What To Do With Free Samples

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In this line of work, I am the recipient of a lot of samples and free products. Whether it’s a brand who’s at a conference and wants to get their product in my hand, or part of a campaign I’m working on with a few additional perks sent from the client, my cupboards are overflowing with full and trial size products. Enough to keep us stocked up for a while. In an effort to purge and sort through everything we have in our cupboards, I’ve come up with a few ways to use them up. Below are a few ideas on what to do with samples and freebies.

What To Do With Free Samples - gift ideas, stocking stuffers, or travel supplies 650x431

What To Do With Free Samples

  1. New Homeowners Gift – Create a gift basket for new home owners with cleaning essentials they’ll need! Fill a cute bucket or basket with cleaner samples, wash cloths, squirt bottles.
  2. Guest Bathroom Essentials – If you frequently have guests over in your home, create a basket with guest bathroom essentials that you can easily grab when friends or family come into town. Fill a cute container with the essentials one needs when they’re away from home! Include some tooth paste, soap, deodorant, a tooth brush, shampoo and conditioner, etc.
  3. Baby Shower Gift – Since I write about parenting, some samples were more baby-related and didn’t really have any use in my house (before I had baby #3). So I would collect them and use them as extra gifts for diaper cakes and baby shower gifts.
  4. Stocking Stuffers – a few things I get are the perfect stocking stuffers for my nieces and nephews. I have a box with gifts that I keep in the closet and add to it whenever I think something might be better for another friend or family member. I also add a sticky note to it so I remember that I have it saved for them!
  5. Take On the Go! – Whether I’m travelling with the family or solo, or the kids are heading over to Grandma’s house for the weekend, I take any duplicates of products that we use and organize them in the cupboard to grab quickly while we’re packing for our next adventure. It helps that I have them already sorted and ready to go depending on our needs.

Whether you’re reusing your samples as gifts, or saving them for a trip, there’s always a way to use up the samples and freebies you get when you’re at events or conferences! And if that doesn’t work, consider swapping with a fellow blogger or friend for something they might want to get rid of!

How do you use free samples?

How To Make Confetti Eggs + Cute Easter Outfit Ideas

With Easter right around the corner, these confetti eggs are a great way to celebrate. With the help of our sponsor, Kohl’s, we’re sharing how you can make them at home! This post is sponsored by Kohl’s.  I was paid for this post and received the included Carter’s clothing as compensation.

Every year for our kids school festival the most popular booth for the kids is the confetti egg booth. Now before we went to our first festival, I had no idea what confetti eggs were. Then my husband explained it and shared how his grandmother would have egg cartons and eggs all over the house because she’d make confetti eggs all throughout the year in preparation of their school’s festival. 

Guess what? I’ve turned into that person. I may or may not have stashed egg shells in egg cartons all around the house to start getting ready for confetti eggs. And with Easter coming up, it’s time to start making them! Good thing these are super easy to make and fun for the kids to get involved. 

While we’re on the topic of Easter prep, in an effort to get ahead of the game, I had the girls come with me to Kohl’s to pick out some cute outfits for Easter. This year instead of the pretty dresses they normally turn to, they decided to chose more comfy, playful outfits in beautiful spring colors. I love how these Carter’s outfits we picked out allow the kids to play and create without being limited or uncomfortable. 

You can check out a few of the looks we chose below! 

How to Make Confetti Eggs

What you’ll need: 

  • eggs
  • butter knife
  • bowl
  • tissue paper
  • confetti
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • egg dye or markers (optional)

What you do: 

1. Taking your egg, carefully tap the top of the egg in a circle with butter knife. Once tapped around the top of the egg, remove egg shell from top. Using knife, scramble the egg in the shell a bit and pour out into bowl. 

Rinse egg with water and let dry completely. Scramble up the eggs and enjoy a protein-filled snack! 

2. OPTIONAL: Once egg has completely dried, you may decorate your egg with markers or egg dye. We just leave ours the same color as the eggs. 

3. Fill egg with confetti about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the way full. 

4. Cut out squares and/or rectangles out of your tissue paper. Then, using the glue stick, add glue to the edges of the tissue paper square. 

5. Add tissue paper square to top of the egg to cover the hole completely. Let dry and then enjoy going crazy with the eggs! 

Cute Easter Outfit Ideas

Looking for some outfit ideas for Easter? We’ve picked out some cute outfit ideas you can pick up at your local Kohl’s or online from the Carter’s line. How cute are these? 

