Archive for the ‘Kids Crafts’ Category

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!)

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

This post was sponsored by MARS, Inc and American Greetings. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to show someone how much you love them. Often my default for Valentine’s giving is for my family, but this holiday I’m challenging you to think outside of the box and consider someone else special in your life.

How about a little love, for example, for one of your incredible teachers?

I can’t imagine how challenging their job is to come and be the encourager, discipliner, educator, and hero to our children. Day in and day out, they are a positive force in helping our kids succeed and I am so grateful for the molding and shaping they do. What a gift that they share their time and talent each and every day.

I wanted to create a fun DIY Teacher Survival Kit filled with fun supplies with things that would be useful throughout their day, as well as some fun treats to indulge in for a much deserved break. I am sure it goes without saying, but our teachers often use their own funds to keep their classrooms stocked so I love to periodically send along little gifts. This teacher survival kit is not only meant to offer a small indulgence for their hard work, but it also provides little things like note pads, antibacterial wipes, bandages, and other useful items that they might need at their desk.

How to Make a DIY Teacher Survival Kit

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all found at Walmart- check here to find your closest store!)

1 clear plastic container with lid (the dimensions on my container are 15″L x 11 1/2″W x 3 1/4″ H)

Dove® Milk Chocolate Heart Tin

Antibacterial Wipes Drink Mixes (lemonade, coffee, cocoa, etc..)

Small First-Aid Kit

Lip Balms

Small Candle Mouthwash

Lint Roller

Stain Stick or Pen

Pain Reliever

Immunity Boosters

Notepads and Sticky Notes

Check out the American Greetings Valentines Day card selection at your local Walmart, to find Valentine’s Days cards for anyone and everyone special in your life!

(scroll down for your FREE printable label!)

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

 

 

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

Directions for DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift

1. Go to your local Walmart and visit the storage container section of the store first to select a container for your project. Having this first will help guide you as you make your selections to fit in your kit. Fill the container as you go with all of your purchases to make this Valentine’s gift special for your favorite teacher with the supplies list I have provided.

2. Assemble your container with your purchases, placing the Dove® Milk Chocolate Heart Tin in first to build your supplies around it.

3. Print our Teacher Supplies Kit label out for the top (link below). You will need to do just a tiny bit of trimming around it to trim off a little of the negative space on this one. Remove the sticker from the backing and secure it to your container.

4. Finish this project with a heartfelt message for your teacher to let them know how special they are.

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

I can’t think of a teacher that wouldn’t appreciate a gift like this. I am thankful every single day for the teachers that are shaping my kid’s minds. As I see them blossom into such kind and thoughtful people, I know I can attribute it to their excellent influence.

Consider this Valentine’s Day the perfect opportunity to thank a teacher in your life!

Download Your Teacher Survival Kit Label (click the link below!)

Free Teacher Survival Kit Label

This post was created in partnership with MARS, Inc and American Greetings. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

 

 

 

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DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat from MomAdvice.com

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 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!!

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!

If you need me today, you’ll find me working on this fun new-to-me puzzle!

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

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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Kid Crafts: Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

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

You may recall that last year I decided to buy a lifetime of kraft paper for wrapping our holiday gifts. It should come as no surprise that we are still using this giant roll of gift wrap in our house. I have found it is a useful item to have on hand, for all of life’s occasions,  and there is so much that you can do with kraft paper to make your gifts unique.

I also consider pretty gifts to be part of the decorating so it thrills me to come up with new ways to use the same paper each year. I love these gorgeous detail under the tree.

As a crafter, I really never got into acrylic paints until this year. It has been so much fun trying new crafts with these fun paints. I love discovering something that I have walked by for years in the craft aisle and finding my own uses for them!

Today  I wanted to come up with some creative ideas to get kids on the action of decorating the paper as a fun winter craft. I love screen-free activities with them so I thought this would be a fun one that you could have them create, even after the holiday season.

There are so many beautiful hues that you could mix and match any hue that you like. I have a big crush on a metallic Rose this year so I am demonstrating this craft with Waverly Inspirations Metallic & Glitter paint offerings in Rose Quartz (in the Metallic) and Rose Gold (in the Glitter paints!) for a pretty modern look.

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

 

3 Fun Painting Projects for Kids to DIY Your Gift Wrap

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

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

kraft paper

Rubber Stamps

Small Ornaments (just the inexpensive ones that come in a tube!)

