My daughter has been asking to have a lemonade stand since last summer, so it was a must on our 2018 Summer Bucket List. I saw some cute DIY ideas using wooden crates and thought… More
Wilton’s Candy Melts are one of my favorite gems to use for fun holiday treats. Last year I used them to make a batch of yummy Valentine Marshmallow Pops. This year I picked up three bags from Michael’s in red, pink, and white to use for Valentine’s Day, and got to work creating these fun and festive swirly heart cake toppers for our family Valentine Cake. I love how they turned out, and my family (kids especially) loved eating the oversized candy hearts! Check out my simple tutorial to learn how to make these cuties using cookie cutters as templates. I’m excited to try them for other holidays too. Imagine green 4 Leaf Clovers for St. Patrick’s Day, pastel eggs for Easter, patriotic colored stars for the 4th of July. The possibilities are endless! You can use them to top a cake like I did, make smaller ones for cupcakes and cookies, or even top a cup of fruit with whipped cream for a healthier version.
For more Valentine Fun, check out these other links:
This week, the much anticipate My Little Pony movie comes out in theaters. My girl and I have been waiting for this day ever since we saw the preview several months ago. To celebrate, I created these fun My Little Pony Rainbow Dash Marshmallow Pops, which according to my kids, are delicious! Whether you are planning a My Little Pony party or just want to make a fun treat on movie day, these Rainbow Dash pops are sure to be a huge hit!
I’ve included my video tutorial, above, with step by step instructions on how to make these tasty mallow pops, and below you will find the free printable Rainbow Dash template for the candy pony silhouettes. I’ve also added Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark in case you’d like to make some for your own pops. You will need white, blue, yellow, and red candy melts and four Wilton’s squeeze bottles to create the cloud and rainbow lightning bolt cutie marks.
For more My Little Pony fun, check out my DIY My Little Pony Capes tutorial.
A couple weeks ago our family went camping, which is a really big deal, because we are NOT campers! Two of our kids attend a school where they have a Fall Campout each year so we committed to staying one night…and although my husband and I both agree that we are more “glampers,” than campers, we ended up having a ton of fun and our kids loved the whole experience. I have a feeling we will be camping again!
My daughter was super excited because her daddy bought her a pink flashlight and she was really looking forward to making shadow puppets in the tent with her big brothers. Of course, when we got home, she wanted to create some animal shadow puppets to play with. One evening, last week, we went to work creating these cute little popsicle stick puppets that have provided a ton of content for imaginary play and story telling for little miss.
I used my Cricut Expression 2 to cut out the animals and other shapes, but if you do not have a Cricut, simply create a document with templates that you can cut out of card stock. Here is one I put together that you can print off and use to make your own animal shadow puppets without using a Cricut. animal template pdf
The possibilities are endless with these little puppets. You can create seasonal themes, print off silhouettes of your child’s favorite story book or movie characters, weather puppets, dinosaurs, garden, farm, cars, princesses, fairies, and so much more.
One thing that I realized, after creating so many characters, was that they were hard to hold onto. So with an old shoebox and a pair of scissors, I created a diy holder for all of the puppets. This made a perfect “stage” for my daughter to put the puppets on as she told her story. The great part about using a shoebox, is that it doubles as storage to hold all of the characters and a flashlight so they are contained & easy to find for future use.
Check out my video tutorial above for tips on making some shadow puppets with your own children.
My daughter starts 2nd grade this week and she is beyond excited to go back to school. She can’t wait to see all of her friends and meet her new teacher. She is full of confidence and joy and counting down the days.
But this was not the case two years ago when she started Kindergarten. She was scared. She was starting at a new school. She didn’t know any of the kids in her class, and she had never been away from me for that many hours a day. In pre-school, her teacher let her bring a stuffed animal to school that she could snuggle with if she felt sad or missed mommy, but I knew that we couldn’t expect that to be ok in Kindergarten. That is where the “word bracelets” idea came from.