We’re huge Carter’s fans. We’ve been clothing our kids in Carter’s since they were first born. No, seriously! Each of their newborn outfits was Carter’s brand. I love that I can get the girls coordinating outfits since many of the outfits and pieces I found come in both toddler sizes and kid sizes. Perfect for siblings!

From 3/17 – 4/2 you will $10 off a $40 Carter’s purchase with promo code KIDSALE10! Take advantage of this great deal and score some adorable outfits for the kids. Win-win, right?

shirt | shorts

outfit 1 | outfit 2

shirt | pants

outfit 1 | outfit 2

Have you made confetti eggs before? 

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies. These affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace

This DIY nebula in a jar necklace tutorial is a fun and easy way to get your daughter involved in STEM based crafts. 

DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace Tutorial

We’re pretty big on STEM learning here. With a passion for sharing the love of science, technology, engineering, and math with our kids, we’re always trying to figure out how to incorporate STEM activities in our daily lives. 

This craft was great for STEM learning because it opened up the doors of communication with my kids about space, stars, and constellations. Not only did we talk about where stars came from (nebulas – which lead to a whole other conversation about the birds and the bees) but we waited until dark to count the stars and find constellations. We also talked about the full moon and moon cycles since we just had a full moon. Let’s make some nebula in a jar necklaces!


DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace with stopper

DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace

What you’ll need: 

DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace supplies

What you do: 

1. Cut cotton balls into small strips and set aside. 

2. Add water to the jar, about 1/3 of the way up. 

3. Using the small stick, add a few drops of one color paint to the jar then add some cotton ball pieces to fill up 1/2 of the jar. 

DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace - use a syringe to add water DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace - use a stick to add paint and cotton ball

4. Sprinkle some glitter into the jar. 

5. Add a few drops of the contrasting color paint and some more cotton. 

6. Fill with water but not to the top. Leave room for the stopper. 

DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace close up DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace add glitter DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace glue stopper to bottle

7. Grab the glue and the stopper with eyelet. Add a dab of glue to the eyelet and screw into stopper. 

8. Add glue to stopper making sure to cover all around the bottom 1/2 of the stopper that will be touching the jar when inserted in. 

9. Place the stopper in the jar and let dry for 24 hours. 

10. Add jar to necklace cord and put on! 

DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace craft

How do you promote STEM learning with your daughter? 

DIY Nebula in a Jar Necklace

Interested in more science-based crafts and activities? Check out these fun projects: 

For Preschoolers:
DIY Bouncing Ball Craft

DIY Bouncing Balls

For School Agers:

How to Inflate A Balloon Using Science

How To Inflate A Balloon Using Science

For Older Kids:
How To Make A Glass Vase Out Of A Coke Bottle with roses

How To Make A Vase Out Of A Glass Bottle

This article first appeared on A Crafty Spoonful on July 22nd, 2016. 

Easy Mardi Gras Masks for Kids

Can anyone else believe how fast this year is going? It’s already Mardi Gras and Lent is right around the corner. Now we don’t do huge celebrations for Mardi Gras but we do love letting the kids get involved with some masks and beads. And while the big kids get to celebrate Mardi Gras at school with some Mardi Gras bingo, the little one and I stayed home and made some masks. 

These mardi gras masks for kids are super easy to make and take only a few supplies to put together. Don’t have paint? Use colored construction paper or felt and trace your child’s hand to cut out. Don’t have a paper straw? Use a dowel, stick, or unsharpened pencil for the holder instead! Crafting with the kids means using what we have on hand to have a little fun. 

Here’s how we made these:

Mardi Gras Masks for Kids

What you’ll need: 

  • white construction paper
  • purple and green paint (can also use gold)
  • hole punch
  • scissors
  • paper straw (or unsharpened pencil)
  • feathers and pom pomps
  • tape
  • glue

What you do: 

1. Paint your child’s hand with one of the two colors you’ve selected. Take your construction paper and put it long ways in front of your child. Have them put their handprint on the paper. Clean off your hand. 

2. Repeat with the second color and second hand. Make sure that the second hand print butts up against the first (you can overlap as well). 

3. Let hands dry. 

4. Cut out dried handprints. 

5. Using a hole punch, punch a hole for the eyes on either side. Then line holes up with eyes and cut out bigger eye holes. 

6. Tape straw and feathers to back of mask and glue pom poms onto front of mask. Let dry. 

Enjoy! 

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras? 

Tips to Keep Teen Drivers Safe + a New Teen Driver Kit

Have a new teen driver? We’ve put together a new teen driver kit with help from our sponsor, Mercury Insurance, to help keep teen drivers safe on the road.

