Last Day of School 2015

Today was the last day of school for my boys, so I thought I would share some pictures from our day... and share a few of our last day of school traditions.

We always take an end of year picture, the boys go to school, and when I pick them up, we head out for ice cream!

After ice cream, we go home where I have a finish line waiting for my boys.  They LOVE this tradition!

And, although we don't do "grading gifts", the boys always get new books.  They love new books, and I love that it helps to keep them reading over the summer!

We had a fantastic last day of school, and now we are looking forward to summer vacation. Bring on the sunshine!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Number Crafts and Activities (1-10)... including free worksheets and craft templates

I teach a weekly class for Preschoolers called "123 Learn with Me".  It's a 10 week class, and each week we learn about a new number through fun activities and crafts.  Today, I am sharing links to all TEN awesome lesson plans and NUMBER CRAFTS.

Click on the links to download the worksheets and craft templates for FREE.

NUMBER ONE crafts and activities - The highlight of our "number one" crafting session was an adorable (and colorful) paper plate bird.  Free worksheets can be downloaded by clinking the link.

NUMBER TWO crafts and activities - The "One Fish Two Fish" handprint craft is seriously cute, and a fun way to learn about the number two.  Free templates can be downloaded by clicking the link.

NUMBER THREE crafts and activities - We learned about the number three through "The Three Little Pigs". The puppets and houses were a hit with the kids, and you can download the templates for free by clicking the link.

NUMBER FOUR crafts and activities - We learned about the number four via some great worksheets and by crafting these adorable (personalized) cupcake liner flowers. Cute, right?  All the worksheets and templates can be downloaded by clicking the link.

NUMBER FIVE crafts and activities - We had a lot of fun learning about the number five during our teddy bear picnic.  You can find everything you need to host your own picnic by clicking the link.

NUMBER SIX crafts and activities - We went on a Pirate adventure and learned all about the number six.  The highlight was the pirate treasure chest craft containing six jewels.  You can download all the worksheets and templates by clicking the link.

NUMBER SEVEN crafts and activities - We learned all about the number seven via a "too cute for words" love bug with seven spots.  Crafting a number seven headband was also a lot of fun for the kids.  You can download the entire number seven lesson plan by clicking the link.

NUMBER EIGHT crafts and activities - What has eight legs? Well, the answer is... the adorable octopus and spider crafts we made to learn about the number eight.  Free templates can be found by clicking the link.

NUMBER NINE crafts and activities - We had a lot of fun learning about the number nine, and the highlight was definitely our monster with nine eyes.  You can download all the number nine templates and worksheets by clicking the link.

NUMBER TEN crafts and activities - The kids had a great time using their ten fingers to make an adorable owl craft.  You can download this craft, and additional craft templates and worksheets, by clicking the link.

Isn't crafting a fun way to teach little ones about their numbers? I hope you enjoy all the free worksheets and templates. Happy crafting!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (If you live in Antigonish, and you are interested in having your child attend my "123 Learn with Me" class, you can find all the registration info here.)

Summer Checklist {2015}

Every year my boys and I start the summer by coming up with a summer checklist.  We always have 50 items, we print the list, and we "check off" items as they are completed. Our last activity is always a "have ice cream for supper" celebration!  Here's our 2015 Summer Checklist.

To print a copy of this checklist: right-click on the picture (above), save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8X10 photo.  (I sent mine to our local supply store and had it printed for $0.39.)

I have also included some helpful links below.

