Category Archives: Celebrate

DIY Decorated Flip Flops + Gift Idea {create}

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I heard today was National Flip Flop Day, and it’s also the first day of summer, so I thought it was the perfect day to pull out this idea and post it (finally). Last summer, TG went to a birthday/pool party, and I was trying to think of a fun and inexpensive gift that wasn’t necessarily a toy. I saw a few make-your-own kits of various things in the stores, and so I decided on decorated flip flops after seeing many things like this on pinterest (picture below from The TomKat Studio here).

Adorable flip flops! Photo source: The TomKat Studio

Adorable flip flops! Photo source: The TomKat Studio

So, first up, TG and I hit up the stores to find the needed materials: flip flops and various embellishments like ribbon, stick-on jewels and flowers. I did a quick scan of Pinterest today and see other materials also being used, like pipe cleaners and pony beads and even paint, I think! Really, the possibilities seem endless. I precut the ribbon into strips (I didn’t measure, just sort of eyeballed it; ours might’ve been a touch too long in retrospect).

Precut ribbon and stick-on jewels to decorate the flip flops (excuse the poor picture)

Precut ribbon and stick-on jewels to decorate the flip flops (excuse the poor picture)

When the materials were ready, I let TG start tying the ribbons around the flip flop straps. She tied each one twice. Keep pushing the tied ribbons toward the front of the shoe as you tie so they don’t end up spread out too much. How many you put on depends on how full or bunched up you want. If you’ve got a younger child doing this step, you may want to go behind them and make sure they’re on there tight so they won’t unravel or fall off. Also, I would put some sort of fray check on the ends of the cut ribbon; I didn’t and ours started fraying after a little while.

Tying the ribbon around the flip flop straps

Tying the ribbon around the flip flop straps

This is a great way for your kids to practice tying knots as well 🙂 We made one pair for TG’s friend, and put extra embellishments in her gift to change that pair when she wanted, or create a second pair with different colored ribbon or jewels. The completed shoes really are adorable. We made another set for TG that she wore to the party, and she wore them almost the whole summer until the ribbons all fell off or frayed too much.

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DIY decorated flip flops

For TG’s friend’s gift, we got lucky in the party favor section of Wal-mart last summer. They had cute mini totes that were just perfect to hold the flip flops and embellishments we had ready. We also added some little extras like lip gloss, a nail file and polish set, hairbows and a book. It was a great gift for a 6 year old (who am I kidding; I’d like a gift like that, too!). I think you could even do this for boys as well as girls. Instead of the knotted ribbon, you could wrap the straps with a camo or other boy-friendly ribbon, or add one big embellishment in the middle (maybe a superhero or sports theme) instead of jewels.

Add a few extras to the flip flops and you've got the perfect summer gift.

Add a few extras to the flip flops and you’ve got the perfect summer gift.

As a final touch, I created a short little poem to attach to the tote to make it a little more clear what TG’s friend was supposed to do with the flip flops and random stuff inside the bag. Just in case :-). This was a fun craft thing to do with my daughter that really didn’t take a whole lot of time or money. I think the gift with all the extras ended up being about $10 or $12, so the flip flops are even less. If you’re looking for some kicked up flips this summer, head to your nearest craft store and get on it! Happy Summer!

Cute gift idea for the little (or big!) girl in your life

Cute gift idea for the little (or big!) girl in your life

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Pinecone Birdfeeder {create}

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My daughter saw this project in a children’s magazine one time and has been anxious to do it ever since. So, yesterday was the day. It was a beautiful afternoon after lunch, so what better way to spend a little bit of time outside? (Well, aside from the kiddie pool, which they went for not long after this craft time!) So, I gathered up the birdseed, peanut butter, a couple of pinecones we have had in the house (I told you she’s been anxious to do the project!) and some string.

Four simple items are all you need for this kid-friendly craft!

Four simple items are all you need for this kid-friendly craft!

This craft is really easy and quick, but can get messy depending on the dexterity of your kids, so I took the project outside. My daughter, who’s 6, didn’t have trouble using a small spatula to cover her pinecone with the peanut butter. My son (age 4) wasn’t that into it, so I let her coat his, too.

Step 1: Coat the pinecone with peanut butter.

Step 1: Coat the pinecone with peanut butter.

When it was time to put on the birdseed, I had the kids roll the pinecones in a dish of seed, instead of trying to sprinkle it on. I figured it would be easier on them and a little less prone to messiness. This turned out to be a good idea. 🙂

Step 2: Roll the pinecone in a pan of birdseed until the pinecone is completely covered.

Step 2: Roll the pinecone in a pan of birdseed until the pinecone is completely covered.

