Archive for the ‘Kids Crafts’ Category

Best Advent Calendars for Kids (FREE Printable!!)

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Looking for advent calendar for kids. This free printable advent calendar includes fun Christmas themed trivia questions for the holiday season. Counting down to Christmas couldn’t be more fun (or more affordable!) Download our countdown to Christmas on the blog today!

I never did an advent calendar growing up so I, honestly, had to look up what the heck these were when other moms talked about them.

In honor of today’s trivia theme, do you know how the advent calendar originated?

As with many of our Christmas traditions, this one originated out of Germany. In the early 20th century, Gerhard Lang’s mother made him a calendar with 24 small candies attached to cardboard, one for each day before Christmas.

Lang grew up and opened Reichhold & Lang printing company where he printed the first Advent cardboard calendar with 24 little pictures. Then, just a few years later, the company printed the first calendar with the little doors that everyone loves to open. 

Just imagine what kind of craft celebrity Gerhard’s mom would have been on Pinterest.

That’s pretty much, an original viral project.

I am so excited to share this fun FREE printable advent calendar with you that our amazing contributor, M.J. designed for us!

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

From our graphic designer, MJ at pars caeli

Advent calendars are just the cutest, right?

That is–until you have to fill/create/arrange them!

This year we’re going simple with our countdown to Christmas, and we want to make it easier for you, too, with a printable calendar.

This Advent Calendar needs just to be cut, folded, and glued.

Fist bump.

You can even have the kids create it.

The days leading up to Christmas are both magical and hectic!

We have Christmas performances and charitable shopping, Santa’s gifting and work parties galore.

I didn’t want our Advent countdown to be another process on the list so we put together something light and fun.

How to Make a Christmas Trivia Advent Calendar for Big Kids

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

How about Christmas trivia?!

We watch Jeopardy around our house (with three kids, twelve and under), and a countdown with trivia seemed like a natural way to learn more and to laugh together as we get nearer to the 25th.

We put together twenty-five trivial (some are pretty ridiculous) questions about Christmas traditions, songs, and movies for the whole family.

In fact, this calendar would be great to put next to the coffee pot at work or as a runner across the dinner table.

My kids have been talking about these questions more than I imagined (“what’s your favorite Christmas song?” and “remember that time we saw…”).

Our holiday experiences can be easy entryways to new conversations and insights.

Let’s make an advent calendar together!


Supplies Needed

Craft paper 

Scissors

Tape

Glue stick

A straight edge or ruler

Our printable calendar 

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Your Free Printable Advent Calendar

STEP ONE:

Print out the numbers and trivia questions.

Set the trivia questions aside for now.

To cut your numbers, slice the page first vertically and then horizontally, creating four pieces.

You’ll then cut those four piece vertically, to make equal-sized pieces of paper.

STEP TWO:

Each number paper has light gray dotted lines to show where they should be folded.

With a ruler or straight edge, fold crisply along that line as indicated in two places.

Once you’ve made the folds, bend them the opposite direction to create a folded piece with the number on the front and a flap on the top.

STEP THREE:

Take the trivia questions back out.

Cut those along the dotted edges. Glue the questions into the inside of the numbered papers.

These are not numbered so they can go in any day.

We put ours in randomly.

There’s a question for every day from December 1 through the 25.

STEP FOUR:

Refold the bottom and then the top flap of the numbered rectangle over top of the trivia question (we don’t want anyone peeking until the right day!).

You’ll want to seal the flap shut.

You can do this with glue or tape.

We opted to cut up some adhesive labels into tiny strips so that we could peel back the flaps without destroying the calendar.

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

That’s it!

Attach the questions to a ribbon and hang on the side of your fridge.

Or tape them to a pantry door in the shape of a tree!

Or (super simple) keep calendar days in a bowl on your dinner table, and pull one out every day.

You might find yourselves amazed by how many presents you’d get if you received all of them from the 12 Days of Christmas or laughing about what the word mistletoe really means!!

(Oh, I’ve said too much. You have to wait to open that day!)

