Category Archives: holidays

Candy-free, junk-free, still awesome Easter egg hunt ideas!

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Easter is coming, and I’m usually stoked about it because to us, it’s a time to celebrate SPRING!!!! Being from Florida and now living in North Carolina, winter blues have become a depressing part of life. All the gray, dry limbs just make my heart sad. Even after ten years in NC, these dreary months are no fun. So Easter has become a celebration of all the gorgeous color that’s coming back to life in all its pastel glory!

We tend to do our own little egg hunts at home.  I like that it’s just us instead of the madness that happens at public egg hunts. Still, sometimes we struggle with what to put in them. We try not do to a lot of candy, but I’m a little sick of the non-candy alternatives. Seriously, our home is just about at capacity with all that tiny junk: the tiny plastic ‘toys’, hair bows that my daughter won’t wear anyway, more stickers, more temporary tattoos, tiny tubs of play-doh that dry up five minutes after you open them and turn into a crumbly mess all over the house….yeah. I’m done with all that.

So what to do? After some thought, we decided on money and power. What kid wouldn’t want that?

  1. Money: Our kids are starting to learn to save up for things they want. We have a bunch of spare change. Why not fill the eggs with some money? Change can add up quickly, and this will give them an extra chance to learn money management, counting and all that stuff.
  2. Power: We did this in the form of coupons. You know how some people do ‘love’ coupons for their significant other sometimes? Like “free massage” and stuff like that? We adapted this concept for easter eggs. Ours will include things like: choosing a restaurant, choosing a movie for family movie night, staying up past bedtime, choosing the next family outing, and some funny ones like ‘make daddy do the sprinkler dance’.

Admittedly, some of our easter eggs will still have candy and toys (mostly balloons and stick on mustaches). I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t enjoy it and it would all be a big fail, but they loved it! The coupons were so exciting for them, and it’s become a ‘thing’ in our house throughout the year.

And the actual Easter baskets? Our approach to baskets also follows our no-junk philosophy. We reuse the egg hunt baskets or ‘package’ everything in something that is part of the gift. One year we got the kids plastic chairs for the yard (the $5 walmart ones that are still kicking around our yard years later), so the ‘basket’ was the chair. We used beach buckets one year as well. We generally take it as an opportunity to stock up on spring and summer items that we’ll get them anyway, but are so fun. Some examples are:

  • beach towels
  • sidewalk chalk
  • bubble solution and a new cool bubble toy
  • flip flops
  • beach/pool toys

I hope these ideas help your spring celebrations and help keep some sanity in everyday life!

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Patriotic Rag Wreath

Happy Independence Day! I hope you are all enjoying the day, celebrating our country and hopefully avoiding Hurricane Arthur!

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Do you have your red, white and blue out? My patriotic decor is sadly lacking, so I decided to channel my inner Betsy Ross (sort of) and make a rag wreath to show a bit of patriotism.

Here’s what I used:
a wire wreath form (or you can stretch out a wire hanger, but it won’t be as full)
1/4 yards of 5 different patriotic fabrics plus a few scraps of my stash
old jeans (two pairs of my old jeans and two pairs of my son’s old jeans)

I love this wreath. I wanted to make it very ‘American’ and what’s more American than jeans?

I cut the fabric into 2×6-inch(ish) strips. Some were narrower. Some were longer, some were shorter. It’s a rag wreath. It all works out. I found the denim easier to tie if it was narrower. Also, I tore some of the denim to make it more raggy. Denim with stretch in it doesn’t tear well. I used a rotary cutter for the fabric because it was easier and quicker and I know it will fray on its own.


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Then, I tied the strips to the wreath form. This is great to do while watching TV. The mom in me can’t sit still and has to constantly be doing something. Tie tie tie…then tie some more. I was surprised at how much fabric this took. I had originally gotten just three 1/4 yards, but ended up having to go get more and dip into my stash for a few extra strips (the blue polka dot and the yellow fabrics).

So that’s the rag wreath. I love how fluffy it is. Easy peasy and fun. I might add to the center of it, but for now, I’m enjoying seeing how it’s been unraveling. And now I have something handmade for all my patriotic holidays!

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I’d love to see any patriotic crafts you’ve made! Link them below!

Thank you moms!

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I am so proud to be a mom in today’s world. Really. There’s good and bad, but overall, it seems like for the first time, a mom can make the choices that work for her to lead her family in what works for her. Have I said ‘her’ enough? But it’s true. Crunchy, traditional, stay-at-home, glass-ceiling crusher…whatever it is, there are other moms there to support you. And yeah… there’s a fair amount of snark, but for the most part, we respect and help each other.

But it’s that support that makes me proud to be a mom. Having kids so far from any family has forced us to build a network. Thanks to friends, neighbors, social media, and of course, family, I have learned so much about being a mom.  Seeing all this around me has given me the confidence to try to be the mom I want to be.

Today, I wanted to share some little tidbits that have been ‘aha!’ moments for me that I’ve learned from other moms:

– freezing Gogurts to have yogurt pops: I spent the better part of last summer pouring yogurt into tiny ice pop molds and then fighting the molds to get the pops out. Gogurts are way easier, and I feel better about them than the regular ‘juice’ popsicles (although we have both).

