Family Movie Night

We are currently trying to squeeze in every bit of summer fun we can before school starts in September.  Last night, we took advantage of the great summer weather and had a family movie night -- outside.  It was fantastic! 

Here are 5 tips for a great outdoor movie experience:

1)  Get the kids in their PJs.  That way, when the movie is over, they can head straight to bed.

2)  We had our movie inside our Gazebo so that we could use the mosquito netting.  If you can't do this, make sure you have lots of bug spray and/or citronella candles.

3)  Make sure everyone is comfy.  We set up lawn chairs, and lots of sleeping bags and blankets.

4)  Add some extra fun by having glow sticks and sparklers.

5)  Don't forget the treats!  No movie night is complete without a big bowl of popcorn.  :-)

I hope you are enjoying these last lazy days of summer as much as we are.  :-)

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Teddy Bear Picnic

The sun is shining, and today was a perfect day for a Teddy Bear Picnic.  The boys packed their favorite "friend", and I made a picnic lunch -- including some special cookies.  Take a look.... it was easy and a "beary" good time {sorry... I couldn't help myself!}.

The boys posing with their "Teddy Bears".

Here is the recipe we used for our cookies, and here is how we made them (see below).  I know they aren't fancy, but didn't they turn out cute?

Step 1:  Roll the dough into two small balls and one bigger ball.

Step 2:  Attach the three balls together and flatten them down a little.

Step 3:  Add chocolate chips for eyes, a Smartie nose and a red icing mouth.

We even brought one of our favorite books to the park -- The Teddy Bears' Picnic.  (I hope no one heard me singing it.  If so, I apologize. ;-)

What a great way to spend an afternoon!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

No Sew Reading Tent

I LOVE encouraging the kids to read, so one of the things on our summer checklist was to "read a book outside".  I thought it would make it extra fun for the boys if I made them a special "reading" tent.  It wasn't fancy, but they had a great time.  :-)

I wanted it to be simple, so I came up with this "no sew" tent using:
        • a hoola hoop
        • an old sheet
        • a beach towel
        • a few binder clips
        • some twine
Here is how you can make your own tent:

1)  Separate the hoop at the seam.  This will allow you to slip the sheet onto the hoop.  (The best part about a sheet is that there is already a built in seam at the top.  Check out the pictures if you don't know what I am talking about.  :-)

2)  Reattach the ends of the hoop together, and secure with tape.

3)  Cut four tiny holes in the sheet which will allow you to tie twine around the hoop (to create an "x").  (Again... it will make more sense when you look at the pictures below.)

4)  Attach another piece of twine where the original twine pieces cross.  This is what you will use to attach the tent to a tree branch.

5)  Take a towel and wrap it around the top of the hoopla hoop.  Secure it with binder clips.  (See?  I told you there was no sewing!)

6)  Hang it from a tree, and let your children enjoy it.  My boys LOVED it, and it only took me about 15 minutes to gather the supplies and put it together!

Here are a couple of pictures of them enjoying their new "Reading Tent".  

How do you encourage your children to read during the summer?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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Come Together Kids

My "Go To" School Lunch Idea

In my house, school lunches are a nightmare.  My son is super fussy, and the only kind of sandwich he likes is Peanut Butter (and his school is nut free).  My "go to" lunch staple is French Toast.  I figure we have a whole grain, a protein, and some dairy.  Not too bad, right?  

To make life a little easier, I make a big batch of french toast ahead of time, like this:

Step 1:  Gather the supplies - whole grain bread, 1% milk, egg and cinnamon.  I use approximately 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk per two slices of bread.  I also add a pinch of cinnamon.

Step 2:  Dip the bread in the egg mixture and cook over medium-high heat.

Step 3:  Freeze the cooked French Toast in a freezer bag.

In the morning, I pop the frozen toast into the toaster oven to reheat it, cut it up, and put it in a thermos.

What is your "go to" lunch?  I could really use some inspiring ideas to get me through the next school year.



Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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Back to School Countdown

As sad as it makes me to think about the summer coming to an end, I thought it would be fun to do a back to school countdown with the boys.  When I saw these adorable jars at the dollar store, I knew I had to use them.  Aren't the bright colorful lids fun?

All three boys got a jar, and each boy counted out a "Smartie" for every day until their "big event".  My oldest is counting down to the first day of school, my middle son is counting down to the first day of preschool, and my youngest (as not to be left out) is counting down to some "mommy and me alone time".  :-)

Didn't they turn out cute????  Do you have any "back to school" traditions in your house?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
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Bubbles, Bubbles, and More Bubbles!

Yesterday, we had a beautiful, sunny summer day.... so we decided to make bubbles.  Who  doesn't love bubbles??? And homemade bubbles are the absolute BEST!

I have never made bubbles before, but I have seen tons of recipes on the web, and I always wanted to do it.  I chose this recipe (which I found here) because the ingredients were easy to find. 

12 cups water
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups dishwashing liquid

First, add the corn syrup to the water, and mix very well.
Then, add the dish soap and stir thoroughly (but gently).

The boys had a great time, and the bubbles were way better than store bought ones we have used in the past.  

Give it a try... it is easy and you'll have a lot of fun.  We did.  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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Pirate Play Date

We had a rainy day yesterday, so after a trip to the library, we came home and played "Pirates".  {Such is the life of the mom of three boys.}

You can have your own Pirate Play Date in three easy steps.

Step 1 - Build a pirate ship out of an old box.

Step 2 - Dress like a pirate.  We had jeans (with holes in them) and old shirts that we cut off to make "pirate shirts and pants".  We also used a cup and tin foil to make a "pirate hook".  (I got the idea for the hooks here.)  We added some hats and eye patches out of our dress up box.

Step 3 - Read pirate stories, and eat pirate food (peanut butter sandwiches cut out in the shape of fish).  And... you can find more pirate snack ideas here.

That's it!  An afternoon of fun in three easy steps.  Do your little ones like playing pirates?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Vacation Recap

Just a quick post to let you know what my boys and I have been up to... and maybe provide a  little inspiration for your own vacation.  :-)

My husband had two weeks vacation, so we hit the road (a quick trip to Halifax, NS and a week in a cottage on Prince Edward Island).

In Halifax: 
We took a ride on Theodore Tugboat.

We hit the beach.

We visted Subenacadie Wildlife Park.
We hopped on a Ferry.
We spent a day at Avonlea Village.

We "Followed the Fiddler" in Victoria by the Sea.
We are having lots of fun (despite the less than perfect weather), and the summer isn't over yet.  Hope you and your family are having a great summer!

PS (If you are looking for more summer inspiration, you can check out my Super Summer Checklist.  You'll find 50 easy and fun summer activities.)

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