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a month of elf on the shelf ideas with free north pole breakfast printables

Elf on the Shelf 2016

This was our third year of having Jingle Bell visit and it is becoming one of our favorite traditions. We always kick of Jingle Bell’s arrival with a fun breakfast and we all just love looking for him each morning.  Here is all of the fun we had while Jingle Bell visited us last year. 

a month of elf on the shelf ideas. Tons of fun original ideas with free printables and links to free printables

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Day 1 – North Pole Breakfast (12/3)

north pole breakfast - elf on the shelf idea - free printables

Since we usually spend Thanksgiving out of town, our elf always arrives the first Saturday of December. Last year, he arrived on December 3rd, 2016.  We hosted our North Pole Breakfast to welcome our elf, Jingle Bell. We had Snowman donuts, strawberry/banana santa hats, chocolate reindeer donuts and gifts. To read more about this tradition and all the fun we had at our breakfast (and to get some free printables), CLICK HERE

Day 2 – Snow Angel (12/4)

snow angel- elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell dumped out some of our fake snow decorations and made a snow angel.

Day 3 – Ornament Hunt (12/5)

hide ornaments around the house to find and add to the tree - elf on the shelf ideas

 

Scavenger Hunts have been a big hit over the years, so this year Jingle Bell hid ornaments around the house. He asked the kids to find them and then put them on the tree.

Day 4 – Spreading Holiday Cheer (12/6)

spread holiday cheer - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell brought us a gift bow and asked us to spread some holiday cheer by doing something nice for someone else. We filled a box with cookies and gave it to our mailman. I know the kids are still young, but I’m hoping as they get older we can continue to teach them about doing nice things for others, especially at this time of year. To get the free printables from Frugal Coupon Living, click here.

Day 5 – Nerf Gun Attack (12/7)

nerf gun attack - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell was hanging upside down pointing a nerf gun at us. Of course, Hudson thought it was hilarious.

Day 6 – Pooping Elf (12/8)

Pooping Elf - elf on the shelf idea

We found Jingle Bell in the bathroom, pooping in a glass and reading the Elf on the Shelf Book. The boys couldn’t believe their elf poops chocolate kisses. This was one of their favorites, by far. In fact, a year later, they are still talking about it. Being a mom of boys has meant accepting that boys think poop is funny, lol. To get the mini Elf on the Shelf Book from A Little of This That, click here.

Day 7 – Disney Gingerbread House (12/9)

gingerbread house - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell brought us a gingerbread kit. The kids loved that it was a Disney themed house and we all had a great time building it together.

Day 8 – Backwards Day (12/10)

Backwards Day - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell declared it Backwards Day. He turned our banner around, wore his clothes backwards, and encouraged us to be as backwards as possible for the day. We had dinner for breakfast, breakfast for dinner and the boys wore their clothes backwards too. It was such a fun and silly day!

Day 9 – Train Ride Around the Tree (12/11)

elf riding a train around the tree - elf on the shelf idea

The kids woke up to find Jingle Bell riding a train around the tree. The kids absolutely loved this!

Day 10 – Elf Yourself (12/12)

Elf Yourself - elf on the shelf ideas

The kids loved looking in the mirror and becoming an elf.

Day 11 – Swinging from the Light (12/13)

elf swinging from a chandelier - elf on the shelf idea

Part of the fun for the boys is trying to find Jingle Bell each morning. JB doesn’t have to always be doing something elaborate, just the fact that he is somewhere else and the kids get to search for him brings them so much joy.

Day 12 – Lego Christmas Tree (12/14)

elf sized Christmas tree - elf on the shelf ideas

Jingle Bell built his own elf sized Christmas tree with legos.

Day 13 – Paper Sack Races (12/15)

sack race with other stuffed animals - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell recruited some of the boys’ other toys to have a sack race.

Day 14 – Nerf Gun Fight (12/16)

nerf gun fight - elf on the shelf idea

Apparently the toys thought Jingle Bell was cheating at the sack races, so they tied him up and had a nerf gun fight. The boys thought it was pretty funny.

