Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter 2017 recap

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter holiday.  We had gorgeous weather and played outside a lot.  I am loving this spring weather, having the windows open and listening to the kids playing outside. 

Holidays are a great time to get a family picture since the kids are dressed in their Sunday best.  This Easter I wasn't able to get one with all of us.  The best I could do was individual pictures of 3 out of 4 of the kids.  Oh, well, Mother's Day is right around the corner and I'll try again then.


Since we like to focus on the true meaning of Easter on Easter Sunday, we did all the Easter baskets and egg hunts on Friday and Saturday.  Here are the kids opening their Easter baskets at our house on Friday.  I try to put in spring/summer things like outdoor toys and summer clothes.


Then we had an egg hunt.  In previous years, I've hidden different colored eggs for each kid so each one has to find only their color.  This would allow me to hide eggs in the grass for the youngest kid without having to worry that the older kids would take them all.  This year I didn't bother with that, I just told the older kids not to take the eggs on the grass, so much easier that way.  I don't know how I've accumulated so many eggs.  I hid them all over the yard this year, including the front and sides.  It took the kids a while to find them all and some of them needed to grab another basket to put all their eggs in.


Saturday we went to visit my family.  There were more Easter baskets and egg dyeing.  This year we not only dyed eggs the traditional way, but also with little egg rollers which the kids really enjoyed. 


We tried the toddler friendly egg in the whisk trick.  It worked OK.  This little guy really loved painting the eggs and wasn't afraid to get his hands, and the rest of him, dirty.

I made this cute Peeps Easter Garden Brownie.  I got the idea from HERE.  The original recipe uses a cake, but I used brownies instead and it was delicious.  Finally an Easter dessert that didn't fail.  If you want to check out last year's Easter food fails, just click HERE.


One of my favorite Easter Bunny books is The Country Bunny.  Recently I've been feeling a little like the Country Bunny in the sense that my 'babies' no longer take all of my time and can do some of the work for me.  It's great having older kids to help out with the younger kids, especially babysitting so I don't have to take everyone with me whenever I run errands.  This book has a cute story of how a mother country bunny with 21 children became one of the Easter bunnies.









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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Fingerprint Easter Egg Basket

I saw this cute Easter basket with fingerprint eggs on Pinterest and thought we'd give it a try.  You can find the original idea over at craftymorning.com.  They'd make great Easter cards or decorations for around the house.


I had my older daughter put her artistic talent to work by drawing the Easter basket.

While she created her mini masterpiece, the younger kids colored some Easter pictures while they waited to add their fingerprints.


Instead of using paint (which is messier than I wanted to deal with), I colored the kid's fingers with markers and let them add their fingerprints that way.  I do think the original idea with the paint turned out better because the fingerprints are more vibrant. 

After all the fingerprint eggs were added, the younger kids colored the basket.   

As you can see it didn't turn out quite like my inspiration, but the kids still had fun making it. 

If you're looking for more Easter ideas, check out my Pinterest fails from last Easter HERE
.

And if you're still in need of some non-candy ideas to fill up those Easter basket, I've got a long list for you HERE.

And if you're feeling ambitious and want to host an Easter party for a whole bunch of kids, find out how I easily hosted an Easter party and egg hunt for dozens of kids HERE.


Of course Easter's not all about bunnies and candy...

More than 2,000 years after Isaiah called Him the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ is still our key to peace. This year, in the week leading up to Easter, we've been watching videos that focus on different ways to honor Him and find His peace in our life.  Find out more at mormon.org


Click on the links below to watch a video about one of the eight principles to find His peace in your life:


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Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Best Patio Furniture EVER!

I think it's finally feeling like spring around here and that means spending more time outside.  I'm slowing starting to spruce up our patio and make it look fun and inviting.  A couple of years ago I found a great deal on some patio furniture that I absolutely love.  It's been one of the best investments we've made.  We were lucky enough to score this set of 6 chairs and a table on craigslist for only $900.  Considering the cheapest chairs I could find were $150, that price is a steal.  And since it's made out of poly wood, it still looks new and that's really saying something since our patio is very exposed to the elements such as the wind and sun.  Add in the fact that we don't do anything to maintain it and hardly ever clean it unless there's been a spill and that makes it ...
the best patio furniture ever!




