Thursday, January 31, 2013

Friendship Bracelets - the perfect Valentine!

My daughter and her besties all love bracelets and what is better than matching friendship bracelets with your best girl pals.   This project is simple and fun and recycles old t-shirts. 



Basically I took the idea from the 5 strand braided t-shirt headband and went mini with it.  The result was super cute friendship bracelets for everyone!  The t-shirt material makes them just stretchy enough to fit over their hands but not so loose that they are falling off or getting in the way.





Materials:

  • Old T-shirts, the bigger the better.
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Glue/Glue Gun
  • Coloured felt hearts

Directions:

  1. Grab your old t-shirts.
  2. Cut  5 x 1" strips. Make the strips as long as you can because it is easier to cut them into smaller pieces later to make more bracelets.
  3. After you have cut the strips, hold each end of the strip and pull in opposite directions to stretch the strip.  The strip will curl into itself. 
  4. To measure the length needed for each bracelet, measure your child's wrist and cut the strips about 2 times the circumference of their wrist.
  5. Sew 5 strips together at one end.
  6. Begin braiding following the instructions found here
  7. Sew the end of your braid together.
  8. Sew the two ends of the the braid together to form the bracelet.  Trim ends if necessary.
  9. Use a small piece of the t-shirt material and wrap it around the bracelet where you sewed it together to cover the seam. Use a glue gun or fabric glue to keep it in place. 
  10. If you like, cut some hearts out of felt and attach them with the glue.
  
I also made these cute little tags to attach to the bracelets.  My daughter loved the saying, "I wear your friendship proudly!  Happy Valentine's Day!"

To print out your own tags at home, just click on the picture below. 


Don't have time to figure out the 5 strand braid?  Not to worry, take them old school and braid your friendship bracelets with 3 strands.  No one else will know.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Homemade Valentine Ideas

It is just over 2 weeks to go before Valentine's Day.  Instead of heading out to the store for pre-made Valentines, why not have the kids try their hands at one of the ideas below.  Homemade Valentines - the perfect way to show how much you care and a great way to spend a few creative hours this weekend.

I love that the first 3 ideas use basically the same materials but are each unique.  You could do a different one with each kid and not break the bank purchasing materials.  Also, the skill level needed for each of the three is slightly different therefore making them perfect for kids of different ages.

For full instructions, click on the links below the images.

Butterfly Pops:




Tools Needed:
  • coloured cardstock
  • scissors
  • markers
  • lollipops
  • googly eyes
  • stickers (optional)

 


Daisy Valentine:



Tools Needed:

  • pink/red cardstock
  • green cardstock
  • scissors
  • lollipops


Superhero Valentine:


Tools Needed:

  • Printed templates (from Zakka Life)
  • Scissors
  • Lollipops
  • Tape


Valentine Bookmarks: (doing this with my son)



Tools Needed:

  • paint chips
  • ribbon
  • heart punch (I bought mine at the dollar store)


Ladybug Valentine:



 


Tools Needed:

  • white cardstock
  • red cardstock
  • black tissue paper
  • metal paper fasteners (brads)
  • scissors
  • markers
  • lollipops
  • googly eyes
  • stickers (optional)

 

Valentine Friendship Bracelets: (did this with my daughter last year)




Tools Needed:

  • cardstock
  • scissors
  • embroidery floss

Valentine Hand-off Card:


I love these.  I will definitely try these next year or maybe as part of a loot bag or invitation.  So cute.




Tools Needed:



  • Photo cards
  • lollipops
  • exacto knife
  • tape
The instructions for this one don't link so I will give a brief step by step. 
 
  1. Take a photo of your child with their arm outstretched. 
  2. When printing at the store or at home, overlay the photo with your Valentine message.
  3. Use an exacto knife to create a slit right above and below the child's hand.
  4. Slip in the lollipop and secure with tape on the back.
I hope I've inspired some Valentine's creativity for you and your family to try this weekend.  Still looking for more inspiration?  Check out this post for another Bee-utiful Valentine card.  For even more ideas, check out my 'Valentine'
board on Pinterest. 