This past week one of my youngest siblings passed her driving test and will be on the road with her license. And with the stats I’ve been seeing lately, that scares me! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 2,524 teen drivers and passengers were killed and 177,000 were injured in 2013. And with mobile technology and the use of mobile apps steadily increasing, distracted driving accidents are also on the rise.

To commemorate this milestone, though, I’m hoping to share some tools with her that will help keep her as safe as possible. That’s why I put together a new teen driver kit for her to utilize when she’s on the road. Complete with items like a hands-free phone stand, mobile charger, and other items that may come in handy (jumper cables!), I hope she feels more confident on the road when she’s driving alone. 

In addition to my new teen driver kit, I have the help of our sponsor, Mercury Insurance, and their Drive Safe Challenge. The Drive Safe Challenge is an interactive website that provides teens with safe driving and vehicle tips, as well as gives parents tools to help encourage responsible driving behavior. 

The site features:

They don’t just want to help teens, they also want to educate them (and their parents) about the dangers and responsibilities that come with getting a driver’s license. Apply the brakes on the leading cause of death for teenagers and share what you learn from the Drive Safe Challenge website with a new teen driver you know.

What To Include: New Teen Driver Kit

  • storage container (to hold everything)
  • booster cables
  • drink cup 
  • microfiber towels
  • portable charger (for any device)
  • flashlight
  • cleaning wipes
  • phone car mount (hands free!)

Make sure to print out a copy of the Mercury Insurance driving contract parents and teens can sign to set the rules of the road and outline the circumstances under which driving privileges would be lost. It makes the perfect addition to this kit! 

Do you know a new teen driver who’s about to hit the road? 

Homemade Valentines Day Gifts

Homemade Valentines Day Gifts

I love receiving homemade gifts. There’s something about knowing that someone thought of you enough to make a gift for you that touches my heart. Now don’t get me wrong – I love any and all gifts! But homemade is always special.

If you’re looking for some homemade valentines day gifts then look no further. Below are some great ideas to get you started on gifts to make friends and family to celebrate the day of love.
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How to Create a Wishing Star Wand + Pinnochio on DVD

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My daughter is obsessed with all things wands, swards, and sticks. Anything she can swing around and bop people on the head with (gently of course), she loves. And with our recent obsession with Pinocchio since it came out on Blu-Ray, it was the perfect way to commemorate the movie.

As we were planning for a family movie night, I decided to let the kids make their own wands customized to their likes and needs. It really was a simple craft and the kids had a great time doing it! With the help of mom and a glue gun to finish everything off.

So if you’re little princess loves wands as much as mine do, I highly suggest trying your hand at making a wishing star wand. It’s simple, easy, and takes less than 5 minutes!

How to Create a Wishing Star Wand

What you’ll need:

  • wooden dowels, cut to size (we purchased 48″ dowels and cut them in thirds)
  • felt, any color
  • ribbon, any color
  • glue gun

What you do: 

1. Cut out felt into the size and shape you want for the top of your wand. Cut out coordinating ribbon in the amount and length you prefer.

2. Do a dry run before gluing everything together to make sure the felt pieces fit together on the top of the wand.

3. Tie the ribbon onto the top of the stick and secure with the hot glue.

3a. Make sure to go all around the dowel so that the ribbon doesn’t slip down.

4. Now it’s time to glue down the felt pieces. Start with a small dab on one side of the dowel and adhere the first felt piece.

5. Then add a few dabs of hot glue to the other end of the dowel and the felt piece already adhered. Place the second felt piece on top covering the top of the dowel completely and sandwiching the ribbon in between the two felt pieces.

 
6. Hand the wand over to your favorite princess and watch them play! 

See how easy that was?

What type of wand would you make?

Disney’s timeless tale Pinocchio, considered one of the greatest animated films ever made with two Academy Awards, joins the Walt Disney Signature Collection. Now it will delight a whole new generation of dreamers with its masterful animation, unforgettable characters and award-winning music.

The movie which inspired the world to wish upon a star, arrives for the first time on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on Jan. 10, and on Blu-ray™ and DVD on Jan. 31 with hours of new and classic bonus features.

4 Tips For Cold and Flu Prevention + a Free Bathroom Printable

We’re sharing our tips on cold and flu prevention alongside a cute printable for the bathroom today with help from our sponsor, Vicks. 