Waverly Inspirations Ribbon

Waverly Glitter & Metallic Paints (in stores)

Paint Brush

Plastic Cups, Bowls, or a Plate for Paints

Directions for Fun Painting Techniques

Make sure to cut off a section that will be generous enough to cover at least one gift.

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

Stamp Your Paper

Pour a small amount of your paint into a disposable cup, plate, or bowl. Using your paintbrush, brush the paint on in an even layer and then place stamp down and pull directly up to try to get as clean of a design as possible. Repeat across the paper or combine this with other designs for more variety. You want to use the Waverly Inspirations Metallic Paints with this technique because the glitter paint doesn’t create that clean image like the metallic paint.

If you don’t have rubber stamps in your craft supplies, you can use odds and ends around your home for stamping. Shapes can be cut into the ends of potatoes, you can cut up sponges into shapes, the eraser end of  a pencil can make adorable polka dots, the edge of a disposable cup can create rings, or a cork could create a dotted technique. This is a great opportunity for your child to explore painting in fun ways.

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

Create Glittered Swirls

If your child lacks the eye-hand coordination for stamping, give them a paintbrush and let them add swirls to the paper.  Paint strokes are layered in glitter thanks this fun glitter paint. I found with this one, it was best to have a fully loaded brush to bring out both the color and the glitter. Repeat your swirls throughout the paper or have your child come up with their own abstract design.

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

Add Painted Embellishments

Acrylic paints are so fun and make many inexpensive items look high end with modern color choices. Inexpensive ornaments can be painted in coordinating colors and tied on with string to your package. While the rubber stamps are out, stamp up your own diy gift cards on white cardstock and trim with ric-rac scissors or put your own creative spin on the tags. Finish your gift with a beautiful bow.

Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com
Easy Techniques for Painting Gift Wrap from MomAdvice.com

how-to-decorate-gift-wrap-with-acrylic-paints-4864

I hope your kiddos enjoy this boredom buster! I am the queen of craft stockpiling so I have tons of paints, ornaments, and gift wrap (BOY, DO I HAVE GIFT WRAP!) to keep the kids busy on our next snow day.

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

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

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Free Printable Advent Calendar

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Free Printable Advent Calendar 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. It’s an 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.

Free Printable Advent Calendar 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.

To create your calendar, you need:

Paper (we chose craft paper for the outside, but you can do all white, too)

Scissors

Tape

Glue stick

A straight edge or ruler

Our printable calendar

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

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, ben 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.

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

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 overall calendar.

Free Printable Advent Calendar 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

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

Grab Your Free Advent Calendar Printables!

Click Here for Advent Numbers Printable

Click Here for Trivia Sheet Printable

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

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

I love adding a few homemade touches to our home each year for the holidays and especially those items that can be repurposed in a variety of ways.  For example, one year for Valentine’s Day I made a festive tree from cupcake liners and it got lots of love during that season. Perhaps, a bit TOO MUCH love (ahem!) as they began to wilt and wrinkle.  The beauty in that project though,  and in today’s project,  is that the materials were pinned to the same styrofoam base which allows you the opportunity to reuse this same tree year after year in brand new ways.

I wanted to create some festive holiday fabric trees to fill an empty space in one of our corners so I created this easy 15-minute fabric tree that is so simple that you could have your kids even do it for a holiday craft.  I just know you are going to love these fabric trees as much as I do and I’m really loving the finishing touches on this one with a fabric pom-pom and a touch of shimmer on the edges.

How to Make a Scrappy Fabric Tree

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

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

2 kinds of Waverly Inspirations Fabric in coordinating fabrics (I used the 100% cotton duck fabric available at the store)- this craft does not require a lot of fabric so even 1/4 yard should be plenty!

Small or Large Clover Pom Pom Maker (I used the large option for my trees)

Styrofoam Cones (any size!)

Straight Pins

Waverly Glitter Paint (in stores)

Paint Brush

Directions for Scrappy Fabric Trees

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

1. Begin by cutting into the long-side of your fabric by an inch or an inch and half. Once you have your cut, begin pulling the fabric with your own bare hands (ROAR!!! TAKE OUT THOSE HOLIDAY FRUSTRATIONS HERE AND IMPRESS YOUR KIDS WITH YOUR HULK STRENGTH!) and ripping it all the way down until this strip of fabric is completely separated from the fabric. If you have any loose strings (and you will!) pull them off the strip before beginning the next step.

