By: Liz S
The holidays are a wonderful, magical time of the year. They are also an expensive and hectic time for families. I am always looking for a way to save some money while sharing an experience and making memories with my family. I love decorating inside and out for Christmas! Wreaths and swags are a festive favorite, but the price tags are sky high. Stop by any garden center and decorated wreaths can run up to $50. The bows alone can give me sticker shock, and all for something that gets tossed out after New Year’s Eve. We dabble in DIY projects but nothing hard core, yet we took on the task of making our own wreaths and swags. I promise you do not have to be super crafty to get a “WOW” result.
Step 1- Where to start? We went to our favorite local garden center and bought several plain-jane wreaths, 12-14” in size for about $8 each. You can use whatever sizes fit your need and of course, the plastic wreaths work if you are so inclined. I hit the Christmas Tree Shop and bought a bag of starfish, $5, and the Dollar Tree for ribbons, $1 each roll. I had some wire from an old ribbon making kit, but you can buy it locally for under $2 a roll. I wanted a Cape Cod feel to our wreaths hence the starfish. I used some pine cones that my daughter collected around the yard, and we sprinkled silver glitter on them.
Step 2- We simply attached the pinecones and starfish to the wreaths using the wire. Do as many as you like, placed wherever looks good to you. It’s all about self-expression and having fun. It is easy, I promise J I tied the bow around the wreath and we were done.
Step 3- My family was so proud of our wreaths, we decided to try our hand at swags. I grabbed a basket and pair of garden clippers and went off to our front yard. As many of us do, we have Leyland Cyprus trees and Holly bushes in our yard. All I did was cut a bunch of branches off. We played around with the branches to get a nice, full set, and then tied together at the stem with our wire. We added ribbon and in less than 5 minutes we had swags.
Making our own decorations was fun and festive. My husband, daughter and I had such a blast. The wreaths came in under $10 each and the swags were under $1.00!! Saving money allowed us to make some of these handmade gifts for friends and neighbors. We enjoyed being able to spread some holiday cheer and everyone loved them.
Whether it is making wreaths, a gingerbread house, cookies or candles- I hope you and your family can share a fun activity together this year. You may stumble on a new tradition like we have. Happy holidays from our family to yours.
Peace and Joy,
Crayon Pumpkin Craft
Welcome to Liz S., our latest Cape Cod Mom who has joined our blogging team! Read more below her blog for her bio!
By: Liz S
*My 9 year old daughter and I made this together. Kids of most ages could participate in some or all of the steps I.E. unwrapping crayons, gluing them on the pumpkin, holding blow dryer etc
Supplies needed- pumpkin, craft glue or hot glue gun, crayons, hair dryer, newspaper to put down under the pumpkin. We were outside to avoid a splatter catastrophe :)
1. Take the wrappers off of the crayons
2. Break crayons in half depending on size of pumpkin
3. Glue pumpkins around the top stem of your pumpkin
4. Once crayons are secured, use hair dryer on high.
5. Blow the hot air directly on the crayons one at a time, moving around a bit once you get a feel for it. Some crayons splatter, some pool along the stem- just play with it to get the look you want.
This takes some patience! About 30 min of blow drying. Once they melt, the crayon wax hardens and you can instantly move the pumpkin around.
Liz Smith is a wife and mother living in Harwich. After growing up in Scituate, MA she lived in Boston and Salem before meeting her husband and moving to Cape Cod in 2000. She is a licensed preschool teacher working as a nanny. She attends Bridgewater State University as a full time student studying Early Childhood Education and Psychology. Liz returned to school at age 40 after being laid off when her company downsized. After 20 years as a successful retail manager, she started at Cape Cod Community College focusing on a new career and graduated with high honors
Crafting With Kids: Autumn Leaves
By: Sung Bin
This time of year, we love to collect the many colors of autumn in leaves. There are so many rich reds and yellows and we love to use them to craft decorations. This week we have been reading The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger, a beautifully illustrated tale of a single autumn leaf who finds another brave companion. The book inspired us to make a window decoration with several colorful leaves and some clear packing tape. Technically, you are supposed to use clear contact paper and press the leaves between two sheets of clear contact paper for a transparent leaf decoration but we only had clear packing tape around. First, I laid out strips of the clear packing tape overlapping slightly to form a larger sheet and my little one and I arranged the leaves on the sticky side of the sheet. The fun part is picking out the leaves and pressing them flat on the sticky tape. Then we laid out another sheet made of strips on top of the leaves with the sticky side facing them to form sort of a sandwich with the leaves in between. We cut the finished sheet into the shape of a large leaf and trimmed it with some pieces of colored in paper. The finished product was a collaborative work that made for wonderful window art to usher in the Fall. We enjoyed collecting the leaves and talking about the changes in the season.
