DIY “Give Thanks” Jar

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I realized I haven’t really done a DIY post in a while and I’ve been seeing so many relating to Christmas and other winter holidays already, that I decided to share with you how to make your own “Give Thanks” jar for Thanksgiving! This is a really lovely tradition to start with your family. The idea is to write down one thing you are thankful for each day leading up to thanksgiving. I am sure you could adjust accordingly and even do this throughout the year if you wish! We plan on reading all of our “thankful sticks” on Thanksgiving as a fun family activity.

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To make this I used:

  • Popsicle sticks (from the craft section at Dollar Tree)
  • Fall related stickers (I actually used some wall decals that I had on hand!)
  • Twine (Also from the Dollar Tree)
  • Chalkboard labels (From the Dollar Tree)
  • Mason Jar
  • Label Maker
  • Permanent Marker (I used Orange for “Fall”)

 

How I made it:

The First thing I did was stick my chalkboard label onto the mason jar. I used my label maker to write out exactly what I wanted to be said on the jar. I could have used chalk but I am not a fan of my handwriting and don’t have a chalk pen. The next thing I did was place the mason jar ring on the jar without the middle ring. I took some twine and began wrapping it tightly around the top of the jar until I was satisfied with how it looked. I just tied and tucked the rest of the string in, no glue needed! I decorated my jar with some green vine decals all the way around to give it more of a Fall vibe. The last step is to place your “thankful sticks” or Popsicle sticks into the jar along with the marker!

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I hope you guys enjoyed this easy peasy DIY and start an awesome new tradition with your family! I know some people do a thankful tree, there are so many ways you could go with this! Thanks for reading and have a happy Thanksgiving!

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Video Tutorial: How to Make a Sensory Bin Out of Pumpkin Guts!

Hey guys! So I recently went “live” on my Facebook page and did a little tutorial on how to make a sensory bin using pumpkin guts! I am posting the video here for you to watch and if you enjoy things like this I encourage you to like my Facebook Page so you can join me live more often!

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial! Go ahead and check out my other sensory bin post mentioned in this video! Happy Halloween everyone!!!

 

3 Ways to Decorate your pumpkin Without Carving or Painting

Halloween is in just a few short days!!! We are so excited and this year Braydon is old enough to really want to get involved with the pumpkin process. Everyday he would come in the kitchen point and say “pumpkin!” He even tries to carry them around and ended up breaking on of the stems off! (I hot glued it back on!) I wanted to find something for him to do that didn’t involve carving so he could actually participate. He is old enough to want to, but too young to actually carve. I also wanted to find something that wouldn’t be super messy, because I have dealt with enough paint messes this last month and just need a break from it! Here are three ways to help your toddler decorate a pumpkin without carving or painting!

  1. CRAYON MELTING PUMPKIN

Braydon did not enjoy participating in this one because the noise from the hair dryer scared him, but he was super fascinated with it afterwards and enjoyed watching from afar. Click here to watch our Facebook live video of this activity!

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Crayons
  • tape
  •  pumpkin
  • blow dryer
  • cover/protector for the surface you’re doing this on

DIRECTIONS:

Make sure your child is occupied as you set up for this activity because they may become over excited and it will become crazy and hectic! First select the crayons you want to use and the color/pattern choice.  Unwrap your crayons, break them in half and space them out around the top of you pumpkin, using scotch tape to hold them in place. Then you can help your child use the blow dryer on them so that they melt! If your child becomes scared of the noise like mine did, just finish it up for them and they will enjoy looking at it afterwards! Make sure to watch the video on this, on my Facebook page because I have listed some tips in there as well as info about upcoming blog posts! Plus there is a really funny part at the beginning where Braydon says an unmentionable word! OOPS!! HAHA!

