Sunday, April 24, 2011

How to Make a Paper Flower Garden

Today I surprised my kids with paper flowers for Easter.  My oldest son liked his so much that he wanted to make a whole garden of paper flowers.  So we pulled out the cupcake liners and pipe cleaners and began making flowers.  My son came up with the idea of the garden.  We grabbed a shoe box and covered it with green construction paper.  Then we poked holes in it to stick the flowers in.  My son even figured out that we could use green pipe cleaner to make "grass" for our garden.  He is so proud of his garden that he put it on display in our dining room.  This is what we did to make our Paper Garden:

  • Cupcake Liners
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Shoe Box
  • Construction Paper
  • Pen (for poking holes)
  • Tape or Glue
  1. Make your paper flowers using cupcake liners and pipe cleaners (see below for instructional links).
  2. Cover a shoe box with green construction paper.
  3. Poke holes in the top of the box.
  4. Insert flowers into holes.
How to Make Paper Flowers
Paper flowers are a great gift idea for children to make.  It's perfect for Teacher Appreciation Day and Mother's Day too!We had so much fun spending time together making this craft!  I hope you do too! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Free 14-Issue Digital Subscription to Parenting School Years

ValueMags has tons of great offers on discount magazine subscriptions.  They often have free magazine offers too.  Right now they have a special offer for the Parenting School Years magazine.

As many of you know, having a child start kindergarten is a big change for the whole family, especially if it's your oldest.  Parenting School Years is a great source of helpful information for parents with kids in elementary school.

To get your free 14-issue digital subscription with no strings attached click here.

How to Make Hair Bows

My 2 year old daughter has been blessed with lots of hair.  However, the only things she will let me put in her hair are very girlie hair bows.  I found some great hair bows at a craft show this past winter but, they were quite pricey.  I asked the woman who made them how she did it.  She explained and it seemed simple enough.  So, now that I am finally finding a bit of free time in my schedule I thought I'd give it a shot.

As always, I headed to my computer to search for tutorials on how to make hair bows.  I didn't think there would be many free ones, but luckily I was wrong.  I found some great sites that make hair bow crafts super easy.  These are the ones I keep going back to:

I'm just starting out and I wanted to test the waters before buying supplies in bulk.  So, I found everything I need to start making hair bows at my local Michael's and Sally's Beauty Supply stores (click on store name to find a location near you).  I purchased the Mini-Bowdabra at Michael's for $9.99.  It is helpful but, you can make lots of different kinds without much at all.  The basic supplies I used to get started and their estimated costs were:
  • Scissors
  • Lighter, $0.99
  • High Temp Hot Glue Gun, $3
  • Glue Sticks, free (3 came with glue gun)
  • Bow Wire, $0.99 (to tie off the bow)
  • Alligator Clips, $2-3
  • Ribbon, $1-$4 each is a great website where you can buy all of your bow making supplies in bulk.  If you plan to make a business from with your bows, buying in bulk would be your best bet.  I, myself, have lots of little girls in my family with lots of demands for hair bows.  So, I plan to visit very soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Brunch Menu Ideas

There's been a change of plans.  We will be having an Easter brunch (instead of dinner) after church on Sunday with my sister and brothers.  So, I hit the net again for some menu ideas for a simple Easter brunch. 

If you plan to have an Easter day celebration for you kids and maybe a few of their friends, you can Host an Easter Brunch for Kids.  Parents magazine puts together a fun collection of Easter crafts, recipes ideas and even instructions on how to make your own Easter brunch invitations.  (For more Easter crafts see my Easter Crafts for Everyone post.)

I myself will be trying to make as much as I can ahead of time, since I'm sure we will all be starving after church and eager to eat when we get home.  So, I'll be making a few recipes from the Make-Ahead Easter Brunch article by Taste of Home.

