Happy Earth Day!
Happy Earth Day!!Let's go green together! Kids love, love,love this project! Just take some of your recycled tin cans, washed and dried of course, and turn them into works of art using squares of oragami or scrapbook paper and glue. Then, fill it up with soil, plant some seeds and voila! a sustainable work of art!
For more great tips and party ideas...check out my book! Order yours today !!
Valentines Day PlaydateShare the love with the littlest of cherubs and host a Heart's Day Playdate, filled with crafts, love, and a cocktail for cupid! festive tags made from fingerprints and shades of pink, hung with pretty ribbons on an all hearts tree.Hang them to dry for a lovely display, then the children can take their words of love home! Chenille stems twisted into hearts are strung together with clear line and separated with pretty pearls. Perfect for hanging from mantels or doorways for a decorative hearts on a string touch. yummy sugar cookies are a sure way to anyone's heart, but especially the little ones. Dot the purple and pink icing on the cookies and then with a fork swirl the colors together for a tie-dyed look. How sweet it is!! and who can resist a cupids cocktail? Serves 4 8 oz. vodka 2 oz. raspberry juice 2 oz. mint simple syrup 2 oz. pomegranate juice mix all ingredients in shaker filed with ice, strain into glasses and serve!
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Butterflies fly away on these colorful and tasty treats. The just right way to celebrate a summer playdate or warm weather birthday.Kids will certainly be all aflutter for them!
Summer Days are perfect for outdoor craft projects, and these colorful water bottles are ideal for kids to decorate with whimsical stickers and foamy shapes.
It’s official, you just got the 6 a.m. call and school is cancelled because of snow. Now, what to do with the kids all day?! Here are a few easy, fun, and accessible crafts, recipes and ideas, to help you get through!
Let’s start with breakfast, since there is no rush to get out the door, whip up a batch of pancakes, throw in some chocolate chips, vanilla extract, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, raisins, or a combo of any of the above. Paired with fresh fruit and warm syrup will give them a healthy start as well as energy for a long day ahead!
Another favorite in my house are Bananas Bunny, named after my grandmother as we used to have them growing up at her house. They make a great topper for waffles, oatmeal, or a piping hot stack of pancakes.
2 ripe bananas, sliced in ½ inch thick rounds
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon if desired
Put all ingredients in a small bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Mix lightly and serve.
Crafts are a good place to start, I’m sure you have a few things around the house that can prove to be useful. One of my favorites is a Paper Snowflake Tree. Glittery and bright, it will get you through the dull wintery blues!
White Construction Paper
Foamy paint brushes
Glitter in shades of blue or crafter’s choice
Ribbon or raffia
- Cut out intricate (or not!) paper snowflakes (see below). On a covered surface, using foamy brush apply a very light coating of glue to flake.
- Sprinkle snowflakes with glitter until the entire flake is covered. Let dry.
- Hole-punch an edge of the flake and string a piece of ribbon or raffia through the hole for hanging.
To Display: Cut some branches from out of doors, bring them inside and place them in a deep bucket or vessel to house the sparkly snowflakes!
Tip: Foamy sheets also work well for glittery snowflakes.
Tip: Setting the flake on a paper plate before sprinkling the glitter helps with clean-up!
Fold paper in half. Fold it in half diagonally. Fold in half again, and then into quarters to form a triangle. Draw a design using a pencil. Cut out design. Remember, all snowflakes are different, so get creative with your designs Unfold paper to reveal design! Lay flat under a few books to flatten before glittering.
Decoupage is an easy craft that will provide children with hours of pleasure and can be adapted to suit most ages. Wrapping paper, paper doilies. Newspapers, and magazine cuttings, make an excellent collection for their masterpieces, I keep a box of old scraps in the wrapping paper closet so I always have on hand.
Kids can cover small buckets to house pens and pencils or hair accessories, glass jars, tin cans, and large shoeboxes to hold their schoolwork and favorite artwork.
Bucket or box
Modge podge glue
- Tear and or cut pieces of paper.
- Apply a tin coat of modge podge to a section on bucket or box. Create a pleasing pattern by pressing papers firmly onto surface. Continue until bucket or box top is covered.
- Apply a top coat of clear drying modge podge to secure papers. Let dry.
Tip: Use decorative edge scissors for a fancy effect.
Tip: To personalize your project, cutout letters to spell out your name or initials
Suggested papers for decoupaging:
Another fun craft with paper, like paper chains, paper lanterns are traditional and a fun way of using paper to make three-dimensional objects. Decorated with ribbons beads or glitter, they look great strung across a mantel or window.
Sheets of paper in various colors
Glue or tape
Ribbons, beads, gems for decorating
- Cut a piece of paper about 1 inch wide from short side of paper. This makes the loop for hanging.
- Fold paper in half lengthwise. Begin cutting strips, by cutting up from folded edge, stopping about 1-inch from the top, and again about ¾ inch apart, all the way down the paper. These strips create the flaps of the lantern.
