Archive for the ‘Crafts & Celebrations’ Category

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

As my kids get older, we have found that they need and want less and less.  We have also found that we desire less clutter and more moments with our kids so my husband and I hatched up a Choose Your Own Adventure gift for the holidays this year that we gave them in lieu of gifts.

Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? They were my favorite when I was a kid because each time you read a book, you could make a choice that would take you down a different path. I think I reread this one a million times, returning the well-worn pages back to the library, only to to check it out again.

That idea of choosing your own adventures still lives on and I decided that this year, our family would make travel a top priority. I want my children to have big adventures and see the world so at Christmas, we gave them the unique opportunity to, truly, choose their own summer adventure with us as a family.

I tell you this now instead of in the winter because this one requires a chat with your kids about gift expectations and it also requires saving money for your adventure. 

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

We asked our kids if they would like to do a vacation instead of gifts this past Christmas and they were so excited to do this which thrilled us to no end.

Since my husband is a web designer, he came up with the genius idea to create a retro travel brochure (complete with a typewriter smear) that would make it look like this package was designed just for them that they could open on Christmas morning. Since there would be no gifts under the tree, we really wanted to give them something to enjoy on Christmas morning and to create a new tradition of gift-giving in our family!

The Mom & Dad Travel Agency (making dreams come true since a few minutes ago- ha!) cover sheet was designed with their names on it and placed on top of the gift.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

The first package they opened outlined the rules of the adventure.  If you decide to do something similar, you can create your own rules, but these were the rules we set up to make sure that things went smoothly. 

Found below are the rules we gave our kids! 

Rules for Our Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Package

ONE- You must agree TOGETHER on the trip. We know that this will be tough, but it is also a great opportunity to work on your teamwork skills. Take your time coming to your decision and read through each of the files carefully. In it, we have outlined how you will get to your destination, where and who you might visit, as well as the exclusive adventure you will get to take.

TWO- Although we will do our best to book the places we have outlined for you, these will also be subject to availability. Do you know what that means? It just means, it depends on if the places or owners have space for us. For example, if the place we show you ends up not being available when we are able to go, we promise to find something as close as possible to what we have shared with you. That is the MOM & DAD TRAVEL AGENCY guarantee.

THREE- We will book the destination of your choosing as soon as possible, but the trip will be taken in the SPRING (sometime between the months of MARCH-MAY). Again, all of this will hinge on the availability and the ideal weather for wherever you select.

FOUR- HAVE FUN! Again, the MOM & DAD TRAVEL AGENCY is so pleased that you want to do something with… well…, your MOM & DAD as a gift. How many parents get to say that? We are so proud to take this trip with you and look forward to serving all of your travel needs.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

I designated one file folder for each package idea and my husband created retro cover sheets for each package. For our family, the three destinations were to Florida (Universal and our Mimi), Boston (renting a houseboat and seeing where my son was born), and California (to see the Redwood Forest). Each package was wrapped individually so they had three files to open in the morning.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

I then typed up travel itineraries that we hoped the kids would love reading together in the morning. We really wanted to make each of these special and a true gift in the morning.

Upon opening all three, they had a little conference session on their own to decide the trip that they wanted to do.  As outlined in the rules above, they had to decide together.  We knew this might be tough, but there was also the option of one picking one year and the other picking the next year.  

In fact, we are planning to recycle one that wasn’t chosen (that seemed to get a lot of buzz) and add a couple of new options.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

Over our annual Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls, they shared that Universal was the chosen holiday for the year. I am proud to say it wasn’t really about seeing the Harry Potter world at all… it was, in fact, getting to see their amazing Mimi that really sold our Mom & Dad Agency package.

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

Choose Your Own Adventure Travel Idea from MomAdvice.com

I hope this idea is inspiring to your family! We are so excited to take adventures with our kids this year and in the years to come and are so happy they enjoyed this gift as much as we enjoyed creating it for them!

*This post contains affiliate links!
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DIY Graduation Party Ideas

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

DIY Graduation Party Ideas from MomAdvice.com

 

It’s hard to believe that graduation season is upon us! Congratulations to the proud parents of those amazing grads this year! To help you celebrate (and keep that bash affordable), here are a few fun DIY graduation party ideas to try this year with items you can find at your local Goodwill store!

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog for some budget-friendly DIY graduation party ideas today!