2. LACE AND RIBBON PUMPKIN

This one I did the lace part because I used hot glue, and Braydon Helped with the ribbon. This project is a lot less messy and there are plenty of different ways you could do this. We made outs look like a “present” (not really, but oh well! lol) You could also try to make yours look like a ghost or a spider nest.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • lace
  • ribbon
  • adhesive (we used hot glue)
  • scissors

DIRECTIONS:

To make this pumpkin I hot glues some lace all around the pumpkin in about 3-4 layers. I then wrapped some lace around the stem and tire it with a bow. I cut some ribbon for Braydon and we placed it around the pumkin in several different directions and I tied them off.If you wanted this to look like a ghost, add some googly eyes and a mouth! If you want this to look like a spider nest just put some fake spiders between the lace and pumpkin as best you can and maybe add some fake spider webs as well!

3. GOOGLY EYE PUMPKIN

This is the most simple and neat pumpkins we did, and it was Braydon’s favorite because he was able to do everything himself! I helped get the paper off them but for the most part he did this on his own. (Probably why it turned out the best!)

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Googly eyes (we got ours at the Dollar Tree)
  • A pumpkin

DIRECTIONS:

This pretty much goes without saying but you just let your child stick googly eyes all over their pumpkin! It turned out pretty neat in my opinion, you could even have them do this with some fun Halloween stickers or a combination of both!

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and that it helps you with pumpkin ideas for your little ones! Don’t forget to visit my Facebook page, give it a like and watch our silly video!!

Simple Photo DIY’s

I really wanted to to make a few things for Daniels office, but was having a hard time coming up with ideas. I knew I wanted to put some photo displays together for him but we hadn’t gotten around to buying any picture frames so I snooped around the house and this is what I came up with.

Now this is not a “Pinterest Perfect” craft/DIY and thats why I love it! anyone can do this, its super cheap, easy and simple!!

Here’s what you will need:

  • Clothes pins (got mine at the Dollar Tree)
  • Twine, Yarn, or Ribbon (I used twine also from the Dollar Tree)
  • card stock, card board, or scrapbook paper (I used scrapbook paper that I had on hand) any firm paper product will do.
  • Photo’s you want displayed
  • Hole punch
  • any type of adhesive you’d like to use (I used scotch tape and rolled it into sticky rings)
  • Scissors

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Vertical Ultrasound Display:

You may not need to use the card stalk or firm background if you’re using sturdy pictures, but I used some of our Ultrasound pictures for this so they needed a firmer background. The first thing you’re going to do is glue or tape your picture to the firm paper of your choice and then cut it out. You will then want to use your hole punch to punch a hole in the center at the top of the picture you’re using. Once you’ve done this to all the pitures you plan on using you are going to lead your string through the hole of the top image and then lead it back through to tie it in place at that end. You will place the next picture the amount of space you want it apart from the first picture and repeat this process until all your pics are secured. Cut any left over string off and you’re done! It’s ready to be displayed wherever you choose!

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Horizontal Clothespin Display:

This one is even simpler then the last! I used some of our Disneyland vacation pics for this project. All you need to do is cut the length of string for the amount of photos you want to include, then secure the photo on the string with a clothespin and space them out to your liking. I hung these up only to take a picture of what it looks like but both of these are now hanging in Daniels office. You can hang them in a sloping position or firm and straight across just play around with it and see what looks best!

I hope you liked these simple photo DIY’s, they are great for those that don’t have the time, patience, or money to get super crafty; yet they are cute enough to be proud of! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list and stay up to date on all the latest posts, Updates, and Newsletters!

Target Crafts: Halloween Store bought Fun!

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This month has been a particularly crafty month for us, with Halloween approaching and Braydon doing “Tot School”. Recently we picked up some cute crafts from the dollar section at Target along with a cute door monster craft that cost us $7.00. (see full target haul post here) We still haven’t gotten around to carving our pumpkins, so these activities have really kept Braydon busy and happy! If you’re like me and most times you don’t want to come up with a craft out of thin air then head to the target dolar spot they have such cute stuff right now! (as if they don’t always! Haha!)