2. Take this strip and pin it along the bottom edge of the cone to cover the styrofoam core.

3. With the remainder of your fabric strip, begin cutting notches into it, as evenly as possible, as I have shown above in the picture. Do this down the entire length of your fabric.

4. Starting at the very bottom, and layering over that first layer we laid, begin wrapping the tree, cutting once it has met the other side, and pinning into place.

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

4. Continue doing this layering over each layer to cover those pins and also staggering the pieces so that each layer has a little leaf peeking through. Do this until you get to almost the top of the tree. You may need to cut and repeat this process again if you have run out of material to work with. REPEAT HULK MOVES.

5. Once you get close to the top of tree, rip another strip of fabric and use that to cover the top of the tree as I have shown you in the picture. You want to criss-cross the material so that you don’t have any of that styrofoam cone showing. Now wrap more of your layers over that to disguise the pins and to continue the ruffling on the tree.

6. In your other fabric, tear a 1/2″ strip just as you did with the tree, but this time we are going to be making a pom-pom out of it. If you have not used the Clover Pom-Pom Maker before you are going to love it. It’s very easy to use and I have a great step-by-step tutorial if you are new to pom-pom making. When making this, take care to not wrap numerous times or get the material so thick that you are unable to cut it. Just a nice even layer down each side should work. Cut the pom pom out and then use another fabric strip to tie it tight to secure.

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

7. Pin your pom-pm to the top and check to see if you need one more layer underneath to complete the tree. I liked adding just one more ruffle to finish.

8. Using your Waverly glitter paint and a tiny paintbrush, dip the paintbrush in the glitter paint and paint just the edges of the torn fabric on the pom-pom and on the tree to add a finishing shimmer.

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

Why make one when you can make three?

I’m in love!

The best part is that you can switch these materials out with the seasons and make this same object look different from season to season. Who knows? You just might see these out again around Valentine’s Day with a brand new look on the site!

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

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

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DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from MomAdvice.com

 

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

One of my favorite gifts I have ever received was a rice pillow that was handmade by my mother-in-law. Rice is such a surprisingly incredible conductor of heat and I loved that this gift could be reheated in the microwave to be used over and over again for warmth and comfort for all of life’s aches and pains. For today’s craft project, I wanted to create mini rice warmers perfect for keeping in your pocket for chilly days. Per usual, this project is completely no-sew (mic drop!) so you don’t even need to have a sewing machine to make these DIY hand warmers.

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I wanted to create an easy hostess gift that would be perfect for sharing to thank someone for their hospitality. Not only do these diy no-sew hand warmers make a perfect gift, they also add beauty to your home when displayed in a pretty bowl!

How to Make DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

Rice can be a little pokey if it is sandwiched between thin fabric so these no-sew hand warmers are being made with a heavier home decorator fabric from the Waverly Inspirations line. Using this saves time cutting because these little hand warmers don’t need an interior lining. Thanks to this thick fabric, it also makes it far easier to pull together with our hemming tape.

diy-no-sew-pocket-warmers

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

Waverly Inspirations Fabric (I used the 100% cotton duck fabric available at the store)- each hand warmer needs two 5×5″ pieces

Hemming Tape and (optional) fabric glue

Cardstock for Template

Iron & Ironing Board

Rice

Funnel

Measuring Cup

Fabric Rotary Cutter (or you can use scissors)

Rotary Mat

Pinking Shears

Waverly Inspirations Ribbon

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Directions for No-Sew Hand Warmers

1. Using cardboard or heavy-duty card stock, cut a 5×5″ template for cutting your fabric squares. Using this as your guide, begin cutting two squares for each each hand warmer. You will need four squares for each set. Don’t be afraid to mix and match fabrics, using different fabrics for each side.

2. With the print side facing OUT, line the almost the entire square with the hemming tape, leaving a small opening for your funnel to pour your rice in. Place the second fabric square on top (again, print side facing OUT), and iron the square on both sides, until the pocket has sealed.

3. Using a funnel, funnel in a 1/2 cup of rice into the pocket. Once all the rice has been added, take a small piece of hemming tape and put it in the hole that has been left open or you can finish with a dab of fabric glue to seal. Carefully iron it shut and then shake the pocket over a bowl to make sure all sides have been sealed.