- To make lantern, unfold paper and form a tube shape. Glue or tape edges of paper together on top and bottom, gently push down on lantern to form shape.
- Decorate top and bottom rims with ribbons, beads, etc.
- Glue ends of hanging loop to the top of the lantern. Let dry. Hang!
Tip: These make great party decorations, try using printed papers for a festive look, snowflakes for winter, tropical flowers for summer!
Keep the fun going with make your own pizzas. I keep a supply of frozen pizza dough on hand for quick and easy meals. Some sauce and cheese and your all set. For a bit more fun, break out the cookie cutters and have them cut out a few shapes.
For fun in the frosty winter wonderland, mix red food coloring with water in a spray bottle to add a blush to your snow people. Although my kids ask for a few different colors and they use the snow as a beautiful white canvas. Sand buckets make durable molds for building snow forts and igloos.When they get too cold and want to warm-up. Make a batch of Hot Chocolate, a treat sure to make them all warm and fuzzy inside. Play a movie, one that suits everyone’s taste, and serve little bowls of popcorn for viewing treats.
Other games and activities:
Kim’s Game—memory game
Pass the parcel
Hide and seek
Instant Hot Chocolate Mix
3 cups Dutch–processed unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups superfine sugar
6 cups nonfat dry milk
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
To make mix: Whisk together all of the dry ingredients and sift mixture through a fine sieve or strainer, twice. Store in an airtight container.
To make one mug:
1/3 cup hot cocoa mix
1-½ cups boiling water or hot milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
To make: Place 1/3 cup of mix into a mug, pour water or hot milk on top, stir until dissolved. Top with suggested toppings. My family loves these as extras on top. After all, it's a Snow Day!
Marshmallows, large or mini
Happy Tom Turkey!
This is such a wonderful time of year. So much to be thankful for ... our friends, family and children, who all make our lives beautiful. Let's thank them all with these easy, colorful, and tasty projects and recipes which will leave them thankful for you!
Tom Tom Turkey
I remember growing up making these pinecone turkeys with my brothers, and now I can't resist making them with my children! Make a bunch and use them for placecards at the table, or line them on a mantel or windowsill for a grouping of gobblers!
Glue the feathers into the back of the pinecone to create plume.
Glue eyes on the pom-pom. Cut pipe cleaners and twist to make feet and gizzard. Glue on all turkey parts.
School's Out. It's Summertime!!
What better way to welcome the long lazy days of summer than to host a playdate. Invite your children's friends over for an afternoon or morning of fun in the summer sun.
Set out an easy menu, with things the kids can grab on the go. I love these ham, tomato, and cheese pouches. I use pizza dough folded into min-muffin tins, easy to prepare and ready in minutes, my kind of entertaining!
I also adore this tiered tin tray. It's perfect for lots of outdoor entertaining in summer. Ham and cheese pouches on top, and cruidite and grapes arranged in silicone baking dishes on the bottom, makes for a healthy nibbles on the go. How easy is that?
And when warm weather hits, ice-pops are a must!
I like mixing it up a bit and experimenting with different fruits and flavors. These colorful cold pleasers are mango-watermelon. I add a bit of water to mango nectar, pour into the molds and add chopped up watermelon. The frozen fruit adds color, flavor, and an icy suprise!
And I always have a craft, a little something for the kids to take-away, to start their summer off with a splash! How colorful and cute are these water bottles? I picked up a bunch of bottles along with stick-on foamies in different themes at the craft store, and presto -- an instant craft.
I think I like the bugs the best. How about you?
Speaking of bugs, I got a little wingy with the cupcakes, but how adorable are these sweet treats!
Mother's Day Bucket of Blooms
Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s a really cute, easy idea that will have your mom smiling throughout the year. For my mom, my kids and I created the darling decoupage bucket you see here. The fact that it’s personalized makes it extra special, whether it’s used as patio accent planter, a stylish carryall for her desk or in the kitchen. Either way, this is a great gift that you know she’ll love.
All supplies are available at your local craft store and it’s a very kid- and cost-friendly project. Here’s what you need:
1 galvanized tin bucket
Tub of Mod Podge
A foam brush
Scrapbook papers in similar colors – your mom’s favorite!
Stenciled letters or trace a letter printed from computer and cut out of colored paper
First, cut the scrapbook paper in various small sizes. Cover over a small section of the bucket with a good portion of Mod Podge. Start layering on the pieces of paper in a decorative pattern. Work your way around the bucket until it is covered with colored paper. Let dry. Cut the initial out or the word “Mom” and apply with Mod Podge to the center of the bucket. We used the initial “M” for my own mother, Mary. (Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)
Then, simply fill with beautiful blooming flowers or a cute topiary or fill with stamped stationery or your kids’ homemade projects from school. Wrap with clear cellophane, tie with a matching ribbon and you’ll have the best present around!
