Friday, July 8, 2016

Strawberry Slushie

We love, love, love strawberries at our house.  With it being summer, strawberries are at their best right now and so I'm taking full advantage of enjoying this delicious fruit.

A few weeks ago we went strawberry picking with the family.  It was a fun experience and we got to enjoy the freshest of the fresh strawberries.  You can learn more about some of the other yummy ways we enjoyed our favorite berry in our Strawberry Fun post.

I have made smoothies many times before but wanted more of a slushy, icy cold drink.  So here it is.....simple but really refreshingly delicious, especially on these 90+ degree days we've been having!

What you'll need:
1 cup of strawberries (I like to add a bit more than a cup)
1/4-1/2 cup of water
1 cup of ice
Honey - to act as a sweetener (optional)

Blend all of these ingredients together until you get the consistency you like.  You might have to do this a few times before getting that perfect consistency but through trial and error you'll quickly figure it out.

If strawberries aren't your favorite fruit then try watermelon, raspberries or lemon!  And if you want to make it a tad more fun for the kids add in a packet of kool-aid!!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Recycled Crafts

If you're like me you keep containers, toilet paper rolls, boxes, etc for crafts to do with the kids.  Here are a few recycled materials that we crafted with.

Turtle Craft:
We used a plastic container for the turtle's shell.  You could also cut off the bottom part of a soda bottle and use that too!

Fireworks Painting:
Their are so many ways to craft with toilet paper rolls.  When I saw this post from Happiness is Homemade I knew we could use a bunch of our toilet paper rolls in one pop.  I found the post right in time to do  for the 4th of July.  I also realized that painting with the rolls not only turn out looking like fireworks but like flowers, too!  Just add a stem and maybe a center and voila...a flower!

pressing lighter with the toilet paper roll gives more of the 'fireworks' look.....

Patriotic Cup:
This is another craft that was perfect for 4th of July but you could also turn this cup into a snowman or maybe paint it orange and turn it into a pumpkin, depending on what the season is.

Paper Plate Frog:
Another favorite of ours is using paper plates to get creative with.  After reading some National Geographic kids books on animals we tried making this paper plate frog.

Shoe Boxes:
Saving the best for last.  We LOVE making diorama's.  Their is no limit to what you can create when it comes to shoebox diorama's.  Check out our winter diorama post and our post on diorama fun for more fun ideas.

And finally, here are a few other ways we've used recycled materials to craft with:

Think before you throw on how you can recycle/re-purpose those recycled materials!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summertime Cupcakes

I've been seeing these adorable cupcakes on pinterest which are perfect for summer.  They have a beach and pool theme and am so glad we tried making them.  These cupcakes are super easy, super fun to make/decorate and of course super delicious to eat!

Here's what you'll need to make these cupcakes:

  • Blue icing, the funfetti is what we used which was perfect because it included the fish sprinkles.
  • Cake mix, any boxed kind will do.
  • Teddy grahams
  • Graham crackers
  • Gummy ring candy
  • Cocktail umbrellas
  • bake the cake mix according to box instructions
  • cool and ice cupcakes
  • crush a sleeve of graham crackers 
The next part is the most fun!  Definitely recruit the kids to help decorate these cupcakes!  Once the icing is on, you can make some cupcakes a beach theme.  Do this by dipping the icing into the crushed graham crackers.  Lay your bear down in the sand, add a beach umbrella and voila!  A sun bathing teddy graham!  Or you can stick to a pool theme and just add a teddy graham to the inside of a gummy candy ring and insert into the icing and you have a bear chillin' in the pool!  You could also use gummy life savers to act as the tube for the bears.  I've also seen fruit by the foot used as a beach towel!  Let your imagination run wild!

Adding on the 'sand'

My daughter could not get enough of decorating these and my son and his friends did a fantastic job of devouring a half dozen of them in no time at all!!

Happy Summer!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Strawberry Fun

It is FINALLY strawberry season!  The one fruit my entire family loves is strawberries.  I have been waiting for this delicious berry to finally be at it's peak and the time is here!

We took the kids strawberry picking recently and it was such a fun experience.  We picked just over 4lbs of strawberries and wanted to use these freshly picked strawberries right away.

