Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake

Monday, October 14th, 2019

This fun and spooky DIY Halloween cake is so easy that your kids can make it! Using simple and easy to find store-bought ingredients, you can have a Halloween treat ready in minutes. This doughnut hole ghost cake is sure to be a hit at the party or just for a quick October dessert!

If you are anything like me, you are already on the hunt for easy Halloween ideas!

Today’s easy food craft is for a festive Halloween cake that you can whip up quickly to celebrate with your kids, fellow trick-or-treaters or to add to your Halloween party spread.

This can be made for under $20 and NO COOKING is required!

Can I get an AMEN?

If you are anything like me, you are already on the hunt for easy Halloween ideas!

Today’s easy food craft is for a festive Halloween cake that you can whip up quickly to celebrate with your kids, fellow trick-or-treaters or to add to your Halloween party spread.

This can be made for under $20 and NO COOKING is required!

Can I get an AMEN?

What if I Don’t Want to Spend $20 on Halloween Cake?

As you know, I’m pretty darn frugal, so I want to share a tip that might help you at your store.

Be sure to check the rear of your store (over by the dairy section usually) to see if there are any reduced to sell bakery items on a rolling cart.

It is there where I often spy prepared cakes and doughnuts that are perfect for sharing with guests or for rounding out a meal together with friends.

If you check there first, it is possible you might be able to score these treats for a fraction of the price that I paid.

I promise to not be jealous.

How Can I Make This Treat Gluten-free?

Welp, you know that gluten-free cake isn’t going to be an affordable treat.

Oh, the price ding on removing wheat!

Ouch.

Did you know that you can purchase gluten-free donut holes in the freezer section of many supermarkets.

Is it just me or are you scared to pay a million dollars for gluten-free snacks because you got burned on a past purchase?

I am learning that the best move is to check the reviews before making anymore snack purchases. Here’s the page on gluten-free doughnut reviews to help you make your best decision.

Halloween Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake Dessert

How Can I Save Money at My Local Gluten-free Bakery?

If you aren’t using Groupons, you are missing out on some free money. Anytime that we eat or do anything local, we check to see if there are any deals on things like this. You just never know when the new up and coming bakery might be looking for a fresh way to promote their business.

What Can I Substitute for Cake if I’m Gluten-Free?

I found this useful gluten-free directory to help you find a gluten-free bakery near you.

Gluten-free cakes can be expensive though so I recommend you bake a cake yourself. I have some super easy gluten-free cake recipes to share with you that might just make the most perfect cakes.

I promise, these gluten-free cakes are as easy to put together as any other cake because I rely upon cake mixes for their creation.

Here are a few that our family has loved!

gluten-free snickerdoodle cake

Gluten-free snickerdoodle cake (this is our family favorite- the frosting too die for!!!)

//momadvice.com/post/gluten-free-snickerdoodle-cake

Gluten-free cookies and cream cake (rich, fudgy, and cookie cream frosting- how bad could that be?)

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake (this would be such an unexpected flavor for fall that it might bring back all those summer feels)

Halloween Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake Tutorial

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from MomAdvice.com

 

Supplies Needed

Pro Crafter Tip: Don’t forget to download the Rakuten app to save some money through their links to retailer sites!

1 prepared cake

1 container of powdered sugar doughnut holes (I had enough in an assortment pack)

Roll of white tulle (over by the party/wedding favor supplies)

Black Decorating Icing small pieces cut off a stripe of candy corn, candy eyes, or small Halloween candy (like Mini M&M’s) for your eyes.

1 prepared cake

1 container of powdered sugar donut holes (I had enough in an assortment pack)

Roll of white tulle (over by the party/wedding favor supplies)

Black Decorating Icing (over by the cake decorating supplies/crafts), small pieces cut off a stripe of candy corn, candy eyes, or small Halloween candy (like Mini M&M’s) for your eyes.

Cookie Sticks(over by the cake decorating supplies/crafts)

White Twine

Scissors

 

 

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from MomAdvice.com

 

Directions

1. On a rimmed cookie sheet, insert the cookie stick into your doughnut hole.

2. Cut out two squares of tulle, approximately the same size, and angle them slightly. Fold them over your doughnut hole. Secure with a little white twine, making sure to bring the tulle down snugly over the top of the doughnut hole to make a level surface for your piping.

3. Pipe two eyes and a mouth on your doughnut hole. I found that getting the icing a little warm helped make the piping easier so keep that in mind!

4. Stick your ghosts on top of your cake.

Done.

How easy is that?

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from MomAdvice.com

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from MomAdvice.com

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from MomAdvice.com

This cake was such a hit and I loved that it adds a homemade touch to a store-bought treat!

As you know, I’m pretty darn frugal, so I want to share a tip that might help you at your store.

Be sure to check the rear of your store (over by the dairy section usually) to see if there are any reduced to sell bakery items on a rolling cart.

It is there where I often spy prepared cakes and doughnuts that are perfect for sharing with guests or for rounding out a meal together with friends.

If you check there first, it is possible you might be able to score these treats for a fraction of the price that I paid.

I promise to not be jealous.

I look forward to sharing more fun Halloween ideas with you in the upcoming month and hope you love this festive (and easy) treat idea!

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake from MomAdvice.com

Don’t miss these other great ideas from MomAdvice.com:

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins

How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints from MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkin with Acrylic Paints

//www.momadvice.com/post/easy-burlap-wreath-tutorial

Autumn Burlap Wreath

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

 

This post contains affiliate links

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How to Make a DIY No-Sew Blanket Scarf (Plus How to Wear a Blanket Scarf)

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

Blanket scarves are so trendy and an easy no-sew DIY to make for cold weather. Check out this diy blanket scarf tutorial and how to style your plaid blanket scarf with this easy tutorial. One trip to the fabric store for flannel plaid fabric and you will have everything you need to make a blanket scarf of your own…no sewing machine required!

I am madly in love with blanket scarves.

My obsession started as all good obsessions do.

It began on Pinterest, of course.

All of these fabulously fashionable women were rocking these gorgeous oversized scarves, but they were out of my price range or lacked the fullness & beauty that was captured online.

