Friday, May 29, 2015

Penny Carnival

A Penny Carnival is a great way to celebrate the first day of Summer (June 21), end of school, or just a fun activity to do during those long summer days!  Here's how it works:  Invite your friends to come and to bring their pennies (or other change too), find a charity you would like the pennies to go to such as a the Humane Society or animal shelter or food bank, plan some fun games to do with the pennies, and of course, have some sweet treats that cost.... a penny!  This is a great activity to involve the whole family and to do some service for a needed organization.  It also so much fun to plan the games and treats and to have all the members of the family run the booths!  Prizes for the games can be as simple as fun stickers or play money that the kids can use to buy treats.  Some ideas for games:

Penny Pitch- Set up some mason jars,paint the rims of the cups different colors, give your friends a chance to toss a penny into a cup, the color tells them what they have won!

Penny Drop:  Fill up an old aquarium with water with a glass (glued previously) inside. Try to drop your penny in the glass.  

Penny Flip:  Try to flip a penny Tiddly Winks style into a cup. If you flip in three you get a prize!

Penny Toss:  Set up a fun sign of a clown, animal, etc with a hole where the mouth is.  Try to toss your penny into the hole!

Magic Show:  Have a simple magic show and charge a penny for admission!

Treats can be sold for a penny or used as prizes for the games.  Some ideas include our recipe for flavored popcorn  as well as cookies, juice boxes, or chex mix.   Have fun this summer!! 

"Orange" you glad it's SUMMER! gift tags

Hooray! School is almost out and summer can begin!
We're giving these orange gift bags to teachers on the last day of school.
Kick off summer 
and attach an "orange you glad" tag on anything orange for parties and gifts.
Find the tag at the link below.

Our bags includes orange Old Navy flip flops, orange slices that we put in smaller zip close bags, peach nail polish, orange Kool-Aid, Pringles cheese sticks, lip gloss in an orange tube, and a gift card to Orange Leaf for frozen yogurt. 
Other ideas: 
Cheetos, orange container of lotion or hand soap, Crush soda, orange Pixie Sticks, gum, etc.  
I'm so glad it's summer!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Children Scrapbooks

I used to be a "scrapper." Back in the day, I loved scrapbooking. There's something about cute paper, stickers, die cuts that gets this girl giddy with excitement. Honestly, if I had all the time and money in the world, I would still be scrapbooking today. However, that's not the case. Like all moms, my days are full. There are puzzles to put together with my preschooler, school projects to work on with my older children, church assignments, driving to and from our many after school activities, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I learned how busy a mother's life is shortly after having my second child. So, I changed my scrapbooking approach and I'll let you in on the secret.

I knew my approach would need to be simple. If it was simple, then I was more likely to keep up with it. Well, my system works! My kids' scrapbooks are continually up to date. Here's what to do.

1. Have a family blog. We have a private blog that really only close family members read. I update it regularly with family photos and journal entries. Then, every couple of years I (or I should say my husband) will print off our blog into a book. These books will be our children's baby books, photo albums, life histories, etc. The books contain everyone's happenings so our kids will remember not only their life events, but  also their siblings' events. Blogging takes no time. Just upload pictures and type away. It really is easy.

2. Now, what to do with all those school art projects, certificates, programs, ribbons, etc. that you just can't part with. I buy 3-inch 3-ring binders for my kids. I also always have a stack of sheet protectors on hand. As they bring home their work,  I keep it in a pile on the kitchen counter. Then, after a couple of weeks (when I have a few minutes), I slide their work in sheet protectors and add them to their binders. This system helps to narrow down what I save. It has to be 8 x 10 (sometimes I will cut a project down to fit) and it needs to be something that my kids are really so proud of (I don't want them graduating from high school with 20 binders). It really is so simple.

Their binders contain special art projects. They love looking back and seeing what they did in preschool and kindergarten.

Their binders also contain special certificates or awards. Team sports pictures. Recital programs. Ribbons.

My children also have a couple magazine holders. The holders are for those special reports or projects that are too thick to fit in a sheet protector.