Here are a couple of fun ways we used to prepare our batch of strawberries and I wanted to share these ideas with your family........

When we got home my husband got straight to work making strawberry sauce to put over vanilla ice-cream.  My daughter loved just taking scoopfuls of the strawberry sauce and I enjoyed putting it over yogurt!  We also used the strawberry sauce for waffles! (sorry no pics of the waffles, we devoured them too fast, ha!)

I knew that I wanted to make something light and cool to fit nicely with summer.  I spotted those mini graham cracker crusts at the store and knew that I could use them with the strawberries.  I decided on mini no bake cheesecakes that took only minutes to make and no baking which I try and avoid during summer.

We were able to use up our strawberries between what we made above but if you need to freeze them and want to know the best way, here's a good 'how to' post.....

Freezing Fresh Picked Strawberries  from Taste of Home.

Check the local farms in your area to find out where you and your family can experience strawberry picking.  If the season has already ended where you live, be sure to check out other 'pick your own' varieties as this is really a fun and inexpensive activity to share with the family!

Here are some photos from our strawberry picking experience:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sight Word Messages

Two summers ago my husband was able to get his hands on a chalk board.  I was thrilled because I knew my kids would love using it outdoors!  You can check out all the fun my kids have had with our Outdoor Slate Chalkboard post.

My daughter has been working hard this past school year learning sight words.  I thought it would be fun to reinforce what she's learned by writing messages every day on the chalkboard.  My messages always include sight words from the list her kindergarten teacher has sent home, in addition to some new ones.

Here are some of the messages:

Every morning I change the message before my daughter wakes up.  Now that she knows they will be there every morning, she runs to the back door first thing to read her new message.  

I will continue doing this every day throughout the summer.  If you don't have something like this to leave messages on, simply writing on a piece of paper and leaving a  'note' for your child will be fun too and a great way to learn sight words!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Roly-Poly Egg Book and Craft

My daughter and I really enjoy our library visits and then reading all the books we find.  Some are real treasures like this one by Kali Stileman called, Roly-Poly Egg.  This is a cute book about a bird named Splotch who lays an egg, an absolutely perfect and beautiful egg of course.  But the egg rolls away and begins an adventure rolling, somersaulting and flying all while meeting some new animal friends along the way.

Besides reading books we also enjoy pairing them with crafts.  We both thought it would be fun to paint our very own Splotch and egg.  Here's what we used and how it turned out:

You will need:
Paint brushes
Googly eyes
Craft foam

We happened to have red paint just like the color of Splotch in the book.  But, if you do not have red paint,  you can make your very own unique Splotch with any colors you have on hand.  What's great about this painting is that Splotch is just that a 'splotch' or a 'glob' so really easy for even the littlest of kiddos to paint!

Start off by painting Splotch

Add some googly eyes

Next add the tree by painting the tree branch and some leaves.

My daughter also wanted to paint Splotch's egg AND the baby bird after it hatched.  We kept a page in the book open so that she could have something to work from.

The egg was fun to paint, especially sticking on the colored dots.  I cut out small circles from craft foam to use as the dots for the egg.

I wanted in on the fun too so I also painted a version of Splotch and his egg.

Mom's finished painting.....

Tiffany's finished painting.....

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Gift

My children's school celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week this week.  It's a wonderful opportunity to show our great teachers how much we thank them for all they do for our children.

I purchased this flower pot from Etsy and filled it with gift cards and scratch off lottery tickets.

Here's what I added and supplies needed:

  • Floral foam 
  • Skewer sticks
  • Foam flowers
  • Hot glue gun
  • Tape
  • Artificial grass
I cut the floral foam to size and placed it into the bottom of the pot.  Next, I cut out some flowers from craft foam and hot glued them to the skewer sticks.  I then stuck the skewer sticks into the foam and added the gift cards to the fronts of the flowers.  Finally, I topped it off by adding some artificial grass.

My hope was to give my child's teacher a gift that she would be able to enjoy now; the gift cards and then the flower pot, hopefully something she'll be able to use for years to come.  

Know though that showing your child's teacher appreciation doesn't have to cost alot or anything at all.  In addition to the flower pot I helped the children learn a quick and easy song to sing to their teacher.  I think the song was the real winner!!  

Lets remember our teachers!!