~Fun Lunches~

Here are a few ideas to kick it up a notch at lunch time. Sometimes (or all times) kids can be picky eaters. However, if their lunch looks like a smiley face or their sandwich is in the shape of a  bunny rabbit they might be a little happier to eat it. It’s worth a shot right?

I enjoy being a little creative with their lunches, but I don’t want to be spending too much time and energy on it. After all they’re just going to eat it 5 seconds after my masterpiece is finished. So these are very easy ways to just make it a little more colorful and fun.

Colorful Containers – I like to use fun cups like these (Target $1 section) or cupcake liners to put fruit, veggies, goldfish, etc. I don’t know why, but just simply putting food into something colorful makes the same old-same old feel more like new.

Shapes – Most of us already have some cookie cutters. They can be pretty inexpensive if you want to get a few more. I suggest cutting the bread with the shape cutter BEFORE adding the fillers (pbj, mayo and turkey, ham and cheese, etc). Then continue making the sandwich. Otherwise you’re wasting everything that gets cut out.

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Faces – Happy faces! This is one of the boys’ favorites. There are so many different ways you can make a silly face. And don’t feel bad if you have to tell them it’s a happy face lol They will still love it!

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Pizza Time

Interactive – Making lunch together is a really fun thing to do every now and then! We made little pizzas here and they had a blast. You can also take this opportunity to teach kitchen safety; ovens are very hot, knives are sharp, only mommy can use this or that, etc.

Other easy interactive lunches for kids:

  1. Corn dog muffins – cornbread batter in muffin tins with a piece of hot dog in the middle
  2. Quesadillas
  3. Pancakes – they can help you make the batter and then watch you cook and flip
  4. Nachos
  5. Calzones

Getting new cups, straws, utensils, and plates every so often is exciting too!

The Dollar Tree carries some and the dollar section at Target is great for that too. The most I spent on these items was $3 at Target for the Minion plate. BA-NA-NA! Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

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Lick it!

New foods can be scary for some children. Or they can get in a rut and just refuse any change. The oldest child I take care of doesn’t like trying new foods. The unknown of it all scares him. But his mom told me about an approach she heard to help with this. And it has helped him overcome some of his fear and realize he does like other foods. If you’re introducing a new food and they are hesitant about it, they can choose to do one of these 3 things:

  • Bite it
  • Lick it
  • Kiss it

This gives them some reasonable contact with it before completely banishing it to the black list of evil foods.

Now get out there and do some lunch art! 😉

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Chalk Painting for Kids

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Summer is in full swing! Warm mornings and stinken hot afternoons. So we enjoy hanging outside in the mid mornings and then staying inside after lunch time. Its fun for them and me to try new outdoor activities sometimes. Chalk is always a go to, but what about chalk paint?!

I picked up a chalk painting kit one day and the boys I nanny loved it a lot. But once it was gone, they wanted me to go buy more. I had a feeling I could make my own pretty easily, and I was right! I used a cheese grater from the Dollar Tree, sticks of chalk, and water.

Grate chalk into powder, add water, stir, and paint.

They really enjoyed using little foam rollers to “paint” on the driveway. And it entertained them all morning long!

BONUS: It’s washable 😀

Fall Porch

Fall is coming very soon. Maybe too soon. But I’m starting to be okay with that after seeing the fall decor at all the stores. I went to Home Depot for paint and came home with an extra item:

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So cute! Hanging this on my door  got me in the mood for some more porch decorating. I’ve had these 2 black lanterns laying around my house for a while now. So I filled them with leftover fall leaves, berries, and pumpkins I had from last year. Then added some burlap.

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Here’s the porch so far:

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The sign in the flower pot says, “Come In My Pretties” (Target dollar section find). I’m sure I’ll add more but this has got me started. I have visions of some hay, pumpkins, maybe a wheelbarrow. So many ideas out there! Here’s a few of my favorites:

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If you have chairs on your porch, adding fall pillows would be an easy way to decorate! http://www.homedit.com/10-diy-burlap-fall-decorations/

Get your fall decorating juices flowing! And if a pumpkin spice latte will help, I’m not going to stop you 🙂

Vintage Farmhouse Birthday Party

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I threw my mom a surprise birthday party this year and it was a lot of fun! The theme I was going for was Vintage Farmhouse, girly style. I felt this was perfect for my mom 🙂 The backdrop board I created for the dessert table was very easily put together, but it really added to the table.

