Teacher Appreciation Gift

If anyone’s looking for a last minute end of the school year gift for that special teacher your kids had this year, this one is so simple to whip up but it won’t look like you saved it for the last minute. Everyone wins.

I got this idea and printable from The Fickle Pickle.  Such a cute idea!




Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Birthday Party

I apologize for lack of pictures.  This always happens on party day.  I get so distracted trying to keep the pizza sauce out of my carpet and the ice cream sandwiches out of the bathroom, that my camera gets sorely neglected.

I did have fun throwing this party though.  It was just the right mixture of easy and detailed.  And it was a hit with the kids and adults.


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Here’s the details of the party:  I made ninja turtle balloons by wrapping streamers around a green balloon.  So simple and the boys thought it was so cool 🙂  Then I made a quick streamer wall and hung a ninja turtle banner.  I know, big on the décor this year, ha ha.

I made the ninja turtle cakes myself.  Will do a fondant tutorial later this week if anyone is interested.  Once again, super simple.  That’s my motto, after all.

I had some games planned, and even some face painting, but the kids were playing so well that all that got used were the coloring pages and wordsearches I printed out.

I made breadsticks and cut up apples slices, then bought some Costco pizzas and some green “ooze” punch.  Of course, didn’t get pictures of any of that.

I wish I could do a ninja turtle party every year because it required so little effort on my part.  If you want to throw a TMNT party, this is the way to go!


Make Your Own Slime

Do you remember playing with Gak growing up?  I loved that stuff!  My kids are all about the turtle ooze right now and so I figured we would try to make our own slime.  All you need is liquid starch, clear glue, food coloring and plastic ziplock baggies.

You use equal parts of starch and glue, so however much you would like to use is fine.  I used 1/4 cup starch and 1/4 cups glue.


You will add 3 drops of food coloring to the starch before you add the glue to it.


Then you add the glue and let the kids squish the bag around for at least 5 minutes.  The longer the better if you can keep them from splitting open the bag 🙂

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Which is what Riley did right here…split his bag right open.  So we continued the squish with our bare hands.

When it’s a good enough blob for you, take it out and just throw away the leftover bits and drips in the bag.   Then squish more or play.

We had to add some glue to a couple of them and starch to one, just to get the consistency we wanted.  Just go on a blob by blob basis.

IMG_3345 IMG_3346 IMG_3347 IMG_3348 IMG_3350 IMG_3351 IMG_3353 IMG_3357 IMG_3358 IMG_3359Store your slime in air tight containers.  Unfortunately, the slime will get really sticky within 3-7 days, so make sure to watch it carefully, this stuff won’t last forever.  But the slime was so much fun!


Shake Your Own Ice Cream

I remember making ice cream like this when I was in elementary school.  When I told the boys about it, they really wanted to try it.  I saved it for spring break so we could break up the long days and it was so fun!  The boys think they are so cool now that they can make their own ice cream.  Well, shake their own ice cream.

You need:

2 different sizes of baggies (I used gallon and snack size)

2 cups of half n half

4 tsp vanilla

4 Tb sugar



First you mix together the half n half, vanilla, and sugar.  Then you put it in the smaller bag/bags.  I used smaller snack bags so the boys could all have their own equally portioned bag.  You can put all of it in a quart sized bag.

Then you put the ice and salt into the gallon bag, then place your smaller bag inside and seal the gallon sized bag.


Then you shake….


And shake….


And shake….


You shake for about 20 minutes.  Technically, it was more milkshake consistency than solid ice cream, but the kids still loved it and they were even more happy to use a straw than a cup.  You should try to make some, I mean, look at these happy faces 🙂


Crafting Through Those Long Days

Recently, more than one person has mentioned to me that they were under the impression that I did crafts with my kids on a daily basis.

That is completely and undeniably false.

For the record, I do not do crafts with my kids every single day!