Happy Christmas countdown from our family to yours!!

Wishing you a simply joyful holiday.

Xoxo,

MJ

SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO ACCESS THE PRINTABLES!

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

 

Looking for more DIY Advent Calendar Ideas? Here are a few others that I’m loving!

Adorable Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar– This fun advent calendar is made from something everyone has on hand – toilet paper tubes! Fill it up with small toys, your favorite candy or cute socks! A fun way to upcycle and create fun memories at the same time!

Use What You Have Advent Calendar– Turn your muffin tins into creative advent calendars with this fun holiday bucket list idea.

Christmas Book Advent Calendar – Each book is wrapped with a number for the kids to open each night before bed. No need to purchase new books every year, only if the age out. Making reusable number gift tags to put on the books each year keeps this a great green alternative.

Christmas Tree Ornament Advent– This mini tree makes counting down super fun! Simply hang an ornament every day!

DIY Paper Advent Calendar– Create an easy DIY paper advent calendar with free printable templates for the boxes! This handmade advent calendar is a fun Christmas papercraft and lovely holiday gift idea for kids and teens.

No Time to DIY an Advent Calendar? Here are some of the Best Advent Calendars for Kids!

If you don’t have time to make an advent calendar, here are some MomAdvice Advent Calendar favorites!

Toy advent calendars can be so fun because they feature 24 fun things to look forward to as you welcome in the holiday.

So many advent calendars are featuring sets that include adorable fun trinkets, magnetic ornaments, or mini figures. Find a set with features and surprises that your kids will never expect.

Advent calendars are such a fun bonus surprise gift under the Christmas tree, aren’t they?

Little People Advent Calendar

Crayola Christmas Countdown

Paw Patrol Advent Calendar

LEGO Friends Advent Calendar

LEGO City Advent Calendar

Grab Your Free Advent Calendar Printables!

Click Here for Advent Numbers Printable

Click Here for Trivia Sheet Printable

Love this post? Here are some of my favorite Christmas posts on the site!

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love 100 unique stocking stuffers for everyone on your list

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages unique gift ideas for kids of ALL ages

Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls christmas tree cinnamon rolls for christmas morning

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

Bring the holidays to your mantle with these simple DIY Christmas trees! This holiday craft is so easy and inexpensive that you can make a few and display them together or give them as gorgeous hostess gifts. Make the DIY holiday yarn trees in Christmas colors or your favorites to add a festive touch to your Christmas decor!

 

What could be more fun than decorating for the holiday season?

For this month’s holiday decor project, I wanted to share with you a fun DIY project for creating festive yarn trees that you can create to decorate a ledge, table, or mantle in your home. 

You will only need a few affordable supplies from your craft shop to create this craft.

Don’t think of these as only a decoration for Christmas.

These are beautiful to display all holiday season long, especially in a nice warm neutral yarn!

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Supplies List

2-    3-7/8 x 8-7/8  inch  Styrofoam floral cones

2- 3-7/8 x 11-7/8 inch  Styrofoam floral cones

4 glass candlestick holders (optional)

2 skeins of inexpensive yarn (in your favorite yarn color)

Small & Large Clover Pom-Pom Makers (unless making pom-poms by hand)

Hot glue gun

Glue Sticks

Straight Pins

Scissors

3.75 mm straight yarn needles

2-4.00 mm double-pointed needles

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

Instructions for Making Your Yarn Trees

1. For each of the smaller trees, you will need approximately 73-75 small pom poms. I am in love with my pom-pom maker for making these and have provided a picture tutorial above, if you would like to use these too.  Make sure to give your pom-poms a nice trim, to even up any uneven spots.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

2. Once you have made all of your pom-poms, it is time to assemble them to your tree-form. Grab your hot glue gun and apply a dab of glue in the center of the pom-pom (where you have tied the string to gather everything.  Apply the pom-poms to the tree, starting at the bottom of the cone and working your way around the tree. Try not to line these up all evenly, but stagger them in each row to make it look more like a real tree!

