Stylish Playdates

Why host a playdate? Because kids and moms deserve organized fun where kids play and moms play catch-up.

Playdates don’t have to be structured, and shouldn’t be most of the time. But every once in a while, perhaps a few times a season, have a playdate with kids and their moms. Host a gathering filled with a craft, a game, and a bit more to eat than pretzels. The children will be excited about the play, activity or holiday celebrated, treats served, and special memories are sure to be created.

This time also builds mom-to-mom relationships, giving you a chance to chat with each other about things that touch your lives: charities, hobbies, or passions, all while enjoying a cup of tea or glass of wine. It doesn’t need to be spectacular, but can be easy, with simple crafts, and recipes and you’ll find it well worth the effort.

 

Snow Day!


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.

 

Bunny’s Bananas

Serves 4

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!

 

You’ll Need:

White Construction Paper

Scissors

Craft glue

Foamy paint brushes

Glitter in shades of blue or crafter’s choice

Hole punch

Ribbon or raffia

Branches

Bucket 

  1. 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.
  2. Sprinkle snowflakes with glitter until the entire flake is covered. Let dry.
  3.  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!

 

Snowflakes:

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

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.

 

You’ll need:

Bucket or box

Assorted papers

Modge podge glue

Foamy brush

Scissors

  1. Tear and or cut pieces of paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

Leftover Wallpapers

Wrapping papers

Newspapers

Scrapbooking papers

Doilies

Origami papers

Magazines

Comic books

 

Paper Lanterns

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.

 

 

You’ll need:

Sheets of paper in various colors

Scissors

Glue or tape

Ribbons, beads, gems for decorating

  1. Cut a piece of paper about 1 inch wide from short side of paper. This makes the loop for hanging.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Decorate top and bottom rims with ribbons, beads, etc.
  5. 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!

 

 

Lunch

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.

 

Snow Time 

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:

Talent Show

Kim’s Game—memory game

Pass the parcel

Hide and seek

Charades

 

 

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!

Whipped cream

Marshmallows, large or mini

Chocolate chips

Oreo Crunchies


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!
 
 
 
You'll Need: 
  • Large pinecone
  • feathers in bright colors
  • red and brown chenille stems
  • google eyes
  • medium pom-pom
  • orange fun foam
  • scissors
  • glue
 
 
 
Step 1:
Glue the feathers into the back of the pinecone to create plume.
 
 
Step 2:
Glue eyes on the pom-pom. Cut pipe cleaners and twist to make feet and gizzard. Glue on all turkey parts.


Summer Playdate

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!

 

 

 


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Copyright © 2010 Colleen Mullaney, All Rights Reserved.