need to know about these free music downloads in Issue 5 of Growing Up Magazine available  on Apple’s Newsstand. Apple is a bit funny about downloading music to your device that’s not from the iTunes store so inside the magazine you’ll find an article with instructions on accessing your free music downloads. These songs are only available until March 23, 2014 so get your issue today!

Give them a listen!

As a bonus, the March issue is on sale this week for $1.99 (usually $2.99).

Growing Up magazine March issueStay up to date with these amazing musicians!

Lisa Loeb

The Okee Dokee Brothers

Dog on Fleas

Heidi Swedberg

I love March because spring is beginning to win the war against winter. Magic is in the air, breathing life back into the earth, into my soul. This awakening calls to me, stirs in me a desire for adventure. The magic invites me to explore the newness of daffodil greens poking up out of the thawing soil, to see the night sky with childlike wonder, to listen to mystical melodies that tell stories of where land and sea meet. Awake, friends! Shake off winter’s sleep and find an adventure.

Growing Up March 2014 Issue 5This month’s issue of Growing Up magazine has 20+ creative adventures you can enjoy with your children. To inspire you to dream big, Latin Grammy award winning musician Alisha Gaddis of Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band shares her epic adventure taking her stepdaughter to New York City for her 10th birthday. You’ll also find reviews of new albums and favorite books that are sure to send your imagination on thrilling adventures.

In the words of Helen Keller: Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.

Grab your issue today! Use code GUMagBonus for a 3-month subscription. Code expires 3/31.

In Linda Marie Smith’s newest album, Mearra – Selkie from the Sea, we find a bittersweet story of love, loss and transformation. The story begins with Mearra, a young Selkie maiden, falling in love with Ian, a lonely fisherman entranced by her beauty. She leaves her life in the sea, married Ian and begins a family. But following traditional Selkie myth, Mearra must return to the sea after 7 years. Love strengthens Mearra, Ian and their children during this difficult separation, knowing that they are still a family, even when separated by land and sea.

Mearra Selkie from the SeaMearra – Selkie from the Sea combines so many things I enjoy and want to share with my children: Celtic lore, storytelling at its finest, music that really pulls at my heart. Linda’s voice is smooth and mystical. She invites our imaginations to bring us into the world of Mearra and the Selkie myth. We have enjoyed this album during craft time, dinner-making time, and after-school snack time.

Linda Marie Smith reflects, “As a child I was captivated by fairy tales and folklore. I loved being transported to other worlds where the impossible was possible. These mystical adventures fired my imagination, which is why I think I eventually became a songwriter. Folklore involves fantastic people or animals and brings our attention to things we calue most highly, fear most deeply, and hope for most ardently. My spirit and childlike innocence were rekindled while doing research for Mearra – Selkie from the Sea. The Selkie myth inspired and challenged me to shed my own skin, reveal my true self, and boldly express my heartfelt desires.”

Mearra – Selkie from the Sea is available today on iTunes, CDBaby, and Amazon. You can learn more about Linda Marie Smith and her music at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

How do you share folklore with your little one?

I just found this Twinkle Twinkle Little Star video from Signing Time. It is my new favorite! I love how Rachel takes a classic song and adds such an inspiring message for parents to share with their little ones.

I want to sing this to my children everyday. I want them to know they are my shining star. I think they are remarkable, stupendous, amazing, sensational! My favorite lines are “I’ve always believed in you. You are my shining star!”

Seriously, cuddle up with your little one and watch this Twinkle Twinkle Little Star video!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star video

Find more Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star actions

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star crafts

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star video

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star download

We also love these albums which include versions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

For the Kids     twinkle-star     I Am Sleepy

bloglovin300So I’ve felt rather defeated since Google dropped it’s reader. I found one I liked on my phone, but I didn’t like their computer version. As a result, I’ve totally fallen out of reading my favorite blogs. Plus life is busy, right? Anyway. Now that the holidays are over, I’m ready to get back to keeping up with family and friends. To accomplish that goal, I started a BlogLovin’ account. You can follow Because Babies Grow Up with Bloglovin.

I’d love to follow you, too! Just leave me your blog address in the comments or your Bloglovin’ link and I will add you to my BlogLovin’ feed!

If you have an Apple device, I have something pretty awesome for you: a 3-month subscription to Growing Up Magazine. A FREE 3-month subscription to my latest project! Growing Up Magazine is a collection of resources to help you raise creative kids through literacy, kids’ music and play! You’ll find creative activities for kids, new music from kindie musicians, articles on the importance of creativity and how to foster it in your child. PLUS so much more!

Once you download the magazine’s app (search for Growing Up Magazine in the store) onto your device, watch this video to help you redeem the code GUMagBonus to claim your 3-month subscription to Growing Up Magazine. Once you’re subscribed, you’ll immediately receive the most recently published issue. You can also download the free issue about enjoying nature with your little ones.

After you’ve had a chance to browse the magazine and even try out the projects, watch the videos, and share it with your little one, I’d love it if you’d go back into the app store and rate Growing Up Magazine. Tell me what you love about the magazine and any thoughts you have about it. I hope you find it to be a 5 star magazine full of wonderful information on raising creative kids through creative crafts for kids, kid’s music and creative activities for kids.

