So, we decided to recognize the anniversary of the start of the pandemic by doing some activities.
It's been one year since the world was turned upside down. During that year everyone has suffered in one form or another and most people have experienced serious life-changes. As you read in my previous post, we had a major life change and moved across the country during this pandemic which was definitely an interesting and stressful experience.
So, we decided to recognize the anniversary of the start of the pandemic by doing some activities.
We did a few crafts, created a family time capsule, played some games and took our frustrations on a DIY covid piñata. It was a nice way to reflect on this insane year and to have a little bit of fun while still respecting the importance of the day and how it has affected people. We stayed in our pajamas all day and ended our activities by going to the movies covid style and bought the new Disney movie "Raya and the Last Dragon" to watch at home with popcorn and candy.
I also created a collage of photos from our year in quarantine to memorialize it and plan on hanging it somewhere in the house. Even though it was scary and difficult, we had many wonderful times all together.
We made soap jellies kind of like the lush jellies you can buy. They were super easy and the kids thought the result was amazing. We even put little trinkets inside to find. You can find the recipe I used here.
We wrote letters to our future selves and colored "stay at home" coloring pages to put in our time capsule. We also included a trinket that reminded us of this time to look back on later. The plan is not to open the box until at least 10 years from now and I shoved it in the far reaches of our basement storage room. So no one is tempted to peek sooner.
We talked about germs and did several germ activities including making germ cookies, germ removal playdough, designing our own germ and a "find the germs" water activity using velcro balls, soap and a sponge. We also did the glitter + milk + soap experiment.
We played a few minute to win it style games revolving around toilet paper including a toilet paper toss and balancing tp races. Then they attacked the piñata I made. To make it I found a baseball piñata and just hot glued red paper cups around the edges. It looked pretty good!
I look forward to a more normal way of life and am hopeful that we will eventually get there. I've been fully vaccinated and most of my relatives are starting to get the vaccine as well. We'll still have to be cautious because the kids aren't old enough but it is reassuring to know that the adults in my life are safer.
PWith covid still a very real thing we did not have a big party for Arthur's 7th birthday. However, just because we can't have people over doesn't mean we can't have a party! With three kids we basically have a party anyway. So, I planned a day full of activities revolving around pirates, his chosen theme. We had a great day doing all the things and, the best part for my son was that he never had to change out of his pajamas. He's a real home body and if allowed, he would choose to almost never leave the house.
I made a party planning sheet and Pinterest board to make sure I didn't forget anything, hit Hobby Lobby hard for supplies and headed home to get it all prepped!
He woke up to find a pirate themed basement with a cardboard ship, pirate costumes, treasure, a shark infested "ocean", pin the teeth on the shark and a piñata.
After a riddle filled treasure hunt we did a lot of crafts including making a shoulder parrot, coloring pirate accessories for our stuffed animals so they could join in on the fun, decorating swords and making maps.
Mixed into all of the fun we had jell-o ocean cups with orange ships, his fav breakfast (apple fritters), gold oreos and birthday cake in his chosen flavor, strawberries and cream. I even made the cake twice because the first time the altitude killed it and I had to start over. But, I made chocolate covered cake balls out of the failed attempt that turned out delicious.
We all had a great day of togetherness and celebration and I don't think he missed having a huge group of people over in the least.
You can find links to all of my inspiration ideas on my pinterest board here.
Thanks for visiting!
I don't know about you but, I conduct most of my Christmas shopping online. With three kids it's just too hard to find the time to get it all done any other way. So, while standing in my craft room surrounded by empty boxes I decided to make use of them! I quickly searched Pinterest for some tips and managed to find an easy tutorial for creating a cardboard box house with just scissors and tape. I whipped together three, one for each kid because otherwise a fight was sure to happen, and plopped them in the entry-way of our home with a container of markers. It is now one week later and the cardboard village has had a few modifications but, the kids have been devoting a TON of their time in creating their own little homes. There have been a few times when I've found the little one with scissors trying to conduct a little home improvement like his older siblings which was a bit scary but, I swear, these kids LOVE these things. It was a fab idea and I don't even mind the mess because they are all so quiet while updating and modifying their spaces with pillows, blankets and books. It's been great!