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

4. Finish by trimming the hand warmer with pinking shears to give it a finished edge. If giving as a gift, tie these with pretty ribbon for packaging.

5. To use these hand warmers, simply heat these for 30 seconds in your microwave. Tuck these in your pockets to help warm those hands in the colder months.

 

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from MomAdvice.com

This craft takes about fifteen minutes which is just about how much time I have to craft these days! We love these so much and they also happen to be fantastic for my kids as they head down to the bus stop. I love that they can be used over and over again and that these attractive fabric choices make such a pretty display in our home!  I have them nestled next to my new tea organizer for a little warming station from the cold- how cute is that?

I also thought these would be such a great addition for carrying around in my no-sew hidden pocket scarf. If you haven’t caught that tutorial yet, it is probably my proudest craft moment this year!

Happy crafting, friends!

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers from MomAdvice.com

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

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

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3 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Our Kids

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

3 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Our Kids from MomAdvice.com

We’ve been practicing a lot of basic math facts at our house this month. My older daughter has lost that loving feeling for math (a subject she’s run hot and cold on throughout elementary school), despite my repeated declarations that math is everywhere! and yes, she really WILL use this in real life! And somehow, between second and third grade, she’s apparently forgotten all the subtraction facts she memorized last year.

So it’s been pop quizzes over dinner, practice tests after karate, and flashcards in the car for us. Because I’ve read what feels like a million articles about the importance of emphasizing STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) with our kids — and especially our girls. It’s why I’ve enrolled my daughter in science and robotics classes the past few summers and why we have engineering blocks and doll sets stacked up in her room.

But it’s also why we play dress-up and pretend at our house (and why she also goes to theater camp every summer). I’m no researcher or education professional, but as far as I can tell, having the ability to think creatively is just as important to school (and life) success as memorizing facts.

As I watched my daughter try to figure out another math problem on the worksheet her teacher sent home one night, I realized she was so frustrated and confused that she wasn’t even using common sense. In a bit of a fit, I grabbed her most recent timed test and flipped it over. I drew a tic tac toe board, a carton of eggs, and a hand. “That’s nine!” I exclaimed. “And twelve! And FIVE! You KNOW five!”

My daughter had gotten so worked up, her brain had frozen. She had stopped using common sense or thinking creatively — two things that are crucial for solving any problem! (And, to be fair, I had neglected to help her with math up to this point because she is being taught in a totally different way than I was taught three decades ago. Whether or not I like this “new math,” I respect her teacher and was afraid of confusing my daughter even more with my lack of understanding of the strategies she’s being taught.)

Since that homework session, I’ve bought flash cards and begun reviewing math facts with my daughter on a regular basis. I’ve taken time to read the worksheets she brings home, in an effort to understand the way her teacher approaches math. But I’ve also looked for opportunities to encourage problem solving, to think outside the box, to help my daughter use common sense to figure out something new. It’s reminded me of the importance of creativity and the things we can do to encourage it in our kids.

As I said before, I am no expert. I have not conducted research. I’m merely a mom who’s connected a few dots for what her two kids need as they learn and grow. Perhaps creative thinking isn’t the missing piece for your kids. But if it is, here are a few easy, fun ways you can encourage it:

3 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Our Kids from MomAdvice.com

3 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Our Kids

Play dress-up. I’m a girl mom, so you will probably not be surprised to learn that we have princess dresses and a Minnie Mouse costume in our house. But we also have costumes that turn my girls into firefighters, chefs, doctors and veterinarians. Not to mention the animal hats and clown noses floating around in the toy box. And, really, anything laying around can be used for dressing up.

My girls’ current obsession is running around the house, rescuing each other, while wearing capes. Or putting on Dad’s hat or Mom’s shoes and pretending to be a grown-up.

When I first began encouraging my oldest daughter to play dress-up, it was solely a girl power, “you can be anything you want to be” thing. But eventually I realized the additional value of this playtime activity. Simply by asking a few pointed questions, I can set my girls on a journey of learning and perspective-shifting.

“What would a doctor want for snack?”
“How would a princess pick up her toys?”
“Do you think a firefighter would like to wear these shoes or those shoes?”

Thinking outside the box, developing empathy for others, learning about different types of people (not just different careers, although that’s a place to start): all of these can be outcomes of a simple costume party.

