Butterfly Tree {from recycled cardboad}

How cute is this tree full of butterflies?  Isn't it perfect for Spring?  Hard to believe this beautiful tree full of butterflies was once an ugly cardboard box in my recycling bin.

Want to make one?

First, draw an outline of a tree on a cardboard box, and cut it out.  (I used an X-Acto knife, but I am sure scissors would work too.)  Then, cut a rectangle out of the cardboard box, and using a slit in the triangle and a slit in the tree trunk, attach it to the bottom of the tree.  (This is how the tree stands up.)

Now for the fun part!  Have the kids make leaves and butterflies, and attach them to the tree. 

To make the butterflies, cut a rectangle out of tissue paper, and have the kids decorate the wings.  Scrunch it up in the middle and twist a pipe cleaner around the middle.  The ends of the pipe cleaner will become antennae.

The leaves are just squares of green tissue paper scrunched up.  We attached the leaves with double sided tape, and we attached the butterflies with mini clothespins.

I am so please with how it turned out.  I think we might even change the decorations with the change in seasons.  :-)  

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

* If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here

{Babyfood Jar} Tealight Holders

We made these tealight holders for Earth Day, but they are a perfect use for old babyfood jar any time of the year.  Cute, right?

All you need is a babyfood jar (cleaned out), some blue and green tissue paper, and some glue.  (You'll need to thin out the glue to the consistency of paint -- approximately 3 tbsp glue for each 1 tbsp water.)

Here's how easy it is to make one of these adorable tealights with your little one:

First, cut the tissue paper into little squares.  They don't have to be uniform or a certain size because they are going to be layered onto the jar.

Then, using a paintbrush, apply glue to a small section of the babyfood jar, and attach a piece of tissue paper.  Continue to apply glue and tissue paper until the entire jar is covered.

Finally, wait for the glue to dry, and then apply a thin coat of glue over the top of the tissue paper. 

My boys love making these, and you can change the colors to suit any occasion.  

Just make sure to never leave a child alone with a burning candle.  Battery operated tealights might be a safer choice.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy on facebook)

*Originally posted at Okanagan4Kids.com on April 17, 2012.

{Earth Day} Decor

Happy Earth Day!!!

Why not add to the celebration in your house by decorating with this adorable Earth Day Garland?

The best part is... this project is super-easy to make with your little ones.   Here's how you do it:

1) Use a plate to trace big circles onto blue paper, and have your kids cut them out.

2)  Decorate the circles with green paint.  (We made some hand prints and did others "freestyle".)

3) Use a hole punch and some twine to string the "earths" together.

That's it... a sweet little project that is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

** Don't miss out on any of the fun... you can "like" me on facebook here.

ECM is ONE {& My 10 Favorite Posts}

This blog is ONE year old today, and I want to thank every single one of you that has ever read the blog, commented on a post, liked me on facebook, suggested the blog to a friend or given me kind word on the street.  You are all super-supportive, and I wouldn't be doing the blog if it weren't for you.

I also want to send out a BIG thank you to my four boys (the three little ones and my awesome husband).  You are my inspiration!  xo

When I started this blog, my goals were:  1000 facebook fans and over 100,000 pageviews in the first year.  Thanks to all of you, I have surpassed both of these goals! 

Over the past year, I have managed to write 131 posts, and I thought I would share my top ten favorites from my first year with you (in case you missed any of them).

1)  Birthday Letter to my Baby Boy - This is a sentimental favorite of mine... the start of a tradition that means a lot to me.

2)  Magic Elf Seeds - I am a huge fan of sharing the magic of Christmas with my boys, and this post about the magic seeds delivered by Elf on the Shelf is one of the most fun ideas I have had.  It is also the most viewed {and copied} post I have done.

3) Felt Wreaths - I have to cheat a little on this one, and give you links to two of my favorite "mommy" projects I did this year:  my Valentines Day Wreath and my Fall Wreath.  They were easy, and I loved how they turned out.

4)  Super Summer Checklist - We had such a fun time completing the 50 activities on our Summer Checklist.  The 2012 list is new and improved, and it is coming soon!  :-)

5)  Magic Santa Key - This was a fun post because it gave me the opportunity to give something fun {and free} to all my awesome readers.  My boys loved it too!

6)  10 {Earth Day} Activities for Kids - This post is a great resource for outdoor activities and  craft projects (from recycled materials) any day of the year.

7)  Letter Writing to Santa Party - I am proud of this post because we had a lot of fun, and I was able to teach my boys about the importance of giving back.  I hope to do it again in 2012.

8)  5 Disney Vacation Tips - I love this post because we had such a magical vacation this year.  I hope my tips help someone else have a fantastic trip to Disney with their little ones.

9)  "Keeping it Real" Posts - These posts are important because my goal with this blog is to inspire and support moms.  I never want anyone to feel discouraged or not good enough.  With that in mind, I wrote the following posts:  It's Not About Perfection and I am NOT a Supermom.

10)  5 Truly DIY Kid's Parties - I am really proud of these posts because I think birthdays are really special to kids, and I think it is important to "make a big deal" out of them.  I love these parties because they are inexpensive and "doable" by "real" mom.  No big budgets or party stylists required.  :-)

Do you have a favorite East Coast Mommy post?  I would love your comments/feedback, and I hope you continue to support the blog.  It really does mean a lot to me.  

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
** If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here.

