Let's Discuss Kitchen Makeovers

Do you ever think about what your dream kitchen would look like? I do. The kitchen is the hub for most of our family activities.  It's where we do our homework and art projects, and it is where we eat together and talk about our day.  

I have tons of things I would change about my kitchen if I had the budget, but there are also many thing I like about my kitchen:

1) The color - I recently painted my kitchen, and I am really pleased with the colors I chose.  The main part of the kitchen is Great Plains (CC-334) and the accent wall is Hale Navy (HC-154)

2) My light fixture - I replaced the ugly light fixture that was above my table (when we purchased our house) with an inexpensive one ($139.99) that I like MUCH better.

3) My pull out drawers - I would love to have a walk-in pantry, but since that isn't an option, I am glad that I have pull out drawers in one of my cupboards. Pull out drawers really help with kitchen functionality and organization.

4) My windows -  I have two windows and lots of natural light in my kitchen.  I love how bright it is.

5) My floor - I really like the tile floor in my kitchen.  It is practical and easy to clean, and that's important for a busy kitchen like mine.

Now do you want to hear about what I would like to change about my kitchen?  (You can check out my Pinterest board here to see what inspires me.)  I'd love to have more storage space and a big island, but if I only had a small budget, here is what I would do:

1) I'd love to paint my cupboards white and update the hardware.  When I am browsing dream kitchens on Pinterest, the white kitchens are always the ones that catch my eye. (There is just too much light wood in my kitchen!)

2) I'd love to get some new appliances... especially a new fridge (as mine is scratched and makes weird noises).

3) I'd love a backsplash.  Right now, I have nothing, and I think putting in a glass tile backsplash would really make a big impact in my small kitchen.

4) I'd love to have a really organized "command centre".  With three busy boys, this project has been on my "to do" list forever.

5) I'd love to install some pendant lighting over my breakfast bar.  It's another small change that I think would make a big impact.

What changes would you make to your kitchen? 

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Disclosure – I am participating in the Ultimate Kitchen Makeover Blogger Campaign on behalf of Finish. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Paper Boat Tutorial... old fashioned paper craft

Don't you just love an old-fashioned paper craft?  I made these paper boats {that really float} when I was a little girl, and a few weeks ago, I made them with my boys.  Not surprisingly, they were a hit.

All you need to make your own paper boat is a piece of paper and a wax crayon.  Pretty simple, eh?

Here's what you do:

1)  Color a sheet of paper {on both sides} with a wax crayon to waterproof.

2) Fold the paper in half {the long way}.

3)  Fold both corners {down}, so that they meet in the center.

4)  Turn up the bottom flap, and flip over and do the same on the other side.

5)  Press the end folds together until the middle creases become the outside folds.

6)  Tuck in the end flaps so that it lies flat.

7)  Fold the bottom corner up to the top corner.  Flip over, and do the same.

8) Like #5, press the end folds together so that the middle creases become the outside folds. 

9)  Hold the two outside points, and pull them away from the middle point.  Press down the sides to finish the boat.
Make sense?  It's actually pretty easy if you follow each step.  

Try it, and let me know how it goes.  If you have any trouble, send me an email, and I will see if I can help.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Boo'ing... free printables

Every year, the boys and I "Boo" the neighbours. "Booing" involves...secretly...leaving treats on a neighbours doorstep.  {You can read all about it here.}  This year, I decided it would be fun to create our very own "Boo"ing printables.  Here's what I came up with:

You can download your own copies here and here.

If you have never taken the kids "boo"ing, you should totally give it a try by following the instructions provided on the printable.  It's a great Halloween tradition, and it's lots of fun!

Happy "Boo"ing!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Dollar Store Halloween Wreath

If you know me at all, you know that I love things that are easy and inexpensive.  So, you will not be surprised that I am totally excited to share my dollar store Halloween Wreath with you.

Isn't it cute?  I made it from a pool noodle, some yarn, and some embellishments from the dollar store.  

Want to make one?  Just follow these three simple steps:

1)  Make a wreath form by duct-taping the ends of a pool noodle together.  (I inserted a craft stick into the centre of the noodles, before taping, to make it a little stronger.)

2)  Wrap the wreath in yarn... securing periodically with hot glue.

3)  Attach embellishments with hot glue.  (I used a piece of yarn and purple letters cut from craft foam to spell the word "BOO".)