 

 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pin the puck on the ice! - It's a Hockey Night in Canada Party!

Here's a new take on an old game.  Your hockey loving kids will have fun trying to score a goal in this party game. 

Pin the Puck on the Ice

Best for: Ages 1 to 3 




You’ll Need:
  • A piece of white construction paper
  • Red, blue and black markers
  • Black construction paper or construction paper
  • NHL team logos (stickers or printouts)
  • glue
  • tape - regular or double sided
  • blindfold

 

Instructions for making the game:

  1. Draw a large hockey rink on the white construction paper.
  2. Add a NHL symbol somewhere on the ice rink.  This is your target.
  3. Cut out a circle (puck) for each child invited to the party.
  4. Glue/stick a different NHL logo on each puck.
  5. Add a piece of tape on the back of each puck so that a child can stick it to the game board by pressing it on with their hand.
  6. Hang the ice rink on a wall at an appropriate height for the children coming to the party.

 
 
Instructions for playing the game:
  1. Provide each child with a hockey puck.
  2. Have them line up a few feet away from the hockey rink.
  3. Blindfold the first child and spin them around a few times then guide the child towards the rink.
  4. The child should stick their puck on the ice rink, trying to get closest to the NHL symbol you placed on the ice.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all the children have had a turn.
  6. The puck closest to the NHL symbol is the winner. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrating Celebrity Offspring - Beyonce vs. Shakira

Okay, okay, I know women tend to judge each other way too much and I should mind my own business.  I also realise that my blog doesn't ever centre around celebrities and their lifestyles but this contrast was just way too much for me.  I'm talking about the way two HUGE celebrity couples decided to commemorate their children's births.

On one side of the ring we have Beyonce, Jay-Z and their daughter Blue Ivy.  It was reported that Beyonce and Jay-Z spent over $200,000 on their daughter's first birthday party.  I know that to the uber rich a $200,000 birthday party is probably the equivalent of renting out a play gym at $200 for the majority of us but it still seems so outlandish. 

Image:  Associated Press


Reports in The Sun, a UK newspaper, stated that Beyonce and Jay-Z spent spent $80,000 on a diamond-encrusted Barbie.  Can a child even play with a diamond-encrusted Barbie?!?  Sounds like a choking hazard to me!

On the other side of the ring we have Shakira and Gerard Piqué's World Baby Shower to help save children's lives. 


Image: Associated Press


I loved this quote from Shakira and Gerard.

"Every expectant parent around the world shares all the same hopes and dreams for their children that we do. Yet many don’t share the same opportunities. Together we know that we can change that."

Realising that there is absolutely NOTHING that they can't provide for their own child, she being a music megastar and he being a soccer superstar, but knowing that people would still want to buy presents, they instead opted for a world baby shower hosted by UNICEF.  Wanting to highlight how children around the world still suffer from preventable illnesses they asked people to reach into their pocketbooks to buy immunizations, therapeutic foods and rehydration salts.

I know that everyone gets excited about their new baby and their baby's first birthday but I just think that Beyonce and Jay-Z got this one wrong.  They can learn a lot from Shakira and Gerard.  It isn't how much you spend (there's the "on a dime" part of me), it is how you spend it and I personally feel a $10 vaccination goes a lot further than at $80,000 diamond encrusted Barbie.



Shakira and Gerard welcomed their healthy baby boy Milan into their family this week.  I wish them all the best!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Make your own hockey cards - It's A Hockey Night in Canada Party!

With hockey season in full swing it is time to get creative with the kids.  How about a hockey themed party full of hockey themed activities.  These hockey cards are sure to be a HUGE hit.  Kids will love to have their own card and a set of trading cards featuring their best friends!

