Simple and Delicious HOMEMADE Ice Cream Cake... with an ice cream sandwich base

I love a simple dessert... and an ice cream cake is perfect for summer. My boys put this one together earlier this week, and it turned out great. You won't believe how EASY this 5 ingredient cake is to make.

To make this cake, you'll need:
  • a box of ice cream sandwiches
  • chocolate sauce
  • Cool Whip (frozen dessert topping)
  • Oreos
  • mini M&Ms (candy coated chocolate candies

Then: layer the ice cream sandwiches on the bottom of a baking dish, add a layer of chocolate and crushed cookies, ice with softened Cool Whip, sprinkle with more crushed cookies, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and top with mini M & Ms.

For more detailed instructions, check out this 3 minute video.

Seriously... this recipe is a "must try"!

It tastes even better than it looks.

Let me know if you make this recipe, and let me know what you think. I know it was a hit with my husband and sons. 😀

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also enjoy the recipe here.

FREE Fall Watercolour Print (Looks great in a dollar store frame!!!)

I love finding ways to add inexpensive seasonal decor to my home, and one of my favourite ways to do it is by using prints I design myself. I print them cheaply, I add them to dollar store frames, and they look fantastic. Today, I'm sharing my latest FALL watercolour print with you for FREE. Isn't it gorgeous?!?!?

I added mine to this clear glass frame (from Dollarama) that lets you "float" pictures inside. I love how it looks, don't you? 

You could also display it on a dollar store clipboard... which allows you to easily change it with the seasons.

To get your free copy of this print: click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.

I hope you enjoy this simple print. Let me know if the comments how you are going to display your copy. And if you'd like a Christmas print similar to this, let me know that too! 😊

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also be interested in the FALL finds and DIYs here.

Budget-friendly Backyard Carnival

Three years ago I threw an epic carnival party for my two boys, but I got busy, forgot about it, and never posted about it on this blog. The party was full of fun DIY details and ideas... so I'm sharing it today. Take a look at this budget-friendly backyard carnival, and let me know what you think. (I've even included a three minute video highlighted some of my favourite parts of the party!)

GAMES -- Carnival parties are all about the games, and I made a bunch of simple games using things I had around the house and a few purchases from the dollar store.

One game I made was "Straw Draw". I put little bits paper inside short pieces of straws. Some of the papers were blank and others said "small", "medium", or "large". The kids picked out straws, opened up the papers, and claimed their prizes.

I also set up a little "guessing booth". I set a couple of dollar store jars in a cardboard box, and filled them with candy. Then, the guests guessed the number of candies in each jar and wrote their guesses on the clipboard. The closest guess won the candy!

I also made a ring toss from an empty paper towel roll and duct tape. I made rings for it with pipe cleaners. Simple and fun!

And I made a bean bag toss from plastic bowls I had in my cupboard.

And I made a ball toss from an old skate box.

PHOTO BOOTH -- In this age of social media and selfies, I love a photo booth at a party, and they are easy and inexpensive to make.

For the carnival party, I filled a dollar store jar with foam clown noses.

And I filled a basket with photo props from the dollar store.

And I covered foam boards with wrapping paper to make a photo back drop.

Check out how cute my little clowns were using the photo booth. 😁

FOOD -- Every party needs good food, and carnival food is really fun to serve. Of course, you'll need carnival staples like popcorn, cotton candy, and chips. 

You can also add fun elements like this "kissing booth" (chocolate kisses in a jar).

And this "pick a pop" treat... where one sucker stem has a hidden coloured stem... and the person that picks that sucker gets a special prize.

And I love displaying small bags of chips on a piece of twine with clothes pins. Get creative with the food and have some fun!

CAKE -- Every party needs a cake. It's simple to make, it looks great on a table, and everyone loves dessert!

Cakes don't need to be elaborate to be festive. For my boys, I made plain cakes and decorated them with sprinkles and their favourite colourful candies. Then, I finished them off with a little banner I made using paper straws.

PARTY FAVOURS -- Everyone loves a free gift to take home, and my favourite party favours are simple, inexpensive, useful, and fun. For our carnival party, I added cute notes to bags of microwave popcorn. The notes said, "Thanks for POPPING by!" 

I made the labels 4x6 so I could print them like regular pictures. They were cheap and easy!

For a closer look at our budget-friendly backyard carnival, take a look at the three minute video I made here.

What do you think of this fun little party? I absolutely love all the easy and inexpensive DIY party details.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also be interested in the fun DIY party ideas here.