Play pretend. Last night, my two-year-old left the dinner table (we were mostly finished and just talking for a minute). She walked over to her play kitchen and then came back, saying, “I need the pink screwdriver.” I stared blankly at her for a moment before realizing what we were doing. I mimed handing her a tool and said, “Here you go!” She thanked me and ran back to her toys.

She has a giant basket of toy food and toy dishes in that kitchen, but she wanted to play mechanic. She actually has a play toolkit in our basement, but she’d rather use make-believe tools for her projects.

And so, just like the days when her sister would lay under our dining room table and pretend to “work on the car,” I play along. When she hands me a plate of that play food and tells me it’s hot, I put it up to my mouth and act like I burned my tongue. I take tiny sips and big gulps of the “tea” she serves me, and I make up scary spiders I need to be saved from so “Super Adrienne” has a reason to run to my rescue.

I sometimes think about that scene in Hook, the Robin Williams movie about a grown-up Peter Pan, when Peter and the Lost Boys get into a pretend food fight. No, I don’t think that pretending her imaginary pink screwdriver is real will make it appear in my daughter’s hands. But I do think that when we pretend we expand our minds and our world so that more is possible than would ever be in real life.

That’s fun — and it also helps us think creatively later when we’re trying to solve problems that seem impossible.

Don’t forget to say, “Yes, and…” Using the most basic rule of improv, whenever I can I try to say, “Yes, and…” when my girls play dress-up or pretend. By extending the pretend game or story, I encourage their imaginations to run wild and their brains to keep growing. [You can read more about this strategy here.]

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not always game for imaginary friends or pretend games. For the past several days my oldest daughter has been carrying on a game of “balloon ball,” a highly competitive [made-up] sport of which she is, reportedly, the world champion. I love seeing her creativity and confidence, but OH MY WORD am I ever tired of listening to her drone on with the play-by-play of this pretend game!

So, even though I love pretend and dress-up and all things imaginary, I have my limits, too. So I say yes when I can, and then I pull out the flashcards or a basket of books when I can’t stand it anymore.

How do you encourage creativity in your kids?

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

This post is sponsored by Ever. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

There is a lot of pressure, as a mom, to capture all of these precious moments that we get to experience with our kids. I am never without my phone for this very reason. Today’s craft is something I have had brewing in my head for years, but didn’t think I could easily execute it. I am so excited because I’m showing off an EASY DIY no-sew scarf that you can create that has a hidden pocket so you have your phone with you at all times.  Since I am constantly taking pictures of my kids, I love having the Ever app for all of those moments!

 

Not only am I showing off this scarf, but I’m also showing off this INCREDIBLE (and I mean it!!) phone app called Ever that you can use to backup all your photos, saving you precious room on your phone so you never get that pesky message that forces you to remove so many of those special memories.

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

Let me explain a little bit about Ever and why you should be using it!  This app automatically (and securely) collects and organizes your photos and videos from everywhere they live. You may not realize how many places you are taking photos, but Ever does. It grabs all the photos from your camera roll, social media accounts, emails, and texts then catalogs them for you in the correct order so you can quickly make photo albums in just minutes. The best part is that it keeps all my photos safe and encrypted so that I can rest knowing that my family’s  meaningful moments are only for me!  

This year I decided to get an iPhone with less storage because I thought it would help hold me more accountable to deleting and only keeping what is precious on my phone. My minimalist attitude makes me feel passionately about things like this, but I quickly realized the error of my minimalist ways.

I constantly had messages that the storage was full and then I would have a daily Sophie’s Choice moment where I was forced to choose the images that were most precious.

It’s no way to live, friends.

Ever iPhone App

 

When Ever reached out, I couldn’t believe how much one app could help my life so much. No more warnings and  tough decisions on what to keep because this app automatically frees space on your phone and backs up all those precious moments so you don’t have to.

Ever is also like hiring a personal organizer who can make sense of all your visual clutter and package it up in a way that finally makes sense.  I, honestly, never make the time to sort and organize photos, but this app is intuitive enough that it can do it for you automatically. No more excuses to not share those memories with grandma now that Ever is doing the hard part.

It also makes adorable albums that allow you to time travel and reminiscent about the good ol’ days with your kiddos.

Ever iPhone App

Oh, and did I mention that the app is FREE? Yup, unlimited free storage with security for all of your precious photos.

Dang, that’s a lot cheaper than buying an iPhone with more storage.