Hockey Cards

Best for: All ages 



 
Every hockey player needs their own hockey card to trade with friends. With a digital camera, a printer and the template below, you can create cards for the whole team.
 
The bulk of this activity is something you will need to work on while the kids are busy doing something else (perhaps a game of mini-sticks with dad). It is important to take the photos at the beginning of the party. Perhaps have a ‘photo booth’ set up when each child arrives so you can snap their photo right away. 

You’ll Need:
  •  Hockey Gear (jersey & stick, and any other gear you want to include)
  • Digital camera
  • Printer
  • Photo paper or regular paper
  • Cardstock or bristol board
  • Scissors
  • Glue



 
Instructions:
  1. Have each child come in a hockey jersey or have them take turns putting on one you provide.
  2. Take a photo of each child posing in the jersey with a hockey stick in front of a plain background. Be sure to take the photo vertically! 
  3. Ask each child a few quick interview questions that you can put on the back of each card; example: Name, Age, Favourite Team, Favourite Number, Favourite Player, Favourite Food
  4. When all the photos are taken, upload them to your computer and print them each at the 3 ½ x 5 inch size for a standard hockey card size or 4 x 6 inch for photo paper size. 
  5. Glue the photo onto bristol board to give the cards a bit more strength. Cut each card out.
  6. Type or write out the interview answers for each child on the back of their photos. 
 
Tips and Tricks:
  • If you are making multiple cards so that each child goes home with a whole team set, type the answers to the interview questions out and print one for each card. 
  • If you are only making 1 of each card to give to the child, have them write their answers on the back.
  • If you are making team sets and want to save time and ink, choose the 'wallet' sized option when printing and you will get two mini-cards on each piece of 4 x 6 photo paper.
 

Hockey Bingo Activity - It's A Hockey Night in Canada Party!

Bingo is a game that is easy enough to play with kids of all ages but fun for all.  With these hockey themed bingo cards it is sure to be a hit.  The pictures make it simple for the little ones.  Print off a set and have fun!

 

Hockey Bingo:


Best for: Ages 3 to 5



You'll Need:
  • Hockey Bingo sheets – download available here
  • Pennies or place markers.

 

Preparation for the game:
  1. Print off enough Bingo sheets for the number of guests at the party.
  2. Cut out the Hockey Draw Cards and place them in a container or bag.



Instructions for the game:

  1. Provide each child with a Hockey Bingo sheet.
  2. Place a pile of place markers in front of each child.
  3. Begin picking one Hockey Draw Card from the container and announcing it to the group.
  4. Players will place a marker on their Hockey Bingo sheet if they have that item in the correct column.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until one player has 6 pictures covered in a row going vertically, horizontally or diagonally and calls out Bingo.

Tips & Tricks:
  • Because there are 5 different Hockey Bingo sheets and you may need to print multiples, you will end up with more than one child winning each game.

PS  - Next time my son helps me out I'll make sure he's wearing socks without holes in the toes! 

Penny Hockey Activity - It's a Hockey Night in Canada Party!

My kids love this game and it is an old favourite we pull out at a restaurant while we're waiting for our food.  All you need is a penny and two players.  For this version we made a real net but at a restaurant you can set up two cups or just use fingers as the net. 

 

Penny Hockey

Best for: Ages 1 to 3



You’ll need:
  • table
  • pennies
  • one straw cut in half for pair of children
  • a piece of string that is 2 x the length of the straw for each pair of children
  • Tape (hockey tape is great for this!)


Instructions for making the nets:
  1. Tape one end of the string to the outside of the first straw.
  2. Thread the other end of the string through the straw. 
  3. Now thread the string through the second straw.
  4. Tape the end of the string to the outside of the second straw.
  5. The net will be flimsy but when the child holds both ends of the straw up and pulls the string taught it creates a perfect net!