Organizing Kitchen Drawers... with CHEAP dollar store bins

Recently, I painted my lower kitchen cabinets. The process required me to empty my drawers, so it only made sense to take the opportunity to organize my drawers when I put them together. Today, I'm sharing my BEST tips and the DOLLAR STORE products I used. (I have a short video too!)

I had already organized my utensil drawer, but these four drawers (between my stove and refridgerator) were a mess!

The first step was to sort through the drawers and get rid of all the items I no longer used. Then, I figured out how I wanted to organize the items I had left, took some meaurements, and headed to the dollar store.

I used dollar store non-slip kitchen liner in all the drawers.

Then, I arranged dollar store bins in the drawers.

I put the items I use infrequently in the back, and the items I use most often in the front. I also focused on placing like items together.

This is my top drawer.

In the second drawer, I placed napkins, oven mitts, dish towels, etc..

I used the third drawer for baking supplies. Again, I focussed on using dollar store bins to put like items with like items.

Finally, I placed all my cookbooks in the bottom drawer. Easy peasy!

For a closer look at my organization hacks, take a look at this short (2 minute) video. And if you don't already, subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you don't miss out on any of my fantastic videos. 😀

Are your drawers in need of a bit of organizating? I hope you find these tips helpful. Have fun!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

A Birthday Letter for my Middle Son on his 15th Birthday

Every year on my boys' birthdays, I write them a letter. My intent is to create a yearly "snapshot" of their personalities. It's my version of a "baby book". 😀 Today, I am sharing my birthday letter to my middle son on his 15th birthday.

To my spunky, thoughtful, and sweet middle son,

When you were little, people told me "the days are long but the years are short"... and truer words were never spoken. I can barely believe my sweet little boy (who walked before he crawled) is now a 15 year old boy turning into a man before my eyes. 

You keep me on my toes, but I couldn't be more proud to be your mom. Here are some of the reasons you are the most special 15 year old in the world:
  • After not making the hockey team you wanted to make last year, you worked hard to make it this year... and then you broke your arm. You were disappointed, but you handled the situation with the positive attitude you always adopt when faced with adversity. 
  • You enjoy running around the yard and neighbourhood with your brothers, playing basketball with your buddies in the school yard, playing a round of golf with friends and family, and being part of a hockey team. If you are moving, you are happy.
  • Friday nights are your favourite. You love pancakes for supper (with chocolate chips), cuddling with your family for a movie, and munching on gummy bears.
  • You have the best memory for movies I have ever witnessed. You know all the details and backstories related to every Marvel, Star Wars, and Harry Potter movie ever made.
  • When it comes to school... you are a perfectionist and a procrastinator. I'm pretty sure that if you master time management, you'll be able to take over the world. 😜
  • You are 6'2" and skinny as a rake... though with the way you eat (especially Shreddies with milk), I'm pretty sure you have a lot more growing to do.
  • You are stubborn, sensitive, spunky, thoughtful, and sweet... and you always have a twinkle in your eye.

I love you to the moon and back! You are a special boy, and I'm so grateful and blessed to have you as my son.

Lots of Love,
Mom xox

GENIUS Dollar Store Finds for TRAVEL

When it comes to travel, being organized is key. I'm also a fan of budget-friendly travel, so I love finding unique and helpful items at the dollar store. Today, I'm sharing GENIUS dollar store hacks for travel. (I have a short video here too!)

The dollar store is a great place for snacks... and when you are travelling with kids, snacks are key! I like to buy these little containers in the craft section and fill them with goodies!

A dollar store first aid kit is another great idea. I buy a container with a snap lid and fill it with all the items I might need. I also use duct tape to make a cross on the top to make the kit easily identifiable. Pretty clever, right?!?

Travel sized items are also fantastic for saving space. The travel tubes from the dollar store are also great -- as they allow you to create your own travel sized items.

Zipper storage bags are a definite MUST HAVE items. They come in handy for wet bathing suits, leftover food, snacks, and more! I never leave home without them.

These dollar store storage bags are also very handy. They are great for a toothbrush and toothpaste or a device and earphones.

What do you think of my list of travel items? Is there something you would add to the list?

For a closer look at my dollar store travel hacks, take a look at this short (2 minute) video. And if you don't already, subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you don't miss out on any of my fantastic videos. 😀

I hope you found these dollar store finds helpful, and I hope you get to take a wonderful vacation with the people you love. Travel safe!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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