Okay, I admit that I may have gone a bit overboard for Halloween and Christmas.  But doing crafts with your kids does not make you a better mom.  Seriously!  I do crafts with my kids because I enjoy it.  If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t do it! 🙂  Honestly, doing crafts with my kids help the days go by quicker…which is (sadly) my main motivation at times.  It’s actually quite selfish of me.  But I quickly justify my selfishness because Lizzie truly does nearly constantly beg for me to do crafts with her! 😉

So it all works out perfectly for everyone involved, right?

Like I mentioned, doing crafts with my kids help me get through the sometimes long and monotonous days.  Especially the days in which I know that Jon won’t be coming home until late.

Like today.

I wake up at 5:00 in the morning.  The kids wake up around 6:00.  The days begin super early around our house!  Lizzie is out of school for Spring Break (which I am absolutely LOVING) and aside from helping time move quicker for me, I wanted to do a few crafts with the kids because I knew that Lizzie would enjoy it.

We made these cute little cotton ball bunnies.


Lizzie wanted to draw eyelashes on hers.  And she also wanted to make sure that the ears were floppy. 🙂


They painted Easter eggs.  And I didn’t feel like looking for paintbrushes and so they used plastic forks instead! 🙂  I’m sure that they would have turned out more aesthetically pleasing had they used paint brushes…but they had fun anyway. 🙂


They cut up yarn and glued the pieces to egg-shaped paper.


They assembled these cute little chicks!  I just quickly cut out the pieces and the kids assembled the chicks onto a piece of construction paper and added some googly eyes and a beak.


Even after all of that fun…it was only 9:00 in the morning.

I decided to be creative with the kids’ lunches today.  Again, not because I’m trying to be an awesome Mom.  Being creative with food simply helps break up the monotony a bit!  Everything that I do is purely selfish. 🙂

They were served egg-shaped flat bread, decorated with hot dog and string cheese.    The “eggs” are sitting on cucumber grass and I put a few black olive and mandarin orange flowers in the background.  Oh, and I sprinkled some dried cranberries on the plate just for fun. 🙂


They both gobbled it all up!  Well, I couldn’t get Bryce to eat all of his cucumbers…but he did manage to eat a few! 🙂

For dessert, they got to eat one of these birds nests that we had made the day before:


We make these every year around Easter time.  I usually use chow-mien noodles, but the bag that I had just purchased from Wal-mart a few days ago had already expired and the noodles tasted like dust.  Yuck!  So we used cheerios instead.  I just melted 2 cups of chocolate chips, mixed it in with some cheerios, and then the kids helped me form little “nests” and they placed a few robin eggs in each nest.

Lizzie looks forward to these nests every year!

Anyway, the kids are now in bed (obviously, or else I would not be writing this blog post).  Jon should be coming home soon.

Even though it was a late day for Jon, I had a great day.  I had fun with my kids.  We went to the library.  We visited Grandma for a bit.  We played outside in our beautiful backyard.  We watched a few episodes of “Super Why!” (Bryce’s new favorite show).  We ate.  I kissed a few boo-boo’s.  I filled up Bryce’s sippy cup with water no less than 200 times…seriously.  I wiped bums.  I disciplined.  I changed diapers.  I worried that Mason is going to dehydrate.   I helped tie shoes.  I read books.  I sang songs.  I counted to 10.  I counted to 10.  I counted to 10…again.  I took a few deep breaths.  I read 2 apology notes from Lizzie.  I brushed the kids’ teeth.  I worried.  I prayed.  I played.  I hugged.  I kissed.  I loved.

I am so blessed to be a Mother!

Even if I have to do crafts with my kids every now and then to help me get through the day, there truly is nothing greater.

Easy Textile Easter Craft



The other day my sister and I got our kids together to do this really simple Easter Craft.  They loved it!  It allowed them to glue and color, which they always love, but also experiment with different textures.

We glued on Easter grass for the grass in the picture.





Then they got to color Easter eggs on the grass and make Easter bunnies out of marshmallows and styrofoam.  You could also use cotton balls, bath salts, or anything else for different textured bunnies.