My children's binders and magazine holders are kept on a shelf in their bedroom closets. And, don't worry. Like I said, your child won't be graduating high school with a bazillion binders. My 12-year old son has three binders and two magazine holders. I think he'll probably have one more binder added to the mix by the time he graduates from high school. The art projects really taper off as they get older. Four binders total, that's pretty manageable!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Some of Our Favorite Things

Here are some our favorite things that we are "crushing" on for summer:

1. Bright nail polish.  Love everything in the "pink family". Gotta have your toes looking cute for sandals and out by the pool.
2. Summer tote bag from Old Navy.  This is a summer necessity.  Use it as a purse, for travel, picnics, beach, wherever the summer takes you! Throw everything in it and no worries about keeping track of the little things you need when going out. Under $20!
3.A moisturizer with some sunscreen we like Neutrogenia Rapid Tone Repair Moisturizer. Has a 30 SPF. 
4. Pick up a new pair of chunky flop flops. Found these cute black and white polka dots at Marshall's for less than half the retail price!
5.  Bert's Bees tinted lip balm. Comes in a variety of colors. Light and perfect for a summer day.
6. Old Navy flag tee.  Just $5 and a must for July.
7Vanicream helps with dry, red, itchy and cracked skin.  Free of chemical irritants, fragrances, lanolin and parabens.  Eczema?- this lotion saves you! It brings so much relief.  You can find it at Target.  A little pricey for lotion but worth every penny!!
8. Pick up a new maxi skirt.  Comfy and cool for the summer heat.

{We are in no way affiliated with these products-darn! They are products we love and use-all opinions are just our own}

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fabulous Finds

Here are some fabu"less" finds I've picked up recently.
All under $3!!

Patriotic paper straws in the Dollar Spot at Target.
Milk bottles from  Michaels. Sold individually for $1.99 or in a set of 6.
I think I'm in love with milk bottles.

Loved these red and turquoise labels from the Dollar Tree $1
Target has some really fun chevron tissue with coordinating colors for $3.
Also at Target for just $1- patriotic whale stickers and the cutest gingham pencils!
Gotta love anchor ribbon from Michaels for $1

Just one more pic of all those the very fun decorative mini clothes pins from Michaels for $1.50

Target $1 red, white and blue glow sticks (I'll be using these on the 4th!)
Dollar Tree deli baskets and heavy plastic platter- love the pattern. (Memorial Weekend)
Deseret Book had mini forget me not grow kits for just .50! 
Enjoy your weekend and all the fabulous deals you find!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Graduation Subway Art Printables

We are handing out little bags of popcorn at a graduation party.
I'm adding our mini subway art printable to dress up these party favor bags a bit.
I originally made this for the class of 2015.
Now I've got the printable without that class distinction
so you can use it any year!
But because I love ya, 
and since I have a grad this year,
page 2 of the 8x10 printable is for the CLASS of 2017!

We've got mini tags for your party favors too!

 Print off some of your own mini tags.  
I used 3x4 zip close bags found at Hobby Lobby.  Fill with a treat in your school colors.  
A sweet treat of flavored popcorn or colored M&Ms.

Print our 8x10 to frame as a table decoration.

Getting ready for the big day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Candy Leis

The "lei" has a long history of representing peace, love, friendship, and hospitality in Polynesia.  They are traditionally constructed with flowers, feathers, shells, etc.  We like to use this tradition at the end of the school year to celebrate the year's hard work and accomplishments, new friendships, and gratitude.   We  make our leis out of candy for a sweet treat for our classes and teachers.  It is a fun teacher gift and the kids always really love them.  We use individually wrapped candy, no chocolate and peanut free, and add a tag on each one that says "thanks for a sweet year".  For the teacher lei, we add bigger bows to make them special.  Have fun and make them your own and your kids will love to help you make, and eat, them!   These leis are also fun for parties too!

What you will need:
Saran Wrap
Candy ( we like to have three different kinds- about seven pieces per lei works well)
Thank you tag

Roll out a long strip of Saran Wrap, I like to use about 40 inches.   Place your candy down the middle, leaving about 1 1/2 to 2 inches between pieces and about the same space at each end.   

Wrap each side of the Saran Wrap around the candy, one side at a time.  The wrap will stick to itself and form the pocket for the candy.

To keep your candy in place, tie a bow or knot between each piece of candy.  

Take each end of the lei and bring them together.  Staple shut and add another bow to cover the stapling.  Now your lei is secure and ready to go.  Add your thank you tag and you are done! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Graduation Table Centerpiece-seminary

Here is a low cost centerpiece idea that I'm using for seminary graduation.  You could use it for your other graduation parties too. 
I'm sticking with classic black, grey, sliver and a little white and gold thrown in. 

I picked up these metal flower pots at the Dollar Store to use as my container.  You'll need some mylar gift tissue (from Hobby Lobby) and ribbon.
Wrap a sheet of the tissue around the can and secure with a rubber band around the top.

Just tie your ribbon around to cover the rubber band.

Stuff a couple pieces of regular tissue paper in the bottom of your pot and add some beans.  Beans are just a good filler when you are using picks. (the tissue helps fill it too so you don't have to use as many beans!)