I mean, who couldn’t get behind the idea of wearing a blanket and calling it an oversized scarf?

Count Me In!

I decided I wanted to make some for my minimalist wardrobe because it would add so much. Did you know you can make a blanket scarf with no sewing skills required?

Let’s begin by taking a peek at the coveted $44 Zara scarf (that sells out in minutes, not kidding).

I want to zoom on in it so we can take a closer look.

Zara Blanket Scarf

Source: Style for the Seasons

The thing I want you to see is that the edges are frayed on their version too.

Guess what?

You can achieve that with a little flannel and pulling.

The best part is that this version will cost you quite a bit less than $44. I am going to make a big stack of them to show you and then I am going to show you some fun ways to tie them.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

The first thing you will need to do is shop for your fabric which is so much fun. I went to a few shops to check out fabric and ended up finding it at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  

Head over here to grab a coupon for your flannel fabric.

Want to know a pro-crafter shopping tip? Check out this app that I’m using to get a percentage back on my craft purchases.

If not, that same link will provide you a 40% off coupon. You will DEFINITELY want to use this because it makes these scarves budget-friendly. Don’t forget your coupons.

Head over the Fashion Flannel…at least that’s what they call it in Mishawaka (oh-la-la!).

Select your favorite patterns, tell them the amount you need, have them tell you they don’t have that much on a bolt, go grab another one, try again… Be annoyed.

Decide to do two sizes because you want you what you want, that’s why you brought it up there.

Got it?

I am going to show you what a 2 yard scarf looks like and then I am going to show you what a 2.5 yard scarf looks like below.

I love them both for different reasons and what you can do with them. The price (with no sales or coupons) is $8.99 per yard. That’s why it is great to see the two version (for cost-savings) and also really great to bring a coupon to save a bit on the fabric.

I wouldn’t recommend anything more than that or your scarf will choke you and you will die from scarf blanket suffocation.

It will be all over the headlines.

They will be laughing at you in those ridiculous segments on the radio where they try to shock you at the stupidity of Americans.  Your family will miss you. It would all be very tragic.


If you would prefer to shop online, I love to check over here for flannel by the yard. SO MANY great choices!! 

 

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

1. Purchase 2-2.5 yards of flannel fabric (make sure the flannel printing is on both sides).

2. Using the patterned flannel edge as a guide (on the edges of the fabric), trim the edges of each side of your scarf with a pair of sewing scissors (these are what I have)  to expose the cut edges.

3. Pulling out the vertical threads, on the cut side of the fabric, begin fraying the edges of the scarf.

You will discover that pulling out threads really creates a beautiful finished edge

If you are struggling to grab a thread, don’t be afraid to use a seam ripper.

Keep doing this until there are no loose threads and you have a beautifully frayed edge. Repeat on each side of the scarf. DONE!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

This is what TWO YARDS of fabric looks like.

You can see that it has a lot of fullness, but is not as long or as much to tie or knot around.

Do you want to see how to tie it to look like this?

Okay then.

How to Wear a Blanket Scarf

How to Style a Blanket Scarf

How to Tie a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Tie Your Two Yard Blanket Scarf

1. Fold the scarf in half, lining the edges up evenly. This creates more of a square blanket scarf versus doing it on an angle.

2. Make sure one end is shorter than the other and tuck it up over your shoulder.

3. Loop around once with the long end (or possibly twice depending on your neck size!).

4. Fluff and puff. Fluff and puff.

how-to-make-a-blanket-scarf-9

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

Here is the same size, just not puffed up so much. Seriously, cute stuff!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Tie Your 2.5 Yard Blanket Scarf

No need to reinvent the wheel…I just headed online to figure out a couple of fun ways to tie these longer blanket scarves.

I tried this braided technique on Classy Sassy and really loved it.

It is a little more complex than the one above, but it adds a beautiful detail to the styling.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

This half-tied technique couldn’t be easier and was a cinch to pull together and added just the right amount of fullness to the neckline.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

Here are a few other blanket scarf tying techniques I am looking forward to trying!

This one is similar to the half-tied technique, but no tying, just tucking. I can do that!

This chunky scarf technique would work really well with a 2-yard scarf so you could let the ends hang.

The 2.5-yard one would look great as a poncho or even pulled together with a belt.

This poncho style leaves the scarf folded making a smaller poncho version.

Regardless of the way you tie it, I love pairing these scarves with puffy vests, long sleeve shirts, and my favorite fall boots. Flannel blanket scarves are the perfect addition to your fall wardrobe. 

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

I’m Petite & Want to Make a Smaller Version- What Can I Do?

I’m pretty petite, but I know big scarves aren’t for everyone!

Shave 6-7 inches off the width on a 2 yard version to make a more petite version of this scarf with a little less bulk or experiment with your own sizing by creating your own custom version.

Just cut, try on, adjust.

There are no wrong or right lengths- it is what fits YOU or your recipient best!

Wear it a scarf or wear it as a blanket. The possibilities for this cozy project are endless.

Love this scarf tutorial? Here are a few other DIY projects I’m proud of!

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket no sew scarf with hidden pocket

Fall Burlap Wreath fall burlap wreath

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles slow cooker pumpkin spice candles

How to make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath yarn pom-pom wreath

DIY Roll-up Puzzle Mat roll-up jigsaw puzzle mat

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers no-sew hand warmers

Yarn Pom Pom Trees yarn pom pom trees

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium succulent terrariums

I hope you have a blast making these quick scarves for yourself or for holiday gift-giving. Check out this list of 54 handmade gifts you can make for the holiday season to inspire you even more! Happy crafting!

This post contains affiliate links. 

How to Make a No Sew Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

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DIY Chunky Knit Blanket

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Big Fat Hygge Blanket Free Pattern

 

Are you ready for your next quick project? This knit throw is made with chunky yarn, big knitting needles, and a little faux fur to finish. This warm and cozy project is affordable and happens to make beautiful Christmas gifts. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to make a big fat hygge blanket of your own.

It has been a long time since I’ve shared a knitting project with you. I’ve had difficulty with hand pain, for the past couple of years, so I had to take a break. I’m so thrilled to be feeling better though and am SO excited to share with you a super easy hand knit blanket.

