5 Alternatives to Carving Pumpkins {Fun Kids Crafts}

Having small children can sometimes make pumpkin carving a bit difficult. So this year we went with something a little different and let the kids make a few varieties of pumpkins. Grab some glue, your potato head pieces, and even the paint and see what your kids do to create their Fall masterpieces!

If you’re in the same boat and are looking for great alternatives to carving pumpkins this year, here are our suggestions.  [Read more…]

How to Make a Spider Web Pumpkin

Each year we take the time to cut, gut, and carve out a few pumpkins. And every year we complain about the mess, the time, and the clean up. So this year we went simple! We let the kids paint pumpkins and we took an alternative approach.

We also used paints but used different kinds to make these spider web pumpkins. With the help of some spray paint and puffy paints we were able to make these super cool spider web pumpkins for our Amazing Spider-Man party and for our Halloween display.

It was super easy to do and I’m sure you’ll find it just as simple to create a pumpkin masterpiece of your own! Here’s what you do:

Spider Web Pumpkins

What you’ll Need: 

  • Pumpkin
  • Spray Paint
  • Puffy Paint

What you do: 

1. Paint your pumpkin with your base color. We chose to go with black.

2. Using the puffy paint, make lines going down and across the pumpkin to create your web.

3. Add a spider to the web with puffy paint and let dry completely. 

Once the pumpkin is completely dry set it outside your door for everyone to enjoy!

How do you decorate pumpkins for Halloween? 

Smarties Are The Perfect Halloween Sweet Treat

One of my favorite parts of my childhood Halloween experience was racing home from trick or treating to sort out all of the Halloween candy I received. I was obsessed with finding my favorites (Smarties were at the top of the list along with chocolate). And one of my favorite parts of Halloween now are the decorations we put up each year. I absolutely love how festive and creative we get each year.

My husband is quite the Halloween decor enthusiast. Each year he purchases foam pumpkins from the store and creates a new face. And in an effort to keep up with him, I try to get creative as well in the decor inside our home.

Smarties Halloween candies #IAmASmartie

Gluten-Free and Allergen Free

This year I headed to Target to pick up some decorating supplies and candy to pass out. Since there are so many allergies and special diets these days, we went simple. Smarties all around! And I planned on decorating with Smarties as well.

Smarties are not only gluten-free, but they also contain no peanuts and are fat free! They’re the worry-free, one-size-fits-all candy this holiday and are the perfect choice for passing out. I was able to pick up a large bag of Smarties and another bag of Smarties and Dum-Dums mixed together. My daugther was absolutely elated to put these bags into the cart to take home.

Fun for All Ages

I always make sure to pick up some goodies for smaller children who aren’t able to eat candy so I grabbed a pack of Play-Doh as well. Once I had everything I needed to pass out to the kids, I grabbed some decorations to make our home festive.

Since we also needed a bucket for my daughter (she was a bit too young last year for a bucket), we picked up a classic pumpkin bucket to match her brother’s. My son’s bucket is personalized so I grabbed some scrapbooking alphabet stickers to personalize hers as well. It makes a simple bucket their own and I love the ease of it.

You can check out the rest of my shopping experience in my Smarties Google+ Album.

Fun and Festive Wreath

In an effort to tie in the fun of one of my favorite candies with the decor in my home, I decided to turn a Target $1 Spot foam wreath into a festive piece for my front door. Along with the pumpkins and spider webs in our front yard, our trick-or-treaters would also see this gorgeous wreath and know exactly what they’d be getting in their buckets.

To create my wreath I simply glued Smarties in their wrappers onto the wreath. By gluing them seam side down, the wreath can stay in tact for many years. Because the Smarties left gaps as I glued the first layer I decided to add a second layer. And even though it added a bit of weight to the wreath I absolutely loved the look it gave to the finished piece. I simply tied dome wire ribbon to the top and hung it on my door.

To find out how to make this wreath step by step, check out my Smarties Wreath DIY Tutorial here.

Sweet Treats

After creating our wreath, we wanted to celebrate by using our Smarties in a different way.With our Parish Festival coming up we were already planning on making some delicious goodies to sell in the Bake Shop to raise money for the church. We made some delicious Smarties Sugar Cookies that were absolutely delicious.

Instead of using the Smarties whole in our cookies I decided to crush them into a flour and use them in a family sugar cookie recipe. not only did they give great flavor to the sugar cookies, they were the perfect treat for Halloweentime. We packaged them in with a few whole Smarties in with the package to share our Smarties love.

You can check out my Smarties Sugar Cookies recipe here

If you’re looking for a great treat to pass out to the goblins and ghouls who come to your door this Halloween, pick up a large bag of Smarties and you’ll be set! And if you want to get a bit creative… see what you can make with Smarties this Halloween.

Make sure to head over to visit Smarties on Facebook and follow Smarties on Twitter to indulge in their sweet goodness.

What would you do with Smarties candy?