– telling my kids ‘thank you for apologizing’ when they say they are sorry instead of ‘it’s okay’ because chances are, if they had to apologize for their actions, then what they did is not okay.

– asking ‘are you hurt or are you scared?’ when they are crying after a fall or something like that: It gets them to stop and think, and in the process, calm down a little bit and gives you a better idea of what’s really going on.

– brushing my daughter’s hair while she’s in the high chair having breakfast: She can’t run away from me, and she can’t fuss too much because she’s busy eating.

These are just a few of the solid, tangible ways that this great ‘village’ of moms around me has helped me, but there is so much more that I’ve learned that has allowed me to be a mom and to continue to grow in this amazing job. I can’t wait to see to see what else I learn as my kids grow. I only hope I’ve been able to support other moms as well.

So to all you moms – thank you! Thank you for the job you do for your kids and for the role you play in each other’s lives to make us all better.

Happy mother’s day!

Boo! Halloween Wreath

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I just had to share this wreath.  I usually don’t do much in terms of decorating for Halloween – I’d rather focus my energy on fall décor, because I can use it for months, whereas Halloween is only doable for a couple of weeks.  However, this year is different. I don’t know what came over me, but I decided I absolutely, positively had to have a Halloween wreath hanging on my door, otherwise the world would end.  And of course, I can’t just buy something, I had to make it.

I started out with half a yard of glittery BOO! Halloween fabric that I cut into 3 inch strips across the width of the fabric with my handy dandy rotary cutter.

Then I hot glued one end of a strip to my wreath form (those cheap straw ones that come wrapped in plastic) and wrapped it around until I couldn’t wrap it around anymore trimmed it and glued it so the glue was always on the back of the wreath.  I repeated the process until the wreath was covered.  It took me four strips, and I almost needed a fifth.

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Then I decided I needed a little ghost family.  There are a lot of steps for this, but it was pretty easy.  It took me about 20 minutes.  I’ll list the supplies for this part:

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– 2-inch foam balls
– skewers
– foam block or something to hold skewers up (I tried an empty tissue box, and it wasn’t quite strong enough, but I made it work)
– watered down modge podge (I had 1/4 of a medium sized bottle left, and I filled it with water, shook it, poured it out, and added 1 1/2 more bottles of water to it, although I probably didn’t need the extra 1/2)
– container for the modge podge (I used an old wipes container)
– 8×8-inch (or so) squares of cheesecloth (about 4 or 5 per ghost)
– gloves (nice, but not required)

Here’s how to do it:
1. Put a skewer in each ball so it looks like a lollipop.  Stick it into the foam, with plenty of space for you to work.

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2. Soak a piece of cheesecloth in the modge podge and wring it out.

3. Lay it over the foam ball, but a little off to the side. Repeat with three or four more pieces, laying each one opposite from each other.

4. Do the same thing for all the foam balls.

5. Let them dry. This is what they will look like when they are drying (and when they are dry):

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The modge podge will stiffen the fabric and keep it from fraying, but it will still look flowy.  You’ll be able to work it a little bit, almost like wire mesh. Just an FYI- I don’t think modge podge is supposed to attract killer bugs, but a bee kept dive-bombing me and the ghosts while I was working and then a preying mantis nestled itself between the ghosts while they were drying and jumped at me when I moved them. So just watch out if you work outside. Also, if you’re wondering what I was doing with  the foam brush, I thought that by brushing more modge podge on the top, it would help it stick to the foam, but it didn’t.  I ended up putting a dab of hot glue where you can’t see it.

So the ghosts are done! Yay! Now to mount them onto the wreath you’ll need:
– hot glue
– metal floral hooks (97 cents for 100 of them at Wal-Mart)
– craft knife

Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Glue down the cheesecloth to the foam ball by lifting off the cloth, putting down a blob of glue and quickly putting the cheesecloth back in.  **Make sure you put the glue towards the back of the ghost’s head, but not dead center in the back so that you leave room for the floral hook.  Think of where a ponytail would go, if that makes sense.**

2. With the craft knife, cut a slit as wide as the floral hook in the back of the ghost.  I twisted the knife a little to make it wider. {little side note story: I used a small pink Swiss army knife that my brother gave me for Christmas when I was in middle school.  I still use that thing almost every day, can you believe it?}

3. Shove the hook into the hole so the pointy ends stick out, making sure they’re far enough in so that they won’t go through the wreath.

4. Decide where you want the ghosts on the wreath, and stick them in.  They are pretty solid, but I went back and hot glued them in just to be sure.

5. Trim up any jagged edges on the cheesecloth.

Finishing it up:
Break out your craft stash and go to town! I used googly eyes and puffy paint to add eyes and a smile to each ghost.  Then I used some leather cording, felt and more puffy paint (yay!) to make a little pennant banner that says “BOO!”

I used some of the cording, hot glue and floral pins to hang the wreath. I also used scraps from the fabric to cover up anything on the back that might be unsightly so that it had a nice, finished look all around.

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Do you decorate for Halloween?  I want to see your projects!