But there are plenty more ideas for Easter brunch recipes and here are a few: 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Make Your Own Bunny Hair Bow

My work in progress
I love crafts and I wanted to try something new. So, a couple of days ago, I decided to try making hair bows for my baby girl.  And my search began for online tutorials on how to make hair bows.  My favorite one I found (especially with Easter just days away) is the Easter Bunny Clippie

I gathered the supplies needed:  scissors, hot glue gun, white/pink/purple ribbon and a hair clip and gave it a try.  Thanks to all the pictures and simple instructions, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be and so adorable.  I just need to pick up the googly eyes and it will be perfect for Easter.

With all the online videos and tutorials on how to make hair bows, you can easily begin your own collection.  View my post How to Make Hair Bows to find out more.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Dinner Menu Ideas

Ever year we celebrate Easter with my parents or my in-laws.  But this year is's our first Easter at home.  So, the dinner is all on me!  Although I have celebrated over 30 Easters, for some reason I cannot think of a single recipe for a dinner menu.  I know it's silly to stress about a dinner with just my husband and kids but, it's our very first Easter at home and I want it to be special.

So I hit the keyboard and began my quest for Easter dinner menu ideas and these are my top contenders:
Here are more great ideas for a fabulous Easter meal with your family:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Patriotic Coloring Pages

Whether celebrating Memorial Day, Flag Day or the 4th of July, the links below are great sources for patriotic coloring pages.  Teach your children about our countries history while having fun coloring. 

Chicken Salad

  • 1 large cooked chicken breast
  • 1 heaping tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  1. Cube the cooked chicken breast and put in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of your favorite mayonnaise.
  3. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of dill weed and mix ingredients.
  4. Dice one celery stick and add to bowl.  Fold into mixture.
  • Replace celery with halved red grapes.
  • Try it in a pita with a leaf of lettuce. 
  • My kids like it on Hawaiian sweet rolls.  

Homemade Chicken Soup

  • 2 split fryer chicken breasts
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • parsley
  • sage
  • thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Remove skin from split fryer chicken breasts and place them in a soup pot.  Fill pot with water up to 1 inch above chicken.
  2. Bring chicken to a boil.  Then add bay leaves, 1-2 pinches each of parsley, sage, and thyme.  Add salt and pepper.  (You can always add more herbs and spices later.  So, don't put too much in now.)
  3. Lower heat to medium/medium low and continue to cook chicken for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink in the center. 
  4. Then remove chicken from the pot and let cool.
  5. Wash and cube potatoes and slice carrots and celery.  Add vegetables to the pot as you finish cutting them.
  6. The chicken should be cool by the time you finish adding the veggies.  Store one chicken breast in the fridge to use for another recipe (like Chicken Quesadillas or Chicken Salad).  Cube the second breasts and add to soup. 
  7. Add more herbs and spices if desired.  Continue to cook soup for 20 minutes or until vegetables have softened. 

Super Simple Baked BBQ Chicken

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • BBQ sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half length-wise to make 4 thinner chicken breasts.
  3. Spray a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with non-stick spray.
  4. Lay chicken breasts in baking dish and completely cover with your favorite BBQ sauce.
  5. Bake fore 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. 
*Serve with corn bread and a vegetable.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Save Money by Bundling Your TV, Cable and Internet

Last year, our family was in need of new vehicle.  We would be able to afford a used truck but, the monthly payments would make things a little tight.  So, we looked to our bills to look for places to cut back and/or save money.  After reviewing all our bills and checking the company websites for any current deals, found a way to say some money each month.  Our home phone company was offering a bundle package that included home phone, Internet and satellite TV.  With their bundle plan we are now saving $100 a month and getting better Internet and TV than we had before. 

It just goes to show you that there are opportunities to save money out there waiting to be found.  You just have to take the time to look for them!  Check your phone and cable companies for deals.  Good luck!

