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elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival with free printables

North Pole Breakfast 2017

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival with free printables

We kicked off the holiday season the first Saturday of December again this year with our North Pole Breakfast. This is our 4th year of this tradition and I just absolutely love it. A few components of the breakfast have become staples, such as the strawberry, banana santa hats topped with mini marshmallows and the powdered donuts north pole tower.

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast donuts and strawberry banana santa hats and free printable for sign

After they were a such a big hit last year, the chocolate reindeer donuts also made an appearance again this year.

To add something fun and new, this year I made Christmas tree pancakes. I just added green food coloring to our pancake mix, then used my biscuit cutters to make different size circles. I stacked the pancakes and added a gold glitter star to the top (taped to a cake pop stick). These were pretty easy to make and the boys loved them!

christmas tree pancake stack for north pole breakfast

I made a new North Pole sign and gift tags again this year. I really like that every year has its own sign and since I haven’t seen any new ones on Pinterest the last few years making my own has become part of the tradition.

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival with free printables

We re-read the our Elf on the Shelf book like we do every year and the boys opened their gifts from Jingle Bell (JB). Hudson got an awesome magnetic tic tac toe and checkers set, holiday window clings, bookmarks and an elf on the shelf activity pack. Luc got a magnetic North Pole activity set, holiday window clings, an elf on the shelf activity pack and a coloring book.

gifts from elf for north pole breakfast

north pole magnetic scene from target dollar spot gift from elf for north pole breakfast

window clings gift for north pole breakfast

Both boys thanked me for the fun breakfast and thanked JB for the gifts. They both told Jingle Bell how much they love him which was the cutest thing ever! We had such a fun morning!

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival with free printables

To get this year’s North Pole Breakfast printable, Click Here.

north pole breakfast free printable for elf on the shelf arrival

Tropical Paper Chain Countdown

Tropical Paper Chain Countdown

We obviously love paper chain countdowns in our house. We make them for everything and the kids and I love them. Before our Hawaii trip  I had been thinking that a tropical themed countdown would be fun and I knew pineapples and flowers would be perfect.

Tropical Paper Chain Countdown

I figured I would check Pinterest first to see if anyone else had done something similar and came across the cutest pineapple countdown by Short Stop Designs. I downloaded her free printable (you can too by clicking the link to her blog) and we made pineapples, but I still wanted to add some flowers into the mix. I found a free flower printable on Pinterest and used that too. I still felt it needed a bit more, so I cut out a smaller pink center for my flowers and made a stem using a snowflake punch and orange construction paper. To add these to your flowers, CLICK HERE to download my free printable. You can just print them out directly onto pink and orange construction paper, then cut them out and glue them to the center of your flowers.

Tropical Paper Chain Countdown

I then used the Simple Stories Wish You Were Here Digital Collection to make the countdown sign. I let the boys cut the 1.5″ inch paper strips and they helped staple them together. Didn’t it turn out so cute?! I actually kept “forgetting” to have the boys pull chains off the countdown because I loved looking at it so much.

Tropical Paper Chain Countdown

*This free printable from thecreativecopycat.com is for personal use only, you may not sell, share or link directly to this file.

Tropical Paper Chain Countdown
Tropical Paper Chain Countdown
Tropical Paper Chain Countdown

 

DIY halloween disney magnets - Free Printable - perfect to hold up your itinerary, tickets and daily navigator on a cruise. These would also make a great FE Exchange gift. Or would be cute around the house at Halloweentime.

Halloween Mickey Magnets – Free Printable

Before our first Disney Cruise I made a scrapbook page of our itinerary (You can check it out here). I liked it so much that I decided to make another one for our Halloween Disney Cruise. I love how this helps during the trip, then can be printed and placed in a scrapbook after. Since this was a Halloween cruise, I changed the pages up a bit to fit the theme. I also knew I would need to bring magnets again, but the ones I made for the last cruise didn’t match, so I made Halloween ones. These magnets are perfect for holding up the itinerary, event tickets, the daily navigator, etc. They would also make a great fish extender gift. Or if you just love Disney like our family does, you could use these around Halloween on your white board or fridge. Just click here for your free printable and follow the instructions below.

