Saturday, March 22, 2014

Silly Saturday - "Just Don't Go" (Parody of "Let It Go")

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Easter Basket Ideas

I really try to avoid useless tchotchkes as much as possible when gift buying for my kids. I realize this is an idealistic concept and we still wind up with Happy Meal toys, dollar store toys, thrift store toys, yard sale toys, etc. In terms of toy store toys, I have mostly succeeded at having the kids pick out a few main categories of toys and sticking to them. Legos and My Little Pony, for instance, are held in sizable collections in this house, but we don't add a new "series" with every La La Loopsy or Littlest Pet Shop that crosses our path.

Sticking to a few collections for each kid makes holiday shopping much easier, but when it comes time for an Easter basket, it's fun to FILL, FILL, FILL those big baskets. You don't have to fill them with future clutter though. Here are some ideas to help you fill those baskets with more thought and value and less cheap junk.

1) Sandals or Flip Flops - Easter is around the start of spring and, if your winter has been like ours, your (and your kids') definition of sandal weather will certainly have loosened greatly from the first cold days of last autumn. 

2) Gardening Tools - My kids LOVE to help me in the garden and I love to have them, but I'm not a big fan of my favorite tools getting lost or left out in the elements. 

3) Reusable Water Bottles - We all know disposable plastic water bottles are NOT great for the environment or our pocket books. Invest in some BPA-free plastic or stainless steel bottles so you can be earth friendly and economical on the go.  

4) Kites - It's time! Might as well make some good use of the strong spring winds. 

5) Art Supplies - One can never have too many art supplies. A fresh box of crayons or colored pencils with some fun new coloring books can make for a lovely spring day outside in the sun.

6) Books & DVDs - Books are always a winner in our house. Disney's hottest new flick is also winging its way to us following its March 18th DVD release... now whether or not it MAKES it to Easter for a basket gift is another story. Maybe you'll be better at waiting than I likely will. 

7) Fun Band-Aids... with no rules attached. My kids both love to use band-aids with abandon, but I usually put the kibosh on emptying out the First Aid stash for doctoring their stuffed animals. Their own box of fun designs can be quite thrilling. 

8) Bubble Bath - This is something we buy anyway but for a special occasion like this, I am more likely to spring for the Hello Kitty bottle and not just what is cheapest. 

9) While we're on bubbles... Bubbles - Warmer weather and windy days make for perfect conditions to warm up those bubble blowing lips that have been hibernating all winter. 

10) Sunblock - This one may not be as much fun but it is necessary, especially as warmer days mean more time in the sun. Add some fun colored zinc sunblock and the boring bottle won't be noticed quite as much. 

11) Sunglasses - Most adults wouldn't dare leave the house without their shades and yet our kids do it all the time. Sunglasses aren't just for the comfort of keeping the glare out of our eyes... they are very important to eye health

12) Coupon for a Date with Mom and/or Dad - Experiences are the best gifts of all. Movie tickets, skate rink passes, a painting or photography class... the ideas are endless. Check out deal sites like Groupon for date night deals to spend with your kids. 

Notice I didn't list candy at all. I'm not a Scrooge... my kids will get some candy. But with a basket filled of so many other FUN things, there isn't much room left for loading it with sugar. I'll spend my money on better quality, fair trade chocolate, rather than loading up on bags and bags of generic jelly beans and chocolate eggs.  

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Easter doesn't have to be another holiday filled with plastic junk. With a little thought and no more money than a pre-made basket, you can make a wonderful basket for your kids. I hope you have fun creating a one-of-a-kind surprise for your children. 

Monday, March 17, 2014


If you are a BlogLovin user for your blog feed, you can follow Foofy * Not Foofy but clicking the following link. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Girl Scout Cookie Booth Sign

If you've missed me these last couple weeks, it's because I have been up to my eyeballs in Girl Scout cookies and cookie booths. My daughter is a Daisy this year with the only homeschool troop in our council (which was surprising to me, given how many homeschoolers are in our council area). The fun thing for us is that we get to have cookie booths at times when other Girl Scouts are in school. Every Friday this month, we'll be a popular lunch spot selling Girl Scout cookies and helping our daughters develop all the skills that come with that.

I am the Troop Cookie Manager. I am SO thankful this is our first year and we are a small troop (only 18 girls). I cannot imagine how the cookie managers handle the big troops. Our 18 girls pre-sold 165 CASES of cookies and we've already picked up another 50 from the cupboard. As troop manager, I am in charge of organizing the booth times and locations AND decorating the booth. Two weeks ago, I had girls and moms over to our house to make the booth decorations. We made a cute sign (instructions below), a felt pennant banner that reads "Cookies" and painted flower pots to hold "cookie flowers". I apologize for the lack of "in process" pictures. It was a bit hectic.

#1 Favorite Cookies - Thin Mints Wearable Sign

Large piece of cardboard - need to cut circle with 20-24" diameter.
Brown felt, 1 yard 
White, black, yellow & pink felt, small sheets or scrap 
Green satin ribbon, wide
Brown ribbon, wide
White fabric paint
Green pipe cleaner
Ribbons, 8-10" pieces, 2 or 3 styles
Hot glue gun
Glue sticks
Pencil, nail or another pencil & a pipe cleaner for drawing circle on cardboard
Box blade

1) Start with drawing your circle shape on your cardboard. Using a yardstick, find your approximate center of your circle and poke the nail in. Set your pencil on the outer edge of where you want your circle. Connect the pencil and the nail with the pipe cleaner. You might need to splice two together if you are making a bigger circle. I find that pipe cleaner are easier to attach to your center point and pencil than trying to knot string. Holding the nail in one hand, use the pencil to draw your circle. Cut out the circle with a box blade. 

Or just watch the quick video I made on how to make the circle.

2) Lay the circle on top of your brown felt. Cut out the felt so that you have a circle about 2" wider than the cardboard. One of the Brownie Scouts did this with supervision but she did a GREAT job. 

3) Using hot glue, glue down the felt to the back of the cardboard. Don't glue as you go. It's easier to get a tight circle if you glue every few inches, leaving some loose, then go back and fold and glue the loose sections. 

4) Cut out large white circles and small black circles for the eyes and pink felt for the mouth. These were all done by Girl Scouts. A Brownie Scout did the eyes and a Junior Scout did the mouth. For the eyes, we used a a ribbon spool to trace the white and a small bottle of acrylic paint for the black. For the mouth, I had the scout draw out the mouth design she wanted on a piece of scrap paperboard (an empty cereal box to be exact), then cut it out and use it to trace her design. 

5) Cut the wide green ribbon in a sash length. Have someone with good handwriting write "Thin Mints" in white fabric paint. A mom did this for our troop. 

6) Create a "prize" ribbon for your #1 most popular Girl Scout cookie. One of our Juniors took on this task with scrap felt, scrap ribbons and, with some assistance, hot glue.  

7) (optional) Make a big loop bow out of the rest of the wide green ribbon. I should make a tutorial on that too. Another blog post. 

8) Once the fabric paint is dry, hot glue on the green sash, prize ribbon, and loop bow. I also glued a length of brown ribbon at the top so the girls can wear this when working the booth.  

This picture was taken before the booth was entirely finished. The table cloth edge was serged to finish it. We also glued pictures of the different cookies in the center of each of the smaller flowers (front & back) and added colorful googly eyes. In use, the flower pots didn't like to stay upright in the wind (even filled with marbles). We now turn them over and stick the flower stakes in the hole in the bottom. The girls usually hold the big flowers and wave them to passers-by along with the Thin Mint sign.