Crafting with kids: dragons!
By: Sung Bin
This week we have been all about Dragons. I try to find seasonal crafts for my three year old and I to work on together every week so we geared up for this one by reading some dragon stories and books. Our favorite is the Knight and the Dragon by Tomie de Paola, a story about unlikely friends, and Puff the magic dragon and Merlina and the magic spell (great book for harvest theme too), our close runner ups. Our dragon craft was a dragon puppet made out of craft or popsicle sticks, paper, paint, googley eyes and glue. First, we painted some 3" strips of paper and folded them accordion style for the body of the dragon. We cut out a dragon head and tail shape from paper and glued on eyes and decorated the tail. We used the pictures from the books to help with the head and tail cutouts. Then we glued the pieces together with the popsicle sticks glued an inch of the top of the stick to the base of the head and tail to move the dragon around. My daughter wanted one side of the dragon's face to be "fierce" and the other to be "happy" so we just drew and glued the two faces to be able to flip them. While waiting for all the glue to dry, we also baked some dragon bread by shaping bread dough into dragons embellishing them with pumpkin seeds and raisins for the scales and eyes. It was a little treat/snack after our hard work of crafting. When we were done feasting, we had a little puppet show and story time by making up stories about dragons in caves. We had a great time making and baking. Next week we are planning to make some Pompom apples and bake apple muffins. Happy September!
The Arts Are Alive...
by: Linda Bartosik
...and living in Sandwich! If you are the mom of a child who is artistic and/or loves to write, this post is for you.
Have you checked out the Splatter Art School yet? It's a hidden gem on Quaker Meeting House Road. One morning a colorful sign caught my as I was driving to Mashpee. It said Splatter Art School. Mmm...it sounded interesting. When I arrived home I checked out the website and was amazed at the art opportunities offered for grade school children. There are numerous art classes, as well as open studio times where children can come and create. Last week I stopped in to see the studio. It's adorable and completely stocked with every art material imaginable. The room is big, bright and beckoning. THIS is a place for children to explore and create.
If you have a child that loves to write, come meet me on my iTeach website. Click on the Young Authors Workshops and see what kids can do. I will be holding a class here in Sandwich the week of July 22. I can take up to six students grades K-5. Email me at iTeach@lindabartosik.com for more info.
The arts for children are definitely alive here in Sandwich. Every child is an artist and an author with a story to tell. Check out these two websites for creative fun for your child.
Welcome summer on Cape Cod!
We are huge fans of Local Moms who are super creative! Many of you have heard us mention one of our favorite Mom Shops before and even seen her blog listed in the Cape Cod Times article as a wonderful and entertaining blog! We wanted to give you more background on the famous Bzzyfingers so you could understand why we love this shop and why we love Melissa so much! We are also featuring a FABULOUS Giveaway from Bzzyfingers, read through this post to find out more!
A lifelong Cape Cod native, Melissa Oliveira is a mostly stay at home mom to three children (ages 2, 3 1/2 and 16) and lives with her husband and puggle named Belle. Mornings are spent attempting to tire the littles in hopes that nap time will afford her some quality crafting time at the kitchen table.
Also a long time multi-crafter, her interests have stemmed from jewelry making as a teen to scrapbooking and paper crafting, spending time working at a local scrapbook store and instructing classes as well as spending four years as a design team member for a major cardstock company. Her interest in sewing and crochet blossomed in her early twenties and has evolved to a small home based business.