 

3. Continue adding pom-poms until you get to the top of the tree, making sure all of the tree-form is completely covered.

 

4. Make a large pom-pom in a contrasting color and secure it with hot glue, in the center again, and add it to the top of the tree as your star.

 

5. Finish by giving your tree a trim, especially at the top, to trim all of the yarn down to make it look more like a tree.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

6. For an easy yarn-wrapped tree, begin by adding a dab of hot glue to the top of your taller tree-forms. Begin by applying your yarn in a swirled motion at the top. Add one more dab of glue at the top and start wrapping your tree-form all the way around it until you are about a half-inch from the bottom.

 

7. Add one more dab of glue and then finish adding the yarn until you reach the bottom of the form. Clip the yarn and secure the end with a little hot glue.

 

8. Decorate this tree-form any way that you would like. If you are not a knitter, there are many varieties of ways you can decorate these yarn trees. You can top with a pom-pom in an alternating color, create a multi-colored pom-pom for topping, braid yarn to create a garland, or create some garland out of a contrasting color.

 

9. If you are a knitter, knit a 3-stitch i-cord using two 4.0 mm double-pointed needles  for a total of 32.5 inches. Using straight pins, secure the i-cord to the top of the tree and then wrap around and around, securing occasionally with pins, until the tree is completely wrapped in garland.

 

10. Top your tree with a simple knitted bow, if knitting an adornment. Using your 3.75 mm straight needles, cast on ten stitches. Knit the first row, then purl the next row. Repeat this pattern until it measures 6.5 inches in length. Cast the stitches off and then seam them in the center. Using more yarn, simply wrap the center of the bow and then knot the yarn behind. Secure the bow at the top with hot glue.

 

11. Attach all of the trees to inexpensive dollar-store candlestick holders. If you desire, you can spray paint these in your favorite color or just leave them plain, as I have shown.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

I hope you love these little yarn trees as much as I do! It is definitely an inexpensive and fun way to dress up a corner of your home for the holidays!

 

Sign up for the MomAdvice newsletter!

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

 

DIY yarn holiday trees MomAdvice.com

 

Don’t miss these other great Holiday ideas from MomAdvice:

 

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Pom Pom Wreath 

 

 

The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make from MomAdvice.com

Easy Burlap Wreath

 

 

how to make a pom-pom and ornament garland MomAdvice

Ornament & Pom Pom Garland

 

 

Christmas at Mom Advice-Traditions Decor and Food

Christmas at MomAdvice

 

 

 

20 Easy DIY Stocking Stuffers - MomAdvice.com

DIY Stocking Stuffers

 

 

 

54 Handmade Gifts from MomAdvice

Homemade Gift Ideas

 

 

DIY Holiday yarn trees MomAdvice.com

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The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Monday, November 4th, 2019

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Do you know the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies? Put your stand mixer to work and blend up this incredible sugar cookie dough. You will learn how to make rolling and cutting sugar cookies easier. These tricks yield cookies that stay soft- bookmark this perfect cut-out cookie recipe today!

I love, love, love to cook.

Baking bread, whipping up fancy dinners, making stacks of gourmet waffles…those are my favorite thing to do!

Baking cookies?

Total fail.

I don’t know what it is, but making great cookies is not something I am good at.

To be honest, I just don’t think I have the patience for it.

More than that, I haven’t had the time.

I rely on bar cookies, quick breads, and other easy snacks to get us by.

Of all of the fails, cut-out sugar cookies have been the biggest fail for me.

They are misshapen, taste like cardboard, and are far too time-consuming.

I tried so many recipes with the same results and had determined that cut-out cookies were just NOT my thing.

I decided this year though that I would find a good recipe that would look nice and yield a tasty result.

Where do I turn when I don’t have time to run a full-fledged test kitchen out of my home?

My America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Don’t they have such great recipes?

The recipe was entirely unique and promised fantastic results.

Crisp cookies, full flavor, and step-by-step tutorials that would be worth eating and sharing.

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Trick #1: Use a Superfine Sugar

The first step towards a great sugar cookie was to use superfine sugar.