Day 15 – Snowball Fight (12/15)

elf on the shelf snowball fight with instructions to make your own ice walls - elf on the shelf ideas

The boys woke up to find Jingle Bell and Buzz Lightyear having a snowball fight. Then they noticed that Jingle Bell had left them their own ice walls and their snowballs so they could have their own snowball fight. It was so fun! One of our favorite Jingle Bell memories and the ice walls and snowballs have provided hours and hours of fun! Click here to learn how to make your own ice walls and click here to purchase indoor snowballs.

Day 16 – Paper Airplane (12/18)

paper airplane riding elf - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell took one of the paper airplanes the boys had made and flew on it.

Day 17 – Glow Party (12/19)

glow party - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell had a glow party in the bathroom. He had glow stick necklaces around his neck and left some for the boys to play with too.

Day 18 – Book Tree (12/20)

new Christmas books decorating the tree - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell brought the boys a bunch of new books and covered the tree in them. It wasn’t quite as funny as when JB covered the tree in underwear, but the kids still liked it. Plus, they loved having new holiday books to read.

Day 19 – Cookie Decorating (12/21)

let's make cookies for santa cookie playset - elf on the shelf ideas

Jingle Bell brought the boys the cutest pretend cookie set and suggested we bake cookies for Santa.

Day 20 – sELF Portrait (12/22)

sELF portrait - elf on the shelf ideas

Jingle Bell painted a sELF portrait. He is quite an artist.

Day 21 – Mini Cookies (12/23)

Elf size cookies - elf on the shelf ideas

We baked our cookies a few days earlier, but didn’t have time to decorate them, so Jingle Bell made some elf sized cookies and reminded us that we needed to finish our cookies for Santa.

Day 22 – Goodbye Jingle Bell (12/24)

Goodbye Letter - elf on the shelf ideas

Jingle Bell said good-bye and headed off the the North Pole.




For more Elf on the Shelf Ideas, check out these posts:

Elf on the Shelf 2015

Elf on the Shelf 2014

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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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!!

Party with our Peeps - peep pops, bunny tails, donuts and free printables - Easter Egg Game and Photo Booth Sign

Party with our Peeps

Our Party with our Peeps was so much fun and a great way to welcome our friends visiting us from Australia.

Our friends arrived in the morning, so I had a spread of easy breakfast items like donuts and cinnamon rolls ready for them.

If you really want to get into the theme, you could also shape your cinnamon rolls into bunnies. (I did this on a different morning and stuck with regular cinnamon rolls the day of the party to keep things simple).

bunny shaped cinnamon rolls - cinnabunnies for Easter breakfast or a Party with your Peeps

I also made peeps pops. No one really ate them (probably a good thing because – sugar overload!), but they were so cute and really made the table look complete.

Party with our Peeps - peep pops, bunny tails, donuts and free printables - Easter Egg Game and Photo Booth Sign

To make the pops I just inserted cute party straws, snipped off the bottom and stuck it to a white candy melt. I lined up the candy melts on wax paper then used a lighter to melt them just slightly before sticking the peep on. Then I tied a bow around them. So easy and cute. 🙂

make peeps pops using, party straws, candy melts and ribbon

I hung up the adorable banner my friend cut out for me using her silhouette (I drew on the faces with sharpie so they would look more like peeps) with washi tape. It was so easy, looked cute and didn’t wreck my walls. I placed the photo booth sign (get your free sign here) and props on the table too.

free printable - party with your peeps photo booth sign - perfect for Easter

We played the Easter Egg Game after we ate and it was so much fun! Check out this post for instructions and free printables.

Free Printable - Easter Egg Game- fun activity game for toddlers and young kids

After naps, we decorated our Easter Eggs. We had also planned to do a fun peeps art project from This Sweet Happy Life, but everyone was a bit tired so we let the kids run around in the backyard playing with the water hose instead. 😉

This party was a lot of fun and would be great for a play date with friends or just as an Easter kick-off. It ended up being the perfect way to welcome our friends. It was very simple, but made the day feel extra special.

