Archive | May, 2018

13 Weekly Summertime Toddler Crafts

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend and remembered those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.  Because Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and kids being out of school I wanted to help with some ideas to keep the kids entertained all summer long.  So I rounded up 13 weekly toddler crafts that are perfect to try this summer.

More time during the summer means more time to celebrate the season and do things you maybe wouldn’t normally do during the school year. I definitely am not thinking about crafting with my toddler throughout the school year, are you?

sumemr craft ideas, toddler craft ideas, toddler crafts every weekWhile I only have a toddler and baby, my toddler still gets bored throughout the day. Without a plan, I have no ideas on how to entertain her.  There is only so much coloring she can do right?

So I decided to make a plan!  There are 13 weeks between her last week of preschool and the start of another school year.  I found 13 toddler crafts that will help to keep her occupied and give us some time to work on a project together.

I enlisted her help (and Pinterest) to find 13 toddler crafts that would be fun, age appropriate, maybe educational, and uses things we already have at home.

I definitely didn’t want to have to go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of stuff in the hope that we may use it one time for one craft.  Although the dollar store is a great place to pick up some of the items needed for these crafts.

I figure I’ll let her decide which craft she’d like to do each week and we’ll figure out a day that makes sense to sit down and do it.  And full disclosure, we’re already behind.  This is a no judgement mom zone, so if we don’t get to them all that’s totally fine.

Most are pretty easy and don’t take too much time to set up or make.  Some will need supervision while others are a do what you want kind of thing (aka, go play while I get something else done!).

13 Weekly Toddler Crafts to Last All Summer

1. Paper Plate Ring Toss

Found at A Little Learning for Two, this one is a simple set up and hopefully a game that will entertain for longer than a few minutes. Plus, my toddler could always use some help with hand eye coordination, or just coordination in general.

2. Cupcake Liner Fish

Found at I Heart Craft Things, these fish are cute and a good way to use up random cupcake liners.  I love how they are layered to give the fish dimension.

3. Pouring Station

We’ve done this pouring station before and it makes for a great activity on a hot summer day.  Learning how to stop pouring before spilling is a skill we’re still working on. Find it at Busy Toddler.

4. Painting with Pom Poms

We have so many pom poms, this will be a great way to use them up so I don’t keep finding them all over the house!  Find out how to do it at Crafty Morning.

5. Shaving Cream Colors

My daughter has been into knowing what colors mixed together make, so this is the perfect, and even better, mess free, activity to learn color mixing.  Find it at Best Toys 4 Toddlers.

6. Firework Painting with Toilet Paper Rolls

We’ve actually done this project once before and it turned out super cute!  The perfect thing to do around the 4th of July. Find it at Happiness is Homemade.

7. Sticky Paper Mural

I’m excited to see if my infant can play along with this craft.  I did have to go out and buy some contact paper. It’s a huge roll though so we’ll get to do this activity again and again! Find it at I Can Teach My Child.

8. Paper Plate Masks

These will be fun when my daughter decides she’s a scary bear, or a fast cheetah! Find it at Learn Create Love.

9. Ice Cream Math

Thought I’d throw in a purely educational craft also.  Find this one at Fun-a-Day.

10. Paper Bag Pinatas

To be honest, this craft may be more for me than it is my daughter because it just screams it’s time to party.  But she’ll get the candy once she breaks it open. Find it at Somewhat Simple.

11. Popsicle Stick Ballerinas

My daughter loves to do ballet so these little sticks are perfect to dance around with her. Find them at New Young Mum.

12. Paper Bag Jellyfish

Another paper bag craft because we already had those on hand! Find these jellyfish at No Time for Flashcards.

13. Handprint Color Mixing

Lastly, I included another color mixing craft, but this one is a lot more messy.  It uses multiple people to mix the colors, but I figure I’ll just have my daughter put one paint on one and another on her other hand then mix the paint together between her hands. Find out how to do it at The Simplicity of Learning.

There you have it!  A round up of 13 fun crafts to do all summer long.  Celebrate those slower days and fill an afternoon with a project that may just teach you or your kids something!  Which will you do first?