The first crafts we tried out when my sister, Braydon’s aunt came over to visit. We painted a wooden pumpkin, a wooden skull, and my sister did a cute black cat mason jar craft! (this one was $3.00 in the dollar spot.)

Braydon favored the black and green paints and painted one side of the pumpkin while auntie helped him paint the other side. I painted the skull and auntie made the black cat craft for Braydon. He now carries the mason jar cat around and says kitty repeatedly!

Some pics of the final product:

 

The door craft was probably mine and Braydon’s fave! It was super simple and he was so excited to hand me pieces and put the adhesive foam on. I enjoyed the fact that it was very simple, not messy at all, and it came out super cute!

Here’s some pics of us putting up our monster door:

I hope you got some inspiration from this, there are so many resources out there to craft and have fun with your kiddos without breaking the budget and without having to be super crafty yourself. Let me know what you think and don’t forget to sign my guestbook before leaving! XOXO

 

Mommy Time! DIY Scrubs

This post is for all the mommies that are “cindarelled” out and just want to do something for themselves for a change! I’m going to share with you a couple really simple scrubs you can make at home with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Most scrub recipes I see on Pinterest usually require 1 or 2 things I don’t have on hand, and are more expensive then purchasing a scrub that’s already made!

Okay lets get started! the first scrub I’m going to show you is a face/body coffee scrub.

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You Will Need:

  • Coffee grounds (unused)
  • Olive Oil
  • sugar (brown or white, whichever you prefer. I used brown)
  • small container/jar (I used an Ikea spice jar)
  • rubber spatula
  • bowl

Directions:

In a bowl, mix about 1/2 cup coffee grounds, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add more or less for consistency and the amount you want to make. When thoroughly mixed, add to your jar or container.

This next scrub is a peppermint tea sea salt foot scrub!

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You will Need:

  • Sea Salt
  • peppermint tea packets
  • Lemon Juice ( don’t need it but if you have it throw some in!)
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

In a bowl, mix your tea packets (1 to 2) with 1/2 cup of sea salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice if you have it. Add more or less for consistency and the amount you want to make. Mix it all up, and add it to a jar or container.

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I love doing stuff like this and trying out new DIY beauty tricks. Its relaxing to me making them as well as using them. These are also great to give away as gifts, or use for party prizes. Leave me a comment and let me know your favorite relaxation tips or beauty DIYs! Remember to take care of yourselves mommies!!

DIY Curious George Costume!

This year I decided to do a homemade costume for Braydon. As a child one of my fondest memories was having my costume made at home. I remember all the time and creativity that would go into making our costumes every year and I want to be able to give my son those same feelings and memories. I don’t think there is anything wrong with buying a costume from the store I’ve done it two years now with Braydon and they have such cool selections each year. I think there is something extra special though about making a costume at home and not being restricted by what is offered in the stores.

This year we decided to make Braydon “The Man in the Yellow Hat” from Curious George. If you’re a Netflix junkie like me then you probably already know about all the Curious George movies and specials on there, and they happen to be some of Braydon’s favorites!

The first thing I did was look on Pinterest of course and I was only able to find some pinned images that gave me some inspiration, as well as asking other moms in Facebook groups ideas on how to pull this off. I ended up using clothes that Braydon already had, a hat from the dollar store, along with various crafting supplies from my home and Michaels. I will list the specific items used below.

Items You Will Need:

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Stapler
  • White Shirt and Pants (or light grey, the pants I used were grey)
  • Yellow Fabric Dye
  • Black Felt/Flannel Fabric
  • Extra white shirt (To make more yellow material if needed)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors (Fabric Scissors preferred)
  • Foam Hat (from the Dollar Tree)
  • Yellow Bandana (can find at craft stores)
  • Marker
  • Paper
  • Brown Boots
  • Stuffed Monkey

How I Made It:

The clothes dying process:

The first thing I did was dye a white shirt and some light grey sweat pants in fabric dye. I also tossed in an extra onesie that was too small for him and was also white, for extra yellow material. The bottle gave me instructions to dye these items in the washer, however I do my laundry at the laundromat, so I had to look the instructions up online on dying them on the stove or in your sink. In order to do this I added half a bottle of dye to a sink full of boiled water and half a cup of salt. I then stirred the mixture for about five minutes then added the clothes, constantly stirring them for about 45 minutes. I then rinsed them out until the water ran clear and hung them to dry.

