Outdoor Fun with Kids: Have a Picnic

I wanted to surprise my girls with a fun activity to do outside.  I told them we were going to have a picnic!!  They were beyond excited.  It was a fun, easy way to get outside and enjoy some nature.
We had apple slices and pancakes.  It was an easily transported meal.  They wanted to help, of course, so they grabbed a laundry basket and packed up.
When we were outside, they helped straighten the blanket and hand out the food.
It was so much fun and the crumbs all stayed outside!

How to Travel with Kids…and avoid yelling!

My family lives a little over 4 hours away and I like to go visit about every other month.  For Easter, I decided to go and visit for almost a week (my girls had a break from preschool).  My husband wasn’t going to be able to take that much time off…so we left him at home.
That meant I needed to plan well to avoid…yelling!  Grouchy mommies don’t make the best drivers, right?  If I have happy kids I have a happy mommy.
Here are 7 tips and tricks I used to have a happy family drive:

1.  Pack a lunch

I decided to pack a lunch to avoid having to get fast food, and to avoid having to PAY for fast food!  That adds up quickly.  I packed peanut butter sandwiches (no cooler needed), apples, and water bottles.
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2.  Have a container full of toys and books

I always pack a crate of some kind with small toys and lots of books.  Yes, they will end up all over your vehicle because they will  drop them after they grow tired of them!  I figure this is a mess well worth keeping them occupied.  Also, I make sure the container is close to the older ones so they can hand them out to the younger ones.  When I was the only older one, I kept it close to me so that I could keep handing them back.  
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3.  The Potty–never leave home without it!

When my kids are potty training, I never travel without it.  It makes it much easier to attend to “MOMMY, I have to go…NOW!”  It is also easier when your kids don’t like public bathrooms.  I stop the van and put the potty chair in the middle of the van.  I let the child go and then I dump it outside when it is just pee.  (Animals do it, right??)  I bring along grocery sacks and dump it in there if it is…more substantial!  (heehee)  Then I throw it in the nearest trash.  I wipe it out with wipes when they are done.
This is the friend we have.  I love the free-of-frills design…makes for easier clean up.  Ridges and pee don’t mix well!  You can buy it HERE.


3.  Go RUN!!

Kids are kind of like puppies…they like to run!  When we do stop to go to the bathroom and there is open space, I yell, “Go RUN!!”  I like to let them get out some of that energy.  Sometimes I even chase them around or walk the stairs in the area around them to get out that energy of my own.  This helps us get back into the van with less tears.  
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4.  Pack Snacks

I make sure to fill up a bag with snacks.  You never know what is going to be that one thing that keeps everyone together.  I like to pack things that can’t get too squashed into the carpet.  I bring things like: pretzels, popcorn, Goldfish, dry cereal and maybe fruit snacks.  I bring bowls or cups to put the snacks in to make it easier to hand them back.  A friend of mine packs them in little baggies and I think that is a great idea too.     
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5.  Music

Bring along the children’s music.  This can sometimes bring someone back from the brink of a meltdown.  If you don’t have some, just start singing together.  Songs like “Wheels on the Bus” and “5 Little Monkeys” are great ways to pass the time.
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6.  DVD player

We finally broke down and bought the DVD player for the van.  I was one of those people who said, “But I didn’t have one when I was little.”  That lady left one day when I realized it would just make long trips easier.



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7.  Games

As I was driving today and thinking about what I would write for this post, I thought about some things I would have done differently.  I think next time I will make sure to pack some travel games like tic, tac, toe and car bingo.  

Melissa and Doug already thought of my idea, you can get these HERE.



(I have a thing for graphics so I couldn’t resist a little playing around up there!)
How about you?  What are things that are tried and true for your car rides?
Linked to: Laugh, Love, and Craft




Making Music: Drums and Shakers

Today we made drums and shakers.  They were super fun and super easy.  The good news is that you can modify these directions to include the supplies you already have around the house.  Plus, you can incorporate recycling!  


1.  Cut paper to the size of your empty oatmeal container.  (I have a container in a closet I put empty: oatmeal containers, egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, and yogurt containers.)  Have your child decorate the paper.  If your child doesn’t want to color it, use colored paper.
2.  Tape the paper to the container and put the lid on.  Then, play your heart out!!


1.  Use dot to dot painters, markers, crayons, etc. to color the outsides of two paper plates.
(She missed the outsides memo, but I couldn’t stop her because she was dot-to-dot “tracing” her hand and I thought that got a picture for creativity!  The hat is from our dress-up tub.)
**Choking hazard, not for children under 3.**
2.  Dump dried beans, dried noodles, blocks, etc. on top of one of the plates.
3.  Put the top plate on and staple….a lot.  Make sure to put the staples close together if your inside items are small to avoid having them shake out!  Trust me.  ahem
Now parade around the house making all the noise mom can stand for a few minutes…put away for a later fun, loud time!