Back to school is a crazy, busy time! I did manage to pull it together (by staying up until 1am) and craft custom t-shirts for my crew's first day back as well as gifts for my teacher peeps! Check it out!
I used my silhouette machine to make stencils for the tshirts. I used the same stencil for all of the shirts but took out the middle and added the different grades. I love making stencils because I can reuse them unlike vinyl which is definitely a time saver. Once the stencil is made you just need the tshirt, (I get mine from Wal-Mart and Target), and acrylic paint in your choice of color.
I used the same stencil technique for my teacher bags. One stencil made ALL of the bags! I grabbed the totes at Wal-Mart for 3 for $6. Many of my friends were trying to improve their health and weight so I honored their efforts and made low carb chocolate zucchinni muffins. They were AMAZING and no one could believe they were diet friendly! I paired that with a low calorie frap and voila! Adorable gifts to let my friends know I care!
I lucked out and got a huge furniture upgrade for my room this year which called for a total re-do on decor. So, I made a bitmoji door greeting, used my silhouette to create a custom door sign and "hola" greeting, added curtains and many more things to make my room it's best version of itself. I love my new class and am definitely ready to kick-off the greatest school year ever!
Sorry for the delay in posts recently! School started back and I've been busy juggling the myriad things at work along with dealing with the kids and general everyday stuff. So, yeah...
Right before school started back, I had a blast on a girls weekend getaway and I just had to shower my girls with some fun swag. So, I made girls trip goody bags full of fun stuff.
For the shirts, I found some cute tanks at Old Navy on sale for only $3 each. Then, I made a stencil using my silhouette machine and used white paint to paint the shirts.
For the bracelets, I used embroidery thread, seed beads and sterling silver findings along with plastic letter beads in gold and silver and created a trio for each girl with their name, a simple friendship bracelet and a f*** it bracelet.
I used my silhouette machine again for the cups, which I found for $2 each on clearance at HomeGoods. I was going to paint them with stencils too but that didn't work and I ended up ruining one of the cups with that adventure.
To finish out the bag I hit the Dollar Tree hard and grabbed snacks as well as the adorable flip sequin bags! Total score! Which worked out great for my friends since several hadn't remembered to bring a clutch for our night out.
The bags took a bit of time but not too terribly long and at under $6 each were definitely economical. We all had a great time on a short, nearby trip to Memphis and stayed at the Graceland Guesthouse which, by the way, I totally recommend! It was super swanky and exactly what we needed to get away from it all and chill poolside! It was definitely a fun-filled weekend!
Lilly's school has an upcycle fair every year. Last year she made a plastic bag jump rope and won 3rd place in her grade. This year she made what she called "ipod Bears" which are basically mini bean bag chairs that look like chairs to hold your ipod or iphone. She won 1st place in her grade!
I'm going to show you how we made them so you can make your own. They are super adorable and easy to do using materials you probably have right now! We did get the idea from youtube and used this video to help us make them.
diy: ipod bears
You will need:
- rice- hot glue and glue gun
It was a pretty easy and fairly quick project. We ended up making three in total and only spent about 1 and a half hours. It's definitely something interesting to do with all of those socks with missing partners!
Maybe now she won't lose her ipod under her bed. Lol.
It's been a busy and kinda rough last few months. My Mother-in-Law has been very ill and passed away on Friday. My grandfather also passed away only two days before on Wednesday. My husband and I both agreed to put our Valentine's Day on hold but, I knew that I wanted my kids to keep some semblance of normalcy and have a bit of fun to take their mind off of the very heavy things that have happened. Plus, I hoped to involve my Father-in-Law and Sister-in-Law as well to give them something to keep them occupied with the tragedy so fresh and it being the day of love as well as my FiL's 55th birthday.
So, I perused Pinterest for some ideas and decided on a fancy family dinner and for the morning, the kids had a scavenger hunt to find their gifts. Walmart had some pretty legit stuffed animals for only $15 so they received those in their favorite animals, some Valentine's Day themed socks and a package of edible bubbles. (I know, I was unaware this was a thing too. They seem pretty neat.)
For his birthday, my husband had a great idea of gifting his Dad with a giant, ultra, mega Nerf gun and got one for each kid too. This turned out to be the best idea. Even though the joy was brief, there was joy, and his Dad even laughed out loud several times in reaction to my squealing kids running in fear of being pelted with a nerf dart. Everyone enjoyed the dinner and our plan is to have a weekly dinner where they come and have a Nerf battle and an opportunity to be happy for a bit instead of grieving.