Our backyard is on the south side of our house so it gets all the sun all day long.  Anything out there gets faded.  The yard and surrounding areas next to it are flat and it can get pretty windy.  So whatever is out there has to be pretty sturdy or it will fly off the patio and into our neighbor's yard.  Case in point, last month we had some strong winds and they blew our playhouse into our flower beds.  This is actually our 2nd playhouse.  Years ago, wind blew our playhouse to pieces.  It came apart and we never did find one of the roof pieces so we had to get rid of the entire thing.  Luckily our latest playhouse has yet to meet it's windy demise. 



This is not our first patio set.  We had a smaller one with four chairs and that would blow away in strong winds too.  I'd have to stack the chairs and line it all along the side of the house to prevent it from blowing into our neighbors yard.  This set here is not going anywhere.  I love that I don't have to worry about it moving much less getting blown away during strong winds.  But what I really love is that it's maintenance free.  I'm busy with four kids, I don't have time to be sanding and painting picnic tables when they get weathered.  This poly wood is great.  I don't have to worry about paint chips, splintered wood or fading colors.


Here are some more shots of my patio furniture.  Seriously, if you are in the market for a new patio set, I can't recommend this type highly enough.  It's more money than the wood kind, but the fact that it's maintenance free and will last a lifetime makes up for it.





I mentioned that we found ours on craigslist which was a rare find.  However if you are local and looking for a good deal on poly wood furniture, this is the cheapest place I know of:


No, I'm not being compensated in any way for this post, just sharing what I love and a good deal.



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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

FREE fun at the Lancaster Science Factory

Saturday we took the kids to the Lancaster Science Factory.  One of our local libraries has museum passes that you can check out for free and it allows you free admission into various museums.  If you can't get a museum pass, you can still get in for free.  This Saturday, March 25th, the Lancaster Science Factory is having FREE admission, no museum pass needed.  Regular admission is $8.50 per person which can quickly add up for a family of 6, so we're always on the look out for a good deal and free is even better.  You can check out their website HERE.  This post is not sponsored by the Lancaster Science Factory, I just wanted to share a good deal and a fun place to take the kids.



The science factory is great fun for kids of all ages (including adults).  The place isn't that big so it's easy to keep and eye on your kids when they all want to play in different areas.  It can be as fun or as educational as you want.  Each 'station' has things to do, kind of like a science experiment, and tells you how it works.  It is very interactive and some of the stations require team work, while others let you work alone.  We did most of the stations and stayed for about 3 hours.

My two year old was especially fond of anything that had to do with balls.  He loved watching the balls roll down this gravity well.

Of course my oldest daughter had to check out the art and music stations. 

There were several puzzles and brain teasers that kept my teenage son and husband busy.  Seriously, my son must have spent a good 30 minutes figuring out the Towers of Hanoi puzzle.   

Pulleys, more balls and dam building. 

It took some teamwork but they finally built the arch and even got it to stand still for an entire second until it came crashing down. 

Making designs with the sand pendulum.  

Gears, gears and more gears. 

Colored shadows. 

In case you are wondering about what types of stations or exhibits they have, here's the list:

Light & Vision:
  • Benham's Disk
  • Color Changeup
  • Color Filter (Chameleon)
  • Color Illusion Disks
  • Colored Shadows
  • Duck-Under Kaleidoscope
  • Lens, Mirrors & Filters
  • Scope on a Rope
  • Visual Illusions
 Electricity & Magnetism:
  • Crank Power
  • Conductors and Insulator
  • Electrical Circuits
  • Light It Up
  • Magnetic Field Visualization
  • Magnetic Sculpture
Mechanics & Motion currently on display in the Museum:
  • Ball Tracks - Galileo Track
  • Ball Tracks - High Road/Hilly Road
  • Ball Tracks - High Road/Low Road
  • Ball Tracks - Identical Tracks
  • Gear Power
  • Gravity Racer
  • Gravity Well
  • Kinetic Energy Machine
  • Magnetic Pendulum
  • Mechanical Advantage
  • Mini-Racers
  • Newton's Cradle
  • Pegboard Pendulum
  • Pendulum Lab - Period
  • Pendulum Snake
  • Roller Coaster
  • Sand Pendulum
  • Super Bounce
Structural Engineering:
  • Catenary Arch
  • Ceiling Beam
  • Earthquake
  • Truss Bridge
Acoustics:
  • Bongophone
  • Drumbone
  • Whisper Dishes
Fluid Dynamics:
  • Air Play
  • Dam the Creek
  • Flight Deck
  • Hero's Fountain
  • Minimal Surfaces
  • Parachute Launch
  • Tennis Ball Launcher
  • Water Tornado
Puzzles & Brain Teasers:
  • Army Ants
  • Big Magic
  • Box of Many Holes
  • Circle Packing
  • Crossing the River
  • Cyclograph
  • Horse & Cowboy
  • Hyperbolic Slot
  • Magic Square
  • Pyramid Puzzler
  • Shut the Box
  • Square Deal
  • Tangram
  • Towers of Hanoi
  • Trapezoids 2 Triangle
  • Vanishing Leprechaun