In honor of Literacy Day and Puzzle Day this week, Simply Fun is celebrating with a giveaway with your kids in mind! This giveaway includes a featured literacy game and a featured puzzle game from their collection perfect for your little ones. This giveaway also has a super cool Instagram component. I’m so excited to share all the details!

Giveaway Prizes

Tibbars Find My ABCs and 123s

Tibbars Find My ABCs and 123s from Simply FunTeaches alphabet, colors, counting and early reading

Together in one bundle, Tibbar’s Find My ABCs and Find My 123s will take your child on a learning adventure. Your pre-schooler will delight in assembling each oversized floor puzzle while learning the alphabet, numbers 1 thru 10, and colors at the same time! Get more info on Tibbars Find My ABCs and 123s from Simply Fun on their website.

Spell Trek

Spell Trek from Simply FunSpell your way across the board by finding missing vowels

You and your friends are on an amazing journey around the world, taking pictures of all the things you find. But somehow all the vowels are missing from your photos! Put the missing vowels back into your words to move ahead, and be the first player to cross the finish line to win. Get more info on Spell Trek from Simply Fun on their website.

 Instagram Giveaway

Growing Up Magazine PuzzleDay Are you on Instagram? I’d love to connect with you there! Just follow @growingupmagazine and @simplyfun on Instagram.

Celebrate Puzzle Day by uploading a picture of you/your little ones working on a puzzle. Include #puzzleday in your comment as well as tagging both @growingupmagazine and @simplyfun so we see your cute picture!

For a bonus entry, you can also celebrate Literacy Day! You can upload a picture of you/your little ones reading or enjoying books. Again, tag both @growingupmagazine and @simplyfun so we see your cute picture and include #readeveryday!

Enter Now with Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As Ben sat next to the basket of bathtub toys eagerly grabbing toys out and exploring them, I realized he’s old enough for treasure baskets! I love this stage of babyhood where they are old enough to sit but haven’t started moving around yet. This is the perfect time to introduce a treasure basket.

Come learn why a treasure basket is perfect for your sitting up baby at becausebabiesgrowup.com

A treasure basket is a collection of items, usually around a theme, that have different characteristics for babies to discover. You can include objects of different sizes, weights, textures, colors, etc. Little ones love to explore a new object and then when the newness is gone, they move on to the next object. Treasure baskets accommodate this short attention span perfectly because they are easy to reconfigure when your little one is tired of its contents. My friend Melitsa has an ebook which contains tons of ideas on different combinations of objects that you can safely include in a treasure basket for your little one.

We’ve used this idea for traveling by putting the collection in a backpack instead of a basket. We’ve also used the treasure basket concept for play dates by placing several baskets around for little ones to explore. I have also used the treasure basket to entertain my babies close by while I clean or cook. There are so many ways to adapt this concept to fit the needs and interests of your baby.

TBcover2Check out Melitsa’s page all about treasure basket play to get more ideas on how to use treasure baskets with your little one!

When I started blogging years ago I set out to share what I learned in my academic journey about child development. My hope was that if you understood your child’s development, you’d see their behavior differently and have a better idea of how to work with your child.

Then the blog became a showcase for the craft projects Sammi and I did together. We spent most of our time elbow deep in glue, glitter, stars, pumpkins and hearts. When she went off to preschool, I discovered that Elli was not interested in craft projects. So I floundered in what to share. Then we added Scott to our family and I was on quite the colicky roller coaster ride with him! But that was all so difficult and personal that I didn’t have the energy or the heart to write about it.

This is where kindie music entered my life and started working on my heart. I have loved the music we have reviewed over the years. We still listen to much of it frequently. But it has been hard to find the energy to be creative. I have far more ideas of what I’d like to do with the kids than what we actually do. But I put on an “everything’s just fine” face and wrote, even if it was only infrequently at best.

And now, four kids into motherhood I have the courage to admit that it’s hard. I am struggling to meet every one’s needs. I am struggling to keep the house clean and put a good meal on the table. I am struggling with the loudness of kids playing and fighting. I am struggling with the unkowns of the medical education journey we have been on with Brent. When I think about all of it together it’s rather overwhelming. It’s usually after I’ve fed the baby at 4 am when it all floods my mind and I lay helpless to do anything but relive the mistakes and make plans for a better tomorrow.

I know if you were here in my half-cleaned basement with me you’d lean over and give me a hug, and maybe even a kiss on the cheek and tell me, “I hear ya! It’s hard. But we’ll get through this together.” I know, because that’s what I’d do for you. Even in the midst of my struggling, I want to reach out, love, and support you.

So now I write to remember what I’ve learned about how children develop in the hopes that it will help me respond better to their needs. I write to remember the fun times we have had together. I write to share the resources I have found that give me hope and skills to plan better tomorrows. And I hope in my writing that you feel encouraged in your own parenting journey.

Growing Up MagazineTo this end I have gathered my favorite resources, ideas, products and music into monthly issues of Growing Up magazine available for your Apple device. This month’s issue is all about the importance of pretend or imaginative play. As a special thank you for traveling this road with me, you can use the code GUMagBonus for a free 3 month subscription! I hope you’ll find encouragement and ideas to make parenting young children more joyful.

Linked up here!

Growing Up Magazine for Apple Devices

BBGU's latest project: Growing Up Magazine on Apple's Newsstand!
My latest project is Growing Up Magazine available on Apple's Newsstand in the App Store. Use code GUMagBonus for a free 3-month subscription!

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