I might be able to help my kids with tuition after all!

For those of you who want your pictures backed up in full resolution, Ever Plus is also available by monthly subscription for $9.99 — or you can use their optional referral program to earn free credits for this full-res storage by sending invitations to your friends. Not to worry though, you can use all the other features without signing up for Ever Plus, thanks Ever!

Ever iPhone App

Please download the app right now- it’s a game-changer for sharing, printing, and storing all of those sweet memories. I promise you won’t regret it! I know I’m looking forward to our upcoming holiday even more because I can make an album of all our memories so quickly and easily. No more excuses for not getting these printed!

In honor of this app, today’s DIY is a scarf that offers a hidden pocket so you never miss (or lose) a photo opportunity again!

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

2 yards knit sweatshirt material (you need the material to be thick enough to hide the pocket! This price is EXCELLENT- I paid $10 a yard at my local craft store)

1-2 yards tassel trim (I find the most affordable trims over here)

Coin Purse large enough to hold your phone (this is the style I purchased. As you can see, the bottom is not completely flat, but it was the ideal size for my phone), alternatively you could purchase an all purpose zipper and craft a pocket out of the scraps from your scarf

Hemming Tape- 1 roll is plenty!!

Scissors or Rotary Cutter

Tape Measure

Thread to match material

Your Favorite Scarf as a Guide For Width & Length

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

Directions

1. First, find your favorite scarf in your closet and use this as a guide for the length and width of your scarf. The reason I am not telling you my scarf length is because I am a wee woman and my favorite scarf length might look silly on you. Do note that the width does need to be wide enough to completely hide that pocket. I actually love a wide  scarf that mimics the coziness of my favorite blanket scarves so I made mine very generous in width- it’s so wide that it can almost double as a shawl.  Cut the material to the same width and length, doubling up the fabric so that you have two pieces that are exactly the same size.

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

2. Take the two pieces of material and have the pretty side facing each other so the ugly side of the fabric is on the outside of both pieces.

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

3. Between these two pieces, you are going to be lining up your hemming tape. Use your wallet as a guide for where to start and stop the hemming tape, on one side, making sure that you have a little edge of the fabric above it (like I have show in the first picture) so you can fold it in a bit to support that pocket.

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

4. Use your iron to iron the whole side of the scarf, taking your time so that you can make sure you have a good seal on the fabric. Repeat this process on the other side, but make sure to run the hemming tape all down it, unlike the other side where we made a space for our pocket. This takes time so be patient. This material is a little thick so you may need to go over it a few times to seal it fully.

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

5. Flip the scarf out and then, slip the wallet inside. You are going to need to fold that hem back a bit to line up with where the hemming tape was so you don’t have a raw edge hanging out. Using a needle and thread stitch it into the material (I know I said NO SEW, but we do want that pocket in there nicely. Alternatively, you could try fabric glue, but I think it won’t be as secure!).

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

6. Fold in the rough edges of the scarf and slip a strip of hemming tape between these two folded sides. Take your time and seal this to finish the construction of the scarf.

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

7. Finish with a strip of trim on the front of the scarf (make sure you know where your pocket is before you are adding the trim). I am only trimming the front of the scarf so I can remember where my pocket is! You can definitely add more trim all the way around or anywhere else you would like to trim it. If you have a grosgrain trim like I do, take a lighter and pass it quickly over the two sides of the ends of your trim to seal both sides so it doesn’t come unraveled. Another alternative for sealing the edges is a little fray check- I’ll let you pick! To finish,  I slipped hemming tape under the trim and then used this, once again, to secure it by ironing it in place. Repeat on the other side of the scarf.

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket from MomAdvice.com

I am already dreaming up ways that I can make these for holiday gifts for others and no one will ever know that I didn’t whip out a sewing machine for this craft. Wouldn’t this be such a great gift even for your kiddos to tuck their hat and gloves in? I’m thinking of pairing one of these for my daughter with knitted ear warmers for the pocket. It could even be made more masculine in a beautiful plaid fabric, just like my DIY blanket scarves, for the men in your life.

Honestly, I can’t think of anyone who couldn’t use a scarf with a pocket. Can you?

I hope you find today’s DIY inspiring and I hope you also have a blast getting those photos organized, backed-up, and printed for your family this year, thanks to Ever.

This post is sponsored by Ever. All thoughts and opinions are my own! This post contains affiliate links that help support our website- thank you! 