Blankets can be labor intensive, but this one can be finished in just a few evenings, thanks to this super bulky yarn!

These chunky knit blankets have been catching my eye A LOT on Etsy. Most of these are made with a chunky , merino wool roving yarn that create big beautiful stitches. They also cost a pretty penny to purchase or even to diy yourself.

I stumbled upon the Bernat Blanket Big yarn, on a recent trip to the craft store, and absolutely loved the feel of it. This is, honestly, the coziest yarn and I knew it would make the perfect blanket.

Originally, I had planned to cable knit this blanket, but I quickly realized that working with these big needles and yarn made it difficult to work with and the thickness felt unnecessary.

I inspected a few of the patterns, sold online, and noticed that most offered a 2 x 2 ribbing or they were knitted in a simple stockinette stitch (knitting one row, purling the next, knitting one row, purling the next, etc..)

I settled on the 2 x 2 rib, mostly because I find it slightly more impressive and I like the variation in the stiching.

I’m nicknaming this blanket, “the big fat hygge blanket,” because I’m ALL ABOUT THE HYGGE in the winter time.

Not familiar with hygge?

In Danish culture, hygge refers to coziness , comfort, and a general feeling of contentment. When I think of hygge, I think of warm drinks, cozy slippers, a big stack of books, tea, and a big blanket.

Even as I knitted this blanket, I was feeling all the hygge feelings because this yarn is so darn cozy.

I have never arm knitted a blanket, but I do know that many people use this strategy to knit blankets like these. 

Instead, I bought some big needles (here is my exact pair) and knitted the blanket that way.

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

My kids thought that these needles were a decoration for our home and got a big laugh out of seeing me use these.

Seriously, they are so big that they could be hung as decorative art, like people do with oars or surfboards.

No one was laughing though when the blanket was finished and they all wanted one for themselves.

Who is laughing now, kids? 

I even got my first birthday request from my girl and have a big stack of pink yarn to knit through next.

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

How to Knit a DIY Chunky Blanket

Here are a few tips for knitting a super chunky blanket of your own!

Master All the Basic Techniques

If you are a brand new knitter, WELCOME TO THE CLUB! Bulky projects are super satisfying because of how quickly you can make them. I love this super simple illustrated guide to explain basic knitting techniques. You can also learn a lot through YouTube, Bluprint, or Skillshare.

Personally, I’m addicted to Skillshare because of its affordability and the variety of classes offered. It is how I have been learning about loom knitting AND about digital marketing. 

I’m a girl with many hats.

I find this yarn is hard to see the stitches, but still wanted to show you a few of the basic techniques with your Bernat Blanket Big Yarn!

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

here is a picture tutorial on how to cast on your yarn for your diy chunky blanket

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

here is a picture tutorial on how to do the knit stitch

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

here is a picture tutorial on how to do the purl stitch

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com Do you see how differently these two stitches look? Two have humps and two don’t. Not only does this help you with your counting, but it also gives you an indication of what row you are working on. After you do your first row, flip your work, and take a peek at the back. This will help you if you lose track of your even and odd numbered rows.

Learn the 2×2 Ribbing Pattern Before You Start

If you have never done a 2×2 pattern, try practicing this with a smooth thin yarn and smaller knitting needles. Since this yarn is super bulky, it can be difficult to see what you are doing on the back of your work and this practice project will help you figure out what this will look like.

Normally, a 2 x 2 ribbing is set in multiples of 4 (K2, P2). Since we want this blanket to begin and end on our two knitted stitches, the blanket pattern has added 2 additional stitches (written separately like this- K2, *P2, K2*) so we end and start our rows with 2 knit stitches.

Make Sure You Understand the Pattern Fully- This is a fun beginner project, but you might be confused what certain abbreviations mean. I know that I was when I first started knitting and had to look a lot of terms up.

For this pattern, you will need to know these abbreviations:

CO- Cast on

K- Knit

K2- Knit two stitches

P- Purl

P2- Purl two stitches

*blah, blah, blah*- This means that the pattern will be repeating. In our pattern, for example, it is a *P2, K2* so we will want to repeat what is between those asterisks until the next direction in our pattern. In the case of this pattern, you will just be doing the *P2, K2* or *K2, P2* all the way to the end. How easy is that?

Keep Your Stitches Loose

You do not want to cast your stitches on tightly or knit them tightly because it makes it very hard to slip your needles in and out. Try to maintain consistency so your stitches look similar throughout the project.

Are you ready to get knitting? Follow the directions below or scroll all the way to the end for a free printable pattern.

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket

Supplies Needed (super saver tip- make sure you are signed up with Rakuten to get cash back on your craft purchases)

4 skeins of Bernat Blanket Big Yarn

U.S. 50 Knitting Needles

Big Eye Wooden Needle for threading yarn

Faux Fur Pom-Pom Balls (optional)

Directions

Cast on 18 stitches

Row 1- K2, *P2, K2* to end

Row 2- P2 *K2, P2* to end

Repeat Row 1 on all odd-numbered rows.

Repeat Row 2 on all even-numbered rows.

Repeat until you come close to the end of your fourth skein.

Cast off LOOSELY and finish with fur accents, homemade tassels, or even four yarn pom-poms. I have the ultimate yarn pom pom tutorial, if you haven’t tried making these before! These would be beautiful in an accent color. I love the Lion Brand chunky yarn, in particular, for a fat pom-pom.

Good luck tackling this fun project! 

Want a printable version of this? Well, here you go!

DIY Chunky Blanket FREE Pattern from MomAdvice.com

If you have caught the knitting, bug I have loads more knitting and yarn projects to check out!

how to knit a chunky cowl

how to knit a chunky cowl

Knitted Baby Viking Hat Pattern knitted baby viking hat pattern

knitted wine hats and scarves

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies knitted sweater coffee cozies

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath how to make a yarn pom pom wreath

Happy crafting friends! 

*this post contains affiliate links*

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How To: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

Learn how to make your own DIY candles in your crockpot or slow cooker. Did you know you can make pumpkin spice scented candles at home with just wax, a wick, and essential oils? This easy tutorial will have you make large batches of candles in no time.

