The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

The Idea Swap: Don’t Throw Away Those Pumpkins

Long before Google searches made it simple to explore any topic in the blink of an eye, I attended my first teaching conference. While I was there, I took part in a workshop called THE IDEA SWAP.  The concept behind this little activity was simple– each educator shared in writing one great idea that had actually worked in the classroom. In return, she gleaned hundreds of tried and true tips from other teachers in the trenches. What I loved most about the ideas that emerged from that intentional exchange was their practicality. They weren’t theories that looked good on paper but failed to produce the promised results with the real live kids in my classroom. They were a treasure trove of wisdom born out of my fellow teachers’ trials and failures, prayers and victories. 

I’ve often thought about that IDEA SWAP when I’m fixing the same meal for dinner again or I’m playing my fifty-third round of Go-Fish for the week. Wouldn’t it be nice to glean a few fresh ideas from other moms? Wouldn’t it be fun to share a tried and true tip that has actually worked with the real live kids who spill milk on our dinner tables and throw tantrums in the grocery store? That would be like excavating treasure from the diaper pail!
So, would you grab your hard hat and join me in the trenches? Today, I’d like to invite you to dig for treasure in the Overflow’s first official IDEA SWAP. I hope that this new feature offers jewels of encouragement for anyone who could use a fresh idea or a simple solution to the sticky and tricky trials of motherhood. 
Of course a SWAP wouldn’t be a true exchange without many voices. So, please consider chiming in the discussion and sharing your own great ideas.  If you’ve discovered a tried and true trip that has made motherhood a little easier, a little more exciting, or a bit more meaningful, please let me know. Just leave a comment or send me an email ( so I can share your idea in the next swap! I’d love to feature you or a creative friend you know in this weekly post. Let the digging begin!

Pumpkin Workshop


We borrowed this great idea from Joshua’s creative preschool teachers. Believe it or not, this simple activity kept my “tool boy” busy for nearly an hour last week (That meant a half an hour on the treadmill for mom AND a half an hour to shower when I was done. WOW!) 
So, before you toss out your pumpkins, why not host a pumpkin workshop? Grab some golf tees and a small hammer and let your little ones work on their fine motor skills as they decorate their pumpkins in a new way. Add a few metal washers to the mix or anything else that could be fastened or hammered and you’ve got all you need to create a little “modern art!”
Any other great ideas for “left-over pumpkin fun”?  Please share!

One thought on “The Idea Swap: Don’t Throw Away Those Pumpkins

  1. I love love this!
    Luke would be in heaven!

    November 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm

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