According to the cookbook, superfine sugar gives the cookies a finer crumb and crisper texture.

What is Superfine Sugar?

Superfine sugar s simply granulated sugar that’s been ground more finely. It’s often called for in recipes where a faster dissolving granule is needed.

This ingredient can be purchased at your local grocery store over by the other sugar options.

Don’t want to buy superfine sugar for one recipe?

Yeah, me either!

How Can I Make My Own Superfine Sugar?

Instead of purchasing a specialty sugar, process one cup of your granulated sugar in a food processor or blender.

Once the sugar is to a fine consistency (approximately 30 seconds), you can measure out 3/4 cup for your recipe.

Easy enough!

You know me, I chose the cheaper option for this recipe and put my blender to work.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Trick #2: The “Reverse Mixing Method

The second step to their perfect cookie was a “reverse” mixing method.

In traditional recipes, we would cream the room temperature butter and sugar together. They took a reverse mixing method approach instead.

With this method, you mix together all of the dry ingredients first and then add butter tablespoon by tablespoon.

The dough mixture is finished with cream cheese, another unusual addition to a cut-out sugar cookie recipe. This ingredient really pulls everything together and makes the dough workable. Once it has pulled together, finish with a little vanilla extract for flavor!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

 

The dough looked like this. It looked crumbly and not very wet. You were instructed to pull the dough together with your hands and form it into a ball. I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work out. It just did not seem sticky enough to me.

The dough looked like this. It looked crumbly and not very wet.

You were instructed to pull the dough together with your hands and form it into a ball.

I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work out. It just did not seem sticky enough to me.

After a couple of minutes of kneading, this is what my dough looked like. I don’t think my dough has ever looked this good.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Trick #3: Chill Your Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Dough

Have you ever had a sugar cookie that looks misshapen?

Chances are that the cook didn’t chill the dough. This look step helps these cut-out cookies to turn out great.

Divide the dough and place them in your refrigerator to chill. It is recommended to flatten them into two 4″ disks, and leave them there for 20-30 minutes.

 

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

 

While the dough is chilling, you can tidy up the kitchen and then get everything else ready to go.

Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper and lay out your cookie cutters.

Next, tear off two additional sheets of parchment paper per dough disk to roll out your cookie dough.

That’s right, no floured counters which will save on clean-up time!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Tip #4: Roll Your Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Dough Between Two Sheets of Parchment Paper

Put your disk between the parchment paper and roll the dough out.

I secured one set of corners between me and the counter to hold the paper in place.

Tip #5: After You Roll Out Your Sugar Cookie Dough, chill it AGAIN!

Now pop the dough back in the refrigerator for ten more minutes or until the dough is firm for cutting.

I know waiting for the dough to chill again feels like a waste of time.

Trust me, you will be glad you did it.

This will yield a cookie with sharp edges and that hold their shape.

I promise that this will be worth the wait.

At this point, I was already patting myself on the back.

Aren’t you glad you weren’t in the kitchen with me for this annoying moment?

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

The cookies cut out beautifully and were firm enough that I could easily transfer them over to the parchment paper.

How crazy that we won’t be losing snowman feet and arms or the poor wings off of our bird cookies!

I bet you are glad you never saw my past cookies (*ahem*)!

Put your cookie sheets in the oven and watch them through the glass.

Be sure to continue, annoyingly, patting yourself on the back.

Tip #6: Rotate Your Cookie Sheets For Even Heating

Instead of letting one rack stay doughy and one rack get burnt, they have you rotate the cookie sheets halfway through.

What a novel idea!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

These are my cookies after baking!

I KNOW!

Keep in mind, these cookies remain a pale color so don’t worry that they haven’t cooked long enough. Ten minutes is just the amount of time you need for these cookies to

They didn’t look done to me, but they were so don’t overcook them.

I had one batch that got out in the nick of time after I added two minutes to the cooking time.

They will harden up for you without any additional cooking.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Tip #7: Ice Your Cookies With America’s Test Kitchen Royal Icing (OR NOT)

They recommend decorating with a royal icing glaze.