 

Gift-giving season is upon us and I am always looking for great gifts that don’t cost a lot, can be made in bulk, and will actually be used!

Do you remember when we made Citronella Candles in our slow cooker for thoughtful hostess gifts for the cookout season?

We are going to replicate that same idea, but with one of my FAVORITE fall scents…Pumpkin Spice!

Can you believe you can make candles in your crockpot?

The first time I tried making candles in my slow cooker, I knew that I was hooked on a new favorite craft.

I am so excited to show you, yet again, how to make candles in your slow cooker and this time we are making easy Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles.

As a Pumpkin Spice everything addict, these are full of my favorite holiday scent and can be made with just a few inexpensive purchases.

These candles can also be added to a tabletop with some winter squash and some jack-o-lanterns for a festive Fall display.

FYI- I just want to warn you how good your house is going to smell so GET READY!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

This is an easy DIY for homemade pumpkin spice scented candles perfect for Autumn.

Use your slow cooker to make your own pumpkin pie candles to give as gifts or to make your house smell like all the best things of Fall.

Supplies Needed

8 Pint-Sized Mason Jars

5 Pounds Candle Wax Flakes

6” Natural Candle Wicks

2 Jars of Pumpkin Spice Fragrance Oil

8 Bamboo Skewers (or you can use pencils!)

Slow Cooker or even your pressure cooker on the slow cooking setting

Food Scale or Postal Scale

Decorative Accents to finish your candles – I used twine and tags, but other lovely ideas would be ribbon, burlap, stencils, or even glitter!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

Directions for Making Slow Cooker Pumpkin Candles

1. Measure and weigh out 7 ounces of soy wax flakes for each mason jar in a glass measuring cup (be sure to tare your scale).

It should fill jar to the top, and we will be adding more flakes after the first round melts down and creates more space inside the jar.

Repeat the measuring with all of the other candles you plan to prepare.

 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

2. Add an inch or two of water to your slow cooker to create a water bath for your candles. Nestle the mason jars inside the slow cooker, place a lid on top, and turn it on HIGH for two hours.

As the wax melts down, feel free to add more wax flakes into the jars to the desired height. These will melt down to about half the size of your jar, so approximately 7 more ounces of soy flakes can be added to get a full candle like my pictures.

3. Once the “cooking time” of two hours has passed, open the lid and add 10-20 drops of Pumpkin Spice fragrance to each candle (approximately 1 ml of oil).

Using a bamboo skewer, stir each candle after adding the oil. Turn your slow cooker off, then add your candle wick in the center of each candle.

Take a bamboo skewer or pencil and wrap the top of the wick to the middle of it and allow it to help stand the wick up in the center of the candle. 

Leave the candles in the slow cooker until the wax begins to harden. Remove them and then dry the jars well with a dish towel. 

Allow the candles to fully harden on your countertop.

4. The next day, trim your wicks and attach a little jute twine and thank you note for your favorite hostess.

 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

The best part about making these is how incredible your house is going to smell all day long as these cook and then cool.

My kids thought I had baked pies all day when they got home from school.

What sad trickery I played on them with a slow cooker full of candles for our friends (#worstmomever).

I hope you have fun making this easy Fall craft for those you love!

 

diy slow cooker pumpkin spice candles momadvice.com

This post contains affiliate links! Thank you for supporting the site with your purchases!

 

Don’t miss these other great ideas from MomAdvice.com:

 

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

 

 

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins

 

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

 

 

//www.momadvice.com/post/easy-burlap-wreath-tutorial

Autumn Burlap Wreath

 

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DIY Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkins

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

These gold pumpkins are the perfect craft for autumn, even if you aren’t crafty. You will love these DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins for your home!

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new ways to decorate the holiday table that are festive while staying easy on the budget. The gold trend has really been catching my eye this year so I wanted to create something beautiful and gold that anyone can do, no matter what your craft level.

Today’s tutorial is for a decorative thumbtack pumpkin that requires just two items for a fun and festive touch to your table.

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins Tutorial

Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkin Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

700 (or more!) gold or silver thumbtacks– these can be purchased in a package of 300 at your local dollar store

Small Faux Styrofoam Pumpkin (look for one with a fun stem detail like the glittered stem on this one)

 

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

Directions

  1. Going along one of the ridges of the pumpkin, begin inserting thumbtacks, starting at the very top and working your way down. You will want to make sure that they overlap just a bit to create a feathered effect on your pumpkin. You do not need to go to the very bottom, just enough to cover it so that if the pumpkin is placed on a pedestal or candlestick holder that you can’t see the plastic bottom. This row helps to anchor your ridge as you place the thumbtacks in.
  2. Right next to that row, again overlapping from the side and down the row, begin placing thumbtacks in the same way, repeating this process until you have covered the entire ridge. Once the ridge is filled, just check and make sure there aren’t any holes in any places and fill, as necessary, with additional thumbtacks.
  3. Begin in the next ridge, just as you did with the first, giving just a little room between those ridges so you can still see that pumpkin shape. Now repeat this process again and again, until you have filled the entire pumpkin. This small pumpkin took 700 thumbtacks, but you may need more or less depending on how tightly you are overlapping your thumbtacks.

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

Isn’t this absolutely beautiful? Who would ever have guessed that it costs around $5 to make! I made two of them and wanted to show you a fun way to dress up your holiday table with these.

I spray painted two other faux pumpkins and then roughed them up with a little sandpaper. I filled a glass bottle with branches from our backyard to center these and then purchased these faux logs from my local craft store in two different heights to place my gold pumpkins on. I love all the variations on height and the different textures in this budget-friendly centerpiece.

I hope you find this idea easy and inspiring! Use your own creativity to create a few beautiful pumpkins of your own.

Speaking of autumn crafts…here are a few tutorials you might enjoy!

how to make a blanket scarf how to make a blanket scarf

Painted Pumpkins painted pumpkins tutorial

woodland art download FREE autumn printables

cabled earwarmer pattern cabled ear warmers (free pattern)

easy burlap wreath easy burlap wreath tutorial

Fall Burlap Wreath fall burlap wreath tutorial

how to paint laminate painted laminate fireplace to cozy up by

she shed make a she shed (best investment EVER!)

doughnut-hole-ghost-cake doughnut hole ghost cake

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

This post contains affiliate links!