DIY Money Book Page Posies

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

DIY Money Book Page Posies from MomAdvice.com

Graduation season is here and that means being prepared with lots of great gifts for the amazing grads in our life. It probably goes without saying that one of the most useful gifts to a poor college student is money. Of course, giving just money can sometimes feel less personal than I would like. So, I crafted up some adorable money book page posies that you can create out of a few supplies you probably already have on hand, to make one beautiful posy or a bouquet for the graduate in your life.

DIY Money Book Page Posies from MomAdvice.com

I created this adorable, “What’s blooming? BOOK MONEY!” gift tag that you can attach to one of these simple paper flowers! How adorable is that?

To snag this tutorial and my free printables to make these Book Page Posies, head on over to the Kenmore blog today! While you are there, be sure to check out their handy list of easy Mother’s Day DIY gifts that you can make for a special mama in your life!

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The DIY Laundry: Detergent & Fabric Softener Sheets

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

The DIY Laundry-Detergent and Softener Sheets

Have you ever thought about making your own laundry detergent and dryer sheets? While it’s not specifically around our M Challenge of Loving Your Home, thinking about our home made me think about the DIY projects that have helped to create a better environment for my family – one of which is our DIY Laundry! I love the control and confidence I have in making our own laundry essentials – it’s better for the environment and results in major savings with minimal time invested.

Ready to make your own? Here’s a little more on each project with a link to the original full article where you’ll find complete tutorials with photos and recipes:

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

I have been making my own DIY fabric softener sheets for years – it’s an easy process that will stretch your softener further with nothing to throw away! Plus, they actually perform better than putting fabric softener in your washer compartment and you don’t have to worry about any staining on your fabrics.

They are also reusable – you can use each sheet about 20 times before they lose their effectiveness. But then it’s an easy step to repeat the process!

Go here for the steps to make your own fabric softener sheets – plus tips on other options if you don’t want to use commercial fabric softener:

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making homemade detergent is easier than you might think and the cost comparison makes it worth the small amount of effort required. It’s naturally low-sudsing, making it perfect for using with HE washing machines and because it contains zero phosphates or fillers, it’s septic-friendly as well.

This homemade detergent is made up of three ingredients: Fels-Naptha (or Ivory Soap), Washing Soda, and Borax, which can be bought for around $8.00 total. Dividing the total materials required to make one batch of soap (the soap bar and 1 c. each of the remaining ingredients) equals a cost of $1.80-$1.90 for a batch. At one to two tablespoons per load, it comes in at around $.05, compared to $0.17-.0.21 per load of name brand detergents.

It also takes less time than you may think: I was able to make a triple batch of this soap in about fifteen minutes (and that is along with taking pictures for this tutorial). The real time-consuming process of it is grating the soap, but if you have a food processor, that can be accomplished in no time at all!

Go here for a picture tutorial of how to make your own laundry detergent, including photos of all the ingredients (and where to find them):

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Do you make any laundry items for your home? Have you made either of these after the original postings?

 

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DIY Lampshade Ideas

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

DIY Lampshade Ideas from MomAdvice.com

One of the quickest ways to update a room is to spruce up a lamp in your home and today I wanted to show you some easy and affordable ways to transform a lampshade from Goodwill. I love these ideas so much, in fact, that I have plans to add a new lamp or two to our space now for Spring! I hope you will be as inspired as I am by these bloggers and their incredible lampshade makeovers. This post fits so perfectly with our Love Your Home m challenge because it is one small way you can really personalize a room with your own DIY touch.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to see these fast & stylish DIY Lampshade ideas!

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15 Easy DIYs That Will Help You Love Your Home

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

15 Easy DIY Updates To Help You Love Your Home

It’s no secret around here that we’re not living in my dream house. But in the last few years, thinking about all we have and our many blessings, this house has become our little-home-that-could. We love it more and more. That’s one of the reasons I am so excited to be focusing on Love Your Home for our April M Challenge – it’s been a life-changer for us!

Besides the change in mindset, one of the biggest ways we’ve increased our contentment with the home we have is by tackling small DIY projects that have had a big impact in our life in this home. Do it yourself projects always come with a great sense of accomplishment, but when that feeling also helps you love your space more? That’s a win-win.

