Want to see where I live?

I have readers all over the world, so today, I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about my home on the East Coast.  Our part of the world is rich in culture and traditions, and there are a lot of fun things to see and do. 

We live in Antigonish, NS, and one of the highlights of our summer is the Antigonish Highland Games.  {I highly recommend a visit if you get the chance.}
Two hours from Antigonish is the city where I grew up --
Halifax, NS.  We love to stroll around Historic Properties and visit our friend Theodore Tugboat -- the lead character in one of our favorite books.

And, of course, because we are located on the Atlantic ocean, we love to hang out at the beach.  There is nothing like building sandcastles and playing in the ocean.

From Nova Scotia, you can take a ferry boat to a beautiful Island called PEI.

PEI is the home of the beloved character "Anne of Green Gables".  If you have read the books (and even if you haven't), we highly recommend a visit to Avonlea Village.  You can dress up, stroll around the village, and enjoy some great music.

There are lots of great sites to visit on the Island, and lots of local music to enjoy.  We "followed the fiddler" in Victoria by the Sea, and the boys really liked it.

I hope you enjoyed this little "tour" of our part of the world.  Stop by and visit me any time.  :-)  


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

* You can find me on facebook here.

* Originally posted at MamaSmiles.com on June 21, 2012.

{Canada Day} Banner

As you may already know, I love decorating with simple, "book page banners" for the holidays.  Here is the cute one we made to celebrate Canada Day.

Want to make one with your kids {or on your own}?

1)  Trim the book pages and cut a "V" out of the bottom of each page.  {I used six pages, but you can use as many as you like.}

2)  Have your child color "maple leafs" and cut them out.  {You can draw your own, or you can download the template I made for you here.}

3)  Have your child glue the maple leafs onto the book pages.

4)  Then, hole-punch the top of each page, and string all the pieces together with a piece of twine or string.

It is an inexpensive and easy Canada Day craft for kids, and you'll end up with some super-cute holiday decor!  :-)

Happy Canada Day!

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

Last Day of Preschool

Today was the last day of Preschool for my four year old, so I made him a "Preschool Finish Line" banner to run through when he got home.

He LOVED it!  {...and it was super easy!}  I just printed the letters out on my computer, cut them out, and attached them to the paper banner using double sided tape.

He enjoyed it so much that he asked me to tape it back together so that he could do it again.  :-)

Fun, right?

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 - #4 {Canada Day}

Welcome to the 4th edition of the {East Coast Mommy} Kid's Craft Club {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 already a member... let's get started on this month's craft - "Canada Day Celebration"!

First... gather the supplies you'll need.  In addition to the supplies in your kit, you'll need tape, scissors, and a red crayon.

To assemble the hat:

1)  Tape the white cardstock strips together to make a band big enough to fit around your head.  Then, wrap the bands around your head to find the write size, and secure with tape.

2)  Color the flags, and cut them out.  Tape the big flag onto the hat band, and decorate with the flag stickers.

To assemble the flag... simply tape the stick to the back of the small flag that you colored.  Easy peasy!

I hope you had fun making this month's craft.  Leave a comment below to let me know what you thought of it.  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".)

Simple DIY Graduation Treats

My 4 year old is graduating from Preschool this month, and he will be starting Grade Primary in the fall.  This is a big milestone in our house, so {of course}, we need to mark the occasion with a special treat.  Today on the blog, I am sharing the DIY graduation treats we are making for his friends on graduation day.

Want to make these adorable {and delicious} graduation caps?

1)  First, gather the supplies.  {We used: a chocolate cake mix and chocolate icing, red candies, square chocolate cookies, and strawberry Fruit by the Foot}


2)  Using a mix, bake "mini" chocolate cupcakes.  {You can follow the directions on the box, but instead, I like to add 1 cup water, 1/2 cup cooled melted butter, and 3 eggs to the mix.  Then, I bake the "mini" cupcakes at 350 for about 15 minutes.}  

3)  To assemble the graduation hats:
  • Cut a strip from the "Fruit by the Foot" to resemble a tassel.
  • Attach the fruit strip and a red candy to the top of the chocolate cookie using a little chocolate icing as "glue".
  • Turn the cupcake upside down, add a little frosting, and place the cookie on top.

