Monday, December 24, 2012

Candy Cane Lane

So cute. I adore hand, foot, thumb print art. It makes me so happy to dip my little girls hands in paint to make a cute creations. They are getting older and so daring to take the steps for themselves. We made these cute little candy canes in like thirty minutes.

All you need is red and white paint, construction paper, green ribbon.

I drew an outline of a candy cane for my girls to follow. I squeezed the paint into two blob and let my three-year-old trace the line with alternating red and white thumb prints. She did really well! It got a little mixed at the end, but I attribute that to her excitement for art. My little one year old needed a little more help ;)!

Easy Peasy Christmas Pleasy

I know I'm not the only one who gets super stressed out at Christmas time. So I'm always on the look out for quick little crafts that can curb the stress level. These little snowflakes were so easy to throw together.

All you need are big craft sticks, hot glue and gun, and paint. That's it! Just glue these suckers together in a pretty little pattern and you've got yourself winter holiday decorations. They are super cute. I even considered adding some bling, but decided against it this time around. Maybe later.

Neighbor Gifts

Let it Snow Charger

Dollar store find! I purchased these awesome red chargers and pack of six snowflakes at the dollar store. I happened to have a gold Sharpie on hand, which I used to scroll the words, "Let it Snow" on the top of the Charger. Then I glued the snowflake to the center of the plate. Done and done! Ready to give to my friends.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Princesses in the House

 We had two rainy days here, so we got all sorts of crafty and made us some princess crowns. This is for real. We made these bad boys in like 30 minutes. (If you don't count the mess up mom had with the sewing machine. I do not profess to be seamstress, but I'm trying.)

Need: fabric glue, felt squares, scissors, pencil (if you want to trace out a pattern on the felt), sewing machine, thread, and elastic. 

1) Use the pencil to trace an outline of your crown on the felt.
2) Fold the felt square in half and cut out the crow shape. (I was only able to get one crown out of one square of felt. Maybe if you do some fancy finagling or make the crowns smaller you can get two out of one square.)

3) Measure the elastic around your child's head without stretching it. You will need the elastic to run behind the child's head to a little above her ears. (You can see the elastic in on the white crown below.)

4) Then added some bling! I couldn't find my fabric glue, so I let the girls use regular glue to place their gems. I then removed them and used hot glue to really fix them on the crowns. It would have been easier if I had my fabric glue.

 But I think they turned out really good for the little time I put into them! My princesses must agree because they have been wearing them for two days in a row.


 Aren't they cute?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Frozen Yogurt

Do you like frozen yogurt? I do. I really like it because I don't feel guilty when I eat it. (Well, unless I add like two cups of peanut butter cups as a topping.) But seriously frozen yogurt is a deceptive dessert because it contains probiotics, calcium, vitamins, and depending on where you go, real fruit or other flavors. The best part: it's not as fattening as ice cream and it still taste like it should be! So I pitched it to my editor as a story, and she let me write up some reviews about local frozen yogurt places here in St. George, Utah.

What's your favorite place to go for a sweet treat? Do you like frozen yogurt or ice cream?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sorting Game

I'm always on the look out for ways to entertain (and secretly teach) my kids. During the summer months it's pretty easy to keep them occupied outside, at the splash pad, but we are getting into some cooler weather, and I need to be prepared! I found this cute sorting game on Pintrest. I didn't have the nifty tray, so naturally I adpated it to what I had on hand. (Also don't mind the pictures. They are always an after thought, usually after I've already started the process, and I'm too lazy to go back and do it again. Luckily this is easy enough that you don't need pictures, but who wants a pictureless post, right?)

You'll Need:

A box or tray
Assorted construction paper
Colored popsicle sticks (From the Dollar Store)
Toilet paper rolls

Step one: Cut the construction paper.
Step two: Cover each toilet paper roll in a color that corresponds with the popsicle sticks.
(On the left you see some covered and non covered rolls.) I rolled the paper all the way around the toilet paper roll so I wouldn't have to see the brown. The technique: cover the paper with glue, place the roll on the paper, and roll the paper around the roll.

Step two: Glue the toilet paper rolls to the box or if you're using a try glue them to a stray piece of card board. At this stage I used hot glue to speed up the process.

Step three: Drop some colored sticks around the rolls and let the kiddos sort to their hearts content. My little princesses loved it. Yes, at one point they did start fighting over the sticks, but then I put my three-year-old in charge of teaching the 17 month old and all was harmonious! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Painting is So Much Fun!

I remember back when I was little I loved to paint. So why not let my kids make a huge mess and enjoy the process? I found this little wonder on Pintrest (of course;), and I had to give it a try.