So I’ve collected 15 easy DIYs that will help you love your home more from our archives and inexpensive ideas from other great blogs – let’s all find a way to love the home we have! (note: I’d love for you to pin the title image for this page, but for each project, please pin from the original sources – thanks!)

Easy Home Updates from Mom Advice:

Transforming-Corners-In-Your-Home

Simple updates to refresh corners – or any spaces!

Shed-Makeover-Ideas

Turn an unused shed into a hideaway, guest room, office, or anything you need!

How_To_Style_Bookshelves

Refresh your space by styling (and decluttering!) your bookshelves.

Craft_Room_Organization

Make your craft/office space work better with these organizing solutions.

Fabric_Lined_Bookcase_Makeover

Change up standard bookcases with an inexpensive fabric makeover.

Make-A-Guest-Room-Welcome-Basket

Make guests feel welcomed to your home with a sweet basket (& free printables!).

 Other Easy Home Updates

Spray Paint Door-Knobs via Handle The Heat

Spray paint knobs & pulls @ Handle The Heat

Painting Tile via Live Love DIY

Paint your dated tile @ Live Love DIY

DIYBudgetBathReno-via Beautiful Matters

Redo your bathroom inexpensively @ Beautiful Matters

DIY Framed Bathroom Mirror via Liz Marie Blog

Or just frame out a builder mirror for a big impact @ Liz Marie Blog

$1200 Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel via An Oregon Cottage

Paint, add counters, sink and accessories to remodel a kitchen for under $1200 @ An Oregon Cottage

Peel-Stick Backsplash Tiles via Thrifty Crafty Girl

Or simply update your backsplash with peel-and-stick tile @ Thrifty Crafty Girl

DIY-Plank-Wall-with-Fence-Boards via Fox Hollow Cottage

Create an inexpensive plank accent wall @ Fox Hollow Cottage

Install a new light fixure via Sawdust and Embryos

Easily change out your light fixtures (this makes a huge change for low $ !) @ Sawdust & Embryos

Painting vinyl floors via Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

Paint right over ugly vinyl or linoleum @ Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body

So many great ideas! How are you learning to love the home you have?

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Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups (For Annie the Movie)

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

It’s no secret that this girl loves musical theater and one of the productions I did in high school was ANNIE.  It was one of my favorite movies growing up and Carol Burnett was someone I hoped to model a theater career after. To say that the musical is special to me would be an understatement.  I think it is important to admit that I had low expectations for the new ANNIE movie.

How could anything ever live up to the original?

Imagine my surprise that this movie was as charming as the first.   This movie really DID deliver, even for an original Annie-lover,  and in honor of the film’s DVD release today, I wanted to share a special treat you can share while watching the movie!

If you haven’t seen the film yet, it really does honor the classic songs that we all love, but adds its own unique spin often involving fun sound effects, hand clapping, and a more hip hop beat to the music. There are original pieces that are worked into the music that really flow seamlessly into the original music and the film has been updated with current themes, while embracing the sweetness and wholesomeness of the original ANNIE.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com

In this film, Annie believes that she will be reunited with her parents,  at an Italian restaurant where they left a note on a receipt with the heart-shaped locket that any wears. Each Friday she visits the restaurant that serves the homemade cannoli that the couple shared on that night, waiting and hoping that they will finally come to retrieve her.  As she sits upon the curb, the owner comes out and tells her that they haven’t come and hands her a little to-go box of cannolis to take home. It is a ritual that is repeated in the movie and a truly sweet scene.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com

In honor of this moment in the film, I am sharing a fun recipe that you can make with a prepared pie crust and a homemade cannoli filling that is perfect to share while watching the film together.  This would also make an adorable treat for a birthday party or as a party favor in little to-go boxes tied with butcher twine.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bowl of Pho today for providing the to-go box and note to make this pretty photo for my cannoli display.  If you are a local, it’s a must in our town to head there and get a bowl-as-big-as-your-head of chicken noodle soup.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com Walmart is sharing this adorable exclusive DVD set that comes with a mini plush Sandy that would be a perfect little Easter treat to share with your Annie-lover this year. The price on this set is $29.96. Wouldn’t this be the sweetest gift? Sandy even made it out of for show-and-share this week!

I hope you enjoy this sweet treat and can pick up this film! I guarantee that it is one that the whole family will love!