With kids of varying ages and stages, from toddlers to teens, it can be a challenge to find activities that everyone likes.  The Lancaster Science Factory is one of those places where everyone can play and have fun.  I'm sure we'll be checking out the free museum pass again and again.




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Thursday, March 2, 2017

How to Turn a Gift Bag into Art

I love shopping the post holiday clearance racks.  You never know what will be left so I try to think of creative ways to use what I see if I'm not planning on storing it away for next year.  I happened to be at Walmart when they had their Valentine's Day stuff for 90% off and picked up a cute gift bag.  I liked the wood grain pattern on it and thought it would make a cute piece of art.


Here's the original gift bag.  Cute enough on it's own and I could have packed it away to use for next Valentine's Day, but instead I wanted to make something out of it.


Do you see that price tag?  It was already cheap but at 90% off, that means I scored it for just .09¢.


I wanted to display it on my mantel next Valentine's Day so I thought putting it in a frame would be the easiest way to do that.  Luckily I had the perfect size frame in my stash of unused pictures and frames in the basement.


I just cut the top of the bag off, where the holes for the handles were and it fit into the frame perfectly.


It looks cute with the infinite love block I made last year.  
Click HERE to find out how I made it.



Anyone else shop the after Valentine's Day sales?  What did you pick up?


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt

Here's a recap of what we did for Valentine's Day with the kids.
While the three older ones were at school, my little helper and I made some treats.  
He helped lay the pretzels on the baking sheet and add the white chocolate candy melts on top.  Then I baked them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 5 minutes to soften up the candy melt so it would stick to the pretzels.  One I took them out, we added some red sprinkles.  He was so pleased with himself for making these that when the kids came home he could hardly wait to say, "Look what I made".


They don't do anything for Valentine's Day in middle school, but it's a big deal in Kindergarten.  My daughter had a mini party and passed out her own valentines as well as received valentines and candy, lots of candy.  Of course I had to make sure these kids were dressed in red to celebrate this day of love.


After dinner we had a Valentine's Day scavenger hunt.  I got the idea and clues from HERE.  I did have to tell the kids that they had to work together and wait for each other until they read the clues.  I had the running all over the house - from the living room, to the office, to the upstairs bathroom, back down to the kitchen sink, to the office again and then back up to our bedroom where the gifts were laid out on our bed.



After our scavenger hunt we watched a movie and had dessert.  I made THIS yummy cake that is so rich and chocolate-y it doesn't even need icing.

Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day celebrating with the ones you love.




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Monday, February 6, 2017

Valentine's Day Garland



I had to buy some pom poms for my daughter's science project.  She was making a model of the chemical element Fluorine.  She needed pom poms to represent the electrons.  We bought a bag of various brightly colored pom poms at the craft store.  She used purple for her electrons and I figured I could use the leftovers for holiday decorations.  I took out all the red and pink ones, arranged them in a pattern and threaded them together.  With the other colors, I figure I can make a St. Patrick's day garland, an Easter garland and a Spring garland.  Since they are just strung together using needle and  thread, I can easily undo them to create whatever pattern I want.  


I just hung them up on my mantel to decorate for Valentine's Day.  Now I need to get working on those 'LOVE' blocks I mentioned in my last post so my Valentine's Day decor doesn't look so sparse.



How do you decorate your mantel for Valentine's Day?  




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