I am not a fan of how those royal icing recipes turn out.

I stick to a traditional frosting recipe that requires a little more time to harden, but has a thicker tasting frosting.

What If I Want the America’s Test Kitchen Royal Icing Recipe?

Blend together 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 ounce cream cheese, softened, and food coloring to make the America’s Test Kitchen Glaze.

Since our cookie sheets were lined with parchment paper, I reused these sheets for decorating.

This caught any runaway sprinkles or the sprinkle dumping that seems to occur every year (see above for examples).

The cookies looked good, but the real question is did they taste good? I asked our very official taste-testing and decorating crew to give me their honest opinions.

Sometimes a picture is all you need! They were perfect, not crumbly, sturdy, but not thick, tangy, but buttery. Basically, perfection!

The cookies looked good, but the real question is did they taste good? I asked our very official taste-testing and decorating crew to give me their honest opinions.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Sometimes a picture is all you need! They were perfect, not crumbly, sturdy, but not thick, tangy, but buttery. Basically, perfection!

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cu-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

The Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: approximately 3 dozen
 
Do you know the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies? Put your stand mixer to work and blend up this incredible sugar cookie dough. You will learn how to make rolling and cutting sugar cookies easier. These tricks yield cookies that stay soft- bookmark this perfect cut-out cookie recipe today!
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar (purchased or diy this flour with my instructions above)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½″ pieces & softened
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Rolling pin, cookie cutters, and sprinkles
  • Sugar Cookie Frosting:
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food coloring
Instructions
  1. Whisk the flour, sugar, & salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Beat the butter pieces (into the flour mixture) one piece at a time. I suggest using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, and beating until the mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet. This should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Beat in the cream cheese & vanilla until he dough just begins to form large clumps, about thirty seconds.
  4. Knead the dough in the large bowl by hand a few times until it forms a large, cohesive mass.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, divide it in half, and apt into a two four inch disks.
  6. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375.
  8. Work with one disk at a time, roll out the dough to a ⅛″ thickness between two sheets of parchment paper.
  9. Slide the rolled dough and parchment onto a baking sheet & refrigerate again until firm.
  10. Working with one sheet of cookie dough at a time, cut out shapes using your cookie cutters.
  11. Next, lay them on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 1″ apart.
  12. Bake the cookies until light golden brown, about ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
  13. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
  14. Be sure to allow them to cool completely (approximately 30 minutes)
  15. When cooled, the cookies can be decorated as desired.
  16. For frosting: In a large bowl, cream together confectioners sugar and shortening until smooth.
  17. Gradually mix in milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about five minutes.
  18. Color with food coloring if desired.

I would highly recommend adding this cookbook to your holiday wish list. That same recipe can be adapted for many different types of cookies! It has definitely earned its keep on my bookshelf.

Do you have a favorite holiday cookie recipe? Please share your recipes or links here!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This post contains affiliate links.

Love this post? Here are a few other baking tutorials that might help you in the kitchen!

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread easy gluten-free homemade pumpkin bread

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com gluten-free cake mix sugar cookies (great for freezing!)

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Bites mini cannoli bites (pair with the Annie film for a fun family night idea!)

3-ingredient-star-cakes 3-ingredient star cakes

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frosting chocolate chiffon cake with peppermint frosting

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Happy baking!

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How to Make Glow in the Dark JELL-O

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

This easy recipe for Glow-in-the-Dark Jell-O is perfect for kids to make for Halloween! Mix science and spookiness for an edible experiment any budding (mad) scientist will love!

 

Halloween is just around the corner and today we wanted to showcase a fun and easy craft you could do with your kids.

Today’s recipe offering is how to make glow in the dark JELL-O in jars for a spooktacular Halloween dessert.

Glow in the Dark JELL-O is a recipe that your kids can easily mix up and gives you a fun opportunity to talk a little bit about the science behind it in the process.

 

Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

 

How Does it Glow?

Did you know that tonic water can glow under a black light?

My kids were in awe of this bubbly drink and how it could glow under the black light.