After the cones were completely seeded, I tied on some string and we went off to the backyard to find a place to hang the bird feeders. This proved more difficult than I had expected because most of the good branches in our backyard trees were up too high for even me to reach, let alone the kids. So I ended up having to hang them up (and stretched up on my toes to do it), which I think was disappointing to my daughter, since she couldn’t do it. Maybe we can make some more of these sometime and find a different place to hang them up. It sure didn’t cost anything but a little time! Anyway, I was going to put the pinecones in different locations, but my daughter insisted they had to be on the same branch beside each other, because one was hers and one was her brother’s and they had to be together. I only wish the sibling sweetness lasted all day! 🙂

Step 3: Tie a string on the pinecones and find a suitable branch from which to hang them.

Step 3: Tie a string on the pinecones and find a suitable branch from which to hang them.

Resurrection Eggs {celebrate}

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I don’t remember where I first heard of this idea, but it was probably on Pinterest. Have you heard or seen about Resurrection Eggs? Apparently, you can buy the product already made, but it sounded like a super-easy idea to D-I-Y, and that’s what I did last year. I decided I wanted to do the Resurrection eggs again this year, so I pulled them out with the Easter baskets on Saturday. I still had all of my numbered eggs exept one, so I fixed that up and started filling them. I guess there are a couple of different lists of items to put in the plastic eggs, but the list below is what I used. I love that the items are pretty simple to find around the house, or easy to substitute with items you might have around (For example, no purple cloth? Try purple construction paper.)

  • bread
  • coin
  • purple cloth
  • thorn (I used a rose thorn)
  • thick string
  • cross (my husband pounded two nails together for this, but you could also use toothpicks,etc)
  • nail
  • King of the Jews sign
  • sponge
  • spear (I used a toothpick)
  • rock

In addition to those small items, you’ll need 12 plastic eggs and an egg carton–we recycled an empty one we had sitting around. The rest is easy peasy, as my daughter has taken to saying lately. Cut out the list of verses (I found them at this site), and place them and their corresponding objects in each appropriately numbered egg. Fill up your carton and you’re ready for a hands-on lesson about Christ’s resurrection! You could even make it more of a craft by having your kids paint and/or decorate the egg carton. I might add that step in next year. (I might also just write the numbers on the eggs instead of keeping the raggedy paper on there. :-))

A dozen eggs to tell the story of Christ's resurrection

A dozen eggs to tell the story of Christ’s resurrection

There’s some versatility in how you go about presenting the eggs. You can start 12 days prior to Easter and do one each day. Or, you can do like we’re doing this year, and start the week before Easter and do two each day. This works especially well for us because opening the eggs was our kids’ favorite part, and this way, they each get to open one every day. You could even do them all in one day, and repeat the lesson over several days leading up to Easter.

Each of the 12 eggs contain a small object and a Bible verse. Well, except Egg 12--it's just got the verse, because the tomb is empty!

Each of the 12 eggs contain a small object and a Bible verse. Well, except Egg 12–it’s just got the verse, because the tomb is empty!

Along with the Easter garden TG made, I think this will be an Easter tradition we’ll keep up, at least for the next several years while the kids are still in the little-and-learning stage. What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate Easter and Christ’s resurrection?

Shamrock Cupcakes {celebrate}

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Yes, I know I’m several days late to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but with it falling on a busy Sunday after a super busy weekend, we’ve just sort of celebrated all week long. We had potato soup with Irish soda bread on Monday for dinner, the kids and I did several rainbow-related crafts all week long, and tonight we capped off our usual movie-and-pizza-night with some Shamrock cupcakes. I put this under {celebrate} instead of {on my plate} because there really isn’t any recipe involved. I just used regular yellow cake mix and white frosting (I prefer buttercream, but the store I was in didn’t have any) to make the cupcakes. Then, to add a festive touch, I placed my mini shamrock cookie cutter on top of the frosting and filled it in with green sugar sprinkles. Voila! Instant Shamrock Cupcake! Easy as pie…or, well, cake. 🙂

Festive Shamrock Cupcakes. Feelin' lucky?

Festive Shamrock Cupcakes. Feelin’ lucky?

Even though my husband said he thought they looked fine, I felt the shamrock shape wasn’t as distinct as I’d hoped. They still look awfully cute and tasty, though!

I’ve got some fun posts and reviews coming up in the next week or two, and I can’t wait to share them with you! Happy weekend, and be sure to keep an eye out for rainbows so you can see if there are any pots of gold underneath! 🙂

Easter Garden {cultivate}

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During last week’s homeschool art class at our church, the group did the cutest project for Easter. I had actually seen it surf by in Pinterest but had forgotten to pin it, so I was pretty excited when I arrived in class and discovered what the day’s craft would be! Most of the materials are things you’d find in your own back yard, so it’s even low cost!