Making the hat:

To make the hat I used a foam cowboy hat from the Dollar Tree, a yellow bandana, a stapler, hot glue gun, and some black felt. First I fitted the bandana around the hat as best as I could and staples it along the edges of the brim of the hat. I then Cut a strip of black felt and belted it around the hat just like what “the Man in the Yellow Hat’s” looks like. I used hot glue to adhere the felt to the hat.

Making the Tie:

This is probably the part I’m proud of the most. I think it turned out super cute! Okay so to do this I laid out a piece of paper and used a ruler and marker to draw out the shape of a tie. I then laid that paper on top of the extra onesie I had dyed and cut out the shape in the fabric. I used my hot glue gun to adhere the tie to the shirt. I then cut out black circles from felt and hot glued them to the tie.

Finishing touches:

To put the finishing touches on this costume I hot glued a black strip of felt around the waste of the pants for a belt, purchased a Curious George monkey and he will be wearing his brown rubber boots with it! Braydon was so excited when I put him in this to try it on, he would barely stay still! So here are some realistic pictures of how an excited 2 year old acts when he won’t stay still for a picture, haha!

I hope you enjoyed this DIY costume tutorial and find some useful tips for making your own homemade costume! Just remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect, its all in fun and imagination! My son knew right away what this was and if he loves it then I am happy and very proud that I could bring that happiness to him. Don’t forget to subscribe and visit often for more fun DIY’s and ongoing in our life.

 

Making a Sensory Bin With Items From Around the House!

I love seeing all these super cute and creative sensory bins for kids on Pinterest, but often don’t have the materials for such a thing. I wanted to make one for my son and I wanted it to be somewhat themed for fall. I’m gonna show you how I made Braydon’s sensory bin using mostly things from around the house. It’s not the most perfect or advanced sensory bin, but Braydon loves it! Some of these things you may not have on hand and I will give you some alternatives, your kiddos will love it no matter what!

What I Used:

  • A storage container from Dollar Tree
  • Fake leaves from dollar Tree( can make your own by coloring and cutting out paper)
  • Pom Poms from dollar tree (can use cotton balls as replacement)
  • Colored pasta ( can use rice, pop corn kernels, beans)
  • Straws
  • Play dough (and play dough containers)
  • Old baby spoons
  • Old sippy cup lids

You can add things or take things out depending on what’s available to you; dollar stores have tons of little nicknacks you can use in your bin, so just be creative or do what I did and use things you already have on hand! If you want to color some pasta to use I’ve posted a recipe down below.

Pasta Dying Recipe:

  • Pasta
  • Food coloring
  • Plastic bags
  • Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels
  • Strainer
  • Cookie sheet

Directions:

You can use one type of pasta or multiple like I did depending on what you have on hand. First take 1-2 handfuls of pasta and put in plastic bag, cover with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer and add about 20-25 drops of food coloring. Make sure bag is sealed tight and shake and mix until all noodles are covered with color. Let your pasta sit in the dye mix for around 2 hours, then strain and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Pat your pasta with paper towels and let sit out until completely dry! You can do this process for different colors and make a variety.

Okay, back to our sensory bin! Now that you have your base, you’re going to want to add some other textures and interesting objects. Because my bin was “fall themed” I added some fake leaves I had bought from the dollar tree; I had them on hand already for various crafts. I then added pompoms which can also be purchased at the Dollar tree, you could use cotton balls instead as this is mainly for added texture. I had some dollar store playdough that was almost dried out so added that as well, some old baby spoons and cup lids for scooping, and plastic straws for blowing the leaves around! That’s it! Braydon really loves it and I plan on changing it up based on the season. I hope this is helpful to you, and if you have made a sensory bin for your child please comment and share your ideas!