I told Karis that we would sit down and create some bracelets that she could wear to help her remember that mommy loved her and would pick her up right after school. We talked about how when she felt sad or missed me, she could touch the bracelet and be reminded of my love. The idea sparked more conversation about what other things she might want to remember at school, so we brainstormed other words and these are what we came up with…
These words provided great conversation for kindergarten preparation as we talked about what each word meant. I told her that she could choose one or more bracelet to wear each day depending on what she felt she needed to be reminded of.
I wish I could say that the first few weeks of school were a breeze for Karis, but it was not an easy transition for her. Thankfully, she had a very kind teacher and sweet classmates who helped her to become comfortable at her school. And I’m sure her word bracelets also helped to reassure her in those sad moments of missing her family.
Maybe you have a child starting a new school and you are looking for something to help them with that transition. Or maybe there is a word that would help your child with a character trait that they are working on. Pick up some plastic beads, letter beads, and stretchy string and spend time making bracelets with your child. Not only with they love their creations, but they will also love the quality time spent with you.
For another “Back to School” idea, check out my post: DIY Visual Schedule For Kids
School starts next week and we are so not ready! Summer seems like it has flown by and we are savoring these precious last days of sleeping in, staying in pajamas well into the afternoon, swimming, and staying up late. This really is the first summer that all of my kids have slept in…and by sleeping in, I mean, not getting up until after 7:30. I am a night owl, so that extra hour and a half in the morning is glorious for this mama!
The last couple of weeks, I have been taking little steps to prepare for the upcoming school year, cleaning out clothes that are too small and shopping for new clothes and shoes. But I know that the hardest part for my kids will be the transition from lazy summer mornings to the “get up and go” school morning routine. So this week, I created this simple and inexpensive visual schedule to help my 7 year old daughter adjust to the new norm.
Watch my tutorial to learn how to create one of your own. I’m including the template that I used with the morning routine icons and the words that go with each. The video gives you step by step instructions. Here’s a list of what you will need…
- one 12×12 piece of card stock
- SCHOOL MORNING ICONS pdf
- 16 2″ squares of colored card stock
- glue stick
- magnets (I used magnetic tape)
- letter stickers
I would love to hear some of your best tips for helping your kids transition from summer to a new school year.
At the beginning of this summer, we spent a day at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA. If you’ve never been there, it is such a fun experience with tons of hands on exhibits. One of my daughter’s favorites was a wall with plastic magnetic tubes to create a “marble track” and little balls to test it out on. She spent quite awhile rearranging the tubes to make different tracks and trying them out. As I watched her, I started thinking about how I could make something similar at home, and this idea was born.
I began saving toilet paper and paper towel rolls and waiting for just the right time to create our DIY Magnetic Marble Track. This Saturday was the perfect day! My oldest was away at camp with his youth group and my two younger kids were having a pajama day. My husband was taking a nap and the kids were getting “bored,” so together we created this super fun “boredom buster!”
Check out my daughter’s “Craft Time With Karis” video tutorial (above) to learn how to make these with your own kids. It took some trial and error, but we figured out the best way to keep the tracks up and the best balls to use. Here are a couple of tips:
- make sure your magnets are strong enough…we tried some at first that would not hold
- use light weight balls: we found my son’s Nerf Rival Bullet Balls to be the perfect balls for this project. Small bouncy balls were a close second. Marbles were too heavy and knocked the tracks right off. Experimenting with different options is part of the fun!
- even though we used magnets that were sticky on one side, it is best to hot glue them as well for a stronger hold
For more “Craft Time With Karis” videos click on the following:
Birthday parties are challenging for teen boys. The past couple of years my son Jacob has not wanted a theme or decorations, so we have just had a few friends over for movies and board games. But this year, for his 15th birthday, we decided to do something unique. The idea was sparked by a conversation we had about the youth group I attended as a teen and some of the fun events we got to do. My favorite was called “The Torture Rally,” a 24 hour car rally around our city with clues to solve and challenges, definitely one of the highlights of my teen years. I described it to Jacob as a sort of youth group Amazing Race, and the idea for pulling of a birthday party like this was birthed. We kept the party small and just had one team…so they were essentially competing against themselves, but they had so much fun and it was well worth all the hours of prep that I put in to plan all the clues and challenges.