Festive End of School Summer Party

Well, my first born has officially completed her first year of Preschool!  Now it’s time to celebrate summer!  I’m equally excited for the freedom, and nervous to have her home all the time, haha!

I wanted to do a little end of year celebration and thought you might want to incorporate it into your end of year chaos too.  Why is it that there is always so much going on in the month of May?  School events, graduations, beginning of summer, vacations start, it’s never ending!

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End of School Summer Themed Party

It’s always a good idea to throw a party!  Why not one for the end of the school year?

It doesn’t take much to make kids happy.  I mean they’re already not having to go to school anymore.

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For my little party, I set up a station that I think all kiddos would love.  I included some summer essentials.  You know, water to hydrate, sunscreen to keep the burns at bay, and sunglasses mostly for the cool factor.

Doing a little station like this doesn’t have to cost you much at all.  Use things from around your home that are summer related.  Or do what I did and hit up the dollar store.  I probably spent $4 for all of this.

Making a fun, decorated station will make the simplicity of the get together more exciting.  Kids will think everything looks so fun, they’ll be playing for a long time.  Read, out of your hair for awhile 😉

I found this cute palm print melamine tray at the dollar store and it’s perfect for corralling a bunch of summer stuff.  Or you can use it to serve some festive refreshing drinks or snacks from. Plus it matches the fun palm print wrapping paper backdrop.

Summer party ideas, end of school year party, summer essentials party, kids summer party ideas

The best sunscreen!

Summer party ideas, end of school year party, summer essentials party, kids summer party ideas

Summer Party Snacks and Activities

As evident from our recent road trip, my daughter is a snack queen.  Literally every time she was in the car she was asking for a snack.  She could have just eaten the largest meal of her life, but required a snack once we were on the road.  She just kept saying, “but I’m supposed to have a snack!”  I guess we should have told her it wasn’t a requirement just because we were in the car.

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I think most kids love snacks more than meals, especially at a toddler age.  So you can’t go wrong including some snacks in your summer party.  I used some popsicles we had in the freezer since last summer.  Other great options would be fresh fruit, ice cream, cracker jacks, or popcorn.

I also spent a couple dollars at the dollar store to replenish our water guns that have broken.  My daughter calls them “shooting things” but loves using them in the summer.

Invite classmates or neighbors over and have them squirt each other.  Or give the kids instructions to squirt the plants and you’ll get your watering done by someone else.

For only a couple dollars the kids will be entertained and cooled off for hours.

I hope this summer party has inspired you to put a few things together for your kids to help kick off summer.  When are you done with school?  Or are you already enjoying the freedom of summer?



How to Keep Bugs Away from Your Summer BBQ

I recently asked my Facebook followers what they needed help with when it came to hosting a summer bbq.  An overwhelming number of people wanted help with how to keep bugs away while enjoying your bbq outdoors.

This response kind of surprised me. Since living in Colorado I don’t feel like we have too many bugs, so it’s not usually a concern for me.  However, I thought I’d help to tackle this problem and give you all some great outdoor summer bbq tips for keeping the bugs away.

I did a little research and came up with six ideas on how to keep the bugs away from you, your food, and the area of your bbq.

outdoor party ideas, bug free bbq, how to keep bugs away from food, outdoor dining ideas, summer bbq6 Ways to Keep Bugs Away from your Summer BBQ

1. Make a DIY Bug Spray

I tend to stray away from the typical aerosol bug spray and sunscreen because of a lot of toxic ingredients.  The good news is it’s easy to make your own versions that are just as effective.  We use Young Living essential oils and they make some great ingredients to make your own bug spray.

Here’s a simple recipe to try:

  • 50 ml witch hazel
  • 50 ml water
  • 10 drops peppermint
  • 15 drops citronella
  • 10 drops lemongrass
  • 10 drops tea tree

Just mix them all up in a spray bottle and you’re set.

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This is all of the oils I had on hand, so it looks like I may need some more before summer starts!

This is a great blend to spray on yourself.  But I love the idea of spraying it on your outdoor furniture as well.  The strong scent of the oils will help to keep the bugs away.

