Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Patriotic Popcorn

Red, White and Blue
Make some Patriotic Popcorn!
Something to munch on while you watch fireworks on the 4th!

You'll need:
2 boxes of 3oz. Jell-o (one red, one blue)
I'm using Berry Blue and Strawberry
1 package of vanilla flavor, white chocolate melts
patriotic sprinkles (optional)
24 cups popped, popcorn-
  (use 3 bowels with 8 cups in each)

Make up your red and blue popcorn by using 
{Kristin's Flavored Popcorn} recipe.


When it was time to bake, I just lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper.  After baking, simply slide that parchment paper off the cookie sheet onto your counter for the popcorn to cool. Don't have to clean the pan!
For the white popcorn, heat 1/2 of the bag (you'll only use 1/2) of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds.  Stir, heat for 30 more seconds and repeat until chocolate is melted.  Pour over the popcorn and stir until coated. 
Pour popcorn out on some parchment paper. 

Sprinkle with some patriotic cookie sprinkles.
Let it sit for the chocolate to harden.

We'll be wearing our glow sticks, sitting on a picnic blanket, munching our popcorn as we watch the sky light up!

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cotton Ball Hockey

Happy Summer Fun Friday!  Today, we have a fun and simple game that uses items you have around your home.  Cotton Ball Hockey is a great game for a hot summer afternoon!
You will need:

Cotton Balls

Clear off a table or even space on the floor.  Tape off rectangles at each end of a table to be goals and a center line in the middle.  Allow one child to play and defend one side of the table and another child to defend the other.  Using only your breath, try to blow the cotton ball into the other teams' goal. Try not to cross the center line with your body however!  Cotton Balls that blow off the table are out of bounds and the other team gets to "blow" them in.  Have Fun!

anchors aweigh! -Nautical Banner

Make this ship shape banner for summer!
I made this little cutie for girls camp and will use at a lakeside family reunion in July. 
You'll need:
1/4" wide, double fold bias tape
nautical scrapbook papers
(I used the  Ahoy There paper pack from the Carta Bella Collection.
I really like this paper because it all coordinated, was double sided and thick like card stock)

Cut out your triangle pieces. 
I laminated mine to make them a little waterproof---great to use camping and at the lake.
(laminate triangles before you sew them in)
Insert your first triangle about 8" in on the bias tape.  Back stitch and sew down the middle of the bias tape.  Insert your next triangle about 1/4" from the last. 
 Keep sewing them in until you have about 8" of bias tape left at the end.  That's it!

Love that the banner is reversible and water resistant, so I made 3!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Passport to Good Manners

About a year ago, we focused an entire month of Family Home Evening (FHE) lessons on good manners. My husband and I both felt our kids needed a refresher course on this topic. I came up with an idea, Passport to Good Manners.

At that first FHE, I passed out a passport to each of our children. Here's a link to a great passport template. I enjoyed gluing photos in their passports along with filling out their "stats." My husband and I talked to our kids about good manners and why they are so important. We then told them that for the entire month we would focus on a specific manner skill set each week. They could earn stamps (which were our initials) in their passport every time they showed those particular manners. Many times we saw them perform these good manners and we recorded the initial together, but sometimes they were on their honor when reporting to us. We told them that as soon as every member of our family earned 100 initials (we were met with some groans) we would go out as a family and celebrate. We celebrated by seeing the Lego Movie in the theaters. After the introduction, we immediately went into our focus for that first week - good hygiene. Like I said, we had to go back to basics! For example, they got our initials every time they brushed their teeth, washed their hands, combed hair, etc. Not too hard, but repetition helps when creating good habits.

For week two, our focus was on saying those magic words: "please," "thank you," "excuse me," etc. The following week our FHE lesson and week's focus was on being a gentleman/gentlewoman. We talked about taking turns, being on time, opening doors for others in need, waiting patiently in line, giving compliments, etc. Again, they got a stamp in their passport every time they performed one of these acts. Finally, the last week of the month focused on table manners. The do's and don'ts at dinner.

At times, it was a lot of work. Other times, it was a game. My husband and I both saw behavior improvement and we all enjoyed spending an evening together as a family at the movies. I think it is time to revisit this topic in our family :) I'll be putting together new passports soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dessert Parfaits

Here's a light summer dessert. It's fast, tasty and won't heat up your kitchen. No baking needed! Also, you can use any ingredients you'd like - no rules. For this round of dessert parfaits, my family used sprinkles, strawberries, blueberries, Reese's Pieces, Kit Kats and Reddi Wip.  The one ingredient that is a must - cubed pound cake. OK, there is one rule. The pound cake helps tie all the ingredients together and is the dessert's foundation. Otherwise, you'd just be eating a glass full of candy which isn't necessarily that bad :) Let folks make their own creations by layering ingredients in any order they choose picking the ones they want and excluding the ones they don't want. Happy Eating!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ruffled Apron

Jazz up a store bought apron with a few ruffles. 
I picked up this apron at Hobby Lobby.  Loved it because it was denim and had pockets.  
You'll need:
an apron
1/4 yard each of 2 fabrics
I also found these cute denim fabric flowers (optional but a fun apron accessory)

Cut 2 strips 4" wide and the length of the fabric (44" long) 
and 1 strip 3" wide (44" long)
Fold the 4" wide strips in half, with right sides showing and iron.  
For the 3" strip, fold it with right sides together and iron.

