Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DIY Valentines Day Ideas!

Pin It Now! DIY Classroom Valentines....

My thought is, why buy the fill-in-the-blank Valentines in the box from the store when it is SO easy to involve the kids and create some of your own at home!

Each year the kids and I set out to come up with a new idea and this year the theme was BUBBLE GUM!

Bubble gum happens to be one of my kids all time favorite things (topping candy most of the time...hard to believe, I know), so this theme was perfect for us.

I saw several ideas online about bubble gum themed Valentines, but I decided to put my own twist on it while also keeping it simple. Here is what we came up with...

Our supplies:
We printed out 2 separate sayings on card stock ("I CHEWS you Valentine!" and "Don't burst my my Valentine!"), bought clear party bags with twist ties, and a large container of gum balls (I believe it cost about $4 from Wal-Mart, which I thought was a great deal).

The kids had a great time cutting the cards out, hole punching them, filling up the bags and then attaching the cards:

Here are some pictures of the finished product:

DIY Classroom Party Snack...
This year, I am in charge of SNACK for both of my kids classroom Valentine's parties at school (for kindergarten and 4th grade), so I was trying to think of something fun that I could make. It would be completely out of my character to go and buy the store bought Valentine's cookies (not that it hasn't happened in a pinch). However, since I had the time to plan it, I wanted to do something fun and different this year (and something not completely filled with sugar). I came up with a Valentine's "Love" Mix (i.e. snack mix).
The supplies:
  • Pretzels
  • Whole Heart cereal
  • Strawberry Mini Wheats cereal
  • Yogurt Raisins
  • Dried Cherries
  • Strawberry heart marshmallows
  • Valentine's M&Ms
  • Mini regular marshmallows (not pictured)
(Note: Although candy hearts are pictured and I had planned to include them, I thought it was a better mix without didn't need the extra candy element in my opinion, but you could certainly add them)

The finished product:
Valentine's "Love" Mix

I don't have a picture of it, by my 6 year old daughter helped me "make" this and was also my taste tester and said it was AWESOME, so let's hope all of the other kids feel the same way! :o)

If you have any fun ideas, recipes or projects that you have done with your kids this year, I would love to hear about them! Please share in the comment section!

Happy Valentine's Day to all!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Fruit Display & Edible Centerpiece

Pin It Now! This one is going to be a short post, but one that I think is a fun entertaining tip for this time of to make a fall fruit display that can also be used as an edible centerpiece (one of my favorite things to do)!

Only a few short steps...

1. Select the fruit that you want to use and put on fruit skewers

2. Pre-poke holes in your pumpkin to make inserting the skewers easier

3. Insert fruit skewers one at a time into the holes (NOTE: be sure to hold the skewer close to the bottom to keep from breaking)

4. Place in the middle of your table and viola!, you have a beautiful fall fruit display and edible centpiece for your party!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Rainbow Birthday Party!...A Colorful Party for a Colorful Little Girl

Pin It Now! It was time once again for my daughter's birthday party, so when thinking of ideas for themes (and we always try to do something out of the ordinary), we landed on something as colorful as she is...a RAINBOW theme!

Here's what we did....


I always design my own invites and just have them printed at Walgreens to keep costs down (I make them in a standard size...5x7). I wanted something that reflected the rainbow theme, but was also just simple with a fun little saying on it. Here's what we ended up with:

"As colorful as a RAINBOW from her head to her toes...
Let's celebrate the 6th birthday of our sweet Ally Rose!"


I absolutely LOVE making things in mason jars and have tried many recipes in the past, so when I stumbled across this recipe for Rainbow Cakes in Mason Jars and just HAD to try it!

I will say that like everything else that I bake/cook, I tweaked it just a bit. I just used regular food coloring, not the neon ones that they called for, instead of regular sprinkles on top I used rainbow chip crunch sprinkles (I liked the look of these better) and I adjusted the cook time to about 38-40 minutes (it obviously depends on your oven...just cook until a toothpick stuck in the cake comes out clean).

Here are some pics of my process...

(Note: these will sink a bit after they cool)

(What they look like if it scooped out...if someone wants to share :o)

(We served with rainbow serbert...cake is VERY moist)


A rainbow theme has ENDLESS possibilities, so I tried to find a way to encorporate as many "rainbow" themed foods as possible.


Warning: This was a VERY time consuming task, so make sure you allow at least a FULL day to accomplish this.

My kids, like most, LOVE jello, so I when I was trying to think of some rainbow foods I thought, hey, maybe I could layer up a bunch of different colors of jello? It ended up great, but it took many hours because of the "set up" time.