The glowing comes from the fluorescence of the quinine in the tonic water.

Quinine also gives tonic water a distinctive bitter flavor which is why it is best mixed with other sweeter ingredients.

As you can see, the quinine glows blue-white when placed under a black light which makes it the perfect ingredient for a spooky JELL-O treat.

 

Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

 

Do All Colors of JELL-O Glow the Same?

Hypothesis…yes.

Answer…no!

All of the colors of JELL-O will definitely not glow the same.

We tested two colors (green and orange) and found brilliant results with the green JELL-O and dull results with the orange JELL-O.

Although our tutorial below shows the orange, we recommend the green variety for a truly great glow!

Here is the light we used to achieve our glow with great success (affiliate link).  

Other readers have stated that a black bulb does not achieve the glowing results so please keep that in mind when purchasing your bulb. 

 

Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

 

So It Glows…How Does it Taste?

As we mentioned before, the quinine in the tonic water makes the tonic water glow, but it also yields a bitter taste.

We tried to cut the bitterness by using half water and half tonic water.

I also topped each jar of JELL-O with whipped cream and sprinkles which would add another layer of sweetness.

Try adding more sugar to the concoction to help cut some of the bitterness.

The kids loved the glow, but said they were, “spicy,” which is what they say about all sodas and bubbly drinks.

If your kids have a sensitive palate like mine, they might not love them, but they still ate the whipped cream and loved doing the experiment.

I still call this experiment a win for creativity, cool science factoids, and fun.

 

Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

 

I had a great helper in the kitchen for this project.

Emily was excited to show you all just how easy it is to make this JELL-O and you can find the recipe below along with her picture tutorial on how to recreate this fun experiment in your kitchen.

You can totally steal the experiment, but I am keeping my sous chef for myself!

  Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

3.0 from 2 reviews
Glow in the Dark JELL-O
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Glow in the dark JELL-O is not only a fun science project, but a super fun Halloween treat. Pick up a black light at your local Halloween shop to show off it's glow!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup tonic water
  • 1 package of JELL-O
  • Whipped Cream and Sprinkles for topping (optional)
  • Additional Sugar (to help cut the bitterness)
  • Jars
  • Black Light
Instructions
  1. Bring one cup of water to a boil.
  2. Pour JELL-O packet into a large bowl.
  3. Have a grown-up help you add your boiling water.
  4. Stir for two minutes with a wire whisk.
  5. Have a grown-up pour one cup of tonic water into a measuring cup.
  6. Slowly whisk while adding the tonic water. The mixture will be very bubbly. Give it a couple of minutes to rest.
  7. Pour it into four clean jars.
  8. Place in the refrigerator for two to three hours to set.
  9. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles.
  10. Place under a black light and watch it glow. Happy Halloween! EDITORS NOTE: See notes above for taste and ideas for improving flavor.

 

 

Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

 

 

Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

Glow in the Dark Jello from MomAdvice.com

 

 

Love this idea for Halloween? Can I make a few other fun fall recommendations?

 

 

doughnut hole ghost cake (no baking necessary!!)

 

 

pumpkin chili (perfect for Halloween night)

 

 

diy blanket scarf (perfect for bundling up on Halloween night)

 

 

dollar store thumbtack pumpkins

 

 

diy minecraft costume ideas

 

 

DIY_Halloween_Costumes diy halloween costume ideas

 

 

autumn burlap wreath tutorial

 

 

candy apple martini recipe

 

 

caramel apple sangria recipe

 

 

painted pumpkins tutorial

 

This post contains affiliate links

 

 

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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 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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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 Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

 

This no-sew felt puzzle mat is the perfect foundation to build your puzzles on, allowing you to relocate your puzzle when you need to. Check out this fun DIY in honor of National Puzzle Day! 

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

What shows your love for someone more than something handmade by you?

Today I am sharing a tutorial for an easy no-sew DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat that I created for my family.

This mat makes it easy to relocate your puzzle projects when you need to use your table and it’s made with just a few inexpensive materials!