 
Instructions for the game:
  1. Pair up the party goers.
  2. One child will hold the net up at the edge of a table. 
  3. The second child has 10 chances to slide a penny across the table to try and score on the net.
  4. Have the children switch roles so that the second child now gets a chance to try and score on the net.


Tips & Tricks:
  • Teams of children can play at the same time so that no child has to be idle.
  • If you want to make it more of a treat, you can use smarties instead of pennies and the kids can munch their goals as they score them.
 

Closest to the Wall Activity - It's a Hockey Night in Canada Party

We’re going old school. This game will take some of the parents back to their schoolyard days when ‘Closest to the Wall’ was a recess ritual and the winner was king of the playground until the next game began.

Closest to the Wall

Best for: Ages 5 to 8

 

 

You’ll Need:

  • 15 – 20 hockey cards per child
  • A wall

Instructions:

  1. Hand out the cards to each child.
  2. Pair up the children and have them sit about 8-10 feet away from the wall.
  3. Each child takes a turn flicking a card towards the wall.
  4. The card that is closest to the wall ‘scores’ and that child takes both cards.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until one child has all the cards in their pile.
  6. You can play this like a round robin so that you don’t have a lot of kids sitting and waiting around. Have groups of pairs play each other. The winners of the first round play each other in the second round, etc. Continue until you have one winner.


Tips and tricks:
  • To make the game less about one child winning you can have each child choose a team that they are representing. That way it is The Leafs vs. The Red Wings instead of Billy vs. Johnny.
  • If the distance to flick the cards seems too easy, move the kids back a bit. If the distance to flick the cards is too hard, move them a bit closer to the wall.
  • At the end re-distribute the cards to the children so they all go home with the same number. These can be included in a loot bag.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pinned It, Made It, Loved It - Braided T-shirt headbands

Welcome to the first installment of Pinned It, Made It, Loved It!  I am starting a new series that focuses on some of the great projects out there on the web.  There are so many talented and creative people that I find myself pinning projects all the time.  Now it is time to make some of those projects!

One of my goals for New Years was to dust off my sewing machine and get cracking.  My daughter was invited to a birthday party and wanted to give a "sporty" headband along with some earrings.  I found this project at Make It, Love It and decided to give it a try.



The first stop was at the local thrift store to pick up some t-shirts.  I looked in the ladies' section but they were priced $5.99 and over.  I went to the men's section and they were only $1.99.  Go figure.  I found some colours that I liked, picked the biggest sizes possible to give me more fabric to work with and tried to avoid t-shirts with big logos (they take up valuable fabric real estate).  I brought them home, washed them and got cutting.



Make It, Love It states that you need to cut 5 strips about 2 x the circumference of your head (or the head of the person you're making it for).  For the thick headbands they suggest cutting each strip to be 2" wide and for thin headbands to make the strips 0.75" wide.  I made my thin ones 1" because it was easier to measure. 



I was able to cut 5 - 2" strands and 5 - 1" strands from one t-shirt.  That meant that I could make a thick headband and a thin headband from each t-shirt.  I used my rotary cutter because I have one and find it easier but regular scissors will do the trick. 



The instructions on Make It Love It are really clear because Ashley included so many photos.  As long as you take your time and adjust your tension as you go along, the process is simple.  I found attaching my strands to a clip board made it MUCH easier.



One of my t-shirts had a bigger logo across the middle so I tried making a headband including it to see what happened.  I also tried mixing colours; 2 strands of one colour, 3 strands of the other.

The results were great.  The only thing I didn't really love was the piece that covers the seam. I felt it looked a little messy.



 Maybe a bit more practice would solve that but I decided on embellishment instead.  I had some felt shapes in my sewing box so I attached the non-self stick ones using my hot glue gun and the self stick ones I just peeled the backs off and stuck on.

 
I love how they turned out and my daughter was over the moon. 
 