DIY halloween disney magnets - Free Printable - perfect to hold up your itinerary, tickets and daily navigator on a cruise. These would also make a great FE Exchange gift. Or would be cute around the house at Halloweentime.

DIY halloween disney magnets - Free Printable - perfect to hold up your itinerary, tickets and daily navigator on a cruise. These would also make a great FE Exchange gift. Or would be cute around the house at Halloweentime.

To make the magnets you need the following:

Directions:

  1. Print magnet printable on white cardstock
  2. Cut magnet shapes out
  3. Add glossy accents on top, let dry.
  4. Keep adding layers of Glossy Accents until shape feels sturdy.
  5. Add magnet to backside of each shape with Glossy Accents.

I’ve also added a few cards to the printable. These can be used to write notes about your trip, which can be added to a scrapbook when you get home. They could also be used to leave notes for people in other rooms. Or you could use them to write notes in your own room.

I hope you enjoy these printables and I hope that they make your Halloween Disney Cruise a little more magical.

DIY halloween disney magnets - Free Printable - perfect to hold up your itinerary, tickets and daily navigator on a cruise. These would also make a great FE Exchange gift. Or would be cute around the house at Halloweentime.

If you want to make a fun countdown for your Halloween Disney Cruise, check out this post.

Halloween Mickey and Minnie paper chain countdown - free printable - perfect to countdown to Halloween Time at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, Mickey's Halloween Party, a Halloween Disney Cruise or Halloween

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All characters and images representing them © Walt Disney Company, all rights reserved. The images are intended for non-profit purposes only. This website is not endorsed by or affiliated with the Disney Company. Pumpkin Mickey image is from Disneyclips.com

bat treat holders- easy diy bat containers that can be filled with candy or small toys, stickers and spiders.

Bat Treat Holder

At the She Loves Color event a few weeks ago we made the cutest and easiest little treat holders. My mind immediately began spinning with ideas and I decided that it would be really cute to make little bats using the same concept. At the event we put m&ms in the containers, but for Luc’s preschool we are asked to bring non-food treats, so I bought some bubbles, spider rings, Halloween stickers and tattoos to put inside. Luc helped me fill the bats and attach their googly eyes. Didn’t they turn out so cute?! Luc loves them and keeps asking when he gets to take them to school so he can give them to all his friends. 🙂

bat treat holders- easy diy bat containers that can be filled with candy or small toys, stickers and spiders.

bat treat holders- easy diy bat containers that can be filled with candy or small toys, stickers and spiders.

bat treat holders- easy diy bat containers that can be filled with candy or small toys, stickers and spiders.

To make these you will need the following:

  • Black Construction Paper
  • Paper Trimmer
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided Tape (I tried 3 different tapes before having success with Tombow XTreme Permanent Adhesive)
  • White Construction Paper
  • Craft eyes (we bought the ones with adhesive on them already, but any will work)
  • Star Punch (Optional, you could also just free hand the fangs, but this is a nice little shortcut)
  • Bat wing template

Directions:

  1. Download, print and cut bat wing template.
  2. Trace bat wings onto black construction paper and cut out.
  3. Use a star punch and white construction paper to make fangs (each point of the star is a fang) or just cut the fangs yourself.
  4. Cut the construction paper into 4.25″x5.5″ rectangles.
  5. Add tape to one short side and both long sides of paper.
  6. Roll over and tape together forming a tube.
  7. Pinch the bottom with the seam in the middle.
  8. Fill with candy or small treats
  9. Pinch the top closed in the opposite direction (the seam will be on one side of the crease)
  10. Tape the wings to the back overlapping slightly over the seam.
  11. Add googly eyes and fangs.

bat treat holders step by step directions - easy diy bat containers that can be filled with candy or small toys, stickers and spiders.

I hope you enjoy these fun little treat bags.

bat treat holders- easy diy bat containers that can be filled with candy or small toys, stickers and spiders.