You’ll need: a large terra cotta saucer (ours were 8 inch, I think), a small terra cotta pot, soil, grass seed, twigs, twine (and/or hot glue gun), small pebbles and one larger rock. I was baby-sitting a toddler for someone while the class was going on, so I didn’t actually get to see the process of putting it together (they did it outside), but it seems pretty simple enough. This site, A Homestead Heart, gives a great tutorial. I did help with the crosses on TG’s, and what we did was hot glue the two sticks together so they held and then we criss-cross-tied the twine over the twigs to help them stay put.

Easter Garden after 1 week.

Easter Garden after 1 week.

The site I linked to said it would take about 7-10 days for the grass seed to germinate and sprout, but ours took less than a week. The above picture was taken on Thursday, one week after they planted them, and look how high and filled in it is already! My kids have been thrilled to check it every day, water it and watch how high the grass is. It’s sitting on our kitchen table (to get some nice sunshine) and whenever I would check, I would see the big rock covering the “tomb” and would place it back to the side. I discovered the other day that my daughter TG kept putting the rock in front “because it’s not Easter yet!” And that, of course, is when the stone was rolled back and Jesus arose from the dead. Oh, how literal little ones can be! 🙂

I love the great reminder this craft gives that Jesus is risen! Every day we can look at our Easter garden and be reminded of that. And the science/gardening lessons they learned are pretty cool, too. 🙂 You’ve still got time to make one with your own family before this Easter holiday–sounds like a great weekend project to me!

In the shadow of the Cross

In the shadow of the Cross

Love From Head to Toe: Heartprint Craft {celebrate}

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I stumbled across this project on Pinterest yesterday while trying to find a cute, easy Valentine’s craft for the kids to make for their grandparents. This fit my requirements of fast and easy, but I’ll warn you with younger kids, you have to include “messy” on that list of adjectives. My 6-year-old was no problem, but my little 4-year-old boy just wanted to paint his hands, the table, the floor, his clothes… I’m sure you get the idea. 🙂

I was in charge of painting the kids’ hands and feet, and I think that was their favorite part. They loved the tickle of the foam brush on their foot, and I think they were disappointed that their hands weren’t ticklish.

It's a big pink foot!

It’s a big pink foot!

After all the painting was done, we let them dry while we got all cleaned up. I had the kids glue the pictures to some construction paper and then I added the message. If they were a bit older with neater handwriting, I would’ve let them do it to make it more personal. They wrote their names under the “I love you!” at the bottom and I dated it on the back. I couldn’t decide if I wanted “Happy Valentine’s Day 2013” on the front or back, so I put it on the back. I think if I’d kicked it up a notch with pretty font and paper, I probably would’ve put in on the front. But the homegrown look is perfect for my little ones.

I look at these pictures and wonder where those big feet came from!

I look at these pictures and wonder where those big feet came from!

And there you go! A quick, easy from-the-heart valentine for some special family members in your life! What’s your favorite hand- or footprint craft that your kids or grandkids have done?

Jar of Hearts: Acts of Love Valentine Craft Project {celebrate}

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We’re still working on our chore charts, because my D-I-Y lately has been S-L-O-W. But hopefully I’ll have the update to that last post soon.

In the meantime, Valentine’s Day is coming up next week, and awhile ago I pinned this post from MakeandTakes.com. I don’t really go overboard with Valentine’s Day, don’t do a lot of decorations or stuff like that. But we do give a little treat to the kids, and I wanted something fun and different to do this year, especially since we’re homeschooling and my little kindergartener won’t have the fun of exchanging valentines with a class full of other little kids. When I saw the Acts of Love Countdown on Pinterest, I thought that it was a great idea. I liked that it was something that focused on doing kind things for one another to show love, rather than something frivolous or meaningless or sugar-filled.

Jar of Hearts: 14 Acts of Love Valentine's Countdown

Jar of Hearts: 14 Acts of Love Valentine’s Countdown

My apologies for the less-than-great pictures. I’m on a computer without any photo-editing programs and I wanted to get this post up. There are some better pictures and a step-by-step tutorial at the original post you can check out. Originally, I was going to tweak the messages on the back to be more personal to our own family, but I ran out of time and just used the great free printable already provided. I printed it out, cut out the hearts and messages, taped them around our paper straws and stuck them in the jar of rice. Then we decorated the outside of the jar. You’ll probably notice the original take on this project included dyeing the rice red. That is a fantastic idea, but again, I was in a hurry so I passed that up. Maybe next time.