Our kids thought they were quite the artists and it was good to keep them busy for a few minutes!

St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt



Last year I did this scavenger hunt with my boys. Needless to say, Riley has talked about it all year (really…more than Santa) and is talking about Patrick the leprechaun coming back this year. I have been crazy busy, and lazy if I’m being truthful, so I borrowed this scavenger hunt from Love Grows Wild.  She includes free printables and everything!  So cute!

Easy Rainbow Craft


I did this rainbow craft with Lizzie and Bryce a few days ago.  It was simple and the kids really liked it!  All that I did was cut different colors of craft foam (or you could use construction paper) into little squares.  I drew a simple outline of a rainbow on a piece of blue construction paper.  The kids glued on the craft foam according to the colors of the rainbow.  Then they glued cotton balls on the bottom to form the clouds.  Easy!

Have fun!


Ice cream-Themed Learning Activities

As I have mentioned previously, I really struggle with getting Bryce to learn anything.  I have been slacking off quite a bit lately as far as working with him on his letters and numbers.  I try, but he would rather do other things.  I keep reminding myself that he’s only three…and that he will learn everything eventually.  It’s really not the most important thing in the world if he is a bit behind.  I can’t force anything on him.  He’ll learn at his own pace.

Even with that realization, however, I still try to incorporate a few learning activities into our routine (mostly to eliminate unnecessary guilt).  When I do so, I try to make it a bit unique and interesting for him.

Recently, we have been doing a few ice cream related activities.

Bryce got this ice cream cone in his stocking this year:


It was full of bubbles, but they quickly got used up…well, they got dumped on our kitchen floor on accident.  🙂  I rinsed out the container and we now use it as our “ice cream letter hunt container”.

I place a small letter bead inside of it (or one or two) and then I hide the ice cream cone around the house somewhere.  Bryce finds the cone, brings it back to me, and then dumps the bead(s) out.  He then has to tell me what the letter(s) are.  I’ll be honest…I have to remind him a lot! 😉

Once he’s more advanced, I’ll put beads inside the cone that spell simple words.  Or he can name the letter, sound, and something that starts with that particular letter.  We’re only on the basics now! 😉


Another easy learning activity is to place a number next to a felt ice cream cone.  Then ask your child to place the corresponding number of ice cream scoops on the cone.


Bryce came up with the idea of making an “Ice cream Village”.  I made little roads out of masking tape on the carpet and then placed ice cream cones along the road for “houses”.  I made the houses by drawing ice cream cones on 3 X 5 cards, coloring them (the colors that Bryce chose) and then putting a different number or letter on each card.  Then Bryce drove a little ice cream truck around the roads.  I would tell him to drive to a certain house, or he would simply drive along the roads and as he stopped at the houses we would talk about the number or letter on the house.




Finally, we played this easy little race game.  It’s not really related to ice cream, but he enjoyed using the little paper ice cream cones as game pieces.  I made a little game board with five columns, and a start and finish line.  I put the paper in a sheet protector so that we could change up the letters (or numbers) as needed.  For this game, I wrote the letters of his name in the columns (on the sheet protector using a dry-erase marker).


Then I placed paper ice cream cones on the starting line.


I placed the letters of his name (alphabet magnets) in a little bag.  Bryce would draw a magnet, name the letter, move the corresponding game piece toward the finish line, and then replace the magnet in the bag.  You continue playing that way until the first ice cream cone crosses the finish line! 🙂


It looks like the letter “B” won this round.  Hmm…that’s Bryce’s favorite letter.  There may or may not have been some cheating going on here. 😉


Anyway, that’s just a little idea of the crazy things that I have to do to help Brycie-boy learn.  And even after it all, he still doesn’t know half of what Lizzie knew by this age.  It just proves that every child is different and that they will move at their own pace, no matter what.  And I’m okay with that!  Well, I’m really trying to be. 🙂