 
One things I love about these headbands is that they are washable (we'll see how my embellishments hold up) because they are made of t-shirt fabric.  That means they're perfect for exercising, sports, gym class, etc.  Just throw them in the wash with everything else.  A fun and inexpensive project!  Thanks Make It, Love It!
 
 

Friday, January 18, 2013

My "Pilgrimage" into Menu Planning

It is my turn to host my book club again.  We take turns every month so 9 months out of 10 you're the guest, 1 month out of 10 you are the host and responsible for the whole shebang.  I love it this way.

I always use book club as an excuse to try out new recipes.  Some of the ladies are amazing and really go for a theme that relates to the novel that month but as my book is the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce I decided to go a different route.  (Doing this book with your book club? - Great article by the author found here!)



I didn't really feel that inspired from a novel where the protagonist searches for food and eats wild fungi, berries and the occasional bag of chips.  Instead I've decided to try recipes I've pinned. 


Strawberry Balsamic Bruschetta with Goat Cheese:


Recipe found here: Annie's Eats

Chickpea, Mint & Pomegranate Salad:


Recipe found here: Creative Mama on a Dime

Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls with Mustard-Soy Sauce:


Recipe found here:  William Sonoma
 

Cheese Plate:


Make the perfect cheese plate found here: A Cup of Jo
 

Charcuterie:

 

Charcuterie found here: Run Emma Run

 

Beet, Cheddar, and Apple Tarts:


Recipe found at: Martha Stewart

Terribly Terrific Toffee:

Recipe found at: A Southern Grace

Coconut Lemon Bars:


Recipe found at: Food Recipes
I had planned to try making these lemon bars but with a friend who can't eat gluten, I switched at the last minute. They are still on my "want to try" list.  I added in some fresh berries to round off the foods. 

I always make sure I have lots of wine and citrus infused water on hand.  It was a great menu!


Still feeling hungry?  Here's last year's menu....
 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chickpea, Mint & Pomegranate Salad {Recipe}

I love this recipe.  I tend to make it and keep it on hand at this time of year because pomegranates are in season, it is delicious, simple, and filling. 



Ingredients:
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • pomegranate seeds (I often use half a pomegranate but it depends on the size)
  • 1/2 - small red onion, diced
  • mint leaves, torn
  • olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper



Method:

  1. Place chickpeas in a bowl.
  2. Add in pomegranate seeds, onion and mint.
  3. Drizzle olive oil to coat.
  4. Squeeze 1/2 lemon.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Refrigerate and allow to sit for a few hours before serving.
I'll use it as a side dish, eat it on its own or sometimes bulk it up with a bit of spinach for a heartier lunch.


Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bee Mine! - Highlight your friendship {free printable}

Valentine's Day is a mere month away.  Time to start thinking about those you love and getting crafty.  My kids love markers, highlighters, etc. so when I saw these mini-highlighters at the dollar store I knew what I had to do...Bumble Bee Valentines.


 
 
I first designed the card to have a space for the highlighter to sit.   I've turned it into a PDF that you can download here and print at home.  To make them a bit more personal I left a space for my daughter to print her own name rather than typing it. 


Download FREE printable here

I printed mine on cardstock but if you don't have cardstock, plain white paper will do. To give it a little more strength and stability you may want to glue it onto a slightly larger black or yellow piece of construction paper. 

Materials Needed:

  • Cardstock or white paper
  • Printer
  • Ribbon or tape
  • Highlighters (or small markers, pencils, or candy)

I cut two vertical slits in the paper to thread ribbon through that holds the highlighter in place.  It also adds a little pizazz to have the bow hugging your highlighter.  That being said, you could just as easily tape the highlighter onto the card.  Black electrical tape, duct tape or hockey tape would give it even more of a buzzy bee effect.



If you can't find these mini highlighters you can easily substitute a pencil, mini-marker or even a small candy such as rockets or a Werther for a slightly fatter bumble bee.

We had a great time making these together and my daughter can't wait to take them to school for all her friends!


 

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