For another Fang-Tastic candy-free Halloween classroom treat, check out this fun idea and free printable that I made for Hudson’s class treats last year.

cute and easy non-food halloween card printable with vampire fang whistle

Halloween mickey paper chain countdown - free printable - perfect to countdown to Halloween Time at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, Mickey's Halloween Party, a Halloween Disney Cruise or Halloween

Halloween Themed Mickey Paper Chain Countdown – Free Printable

We do paper chain countdowns for everything in our house. After making a Mickey Paper Chain to countdown to our Disney Cruise I started thinking about how I could do one to count down to our upcoming Halloween Disney Cruise. I must admit that gluing on the ears and attempting to cut out little ovals was slightly time consuming (not really, but you know, as a mom, any corner cutting is gladly welcomed) so I decided to make this one a printable. Not only does this save a bunch of time, but it makes my wannabe perfectionist heart so happy.

Halloween mickey paper chain countdown - free printable - perfect to countdown to Halloween Time at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, Mickey's Halloween Party, a Halloween Disney Cruise or Halloween

This paper chain could be used for a countdown to a Disney Trip at Halloween, Mickey’s Halloween Party, a Halloween Disney Cruise, or if you are big Disney fans, but don’t have any trips to count down to, you could use it to count down to Halloween or as a decoration. I hope you have fun with it. Happy Halloween.

Halloween mickey paper chain countdown - free printable - perfect to countdown to Halloween Time at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, Mickey's Halloween Party, a Halloween Disney Cruise or Halloween

To download the printables, click on the following links:

Mickey Paper Chain Printable

Minnie Paper Chain Printable

Countdown to Disneyland Sign

Countdown to Walt Disney World Sign

Countdown to Disney Cruise Sign

Countdown to Halloween Sign

Then just print them out on cardstock, cut everything out and glue or staple the links together.

*These free printables from thecreativecopycat.com are for personal use only, you may not sell, share or link directly to these files.

Halloween Mickey and Minnie paper chain countdown - free printable - perfect to countdown to Halloween Time at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, Mickey's Halloween Party, a Halloween Disney Cruise or Halloween
Halloween Mickey and Minnie paper chain countdown - free printable - perfect to countdown to Halloween Time at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, Mickey's Halloween Party, a Halloween Disney Cruise or Halloween
Halloween Mickey and Minnie paper chain countdown - free printable - perfect to countdown to Halloween Time at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, Mickey's Halloween Party, a Halloween Disney Cruise or Halloween
may your coffee be stronger than your students free printable - put a gift card in and pass out to teachers for back to school, teacher appreciation or just because.

May Your Coffee Be Stronger Than Your Students – Free Printable

A friend of mine posted a hand-lettered version of this saying the other day and it immediately reminded me of my “May Your Coffee Be Stronger Than Your Toddler” gift card printable so I decided to make one for teachers too. We are only a week into Luc’s first year at Preschool and kids are still crying all day (talk about heartbreaking) and kids are already getting sick; and while two-year old kids are adorable, they can also be quite a handful! Hudson’s been in school a few weeks now and while his age is probably not as challenging in some ways (although they are still dealing with some crying and sickness too), there are a lot of kids in his class and I’m sure they provide plenty of challenges for their teacher. I love both of my boys’ teachers and think they are true superheros, so I figured why not kick off the school year with a little light-hearted gift. I know these early morning drop-offs are kicking my butt (I am so not a morning person and we have already been late more than I care to admit) and figured most everyone enjoys a cup of coffee in the morning. These printables are perfect for sliding in a gift card to any coffee shop and treating your kid’s teachers to a nice cup of coffee to help get them through the day.

may your coffee be stronger than your students free printable - put $5 gift cards in and pass out to teachers for back to school, teacher appreciation or just because.

Click here to get your free printable.

Supplies (you could easily do this without most of these supplies, but they might make your life easier)

may your coffee be stronger than your students free printable - put $5 gift cards in and pass out to teachers for back to school, teacher appreciation or just because.