>Party with our Peeps - peep pops, bunny tails, donuts and free printables - Easter Egg Game and Photo Booth Sign
Free Printable - Easter Egg Game- fun activity game for toddlers and young kids

The Easter Egg Game

When I was thinking of ideas for our “Party with our Peeps” at 2am instead of sleeping (anyone else do that?) I thought it would be fun to have a game for the kids so I came up with one that is great for young kids. Ours are aged 2.5, 3 and 4.5 and it was perfect for them. It is a bit of a combination of an idea I saw on Pinterest for an egg hunt with activities like “do a somersault” inside the egg and Roll and Play. (Roll and Play is one of our favorite games – it is the perfect first game for little ones, especially little ones who have older siblings that love board games). It was really fun and I should note that the title is courtesy of Hudson. 😉 I hope you enjoy this game as much as we do.

Free Printable - Easter Egg Game- fun activity game for toddlers and young kids

The Easter Egg Game

Supplies:

Game Boards (Click link to download free Printable)

List of Activities (Click link to download free Printable)

12 Easter Eggs – (I used two of each color and selected colors that matched the game boards)

Set-Up:

Print out and cut out your list of Activities.

Place one in each egg – matching the peeps to the egg.

Print out and cut out your game boards (This game works best for two players, but could easily be played with more – we had three kids so we put the two little ones on a team together).

To Play:

Player 1 selects an egg, opens it, then performs the activity. If they complete the activity, they get to keep the egg.

Player 2 does the same thing.

The goal is to collect one of each color egg.

Our kids just placed the egg on the coordinating game piece, but you could also use stickers to mark each spot.

Free Printable - Easter Egg Game- fun activity game for toddlers and young kids

Just like in roll and play, this game is more about the fun of the activities than winning and it was the perfect length and skill level for our kids. Luc struggled a tiny bit with waiting his turn, but other than that, it was great for them to think about what colors they needed to complete their board and of course they all loved doing the activities. I hope you enjoy this fun Easter game. If you like it, please Pin It!

Free Printable - Easter Egg Game- fun activity game for toddlers and young kids

Happy Easter!!

st patrick's day dessert table with links to free printables

St. Patrick’s Day Round-up

We had so much fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year. We crammed a lot in and most of the things we did didn’t involve a lot of work on my end which was a plus! Our family has been sick with one thing or another since Christmas and I was in bed all last weekend so I didn’t plan anything for this holiday until I was feeling better on Tuesday. So most of these ideas can totally be thrown together at the last-minute with minimal effort, yay! And because I was short on time, I had to get creative and I came up with a few really simple and easy ideas that were some of the biggest hits with my kids. In case you are busy or hate reading, here is a cliff notes, round-up photo. If you want all the details though (with links to recipes and printables), keep on reading.

Tons of fun ideas for St. Patrick's Day - sensory bin, fine motor activities, art, desserts, meals, and links to printables

We started off the week, with green pancakes. We do this every year and it is always a hit. My kids love pancakes! 🙂 There are so many ways you could do this. Green food coloring is the easiest. Spinach pancakes are a healthier option, but my kids refused to eat them the year I made them. I always like doing mine in shapes. One year I free-handed shamrocks, but now I just use my heart pancake molds.

use heart shaped pancake molds and green food coloring to make shamrock pancakes

We added another fun breakfast idea into the mix this year and it was also a big hit. I saw this idea on Pinterest from the Celebration Shoppe. We made shamrock cinnamon rolls. You just carefully unroll the cinnamon roll dough (I used the Pillsbury grand cinnamon rolls), cut it into five pieces, then pinch 4 of them into teardrops and place together like a shamrock.

shamrock cinnamon rolls using store bought cinnamon rolls

Then I baked them at 350 for about 13-15 minutes. I added a drop of food coloring to the frosting then spread it all over the warm rolls. I topped them with a few green sprinkles too to make them extra festive. The kids loved these and Luc has been asking for them for breakfast every morning since.