First, select a flavor of jello in each color of the rainbow. Then, starting with the lowest level first, which would be purple, begin making the jello (using the quick set instructions - that includes adding some ice cubes to cool it down, but make sure that the cubes are completely dissolved before adding to previous layers), letting each color set until firm before adding the next layer. NOTE: this is where patience comes in handy...sometimes I run short of that. LOL

After several hours of chilling and adding...this is the final product! It turned out really cool and the kids LOVED it, so I guess it was all worth it :o)

(There were some bubbles inbetween layers because of the ice and stirring that had to take place to do the quick set)

Some other food items:

RAINBOW FRUIT PLATTER (strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, green grapes, blueberries, purple grapes)

RAINBOW VEGGIE PLATTER (cherry tomatoes, carrots, yellow pepper, broccoli, cauliflower...note, blue & purple veggies that I knew that people would eat was pretty hard to come up with ;o)

(Fruity Pebble treats)


We decided to make our own BALLOON ARCH...which was SO incredibly easy...and inexpensive!

I started by buying this balloon decorating strip from the party store for around $5.

(All you have to do is insert the ends of the balloons into the circles on the strip) 

(I had 12 balloons of each color, but you could have as many or as few as you would like)

(The finished product)


I found some M&Ms BY COLOR at our local party store, so thought that would make a fun and yummy addition to the party!

PINATA'S are ALWAYS a good time! I found this great rainbow butterfly that went just perfectly with the theme

When it was all said and done, I feel that we achieved the RAINBOW theme that we were going for...and most importantly, we ended up with one VERY happy little birthday girl! :o)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

40 Must Do Summer Activities with Your Kids

Pin It Now!

"I'm BORED!"...How many of us hear those 2 dreaded words at some point during the summer? Well, don't worry, I have compiled a list of 40 (that's over 1 MONTH's worth) of activities that you can do with your kids this summer, and the best part, most of them do not cost anything or are VERY inexpensive!

40 Must Do Summer Activities with Your Kids:

1.  Have your own outdoor carnival with games.  You can make your own fun with games like toss the ball or frisbee into the clothes basket, draw a winding bike path with sidewalk chalk on the driveway and ride the scooter on it within "X" amount of time , etc. They can get small prizes for "winning", like small candy, popcicle, etc.

2.  Have a scavenger hunt .  You can either hide things around the house that you can have the kids try to find OR what I prefer is to have a more activity driven hunt where you have a mixture of finding things around the yard/house , but also have them do activities, like "Kick the soccer ball through the cones 20 times each). [See my previous post dd 2/29/12, "Beat the Boredom Scavenger Hunt" for more ideas]

3. Make a chalk masterpiece on the driveway.  Come up with a theme and you can either each add on parts to make one big picture or you can each make your own pictures centered around the same theme to make a grand masterpiece when it's finished!

4. Lie in a hammock and try to identify all of the sounds you hear.  Do you hear birds singing, lawnmowers roaring, dogs barking, etc? It's like Eye Spy...but for your ears :o)

5. Swing on a swing. Yep, it's a simple as that. Take it back to the basics and feel the wind blowing in your hair and see the smile on your child's face as they ask you to push them "Higher!"

6. Make homemade popsicles. You can either get a popsicle maker from the store OR you can just use and ice cube tray (if you still have one of those). We usually use either juice or lemonade, but you could certainly use kool-aide or something of that sort too. A fun way to cool down!

7. Go for a family walk around the neighborhood.  A great way to spend time together as a family, talk about your day AND get some exercise at the same time! Many times our kids like to ride their scooters or bounce a ball along the way, which I think is great!

8. Play a family game of basketball, soccer or wiffle ball. We are a big sports family and as you can tell, like the outdoors, and it certainly does not need to be just one of the 3 suggestions mentioned, but something that you can all participate in as a family as a TEAM activity (4 square or throwing the frisbee around from one to the other would be good too!).

 9. Make cupcakes with your kids and let the them frost and decorate! What kid doesn't like cupcakes...especially ones that THEY helped make? Baking with kids is a great way to not only teach them important things like measurements (teaspoon, cup, etc.), but also how to follow directions...not to mention that it is a great outlet for their creativity when it comes to decorating!

10. Play "store" with your kids. Have them set up a store using items of theirs that they either made or even some of the cupcakes you just created and have them "sell" them to you and each other using REAL money (that you can provide them). Each item can be as little as a penny, nickel, dime, etc. It is a great way to teach them about money and instill and entrepreneurial spirit! My daughter especially thought it was COOL to 'buy' some of her brothers books for a penny each ;o)

11. Write a fiction story together with your kids. You can all agree on a concept to begin with, but then each person takes turns adding on parts until it is complete. You will be amazed at your wonderful (and sometimes silly) creation! When finished, you can then type it up and they can add the illustrations.  It is a great way for the kids to use their imagination and what a great keepsake for your family!

12. Have a picnic dinner in the living room. Lie out a large blanket or old comforter and serve only finger foods (i.e. sausage, cheese, crackers, apple slices, broccoli, banana chips, etc.) and serve drinks in cups with lids or water bottles. We have done this several times, but my kids STILL get giddy every time we do this!

13. Have a family movie night! We try to have these every Friday night if possible and it gives the kids something to look forward to all week long. Make it complete with popcorn, Dip n Dots or some type of treat! Oh, and don't forget the dim lighting!

