Fall Checklist {with free printable}

Can you believe tomorrow is the first day of September???  It makes me sad to see summer come to an end, but I know that Fall is filled with fun activities too.  So... to get us in the mood, here is the Fall Checklist {2012 Edition} that I put together for our family.

Sound fun?  You can download and print a free copy here.

You can use it "as is", or you can make a fall activity tree {like we did last year}.  You can find all the instructions you need here

What is your favorite fall activity?  Did it make my list?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (If you have never heard of "Booing/Ghosting", you can read about it here.)
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Sharing the fun with:

Backyard Camping

Fall is fast approaching, but it isn't too late for a little "backyard camping" adventure.  We recently set up a campsite in our backyard, and we had a fantastic time.

We didn't have a fire pit, so we improvised with a fire projected onto a screen, and a "real fire" of lit candles.

We even had S'mores... because really, what is a camp out without S'mores?  :-)

Have you ever camped in your backyard?  If not, what are you waiting for?  The cool fall evenings are just around the corner.

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

Homemade Boats

As part of our Summer Checklist, we "crafted" boats to float down a river by our house.

I gave the boys basic supplies {like lids, milk containers, paper, straws, playdough, and toothpicks}, and they started building.  I offered a few ideas and suggestions, but they did most of it on their own.

When they were finished building, we tested them out in our pool to see if they would float.

Then, the next day, we took the "successful sailing vessels" to the river.

When we were finished, we used a butterfly net to scoop them out of the river, and we enjoyed a little picnic.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon.  We sure are going to miss summer.  :-(

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

{Life Size} Self Portrait

Here is a quick little post about an activity that your child will love... creating a life size self portrait.  It is a perfect rainy day creative endeavour.  :-)

This is so easy and lots of fun!  All you need is some "banner" paper and crayons.  {I got a big roll of paper at IKEA, but I have also seen it at Walmart.}

Here's what to do:

Mom - Get the child to lie down on the paper, and trace the outline of their body onto the paper.  {Be careful... this can be a very "ticklish" part.}

Child - Color the picture to look like you.

That's it!  My boys were very proud of their drawings.  Cute, 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.

Simple Scavenger Hunt {with printable}

This week, the boys and I went on a simple Scavenger Hunt {on a trail near our house}.  We packed our clipboards, pencils and picnic, and off we went.

I decided to keep things simple -- I made a list using words for my six year old and added little pictures for my younger two boys.

You can download a {free} version of the list I made here.

The boys had a great time "checking off" all the things on the list, and I really enjoyed our walk through the woods.  :-)

Have you ever taken your little ones on a Scavenger Hunt?  If not, why not print off my list and give it a try?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Teaching a Child to Ride a Two Wheeler {Tips}

Last weekend, my five year old and my six year old learned to ride their bikes without training wheels.  They both picked it up within an hour, and I thought I would share a few tips that might come in handy when you are teaching your little one.

1)  Get the gear - When learning to ride a bike, a child will fall, so make sure they are prepared.  We went to the dollar store and got a set of knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist pads.  I think we saved ourselves from a lot of scrapes.  Also, a proper fitting helmet should always be worn.

2)  Pick the right place -You need to look for a place that is flat and soft.  {We used a local baseball diamond, and it worked really well.}

3)  Need for speed - In order to get their balance, a child needs a little speed.  A little push goes a long way.

4)  Hold the child, not the bike - We started out holding onto the back of the bike, but it was making it difficult for the boys to "feel" the balancing of the bike.  When we started holding onto the child instead of the bike, it really helped.

5)  Be patient - Riding a bike is difficult {and a little scary} for little ones.  Be patient, and give them lots of encouragement.

Check out the "thumbs up" from my proud "bike riders" {and their three year old brother who will have his training wheels a little longer}.  :-)

Do you have a great tip for teaching a child to ride a bike?  I'd love to hear it.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Review and Giveaway {Old El Paso} - CLOSED

Contest Closed - The winner is "Jiselle".

As a Life Made Delicious Connector, I was recently sent a box of Old El Paso products to try.  They are launching 3 new delicious products:  an extra mild hard taco dinner kit, a hot & spicy fajita dinner kit, and a new mild taco seasoning.  

As a busy mom, I love a quick and tasty weekday meal, so I was excited to try some of the new products.  Tonight, we tried the extra mild hard taco kit.  I was a little worried that it might be a little "blah" because it was mild, but it wasn't.  It comes with a seasoning mix {that you add to sour cream} that adds a tasty "tang" to the taco.  Yum!

So... want to try it for yourself?  Leave a comment below letting me know if your family would prefer the "mild" or "hot" dinner option, and you could win a kit valued at $50 {like the one pictured here}.

The contest runs until September 20th, 2012, and is open to Canadian residents only.  {You may enter across multiple blogs, but you may only win one prize.}

Good luck!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Disclosure – I am participating in the Life Made Delicious Ambassador Program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

DIY Teacher Gift -- Flower Pens

This is my favorite kind of project..... an easy and inexpensive DIY gift!  My boys wanted to take something to their teachers on the first day of school, so I decided to make some pretty "flower pens".

All you need are some fake flowers, pens, and floral tape.