shamrock cinnamon rolls using store bought cinnamon rolls

Last year, I  made Hudson an elaborate rainbow lunch (complete with a pot of gold chicken nuggets), but this year I simply ran out of time.

rainbow fruit with pot of gold chicken nuggets

On our drive home from pre-school I started wracking my brain trying to figure something out using things we had on hand and I came up with the easiest and cutest lunch idea: I put some spreadable butter in a bowl, added a drop of food coloring and made Hudson a shamrock toasty sandwich.

add food coloring to spreadable butter and heart cookie cutter to make a shamrock toasty sandwich

The green color intensified in the panini press and I used a heart cookie cutter to make the shamrock. I served it with some leftover shamrock shake and green veggie chips. Super easy, delicious and very cute.

add food coloring to spreadable butter and heart cookie cutter to make a shamrock toasty sandwich

add food coloring to spreadable butter and heart cookie cutter to make a shamrock toasty sandwich

Speaking of smoothies, we have done different variations of green smoothies over the years. All have been dairy free because of Hudson’s allergy. Last year we tried this one from my friend Amy and we really liked it.

dairy free healthy mint smoothie

This year, we changed it up and went with a dole whip smoothie as a pot of gold. I have been wanting to try a dole whip smoothie forever and since we had already planned on watching Moana on St. Patrick’s Day, I figured it would be the perfect dessert. Unfortunately, my blender died half way through making these and the boys didn’t end up liking it (I think because they weren’t smooth enough – they are weird about texture). If you are interested though the super easy 3-ingredient recipe and adorable printables can be found at The Littles and Me.

pot of gold 3 ingredient dole whip smoothies with link to printables

We also did some really fun activities this year. My boys love sensory bins, so I threw together a St. Patrick’s Day themed one for them using chick peas, a few shamrock stickers, cups, funnels, miniature tongs (from Walmart), and spikey balls. This ended up being a great fine motor sensory bin because both boys used the tongs to pick up the balls and place them in the cups.

St. Patrick's Day themed sensory bin

We were invited to a very fun playdate this year too. Our friend had a few simple treats and snacks and provided us with canvases and paints so we could make a rainbow hand print. It was really easy and I am such a sucker for hand print art so of course I love how they turned out!

rainbow handprint art - perfect for St. Patrick's Day

Every year I make rice krispy treats with Lucky Charms marshmallows in them. I know most people just use Lucky charms cereal, but I did that one year and prefer this way. The only problem is that you have to pick out all the marshmallows. Well, I came across the cutest little hand tweezers “handy helpers” at Walmart and decided this would be a perfect fine motor activity for my 4-year-old. I poured a large bowl of cereal and asked him to pick out all the marshmallows. It was a total win-win.

Fine motor activity - have child pick out marshmallows using "handy helpers" or mini tongs

Then we made the rice krispy treats together. For his afternoon snack, I gave him a lucky charm treat with a big glass of green milk and he couldn’t have been happier. 🙂 (I also used the treats to bribe the boys to take their antibiotics – dessert for breakfast is a big hit with kids. 😉 )

rice krispy treats with lucky charm marshmallows added and green milk - perfect treat for St. Patrick's Day

I have a funny story to share – a few years ago, pre-kids, I decided at the last-minute to make a St. Patrick’s Day dinner (my first). See, last minute has always been my jam. 😉 I knew I wouldn’t have time to make something super traditional because I literally made the decision to make something on my way home from work. I found a recipe from Paula Deen, grabbed groceries and got to cooking. The cabbage I was making looked amazing and then I got to the part in the recipe where I had to add cans of corned beef. They were supposed to hold their shape, but they hit the cabbage and turned into a soupy mess of what looked a lot like dog food. It looked so gross, that Nic and I both refused to even try it. I threw it in the trash and he headed out to get us McDonalds. I had kind of erased this funny disaster from my memory, but I was solo parenting this week and grabbed the kids McDonalds for dinner Thursday night. The boys both loved the Shamrock shake and we had a really fun night reading a few St. Patrick’s Day themed books. I think this is going to have to become our new Night Before St. Patrick’s Day tradition because it was really fun, easy and a bit sentimental. 😉

the night before St. Patrick's Day tradition - read books and drink a McDonald's shamrock shake