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Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Have you ever decorated for fall with acrylic paint pumpkins? This tutorial shows you what kind of paint to paint pumpkins with and how to paint those faux pumpkins to match your home decor.  You’ll love these creative ways to paint a pumpkin.

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Who could use a pumpkin decorating craft for fall?

I decided to decorate fake pumpkins this year and am showing how you can do the same thing with supplies from your local craft store or even dollar store.

This was my first time painting our pumpkins this way and it could not be easier. I wanted to create a pumpkin display that would be perfect for the entire fall season and wanted to show you a cute way to display your pumpkins this year!

I am not big on decorating for Halloween and would prefer to skip right over that part of the fall decorating.

This month’s challenge was to create a Halloween decorations so I wanted to create a minimalistic display that would give a nod to the season, but complement our decor until it is time to deck the halls.

The best part is that these pumpkins can be used year after year and the painting is a lot less messy than carving pumpkins or using spray paint.

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com


How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

Any size you like of their faux pumpkins- the small ones are just $.98!! (you could also do real pumpkins!)- try Etsy for supplies.

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Elephant, Plaster, Pool, & White

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting

Wooden Crate 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Remove the labels from the pumpkins and protect your surface with cardboard while painting.

With a clean wide brush, begin painting your pumpkins, using the stalk of the pumpkin as a handle to work around the surface.

If you find the area around the stem to be difficult to decorate, you can pull the stems off carefully and use hot glue to reattach after they dry.

Paint the entire pumpkin and then set it aside to dry. Don’t feel limited by painting them all one color though. Feel free to add designs on your pumpkin for Halloween too or decorate your pumpkins with an autumn-theme. The possibilities are endless on the pumpkins you can create. Personally, I love polka dots and think that would be fun AND easy.

 Drying time can take anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour, depending on how thickly you applied the paint.

Repeat this process as many times as you like to achieve the hue you are going for.

I found the gray pumpkins only required a single coat, while the white pumpkins required two coats.

Once dry, sprinkle these pumpkins throughout your house or create a crate display like I have done.

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads.

The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

 

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads.

The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

Do you prefer to paint your pumpkins with chalk paint? I think you will get a kick out of the pumpkins we created for the season when our kids were small.  We really have some of the best pumpkin painting ideas on here so please stick around!

What is the Best Way To Clean Up After Painting With Acrylic Paints?

Acrylic paint crafts can get pretty messy, especially if you are involving your kids in on the fun. I use a simple formula for removing paint from little hands that you should definitely try.

Whether you are dying eggs for the Easter season or painting pumpkins for Halloween, this formula is a great one to keep in your back pocket.

The best way to remove acrylic paint from your hands is to squirt a small amount of whitening toothpaste, add a squirt of facial exfoliant (or body exfoliant), and a squirt of baby oil.  Just rub this combination on your hands until you have removed all the paint. 

The best part is that you will have baby soft hands after you are done! 

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if you make a purchase through our links.

Love this project? Check out these additional craft projects!

dollar store thumbtack pumpkins

autumn burlap wreath

slow cooker pumpkin spice candles

diy game day bar cart

no-sew blanket scarves

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations and contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

 

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Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

//www.momadvice.com/post/easy-burlap-wreath-tutorial

This diy burlap wreath is eye-catching and oh-so-easy to make. Let me show you how to make an autumn burlap wreath for your door with this simple tutorial and just a few craft supplies items!

Have you made a burlap wreath before? If you can believe it, our most popular craft on our website is this simple burlap wreath that can be used for just about any holiday. It was with that in mind that I decided to explore some new ways to play with burlap in our craft room. 

Honestly, I can’t begin to tell you how happy this autumn wreath makes me hanging our front door and the pop of color this fall wreath brings to our home decor. This orange hue is just what our door needs for the holidays and this wreath is perfect for all fall through Halloween and Thanksgiving.

If you haven’t made a burlap wreath before, this tutorial is for you! It outlines step-by-step how to recreate this wreath with my picture tutorial.

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

The crisp coolness of fall is moving in here in the Midwest and with it comes the urge to decorate every square inch of my home to honor it. 

Dare I say that we do more fall decorating than we do Christmas decorating? 

With simplifying as our goal, though, instead of decorating for Halloween and decorating for Thanksgiving, I am trying to create pieces that can double for both holidays and be appreciated until it’s time to break out the Christmas decorations.

The best part is that this burlap wreath requires no crafting skills, no cutting, and is very inexpensive to create.

The one thing I will say with making burlap wreaths is that you need to have a little patience with yourself in the beginning. My first wreath, I took apart three times before I got the hang of it.

Once you get the bubbling of the burlap down though, this really is a quick and easy craft and such a great way to dress up a door. 

If you are feeling inspired, I highly recommend making a craft date with a good friend. My best friend and I got together to make our holiday crafts and she was quite amused when I stood up her chair to take photos of my process to make my first wreath.

The thing was, NO ONE showed you how to actually start a burlap wreath and how you were supposed to be even feeding this burlap ribbon into the wire wreath frame.

I told her that I just knew that this was going to be a popular post and just in the last 30 days, that image has been viewed over 322,000 times and pinned countless times.

Do I know my audience OR WHAT?

Let’s get started with this super easy craft that would be fun for your door or to share as a holiday gift with someone you love!

How to Make an Autumn Burlap Wreath

Fall-Burlap-Wreath-Tutorial-Supplies Supplies Needed:

Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Directions:

Begin by folding your burlap in half, like I have shown above, and keep the fold going as we go along. 

Select one section of the wire wreath to start in. 

Feed the beginning end through the wreath as shown above: over the outer ring, under the next, over the next, and under to finish. 

Leave a little loose end to tuck in or you can wire it to the wreath with a little floral wire in the back. Now you have started your wreath- super easy!  This is the technique we are using throughout.