Here is a list of what we did for Jacob’s AMAZING RACE PARTY!
- PULL 50 MARBLES OUT OF A TUB OF ICE WATER USING ONLY YOUR TOES
2. MEMORIZE THIS POEM. FIND THE MAN IN RED ACROSS THE PARK AND RECITE IT PERFECTLY. IF YOU MESS UP, GO BACK AND TRY AGAIN
Spaghetti, spaghetti, all over the place, Up to my elbows – up to my face, Over the carpet and under the chairs, Into the hammock and wound round the stairs, Filling the bathtub and covering the desk, Making the sofa a mad mushy mess. The party is ruined, I’m terribly worried, The guests have all left (unless they’re all buried). I told them, “Bring presents.” I said, “Throw confetti.” I guess they heard wrong ’cause they all threw spaghetti! – Shel Silverstein
3. (set up in someones front yard) MEMORIZE THE ORDER Of THESE TRIBAL PRINTED CARDS. NOW RECREATE THIS EXACTLY IN THE BACKYARD. YOU MAY RETURN AS MANY TIMES AS NECESSARY BUT CANNOT BRING CARDS WITH YOU.
4. (part 1) WEAR CRAZY PARTY HATS AND MARDI GRAS NECKLACES IN PUBLIC (WALK ACROSS THE BRIDGE) (part 2) CHALLENGE…WITH STRING TIED TO YOUR WRISTS AND CONNECTED TO A PARTNER, FIND YOUR WAY APART (it’s actually quite simple but seems very complicated)
5. MAKE MARSHMALLOW SHOOTERS. NOW SHOOT MALLOWS INTO A BUCKET THAT IS HELD ON YOUR TEAMMATES HEAD (MAKE 5 MALLOWS EACH)
6. PLAY A GIANT GAME OF MEMORY: BOARD GAME STYLE (game made out of heavy paper plates, printed boardgame photos, and weighed down with flat marbles)
7. FIND THE PIECES OF THE WOODEN PUZZLE HIDDEN IN THE PLAY STRUCTURE. NOW PUT THE PUZZLE TOGETHER. (much more challenging than it looks)
8. GO TO BARNES AND NOBLE AND ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS…
- HOW MANY BOOKS ARE THERE IN THE BIBLE?
- WHAT IS THE TITLE OF A BOOK WRITTEN BY OUR PRESIDENT?
- HOW MANY BOOKS ARE IN “THE DIARY OF A WHIMPY KID” SERIES?
- NAME 3 “NON-BOOK” ITEMS YOU CAN PURCHASE HERE
- FIND AND NAME 2 BOOKS BY THE CHILDREN’S AUTHOR ERIC CARLE
9. GO TO THE MALL. FIND THE PHOTO BOOTH. TAKE A PHOTO WITH YOUR WHOLE TEAM IN THE BOOTH AT THE SAME TIME.
10. USING SIDEWALK CHALK, DRAW AN ACCURATE DIAGRAM OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM, PLACING EACH PLANET IN ORDER STARTING WITH THE SUN
11. DIVE INTO THE POOL AND RETRIEVE THE GOLF BALLS AT THE BOTTOM. EACH HAS A LETTER WRITTEN ON IT. UNSCRAMBLE THE LETTERS TO DECODE THE MESSAGE
FINISH THE NIGHT WITH PIZZA AND CUPCAKES AND OF COURSE AN EPISODE OF THE AMAZING RACE!!!
The Amazing Race Birthday Party lasted for about 5 hours total (the race itself was 4 of those hours which included a “pit stop” for snacks about half way through). Be sure to come prepared with bottles of water to keep everyone hydrated, especially during the summer. For more Amazing Race Birthday Party footage check out this fun video of the highlights from Jacob’s party!