For St. Patrick’s Day dinner, I usually make corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot, but because I didn’t plan ahead we didn’t have all the ingredients we needed. Instead, I made cheese stuffed spinach tortellini (the ones you buy pre-packaged) and then I made a green sauce loosely following this recipe from Taming Twins. (You could use pesto for a much easier option, but my boys haven’t been cleared to eat pine nuts – they have allergies). I forgot to put spinach on the grocery list and didn’t really measure; I just threw the boiled brocoli, cauliflower and cheese in my cuisinart (because my blender was toast from the smoothie) and added some milk until I got the consistency I wanted. Hudson really liked it, but Luc took one look at it and refused to even try it. I guess you can’t win them all right? 😉

spinach tortellini with brocolli cheese sauce for an easy and festive green St. Patrick's Day dinner

For dessert, I always make these Green Velvet Mint Cupcakes. They are just my twist on my favorite Red Velvet Peppermint Cupcakes.

use m&ms to make shamrocks - green velvet st patricks day cupcakes with mint cream cheese frosting

In the past I have also made Saltine Cracker Toffee (which can easily be adjusted for any holiday), but I figured we had enough dessert in the mix already this year.

saltine cracker toffee for st. patrick's day

I also stepped up my table display this year using a few really fun free printables from Elva M Designs. You can find the ones I used plus a bunch more here.

green velvet cupcakes with mint cream cheese frosting and link to free lucky you printables

I also printed out some fun photo booth props from the Dating Divas that can be found here. If you want to get more info on how to set-up your own DIY photobooth, check out this post.

link to free St. Patrick's Day photobooth props and diy photobooth set-up

I hope some of these ideas inspire you to add a little fun into your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door. 🙂

(A link to this as a free printable and tons of other fun ideas can be found on my Pinterest page – be sure to follow me)

free printable shark valentines day cards

Shark Valentine’s Day Cards

Every year I ask Hudson what kind of Valentine cards he wants and then I look on Pinterest for a free printable or I make them myself. This year he asked for shark valentines (sharks are one of his favorite animals). I filled my Amazon cart with a few shark toy options: shark squirters and shark figurines and let Hudson pick what he wanted to gift to his classmates. Hudson ended up picking a fun 12-pack of small shark figurines by Wild Republic. With the figurines in mind, I searched Pinterest for a free shark printable, and while I did find a few cute ones, none of them were exactly what I had envisioned, so I made some myself.

free printable shark valentines day cards supplies

I purchased the graphics from Prettygrafik Design, I bought some Wilton pops favor bags (any similar sized plastic bags wil work), blue paper shred and blue m&m’s. We experimented with the shredded paper, m&ms and combining both before deciding that we liked how the tissue paper looked best.

free printable shark valentines day cards

Hudson helped put everything into each bag, I folded the bag once, placed the card on and Hudson helped me staple each card to the bag. Hudson and I both loved how they turned out and Hudson can’t wait to give these to all of his friends for Valentine’s Day.

free printable shark valentines day cards

 

If you would like to make these, you can grab the free printable here.

free printable shark valentines day cards

(Btw, how cute would these be with shark gummies in the bag for a candy version?)

free printable shark valentines

If you love this printable, please share on Pinterest and don’t forget to follow me on instagram and tag thecreativecopycat if you use any of our printables . Thanks! 🙂

valentine craft ideas - keepsake handprint crafts and fun crafts for kids

Valentine’s Day Crafts

I kind of have an obsession with hand print (and footprint) art. There is just something so special about capturing those tiny little hands and feet that has me hooked. Throughout Hudson’s first year, I was constantly making prints of his hands. I had plans to turn each hand print into a cute animal or holiday themed pinterest project, but sadly, didn’t finish most of them. Once Luc came along, the hand print captures became even more infrequent (those two kicked my butt the first two years!). One thing I did, that I will suggest is to at least capture the prints occasionally in those first few years because you can always go back and finish a project, but you can’t go back and capture those tiny hands and feet again. I’ve actually had “finish Valentine’s Day artwork” on my to-do list for over a year now, so thank you to this blog for pushing me to finally finish them. 🙂