(I'm making two aprons so you'll see two of everything in this next photo, but you just need one set for one apron.)
Cut your strips of fabric in half.  Now your pieces will measure two 4"x 22" and one 3"x 22".
Sew a basting stitch along the top of your two 4" pieces and gather.
Sew a regular stitch along the top of your 3" piece and turn inside out. Press this piece so the seam is going down the middle of one side.

On all of your ends, fold in the sides and top stitch

Gather your first 4" piece so it fits the width of the apron.  
Measure 1 inch down from the apron seam and pin your ruffle.  Sew it down.  (All my seams on the ruffles are about 1/4" from the edge)

Measure 1/2" down from the apron seam and pin your next ruffle. Sew it down.


With your 3" piece, sew a basting stitch right down the middle but to the side of your seam. 
I'm using white thread to see it better. 
You won't be able to gather it if it is sewn over or on top of the middle seam.

Pull to gather it.  

Lay it on the apron, 1/4" from apron top and so it covers part of your last ruffle.

Sew right down the middle. 
Remove your basting stitch. Cut any loose threads.

It's looking great!  Adding some frills!
I'm making these aprons for my friend and I to wear at girls camp while we teach arts and crafts.
 For this camp job, aprons with pockets was a must. And since we are the craft ladies, we had to make them cute, right.  So along with the ruffle and to give it some added charm, I glued a pin back to those fabric flowers I found.... 

Perfect.  Ready for some crafting!
I'll use this apron after camp too.  Red, white and blue for the 4th!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ball Run

Here's some summer fun for when the rain hits or its just too hot- save up your paper towel and toilet paper tubes (you knew they were good for something) and have fun creating a ball run with your kids.  You will need:

Toilet Paper Tubes
Paper Towel Tubes
Bouncy Ball (or 2 or 3 and have a race)
Tape- make sure it will not damage your walls!
Empty wall

Keep some of your paper towel tubes as tubes or cut them in half, add a Dixie cup for the ball to drop through, or some cardboard to change direction.  Endless ways to create!  The best part is you can change and re-change again and again.  My kids really enjoy doing this, we have even tried to race Hot Wheels cars or see if we can "slam dunk" the car in a bowl of water at the end.  Hours of summer fun!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ribbon Flower Rings

I've seen these rings around and have been wanting to make them for awhile. I think they are really cute and would be fun to wear on the 4th of July. Here's what you need:

Elastic (1/4 in.) 
Pearl Buttons 

Measure the elastic around your finger and cut to desired length. Remember to leave a bit extra so you have enough elastic to overlap when sewing the two ends together. I stitched a square to ensure all open edges were secure. Here's the elastic stitched into a ring. I know it looks like a bandage at the moment, but once you sew the ribbon flower on top no one will notice.

Next cute your ribbon. I'll be honest - I cut my ribbon a bit too long. It all worked out in the end. I just had to overlap more ribbon than expected. Just cut to the length you feel is right keeping in mind that shorter is easier to work with in the end.

Then, make a stitch along the edge of one side of the ribbon.

After the stitching is complete, gently pull on the threaded needle and watch as your ribbon begins to curl.

Soon your ribbon will resemble a flower. Once you have the shape you like, make a few stitches to keep the ribbon ends intact.

Sew your white pearl in the middle.

When your pearl is in place, sew the flower on top of your elastic ring covering up the stitching. Then, slip the ring on and enjoy! I made my daughter a red and a blue flower ring to wear on the 4th. Also, lace ribbon makes beautiful rings. Next up, an oatmeal colored lace ring for me :) Be creative and have fun!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

4th of July Centerpiece

Our family loves to eat outside during the summer. We spend pretty much every evening out on our deck enjoying the sunset, listening to children play and eating yummy BBQ. When I think of it, I also enjoy having a candle out on our table. Most of the time I just pop a votive candle in an empty mason jar and place it on our table. With the 4th of July approaching, I thought it would be fun to give my outdoor candle centerpieces an upgrade.

First, find some mason jars. I have plenty of jars at home. We use mason jars to decorate with, serve dessert in or at times even drink out of. So, I just opened my cupboard and pulled out a few.

Along with the traditional mason jar, I love the jam style mason jar. Right now all mason jars are on sale at Jo Ann's. They are only a couple of dollars (or less) so pick up a few!

Also, at Jo Ann's, all their patriotic decorations are 70 percent off! I found these cute patriotic tealight candles for only $2!

I also picked up a few items to decorate my jars. I bought washi tape and ribbon. Jo Ann's also has patriotic ribbon right now in their dollar section.

Now, time to decorate. For the jam jars, I tied ribbon around the top and put one of the  4th of July tealights in each. I love placing the jars in clusters. You could have a series of clusters down the middle of your table.

With the larger mason jars, I used washi tape to decorate. I of course used red, white and blue tape. I decorated each jar with a different tape pattern. On a side note, washi tape is so easy to peel off. You can use the same jars over and over again by just replacing the washi tape with new washi tape. Washi tape comes in so many different colors and patterns. The jars could really be used for every holiday.

To help anchor the votive candles, I placed sugar in each jar. The white sugar played right along with the red, white and blue theme. I put a different amount of sugar in each jar so the candles were at varying heights. My mom always taught me to keep things in odd numbers and at varying heights when decorating. I have these rules ingrained in me!

Here are the candles on our deck table. I love how they turned out and can't wait to use them for the 4th of July and throughout the summer. In fact, we have already used them! The jam jars are on a side table on our deck. Such a simple centerpiece, but so so delightful!

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