2. Herbs will Deter the Bugs

Another way to keep the bugs away from the area of your bar-b-que is by planting or using herbs.  The smell of the herbs detracts the bugs.

outdoor party ideas, bug free bbq, how to keep bugs away from food, outdoor dining ideas, summer bbqIf you already have an herb garden, try incorporating it into the decor of  your summer bbq.  Or if you have a mobile herb garden in pots or jars, move them to the area where people and food will be to deter the bugs.

Some great herbs to help deter the bugs are: lavender, basil, lemongrass, and lemon thyme.  These would all make great decor around your food platters or on your food buffet.

3. Keep Bugs Out of Your Food with Containers

I love the idea of re-purposing a large drink dispenser as a food container.  The best part about using them is that they have a lid.  The lid will keep bugs from flying right into and landing on your food.

Try putting salads, slaw, fruit, or any other cold side dish in a large drink dispenser and pop the lid on top.

4. Food Covers are Great at Keeping Bugs Away

For the items that can’t go into a large jar, use a food cover to place over the entire platter or dish.  This method may not be foolproof, but it will help keep some bugs away.

I really like using these large food covers because they fold up and are easy to store when you’re not using them.

5. Cover Your Drink Too

Food isn’t the only thing that attracts bugs, but sweet drinks do as well.

I vividly remember dealing with this when I was younger.  I was drinking a soda outdoors at an event when I was about 12 and took a drink of my soda. Before I swallowed I felt something odd in my mouth.  I spit my drink out and low and behold but a bee had flown into my soda and was just swimming around in my mouth.  Thank goodness it didn’t sting me and I’m not allergic, but can you imagine if I were?

So, all that to say to cover your drink!

Adding a colorful muffin liner to your straw is a great way to cover any glass, can, or bottle.  Plus it will help you distinguish whose glass is whose.

Or you can buy these mason jars that have lids that allow a straw to go through the lid.

6. Cover the Trash Can

Another place that draws bugs is the trash can.  Half eaten food, sweet drink containers, and lots of smells makes this area a bugs dream.

The two biggest pieces of advice I can give you on this topic is to keep the trash can in a location further away from where people are congregating.  Not only to help keep the bugs away, but also because your guests probably don’t want to smell that either.

Also, use a trash can with a lid.  Doing so will help to keep the smells in and the bugs away.  Plus, when the lid no longer closes you know it’s time to empty the trash!

I hope some of these tips were useful in getting you prepared to have a bug free summer bbq this summer.  If all else fails, there is always the option to have your bar-b-que indoors too, haha!

*Affiliate links used throughout this post.  By clicking on the links I may make a small commission from your purchase with no additional cost to you.


10 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Ideas Better than a Gift

May is such a fun month isn’t it?  It’s full of preparation for summer and lots of reasons to celebrate!  Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby, Mother’s Day, graduations, end of school activities to name just a few.  I want to give you some ideas of how to be thoughtful this Mother’s Day instead of just buying a gift.

I’m still at the point of getting handmade cards and pictures that are difficult to decipher.  But I know I’ll treasure them for a long time.  However, sometimes it’s hard to get your mom something that you know they will truly love.  This is especially true if you feel like your mom doesn’t need another bouquet of flowers or piece of jewelry.

I was talking with some friends recently about love languages and found them so interesting.  Have you ever figured out what love language you have?  You can do so here.  Mine is quality time, although I feel like my love language could change depending on what’s going on at the time.

There are five different love languages;  acts of service, receiving gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation, and quality time.  If your mom is an act of service kind of person this is a great list for her this Mother’s Day!

But I feel like there is something on this list for all the different love languages though.  Take a look and figure out if you could do any of these things for your mom this Mother’s Day instead of the typical gift.  She may like it even more!

Thoughtful Ideas for Mother’s Day

Thoughtful Mother's Day ideas, things to do for your mom on Mother's Day, Mother's Day gift ideasI love so many things on this list, but would be pumped to receive number six!  Lord knows there are things on my to do list that never seem to go away.