On Hudson’s first Valentine’s Day, we did a family hand print. We put heart stickers on our hands to make the prints extra festive. I love seeing how small his hand looks next to ours.

valentine craft idea-put heart stickers on hands before stamping onto paper

I totally dropped the ball the next year (I’m going to have to blame the first trimester of pregnancy for that one) and apparently didn’t do any Valentine themed art projects. I was creating a baby though, so I’ll cut myself some slack. 😉

In 2015, I used a printable I found on Pinterest to make an adorable Valentine decoration capturing Luc’s baby feet. Click here to check out the original post and grab your own free printable.

love footprints with cute poem and link to free printable

That same year, I used another fun Pinterest idea to make a cute heart hand print keepsake of Hudson’s hand prints. Check out the original post here.

handprint art in the shape of a heart with a cute poem

In addition to the hand print crafts, which are obviously more for me, we also enjoy doing regular crafts together. Last year, the boys made a stained glass heart with our Mom’s Club group that was a lot of fun for the kids. You can check out all the details in this post.

stained glass heart craft

stained glass heart craft for valentines day

This year, I threw this craft together to give the kids something to do while we were locked up in the house with hand, foot mouth. You can check out the original post here. I am terrible at drawing (yes, even things as simple as hearts) and I hate my writing, so I quickly made a printable to use instead. You can grab one for free here. 🙂 The kids really enjoyed this one – I cut the squares for Luc and he glued them on, while Hudson did all the cutting and gluing for his himself.

i heart you to pieces valentine craft with free printable

 

 

 

I Love You Heart Printable

One of my favorite traditions that we started two years ago are I love you because… hearts. The first year I found a printable on-line, printed them out and wrote a bunch of reasons why I love my hubby on them. Then I taped them to heart-shaped balloons from the dollar store and displayed them on Valentine’s Day. Last year, I couldn’t find the printable I had previously used, so I made my own. Instead of the love notes just being from me though, I got the kids involved. Hudson told me that he loves his dada because he plays with him. Luc wasn’t really talking much, but I knew how much he loved kissing Nic through our stair rails before bed so I put that on the one from him. Hudson loved helping me pick out the balloons from the store and taping our hearts to them and I just love having these hearts to look back on every year, especially since the kids have more and more to say as they get older and they say such cute (or sometimes funny) things. This year, instead of just writing why we love daddy, we are each going to write one for each member of the family. 🙂

free printable valentines day I love you because hearts attached to dollar store balloons

If you would like to start this fun Valentine tradition with your family, you can click here to get your own I Love You Hearts printable.

free printable valentines day I love you because hearts attached to dollar store balloons

Also, here are a few other ideas for you using these hearts: you could tape a new heart on your child’s door each night so by Valentine’s Day their door is covered with reasons why you love them, or you could stick them in your kid’s lunchbox, or leave one on the mirror for your hubby or string them up and make a banner. The possibilities are endless. However you choose to use these, they are just a fun and easy way to spread a little love.

free printable valentines day I love you because... hearts. Spread a little love by attaching them to dollar store balloons, hanging them on kid's doors, putting them in a lunchbox, etc.

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

Planes Birthday Party

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

One day while we were driving in the car, I asked Hudson if he knew what theme he wanted for his upcoming birthday party. I threw out a few options and out of the blue he said Planes. I thought it was kind of funny, because while he does love planes, that wasn’t one of his favorite movies. I waited a few days, asked again and got the same answer. By about the 5th time, I decided to commit and dove into planning his 3rd birthday party. It ended up being a really fun theme with a cute color scheme of blue, orange and some red. We had the party at My Gym which made things much easier (set start and end time and they did all the entertaining). This was great because Luc’s 1st birthday party was only a few weeks later so I had a lot on my plate. I also had to keep in mind the fact that everything would need to be transported to the event location and we only had a limited amount of time for set-up, which forced me to minimize decorations and keep the food on the easier side. All in all, it was a pretty simple, low-key party that everyone had a blast at. The only real downside was that it went by so fast, we didn’t really get great pictures of everything.