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Smarties. All opinions are my own. #CBias #SocialFabric

How to DIY a Smarties Wreath this Halloween

When we get ready for Halloween, decorations in our home are up there with Christmas. We decorate the whole house inside and out to celebrate for the whole month of October. Many of the decorations we use can be carried into November as well with a festive Fall theme but a few we make just for Halloween!

This Smarties Wreath is just that. The perfect celebration of Halloween and the excitement that each child feels as they go from door to door saying, “Trick or Treat!” This wreath is not only festive, it’s easy to make as well! You only need a few simple items to put it together and it takes less than 30 minutes to make!

As an added bonus, it only cost me $5 to make. The $1 Spot at Target has these foam wreaths and the Smarties candies are only $7.99 for a huge bag and I only needed 1/2 the bag to make the wreath. I had the ribbon on hand from the end of season sale last year. And the left over Smarties will be passed out to trick or treaters on Halloween! [Read more…]

Recycled Portable Snack Container {How-To}

With a love of coffee and creamer comes a surplus of creamer bottles left over once I’ve had a few morning cups. So taking a spin on recycling a bit further, I removed the wrapper over one of my creamer bottles and cleaned it out very well after it was empty.

What resulted was simple recycled portable snack container. And it’s perfect for little hands!

Here’s how to make a Recycled Portable Snack Container: 

1. Grab an empty creamer container.

2. Rinse and wash thouroughly.

3. Remove outer plastic from bottle.

4. Fill up with your child’s favorite small snack.

5. Enjoy a snack on the go!

Not only does it fit perfectly in my daughter’s stroller, it also pours out just a few snacks at a time reducing waste and messes. Each time we go out for a run my daughter reaches for her portable snack container so she can enjoy her snack on the go!

What does your child love to snack on? 

How To Turn a Mirror into a Chalkboard {DIY Tutorial}

My baby boy started preschool yesterday.

I still can’t believe he’s old enough! But he’s 3 1/2 and ready to go. He was practically shoving us out the door so he could get to school.

He excitedly grabbed his backpack (filled with a change of clothes and LOTS of dinos) and headed out. But not before I grabbed a few snapshots of him to mark the special day.

The chalkboard I used is something I made. Yup! And it cost me $7 + a can of chalkboard paint. And no, I didn’t use all of the chalkboard paint. There is plenty left for lots more projects. Wanna know how I did it? Here’s how!

How to Turn a Mirror into a Chalkboard

1. Head over to your local furniture store. Check their clearance section to see if they have any cracked mirrors. The one above had a HUGE crack down the center of the mirror and was clearanced at $7. You can’t find frames that inexpensive!

2. Carefully remove the glass by taping the mirror and lightly tapping on the glass with a hammer. Use gloves to remove the glass from the frame.

3. Once the glass is removed, tape the sides of the frame so no paint gets on the wood.

4. Paint a thin coat of chalkboard paint onto the backing of the mirror (ours had a nice piece of chipboard behind the glass)

5. Let dry for 2 hours, or as recommended on the paint can, and reapply another thin coat.

6. Allow paint to dry overnight or until completely cured. Then start coloring!

Thats it! This was such a simple craft that I enjoyed doing. And the possibilities are endless. Peruse yard and estate sales for older mirrors, check out the flea market and thrift shops, etc. Then change up the color of the frames with some spray paint, remove the glass, and start making chalkboards!

DIY No Mess Finger Paint

DIY No Mess Finger Paint

Sometimes having a nice, mess-free craft is fun. And a lot easier on mama! One of the best ways to keep painting mess free is to simply cover up the paint in plastic wrap and let the kids go at it. This no mess finger paint is simple, easy, and, best of all, FUN!

We love that this craft can be done indoors and outdoors so if the weather is bad we have an activity to do that won’t get too crazy. This can also be a great way to teach children about primary colors and what two colors mixed together will make. [Read more…]

Displaying Your Child’s Artwork

Lets face it, our kids love to create. Crafts, art, glitter, paint. It’s all exciting when you’re small.

And sometimes those pieces of artwork, no matter how small, need a place in the home to be displayed. But because of how MUCH artwork can be created, taken home, and demanded to be up, we’ve come up with a few solutions for displaying artwork in a way that isn’t permanent.

So here are a few tips and tricks to displaying your child’s masterpiece.

Framed and Clipped

This is one of my favorite ways to display my kids stuff. All it takes is an empty frame, a butterfly clip and a nail or two. 

Simply hang the empty frame (garage sales are an excellent place to find these on the cheap), add the butterfly clip, and hang whatever artwork your child wants to display. You can easily swap out pictures as frequently as you’d like! And you can even personalize each frame by adding your child’s name inside (or outside) in vinyl letters to create their own space. 


Framed and Matted

We love to make crafts that are specifically for gift giving. One of the first craft projects my son and I made was this adorable footprint heart for Valentine’s Day. To make it extra special and display it in Daddy’s office we framed it in a matted frame to give it more depth. 