ECM Kid's Craft Club - #2 {Foam Bookmarks}

The {East Coast Mommy} Kid's Craft Club is an easy and inexpensive way for kids to have fun crafting and experience the excitement of getting their very own mail.

For those of you that ordered this kit.... Welcome!  (If you want to join the club, email EastCoastMommy@gmail.com, and I will send you the details.)

OK, let's get started!

1)  Gather all the supplies that came in your kit.

2)   Cut out all the pieces on the template.  (The tutorial for the monster bookmark is on the left, and the tutorial for the bird bookmark is on the right.)  Use the paper templates to cut out the foam parts.

For the monster - Cut two shoes from the red foam, one body from the blue foam, and two antennae from the red foam.  Use the cardstock (not foam) for the mouth and tooth.

For the bird - Cut one body from the purple foam, one wing from the purple foam, and one beak from the yellow foam.

3)  Arrange all the pieces (per the picture below), and glue in place (with white glue).  Allow to dry completely.

For the bird, draw in feet with a pen or marker.

4)  To finish, tie the ribbon to the top of the bookmark.

Let me know what you thought of this craft.  Your comments help me to get better, and I love hearing from you. 

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (It goes without saying... but I will say it anyway because I am an overprotective mother... "assist young children when using scissors, and be careful of the small parts included with this kit, as they can be a choking hazard for children under three".)

"Egging" the Neighbours

Last Halloween, we started a tradition of "Booing" the neighbours.  (If you have never heard of "booing", you can read about it here.)  We had so much fun, that we decided to do a similar thing for Easter -- "Egging" the neighbours

Here's how we conducted our "egging" mission.

First, we made tasty "bird's nests".  {You can find the recipe here.}  The boys loved adding the chocolate eggs to the cookies.

Then, we packaged up the cookies and added a fun tag.  {You can find the labels I designed here.}

Finally, I sent my boys out on a "secret" delivery mission.  They thought they were doing some serious spy work.  :-)

I hope you decide to give "egging" a try next year.  I promise you'll have a ton of fun. 


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (You can find another fun "egging" printable tag here.  It's a cute one!)

* If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here.

10 {Earth Day} Activities for Kids

Looking for some fun ways to celebrate Earth Day and teach your little ones about recycling? Check out these fun projects/activities.  

{Click on the titles for the full posts.}

1) Recycled Matching Game {using milk/water jug caps}

2)  Tooth Taxi {out of an old film canister}

3)  "Growing Things" {for beginners}

5)  3 Ways to Feed our Feathered Friends

6)  Milk Carton Bird Houses

7)  Nature Walk

8)  Nature Collage

9)  Obstacle Course

10) Eco-friendly Sidewalk Paint

How are you planning on celebrating Earth Day with your little ones?  

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

*You can find 10 more Earth Day activities here.

** If you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, I would love to have you join me here.

{Eco-friendly} Sidewalk Paint

A few weeks ago, we had some warm days, so the boys and I headed outside to paint our street with some environmentally friendly sidewalk paint.  All you need is 1/4 cup corn starch, 1/4 cold water, and about 8 drops food coloring. 

Mix the cornstarch and the water thoroughly, and then add the food coloring.  Repeat for each color of paint you would like to have.  We made red, blue, yellow and green.

I found that foam brushes worked well, but I am sure you could use whatever you have in your craft cupboard/drawer.

We had a great time with this simple summer activity, and we can't wait to make another batch of this easy and inexpensive sidewalk paint!  Let me know if you give it a try.


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

ECM Kid's Craft Club {reminder}

Just a reminder that the first mailing of the East Coast Mommy Kid's Craft Club goes out on April 20, 2012, so if you haven't already signed up, you should do it ASAP.  The 4-month membership package is only $25 (including Canadian shipping and tax)Every month (for four months), members will receive a personalized letter and a craft kit containing the supplies they need to make that month's craft.  

Do you have/know a child that would love getting their very own mail?  Here is a sneak peek at the crafts we'll be doing together (although colors and materials may vary slightly from the pictures).

April's craft (Reading Rocks!):  Foam bookmark (choice of the monster or bird design)

May's craft (Spring has Sprung!):  Flower and frog foam magnets

June's craft (Canada Day Celebration!):  Canada Day hat and flag

July's craft (Hooray for Summer!):  Sun glasses and paper fan

Interested in being part of the fun?  Here are the details:

1)  As a member of the club, each month (for four months) your child will receive:
  •  mail addressed to him/her
  • a personalized letter with fun info/ideas
  • all the supplies he/she will need to make the "craft of the month".
Note:  The craft will always be simple (taking less than 30 minutes to complete), the craft will be designed for ages 3-8 (with assistance required in the younger age categories), a link to an online step by step tutorial will be provided, and the kit will contain everything you need to complete the project (with the exception of scissors, glue, tape and crayons).

2)  The cost for a four month membership is $25 (including Canadian shipping).  Payment (via Cash, Cheque made payable to Gina Bell or email money transfer) must be received before a kit is sent out.  Payments can be sent to EastCoastMommy@gmail.com.

3)  The kits will be sent out on the 20th of each month, and I will post a full tutorial on the blog at that time.

If you are interested, please send payment to EastCoastMommy@gmail.com.  I will also need your child's name, age, and full mailing address (and his/her preference for the first craft).

If you have any questions, please let me know.  Thank you for being a part of the ECM Kid's Craft Club.  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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