What you'll need:

Toilet paper rolls (I seriously save these all the time. You never know when they will come in handy!)
Washable Paint
Thick paper, like cardboard or poster paper
Paper plates
Tarp (optional)

How to do it:

1) Designate a paint-safe zone outside or inside. We opted for outside. I laid out a huge tarp because the OCDness inside of me couldn't handle paint on the concrete, even if it is washable.

2) Shape the toilet paper rolls into different shapes. I made a heart, triangle, square and circle.

3) Squeeze the paint onto the paper plates.

4) Lay out paper on the tarp, hand the kids the paint and rolls, and let your kids dip and stamp to their hearts content!

My kids loved this so much; we might have a repeat art day. And since we did it outside it was suuuper easy to clean up! (I love that!) We are all happy and the master piece is hanging in the princess's bedroom.  Quite cute!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Everyone Loves a Gift Basket!

I'm going to a good friend's wedding this weekend. I'm traveling pretty far, so gas is really eating up the gift budget. I decided to go with a homemade gift basket. Why? Because it's fun to make and really easy to personalize! On a side note, it's also a budget friendly! I'm actually really hoping she doesn't see this post until after her wedding, but if not. Happy Wedding gift! I hope you like it! Now act surprised when you open it!

The theme for this particular basket is Breakfast. So it's a Breakfast Basket. I love alliteration! I purchased a basket, small muffin pan, muffin mix  (I wanted to get this special kind but the grocery store discontinued it. boo!), hot chocolate packets, and I personalized two mugs.

I found this great tutorial for using Sharpies to personalize mugs. I made my own stencils for the letters. I found a font I like on the computer, printed the letters, cut them out, and traced around the stencils with a pencil on the cup. Then I went over it with the Sharpie. Bake the cups at 350 degrees for thirty minutes and Voila! Personal mugs! But they're hand wash only!

It was actually a really fun little basket to throw together. I hope they enjoy it. All I have to do now is wrap it up! Oh and drive 6 hours with two kids;) Wish me luck!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hero Hero Capes

In our house, we don't have superheros, we have hero heros. And what better way to celebrate hero heroness then with capes?

 (The only way I could get a picture of the back of the capes was by turning on the tv. They zoned out enough so I could capture the moment.) 

What you need: Old bed sheets, felt, craft glue, safety pins, and any decorations you can find in your house, we used jewels, a butterfly, and a flower.

Here's how we did it: Cut a trapezoid shape out of the old bed sheet. Leaving enough room at the top to tie around your child's neck. Then use the felt to cut out the first letter of your child's name or their superhero sign. Use the craft glue to stick the letter and decoration on the cape. (Sorry there are no pictures of the process. Just my cute hero heros.)

Voila! Instant hero hero! When it's dry, tie the cape around your child's neck and secure it with a safety pin. This project took about 15 minutes to make, but about an hour to dry. And the best part! I had all this stuff on hand so it was FREE!!!! I love free fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hanging Out with the ABCs

 I'm always scouring the internet for fun ways to teach my kids. One idea I stumbled on was for ABC organizing!

You need: 26 clothes pins, paint (optional),fine point Sharpie, hanger.

So the first question people ask is are the black ones vowels? And the answer is no. I had to search my house to find 23 clothes pins. (Thank goodness for a great neighbor who donated 3 pins to the cause. I didn't want to make a trip to the dollar store for 3 lousy clothes pins!) Some of them were painted black from another project. So . . . they stayed black.

I let my toddler paint the clothes pins with me, but while she was sleeping, I did the rest. Because some of my pins were black, I used white paint to add the upper and lower case letters to each pin. If you can use a Sharpie, do it! It was really hard to paint the letters neatly.

 But it was worth it. My toddler loves pulling them off and putting them back in order. It conveniently hangs from any door knob, so she can work on it in the kitchen or her bedroom or anywhere there's a door.

I'm gearing up to paint the numbers 1 to 26 on the back of the clothes pins so she can work on numbers as well. Wish me luck!

Headband Jam

So I don't know why, but the Fourth of July literally snuck up on me. I blame it on the middle of the week holiday. So it's ten o'clock on July 3rd, and my kids are in a parade at 8 am the next morning, but they have nothing patriotic to really show off their cute girliness. So in desperation, I turned to my go-to source for solving these problems: Pintrest! I found an awesome tutorial for Knotted Jersey Headbands! Fifteen minutes later, I had two cute headbands to spruce up my kids Fourth of July ourfits. And they were pretty stinkin' cute, but alas I didn't get a picture of them together. (Bad mom, I know!) Here is what the headbands look like:

Brittany over at Love Stitched gives such an awesome tutorial that you should visit her blog for the specifics. All you need is an old t-shirt, scissors, and the tutorial!