I bought a white foam board from Hobby Lobby and scrapbook paper that looked like old barn wood. I attached the paper onto the board so that it lined up pretty well. I ended up cutting a little of my board off so that it ended after a full sheet of paper. I didn’t want to have to cut up sheets of paper and piece it together. Then, I added burlap lace ribbon to the top and bottom of the board. I used my Cricut Machine to cut out the banner flags and letters. I looped them through some pink checkered ribbon and hung the banners across with cowgirl cut-outs (also the Cricut) on each side.

Materials Needed:

  • 1 white foam board
  • Barn wood scrapbook paper (enough to cover your board)
  • Burlap lace ribbon
  • Banner flags and letters
  • Cowgirls or any other objects to decorate your board
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue gun
  • Picture tape (2-sided)

Directions:

  1. Lay out the barn wood scrapbook paper on your foam board so you can line it up. Then using your picture tape attach all your paper to the board.
  2. Hot glue the burlap lace ribbon to the top and bottom of the board.
  3. Glue your letters to the banner and loop the ribbon through the top of the banner flags. The banner flags my Cricut cuts out also cuts out a loop at the top.
  4. Attach the ends of the ribbon to the board. My first banner (happy) is attached underneath the burlap lace ribbon and my second banner (birthday) is attached around the back of the board.
  5. Place and glue your cowgirls or other objects where you’d like. Symmetry usually works out best when placing things for decoration.

I provided a Baked Potato Bar for dinner with BBQ pulled pork that could go on top of your potato (yum!) or on the side.

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The chalkboard was made from a framed picture I bought at the thrift store. I took the picture out and painted the glass with chalkboard paint. Cheap and easy. My husband and brother quickly made me a stand for my chalkboard while guests were arriving because I couldn’t get it to stand up against anything else. Love those guys 🙂 It worked perfectly!

And what’s a party without games?! I had an “All About The Birthday Girl” quiz for guests to fill out. The winner received a Starbucks gift card. Then we did this game:

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Inspired by “The Game of Things” that we like to play, I made up a question and the guests wrote down an answer. The question:

“What should you never do while riding a horse?” They did not include their names and my mom had to guess who’s answer belonged to whom. Some of them were very funny! My mom picked her favorite answer (before knowing who wrote it) and that person also received a Starbucks gift card prize.

Some other little details I added to the party were signs:

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Mason Jar drinking glasses:

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Cupcake Toppers:

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Pink chocolate flower lollipops:

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And a barn window with pictures of my mom as a little girl hung with clothes pins:

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It says “Country Girl” in vinyl letters with little cowgirl boots at the top.

Side note: These wonderfully done photos were taken by Kami Johannes. Thanks Kami!!!!

 

 

 

Birthday Surprise Scavenger Hunt

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My little brother was turning 20 years old on June 4th. So when his girlfriend asked if we should do something special, I instantly thought of a surprise scavenger hunt! I love things like this 🙂 The little rascal made it very difficult to keep everything on schedule and a surprise, but we pulled it off. I made the clues, which rhymed and took him to different places around the area. His final destination was Olive Garden where many of his friends and family were waiting for him! Each clue was put inside a card I made. Here is what the outside of the cards looked like:

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And the inside:

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The front and back of the envelopes they were in:

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His girlfriend Hannah was picking him up at 6 pm so they could go to what he thought was dinner and a movie. After she arrived and gave him his birthday present from her, she handed him the first envelope. This is what it said:

You’re about to embark on a wild goose chase,

So hop in the car and pick up your pace!

Your sweetheart will be the lovely chauffeur,

She knows all the answers so if you get stuck,

Look to her!

Now he knew he was going on a scavenger hunt. She then gave him the 2nd envelope which contained the first clue:

“Bogey”, “fore”, and “hole in one”,

These phrases you use when you’re having some fun.

Off the tee and on the green

This is where you next need to be seen!

This was the golf course in our town because he loves golf. When he arrived, my husband was there with clue # 2:

“Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing,

Power and majesty praise to the King.”

He is the potter, we are the clay.

This place is full every Sunday.

This was to lead him to our church home where Jimmy & Janell were waiting for him with clue #3 which said:

Chillin’ in the hot tub or with a friend,

You need a lighter, but don’t want the wind.

You can buy this item here,

But the drinks will have to wait another year.

Him and his best friend like to do manly things like smoke cigars so that clue led him to Daveco (a very large wine and liquor store) where there’s also a humidor for buying cigars. His best friend Jon was waiting for him there with the next clue. This clue said:

Some drink it hot, some drink it cold,

You have to make it the way you’re told.

