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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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰ 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!Β 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!!

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

North Pole Breakfast 2016

This has to be one of my favorite holiday traditions. It is such a fun way to celebrate the arrival of our elf, Jingle Bell. Every year he arrives the first Saturday of December and we have a fun and festive breakfast to kick off the holiday season.

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

This year, I tried a few new things from Pinterest. I made reindeer donuts, which we all loved! I had been wanting to make these the past few years, but Hudson couldn’t eat the chocolate donuts until this year so I knew these were a must! They were so easy and so cute. You just add m&ms for the nose, pearlized sprinkles for the eyes and pretzels for the antlers. (Total 5 star copycatable rating).

reindeer donuts for north pole breakfast

I also made stacked donut snowmen, which were cute, but I’m not sure that I would make them again. I’m kind of a semi-plan/mostly fly by the seat of my pants at the last minute kind of gal and these were just a bit too much work for a last minute project. You use two different sizes of powdered donuts and powdered donut holes to make the snowmen. My grocery store didn’t have powdered donut holes, so I bought glazed and covered them in powdered sugar. (well, I actually accidentally covered them in flour first, ooops, then attempted to brush them off and re-cover them with powdered sugar). Then you add pretzel sticks for the arms. (so far so good). For the hats, I bought chocolate wafers from the ice cream section and Godiva chocolates. The original recipe called for chocolate cordial cherries, but I couldn’t find those and don’t really like cherries, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with Godiva. I attached the chocolates to the wafers with some frosting (still going good). Then I attached the hats to the tops of the snowmen. I cut a sliver off each donut hole to make the tops flat, which also helped the hats to stick. Then came time to make the faces. This is where things went downhill. The instructions said to use black decorating icing – not the gel kind – but of course, my grocery store only had gel so that is what I used. It did not stick! I didn’t even attempt the orange frosting noses and stuck orange tic tacs in instead and after struggling with three snowmen, I decided they didn’t need faces. haha. (I would say this is a 3 star copycatable rating for a few reasons-it required a lot of ingredients, a lot of assembly, and the faces were very challenging. In all fairness, I didn’t exactly follow the recipe, so maybe next year I will plan ahead better and give it another try). The good news is that the kids loved them so at least my effort was rewarded.

snowmen donuts at north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

I also did my usual strawberry banana santa hats and north pole donut tower.

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival santa hats made with bananas, strawberries and mini marshmallows

Every year, Jingle Bell brings the kids gifts, writes a welcome letter and puts out a matching sign. (these usually can be found on pinterest, but I couldn’t find a new one this year so I made my own. I actually loved this because I was able to tie in the color of my table, which usually clashes with all the Christmas green.)

north pole breakfast welcome letters from elf on the shelf

north pole breakfast welcome letters from elf on the shelf

Jingle Bell brought Hudson pajamas and an activity book and he brought Luc a collection of elf on the shelf books.

gifts at north pole breakfast - elf on the shelf pajamas and coloring book

north pole breakfast gift from elf

Luc said he didn’t like Jingle Bell, but he loved the donuts! Hudson loved everything about the breakfast (he shares my love of holidays and sweets!). It was such a fun morning!

north pole breakfast elf on the shelf arrival

Click here to download my free printable so you can have your own North Pole Breakfast! πŸ™‚

north pole breakfast free printable for elf on the shelf arrival

north pole breakfast with free printable for elf on the shelf arrival

scrapbook layout 4 ways using bella blvd by the creative copycat

Scrapbooking Layout 4 Ways

Happy Scrapbooking Sunday. I have a quick tip to share that helps me create more pages faster. When I find a layout I like, I make 4 versions of it at the same time. For example, this layout was from a Bella Blvd kit and I just love it, especially the fact that it allows me to get so many pictures on the page.

scrapbook layout 12x12 using Bella Blvd by the Creative Copycat

Instead of just making the kit and moving on, I chose four different themes and events from different years so the layout wouldn’t be included in the same album, then made all four at the same time. I picked out, formatted and printed all the pictures together, I typed up and printed all the journaling together and cut all the paper together, then assembled each page and added all the little embellishments and details. Using this method allowed me to create four scrapbook pages in a little more than the time it would have taken me to make one.

autumn 12x12 layout using bella blvd Hello Autumn by the Creative Copycat

december scrapbook layout 12x12 using bella blvd by the creative copycat

scrapbook layout 12x12 using Bella Blvd by the Creative Copycat

In case you are interested in creating this layout, here are the details:

Photo sizes: 2.5×3 (1), 4×3 (1), 2.75×2.75 (2), 3.75×3.75 (1)

Paper: 2 strips 4×11, 1 strip 1.25×11, 1 strip 1×11, 1 strip 0.5×11

fancy pumpkin pie using cookie and pie crust cutters

How to Make Your Pumpkin Pie Look Fancy

I know I haven’t been blogging here long, but if you haven’t already noticed, I use the word easy a lot. πŸ™‚

I love crafting, baking and party planning, but if I can cut a corner or make my life easier in any way, I am taking it. I am constantly juggling a million things, have two little kids who have an insane amount of energy and I’ve gotten very little sleep in the past 4 years (sounds familiar, right?) so as much as I love making elaborate creations, I have had to compromise. With the holidays coming up, I just wanted to share a really simple way to fancy up your pumpkin pie, although these would work for any pie.

pumpkin pie and cookie cutters for fancy pumpkin pie

My first trick is that I always buy Pillsbury refrigerated dough. I know, I know! I honestly can’t tell the difference between this and homemade and everyone who has tried my pies agrees, so I save myself the time and effort by skipping homemade crust. I like the Pillsbury dough for a number of reasons. First of all, you place it in your real pie dish so it looks like you made it (I have gotten tons of compliments on my pie crust-I always share my secret, but again, this just re-enforces my corner cutting ways). Second, it comes with a second crust that I use for decorating. I don’t have to roll it out and I am guaranteed to have my designs be the perfect thickness, which is a double bonus because I am terrible at rolling out dough. (I really wish Pillsbury were paying me to write this, but I just really am a fan of their product ;)).

pumpkin pie cutters and cookie cutters

I use Williams Sonoma pie crust cutters, which are amazing! You push it in and it cuts and presses a design on the dough, then pops it out. I am a huge fan of these! I also bought a mini ABC cookie cutter set from Amazon so that I could cut out letters. I was really happy with how easy they were to use (I used a knife to gently push the dough out) and think they will be fun for tons of different baking projects.

pumpkin pie cutters from williams sonoma

I placed all my cutouts on a silpat lined cookie sheet, put a little egg wash on them (one egg lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of water) and baked them in a 375 degree oven until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

williams sonoma pumpkin pie cutters and cookie cutters for fancy pumpkin pie

Once the decorations and your pie are cool, you can decorate away. And if you are an over-achieving mom who makes her pie crust from scratch (I use that term with love as I am a total over-achiever), you can still use these cutters and impress all your family and friends even more than you already are. πŸ™‚

pumpkin pie cutters and cookie cutters for fancy pumpkin pie