I did diverge from her plan by looping an extra piece of red fabric through the headbands to make them a little more patriotic. You can sort of see the back view here:

I took one 1/2 inch strip of red fabric and weaved it through the knot. There's no special technique. Just weave it through until you think it looks good. I didn't get a really good picture of the weaved headband, but this one might be better:  (Ignore the smudge.) 

I think these even work on adults. My husband says it makes me look youthful, but that can be a good thing, right? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grilled Cheesy Potatoes

Warning: these potatoes are highly addictive! If you make them once, you will crave them again!

What you need: 
BBQ Grill
4 to 6 Russet Potatoes or a bag of country style hash browns
2 Tbs Butter
1/2 white onion
2 green onions
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of Mozzarella cheese
2 tsp minced garlic
Optional: crumbled bacon!!!

The Process: 
Step 1: Preheat grill.
Step 2: Cut potatoes into small squares. The smaller the better. They cook faster. Or if you want to be lazy use the frozen hash browns, either way it tastes good! Place potatoes in a large bowl.
Step 3: Chop the onion and green onions. Add to the bowl. Then add cheese, garlic, and the salt and pepper to taste. If you have bacon throw it in the mix.
Step 4: Carefully mix so that all the potatoes are coated in cheese and seasoning.
Step 5: Roll out some foil. (I like to double mine to prevent leakage.) Slice 1 Tbsp of butter and place it on the foil. Dump the potatoes onto the foil and top with 1 Tbsp of butter.
Step 6: Put it on the grill over the flames. It takes my grill an hour to cook the potatoes through. So check your potatoes and stir once or twice to make sure they all get heated.
Step 7: Enjoy!!!! Everyone will think you're a grill master!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Little Absent!

I just realized it's almost been a month since my last post. Talk about dropping the ball. I've found a TON of projects that I want to do. Now I just need the time to do them. I promise big things are coming! And you will all love it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grandma's Gift

 We like to get creative here for birthday gifts, especially gifts for the grandmas. My husband likes to say, "It's not a good gift unless they cry." This gift didn't cause any tears, but it was pretty sentimental because grandma can hold her granddaughters' hands when she is at home. I feel pretty silly for not thinking about this project myself! As with most of my projects it was inspired by multiple pins on Pintrest. It's so easy and it keeps toddlers occupied for two days! Okay, not two days straight, but it does provide two activities on two separate days.

What you need: Salt dough, patience, oven, acrylic paints, paint brush.

Day 1: Unfortunately I didn't capture a photo of day one. But day one involves making salt dough (I googled a recipe). The real trick is to get the salt dough the consistency of play dough. You might have to add flour or water until you get it right. Warning: it took me a little while. Once I had it right, I pulled out two portions and rolled and shaped them into a circles. (I let my toddler play with the remaining salt dough. We had enough for her to make a couple cut outs while I shaped.) I pressed my little ones hands into the dough and baked the salt dough creations in the oven at 250 degrees for three hours. Now this is also tricky because the time might very, so check the molds periodically to make sure they don't crack or burn. When this process is complete the molds will look like the picture above.

Day 2: Painting! That's right. I dressed my toddler in her baking apron and let her go to town on her cut outs with water-based paint while I used the acrylic paint on the hand molds. We had a good time painting our projects together. My toddler liked it so much that she even painted the table, hence the water-based paints!

When we were done, I thought it was hard to see the print with just one color, so I emphasized the print with white paint. My mom loved them!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cheesey Chicken Veggie Bake

So I think the name needs a little work. I'm open for suggestions. Anyway this is one of my go-to recipes on a hard day!

What you need: 
1 box of Velveeta shells (or the knock-off brand, I buy Kroger)
1lb of Chicken
1/2 Cup of chicken broth
1 bag of frozen veggies (I use the bag with peas, carrots, and green beans)
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix (again I buy the know off brand)

What to do: 
1) Defrost the chicken but not all the way because it's easier to cut partially frosted chicken. Cut Chicken into small 1-inch pieces.
2) Place the chicken in a pan on the stove and sprinkle it with half the packet of ranch seasoning.
3) While the chicken is cooking, boil a pot of water for the shells. Once it's boiling add the shells.
4) Stir the chicken. When the chicken is no longer pink add the vegetables. (You may want to dump out a little of the liquid, but not too much because it has all the good juices! I'm just not a fan of runny cheesey bake.)
5) Once the pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, strain it and add the cheese from the package. Mix the Shells with cheese in with the chicken and veggies.
6) Let it warm for a bit and test it. If it's a little bland stir in the remainder of the ranch seasoning.

My family loves this recipe and because it's easy, so do I! In fact we love it so much that the last time I made it, I forgot to take a picture and it was gone. So I will make it again so I can capture a yummy picture for you. Recipes are more fun when you see what you're trying to make. Don't you agree?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cookie Cutter Art

 What you'll need: Paper plates (or something to place the paint on), WASHABLE paints, cookie cutters, paper.