Note: I am showing it to you tightly so you can see how this will work, when you do this, you will actually be pulling out the burlap a bit to give it to that bubble effect that we are going for. 

Using the working end of the burlap (the working end is the side that isn’t the final end of the burlap, but in the end you are working with), we are going to begin making the bubbled burlap right next to this row, within the same section of that metal wreath, but we will begin weaving in the opposite direction, continuing to pull out and bubble the burlap as we go, moving the working burlap into each section, weaving one direction than weaving the other direction. 

If you are still confused, this is the most pinned article on our website that shows you how to get this wreath started easily.

When you run out of burlap (it should be when you are about halfway through covering the wreath), tuck the end towards the back and pick up where you left off. Again, you can wire these ends with a little floral wire on the back.

Once the entire wreath is covered, secure the final end with floral wire on the back of the wreath to make sure everything is held into place, twisted around one of the metal strands of the wreath.

Now you can fluff your burlap out to create that bubbly effect and to cover any of the metal you can see peeking out..

Clip small stems of your greenery to weave into your wreath. Starting with the front, add bits here and there, but not in a pattern, to make it look natural. Repeat this process with the middle layer and then finally attach a few towards the back to add texture to this wreath.

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I don’t want to brag, but doesn’t this look like something out of a magazine?

Weaving in the texture of the greenery really makes this wreath pop and looks professional.

Thanks to catching some half-off sales at our local craft store, I was able to make this beauty for less than $20 which also makes me very happy!

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I hope you can dress your home up simply and beautifully for the fall holidays with this fun idea!

Are you looking for more wreath ideas? Check out these fun craft ideas below for fall or visit our entire crafts section for more inspiration!

how to make a yarn pom-pom wreath

How to Make a Fabric Wreath and Garland how to make a fabric wreath and garland (you could use your favorite Fall prints for this one!)

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com dollar store diy thumbtack pumpkins

Knitted Leaves Centerpiece knitted leaves centerpiece

Happy crafting!

This post contains affiliate links.

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Planning a Spring Break Staycation

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Today we have gathered the best tips, easy projects, and fun activities you can play for the ultimate family staycation. Be sure to bookmark this for some of our favorite boredom busters!

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Last year, on the Friday before our school district’s spring break began, my daughter went on a field trip with her class. It was her first experience roller skating, and all week my husband and I joked with her, saying more than once, “Don’t break your leg!”

Well, the joke was on us, because just a short hour after I dropped her off at school that morning, I got a call from the school nurse. My daughter had, indeed, broken her leg. That ordeal is a story for another time. But what I’m remembering today, as we head into spring break season once again, is how so many people reacted to the news by asking if we’d had big spring break plans.

Apparently, many families plan big trips for their kids’ spring breaks. I feel silly admitting it, but I really had no idea. I had assumed most families would be staying home, juggling work and childcare, catching up on home projects, and possibly taking a trip to the movie theater or park before sending their kids back to school.

After all, that’s about all I had planned!

After hearing about other families’ more extravagant and adventurous plans, I didn’t feel guilty that we couldn’t afford that kind of travel or time off in the spring. But I did feel bad that I hadn’t put more thought into what we would actually do instead. Last year’s spring break was consumed by pain medicine, follow-up doctor’s appointments, and begging my daughter to JUST TRY TO USE THE CRUTCHES. But this year, I was determined to make the most of our five days off school!

Here’s what I did:

Evaluate your free time. Plan your work time.

Because of the nature of my work, I can’t simply take a whole week off. (Okay, I can, but it requires a level of nose-to-the-grindstone intention that I just didn’t pull off this time.) But I also don’t want to spend five days trying desperately to finish projects while hearing my kids ask, “When are you going to be finished?” So I’m planning three half days of work (and probably a chunk of time on the weekend to catch up). That way, they know they’ll have to entertain themselves during those times and I know I will need to focus so I can maximize those times.

Now we’re left with two full days and three half days. What will we do?

Take a look at your to-do-someday list. Get something done.

I’m not the only one with a Someday To-Do list, am I? A list of house projects, inconvenient errands, or seasonal tasks that always seem to get pushed to the back burner during the regular school year?

The trick with this part of a spring break staycation is positioning your to-dos as adventures or fun projects. If your kids are anything like mine, half the fun of spring break is spending extra time together — so why not use some of that together time to accomplish something? You’ll be relieved, and they’ll be proud they helped.

At least that’s my hope for having my girls help me recover the dining room chairs. I’ll let them weigh in on the material we choose, and any project involving a screwdriver and staple gun is fascinating to them (even if they don’t actually use the tools themselves). And since we sit on those chairs every single day, they’ll see the fruit of their labor daily. (Plus, at least in my house, anything can be fun if we add loud music, funny faces, or a special snack to eat when we’re finished!)

Other chores or errands might require some incentives, of course — like shopping for new spring clothes, but only after we go through and clean out their closets, or a trip to a special ice cream shop but only after we finally return those Christmas presents you’ve had in the trunk of your car for months and drop off the Goodwill donations you packed up back in January when you KonMari’d your house like the rest of the world.

Because I want to have two full days for full-blown staycation adventures, I’m planning our “project” (chore and errand) days for the other half of those days I’ll work. Now, finally, it’s time for the fun part!

Explore your town. Connect with friends. Make memories.