Go to the place you spend your days,

Working the clock and hoping for a raise!

He works at Starbucks so this is where he went next. His other friend John was waiting for him there. His clue said:

A big red bird stands in this place,

Watching everyone stuff their face.

Their burgers are tasty, juicy and big,

When you’re done, you feel like a pig.

My family loves a big juicy burger and Red Robin is our favorite for these. So, that’s where he was to go next. His friend George was waiting there with this clue:

Cooking, Computers, Sci-Fi and Cars.

A trip to the moon, Jupiter or Mars.

Heroes, villains, and nerds are there too,

They’re all in their genres waiting for you.

He had a little trouble with this one. He thought it was the movie theater at first. I was hoping the word “genre” would help. You can see the boys’ thinking faces below (my brother is the one on the left). George helped him figure out it was the bookstore so off to Barnes and Noble he went.

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His friend Brian was waiting there and gave him his last clue which led him to his final destination.

This adventure is about to come to an end,

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some friends!

A dinner for you is what lies ahead,

Fettuccini Alfredo, salad, and bread.

When he arrived, we were all there waiting for him and I had these golf cupcakes placed around the table:

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He had fun, we had fun, and it all worked out! I enjoyed making up the clues and I used my Cricut Machine to cut out the numbers and decorations on the clues and envelopes. So, it really wasn’t hard at all!

Dollar Tree Decor-Spring/Easter

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I needed some Spring in my life so I went to the Dollar Tree to see what I could round up to decorate our apartment. I found these cute and sparkly Easter egg picks. Since I already had some vases I thought maybe I could do something with that. So I also bought some green floral foam they carry, some green shredded paper (fake grass), and some speckled malt balls. I had the polka dotted ribbon already that I put around the vase. I also bought a basket, fun plastic eggs, and a white fake candle.

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The picture frame I’ve had for a while and I fill it with subway art or a fun printable I find online. This one is a spring subway art found here:
http://www.smilelikeyoumeanit.net/2011/03/8×10-springtime-printable.html

There is counter space between the kitchen and dining area that I like to put something on as well. I found glass hurricanes at the Dollar Tree a while back and I stacked them. For Easter I have filled them with mini Easter eggs also found at the Dollar Tree

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The pink pot with pink flowers (fake) I found at Gordmans for $5.99. So for very little money I was able to accomplish a brighter, springy-er look! Now go to your dollar store and see what you can do!

Candlestick Jars

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I made these for my mom and since Easter is right around the corner, she filled them with Easter decor. I obtained most of my supplies at Hobby Lobby. The glass jars were 50% off at the time I bought them (score!). The wood pieces were pretty inexpensive. The candlesticks I found at Michael’s for 4.99 a piece. I of course have the Michael’s app on my phone though, so I got 50% off one of those. Here is a list of all the materials I used:

  • 3 wood candlesticks
  • 3 different sized glass jars with twist on metal lids
  • 3 round wood pieces to glue the candlesticks on
  • 1 pack of finials which contained 3
  • Black and white polka dotted ribbon
  • Small wooden letters (J-O-Y)
  • Black spray paint
  • Hot glue gun
  • E 6000 adhesive glue

I first spray painted the candlesticks, round wood pieces, finials, and jar lids with black spray paint. This took about 5 coats. I tried not to over spray each time so that it would be even throughout. The last couple times I put my materials on top of a box so I could make sure I got all around the sides.

Then I hot glued the finials on top of the lids to look like a fancy knob. I took the black and white polka dotted ribbon and hot glued that around the jar lids and a bow on the front.

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The candlesticks had a metal thing in the top which made it hard to level the jars on top. So my very helpful husband took those out with a knife (I didn’t complain since it actually worked).

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I then had to paint the insides to match and I did this with black acrylic paint. The candlesticks were hot glued to the round wood pieces

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The part I was most nervous about was gluing the jars to the candlesticks. E 6000 adhesive is an extremely strong crafting glue that I highly recommend. You put some on the bottom of the jar and then on the top of the candlestick. Before bonding the two together you let it sit for a few minutes. Then, you can attach them. I did not mark the jar in any way before, but I would say this would be a wonderful idea because I had to readjust mine quite a bit. The glue then needs to dry for 24 hours and it will have made the bond very strong.

My mom wanted the letters J-O-Y on the jars so I painted some wood letters and attached them with string around the finials at the top. I love these jars because you can fill them seasonally! I will be making some for myself as well.

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