{Grass-haired} Little Friends

A couple of weeks ago, my boys and I made what my 4 year old calls "crazy heads".  This project is cute, quick, and inexpensive.  {My favorite kind of project to do with the boys.}

First, gather up some old jars and cans, and let the kids decorate them with markers, googly eyes, pom poms, tissue paper, and/or felt {whatever you have lying around}.  After the glue has dried completely, let the kids fill the jars with potting soil.

Then, plant some grass seed in the jars, and let the kids use a spray bottle to water the seeds.  {I love letting the kids water with a spray bottle because it is easier to control how much water they give the plants.  I can actually tell them "how many squirts".}

In a week or two, you'll have hair {grass} long enough to cut.

Fun, right?  See how proud my boys are of their creations?

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy

PS {Don't miss out on any of the fun... if you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, you can do it here.} 

Cereal Box Notebook

My boys love to draw pictures and write stories, so I thought I would make them some special books from an old cereal boxes.  {Another fun "recycling bin rescue".}

This is such an easy project -- you can whip up a bunch of notebooks in no time at all. 

First, cut covers for the book from the front and back of a cereal box.

Then, using a paper cutter {or scissors}, cut some scrap paper to fit inside the book.

Then, use a whole punch to cut holes in the pages and the covers.

And finally, use key rings to secure everything in place.

Now you are ready to let your little ones fill the pages with fantastic stories.  My six year old used his notebook to write a story about "a little girl with purple hair who tries to eat only red food in order to turn her hair red".  Don't you just love how creative little ones can be?  I wish I had that kind of imagination!  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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DIY Monogram

I don't often get a chance to do "mommy" projects, but recently, I found the time for an inexpensive "monogram" craft, and I thought I would share it. It's lovely... and surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make.

The best part about this project is that it uses foam core, twine, felt, and ribbon... which are all inexpensive materials.

To make it:  I printed out a huge "B" {using WordArt: "Rockwell" font} on my computer, and I used it as a template to cut out the letter from foam core from the dollar store {using an X-Acto knife} .

Next, I wrapped the letter in twine.  I did the edge first.  Then, I started wrapping in one direction, and then I switched to the other direction.  I secured the twine with hot glue periodically.  {Around the "curves", I used a lot of hot glue to prevent the twine from slipping.}

I finished the project by attaching a felt flower and ribbon using hot glue.  {You can find the tutorial for the felt flower here.}  

Wouldn't this little project look cute on a front door or as wall decor inside the house?

I think I might need to make another one... so I have one inside and one outside.  :-)  If you make one, where will you put it?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (Don't miss out on any of the fun... if you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, you can do it here.)

Backyard Birdwatching

Lately, my boys are totally into backyard birdwatching, so a couple of weeks ago I made us a new bird-feeder.  I took an old 2L pop bottle, cut some holes with an X-Acto knife, and stuck in a couple of wooden spoons.  {I also wrapped it in twine to make it a little fancier, but this step isn't really necessary.}

And, before long, we had a little visitor.  :-)

We started getting visits from a few varieties of birds, so we headed to the library for some books to help us identify our "new friends".  I highly recommend the two books we found:  A Kid's First Book of Birdwatching by Scott Weidensaul and Backyard Birds by Robert Bateman.

And, if you are looking for a special snack for your little birdwatchers, you could always whip up a batch of these bird nest cookies.  They are chocolate cookies with some leftover Easter Eggs on top. 

Fun, right?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (Don't miss out on any of the fun... if you haven't already "liked" me on facebook, you can do it here.)

ECM Kid's Craft Club - #3 {Foam Magnets}

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.  {If you want to join the club, you can find more info here, or email EastCoastMommy@gmail.com, and I will send you the details.}

For everyone who is a member... let's get started!

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

2)   Cut out all the pieces on the template.  Use the paper templates to cut out the foam parts.  {The frog is made from the green foam, the flower is made from the yellow foam, and the mouth and nose are made from the black construction paper.}
3)  Arrange all the pieces (per the picture below), and glue in place (with white glue).  Allow to dry completely.