The family dinner was such a success that I think we'll do it every year. I made it fun with a sequin table cloth, other decorations, a custom menu and fizzy juice for the kids. I also acted as a waiter, complete with a proper silly voice, for them and let them order off of their menus which they thought was fantastic.
Oh, and I had no idea that I was supposed to send a Valentine's Day box with my son until I picked him up the day before (Usually my husband drops him off and picks him up so the info fell through the cracks.) So, I ended up making a pretty adorable dino box for him. He is obsessed with dinosaurs. When my husband got him to school the next day, he said that most of the kids literally just had a box. Not a decorated one. Just a box. lol. I'm glad I was over-prepared and stressed to make it the night before.
Last weekend I was invited to attend a fundraiser for Arkansas Children's Hospital that was Kentucky Derby themed. Being the crazy person I am and not knowing anything about the Kentucky Derby (or horse races for that matter), I of course hit the internet hard learning about the event. In my research I discovered that the hats are one of the biggest deals at the derby. Each year women show up with crazier and crazier hats with the goal of begin the most outrageous but in a still attractive and super bourgeois kind of style. It's all about the hat.
So, I decided to go all in on my hat and set about deciding what kind I would be wearing. I chose to go with a floral theme in hot pink tones and headed for Hobby Lobby. Still not quite sure about how I would be making the hat, I rolled up and down the isles looking for inspiration. I ended up picking the week that the floral stems were not 50% off so that was pretty unfortunate as all the flowers I liked were a bit on the pricey end. My goal was to spend no more than $25 and hopefully less.
I ended up on the wedding aisle and discovered a good bit of it was marked 50% off including some pearl sprays, feather sticks, and fun, hot pink baubles. I also found the floral sprays that are only $1 - $3 each meant for bouquets. I selected my flowers from these. They were the perfect length and there were plenty of varying types and sizes to give my hat some real pizzazz.
After leaving the bridal aisle with a much more concrete plan in mind I then grabbed a roll of pink glitter tulle. Still not sure about how to form a base for my hat I hit the craft foam and felt aisle in search of something that might work when I found a blank dolls hat made from the very material that derby hats are made from, sinamay! It would make for a perfect base but, it was a boring tan color. So, I headed to the paint aisle and grabbed a bottle of hot pink acrylic paint. Knowing I already had felt and a pink headband at home I headed to the checkout ready to get started! The best part is I only spent $23!! And, that was without the floral items being on sale!
When I arrived home, I first painted the hat. It took a matter of minutes and the boring tan became a vibrant pink. After letting it dry, I began to play around with placement of the items on my hat. I also had to snip the flowers off of the stems to be able to do this. I also made some gathered tulle pieces by cutting a strip of tulle and bunching it in the middle and then stapling it in the center. If you look online there's a much nicer (and more time consuming) way of accomplishing this but, it requires sewing and I try to avoid that all costs. This worked just fine. Once I had a good idea of placement, I began to adhere the largest pieces first as a base to work from. I added the details as I went to make it balanced. To add the wired details I simply poked them through the hat and twisted them together underneath to be sure they didn't budge.
After getting it all glued (I used hot glue) and wired on. I stuffed the hat with pink napkins I happened to already have. You could stuff it with whatever you like. Then I cut a circle of hot pink felt and glued it over the hat base. After that, I glued my headband to the felt circle and cut an identical circle, snipping two slits in it for the headband ends to pass through. Then I slid the second circle over the headband and glued it down as well.
Overall, I probably spent about an hour on this project but, it was really worth it! At the party, every woman I spoke with said they loved my hat and several said it was their favorite at the event. I had a great time making and wearing it and I encourage you to get crafty and make your own if you ever attend a party where such a hat is encouraged!
As a Spanish teacher, I always spend the week of Cinco de Mayo teaching my students about the holiday and allowing them to make piñatas. This year instead of paper maché we made paper bag piñatas. They were incredibly easy and gave us more time to learn about Mexican culture and make more crafts. We discussed the history of the sarapé (you might also know it as a poncho) and the sombrero. Then we made some for ourselves to wear during our fiesta! My students, who are ages 15-18 loved the activities and left with a better understanding of the holiday. I also brought the crafts and knowledge home for my kids who also loved them!
