DIY Lemonade Stand

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 that we would give it a go.  I found the best deal for wooden crates at our local Michael’s Store.  My husband had a 36″ x 10″ board cut at The Home Depot.  I purchased two different sizes of nails,  1-1/4 inches for the thicker parts and 3/4 inches for the thinner wood slats, and went to work.  You can watch my video tutorial for more details on the building process.

Hobby Lobby recently had a huge clearance on their summer stock, so I was able to get two giant yellow pinwheels for just $4 each.  They made the cutest sides to hang a LEMONADE banner on.  I used my Cricut Expression 2 to cut out the letters for the banner and hung it with twine.  A few material scraps cut into triangles made for a mini pennant banner to hang along one of the crates.  I created an “Ice Cold Lemonade” sign, a price list for some treats that we made, and lemon cupcake toppers that you can print off here  Lemonade Stand Printables PDF

My daughter loves to dance, and every summer her dance studio holds a week long dance camp.  We decided that selling lemonade & treats would be a great way for her to earn the $125 tuition for camp.  On a Friday evening, we made a batch of cupcakes and marshmallow pops.  I have included the lemon template I used for the candy melt lemons.  Lemon Template pdf  (See some of my marshmallow pop videos for instructions on how to create themed mallow pops)

On Saturday and Sunday, my girl held lemonade stands in our driveway, and not only did she have the best time selling lemonade and sweet treats, she earned $129 in two mornings thanks to the generosity and support of our amazing friends and neighbors.  I will never forget the joy on her face when she walked into the dance studio on that Monday morning and paid her entire tuition in full with money she had earned herself.  Lemonade stand success!!!

I am so pleased with the way our DIY Lemonade Stand turned out, and have been thinking of other uses for it.  Of course she can always use it for imaginary play, but I’m sure we will also use it for birthday parties in the future, bake sales, donuts and juice during our garage sale, and of course, many many more lemonade stands.

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Adopt A Pet (Beanie Boo Cats & Dogs) Birthday Party

My daughter just turned 8, and this year we decided on an Adopt A Pet (Beanie Boo Cats & Dogs) theme for her birthday party.  I’m not sure what was more fun, preparing for the party, or the party itself.  My daughter and I spent so much quality time planning and crafting together in the months before.  Be sure to watch my video compilation (above) of the party.

Beanie Boos can be expensive so I started purchasing these little kittens and puppies early, taking advantage of the 60% off coupons from Michael’s as often as possible.  We picked out 6 kittens and 6 puppies and then I set out to find a fence and fake grass.  Both were fairly inexpensive at Lowes.  I used my Circut Expression 2 to make the “Adopt A Pet” banner and then did a little photo shoot to use as the cover of the invitations.

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I wanted to plan a fun activity for the beginning of the party while the guests were arriving, so I created a super fun game of Beanie Boo Bingo.  I have included the pdf below if you want to print out this game to use for your child’s party.

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Beanie Boo Bingo pdf

Once all of the girls arrived, I let them choose their pet to adopt.  I was a little nervous about this part because each animal was different and I wasn’t sure if the girls would get their hearts set on one and be disappointed.  I asked them to think about 2 or 3 that they would love to adopt and then said we would draw numbers to see what order they would choose.  We let the birthday girl have the first choice and then went from there.  Thankfully it all worked out and everyone was happy with their pet.

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The girls got to sign an adoption certificate to make it official.

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Here is the link for you to use.    pet adoption certificate pdf

I purchased a dozen white gable boxes from Hobby Lobby to use as pet houses, cut a hole in each for a door, and the girls got to decorate a house for their pet.  This was such a fun activity and I love watching all of their creativity as they designed a sweet little space for their pet to live in.  IMG_2424IMG_2425IMG_2426IMG_2491IMG_2492

I set up another station for the girls to make a collar for their pet using pipe cleaners and beads.  These Dollar Tree veggie trays were perfect for holding craft supplies.  I have used them over and over for several projects and they have held up really well.

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I also made leashes and blankets for each of the pets.  I found the paw print ribbon and gold rings and clips at Michael’s.  One spool of ribbon made 12 leashes.  1 yard of paw print fabric, 1/2 yard of puppy fabric, and 1/2 yard of kitty fabric made 12 small blankets about the size of a baby burp cloth.

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We played a couple of fun games.  “Give The Dog A Bone” and “Pin The Tail On The Kitty.”  I used poster boards to draw a Kitten and Puppy.  Then I made three bone shaped bean bags, mounted the puppy on one of our corn hole pieces and cut a hole for the bean bags.  These old fashioned party games were so much fun!