Directions:

  1. Print out the printable on cardstock
  2. Cut out using paper trimmer and scissors
  3. Use circle punch to remove half circle for tab
  4. Use score board and bone folder to make creases along white lines
  5. Add double-sided tape or glue to tabs
  6. Fold card over and press down to attach to tabs
  7. Gift card should slide nicely inside

Both boys’ teachers were very appreciative of the gift and it definitely made them smile. They may always tell us that they adore our kids and that they love teaching, but just like any job, I’m sure it has its moments, and I’m glad my kid’s have teachers with good senses of humor. And just like with parenting, sometimes one good cup of coffee can make all the difference. 😉

*This free printable from thecreativecopycat.com is for personal use only, you may not sell, share or link directly to this file.

shark week playdate - free banner printable, chumming for sharks yogurt recipe, shark bait recipe, link to popcorn bucket printable and tons of other shark week ideas

Shark Week Playdate and Free Printables

We had our friends over for a playdate during shark week, so I of course used it as an excuse to have a fun, shark themed get together. I love little events like this because it allows me to be crafty and creative without all the work and stress of a full-blown party. I didn’t start making stuff or preparing until Monday (our friends came over on Wednesday) so this is totally do-able for busy or last-minute moms. 🙂

DECORATIONS

I started out like I always do, searching Pinterest for ideas and free printables. I found some really cute stuff to use as well as some fun ideas. I didn’t see anything I could use for a banner though, so I made one myself. I think it turned out really cute and I always feel like a banner makes the table look complete. You can download the free banner printable by clicking HERE. Just cut it out, punch holes in the corners and run string through it. Lately I have been using blue painters tape to hang up my banners then covering the tape up with cute washi.

shark week letterboard idea

I also used my letterboard for the occasion. It was a bit of a challenge creating the shark fin, but I love how it turned out.

SNACKS

Chumming for Sharks Yogurt

chumming for sharks yogurt - perfect healthy snack or breakfast for shark week or a shark birthday

I wanted to have a few snacks with at least one healthy option, but most of the ideas on Pinterest were not very healthy. Usually I am all about desserts, but we have been making an effort to eat healthier lately so I came up with my own snack idea by combining a few ideas from Pinterest. We ended up making chumming for sharks yogurt. The kids helped me make these, which was a lot of fun. To make these you will need the following:

  • Granola (optional)
  • Greek Yogurt (we used vanilla)
  • Blue food coloring (you only need a few drops)
  • Frozen Strawberries in Sugar (we bought this from the frozen section of the grocery store)
  • Plastic Cups
  • Mini spoons
  • Grey construction paper (to make shark fins)
  • Glue gun

We added a little bit of granola to the bottom of the cups, put a few drops of blue food coloring into the yogurt, scooped the yogurt into the cup, then topped it with the chum (the frozen strawberries). I explained to the boys that chum is what they dump in the water to attract sharks and then what do you know, a few sharks showed up and jumped right into our bowls. 😉 The kids loved it! I free hand cut out shark fins out of grey construction paper and glued them onto mini spoons. I also used a few sharks left over from the adorable popcorn buckets I made using a printable from My Printly.

Shark Bait

shark bait popcorn snack is easy, delicious, and perfect for shark week or a shark party

Of course, I had to do one sweet treat, so I made shark bait. It was so delicious and all the little sharks ate it up super fast! I spent Tuesday night driving from store to store searching for shark gummies. I feel like I always see them until the time I need them, then they vanished. I found gummy bears, worms, snakes, octopus, frogs, dinosaurs, alligators and lions! Literally every gummy animal ever made except sharks! Then I thought, why would sharks want to eat sharks, and decided that putting them in my shark bait didn’t make sense anyways. That is when I came up with the goldfish idea. Sharks love eating fish, especially delicious sweet ones. They have so many fun flavors now too that you could use, but I must say, the s’mores goldfish were perfect in this recipe. To make the shark bait you will need the following:

  • Sea Salt Air Popped Popcorn
  • Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips
  • Blue M&Ms
  • S’mores Goldfish Crackers

I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, spread out my popcorn, sprinkled in goldfish and m&ms, then drizzled the melted white chocolate over it. I put it in the fridge until it cooled then broke it apart and put it in the cutest popcorn buckets from My Printly. These were so perfect for our playdate and I have been refilling the containers with shark bait all week so the boys can munch on it while watching Shark Week.