4 Tips For Cold and Flu Prevention

With three kids, two of which are in school, we’re constantly bringing home one thing or another. So it’s about time I say enough is enough! I’ve declared a war on germs and am not about to succumb to the latest illness that’s going around our community.
2With these tips from notable Manhattan-based physician Dr. Peterson, we’re able to reduce the germs we’re in contact with. Making these small adjustments to our daily lives can help us reduce the chance of cold or flu running rampant through our homes. Because there’s no fun in a sick house. Especially if my husband finally gets it. Which inevitably always happens these days.

My grandma would reach for the Vicks VapoRubTM topical ointment – a topical cough medicine with medicated vapors – any time we were sick when I was growing up. It starts working quickly to relieve cough symptoms (for ages 2+). Now we turn on our humidifier when any of us starts to feel icky (we have one for every bedroom) and put in Vicks VapoPads® when needed. But sometimes it’s better to prevent illness instead of just taking care of the symptoms all the time.

4 Tips For Cold and Flu Prevention plus a Free Bathroom Printable

I made a few signs using PicMonkey (similar to how I made this Subway Art) in an effort to remind the kids of a our morning and evening routine to wash, wash, wash along with a few other essentials they need to be doing in the bathroom. Feel free to download them here

4 Tips For Cold and Flu Prevention

4 Tips For Cold and Flu Prevention - wash your hands

Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, especially after touching dirty surfaces like doorknobs and keyboards. Thorough washing should take as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

I’ve found that when washing hands with the kids, having each kid sing the song (or a different verse of the song) makes them remember to wash for the proper amount of time. You could even frame a copy of the song in your bathroom next to the sink to remind people to sing along (out loud or in their heads) while washing.

4 Tips For Cold and Flu Prevention - Don’t Touch Your Face

Don’t Touch Your Face

Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. These are direct entry points for germs. Most adults touch their face about 16 times a day, and children do a lot more often, increasing the spread of germs.

It’s super hard to stop this but staying cautious of how often you do touch your face will help reduce the contact. I find myself reminding my kids quite often during the day since they’re obsessed with picking their face, touching their ears and nose, and sucking on their fingers. It’s even harder because one of our kids is quite fond of their thumb.

4 Tips For Cold and Flu Prevention - Keep common areas and surfaces clean

Keep Common Areas and Surfaces Clean

Germs live on surfaces and spread to humans through skin contact so anything that we touch frequently can be a threat. Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down your workspace daily, as well as your telephone, mouse, and keyboard. Make sure you regularly disinfect doorknobs and shared electronics like TV remotes. Also, wash your children’s toys after playtime. We even have a dirty bin for toys that we load into the dish washer after we unload the dishes from the night before.

Don’t forget about the kitchen! Kitchens happen to be the filthiest room in the house. Sponges, countertops and sinks have been shown to have 488 bacteria per square inch due to residue and foodstuffs that breed bacteria. Ugh! I shudder to think of it.

4-tips-for-cold-and-flu-prevention-turn-on-your-humidifier

Turn on your humidifier

Studies indicate flu viruses thrive in cold and dry places, making winter air an ideal breeding ground for the virus. By keeping humidity levels in your home between 40 and 60 percent you can reduce the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air. It also helps my husband and son breathe better when in use.

The new Vicks Sweet Dreams Cool Mist Humidifier is the latest in an array of models that are designed to meet your family’s growing needs. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends using a cool mist humidifier throughout the winter months to help relieve congestion and cough in children.
To help control your cough, you can try the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier which releases a warm mist to help offer temporary relief from cough and congestion. You can also use it with Vicks VapoSteam® which creates a medicated steam with cough suppressant to relieve coughs for children ages 2 and older.

4-tips-for-cold-and-flu-prevention-with-vicks

Vicks VapoPads® can be used in conjunction with Vicks Humidifiers to provide soothing Menthol or Sleepytime Rosemary & Lavender scented vapors for up to eight hours of comfort. I have the Mini Filter Free humidifier and love using the Vicks VapoPads® with it, but the Vicks Sweet Dreams Humidifier is on the wish list!

4 Tips For Cold and Flu Prevention - wash and dry

How are you preventing colds and the flu from running rampant in your home? 

How to Make Moana Kakamora Coconut Ornaments + Moana In Theaters!

review affiliate link disclaimerhow-to-make-moana-kakamora-coconut-ornaments

We got a sneak peek at the new Moana and I have to tell you… it is amazing. My daughter was glued to the screen as the story unraveled. Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows why.

The story of Moana goes through the history of her people and the reason why they never leave their island. As Moana takes off on a new adventure, we come to learn more about this missing pieces of her story and watch as she creates a story of her own. 