Ready to make your flag picks. 
You'll need: card stock, bamboo skewers and a mini hole punch.
For the 2015, you'll need: number stamps, ink pad and glitter embossing powder.

First cut out your flags by cutting a piece of card stock in half length wise. I made a slight crease by folding it lightly in half on one side.  This marks the middle for me.  From the crease, measure 2" in and mark with a dot.

Draw a line from each corner to the dot and cut out this triangle.  (You can cut 3 pieces together at once to save a little time)  Now, stamp on 2015.  With the ink still wet, sprinkle on embossing powder.  After you have stamped all the flags, heat the underside of the flag with a heat source (embossing heat tool, blow dryer or even your stove top burner, just make sure you don't burn the paper!)  As the paper warms, you'll see the color of your ink change darker and gain texture when the powder melts. 

Hole punch a couple holes on the side and slide in the skewer.  
Make other flags, alternating the direction they will face.  You could make one with just a cool patterned scrapbook paper, your grad's name, favorite quote, name of school, etc.  Since this is for seminary graduation, I printed out scripture mastery verses that the students learned this year.  (Each year it is a new 25 verses)  On the white flag I wanted to put a scripture verse and found these great s.m. printables {here}.

The pick in the back has a quote about studying the scriptures {here}.
  (I printed it on white card stock and cut a black card stock rectangle a little larger, then glued them together with the skewer in the middle to make the pick.) 
Inexpensive and fun centerpiece!

Add a little graduation confetti.

For the graduation dinner:
light grey,round plastic table cloths
black centers are a long plastic table cloth cut into squares
each table setting had a carmel corn party favor
serving tables had long black table cloths
Grads were given candy leis to wear upon arrival

smoked brisket and turnkey, baked beans, creamed corn, rolls with cinnamon butter, mashed potatoes and white gravy, peach cobbler with vanilla ice-cream scoop--all delish!
Such a fun night.  Proud of our grads!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Travel Scavenger Hunt Booklets

While living in Europe, we had the privilege of traveling to many countries. Although our kids were young, my husband and I were not about to let opportunities to see the world pass us by. We understood that young kiddos probably wouldn't be as excited to visit art museums or historical monuments as mom and dad. (However, in many cases, I was surprised by how much they did like these sites. I learned to include children - even young children - in as many life experiences as possible. They are ready and willing to learn!) So, my husband came up with the idea of having scavenger hunts as we traveled.

Here's one of my sons filling out his booklet in Rome. 

Before our trips, he would make a booklet with pictures of the landmarks, historical sites, churches, museums, etc. we would visit. He would also include pictures of the works of art we would see as well. (We made it a point to visit art museums in every city we visited.) The booklets were just a Word document with pictures that he had cut and pasted off the Internet.

My daughter working on her booklet also in Rome. It was so cute seeing these little kiddos hard at work among the great ruins of the Roman Forum. 

On the first day of the trip, our kids would get their booklets. As we traveled around, they marked off the sites we visited. Just a check mark by the picture. It became an I Spy game as they would search for the different sites to see who would spot them first. The booklet also helped them learn the names of the sites and a bit of history behind what they were seeing. My husband included a little information at times next to the pictures. Once their booklet was completed, we would reward our kids with a souvenir from that city.

With summer vacation fast approaching, scavenger hunt booklets would be a great way to help include your children more on your vacations. And, you don't have to be traveling through Europe to use them. We've done something similar with hikes in our hometown. The booklets will keep your children busy and they will be learning without really knowing it. They're just playing a game, right?!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cheese Tortellini Salad with Basil

This is my favorite summer pasta salad. It reminds me of those long summer days when you're outside well past your kids' bed time enjoying the warm weather and each other. May be because it snowed yesterday - yes, SNOW! crazy spring storm - and I needed something to help remind me that those summer days will soon be here, but I was craving this salad and made it for dinner. 

Cheese Tortellini Salad with Basil 

1 14 oz. package of cheese filled tortellini
1 small red pepper chopped
1 cup broccoli florets chopped (use fresh broccoli) 
1 cup carrots chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves of garlic 
Parmesan cheese

Cook cheese tortellini according to package directions. 

While your pasta cools, chop your red pepper, broccoli and carrots. I just love all those colors! 

Now, mix the dressing. In a small bowl. stir together the mayonnaise, basil, milk, pepper and garlic. The basil will look like a lot, but trust me you want the full 2 teaspoons for flavor. 

Finally, combine the tortellini and vegetables and gently fold in the dressing. Top off your salad with shredded Parmesan cheese. Use as much as you like.

My tip for this salad: Cover and chill your salad at least four hours before serving. The longer the ingredients have to combine, the better tasting the salad. You can even make this salad up a day before serving. Enjoy! 
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