We also put these cute bubbles together for his classmates.  I found some cute "owl" ribbon, and attached a note that says "Owl miss seeing you at preschool!" 

Cute, right?

Do you have any special milestones coming up this summer?  What special treats will you be making?

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

You may also like this sweet graduation treat (with free printable tags).

{Father's Day} Banner

You may remember that the boys and I made a cute "book page" Mother's Day Banner.  {If you want the full tutorial, you can find it here.}  Well... my six year old thought that we needed one for Father's Day, and he decided to make one without any help from me.  {Love that boy!}  

He drew the letters onto construction paper and cut them out.

Then, I helped him attach the letters to pages out of an old book, hole punched them, and strung them up using a piece of twine.

Didn't it turn out cute?  He is super-proud of the decoration he made for his Daddy.  :-)

Are your kids making anything cute for Father's Day this year?

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

End-of-Year {Gifts for Classmates}

I always like to let my boys bring little gifts to their friends at the end of the school year.  This year, we are going with three super-easy ideas.  {If you are interested in what they gave out last year, you can see the post here.} 

Here's what they are giving out to their little friends:

1)  A bag of chocolate chip cookies with a tag that says, "You are one smart COOKIE!

2)  A bag of teddy bear cookies with a tag that says, "Have a BEARY good summer!"

3)  Our Summer Checklist {which you can find here} rolled up like a scroll and tied with a ribbon.

So there you have it... three cute little gifts that are easy and inexpensive.  Do your kids like to bring presents or treats for their classmates?  What are some of your favorite ideas?

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

DIY Father's Day Gift

I love things that are meaningful, simple, and inexpensive... and this DIY Father's Day gift really fits the bill! This adorable gift is easy, inexpensive, and guaranteed to delight Dad.

To start, I interviewed each boy separately, and had them answer some questions about their Dad.  Here is what I used:

My Daddy loves ________________.
He is good at __________________.
My favorite thing to do with my Dad is __________________.
I love my Daddy because ____________________.
Love, ___________ (Age _____)

Then, I uploaded a picture of each boy to Picmonkey.com {which is free and user friendly}, and typed in the info from their interview). 

To finish, I printed off the pictures, and put them in inexpensive frames.

Isn't this a great idea?  My husband is going to love having these Father's Day photos sitting on his desk at work.


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today, I was looking for a way to use up my ripe bananas {other than making banana bread or muffins}, and I came across this recipe for Banana Oatmeal Cookies on the Today's Parent website.  I tried it out {with a few changes}, and they turned out quite tasty.  They have more of a muffin texture than a cookie texture, but the boys definitely want to make them again.  :-)

If you want to give them a try, here's what you do:

1)  Put the following ingredients in a big bowl, and beat {on medium} with electric beaters until the batter is smooth.
  • ¾ cup butter{room temperature}
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 large, ripe bananas {mashed}
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
2)  Stir in ¾ cup chocolate chips.
3)  In a separate bowl, combine
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1¾ cups  rolled oats
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
4)  Use a wooden spoon to mix the wet and dry ingredients together.

5)  Use a small cookie scoop to scoop batter onto a cookie tray.  Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes.
Do you always have ripe bananas that no one will eat?  I look at it as a good excuse to make some cookies.  :-)

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 {June} Reminder

Just a little reminder that the next mailing of the ECM Kid's Craft Club goes out on June 20, 2012

So... if you haven't already signed up, you should do it ASAP.  The 4-month membership package is only $25 (including Cdn shipping... and there is NO tax).  

Our theme this month is "Canada Day Celebration".

And here is what this month's kit looks like:

Do you know a little one that would be delighted to find a special package {just for him/her} in the mailbox?  Email me at EastCoastMommy@gmail.com if don't want to miss out on the fun.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy

PS - Here is some additional info you may find helpful:

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"
  • an extra little surprise
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).

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.


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