14. Set up different art stations throughout the kitchen (or living room or basement). Have a "foam sticker station", a "coloring station", a "playdough station", etc. Have them stretch their creativity!

15. Go to at least one local festival or picnic. Play games, get some treats (popcorn, funnel cake, cotton candy, etc.), and maybe even attend a parade if their is one. What a fun experience for kids to have!

16. Run through the sprinkler with the kids! On a hot day, what could be more fun?

17. Make a Lego masterpiece. Make sure to take a picture of your child with their completed work of art!

18. Teach your child how to make a pie. Besides the fact that the finished product is yummy to eat, making a pie is a basic item that everyone should learn how to make at some why not now? I will tell you that the sense of accomplishment that my son got out of making his very own pie was out of this world!

19. Create a family band. You can use either real or made up instruments (buckets, pots, pans, spoons, we learned, ANYTHING can become an instrument!). Create a song, perform it and even record it so you can watch your family "music video" about memories! [Disclaimer: no "real" musical talent necessary LOL]

20. Have a dance party in the living room. Crank up the music and put your inhibitions aside!

21. Create magazine art. Give the kids a stack of magazines, some safety scissors, tape and a large piece of paper and have them cut out and create a picture filled with all of their "favorite things."

22. Take a trip to the library. Yes, this one may seem like an obvious choice for the summer, however, I challenge you to utilize some of the many multi-media resources that they have available there (the library has SO much more than books these days). Oh, and don't forget to sign your kids up for the Summer Reading Program!

23. Make a tent out of blankets. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you want to make it! Get in there with them and use that as the reading nook or pretend and play house.

24. Go roller skating. Hit the rink and lace up those skates...yes, YOU need to get out there with them! If you fall, hey, that's okay. That will just show your child that adults are not "perfect" at everything either! [I will admit that I was probably just as excited to get out on the rink with my old skates as my kids were to go skating LOL]

25.  Have a water balloon / water gun fight. Some summer days just beg for water play, so what better way to stay cool?

26. Wash the car together. Besides that fact that this is cheap labor {wink}, let the kids put on their bathing suits and get wet while doing it...they will have a blast getting not only the car, but each other (and likely YOU) wet!

27.  Sit outside and look at the stars together. See if you can spot any constellations (Little/Big Dipper, etc.) or shooting stars. Also, look at the it a full moon, half moon, etc?

28. Play out in the rain. Obviously make sure that there is no lightening first, but if all is clear, enjoy the nice summer would not believe how much kids love doing this!  Of course, my kids try to "drink" the rain ;o)

29. Have a crazy hair fashion show. Pull out the gel and see what kind of funny hairdos you can come up with...there are guaranteed to be many laughs! Make sure that you take your turn love to see parents let their hair down (pun intended) ;o)

30. Take a trip to the zoo. Make a list ahead of time of which animals everyone REALLY wants to see and make a point to see all of them!

31. Play Eye Spy while eating dinner. This is a regular occurance for us. There is only so long that you can talk about what you did that day at school/work, so this is another fun activity to do while eating. Each person takes turns selecting something within viewing distance and everyone else takes turns guessing whtat the item may be. [sorry, no photo for this one]

32. Have the kids help you plant flowers. It's not only a great way to get help with this cumbersome task ;o), but it also gives them ownership of trying to take care something. They are then much more apt to offer to help water the flowers before school in the morning, etc.

33. Have a campout in the backyard. Pitch a tent, pull out the sleeping bags, air mattress, flashlights,  and whatever else you feel you need to make it fun. The kids can play in the tent throughout the day and then come evening, it's time to become one with the outdoors!

34. Make s'mores on the barbeque grill. This one goes hand in hand with #33 in my can't have a campout without s'mores! What a yummy way to end a night under the stars!

35. Make shrinky dinks with your kids. This is a flashback to my childhood and it was SO much fun to color them however we wanted and watch the magic happen through the oven door as they shrunk before our eyes! Do something fun like turn them into bracelets, keychains, etc.

36. Make homemade pizzas. Let the kids each make their own down to flattening out the dough, spreading the sauce and adding the toppings. WARNING: this will be messy, but oh SO worth it!

37. Attend a local or professional baseball game. Nothing screams summer like a day at the ballpark! Whether it's a local team or a professional team, take the kids to experience the fun of being at the park...and don't skimp on the refreshments! ;o)

38. Have a silly face photo shoot with your kids.  Practice your happy face, sad face, angry face, etc. Don't be afraid to let your hair down and look a little goofy!

39. Let each child pick dinner for a night. Then have them help prepare and serve it! You will be amazed at how AWESOME the food will taste to them after THEY have helped make it!

40. Bake something for a neighbor. Make something for a neighbor (muffins, cookies, etc.) "just becuase" and then have your kids go with you to deliver them. It is a great way to teach them the trait of giving and generosity!

I hope you have fun trying out all of these ideas with your kids this summer...and try to come up with a few new ones of your own too. One thing is guaranteed...memories WILL be made! :o)