Whether you have a couple full days to fill, a few hours here and there, or an entire week, planning for fun will make sure your break doesn’t slip away without doing anything to write home about. (I know, you’re already at home. You know what I mean.) Here are some ideas:

  • Does your community have a children’s museum? Or art museum? Or, really, any kind of place where your kids can let loose and have fun (while also learning something because you’re a sneaky mom like that)? Go there. Bonus tip: Look on the museum’s website to find out if they have free days or hours, coupons, or special events that you can plan around.
  • Who are the friends you keep meaning to see but haven’t been able to? Who lives too far away for a simple dinner together during a normal week? Make plans to see them! Invite them over to your house for a playdate or lunch, or meet them at a park somewhere between your homes. (Or, if you really want to mix things up, you could combine an errand with a friend date and do your errands together. Need to stock up at Costco or Trader Joe’s? Why not go with a friend? Then grab lunch somewhere with a playplace so your kids can run free while you catch your breath.)
  • What’s new? Has a big store opened up recently? Or perhaps a new restaurant? Make an adventure of checking out the new place by putting together a scavenger hunt for your kids or giving them a “mission” or mystery to solve while you’re there. Tasks or items might include eating a food they’ve never tried before, spotting specific items or colors or numbers, deciding how they’d like to spend a certain amount of money (either pretend or real), or even figuring out where the public restrooms are located.
  • Take a trip down memory lane. If you’ve lived in your city for a while, take your kids to see some nostalgic sights (like your childhood home, the restaurant you and your husband had your first date, the park you took them to when they were much younger). If you’re new to town, you can use this time to learn about your community’s history. Check out a local museum, ask a neighbor to share one of their favorite spots, or just explore an area, road, neighborhood, attraction you haven’t visited yet.
  • And don’t forget this: My city has a specific website for parents, listing out special events, fun excursions, coupons and promotional codes, and more. I always, always go there first when playing a staycation. Does your city have something similar? (Or, perhaps a local parenting group on Facebook? Or your MOPS group? Whatever source has a collection of information about activities in your city, go there!)

Put the “stay” in staycation.

Finally, you don’t have to even leave the house to have fun during your break. If you have little kids or a health condition or any reason at all that makes going out to find fun more difficult than usual, just stay home! But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with Disney Channel reruns or another week of mac and cheese lunches. You can mix it up, right from home!

Some of our favorite things to do on those days are trying a new recipe (let the kids help cook), doing simple science experiments we’ve found on Pinterest, trying to imitate the trick shots of Dude Perfect or the dance moves of Kidz Bop after we watch a few videos on YouTube, or doing one of those messy craft projects I normally don’t allow. (Hello, glitter slime!)

Whatever your staycation looks like, you can make it fun. And really? Your kids will enjoy just as much and remember just as fondly the day you let them spend hours in their swimsuits, splashing in the tub with all the toys as they would some tropical trip. Are you together? Are you doing something out of the norm? Are you laughing and letting loose, even just a little?

Then your staycation will be a success!


A few more tips for you:

  • Set a budget. Even if you’re staying home, you’ll likely spend a little more money when all your kids are home and “needing” to be entertained.
  • Plan for rest. Much as I adore schedules and lists, I know we can’t fill up every minute. Both my kids and I need downtime and quiet time, so I might as well plan for that, too.
  • Sprinkle in surprises. Even on those work or project days, you can delight your kids with their favorite dessert, a new Spotify playlist, a quick manicure, or a break to play catch in the backyard.

Want more fun activities for the perfect staycation or family getaway? Here are a few of our faves!

exploring columbus, ohio

exploring saugatuck, michigan

exploring grand rapids, michigan

printable travel games (for those of you hitting the road!)

 

try our diy fluffy slime recipe

mix up our 3-ingredient cloud dough

make these fun rainbow bubble snakes

make an easy dreamcatcher

make pom-pom flower bouquets

dye a pair of canvas shoes for spring

try these fun rainbow science experiments

 

Still bored? Here are 22 of our favorite spring break boredom busters! What do you like to do during a staycation?

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog,MaryCarver.com. She is the author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls and co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts.She is also a regular contributor toincourage.me and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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DIY Yarn Wrapped Letters Tutorial

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Create a beautiful wall display with letters and scrap yarn. This Anthropologie-inspired craft really adds a beautiful element to any home. This tutorial will show you step-by-step how to achieve a wall display of your own!

There are a few decorations in our home that have stood their test of time and the wall display in our bedroom remains one of those tried-and-true craft projects that I still love today.

I love to create projects that can be great stash-busters for the knitter AND a great yarn project for someone who doesn’t knit, but would love to have those textures in their home. Today’s project requires zero knitting skills and is simple enough that you could yarn-wrap those letters with your child.

I can’t wait to show you how easy it is to make this yarn display for a wall in your home.

Additions to my home, like these, really bring that Anthropologie shopping experience right in my home. It is, in fact, a lot of the inspiration for the crafts I try to do around here!

Let’s get started!

How to Yarn-Wrap Letters


Supplies Needed

23.5” paper mache letters that spell LOVE  (or your word of choice)

6 skeins of bulky yarn (the back of the packaging should tell you the weight of the yarn)

Scissors

Hot Glue/Tape, or even a Thumbtack for securing yarn in place

Large Package of clear 3M hooks for damage-free mounting

 

Directions

To begin, grab a skein of yarn and begin wrapping your letters in one direction (I started going up and down first).

Do your best to cover the letter in that direction and feel free to cut and secure yarn on the back as you go to cover the entire letter.

You can begin and end the securing of your yarn with a thumbtack, a piece of clear tape, or a little dab of hot glue.

Once you have covered the letter to the best of your ability, now begin wrapping the yarn in the other direction.

Navigating around detailed corners will be tricky. Don’t be afraid to stop and start the yarn to wrap the letters. I found that the corners were a bit bulkier to try to cover, but no one will notice that.

For the last letter, utilize all the ends of each of your skeins to create a scrappy letter from the three colors used in your L,O, and V.

I tried to layer the colors in places, securing again with a little hot glue, tape or thumbtacks for starting and finishing these wrapped places.

I also added a few knitted accessories to my last letter. The same idea could be achieved with fabric, interesting buttons, or purchased accessories. The possibilities are limitless and can fit your own style.

To mount them, I used clear 3M hooks, and used a razor blade to cut an “X” in the back of the cardboard letter to create a spot to hide the hook internally. Some of the letters could be mounted with just one hook (like the O) while others require d two or three hooks to secure.

The best part is that you can move your letters around or remount the hooks if you struggle with getting everything level.

These won’t damage your walls and when you get tired of this display, you can remove them and try something else.

bed from overstock (if you can believe it!!)

DIY Yarn Wrapped Letters Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

As you can see from my giant display, I tend to go all out when I tackle projects like this, but you could definitely use smaller letters and thinner yarn to make this display of LOVE on a smaller scale.

Anybody else want to curl up and read Little House with me?