Egg Carton Bunny

My girls love, love, LOVE to craft.  I don’t just mean a coloring page…they want to DO something.  So, I am always trying to find new ways to let out their inner artist.  
I had seen some egg carton crafts on Pinterest, but most of them were either too hard or had supplies we didn’t have.   
So, I modified and got lucky and came up with this super cute little bunny.  My girls love them and play with them a lot.

 Step 1

cut your paper egg carton up and trim the edges off

Step 2

squirt some paint onto a paper plate and paint with a cotton swab

Step 3

cut out some ears with little flaps to fold under and paint

Step 4

glue the ears and pom pom tail on

Step 5

draw the face with a marker


linked to: Grateful Belly, Savvy Southern Style, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Home Stores A to Z, Homemaker on a Dime, Moms by Heart

Laugh, Love, & Craft




Outdoor Fun With Kids: Scavenger Hunt (with printable)

I love being outside with my kids, but sometimes we need something else to do to entertain ourselves out there.  I saw a couple ideas for scavenger hunts from I Am Momma Here Me Roar and Sun Scholars and was inspired to create one for my kids.  

Click here to print Scavenger Hunt.


1.  Print off this Nature Scavenger Hunt (click above).  
2.  Take it outside and read the items to your children.
3.  Either go on a walk, or look around in your backyard for the items.  
4.  Put an “x” next to the ones you find! 

How to Make Resurrection Eggs

I want my children to know the Easter story.  I want them to be able to tell it to me and know it in their heart.  I have seen Resurrection eggs for sale and liked them, but found them to be a little pricey.  I have seen some people make them on their own, but they included fun little objects for each of the eggs.  I’ll be honest, that just sounded like too much work.  Plus, it was going to be difficult to do for each of my 3 children because I knew they would each want their own set!
I decided other people might have this same situation, so I set out to make a download that everyone could use if they just:
  • printed these two pages
  • found 12 plastic eggs
  • kept (or emptied) an egg carton
Ok, ready for the easy directions?

1. print the free download (Click here to print.)

If possible, print on card stock to make them sturdier.  The first page contains the 12 cards you will use to tell the Easter story.  Each card has the picture and word(s) to describe that part of the story.  The second page has a short version of the Easter story to tell to your children when they open the corresponding eggs. 

2.  cut out the 12 cards

I like to use a paper trimmer to cut them, but scissors would work fine too.  (This is the paper trimmer I have.)

 **3.  totally optional–laminate the cards**

I like to laminate mine because I have a laminator and it makes the cards sturdier.  However, this step is optional because you have this download to print as many as you need if something happens to them!  (I have this laminator and love, love it!)


4. collect 12 plastic, Easter eggs and egg carton

I found a bag of 42 eggs for $1.97 at Walmart.  (I made a set for each of my 3 children.)


5.  write the number on the eggs

I used a permanent marker to write the number on the outside of each egg.  I also like to write the number inside the corresponding spot for each egg in the egg carton if they get dumped out!


6.  put the cards in the eggs

Now you are ready to put the cards inside the correct eggs and snap them shut.

7.  share the Easter story

Have your child open and egg and you tell them the part of the Easter story that goes with that picture.  Next time, have your child tell you the Easter story.
Have you made these before?  Are you going to do them this year?  I’d love to see pics if you make them! 
Linked to: House of Hepworths, Gluesticks, Thrifty 101, Making it with Allie, The 36th Avenue, Grateful Belly

Somewhat Simple


3 Easy Recipes for Children’s Craft Projects

A special hello to all the vising bloggers!  Thank you Blogelina for putting together this event where bloggers visit each other’s blogs this week.  Please excuse the dust, I am still working on getting everything into place around here.  :)
My kids love, love, LOVE to craft and make art projects.  I seem to be always searching the internet (with them over my shoulders) looking for recipes for the art supplies at the last minute!  Today, I have included 3 of our favorite recipes for crafting activities.  Your children are sure to love them too!

Print the recipes.
Finger Paint Recipe
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • food coloring or gel
1.  Boil 1 cup water in large saucepan on stove.
2.  Combine flour and salt in large bowl.  Add cold water to this mixture and stir.
3.  Add this mixture to the boiling water.  Boil until the mixture becomes thicker.
4.  Use a whisk to break up clumps if needed.
5.  Separate the mixture into bowls and add food coloring until you get the color you want
Sidewalk Chalk Paint Recipe
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup water
  • food coloring or gel
1.  Put  1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water into 3 different bowls and stir.
2.  Drop about 5 drops of food coloring into each bowl and stir.
3.  Have children use brushes or Q-tips to paint out on the sidewalk!
Scented Playdough
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tarter
  • 2 packages of unsweetened Kool-Aid
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
1.  Combine all dry ingredients
2.  Boil water and add to dry mixture.  Stir.
3.  Add oil and stir.  Knead together until fully mixed together.
4.  When it has cooled, it is ready for kids to use.


Edit: *If you are still in a DIY mood when done with this post, check out my new post “How to Make Disposable Diaper Wipes“.
What are some of your favorite craft supplies to make?  Have you blogged about crafting?  Please share a link below!  I’d love to come and check it out.  :)
Linked to:
I Heart Nap Time