1) Let your child choose the paint they want on the plate. I like to guide my kids toward colors that will blend to make other colors so we can talk about it. (Red and Yellow make Orange, Blue and Yellow make Green you get the idea). Place the paint on a paper plate or other item sturdy enough for paint.

2) Help the child dip the cookie cutter into the paint and place it on the paper. It will make the image of the cut out. Then they can do it over and over again!

We chose Easter cut outs because we did this close to Easter, but it works for all sorts of holidays or all sorts of cut outs. Really kids just have fun with it. My little princess got so excited about it, she started to finger paint. It seems like that is how most of painting projects go these days! But here is the finished product:

Most people can't tell it was a bunny cut out, unless I tell them. It's pretty abstract!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Marble Painting!

How apt that the follow-up post to Beauty in Failure is the fixed project! We have been so busy this month that we haven't really had a chance to do projects at home, but once I tracked down some marbles, we set to work on getting our marble painting on! And it turned out to be really fun and much more successful than using beads!

What you'll need: Thick paper (I used card stock), marbles, a pan with high edges, tape, and WASHABLE paint.

Tape the paper to the pan. Place dots of paint toward the edges of the paper. I like to put mine on the paper so that my little one can finger paint as well.

Place the marbles in the pan and hold the pan to rotate the marbles around. The marbles make cool paint trails. Toddlers love it!

 We even put the pan down and pushed the marbles around with our fingers. We had marble races. I don't really know who won, but we had fun!

Finished Product!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beauty in Failure

I'm not above posting my failures for everyone to see, and unlike most failures in life, this one has a happy ending. My little princess still had a good time painting. Once again, I was inspired by someone's genius, but here's the problem, I can't find the link to the original idea. I can't remember if it was from a link party or Pintrest or . . . something else. Sorry everyone. But it's cool because I can give you the basic run-down.

You will need: Water-based paint, a cake pan (with high edges), thick paper, tape, and marbles (or other weighted round objects, but weight is important!)

Tape the paper to the base of the pan. Add paint to the edges of the pan and paper.

 Place the marbles in the pan and let your child roll them around. The marbles leave these amazing lines and it looks really cool. Queue my failure! I didn't have marbles on hand, but being the ever creative mom (or too lazy to run to the dollar store mom) I decided to use beads. The beads rolled until they got stuck in the globs of paint. Sadly, you need marbles for weight. So we abandoned the idea and my little princess used her fingers. I have feeling we will be trying this again after I track down some marbles, but the picture still earned a place of honor on the fridge if for nothing less than to remind me that my little girl is an amazing finger painter and there can be beauty in failure. Talk about taking some of the pressure off!

I've linked up to Frugal Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Busy Book

So I wanted to sew a quiet book, but I'm not a seamstress by any means, and all the tutorials I found seemed pretty intense. So I was over joyed to find this awesome tutorial for a busy binder! I really had a good time putting this binder together. It kept me busy for awhile, so hopefully it will be worth it.

What you'll need: a folder, box colored pencils, zipper pouch, file folders, beads, items for I spy bag, hot glue gun, magnets, velcro, envelopes. 

I spy bag: I purchased my Eye Spy bag at the dollar store. It is pencil bag. I also bought two packages of beads from the dollar store. My little princess and I filled it with beads and items I found around the house. For example, key, safety pin, Barbi shoe. After we filled it, I sealed the zipper with hot glue to make sure my little princesses can't unzip the bag an sprinkle goodies all over the place.

Colored Pencils: I cut the colored pencil box, like the tutorial suggests. Then I covered the colored pencil box with sticky laminate paper. (The kind you line drawers or shelves with.) I finished it off by placing velcro dots to the back of the box and the folder, so my little princess can pull the box off and put it back on. I'm a little concerned the lid is going to fall off, so I will probably secure the lid with a strap of some sort. Maybe something with a magnet or velcro. What do you think?

File Folder Games: For these I did an online search for Black and White File Folder Games. I only have a black and white printer, so I found some games I wanted, printed them off, colored them, cut them out, and had them laminated. You don't have to laminate the file folder games, but they will last longer if you do. I put quite a bit of effort into coloring the games I printed, so I want them to last for awhile.
Magnets on the ship game

 Once I got home, I placed magnet backings** on the ship game and velcro on the alphabet game.
 To hold the pieces for the games, I hot glued envelopes to the back of the file folders. I also used the sticky velcro piece to keep the envelope closed so we don't loose any pieces in the madness of my diaper bag.

So there it is! A relatively inexpensive, no-sew busy book. I'm really excited to give this a whirl on Sunday.

I linked up to Frugal Friday.

** Just a little side note: After my princesses played with this, I discovered magnets were a horrible idea. I will be replacing the magnets with velcro.