If you want to help ease the burden of all the things your mom normally does, try an act of service like numbers one, two, three, or ten.  Your mom will appreciate the actions you take to make her day or week easier.

If you know your mom just wants to spend time with her kids, then do something together.  Teaching her something is a great way to spend time together.  You’ll have to work one on one and she’ll come out happy that she was with you and with a new skill.  Even better let her teach you something and give her your undivided attention.

Telling your mom you love and appreciate her is great, but not with just another card.  Amp up your words of affirmation by leaving her a note in several spots she’ll see throughout the week like number nine.  Or if you live far away, send her a message every day leading up to Mother’s Day. She will love hearing all the things you love or admire about her.

For us that like to celebrate, it’s hard not to give a gift sometimes.  So if you’re feeling like you physically need to give a gift, make it a thoughtful one.  Try making something like number four or five.  Sentimental moms will love the look back at childhood or to have a handy reminder of when everyone’s birthday and anniversary is.

These are just a few things I put together.  I think all of them are so thoughtful and would make any mom happy on Mother’s Day.  Are you more of a gift giver or would you try to do something thoughtful this year?  Either way, if you’re a mom, I hope you have a great day and feel loved!




Tablescape Tuesday: Cinco de Mayo

You guys!  Doesn’t it feel like summer is right around the corner?!  It all starts with the warm spring days and then the holidays, like Cinco de Mayo, start happening.  Before you know it you’re next to the pool all day!  I’m getting so excited.

Today, I wanted to share a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  It’s this weekend and the perfect opportunity to have a party.  Plus, it’s also the Kentucky Derby the same day, so you’ll get two for the price of one parties!  Some friends of ours are actually hosting a Cinco de Derby party, and I think it’s the best mash up in a long time.

Taco party, cinco de mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyIt’s no surprise to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tacos and margaritas, but doing it with fun decorations and a full tablescape takes it up a notch.

Taco party, cinco de mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyI love that Cinco de Mayo lets you have so much fun with color.  Color in the tablecloth and color in the fresh food.  Welcome to my Cinco de Mayo fish taco party!

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyI set my table up using a Mexican themed blanket as a tablecloth.  The perks of living in San Diego for so long was getting some authentic Mexican gear!  Plus all the tacos.  With that as the base I then added our taco bar and decorated with small, faux cactus around the platters and dishes.

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyTaco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyFor the menu I mixed it up a bit by doing fish tacos.  I still dream about the Taco Tuesday shrimp tacos at Cafe Coyote in Old Town San Diego.  They have this white sauce on them that is so delicious!  I tried to replicate that but with a cabbage slaw to add some freshness.

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyHere is a similar Mexican slaw recipe to the one that I used.  It adds a nice crunch and freshness to your tacos.  I made my food prep easier by just using store bought frozen fish.  This kind is great because they have a fairly crunchy outside once they are baked.

Try putting your food out on a big board or platter.  It gives everyone access to everything they need to build their taco.  All it takes to dress up your platter is by adding all the things you are using anyway.  I added extra cilantro and avocados around the platter.

To top off the tacos I made a sriracha mayo by mixing about equal parts and then just drizzling on top of the tacos.

Taco party, cinco de mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyTaco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyI also made a Mexican corn salsa to put alongside the tacos.  Here is a recipe that I used.  I didn’t use cotija, and I roasted the corn for a few minutes before making the salsa. It added a delicious deeper flavor then just having used plain corn.

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyThe table turned out so cute and on theme.  Plus adding a few extra little things like the tablecloth and cacti made the evening so fun.

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyTaco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyTaco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner party

Cinco de Mayo Cucumber Margaritas

To help wash down those fish tacos, I made a yummy batch of margaritas.  I used this recipe to make a cucumber infused margarita that is so refreshing.

I will say that these are somewhat labor intensive because you have to juice the cucumbers.  But they are so worth it!

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner party

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyCheck out that other Mexican blanket decorating our bar area.  Thanks to my makeshift Christmas card holder, I was able to just put the blanket over the twig and bring the look of the table throughout the whole party.

Do you plan on celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year?  Try doing it with some fish tacos and little cacti!



Celebrating everyday!