Gift Ideas for Teachers

This year Teacher Appreciate Week is May 2-6.  If you are looking for a good way to show how much you appreciate your child's teacher, go no further.  Here are some presents we gave in the past and some great sites I found with wonderful ideas for teacher gifts.

  • A large scented candle with a ribbon and tag reading:  "A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others" or "You are a scent-sational teacher!"
  • Buy an inexpensive canvas tote or make it yourself.  Then jazz it up with iron-on transfers (see Tote Bags with Iron-On Silhouettes).  Fill the tote with teacher supplies like sharpies, notepads, pens, etc.  Or you can fill the tote with children's books for the classroom.   
If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.  So, please share with a comment!

Free Full-Size Febreze Candles

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6th.  Show your child's teacher how grateful you are to have them in your lives with a free gift and get one for yourself at the same time.  Visit Free Full-Size Febreze Candles- 1 for You & 1 for a Teacher! to find out how.  For more ways to show your child's  teacher your appreciation, visit Gift Ideas for Teachers.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Free Disney Princess Coloring Pages

For a quiet activity to do on are trip at Disney World, I searched the Internet for free printable coloring pages of my daughter's favorite Disney Princesses.  I found some great websites with lots of coloring pages and I wanted to share them with you.

Easter Coloring Pages

For a quick Easter activity or for an Easter basket stuffer, click on the links below to print out your very own Easter Coloring pages.

Religious Easter Crafts

I found some great links for religious Easter activity ideas.  They are great for children's ministries, Easter parties or as crafts to do with your own children.  You can use some of these crafts as opportunities to teach your children about the Easter Story.
Click here for fun and thoughtful Easter coloring pages.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pokemon Pokeball Cupcakes

There's no need for fancy cakes at a kids birthday party.  Cupcakes are much more fun anyway, especially these.  For my son's Pokemon birthday party, we made cupcakes that looked like Pokeballs.  My kids and I had tons of fun making them.  We hope you have just as much fun.

  • Your favorite cake mix and it's needed ingredients
  • white frosting
  • red food coloring
  • black writing/cookie icing in tube
  • M&Ms
  1. Make cupcakes as directed on box and let cool.
  2. Put half of the white frosting in a bowl and stir in red food coloring to make red icing.
  3. Frost one half of cupcake red and the other white.
  4. With the black icing outline the cupcake and draw a line through the middle to separate the white side from the red.
  5. Place a M&M in the center of the black line and you're done.  
* You can jazz up your cupcakes by adding red, crystal sprinkles to the red side of the Pokeball cupcake.  

Phineas and Ferb Activities and Coloring Pages

Whether you are looking for activities to do during your child's Phineas and Ferb party or just looking for fun Phineas and Ferb crafts to do with them, here are some ideas for you:
Coloring Pages
Learn everything there is to know about Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher at Phineas and Ferb - Big Ideas.

Phineas and Ferb Party Ideas

Inspirational Cake Made by Pros
For my oldest son's birthday this past fall, he had a Phineas and Ferb birthday party.  When we were preparing for his party there weren't many ideas and options for decorating and games related to the theme.  I got creative and made Phineas and Ferb Cupcake Toppers for his class and a homemade Phineas and Ferb Birthday Cake for his party at home. 

Now, I plan to throw a Phineas and Ferb beach party to kick off the summer with my kids this year, so I searched again.  I was pleased to find that since my last search there are a lot more ideas for Phineas and Ferb parties out there.  Here are some great resources to help you plan your next Phineas and Ferb party:  

Party Ideas
Cakes and Cake Toppers

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Cleaning Checklists
With spring comes spring cleaning.  I love starting a new season with a clean house.  It's a great opportunity to get organized.  And it's so much easier to keep an organized house clean. 