If you are one of those people that likes to throw the term "cultural appropriation" around in regards to Americans wearing sombreros on Cinco de Mayo, I have an opinion I'd like to share with you.
Sombreros and sarapés are a part of Mexican history. During the Battle of Puebla (The event that Cinco de Mayo celebrates.) Mexicans actually did wear sombreros and sarapés. Of course they are not part of the general attire now but, we, as Americans don't walk around in Pilgrim garb anymore either. However, we are not offended at Thanksgiving when children dress up like pilgrims. I think that if we teach our children how to respect others culture while learning about it that there is no harm in enjoying that culture. The act of making these items, putting time, effort and care into a project based on the culture of someone else can actually help you understand and appreciate that culture more. Just as with everything, be respectful and develop an understanding of the culture. Don't just steal it and mock it with stereotypical behavior.
If we are always worrying about offending someone by even bringing up the items labelled as "stereotypical" in someone's culture then we may never be able to become comfortable with them or understand them. Opening up the conversation and allowing children to explore and investigate is the only way for them to learn.
Ok, now, if you don't agree then you can stop reading since you probably think I'm a horrible person for making these crafts. Otherwise, keep on to learn how to make the crafts as well as get links to the information I used to teach my students about the holiday and Mexican culture.
Paper Bag Piñata
You will need:
- paper bag
- hole punch
- tissue paper and/or streamers
1. Fill your bag with candy (not too much!) Then fold down the top and staple.
2. Decorate! Use whatever you like! My students got pretty creative and made things varying from a penguin to an emoji!
3. Punch a hole in the top and string it.
4. Bust it! With my students, we hung it in a tree outside of the school. For my kids I just held it out for them. You can also blind fold and spin the hitter for extra fun and cultural appropriateness.
If you want to learn about the art of making piñatas in Mexico you can watch this video.
You will need:
- brown craft paper
- tissue paper and/or streamers
1. Cut a piece of craft paper that is the appropriate width for your torso.
2. Fold in half and cut a half circle. (This will be the neck hole.)
3. Decorate! Some students made a themed sarapé others simply decorated with streamers and tissue paper. Some even added paper flowers. My children used crayons to draw a pattern and color it in.
If you want to learn about the history of the sarapé you can read about it here.
Paper Plate Sombrero
You will need:
- paper plate (I used white to make it easier to decorate but you can use colored ones too.)
- paper cup
- hot glue
- hole punch
- streamers and/or tissue paper, ribbon etc.
1. Hot glue the cup to the plate. The lip of the cup will be glued to the top, center of the plate.
2. Decorate! Some students had streamers dangling down. Others made paper flowers or covered it in streamers and tissue paper.
3. Punch hole in either side and add a string.
If you would like to learn about the history of the sombrero click here.
Thanks for visiting!
My daughter's school hosted an up-cycle fair and we chose to participate. The goal was to encourage young people to think about recycling and ways to re-use items so they can help keep the Earth happy! It was done similarly to a science fair where you created your item and then made a project board to display with it. Judges then awarded prizes for each grade.
My daughter decided to make a jump rope out of plastic bags and even though she needed our help, she did most of the project on her own. It was fairly easy to make and we truly had all of the materials already. In fact, I think we have enough plastic bags to make at least 8 more jump ropes if we really wanted! She ended up winning 3rd place for her grade and was given an adorable trophy. It was a lot of fun and we look forward to participating next year!
Want to make your own? Check out the directions below!
We had a lot of fun with this project and she is loving her new jump rope! Winning 3rd place was an added bonus! Hopefully your little one will enjoy the project too! Have fun and thanks for visiting!
I'm always trying to get the most bang for my buck and save as much as possible when redecorating our new home. So, for my office I began browsing pinterest for inspiration and came across a fantastic tutorial to create 3D origami art. I figured that paper was cheap so in the worst case scenario I wouldn't be out much money if the project ended up being a fail. I selected papers that matched the color scheme for my room, pulled out my paper cutter, ruler and pencil and got to work! I followed the tutorial exactly and then configured them in my own way on a piece of white poster board. Once I figured out the arrangement I liked, I used hot glue to adhere them to the white poster board. After that, I cut it out of the poster board and got glued it to a piece of gold poster board. Then I stuck it on the wall using poster stickers. Once I got it up there I felt it needed a little something extra and added some black and white washi tape to frame it.
