5 Truly DIY Birthday Parties for Kids

For a party to be "truly" DIY, two things need to happen:   
  1. The party can not cost a fortune.    
  2. The elements of the party need to be doable by a "real" mom.  
Here are five fun parties I have put together for my my boys. (Click on the links for the details.)

Fun, right?  And I promise... I have never taken a cake decorating class, I don't use a party planner, and I never have a big party budget.  All these parties are truly DIY.  I hope you have found an idea or two that you can incorporate into a party for your special little birthday boy or girl.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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"I Spy Santa" Telescope

I spy with my little eye... someone big and jolly! Can you guess who it is??? We love to play "I Spy" at our house, so I thought it would be fun to make some Christmas Telescopes and Binoculars to help us search for Santa and his Reindeer in the night sky.

Here is how easy it is to make an "I Spy Santa" telescope of your very own:

1)  Cut a square of cellophane and secure it to the end of a paper towel tube with an elastic band.

2)  Wrap the paper towel tube in Christmas wrapping paper, and secure with tape.

3)  Add a contrasting strip of wrapping paper to the top of the tube.

That's it!  

Now you have everything you need to search the sky for Santa.  Let me know if you spot him!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Elf "Kiss" Box... and other "Elfie" Antics

OK.... this is my last Elf on the Shelf post -- a cute Elf "Kiss" box.  A tiny box for a tiny {chocolate} "kiss" from our favorite Elf.  Cute, right?

(You can download the template here.)  

Here are a few more photos of what "Elfie" has been up to lately. 
Elfie on top of the Christmas tree.

Elfie brings a Christmas movie... and helps himself to some popcorn.

Elfie builds a snowman out of marshmallows and writes us a tiny note.

Elfie makes us a special treat.

Elfie brings a chocolate elf.

Elfie gets his own stocking.

Elfie brings a note from Santa letting us know he sent us a video message.

I hope you are having as much fun with your elf as we are having with ours.  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Toilet Paper Roll Snowman

Who doesn't love a good toilet roll craft?  And this toilet roll snowman is totally adorable and perfect for a cold winter day.

To make your own, here's what you do:

1)  Paint the toilet paper roll with white paint, and allow it to dry completely.

2)  Glue on two "googly eyes" and a nose cut from orange craft foam or construction paper.

3)  Make a hat out of an old baby sock in three easy steps.  (per pictures below)  a)  Cut off the top of the sock.  b)  Pull the sock onto the top of the toilet paper roll.  c)  Twist an elastic onto the top of the hat.

4)  Use a black marker to draw a mouth.

5)  Tie on a scarf made of felt, and you're done!

"Snow" fun... and no mittens required!  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

5 Christmas Treats/Gifts for Classmates

I always like to make treats/little gifts for my boys to bring to their classmates.  (But... of course, I want the gifts to be easy and inexpensive.)  Here are five things that meet both criteria.

1)  Edible treats - Sharing a sweet treat is always a special way to celebrate the holidays.  This cupcake tree is super easy!  Just bake and frost cupcakes, and arrange them in the shape a Christmas tree.

2) Reindeer Ornament Kits - Why not give your child's classmates all the supplies they need to make this adorable Candy Cane Reindeer ornament?  Include a candy cane, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, a red pom pom, and a piece of ribbon.

3)  Magic Reindeer Food - Scoop some oats, Cheerios, and magic sprinkles (aka colored sugar) into cellophane bags and tie with some ribbon.  Add a cute tag, which you can find here, and you have an adorable gift to share.

4)  Santa Beards - Print some beards (using this template), cut them out, and attach a popsicle stick.  I guarantee the kids will love this simple gift.

5)  Christmas Cookie Cutters - Print out your favorite cookie recipe, roll it up, secure with a ribbon, and add a cookie cutter.  Fun, right?  (To personalize it a little, I always add a picture of the boys at the top of the recipe.)

What are some of your favorite classroom gifts/treats?  I am always looking for new ideas.  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Jingle Bells

My boys LOVE singing Christmas Carols, and impromptu "sing-a-longs" are a common occurrence in our house this time of year.  So... we decided to make some homemade "Jingle Bells". 

Want to make a super-easy craft?  All you need are: pipe cleaners (in Christmas colors) and bells.

Get the kids to thread the bells onto the pipe cleaners.

Then, when all the bells are on, just twist the ends together to make a ring.

Easy, right?  And... they don't have to be just for Christmas.  Jingle Bells are fun any time of the year.  :-)

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Fun Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Did I mention how much my boys {and I} love our Elf on the Shelf?  My 6 year old even drew this picture of "Elfie", and asked him to bring it to Santa.  How cute is that???? 

Searching for Elfie each morning has really become a treasured part of our holiday traditions.  So, I thought I would share a little bit of what our Elf has been up to so far this year.

First, Elfie got his own Magic Elf Key... which I ordered from the North Pole.  {wink}  You can read all about it and get your own (free) key-tag printable here

Magic Elf Key

Then, he arrived with a present for us... Magic Elf Seeds.  {So much fun!}  You can read all about the magic here.

Magic Elf Seeds

Since his arrival, he has been a busy elf...  drawing pictures, taking naps, and flying all over our house when we aren't looking.  Take a look at some of his antics.

Elfie draws a picture

Elfie misses Santa and the Reindeer

Elfie hanging from the light fixture

Elfie in the shower

Elfie takes a nap

Elfie playing with our blocks

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?  I would love to hear about the fun you are having with him/her.  

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Don't miss any of the fun....