planes birthday party family picture

Since the party was in the morning, I went the breakfast route. We served donuts “spare tires” which were literally just packaged chocolate and powdered sugar donuts on a platter with a few racing flags.

planes birthday party donut spare tires

A fruit platter of “plane parts” with a cream cheese dip “fluffy cloud dip” To make the dip, I just combined one 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese with one 15 ounce jar of marshmallow cream. It is so easy and so delicious, especially with an assortment of fruit.

planes birthday party fruit plane parts and fluffy cloud dip

We picked up a coffee traveler from Starbucks for our adult “fueling station”. That couldn’t be a more accurate description of coffee for parents, right?

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

We had Jamba Juice drinks  and water for the kid friendly “jet fuel”.

planes birthday party fuel up water bottles

The Jamba Juice drinks were perfect because they were dairy free so Hudson could have them and they were just easy for the kids to grab and drink. They were so popular in fact, that I think they may become a party staple.

planes birthday party jet fuel jamba juice smoothies are perfect for young kid's parties

We also had a bunch of “in-flight snacks” like chips and cookies.

planes birthday party chips and cookies for in-flight snacks

For desserts, we had propeller oreo cake pops, cloud rice krispy treats, marshmallow propeller pops, planes cookies and dusty cupcakes.

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

I made oreo pops using this recipe from Bakerella, then made little propellers to attach. A link to the free printable is at the end of this post. I just cut them out, punched a hole in the center with a hole punch and slid them on. They were really easy and super cute.

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

I used a cloud cookie cutter to cut out the rice krispy treats (I used the dairy free recipe listed here).

planes birthday party cloud rice krispy treats

For the propeller marshmallows, I made the propellers using candy melts on wax paper (I just free-handed the propeller shape), dipped half of the marshmallows into candy melts, then attached the hardened/cooled propellers.

planes birthday party marshmallow propeller pops

I ordered the plane cookies from Dainty Cakes by Andrea on etsy and they were so detailed and a big hit with everyone.

planes birthday party sugar cookies

I absolutely loved the Dusty cupcakes, they turned out so cute and were a huge hit with the kids. Sadly, the company I ordered the cupcake wrappers from is no longer in business, which is a huge bummer because these are brilliant. It is so much easier to hand each kid a cupcake, especially at a party like this, and every kid was ecstatic to get their own Dusty! Hudson’s face when he first saw the cupcakes was priceless and they were pretty easy to make (just took a few nights of cutting and taping). In case you love this idea as much as I do, I did find Planes Fire and Rescue cupcake wrappers by Printamajig on etsy.

planes birthday party dusty cupcakes using cupcake wrappers

I bought the tablecloths, plates, napkins, goody bags and balloons from Party City. I ordered the flags and Hudson’s t-shirt from Amazon. Luc’s wingman t-shirt was from Target. The Planes movie characters were a gift, from the Disney store, that doubled as decorations. I made my own invitations inspired by this design by PartyInnovations09. I used water bottle wrappers and cupcake toppers (for the adult cupcakes) from Homeketeers (I’ve linked to their homepage, but was unable to find the printables so they may no longer be offering them). I made personalized wings for each kid by making a printable, printing the wings on cardstock, cutting them out and attaching pins like these to the back. The kids thought these were really cool.

planes birthday party personalized wing pins

I also made the Happy Birthday Banner (you can find a similar one here),  the food labels, and the gift bag tags. We filled the goody bags with some fun planes themed items from Party City and everyone collected them from Baggage Claim before they left.

planes birthday party thank you for flying by goody bags at baggage claim

That was pretty much it. Like I said, I really kept this one fairly simple (for me, lol).

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops

To get your own free propeller printable, click here. For more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board.