 

 

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Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

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

Have you ever painted pumpkins with acrylic paints before? 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 on over that part of the fall decorating. This month’s challenge was to create a Halloween display 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.

Let’s get painting!

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with 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!)

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 (I got this one with a chalkboard on the side)

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Directions for Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

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

2. With a clean wide brush, begin painting your pumpkins,using the stalk of the pumpkin as a handle to work around the surface. Paint the entire pumpkin and then set it aside to dry. 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.
Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with 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 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. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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How to Make Elephant Toothpaste

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com

This post was sponsored by Bayer. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

If we are only doing science with our kids when the science fair rolls around, I feel like we are missing the boat. Every day is an opportunity to teach something about science with our kids through simple routine moments throughout our day. From baking bread to why their bath tub toys float to how swinging at the park really works…that’s all science (and pretty amazing!).

Simple daily activities are a great way to incorporate science into our daily routines and most parents have a desire for that. In fact, in Bayer’s recent back-to-school survey, nearly all (95%) parents surveyed agree that it would be helpful to have tips for turning simple activities into science learning opportunities for their children, which is why Bayer decided to create a program to address this need.

So many of these teaching moments are overlooked in our house so I am excited to partner with Bayer as they work to improve science literacy in kids through their award-winning program, Making Science Make Sense (MSMS). In this program, Bayer creates hands-on lessons to kids to seriously think about science and fostering the seeds of science in our kids even when they are small. It inspired our family to take a science challenge of our own and gave us a TRULY fun moment with our daughter while teaching her a really important science lesson in the process.

I honestly don’t know who was more excited- my daughter or my husband.

Who doesn’t love a crazy chemical reaction?

If you don’t want to take on our experiment, you can tackle so many easy and fun experiments through the MSMS science library exploring topics like what happens when water boils, where the light from sun comes, and why do oil and water not mix. Not only are these fun things to talk through together, they could also definitely round out a homeschool curriculum.

Since we have middle school kids, we have found it takes a lot to wow them so I wanted to create some science fun that they had never seen before. Grab your safety glasses and dive into a fun science experiment with us as we make Elephant Toothpaste and learn a heck of a lot of science in the process.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste

 

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed:

1 Cookie Sheet

1 Empty 2-liter container

1 Tablespoon of Dry Yeast

3 Tablespoons Warm Water

Small Cup For Mixing

Liquid Dish Soap

1/2 cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (20-volume is a 6% solution and not available at drugstores so make sure you get the type we are linking to)

Food Coloring

Rubber Gloves

Funnel

Safety Goggles (we bought these and they fit perfectly)

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com

 Directions for Making Elephant Toothpaste

 Please note: We advise parents do the pouring of the hydrogen peroxide as it can irritate the skin and eyes.

1. In a clean 2-liter bottle add 8 drops of food coloring. We picked blue to look like toothpaste!

2. Next have an adult add the hydrogen peroxide to the mixture. A funnel really helps with this step!

2. Add one tablespoon of your liquid dish soap to the bottle. Have your child swish the bottle gently.

3. In a separate cup, mix together the dry yeast and warm water. Mix, mix, mix for 30 seconds.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com

4. Place the funnel on top and then pour the yeast mixture into the bottle.

5. Watch in amazement as this starts foaming and overflowing from the bottle. Be sure to put your gloved hands around the bottle to feel the heat that the bottle is giving off.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com

Doesn’t that look like toothpaste? We were all amazed at this chemical reaction.

What’s the Science Behind This Elephant Toothpaste?

Each foam bubble is filled with oxygen. The yeast acts as a catalyst to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since we did this process so fast, it created lots of bubbles quickly.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com

 

We also created an Exothermic Reaction which means you created heat with this reaction. How cool is that? We thought that part was almost as amazing as the foam that we created!

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com

She was absolutely miserable.

Clearly.

Science is awful.

Just look at that face!

Just kidding, she was in science heaven in our backyard lab.

Although experiments are grand, I hope the takeaway is that we have the opportunity to share science with our kids every single day. I hope this idea and the many, many ideas from Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense give you lots of chances to talk about science each and every day.

Do you have any tips on how to share science at home with your children? What hurdles do you experience in encouraging STEM learning beyond the classroom? I would love to hear them!

This post was sponsored by Bayer. All thoughts and opinions are my own!