Ocean Water

ocean water - blue gatorade with a swedish fish makes an easy and fun drink for shark week or a shark party

For drinks, I kept it simple with blue Gatorade and a swedish fish on each straw.

ACTIVITIES

Shark Sensory Bin

shark sensory bin

I set up a shark sensory bin. What I love most about sensory bins is that they don’t always have to be fancy. I didn’t have time to buy anything (and to be honest didn’t really want to spend a bunch of money) so I just used what we already had. A bag of glass circle vase fillers, water and plastic sharks. That’s it! And you know what, the kids loved it and played with it for quite a while. Sometimes, I think we as moms get caught up in making everything Pinterest worthy, but kids don’t need much to have fun. They were getting so creative and having the best time! When you give kids water activities, you usually can’t go wrong.

Shark Slime

shark slime - perfect activity for shark week

We also made shark slime. For our first attempt, the day before the playdate, we tried to use a non-borax recipe, but the slime was so sticky. I watched a bunch of you tube videos and started adding everything they recommended for sticky slime, but nothing helped. So my hubby bought borax and like magic our sticky bowl of blue goop turned into slime. When our friends came over, we made a second batch using the borax recipe and it worked great. The kids loved playing with their sharks in the slime! I used this recipe to make the slime.

Shark Play Doh Mats

shark week playdoh mats free printables

I also had a little play doh station with our shark week playdoh mats, some playdoh and some cutters. My boys had already done this activity earlier in the week and the kids were all having so much fun with the other activities that we didn’t get to this. You can check the play doh mats out here.

Shark Cutting and Tracing Activity

free printable - shark cutting and tracing practice

I also made a fun little printable for Hudson. I printed one out and had it laminated so it could be used as a tracing exercise. Both boys had fun with that. Then I printed one out on regular paper so Hudson could also use it for cutting. Hudson loves cutting so this was perfect for him. You can get the printable HERE. *Graphics were purchased from Prettygrafik Design.

CRAFTS

I had a few crafts to do that I found on Pinterest, but we didn’t get to those either. Good thing shark week lasts an entire week so we can fit in all the fun we planned.

Clothespin Sharks

clothespin shark craft for shark week

I let each of the kids select one craft from Pinterest. Hudson chose clothespin sharks from Kix. This wasn’t an ideal craft for my kids’ ages so I pretty much ended up making these, but the kids did love playing with them.

Toilet Paper Roll Sharks and Paper Towel Roll Hammerhead Sharks

Luc chose to make paper toilet roll sharks. The one he selected was a regular shark, but his favorite shark is the hammerhead so I got really excited when I found a paper towel roll hammerhead shark on Pinterest. We are planning to make both, but so far have only completed phase one. I will update this once we finish the project.

Shark Hats

shark hats perfect for shark week

I was also planning to make shark hats, but the hats we selected required an obscure paper size in numerous colors that was not readily available (please tell me I am not the only one who spends tons of time driving from store to store looking for seemingly basic craft supplies that are actually impossible to find). Luckily, one of my friends, Danielle, from Mama Life Inspiration, who is an awesome blogger, posted an adorable shark hat idea. So we ended up making those instead and the boys had tons of fun finger painting their shark fins and tails. Of course they also loved running around in their shark hats. For more details on the hats and for the link to the shark fin hat template click here. Danielle also has a bunch of other fun shark week ideas on her blog so be sure to take a look.

As you can see, we squeezed a whole lot of Shark Fun into one week. My boys just love sharks so much that I couldn’t help myself and went a little overboard. You could easily pick just a few of these ideas to make your shark week a bit more fun.

I hope you have a fin-tastic Shark Week!!

shark week playdoh mats free printables

Shark Week Playdoh Mats – Free Printables

My boys are obsessed with sharks so Shark Week is kind of a big deal in our house. The boys had so much fun playing with the Playdoh Mats I made. They loved cutting out shark teeth, placing them on the shark and then pretending that the shark was eating fish. They also had fun creating underwater scenes with seaweed, fish and shrimp. Luc had a harder time with this one, but both mats kept the kids entertained for quite a while and since I laminated the printables, I know they will provide lots more fun in the future.

shark week playdoh mats free printables

Here are some of the things I gave the kids to play with (there are so many possibilities, you can easily just use what you have on hand):

Mini Cookie Cutters (we used the triangle for the shark teeth and one that looked like a fish)

Playdoh Set (Any playdoh set with a few basic tools such as a rolling pin, knife, shape cutters and shape molds will work)

To download the ocean play doh mat Click Here.