Love this yarn project? We have SO many more fun ways to use yarn on the site!

check out this viral sensation- how to make a pom-pom wreath

diy yarn trees (make in different colors for different seasons!)

6-stitch knitted ruffle scarf

knitted leaf centerpiece (made from scraps and twigs!)

quick & easy knitted boot cuffs

knitted sweater coffee cozies

how to make a pom-pom flower bouquet

 

This is one of those projects that you can make all your own and I hope you share your interpretation with us! xo

This post contains affiliate links.

How to Find the Best Valentine’s Gifts for Your Kids

Monday, February 11th, 2019

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Do you give your kids gifts for Valentine’s Day? I know for some families, it is a gift-giving occasion; others not so much.

As I’m writing this, somewhere between Christmas and the month of love, I’m surprised to find myself leaning toward the no-gifts-necessary camp. Since I adore giving (and, obviously, getting) presents, especially to my kids, I’m blaming my feelings on the fact that in my house, our family of four has three birthdays in the few weeks surrounding Christmas.

I’m saying it’s a lot of gifting.

And that maybe my four-year-old asked me just this morning, “But on my real birthday [as opposed to the day of her birthday party a week before], you’re going to give me presents, right? I’ll get presents?”

Sigh.

Yes, of course she will. Because tired or not, I love giving presents. You might even say — and you would be right if you did — gifts are my love language. (Words of affirmation are also my love language, so feel free to include a long, detailed note in the card with my present.)

If you aren’t familiar with love languages, it’s a tool created by Gary Chapman and explained in his book, The Five Love Languages.

Chapman proposes that most of us express and receive love best in one of five ways: gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, touch, and quality time. (To learn more about this or to take a quiz to figure out your love language, click here.)

Since Valentine’s Day is a holiday all about love, it does make sense to make plans with love languages in mind. And, whether you are a virtual Cupid who adores everything red and pink or a cynic who rolls her eyes at “that holiday the card companies made up,” considering love languages when making your Valentine’s Day plans is smart. Because either way, you want your efforts to be worth it!

Right? You want your people to feel loved and for your time and resources to be well spent communicating how much you value them.

How to Find the Best Valentine’s Gifts for Your Kids

If you know your kids’ love language, I’ve got some great, last-minute ideas for you.

Gifts

This category might seem like the easiest one, but you shouldn’t just grab the fluffiest teddy bear at the gas station on your way home!

Instead, try to remember something they’ve mentioned wanting since Christmas — perhaps something that made you roll your eyes because you don’t need that and we just had Christmas and wait until your birthday! While I definitely use Christmas and Easter as holidays to give some practical gifts, I think it’s fun to give unnecessary, frivolous, fun stuff for Valentine’s Day.

One of my daughters has picked up the habit lately of saying, “My friend has [________]. I love it and I want it!” I’ve tried reminding her that she can admire something without immediately coveting it.

But she’s five, so it’s a hard lesson to learn.

(I’m kidding. This is hard for all of us, isn’t it?!)

Still, if your kids mention things like that, it might be fun to surprise them with their own for Valentine’s Day.

Words of Affirmation

If you have a child who insists on saying, “No, I love you more!” you might have a words kid. Now, I have no scientific data to back this up, but I suspect many words people are like me and, as much as they crave the affirmation, they certainly do not want them said to their face!

Because, hello, awkward!

Instead, write your kids a love letter! If they’re younger — still in the coloring pictures stage of life — draw or color a picture to go with your words. If they’re older, send an email or text. Or make a video of yourself telling them how much and all the reasons why you love them so much.

Whatever medium you use, make it something they can absorb slowly, alone if possible, and keep to re-read or re-watch over and over again.

Acts of Service

My kids love when I help them clean their rooms. But I think they’re a little unusual in that (I remember not wanting my parents to clean my room for fear my favorite books, toys, or — let’s be honest — junk would disappear!). However, since we’ve been working on sharing household work as a family (aka, I’ve been making them do chores), I know their rooms aren’t the only things I could clean as a way to show my love.

I’m pretty sure checking any of their chores off the list around Valentine’s Day would earn me major mom points.

So, depending on which chores your kids detest most or which tasks stress them out, taking something off their plate for the day or the week might be a huge gift to them.

You could also fix their favorite meal, drive them to school if they normally walk, or finally get around to replacing batteries in their toys or hanging frames in their rooms (or whatever to-do has been stuck on your list for months)!

Touch

Just give them a hug and kiss, and call it good, right?

Well, maybe not.

For kids who crave physical touch, that’s a great place to start. But what about going a little farther for this occasion? What about…

  • Taking an exercise or dance class together
  • Trying yoga with a video from the library or on YouTube
  • Playing a round of one-on-one basketball on the driveway (or at the gym if it’s too cold)
  • Brushing her hair, massaging his shoulders, or holding a thumb wrestling tournament

Lots of physical activities result in friendly, affectionate touches. So break a sweat or get out of your comfort zone, and show your kiddos just how much affection you have for them. (Or turn on Netflix and snuggle on the couch under your warmest blanket — what one of my girls wants every day, not just on Valentine’s Day!)

Quality Time

Most of these ideas involve spending more and different kinds of time with your children.

But perhaps you want to really go all out and plan a date with your kiddo who needs quality time to feel loved.

You could send an official invitation (via letter in his lunchbox or a Post-It on her mirror) to get started. Then dress up, pick them up at the door, and eat at their favorite restaurant.

If you wanted to do more, you could use your time together to make a bucket list of activities to do together.

Or you could take a list of “get to know you” questions and ask (and answer!) a few of those together.

Or play a board game, look through old photos, or challenge them to a round of that video game they’re always talking about.

Whatever it is you do this Valentine’s Day, have fun! No matter what language you speak or what plans you make, they’ll feel cherished and appreciated by the effort you take and the memories you make together.

Looking for more great parenting ideas? Here are a few of our favorite articles!

teaching your kids the importance of failure

how to handle lying

how to find and write pen pals

diy tween self-confidence kits

How do you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids?

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog, MaryCarver.com. She is the author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls and co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts.She is also a regular contributor to incourage.me and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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