Easter Egg Hunt
Love and friendship are in the air! It’s Valentines Day – a most perfect holiday to host a playdate. It’s also the perfect time to get-together and spend time socializing over the cold winter months with your friends and their children. Get started by sending homemade “invitation” valentines their way, pick a day, starting time and you’re off! Planning this heart-filled playdate is easy: Plan a few lite bites for the adults, a simple menu for the kids, top it off with a heart-felt craft and life is rosy! ADULT MENU
Love and friendship are in the air! It’s Valentines Day – a most perfect holiday to host a playdate. It’s also the perfect time to get-together and spend time socializing over the cold winter months with your friends and their children.
Get started by sending homemade “invitation” valentines their way, pick a day, starting time and you’re off! Planning this heart-filled playdate is easy: Plan a few lite bites for the adults, a simple menu for the kids, top it off with a heart-felt craft and life is rosy!
Hearts are all around here, and so easy to make. Red pepper tortillas have been cut out using heart-shaped cookie cutters, lightly fried in vegetable oil, and sprinkled with salt. Serve them with a garden fresh dip, or add a few tablespoons of sour cream to bottled Ranch dressing to thicken. Garnish with a tiny heart.
Red Hot Punch
Making a punch for your playdate is like serving a party in a bowl. It’s easy to make, while a festive bowl of Valentine’s punch lets your guests serve themselves and frees you up to enjoy the playdate! The jewel-toned pomegranate seeds look like tiny red hots as they float about the punch for a most colorful libation.
1 bottle (750ml) brut champagne or sparkling wine (chilled)
4 oz. St. Germain Liqueur
8 oz. cranberry juice (chilled)
1- 4 oz. package of pomegranate seeds
Decorative ice ring, or 2 cups ice cubes
In a punch bowl or glass drinks dispenser, combine liqueur and cranberry juice. And pomegranate seeds. Slowly pour in champagne, add the ice ring or cubes, and serve.
TIP: For a mocktail, substitute 24 ounces of ginger ale and 12 ounces lemon seltzer. And for a suggestions on home to make a decorative ice mold or ring, see my book,PUNCH.
Hearts On Fire Pizzas
Kids just love shaped food, and these pizzas are so easy to whip up. Use cookie cutters to make heart-shaped pizzas cut from pre-made pizza dough. Add a little sauce and cheese and presto! Pizza for little ones and a craft to boot!
1-10 inch pre-cooked pizza dough
4 -inch heart cutter
½ cup marinara sauce
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Place pizza dough on work surface or cutting board and press heart-shaped cookie cutters down firmly to cut shapes. Spread sauce and sprinkle cheese evenly. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and starts to bubble. Let cool before serving.
TIP: To cut hearts, lay cookie cutter on top of dough, with the bottom point in the center, cut out and work your way around the dough, one dough yields 5 hearts.
Swirls of sugary colors make these shortbread cookies a hearts-on favorite. Heart shaped sugar cookies have been iced, and then dotted with pink and red icing. The tie-dye effect is made by taking the small end of a spoon and joining the red and pink together in a swirling motion.
Makes 24 cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
21/2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tube red icing
1 tube pink icing
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or whisk to blend.
2. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. On a lightly floured surface, shape the cookie dough into a ball. Place in self-sealing plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into ¼ inch thickness. Cut out heart shapes. Transfer to cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
4. Ice the hearts with vanilla icing. Put dots of red and pink icing all over hearts, using the back of a spoon, make swirls to connect the pink and red and create the tie-dyed effect.
TIP: If you’re short on time, used packaged sugar cookie dough, found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Kids also like to help decorate the cookies if you want to add another craft to the party.
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. water
In a medium bowl, combine butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in confectioners sugar ½ cup at a time alternating with water until fluffy and smooth.
A valentine twist on the classic lemonade, its light pink color and sweet taste gives new meaning to sweethearts!
1 quart lemonade
1 container frozen strawberries, in syrup
2 cups seltzer
1 pint fresh strawberries for garnish
In a larger pitcher filled with 3 cups of ice, pour lemonade, thawed strawberries, and seltzer. Pour into glasses, garnish with fresh strawberry, and serve.
Hearts on a String
Hang your messages of love for all to see! Ideal for little ones of all ages, these foamy hearts can be covered in glitter glue, ribbons, stickers, or smaller, colorful self-adhesive hearts.
These hearts on a string are showcased on a tree of white branches. A base of Styrofoam set in a bright red bucket secures the branches, and shredded paper in a valentine’s shade of pink fill the base for a perfect finish. This makes an ideal setting to put their artworks on display, put it on the kitchen counter, table or sideboard.
Foamy sheets in shades of pink, purple, red and white
Heart shaped cookie cutters
Decorative foamy hearts with adhesive backs
Glitter in shade of pink
Pink paper filler
On a protected surface, trace and cut out different sized heart shapes. Layer them together in pleasing patterns, glue and glitter where desired. Let dry. Hole punch the top centers of hearts and string a ribbon through to hang on tree.
TIP: For glitter, place heart on paper plate, glue and sprinkle glitter. Let dry. Gather the unused glitter from plate and pour gently back into glitter tube.