We also frame our children’s drawing as well on an “art wall” in our hallway. It helps to use simple frames that we can easily change out the pictures in. Each child gets to choose one piece of art to display all month. It can be a seasonal piece or something they’re proud of.


Framed and Pinned

This frame used to be a mirror. A mirror with a LARGE crack in it. We snagged it at our local furniture store for $7. Such a steal!

Simply put up a few letters to spell out ART and I have a customized large frame to thumb tack any artwork the kids might want to have showcased. Easy peasy!

And if you aren’t lucky enough to score such an awesome deal you can easily put up a large cork board and achieve the same effect.

How do you display your child’s artwork?

 

DIY Cardboard Seedling Starter {Earth Day Celebration}

In celebration of Earth Day this year I wanted to share a way that you could get the kids involved more in starting your garden. I’ve already posted about releasing butterflies and getting kids involved in gardening so this activity just goes hand-in-hand!

Our family has become quite addicted to gardening over the past year. We were successful in our first attempt this season in our raised bed and are now expanding to the back yard. But since the back yard isn’t quite ready for plants yet we decided to start our seedlings in containers first before putting them in the back yard.

Since we’re a bit frugal we decided to use household items to start our seeds this time around. I grabbed some cardboard, a craft bin we weren’t using, and some left over compost to get started. This method not only proved to be easy but it was a great way to get the kids involved. I can’t wait for them to start seeing the little seedlings sprout!

DIY Cardboard Seedling Starter

What You’ll Need:

  • cardboard tubes
  • shallow container
  • compost or planting mix
  • seeds
  • scissors

What You Do:

1. Cut your cardboard tubes to size. If using paper towel roll cut in 4ths and if using a toilet roll cut in half.

2. Start to fill your container with dirt.

3. Spread the dirt out evenly over the whole container.



4. Using a finger, make a hole 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in each tube. This will be where the seeds go so read the packaging on the seeds to see how deep you should be planting them.

5. Fill hole with recommended amount of seeds and cover back up.

6. Water well. 

7. Continue to water as directed on the package and allow for adequate sunlight. Depending on the variety of plant your growing, transfer to a larger garden bed when the sprouted plant is large enough (usually 2-3 leaves need to have formed and the plant should be 4-5 inches tall).

Starting from seeds is a great way to reap the benefits of home gardening without the costs of purchasing starter plants from your nursery. Plus, with seeds you get way more than a small plant will yield and you usually end up with multiple plants for a fraction of the cost!

Easter Egg Tips and Tricks: How to Make Egg Decorating Easier

These Easter egg tips and tricks will help make egg decorating with the kids easier! 

This Sunday marks the fourth Easter for my son and the second for my daughter. I’m so excited to share this holiday with them and love watching their joy and excitement as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ with our friends and family.

I try my best to remind them that this holiday isn’t just about chocolate and Easter eggs but sometimes as a parent, I just need to give into the fun and let my kids enjoy themselves. They’re pretty good at it and their excitement becomes contagious.

Easter Egg Tips and Tricks

Easter Egg Tips and Tricks 2

Easter Egg Tips and Tricks

I wanted to pass along some tidbits that I found helpful when it comes to dying Easter eggs. Decorating and dying Easter eggs is probably one of my son’s favorite parts of our Easter celebration and we’ve come across a few great ways to make it easier and more fun for everyone. Some of these tips you might have heard already and others might be new!

Easter Egg Tips and Tricks Oven Eggs

1. Bake eggs in the oven

Are you tired of figuring out the “perfect” way to make hard boiled eggs? Do your shells stick? Do your yolks turn gray? Well, I’ve found the solution to all of your problems! Bake ’em.

That’s right. 

Turn the oven to 325, put the eggs in a mini muffin pan and set the timer to 25 minutes. When the time goes off gently transfer the eggs to an ice/water bath with tongs for 10 minutes and then you’re done. Simple, easy, and fun too!

2. Whisk the Eggs

Putting hard-boiled eggs into a whisk makes egg dying a lot easier for small hands. simply grab a whisk from the kitchen, pop the egg through the wire, and let your child dip away! When they are done with the egg just pop it back out and set it down to dry.

3. Use Natural Dyes

There’s no need to buy commercial dyes when partaking in Easter egg fun. By using a few ingredients that you might already have around the house you can create gorgeous natural dyes for your eggs

A few tips on what you can use and how to dye naturally can be found on Martha Stewart.

4. Get Creative

You don’t just need to use dyes to decorate your eggs! Crayons, glitter, and stickers are great alternatives to dyed eggs. And it can be easier for infants and toddlers to get involved.

You can also use a variety of tools to create different designs on your dyed eggs. Wrap a rubber band around the eggs before dipping, or use some electrical tape to create stripes and designs. You can also use a white crayon to draw pictures and write names on your eggs before you dye them.

For more great tips check out this post on Formula Mom.

Easter Egg Tips and Tricks - use whisk to dye eggs

If you have some tips to making Easter egg decorating more fun I’d love to hear them!

Love these ideas? Here are some more: 



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