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups (For Annie the Movie)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48 servings
 
A sweet treat to share while watching Annie! These can be made gluten-free with a simple substitution of a gluten-free pie crust!
Ingredients
  • 1 container (15 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box (you can also substitute with gluten free pie crust)
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • Additional powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, beat all filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Place filling in 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag; refrigerate while making cups.
  2. Heat oven to 425°F. On lightly floured work surface, unroll pie crusts. Sprinkle each crust with turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Lightly roll rolling pin over sugar and cinnamon to press into pastry. With 2½- to 3-inch round cutter, cut out pastry rounds. Lightly press each pastry round into ungreased mini muffin cup.
  3. Bake about 10 minutes or until pastry cups are golden brown. Cool completely in pans, about 15 minutes. Remove from muffin cups to cooling racks.
  4. Just before serving, remove filling from refrigerator. Cut 1 bottom corner off bag; pipe scant tablespoon filling into cooled pastry cups. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Store any remaining pastry cups at room temperature and filling in refrigerator.

Source: Pillsbury
walmart_mom_disclaimer

 

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7 Fresh Furniture Painting Ideas

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

7 Fresh Furniture Painting Ideas from MomAdvice.com

I am a big fan of painting furniture and when the Spring temperature arrive, I start dreaming of all the pieces I can redo.

Does anyone else refer to Spring as spray paint season?

Maybe that’s just me.

Today I wanted to share some ways that you can add a fresh new look on a furniture piece from Goodwill. Often when we see pieces, we can’t see the true potential in them if they are dated, mismatched, or distressed. It can be challenging to look at each piece as something full of possibilities.

Here are some great ways to bring tired furniture to life, to create the optical illusion of sets of furniture, and some really great new ways I have found to experiment with new painting techniques.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to discover 7 Fresh Furniture Painting Ideas!

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Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

Easter is one of my favorite holidays and I love crafting, decorating, and especially the eating for this holiday.  Longtime readers know that I have a love affair with Peeps that have included a wreath made out of Peeps and I have even found a way to make Peep Martinis that taste divine.  Let’s just continue the mad love affair with Peeps and make a hilarious Easter surprise cupcake for your kids!

Supplies:

1 box gluten-free cake yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 cup assorted mini candy-coated chocolate candies, jimmies or confetti candy sprinkles
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup boiling water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
3 unbeaten egg whites
12 Peeps (any color)
Melon Baller

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin tins.

Make cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). Bake as directed on box for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Using melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake, about 1 inch deep. Fill each with 1 heaping teaspoonful candies.

Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites in your stand mixer bowl. Add boiling water. Beat on high until the mixture forms peaks, which should be just about seven minutes. Spoon or pipe frosting on top of the cupcaks and finish with sprinkles and a Peep on top.

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com easter-surprise-peep-cupcakes-17

Don’t you hate it when your Peeps lay their eggs in your cupcakes? Ha! What a funny surprise for you kids and a fun food craft to do together as a family! I hope you love this idea and remember that you can pick up all the supplies at your local Walmart store! Happy Easter, everyone!

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A fun Easter surprise cupcake that you just so happens to be gluten-free. Fill it with your favorite egg candy and top with a marshmallow Peep!
Ingredients
  • 1 box gluten-free cake yellow cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 1 cup assorted mini candy-coated chocolate candies, jimmies or confetti candy sprinkles
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 unbeaten egg whites
  • 12 Peeps (any color)
  • Melon Baller
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin tins.
  2. Make cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). Bake as directed on box for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake, about 1 inch deep. Fill each with 1 heaping teaspoonful candies.
  4. Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites in your stand mixer bowl. Add boiling water. Beat on high until the mixture forms peaks, which should be just about seven minutes. Spoon or pipe frosting on top of the cupcakes and finish with sprinkles and a Peep on top.

Recipe adapted from tablespoon
walmart_mom_disclaimer
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5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

 

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and today I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat idea that is no-bake, made in just five minutes, and can be customized to your child’s own dietary needs.

Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Every year on March 17, the Irish and those of us that are Irish-at-heart across the world observe this day together, but many don’t know the origin of the holiday. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a lot of green food.

Each year I try to come up with a sweet treat for my kids to celebrate the holiday and I can’t wait to share this super easy and adorable treat with you. The best part? This one can be made gluten-free! Yay!

Head to the Kenmore Blog today to see this fun 5-minute St. Patrick’s Day treat tutorial!

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