Step 1:  Cut the flower so that it is slightly shorter than the pen.

Step 2:  Wrap the tape around the pen and flower.  {I started in the middle, wrapped to the bottom, and then wrapped to the top.}

Step 3:  Pinch the end to seal.

That's it!  Easy, cute and practical.  What teacher wouldn't love a bouquet of these pens on the first day of school?

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 Kids' Craft Club - #6 {Puppy Puppet}

Welcome to the 6th edition of the {East Coast Mommy} Kids 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 hereFor everyone who is already a member... this month, we are making a Puppy Puppet!

Ready with all your supplies?

OK... let's get started.

1)  First, fold your sheet of paper into thirds, and then fold it into an accordian.  {Per below.}  Note:  You can tape the edges together after the first fold for a neater look, but it isn't necessary.

2)  Cut out the two black doggy ears and the black circle (snout), and tape or glue into place.

3)  Use tape or glue to attach the doggy's eyes and nose.

That's it!  Cute, right?

Stick your thumb in the bottom section and your fingers in the top section, and your puppy is ready perform.  :-) 

I hope you had fun making this craft.  {Don't forget to leave me a comment, or send me an email.  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".)

{Bubbles} and a {Fun Summer Lunch}

We are still working through our Summer Checklist, and yesterday we checked off #8 {Make Homemade Bubbles}.  We also had a fun little lunch.  I made some peanut butter sandwiches, cut out flower shapes with a cookie cutter, added some banana "leaves" and a cheese string stem... and voila!

Have you ever made homemade bubbles?  It is easy, inexpensive, and loads of fun.  Mix 12 cups of water with 1 cup light corn syrup.  Stir gently.  Then, add 2 cups of liquid dish soap, and stir gently again.

You can buy bubble wands, or experiment with making your own with things around the house.  My boys really enjoyed this part.

Are you working on your own summer checklist?  What has been your favorite activity so far?

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

Back to School {Banner and Lunch Idea}

It is almost time to head back to school, so today I am sharing two fun ideas with you:  a {simple} back-to-school book-page banner and a {super-easy} lunch idea.  

Let's start with the banner. 

To make the banner:

1) Draw {or print out} five apple pictures.
2) Have the kids color the pictures.
3) Trim 5 pages out of an old book, and cut a triangle shape from the bottom of each page.
4) Cut out the apples and attach to the book pages using double sided tape.
5) Hole punch the top of each page.  Then, string all the pages together using a piece of twine.

Cute, right?  Now, are you ready for the easiest lunch idea ever?  Last year, I shared my "go to" lunch idea, and I got a lot of great feedback.  So, I thought I would share another {even easier} lunch idea this year.

My boys aren't big on sandwiches -- except for peanut butter {which they aren't allowed to take to their "nut free" school}.  So, some days I give them a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast and cereal for lunch.  I put the cereal in a thermos, and they pour the milk in at lunch time.  I add some sugar-free applesauce, fruit, cheese, and homemade graham crackers for a treat .  

What are some of your favorite "go to" lunches?  With a new school year starting, I can use all the help I can get!
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

* You can find me on facebook here.

Avonlea Village {Prince Edward Island}

I know a lot of my readers aren't local, but if you ever find yourself in Prince Edward Island, you should definitely take your little ones to Avonlea Village.

Based on the "Anne of Green Gables" books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, a visit to Avonlea Village is like stepping back in time.  We visited last week, and my boys {and their cousins} loved the perfect blend of live theatre, music, and children's activities.

Have you ever been to Prince Edward Island?  Do you have a favorite place to take your little ones?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

* You can find me on facebook here.

Play Cafe

Here is a fantastic way to spend the morning, and a great way to add some fun to lunch -- have the kids create their own "Cafe".

To set up our "cafe", my boys made their own lunch menu and place mats {using self laminating sheets from the dollar store}.  Then, they helped me set the table, and I took their "orders".

It was really fun {and easy}, and the boys are still proudly using the place mats they made.  :-) 


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

* You can find me on facebook here.

5 Simple Summer Crafts

Sometimes a "quick and easy" craft is exactly what little ones need on a summer afternoon.  These 5 cute and simple crafts that my boys made at camp are perfect to keep little hands busy.

Suncatcher:  This one involves glue, so my boys loved it.  Pour a thin layer of white glue into a plastic lid, add some "treasures", and allow to dry completely.  Peel out the suncatcher, attach a string, and hang it in a window.

Magnet Movers:  Draw a road on a piece of paper.  Then take two "attracting magnets" and attach one to a pom pom creature, and one to a folded paper "handle".  Put the creature on the top of the paper and the other magnet on the bottom of the paper.  The kids will have a great time moving the pom pom creatures around "like magic".

Noisemaker {Kazoo}:  Decorate a toilet paper roll, and secure some wax paper to the top with an elastic.  Easy Peasy!

Silly Frog:  Draw a simple frog on card stock, color it and cut it out.  Then, cut a slit for a party favor "tongue".  Simple and silly!

Handprint Art:  The possibilities for handprint art are endless, but this little crab is adorable.  Cover two little hands in red paint, press to paper and add a couple of googly eyes.

Have you ever made any of these?  I remember a couple of them from my childhood.  :-)


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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