4)  To finish, peel the paper off each magnet, and attach to the back of the foam pieces.
 Cute, right? 

As always, let me know what you thought of this craft.  Your comments help me improve the club, and I love hearing from you. 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Don't forget... 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".)

{Review and Giveaway} Pirate Books - CLOSED

CONTEST CLOSED - and the winner is:
I think my son would love any of those books, but "How I Became a Pirate" stands out to me. Our mommy son dance theme was pirates this year. Love it!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book GroupThey offered to send me some fun "pirate" books to review, and if I liked them, they would let me give an identical set of books to one of you {a $91 value}.

Of course {being a pirate loving family}, I said YES!  Here are the books we received:

Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime
How I Became a Pirate
Pirates Activity Book
Pirate Nap A Book of Colors
Lives of the Pirates
Sheep on a Ship

We loved all the books, but "How I Became a Pirate" was our favorite. 

Ready for a chance to win ALL of these fun books {worth $91}

Comment (below) letting me know which of these books you would most like to win.  Just leave your answer (and email address if you aren't logged in) before Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

Good luck!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)
Rules {I am a mom... I can't help it}:
  1. The winner of the contest will be chosen by the Random Number Generator.
  2. To enter the contest, you must leave me a comment telling me the name of the book you would most like to win.  Contest is open to Canadian and US residents only.
  3. This contest is not being hosted or sanctioned in any way by facebook.
  4. Contest closes on May 23, 2012 at 11:59pm.
  5. Prize will be accepted as awarded.
  6. Winners will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond.  After 48 hours the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected. 
Please note:  I was provided with this product (free of charge) for reviewing purposes only.  No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are 100% my own.

ECM Kid's Craft Club {May deadline}

The ECM craft club is a subscription service for kids. Kids get: a personalized letter, supplies for a craft, and a little surprise. Fun, right? 

You can join for one month for $11 or two months for $20 (including Canadian shipping). It's inexpensive, and it makes a great gift too!

I would love to have you join me.  You can email me at EastCoastMommy@gmail.com to sign up or ask questions!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

{Mother's Day} Banner

May 13 {Sunday} is Mother's Day, so here is an adorable, easy, and inexpensive decoration you can make with the kids.  I love using banners to decorate for holidays, and this one is made using the pages of an old book{A great recycling project.}

Cute, right?  Here's how you do it:

First, use your computer to print out the letters you need to spell "MOMMY".  {I used "Rockwell" font, but you can use whatever you like.}  

Then, cut five pages out of a book, and cut a triangle out of the bottom of each page {per the photo below}.

Now, the kids are ready to decorate the letters.  {My boys just used crayons, but you could add glitter or stickers if you want.}

Help the kids to cut out the letters, and use double sided tape {or glue} to attach the letters to the book pages.

To finish, use a hole punch and some twine to string the pages together.

I love how the banner turned out, and my boys are very proud of the decoration they made for me.  Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful mothers out there!  I hope your special day is full of hugs, kisses, and homemade cards/gifts.  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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{Mod Podge} Pirate Treasure Chest

My boys are always collecting "treasures", so I thought it would be cute to make them their own personalized pirate treasure box.

I started off with this plain wooden box from the Dollar Store.

Then, I painted the box with brown acrylic paint.  {If the boys were doing it themselves, I would definitely opt for "washable" paint instead.}

Finally, I printed out a picture of my favorite pirates, and used Mod Podge to attach it to the top of the box

Cute, right?  And wouldn't this make a great craft activity or loot bag at a pirate-themed birthday party?

♥  Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Remembering {Disney} Party

Our family went to Disney in March.  It was such a magical trip for us, and I thought it would be fun {two months later} to have a little party and remember what a great time we had.

It doesn't take much to make a "party" at our house.  My boys really get excited over the little details.  :-)  We had some Mickey-shaped Oreo pops and peanut butter sandwiches.