To download the shark play doh mat Click Here.

I hope you enjoy these mats as much as we do!

*Graphics for these printables were purchased from Prettygrafik Design. These free printables from thecreativecopycat.com are for personal use only, you may not sell, share or link directly to these files.

shark week playdoh mats free printables
mama, you inspire me free card printable - perfect for Mother's Day or just because to encourage and uplift your mama friends

Mama, You Inspire Me – Free Card Printable

Just like the Mama, You Rock cards, which you can get here, these cards are perfect for sending an uplifting note to your mama friends. So many of my mama friends inspire me in different ways. I hope receiving a note in the mail helps those mamas to feel appreciated and realize that not only are they doing a great job raising their kids, but they are also making a positive impact on the other mamas in their life too. The best thing about these cards is that they can be used year round and I definitely think mamas deserve love, encouragement and recognition all year!

Click here to get your free printable.

mama, you rock free card printable - perfect for Mother's Day or just because to encourage and uplift your mama friends

Mama, You Rock!

One of the hardest things for me when transitioning from working to staying at home was the lack of validation and re-assurance that I was doing a good job. At work, I didn’t get much of this either, so I figured I would have been better prepared, but I quickly realized that I had figured out ways to validate myself. I made to-do lists, did trending to make sure I was always improving, I had an annual audit where an outside source evaluated my work, then gave me feedback and a score. As a stay at home mom, my to do lists were never even getting looked at, heck, I was barely even finding time to shower and I constantly felt like I was failing. I didn’t really talk to anyone about how I was feeling, but I assumed I wasn’t the only one.

Facing challenges like that again, also brought back a lot of memories from my first year with each of my boys. Hudson had reflux, allergies and eczema and was therefore always fussy and needing to be held. Luc had food intolerances and tummy issues (nothing to the extreme like with Hudson), but he was a terrible sleeper and I was an emotional mess. So many times I would wonder why motherhood seemed to be so much harder for me.

As I talk to more and more mom friends though, I realize that many of us feel this way at one point or another. I had been trying to think of a small way I could make a positive change and had a little lightbulb moment around the holidays and when we were in Australia. Just before we left for our trip, my best friend’s mom sent me a text telling me she was proud of me and that I was doing a wonderful job with my kids and then while in Australia, my sister-in-law also told me that I was doing a great job raising my boys. I cried when I read those words in the text and almost burst into tears the second time too. Their words were so powerful and it got me thinking that many of us moms don’t hear encouragement like that often enough. It seems like the focus is primarily on what we are doing wrong or what we can be doing better (and I am definitely my own worst critic) so it was just nice to feel validated and hear that encouragement.

I decided I wanted to make more of an effort to uplift my mama friends, but sometimes it’s hard or awkward, at least for me, to verbalize praise for my mama friends, especially when most of our gatherings involve chasing after our kids. I figured a card would be a better approach and there is just something special about receiving a hand written note in the mail. I enlisted the help of one of my favorite mamas to do the artwork. She founded the facebook group, First Time Mommy Group, which provided me with so much support and encouragement my first few years of motherhood (you can also find her on instagram, just click here). It seemed fitting that she be involved in creating another way to uplift and acknowledge mamas. I’ve made her beautiful artwork into a printable and can’t wait to start writing notes to send to all my mama friends.  

I hope we can use these notes to tell our mama friends what a great job they are doing, or to share our own struggles so they don’t feel so alone or just to give them a little boost on a tough day (because even the best mom with the easiest baby has those tough days). I hope we can use these cards as one step towards lifting each other up and encouraging each other because Mama, You Rock!

Click here to get your free printable.

*If you send or receive one of these cards and share it on social media, please use the hashtag #mamayourock