Don't you just love the purple glittery accents and how they contrast with the traditional white and grey yarn?

If you make a similar wreath, send me a picture.  I love to see the wonderful creations my readers come up with.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Quick Tip Tuesday #18 - Cleaning out Cupboards

This week's tip is inspired by one of my kitchen cupboards that had become totally unusable.  Don't we all have a cupboard that drives us crazy every time we open it?  Last week, I tackled my most disorganized cupboard, and today I am sharing some helpful hints with you.

Here is how you can organize a cupboard in three easy steps:

Step 1 - Empty the cupboard, and give it a good cleaning.

Warning... it's going to get worse before it gets better.  lol

Step 2 - Purge.  Get rid of things you no longer use, and consider relocating items you don't use very often.  (e.g. I moved some of my rarely used cake pans into my garage.)

Step 3 - Organize.  Think about how you use the items, and organize them accordingly.  (e.g. I put my platters in the back, and I put my lunch containers close to the front.

I feel great now that this cupboard is usable again.  On to the next one!  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

The Ultimate DIY LEGO Party

In July, my two boys turned four and six, and we celebrated with a joint LEGO party.  It was a great party, and I am super-excited to share all the fun and easy DIY details with you.

You can find all the fun party details below, and you can watch the video I made here.

We started out with a super-cute invitation that I put together using Picmonkey.  I used a picture of the birthday boys holding cardboard LEGO men that I made for them {using foam board and bristol board from the dollar store}.

I used the same LEGO men as part of the party decor, and I made a fun LEGO banner using construction paper.  Everything was tied together with a red, yellow, and blue color scheme.

As children arrived at the party, they were directed toward a table where they designed their own LEGO person.  {You can download the worksheet I created here.}

Then, after everyone had arrived, all the children decorated LEGO cookies.  I made butter cut-out cookies and cut them into rectangles.  Every child decorated two cookies using icing and skittles.  The children ate one of the cookies and took the other one home in a bag labelled with their name on it.

After the cookie decorating (and while the children were still seated), we ate and had the birthday cakes.  You can read all about how I made my boys' simple LEGO cakes here.

Then, we played the following LEGO games:

1)  Guess the number of LEGO bricks in the jar.

2)  LEGO bean bag toss.  (You can find a "how to make a bean bag toss from a box" tutorial here.)

3)  Free play with bins of LEGO.

4)  Pin the head on the LEGO man.  (You can download the free templates here.)

5)  Tower building with "life size LEGO".  (You can find the instructions for building your own life size LEGO blocks here.)

6)  Bust open the LEGO Ninjago Piñata.  (I made this DIY LEGO piñata using a balloon, and the same technique I used here.)

7)  LEGO Balloon Tennis... where the kids hit balloons back and forth using their LEGO paddles.  (This game was a VERY popular with the party guests.  I crafted paddles using paper plates with popsicle sticks duct taped to the back.  Then, I added a LEGO head cut from yellow construction paper.) 

Before we knew it, the party was over, and it was time for the guests to leave... with their loot bags. Each guest left with their LEGO cookies, their LEGO paddle and a balloon, and a little treat bag. Instead of traditional treat bags, I made special LEGO cupcakes for the kids to take home. They were definitely a hit!

It was a great party, and a good time was had by all.  I think "LEGO" is a really fun and simple theme for a birthday party, don't you?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also like the fun DIY party ideas here.

20+ Awesome No-Sew Costumes for Kids

For those moms out there who don't sew, this is the perfect collection for you. These "no-sew" costumes are not only great for Halloween -- they are excellent for playing dress-up any time of the year. I also have several options suitable for older kids! Number 26 is my favourite, but let me know what you think.

Click on the links below for all the easy DIY (no-sew) details:

1)  Zombie Waiter - This is a simple idea if you want a costume that is a little spooky. Splatter fake blood on an old white dress shirt, put on a suit, glue a fake arm to a dollar store tray, and add some zombie make-up. That's it! 

2) DIY LEGO costume (from a box) - Such a simple and cute idea from Semi-urban Mom.  {Here's the link.} 

3)  DIY Ninja - I based this no-sew ninja costume on "Zane" the white ninja from LEGO Ninjago.  It cost less than $10 to make, and it was a huge hit with my 7 year old.  {You can find the full tutorial here.}

And, if you prefer a black ninja, you can find a fantastic step-by-step tutorial here.