And of course we needed balloons and Disney dishes.

And when we were finished snacking and playing with the balloons, we put our pictures in an album, and the boys made a little scrapbook.

It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon remembering our fun week in the sun.

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

Inspired by The Lorax

During a walk through the woods, the boys and I found a broken tree branch with some unopened buds on it.  We took it home and stuck it in some water.  The buds are now growing into leaves, and the boys are really enjoying watching a tree bloom {up close}!  

A broken tree branch provides an opportunity for learning

Our branch inspired us to read a book about the importance of taking care of our forests.  Don't you just love The Lorax?  {It is a wonderful Dr.Seuss book with a great message for kids.}

The Lorax... he speaks for the trees

And, of course, we needed a fun and easy snack.  We made cupcakes and topped them with green icing and little "trees" {spearmint leaf candies on pretzel sticks}.

An easy "tree" snack

A walk, a book, and a little sweet treat -- not a bad way to spend a Spring afternoon.  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Summer Checklist {with free printable}

Last year, the boys and I made a checklist of 50 Fun {Summer} Things we wanted to do.  We checked everything off our list, and ended the summer with an "Ice Cream for Supper" party.  It was so much fun that we decided to do it again this year.  

Here is our {new and improved} list for 2012.  Don't forget to click on the helpful links... and there is a great {more generic} printable version of this list {for you} at the bottom of this post.

1)   Celebrate Canada Day
2)   Read a book outside (Click the link to find out how to make a no-sew reading tent.)
3)   Have a teddy bear picnic (Click the link to find out how to have a teddy bear picnic.)
4)   Go to a splash pad
5)   Swim in a pool
6)   Go to a farmer's market
7)   Go to the library
8)   Make homemade bubbles (Click the link for a great recipe.)
9)   Go fishing
10) Have family movie night – outside (Click the link for some great outdoor movie night tips.)
11) Collect shells at the beach
12) Build a sandcastle
13) Plant something (Click the link to see what we planted last year.  We'll be trying something new this summer.)
14) Visit a wildlife park, farm or zoo.
15) Make homemade sidewalk paint (Click the link for a great eco-friendly recipe)
16) Run through the sprinkler
17) Play baseball
18) Play soccer
19) Ride our bikes
20) Take a boat ride
21) Spend time at a cottage
22) Do a science experiment (Click the link to see a simple experiment we did last year.  We will be trying a new one this summer.) 
23) Watch fireworks
24) Go Geo-caching
25) Make cookies
26) Play mini golf
27) See a play
28) Have a lemonade stand
29) Make play dough (Click the link for a fool proof play dough recipe.) 
30) Play hopscotch
31) Camp in the backyard
32) Have a PJ day
33) Take a bath in the dark (Click the link to see how.)
34) Play Frisbee
35) Make an obstacle course (Click the link to see how simple it is to put one together.)
36) Fly a kite (Click the link for instructions on how to make a simple kite out of a paper lunch bag.)
37) Go on a scavenger hunt (Click the link for a simple and {free} printable list.}
39) Have pancakes for supper
40) Play street hockey
41) Make a marble run
42) Do a good deed 
43) Roast marshmallows and make smores
44) Write and mail a letter or postcard
45) Swim in a lake or ocean
46) Take a trip to Halifax {Blank on printable list}
47) Take a trip to PEI {Blank on printable list}
48) Attend the Antigonish Highland Games {Blank on printable list}
49) Ride on the Harbour Hippo {Blank on printable list}
50) Have ice cream for supper (to celebrate completing the list)

Like last year, we will frame our list using cheap frames from the dollar store.  Every time we do something on the list, the boys will "check" it off by putting a sticker over the number.  {A dry erase marker would work too.}  Fun, right?

Want a copy?  I have designed a {free} printable {pdf} version for you... which you can find hereI have removed a few of the items that are specific to our geographical location and left blanks for you to fill in your own ideas.  

Thanks for playing along.  I think this is going to be a lot of fun!

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

**You can find the 2013 version here.**

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