 

Fall Tot School Activities!

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This month we are focusing on fall and Halloween activities, mainly revolving around apples! Braydon had so much fun with our arts and crafts this week! We made a “5 Little Pumpkins” vine, and an “A” Apple Ornament. This was great for teaching fine motor skills, as well as creativity, counting, and Literacy. Surprisingly Braydon’s favorite part was coloring not painting! I pretty much let him so everything except the cutting. For our pumpkin craft I filled some of the paint in and did the laminating process.

“A” Apple Craft:

For this craft you will need popsicle sticks, glue, yarn or twine, markers or other form of color, and paper.

To make this cute little ornament, I helped Braydon glue some popsicle sticks in the shape of an A and we let it dry. After it was dry Braydon colored the “A” with some red markers. I set several red markers out in front of him because he likes to change utensils and I wanted to keep the color consistent. Once he had the A colored I had him glue on some paper that I cut out to make the shape of leaves. I then tied some green twine between it and bam! A nice little ornament. During this craft I had been repeating the words apple, red, and “A” to him so he could associate the color letter and word.

“5 Little Pumpkins” Vine Craft:

For this craft you will need an Apple cut in half, orange paint, paint sponges, large paper, ribbon, twine or yarn, scissors, hole punch, laminator, and green marker.

To Make this craft, I cut an apple in half and covered the flat end with orange paint, He stamped a large piece of paper with the paint (I went back over them with a sponge since he couldn’t stamp it too hard, he still had fun though!) and then we set it up to dry while Braydon colored. Once dry We colored some green stems on the pumpkins and then I cut them out. I laminated 5 of them, hole punched the tops, then strung some green twine and orange ribbon through. We plan on keeping this craft and using it as a counting visual for the “5 little pumpkins” rhyme. If you don’t have the book you can find and print out the rhyme online or lookup the cute song on YouTube!

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I hope you enjoyed some of our easy fall crafts and if you have any ideas on fun tot school activities or crafts to do with your kiddos comment and let me know!

 

Making Homemade Fruit Leathers out of Applesauce!

After making 12 jars of applesauce, I wanted to use some of that to make some homemade fruit leathers or “fruit roll-ups” to use some of it up. This is a super easy homemade snack that is good for you too! It’s basically just dehydrated fruit and you can do it with other fruit purées as well. You don’t need to make your own applesauce for this either you can use store bought if you wish to make a healthier option to fruit snacks.

What you’ll Need:

  • Applesauce (I made 3 cookie sheets worth of fruit leathers and it took 5 16 oz jars of applesauce for this. You can adjust depending on how much you want to make.)
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Wax paper
  • twine, ribbon, yarn, or rubber bands
  • freezer bags or other air tight storage container
  • scissors

Directions:

First you are going to preheat your oven to 175 degrees and then line your cookie sheet with wax paper. Spread out your applesauce or other fruit purée until its flat and even. Let the sauce dehydrate in the oven for about 8 hours (it will begin to darken). Take your fruit leather out and let it cool for a little bit then transfer it to another sheet of wax paper. I did this because the wax paper it cooks on becomes very greasy. Once you have it transferred over, cut it into strips of whatever size you prefer and roll the strips up. Tie them with whatever type of string you chose to use such as yarn, ribbon, twine, or rubber bands (I used twine I bought from the dollar tree!) Make sure you store your fruit in an air tight container (I used freezer storage bags) and keep it in a cool dry place. You can also freeze your fruit leathers, but dehydrated fruit keeps very well. I hope you enjoyed this simple little snack making activity! Its especially great for this time of year when apples and other goodies are in season.

This post has been featured as a guest post on Willamette Kids & Family Magazine. Go check it out for other fun ideas and local resources for kids and families in the Willamette Valley area!