Throughout her adventures, my daughter’s favorite part in the movie is when Moana and Maui encounter the Kakamora. Seemingly sweet and gentle creatures in the beginning, Moana quickly learns of their fierce, warrior-like side. We’re recreating the Kakamora in these fun ornaments for the holiday season.

If you haven’t bought your tickets already, do so now! Moana is a must see and the story and music will take you away into another world. Visit the official MOANA website here

how-to-make-moana-kakamora-coconut-ornaments-supplies

How to Make Moana Kakamora Coconut Ornaments

What you’ll need: 

What you do: 

1. Paint a circle around the edge of the wood slice with brown paint leaving the middle wood exposed. 

2. Using the black paint, make two circles for eyes. 

3. With the white paint, make a mouth full of teeth. Outline in black if you’d like. 

4. Add the final touches to the face by adding some designs with red paint.

5. Screw eye screw on top of the ornament and string with ribbon. 

Let dry and hang on the tree to enjoy during the holiday season! 

how-to-make-moana-kakamora-coconut-ornaments-on-the-tree

Like MOANA on Facebook | Follow MOANA on Twitter | Follow Disney Animation on Instagram

MOANA arrives in theatres everywhere on November 23rd!

Thanksgiving Napkin Ring Placeholders

This shop featuring Thanksgiving napkin ring placeholders has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HandsOnCrafty #CollectiveBias

thanksgiving-napkin-ring-placeholders-adding-sparkle-to-the-thanksgiving-table

While spring may be my favorite season, I love the fall for the way it brings friends and family together in thanksgiving. We celebrate the month of November by sharing what we’re thankful for and spending time around the table together. And every year for Thanksgiving, we head over to my mother in law’s house to share a meal. 

My mother in law loves creating a beautiful table scape and, after making these napkin rings a few years back, I’m in charge of the napkin rings and place holders. And my daughter loves helping out so I always try and find something a. that she can do and b. that’s easy and quick since we usually have to make at least 20 of them. 

thanksgiving-napkin-ring-placeholders-a-quick-and-easy-table-setting

Well this year my mother in law will be heading out to Boston to celebrate with my husband’s brother so we’re still trying to figure out what our plans are. But no matter where we go, we’ll be prepared with these awesome thanksgiving napkin ring placeholders that my daughter and I put together this past weekend. 

She was dying to get started and make them so we got a head start and prepped about 10 of these bad boys (no names yet on half of them). We’ll be ready for whatever house we end up at on Turkey Day.  

Thanksgiving Napkin Ring Placeholders

What you’ll need: 

  • Scotch® Expressions Brown Glitter Tape
  • Scotch® Expressions Green Glitter Tape
  • Scotch® Create Double-sided Tape
  • 1 piece 8.5 x 11″ card stock (solid or patterned color)
  • scissors
  • chalk marker in fall colors
  • fake fall leaves
  • cloth or disposable napkin

thanksgiving-napkin-ring-placeholders-materials-needed

What you do: 

1. Grab the Scotch® Expressions Green Glitter Tape and, with your paper in the portrait position, place a row of green tape about 1/2 inch up from the bottom of the paper. Repeat once more with a second row of green glitter tape directly above the first. 

2. Cut a straight line about 1/2 inch from the top of the second row of green glitter tape. This will be your napkin ring base. Repeat as many times as you need to in order to get the desired amount of napkin rings. 

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3. Grab the leaf and write the name of the person this napkin ring placeholder is for. 

4. Position the Scotch® Expressions Brown Glitter Tape in the middle of the two green tape lines. Place the leaf in the center of the paper and use the brown glitter tape to secure it. Leave a small tail at the end of the brown tape to secure the placeholder around the napkin. 

thanksgiving-napkin-ring-placeholders-secure-leaf-in-place-with-tape thanksgiving-napkin-ring-placeholders-wrap-napkin-ring-around-napkin

5. Wrap the napkin ring around the napkin and secure in place with tail of the brown glitter tape and reinforce with some Scotch® Create Double-sided Tape underneath the overlapping paper. 

Tada! You’re all set! 

thanksgiving-napkin-ring-placeholders-a-simple-way-to-add-sparkle-to-the-table

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your home? 

I was able to find all of the crafting goodies I needed, including the Scotch® Expressions Glitter Tape, in the craft aisle in Walmart. So easy to find everything in one place! With a perfect combination of versatility, function & fun, Scotch® Expressions Tapes turn everyday projects into simply inspired creations. I love how simple and easy it was to make these Thanksgiving napkin ring placeholders with my daughter and how fun and sparkly they ended up! How awesome is that? 

scotch-at-walmart



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