Van Trash Can... made from a dollar store container and duct tape

I don't know about you, but I spend A LOT of time in my mini van. My husband and I are constantly chauffeuring my boys around to their activities, and as a result, our van can get pretty messy. So recently, I decided to make a trash can for our van. I wanted it to be narrow (so it didn't take up much room in the back seat), and I wanted it to have a long and flexible strap. I decided to pick up a few dollar store supplies and DIY the perfect VAN TRASH CAN. I used about $2 worth of supplies, and I created exactly what my family needed.


I started with a narrow plastic container and dollar store duct tape. The container was $1.25, and the duct tape was $1.25 (and I used about half a roll).


I created a strap by cutting a long strip of duct tape and folding it three times.

I placed the ends of the straps on the sides of the container and taped them in place with duct tape.


Then, I wrapped the entire container in duct tape.

I love how it turned out. It's durable and fits perfectly around the arm of the front seat of my van.


Could you use this inexpensive DIY trash can in your vehicle? Making it yourself means that you can make it whatever size/shape works for you. I made my black so it would blend in with the interior of my van, but you could use whatever duct tape colour/design you like.

Now... I just need to train my kids to pick their movies up off the floor. 


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Tips for Displaying Party Treats Like a Pro

When it comes to hosting a party (especially a kids party), it's important to have plenty of treats for guests. I love a table containing popcorn, chips, chocolate and candy -- all displayed in a visually appealing way. Today, I am sharing a few simple ways to style your treat table. With these tips, you can easily display party treats like a pro at your next get together.


1) Use fancy glasses and dollar store dishes. A variety of dishes adds interest to the table.


2) Use cake stands and containers of different heights to add depth to the display. I picked up this white cake stand at the dollar store, and it looks great on a table full of treats.


3) Use colour. I picked up a colour tablecloth at the dollar store to match my all my bright candy. You can make a big impact going with only one or two colours too.


4) Use individual containers so guests can easily grab the treats they want. Check out this video:


I did this display for a movie afternoon with my boys' and a few of their friends... but it works for any party theme and any age group. What is your favourite way to serve party treats?


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)



Last Minute Valentine's Day Treat To Make With Kids

If Valentine's Day is busy for you, and you don't have time to make homemade treats, I have the perfect short cut for you. You won't believe how easy it is to make this "no baking required" last minute Valentine's Day treat with your kids!


All you need are store bought little round cakes. Use a cookie cutter to cut a heart out of the middle of the treat, and finish by dipping the edges in sprinkles.


It doesn't get much easier than this... and the kids will really feel like they baked a special Valentine's Day treat.


Check out the video we made when we created our treats.


Do you have a sweetheart that would enjoy this simple last minute Valentine's Day treat? Happy Valentine's Day!

♥ 
Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Donut Valentines... with free printable tags

Need a fun Valentine for someone special in your life? This idea is simple and sure to please your sweetheart. I plan on using this "sweet" idea for my boys this year. Check out my donut Valentine (and free printable tags) below.

I purchased this milk bottle at the dollar store, and a mini donut fits perfectly on top. Isn't it cute? I love how it looks with the "DONUT ever forget how much I love you" tag.


I designed two versions of the tags. One version says, "DONUT ever forget how much I love you" and the other says, "DONUT ever forget how much WE love you."

To download one of the tags: click on the tag you want to download, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4X6 photo.






If you don't want to use the milk bottles, you can just use the tag with donuts. 


Do you have a sweetheart with a sweet tooth? I absolutely love this donut Valentine, and the free tags couldn't be cuter!

♥ 
Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Valentine's Day Prize Punch

Three years ago, I came up with the idea of using dollar store supplies to create a "prize punch" for my son's birthday party. Since then, prize punches have become staples at all my boys' parties... but I have never made one for Valentine's day... until now. Check out my Valentine's Day prize punch below (including all the instructions you need to make one of your own).

I started out by drawing a large heart on a piece of pink foam core that I found at the dollar store. Then, I positioned red solo cups in the heart and filled them with treats and trinkets.


Then, one at a time, I removed the cups from the heart. I applied hot glue just below the top rim of the glass and applied a piece of tissue paper to the top. (You can add a second piece of tissue paper for a little added strength.) Then, I applied a ring of hot glue to the bottom of the cup and stuck it to the foam core.


When all the glasses have been attached, the Valentine's Day prize punch is finished!


I always make these prize punches for parties, but I made this one just for my boys. I think they are going to love poking through the tissue paper and claiming their prizes on Valentine's Day.

It really is a simple project, and it's always a big hit at parties. If you make one, let me know how it goes!

♥ 
Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

You Make my Heart Pop... Valentine's Day date night with Netflix

Are you like me? Is Valentine's Day just another busy night with the kids... filled with homework and after-school activities? Don't give up hope... after the kids go to bed, there is still a chance to squeeze in a little quiet time with your Valentine. Why not invite your spouse to cuddle up on the couch with a special treat and a little Netflix*? Check out the FREE printable "You make my heart pop!" Valentine I designed. 


Cute, right? You can simply attach the Valentine to a package of microwave popcorn, or you can put together a movie night gift basket.


To download and print the Valentine I designed: Click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4X6 photo.


I love the idea of adding a few special treats, popping them into a dollar store popcorn container, and adding the tag.


Valentine's Day is the perfect time to watch a romantic movie together... or may you prefer to re-enact your first time... i.e. your first "Netflix Binge" together. (Note: If you can't remember your first time, you can find it by logging into your Netflix account. Go to your Netflix Account page, select "viewing activity", and scroll all the way to the bottom.)

The first thing my husband and I binge watched together was "Making a Murderer" (a documentary about a man who was wrongfully convicted, released from prison, and then convicted of the murder of a young photographer). It's not super-romantic, but we both enjoyed it... and it's about the time spent together, right? 😉

So, what will you be watching on Netflix with your sweetheart this Valentine's Day? I hope you print off the Valentine I designed and share it with someone you love!


Gina
(aka East Coast Mommy)


*Disclosure: I receive special gifts and perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix.... however (as always) the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

15 PUNNY Valentine Ideas... with free printable tags

I have always loved creating unique Valentine's for my boys to share with their friends and classmates. Over the years, I have come up with a lot of fun ideas that my boys and their buddies have loved. Usually, I pair "trinkets" with clever and "punny" tags. Today, I am sharing 15 of my favourite PUNNY Valentine ideas... and the sweet tags I designed.


Below, you will find links to all my favourite PUNNY valentines and the FREE printable tags I designed. Click on the links to access the free tutorials and tags.

1) I hope you have a 'DINO'mite Valentine's Day!



2) Have a SUPER Valentine's Day!


3) You're #1 in my BOOK!



4) You're friendship BLOWS me away!


5) I am BEARY happy to have a friend like you!



6) It's PLANE to see you're a great friend!


7) The FORCE of our friendship is strong!



8) You are one in a MINION!



9) COLOR your HEART out!


10) You've got the WRITE stuff!





13) You BLOW me away!


14) I hope you have a BALL on Valentine's Day!




Homemade Valentines are definitely more heartfelt and fun. This collection includes tons of free printable Valentines and tags... and there are many fantastic "non-candy" ideas that are perfect for class parties. I love the Superhero masks and recycled crayons, but they are all wonderful! Do you have a favourite?


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)


Find more wonderful Valentine's Day ideas here.
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