4)  No-sew angel wings - I don't think I could convince my boys to wear these, but I think Creative Connections for Kids did a beautiful job on these no-sew angel wings.  {Here's the link.} 

5)  Doctor - Recently, boys decided to set up a teddy bear clinic in our living room, and I made this quick doctor lab coat from an adult t-shirt.  It took less than 5 minutes!  {Here's the link.}

6)  Soldier - My boys love pretending to be soldiers, and I think they would love this adorable version from Frugal Fun for Boys.  Aren't the moustaches too cute? {Here's the link.}

7)  Olaf - I made this adorable "no sew" Olaf costume for my five year old, and I am so please with how it turned out.  If you have a Frozen fan in your house, you can find the full tutorial and free templates here

8)  Pirate costumes (from old clothes) - My boys and I recycled old clothes and transformed them into perfect pirate costumes.  {Here's the link.}

9)  Norman the slug - How original is this costume from Zing Zing Tree?  I love it!  {Here's the link.}

10)  Skeleton (using paper and tape) - This skeleton by Red Ted Art is the perfect last minute Halloween costume.  I love how easy it is to put together.  {Here's the link.} 

11)  Jake (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates) - Here's a cute costume I put together for my oldest son.  I have included a full step-by-step tutorial and a template for the cardboard sword.  {Here's the link.} 

12)  Peter Pan - Peter Pan is a great character, and this costume is super cute and easy to put together.  {Here's the link.} 

13)  Witch (with a DIY tutu) - What is cuter than a witch in a tutu?  I just love this purple, green and black costume from Red Ted Art.  {Here's the link.}

14) Mickey Mouse - This adorable Mickey Mouse costume from The Chirping Mom is too cute for words.  I love the great big ears.  {Here's the link.} 

15)  Minnie Mouse - This Minnie Mouse costume by School Time Snippets is a great choice for a toddler or preschooler.  I love the polkadot tutu and the yellow shoes.  {Here's the link.}  

16)  Detective - This DIY detective costume by Toddler Approved is really original and totally cute.  {Here's the link.} 

17)  Captain America - This Captain American shield by Toddler Approved is the perfect accessory for a little super hero in training. {Here's the link.}

18)  Super Hero masks - I made these foam super hero masks for my boys in a bunch of different colors.  They are super fun, and you'll love how easy and inexpensive they are to make.  {Here's the link.} 

19)  Super Hero capes - I made a bunch of these capes for my boys' super hero birthday party a couple of years ago, and my boys still play with them all the time.  They are made from felt which makes them really easy and inexpensive to make.  {Here's the link.}

Here is another version.  Click the link for a full tutorial for t-shirt capes and toilet roll cuffs.

20)  Army men - My boys are big fans of their bucket of soldiers (from Toy Story), so I know they would love these army men costumes by Frugal Fun for Boys.  I love the platforms for their feet... so cute!  {Here's the link.}  

21) Explorer - Is your little one always up for an adventure? It doesn't get much easier than this simple explorer costume. {Here's the link.}

22) Mad Scientist - The secret to these adorable mad scientist costumes are the easy no-sew lab coats. Find out what we used to put together these mad scientist costumes here.

23) Clark Kent aka Superman - It doesn't get much easier than this. I bought a $7 Superman shirt from Walmart, added a white shirt and tie (that I already had), secured things in place with safety pins, and added some glasses. The result is fantastic... don't you think?

24) Diary of a Wimpy Kid - To make this simple literary favourite, you just need black and white clothes and a bristol board mask. Easy peasy!

25) Secret agent - This is the perfect costume for kids that already have a suit hanging in their closet. Just add a dollar store hat, sunglasses, and mustache. I also used my computer to make a "secret agent" nametag and my son carried a toy briefcase we already had. So easy... and super cute!

26) Minion - This minion costume is made from a dollar store bowl and laundry basket. It's adorable... and totally genious! Find the full "how to" here.

27) Robber - Pop on a striped shirt, a black hat, mask, gloves and black pants. Then, just add a money bag! Easy... peasy!

Which of these 27 costumes is your favorite? Have you ever made a great no-sew costume for your little one? I'd love to hear about it!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (For more great ideas... you can check out my "no sew" costume Pinterest board here.)

You can also find more frightfully fun Halloween ideas here.

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