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I kept the food pretty simple because we also had hot dogs and fruit for dinner.  I collected yogurt cups in the months leading up to the party, then used a sharpie to draw a “fish” on half of them and a “bone” on the other half.  I filled the cat dishes with Goldfish Crackers and the dog dishes with Scooby Doo bone shaped graham crackers.  I covered two pieces of styrofoam with pink wrapping paper to display them on.  The Dollar Tree was a goldmine for decorations and pet themed items.  I found the large black dog dishes there and filled one with pretzels (sticks) and the other two with Trader Joe’s chocolate Cat’s Cookies.  I also purchased three paw print jars from the Dollar Tree and filled them with candy.  The pink and teal hanging paper lanterns were 2 for a dollar as well, making the table setting very affordable.  I have included a pdf of the cupcake toppers, activity signs, and “DIG IN” sign for you to print off from home.  (see below)

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beanie boo cupcake toppers pdf

dig in party sign pdf

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cats & dogs party signs pdf

A month later, my girl is still saying that her Adopt A Pet party was the “funnest birthday party ever!”  I would definitely have to agree!

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“Sweet 16” Candy Bouquet

My oldest turned 16 last month!  S I X T E E N ! ! ! I can’t believe I have a child who is old enough to drive.  As far as teenagers go, we scored!  Jacob is a great kid… kind, thoughtful, funny, responsible, trustworthy.  I am so grateful!  When I asked him what he wanted for his 16th birthday, he jokingly said, “candy!”  I had wanted to make something fun for him to wake up to on his special day, and this sparked an idea.  I went to work making him a “SWEET 16” candy bouquet in a galvanized bucket.  I found the bucket at Walmart for under $3 and I loved that it had a chalkboard label already on it.  I used my Cricut Expressions 2 to cut the letters on white vinyl, purchased a package of wooden dowels, a piece of floral foam, a ton of candy, and a 1 and 6 balloon (only $1 each, also from Walmart).  I grabbed my glue gun and went to work.  Check out this simple tutorial (below) to make one of your own.

 

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Valentine Hearts Cake

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:

Valentine Words of Affirmation for Kids 

Valentine Craft: Cookie Cutters & Paint

Valentine Paper Garlands 

My Little Pony (Rainbow Dash) Marshmallow Pops

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.

Rainbow Dash Template PDF

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For more My Little Pony fun, check out my DIY My Little Pony Capes tutorial.

DIY Shadow Puppets

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.  fullsizeoutput_eda2fullsizeoutput_eda1IMG_9671IMG_9676IMG_9677IMG_9679

Back to School Word Bracelets

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…

  • love
  • joy
  • confidence
  • kindness
  • brave
  • peace
  • calm

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.

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For another “Back to School” idea, check out my post:  DIY Visual Schedule For Kids

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
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • magnets (I used magnetic tape)
  • letter stickers

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I would love to hear some of your best tips for helping your kids transition from summer to a new school year.

 

DIY Magnetic Marble Track

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

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For more “Craft Time With Karis” videos click on the following:

DIY Kids Magnetic Puzzles

Colored (RAINBOW) Rice

Tricky Hopscotch (with a twist)

Valentine Craft: Cookie Cutters & Paint

 

The Amazing Race Birthday Party

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!

  1.  PULL 50 MARBLES OUT OF A TUB OF ICE WATER USING ONLY YOUR TOES

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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 

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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.

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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)

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5.  MAKE MARSHMALLOW SHOOTERS.  NOW SHOOT MALLOWS INTO A BUCKET THAT IS HELD ON YOUR TEAMMATES HEAD (MAKE 5 MALLOWS EACH)

IMG_7421IMG_7425            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)

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7.  FIND THE PIECES OF THE WOODEN PUZZLE HIDDEN IN THE PLAY STRUCTURE.  NOW PUT THE PUZZLE TOGETHER. (much more challenging than it looks)

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8.  GO TO BARNES AND NOBLE AND ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS…

  1. HOW MANY BOOKS ARE THERE IN THE BIBLE?
  2. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF A BOOK WRITTEN BY OUR PRESIDENT?
  3. HOW MANY BOOKS ARE IN “THE DIARY OF A WHIMPY KID” SERIES?
  4. NAME 3 “NON-BOOK” ITEMS YOU CAN PURCHASE HERE
  5. FIND AND NAME 2 BOOKS BY THE CHILDREN’S AUTHOR ERIC CARLE 

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9.  GO TO THE MALL.  FIND THE PHOTO BOOTH.  TAKE A PHOTO WITH YOUR WHOLE TEAM IN THE BOOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

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10.  USING SIDEWALK CHALK, DRAW AN ACCURATE DIAGRAM OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM, PLACING EACH PLANET IN ORDER STARTING WITH THE SUN

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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

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FINISH THE NIGHT WITH PIZZA AND CUPCAKES AND OF COURSE AN EPISODE OF THE AMAZING RACE!!!IMG_8150IMG_8223

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!