I loved that this is an activity we can do as a whole family. We started it the first day of February, but this is so flexible, it can be started a week before Valentine’s, the week of Valentine’s or the whole month, whatever fits your family’s needs. So far, among other things, we’ve made each others’ beds, cleaned doorknobs, given thanks for one another and shared a great big family bear hug. That’s definitely the way to go in celebrating Valentine’s Day! Love all your loved ones in word *and* deed!

My girl added her own little touch: she shaped a pipe cleaner into a heart and we tied it onto the jar.

I think this project is definitely something we will revisit year after year. I think it would also be fun to do during the week of a loved one’s birthday as well. Do you have any special traditions you do for Valentine’s Day?

Happy New Year! {celebrate}

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Welcome to 2013! I’m not sure where on earth 2012 went; seems like it just got here! The last few months especially seemed to fly by, what with birthdays and holidays and homeschool and life. As I saw someone on Facebook post: “I remember 2012 like it was just yesterday.”

I’ll let that one sink in a minute. 😉

As happens around this time of year, I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year, and some goals I want to tackle. I’ve been remiss in letting this blog go, and I regret that the first half of my daughter’s kindergarten year is already over and I never managed to even do one post about it. I also didn’t anticipate how emotionally and physically draining being a wife, mother, housekeeper AND teacher would be, either, so I’m not berating myself about it. Just moving on with good intentions and (hopefully) better planning. Other goals include continuing my decluttering mission from 2012 (we got derailed a few times, but I want to get back on track) and becoming more organized overall, but especially in regard to our homeschool. And I’m looking forward to learning all that my Silhouette Cameo can do (loved my Christmas present this year!).

I’ve also got some fun news to share! I’ve been selected to be part of Homeschool Mosaics’ review team at Mosaic Reviews! I’m excited to be part of this team and look forward to learning from the other moms and team members. I’m also thrilled by the opportunity to review various homeschool resources through the site and share that information with you and others who are homeschooling.  You can learn about Homeschool Mosaics mission at their site, but their blog is filled with encouraging words and helpful resources.

So, here’s to a new year and a new start! And I hope 2013 is filled with wondrous possibility for you!

Time to Stomp & Roar! Dino-mite Party {motivate}

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Time to stomp and roar! Someone is turning 4! Someone in our house, that is. That’s right, the Little Man isn’t quite so little anymore. He loves to stomp and roar all over the place, whether he’s imitating dinosaurs or not! 🙂 I admit, I was relieved when he decided he wanted a dinosaur party, because he’d mentioned at one point Spider-man, and I’m just not ready for the superhero stage. He’s not *that* big, yet….right? 🙂

Anyway, a week or two ago, I started scouring the Web (a.k.a., Pinterest) for some rawr-ing ideas for a dinosaur party fit for a T-Rex, and boy, did I ever find them! Here are just a few of the ideas that have inspired me (and made me long for an unlimited party budget!)

I love the bright colors and the pennant bunting banner

Source: via Kara’s Party Ideas (her dino category has several awesome parties for inspiration)

Check out this cute dino cake! Almost too cute to eat!

Source: Frost Me blog

Dino eggs in yarn decor! And the cheery colors are just the icing on the cake!

Source: Turtle Crafty Girl (via Hostess with the Mostess)

Most adorable party hats ever–those spikes down the back are perfect!

Source: Wants & Wishes Design

A backpack for all your Dino Dig needs–great idea!

Source: Chrystal, via Hostess with the Mostess

I could sit here and look at Pinterest and party sites all day (…maybe I already have done that…), but I’ll leave the rest of the pinning and checking out to you. These are just the beginning of the great ideas I’ve seen via Pinterest across the Web, so if you’re in need of a dino-themed party, you definitely don’t have to worry about any of these great ideas going extinct! And stay tuned for my {create} with pictures and details about our own dino-mite party!

End of Summer {celebrate}

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We’ve been so busy educating, renovating and celebrating this past month that I’ve neglected to post. Oops! But I’m aiming to change that error, starting right now. Today is Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer. We celebrated the end of the season by heading to the beach last weekend for a quick, but funfilled, overnight trip. It was our first and last trip of the year, which is kinda sad. But we got in plenty of sun, surf, sand (definitely plenty of sand…that stuff gets *everywhere*) and seafood. We even tossed in a little pirate adventuring at the maritime museum in Beaufort, NC..Now I’m in the throes of party planning for my soon-to-be four-year-old, plus continuing on the kindergarten train (more on that in future posts. I hope.). 

How have you celebrated the end of the summer season?