Melissa's "bzzyfingers" career began as an email address, then blog and Etsy shop, and finally a facebook fan page. Many of the products offered through her etsy shop and facebook page are inspired by her needs as a mother of little girls; pacifier clips, diaper clutches, burp cloths, diaper changing mats, bibs and hair clips as well as embellished shirts, skirts and dresses. You can find the most recent sneak peeks of her latest creations and custom orders posted regularly on www.facebook.com/bzzyfingers.
Melissa shares "I find inspiration all around me. I love browsing
publications like "Artful Blogging" and "Mollie Makes", keeping up
with my favorite crafting and style blogs as well as sites like Pinterest and Etsy. Walking into a fabric store makes my heart beat a little faster and pairing the perfect color and prints together gets the creative juices flowing with an unstoppable urge to cut and sew."
Follow Bzzyfingers in these ways:
Melissa is offering a custom Super Hero Cape to TWO lucky Cape Cod Mommies readers! All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter Form below!
As an added bonus, she is offering 20% off any order from her etsy shop through May 23rd, 2013 using coupon code "CCMOM20" upon check out.
These Super Hero Capes have become an instant sensation already!
Winter Solstice Reflections
By: Sung Bin
With the winter solstice approaching next Friday, I thought I would come up with some activities with poems and songs to inspire our family and to usher in the start of winter. Everyone who celebrates does so differently and I wanted to create a ritual and tradition around the solar return and the shortest day of the year. It is also an opportunity to remind ourselves of the power of the natural world that surrounds us. For me, it is a peaceful respite during the holiday season to be able to think more in the dark as I reflect on how much time has passed. I think back with such awe over the last year and how much has changed but also remained the same.
We plan to watch the first sunset of the solstice and pause to remember how human we really are. For my toddler, I found an easy recipe to make at home salt dough ornaments for holiday gifting and decorating as Christmas is a few days after.
Salt Dough for Ornaments
1 Cup Salt
2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cups Water
Combine salt and flour in large bowl. Make a well in the mix and add water. Knead the mix until smooth and use cookie cutters or any shape makers to make your ornaments with the dough. Don’t forget to poke a hole
on the top of your dough ornaments to add the string or yarn. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees in the oven. Paint and decorate when the dough ornaments are cool. (I am going to use rubber stamps on mine such as alphabet stampers to form words like “peace” and “love” before baking). I’m excited to get started
on these with my toddler.
Another tradition we started last year is planting new paper white bulbs in recycled glass jars so we plan to give those out to family and friends to grow in the winter.
Finally, we normally have our dinner by candlelight but for the solstice will add a few additional candles to symbolize the light entering the world and to revel in the stillness of the dark night.
What are your traditions? We'd love to hear from you, comment below!
Great snack idea from Pinterest!
Good morning Moms! I wanted to share a great snack idea I found on Pinterest: using ice trays as snack trays! What I liked about this idea was that I could put a little bit of everything in the tray. My first try with the trays is shown in the pictures. I included the following foods: dried cranberries, cucumbers, 2 Nilla's, clementine slices, zucchini bites, raisins, cheerios, cut up string cheese, applie bites, puffs, grapes, and Sesame cheese crackers. I then used two of the compartments for dipping sauces: strawberry yogurt and squash puree. The example I saw on Pinterest (which you can find by clciking on the Pinterest link on the front page of Cape Cod Mommies), had additional other foods and suggestions. Avocado, banana's, almond butter, and other things would also be great additions to the tray. I found by offering mutliple choices, he seemed more interested and patient in trying all the different foods. I definitely recommend trying to find a nice balance in offering equal amounts of fruits, grains and veggies. Veggies are always tough which is why I snuck one in as a puree.
What I really enjoyed about this idea was that even though he didn't finish all the snacks in the morning, I was able to easily pop the tray back out for the afternoon. They are incredibly easy to prep and I decided to prep up a few of them (minus the dry goods so they wouldn't get soggy). If you have multiple children I would imagine this would be great time saver. I also incorporated a little learning into this activity by sitting with him while he snacked and we pointed to each snack and said the name and color of it. Next time I plan on trying to incorporate all the colors of the rainbow! Happy Snacking!
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