Are you addicted to jigsaw puzzles like us?

My kids are at a fun age right now where we are really enjoying playing board games and assembling puzzles together.

Right now we are tackling 1,000 piece puzzles which feels so ADULT. We haven’t had the courage to go beyond that size yet, but I’m sure we will get there.

Even after our kids have headed to bed, the hubby and I spend time together listening to podcasts or good music, while piecing together puzzles. I find it be quite therapeutic after sitting in front of a screen all day. It helps me decompress in the evening while giving my brain a break from my to-do lists.

To maximize our jigsaw puzzle collection, a couple friends and I trade puzzles after we finish them which has been great because we always have something to work on, while keeping it rather frugal in the process.

Trading puzzles has been a great way to keep our collection fresh and continue to keep our kids interested in putting these together with us.

My only gripe with puzzles is where to relocate them when we need to eat at the table.

We also happen to have a, “helper,” in our house who likes to flip puzzle pieces when her mother is ignoring her (we love you, Lulu the Cat!). I thought a mat might be a great way to discourage our helper and could be a quick way to clear the table for the dinner hour!

Let’s create this easy no-sew roll-up jigsaw puzzle mat!

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat Tutorial

 

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

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

1 yard of Waverly Inspirations Fabric  (check out the fresh new Valentine’s Day prints,  I picked a classic pink gingham!)

1 yard of felt fabric (any coordinating color)

1 package of Waverly Inspirations Ribbon (any coordinating color)

Cardboard tube (you can use a durable mailing tube, gift wrap roll, or even use plastic PVC pipe)

Razor blade (if cutting to size)

Hemming Tape or fabric glue

Scissors

Waverly Chalk Paint in a coordinating color  and paint brush (optional, but you can paint the cardboard roll to coordinate- I decided to leave mine in its natural state!)

PUZZLES!! (check out my suggestions below for a few of our faves!)


How to Make a DIY Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

1. Much like our reversible seat cushion project, we are going to begin by lining up the two fabrics with the right-side of the fabric facing INSIDE towards each other. That means the wrong sides will be facing out!

Trim your fabric and felt to the same size.

Remember, this mat can be ANY size that you want.

If you want it be the size of your kitchen table, for example, measure that first and use this as your guide for creating your mat. I created a generous mat for our large puzzles!

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

2. Once your fabric has been trimmed, use your fabric tape and line all the sides , making sure to leave an opening so that you can turn the mat out once you have sealed all the seams.

Using a very hot iron, carefully and slowly, begin ironing to seal the seam (you can see another example of what sealing this seam looks like over here!).

Typically doing this requires pinning, but I did find that the felt held the tape in place and made it an easy project to do without pinning.

Do this along all the sides (make sure you left that opening to turn it out!!) until the two pieces are fused together.

Carefully, turn the right sides out and then finish by sealing that last opening with fabric tape or a little fabric glue.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

3. Trim your cardboard tube to the length of your finished mat.

If you want to paint this, you can! I finished each end with a little tied ribbon that can be used to tie the entire mat up when we are storing it.

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

As you can see, you can roll up those puzzles (take your time and roll carefully!) when not in use.

Please keep in mind, it is not recommended for  long-term storage since it can damage your puzzle pieces, but it is recommended for a quick relocation so you can use your table when you need it.

I am so excited to break this in and I’m guessing it is going to be a smart item to take when we rent our summer cottages too!

Looking for a few great jigsaw puzzles? Here are a few of my favorites!

I had one of those puzzle

great classic books puzzle

story time puzzle

nancy drew puzzle

harry potter puzzle

nevertheless she persisted puzzle

harry potter puzzle

 

video games collection puzzle

old bookstore puzzle

color me puzzle

 

 

 

PS- Seriously, start a puzzle exchange with your friends. You won’t regret it!

Looking for ways to store those jigsaw puzzles? This strategy works so well at our house!

Happy crafting!!

diy-jigsaw-puzzle-mat-9

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

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

Kid Craft: Easy Technique for Painting Gift Wrap

DIY Phone Charging Station

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

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