I LOVE how it turned out and only spent about 30 minutes making it! It really pops on the wall and I adore the paper choices I made. I love it so much I may make some similar art for other rooms in my house.
I've slowly been checking off my to-do list since moving into our new home this fall and this week I took on my office/craft room! It's not finished yet so you'll have to wait for that post a bit longer. But, I can definitely share with you a few of the projects I've been working including a super easy and fun cork board that I've hung in my office.
You will need:
- framed cork board
- paint (I used gold and hot pink)
- washi tape (I used black and white striped, metallic pink and a gold pattern)
- hot glue and hot glue gun
- painter's tape
1. Decide on your design. I chose to tape a gold triangle off in the bottom right corner and a pink in the top right. Then I added gold dots along the edge of the pink triangle and a few pink triangles on the edge of the golden one. I also painted the top and bottom parts of the frame pink and the sides gold. I used painter's tape to create a straight line for both triangles. I used a piece of paper to outline my triangles with a pencil and then filled them in with pink paint.
2. While your board dries, gather the rest of your supplies to create the fun clothespins. Apply washi tape to the front of each clothespin. Then use your hot glue gun to apply a push pin to the opposite side of each clothespin.
3. Put it to use! I found some cute free printables for my board and added a pic of my husband and I. I'm sure it will soon be covered with all of my goals and to-do's but for now it looks very neat and pretty. The prints I used are "Eat, Sleep, Craft, Repeat" from The Plaid Palette , a 2017 floral calendar from The Cottage Market, and "Happiness is a warm glue gun" from Man Made DIY.
I'm really happy with my result and hope you enjoy it! Thanks for visiting!
When my husband and I first got married we had several college friends who didn't have anyone to celebrate Thanksgiving with. So, we started hosting a Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday evening to give those friends a Thanksgiving experience. When we started hosting this ten years ago we cooked everything but it was only for about six people and we didn't have any children. Now, most of our friends have somewhere to go for Thanksgiving so we've moved the event to the Saturday before Thanksgiving and we invite many more people so it's more of a potluck scenario where we cook the turkey and a few sides. By the way, if you want a fool proof turkey recipe you should try Alton Brown's Good Eats Roast Turkey. It's the recipe we've used every year and it always yields a delicious, juicy and flavorful turkey. Out of the several Thanksgivings we attend it is definitely our favorite. There is such great energy with all of our friends and their kids. It truly feels like an extended family.
This year we got to host it at our new house which made the event even more awesome than ever before because we had more space for everyone including the 10 rowdy kids! With the layout of our new home, the dining room and breakfast nook were both large enough to add an additional table which allowed us to visit in larger groups while eating that in previous years. The house also has a room that is towards the back end of the house and I set that room up as the kids room giving the adults a little distance from the ruckus that they created.
For table decorations I used brown butcher paper to cover our folding tables and then drew place settings with a sharpie. Then I added some white votives and faux fall leaves to the center. I printed out some free napkin rings but they were too big for the paper napkins and plastic silverware I was using so we just laid them across the drawn place setting and put the napkin and silverware on the side. I had a tablecloth and centerpiece on the main dining table and placed golden chargers at each setting with he same napkin ring/decorative paper strip, napkin and silverware and used a ceramic cornucopia filled with fruit for the breakfast nook table.
For the kids tables I copied the adult tables by using craft paper and faux place settings but for the center I placed paper bag teepees made by my daughter and paper finger puppet pilgrims and indians. I also put a snack bag of Kix cereal that was dressed up to look like corn on the cob at each setting. To entertain the kids I provided indian headdresses for them to color and wear and crayons at the center of the tables. I also made a "Stuff the Turkey" game by following this tutorial which entertained the kids for at least a few minutes.
Stuff the turkey was also a quick craft and I only needed a large paper bag, two small paper bags, white tissue paper (I ended up using white paper towels), several sheets of colored paper (for stuffing), a hot glue gun and a stapler. I followed directions found here.
We had a ton of food and a really great time! We even had a small break at around 8:30 for parents to take kids home and put them to bed. Then we reconvened for more adult time while sitters stayed with the sleeping children. It was pretty fun!