However, the idea of spring cleaning can be overwhelming and it's hard to know where to start.  So as usual, I looked to the Internet to find ideas on how to get rolling.  There are a lot of great sites with spring cleaning checklists and how-to's.  Here are a few of my favorite:

Downloadable/Printable Spring Cleaning Checklists
If you are like me and you aren't sure about how to make some things sparkle, here is a very helpful link:  Do-It-All Cleaning Guide.  Just select the item you want to clean from the pull down list provided and you are on your way to a spotless home.  If clutter is an issue, visit my post How to Declutter Your Home for helpful ideas and links.  Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fun Easter Recipes

To help celebrate the Easter holiday, why not create something special to eat.  Whether it's for a party or just something fun to do with the kids, there are a lot of great ways to make food an Easter celebration. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

Homemade Easter Cards

Want something fun to do with your kids this Easter?  Make Easter cards to share with family and friends.  Below are a few great ideas for homemade Easter cards.  Or come up with an idea of your own.

Card Ideas

Easter Crafts for Everyone

Each holiday I search the internet for great crafts to do with my kids.  I found a lot of great ideas for Easter crafts.  One I am sure to do is called the Magazine Mini Basket (pictured on right).  You can find the instructions for this craft under the "Best Easter Craft Ideas" below.

Easter Craft Fun:     

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Top Disney World Attractions for Young Kids

For those kids who aren't preschoolers any more but are not yet pre-teens, the rides below would be great for them.

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Splash Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Monsters Inc. - Laugh Floor
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
  • Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade
  • Mickey's PhilarMagic
  • Wishes Nighttime Spectacular
  • Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
  • Innoventions
  • Maelstrom
  • Soarin'
  • Test Track
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Rock 'n' Roll Coaster
  • Star Tours - Star Wars Thrill Ride
  • Twilight Zone - Tower of Terror
  • Fantasmic!
  • Lights, Motors, Action! - Extreme Stunt Show
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • American Idol Experience
  • Expedition Everest
  • It's Tough to be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Primeval Whirl
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey Grand Trails
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Finding Nemo - The Musical
  • Kilimangaro Safaris 
  • Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Disney World Height Requirements

If you are taking young children to Disney World it's a good idea to measure them before leaving for your trip.  This way you will know in advance which rides they will be able to go on.  Below you will find lists of rides with height requirements in each park.  (For more information about the attractions at a specific park, click on it's name.)

1. The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm – 35”
2. Splash Mountain – 40”
3. Big Thunder Mountain – 40”
4. Stitch’s Great Escape – 40”
5. Space Mountain – 44”
6. Tomorrowland Indy Speedway – 52” to ride alone

1. Test Track – 40”
2. Soarin’ – 40”
3. Mission: SPACE – 44”

1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – 40”
2. Star Tours – 40”
3. Rock-n-Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 48”

1. Kali River Rapids – 38”
2. DINOSAUR – 40”
3. Expedition Everest – 44”
4. Primeval Whirl – 48”

1. Tikes Peak – 48” and under
2. Chairlift – 32”
3. Slush Gusher – 48”
4. Summit Plummet – 48”
5. Downhill Double Dipper – 48”

1. Ketachakiddee Creek – 48” and under
2. Bay Slide – 60” and under
3. Crush ‘n’ Gusher – 48”
4. Humunga Kowabunga – 48”

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold – 35”
2. Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam – 48”
3. Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster – 51”
4. CyberSpace Mountain – 51”

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Top Disney World Attractions for Preschoolers

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade
  • Dumbo Flying Elephant
  • “It’s A Small World”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Wishes Nighttime Spectacular

  • Epcot Character Spot
  • Gran Fiesta Tour
  • Journey Into Imagination
  • Kidcot Fun Spots
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Disney’s Hollywood Studio
  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  • Fantasmic!
  • Muppet Vision 3-D
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Voyage of The Little Mermaid
  • American Idol Experience

  • Affection Section
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey Grand Trails 
  • Festival of the Lion King 
  • Finding Nemo – The Musical
  • Flights of Wonder
  • Kilimangaro Safaris     
  • Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade
  • Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
  • The Boneyard
  • Tricera Top Spin