Hopefully this event will continue to grow and be as much fun year after year. Enjoy the ideas and have a great Thanksgiving!
I get excited every year when it's time to plan and create our Halloween costumes! This year I'm a little less enthused because I will either be gigantically pregnant and overdue by almost one week or I will have JUST had a baby. So, either way trick-or-treating may not be in the cards for me. But, I can still participate in the costume part...maybe. So, when the time came to make a plan I was at a bit of a loss. How do I prepare for two very different costume sizes without making two costumes? After chatting with my daughter and asking her what she would like to be she said she wanted to be Princess Jasmine. That got me thinking. I could be Raja the tiger! An orange t-shirt, black leggings and some face paint and I can either be super huge Raja or Raja with a baby Raja! Perfect. My husband is going to be Aladdin and my son will be Abu the monkey. It's going to be adorable. But, enough about the thought process. You're here to learn about the Jasmine costume.
Usually, I create the entire costume myself but, the Jasmine costumes looked like they would require a bit more sewing than I was interested in and pre-made ones were pretty cheap. So, I purchased this one on Amazon. I opted for a non-navel showing one because, you know, she's six. I also purchased these gold shoes. But, when looking for Jasmine jewelry and accessories I couldn't find any that looked like the actual cartoon. So, I decided I could do it myself.
What You'll Need:
- clip-on earring backs
- 1 sheet blue glitter craft foam
- 1 sheet yellow glitter craft foam
- 1 yellow glitter craft foam visor
- 1 turquoise stretch headband
- hot glue gun and glue sticks
I pulled up an image of Princess Jasmine to make sure I knew what I was doing and then free-handed a rounded edge triangle for the earrings. Then I cut it out and used it as a stencil for my other earring and cut it out too. Once I had my earring shapes I simply glued them to the earring backs and I had my earrings!
Obviously they're not perfect but who cares! They definitely look like Jasmine's earrings. If I'd wanted to I could have made a stencil and created perfectly shaped earrings. But, I didn't feel like it and she loves them as is.
Now, on to the necklace. For the necklace I used the craft visor and simply cut it down to be the shape of Jasmine's necklace. Again, I eye-balled this and didn't use a stencil or anything. I just looked at the Jasmine image and hoped for the best. Once it was cut she could just slip it on as a necklace instead of a visor. Perfect, cheap and easy!
Finally, creating the headband. I cut out a large oval from the yellow glitter foam and then a slightly smaller one from the blue. Then I hot glued them together and glued a safety pin onto the back. Then I pinned the glued ovals onto the headband. Sure, I could have glued it to the headband but, I thought I'd rather have the ability to re-use it.
There ya have it! It only took about 20 minutes and I only spent about $6. I also had plenty of craft foam leftover plus an awesomely cute new headband! She's happy, I'm ecstatic and at least one of us is ready for Halloween!
Stay-tuned for the tutorials for the rest of the family costume tutorials including Raja the tiger, Abu the monkey and Aladdin!
I know kids love to play dress-up so, I always incorporate an element of that when I throw a birthday party. For my daughter's mermaid/shark themed party this year I created mermaid tails and shark fins for each party guest to take home and wear for the party. They were a big hit with everyone, including the adults and only took about 2 hours and $20 to make!
DIY Shark Fin
You will need:
- gray craft foam (I was able to fit three shark fins on one piece for .88 and I made 12 just to be safe.)
- hot glue and glue gun
- free template (courtesy of itsthelife.typepad.com)
- large safety pins
DIY Mermaid Tails
You will need:
- about 4 yards cheap, stiff material (I cannot remember what this stuff is called but it is only $4 per yard and has a stiffness to it. I believe it is used for putting under things and at hobby lobby they have it displayed being used to make a pretend cape.)
- about 3 yards iridescent sheer material (This stuff is a bit more at $6 per yard but it is important.)
- 1 30ft. spool of ribbon (I chose a sheer turquoise.)
Rachel is a mother of three, high school Spanish teacher and part-time blogger who loves crafting, creating fun and engaging activities for her children and students and hanging with her friends and family. She blogs about what she's doing and her interests at any given time which vary. She's a little OCD and always looking for her next project. Her husband calls it, "focusing her crazy", but she just calls it fun.