1) Celebrate Canada Day or the 4th of July
2) Watch fireworks or attend a parade
3) Have a teddy bear picnic

4) Go to a splash pad or swim in a pool
5) Host a "half sleepover"
6) Go to a farmer's market
7) Visit the library and read a book outside
8) Make homemade bubbles
9) Go fishing or hiking
10) Have a family movie night outside
11) Paint rocks or make patio stones

12) Pick out a toy or treat at the dollar store
13) Plant something and watch it grow
14) Visit a wildlife park, farm or zoo
15) Build a fort
16) Create a simple backyard water park

17) Play baseball, soccer, golf or street hockey
18) Make ice cream or go to an ice cream stand
19) Go for a bike ride
20) Decorate a cake or bake cookies
21) Spend time at a cottage, beach or park
22) Do a science experiment
23) Play a board game
24) Go geo-caching

25) Have a "kids pick the meals" day
26) Play mini golf
27) See a play or visit a museum
28) Have a lemonade stand
29) Try a new food
30) Have a theme day (e.g. a pirate day or superhero day)
31) Camp in the backyard or living room
32) Have a PJ day
33) Build a large puzzle
34) Make a summer reading list or keep a summer journal
35) Fly a kite
36) Have a dance party in the living room
37) Go on a scavenger hunt

38) Build an obstacle course
39) Play with water balloons
40) Do a good deed or raise money for charity
41) Visit a new city or town
42) Play "tag"
43) Roast marshmallows or make a different campfire treat
44) Write and mail a letter or postcard
45) Run in a race
46) Craft a boat and float it down a river
47) __________________________
48) __________________________
49) __________________________

Do you have a favorite summer checklist activity? I'd love to hear about it!  The boys and I are always looking for new adventures.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Class Treats {Minion Cookies}... with free printable tags

My boys love bringing simple treats to their friends on the last day of school, and this year, my 7 year old really wanted to bring packages of Minion cookies. We added a note that said, "You're one in a Minion!", and today I am sharing the free printable tags that I designed.

I love how easy and inexpensive these treats are... and the tags are nothing short of adorable!

To print the tags: right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4X6 photo.

My son is super-excited to share these sweet treats with his friends. Bring on summer!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Teacher Totes and Tags

I adore teachers, and I love giving them gifts they can actually use. This year, I purchased some adorable tote bags for some of my boys teachers, and today I am sharing the sweet gift tags I designed to go with them.

I made a few versions of the tags, so they work for all types of teachers. This is a great gift for the last day of school, Christmas, or teacher appreciation.  

To download the tags for free: right-click on one of the pictures below, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4X6 photo.

Aren't the free downloadable tags adorable?

I think this is a fantastic teacher gift, don't you?  My boys are excited to share these gifts.  What is your favorite teacher gift to give/receive?

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

The Best Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

An after school snack is a daily ritual in our home. It provides me with a wonderful opportunity to sit down with my boys and find out about their day. We often have sandwiches and fruit, but sometimes I bake a special treat as a surprise for them. In both cases, they always enjoy a glass of milk with their snack. It's part of our every day.  Today I am sharing the recipe for our most recent treat -- my mom's Sour Cream Coffee Cake (with chocolate chips).

This post was inspired by Farmers' "Part of Your Every Day" campaign, so you will notice I used Farmers milk, sour cream, and butter in this delicious recipe.  This decadent cake is sure to please everyone in your family.  

Recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake (with chocolate chips)

For the batter, you'll need:
1/2 cup softened Farmers* butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
250mL Farmers* sour cream
2 tbsp Farmers* milk
1 cup chocolate chips

For the topping, you'll need:
6 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecan slices (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon

Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Then, add the eggs (beating after each one is added).

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, and baking powder.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture (alternating with the sour cream).  Add the milk, and then fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick, and not overly easy to work with, but don't worry because it will spread out beautifully as it cooks.

Grease a tube pan, and half fill with batter.  Cover with 1/2 of topping.  Add the rest of the batter, and then add the rest of the topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.  Keep an eye on it... as over cooking will cause it to dry out.

This is a great coffee cake to serve to guests, but it also makes a special after school treat.  Trust me... homework is much more enjoyable alongside this yummy cake.

Give this sour cream coffee cake recipe a try, and let me know what you think.  It is guaranteed to make the ritual of an after school snack a little sweeter.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Disclosure: I was compensated by Farmers for my participation in their #PartOfYourEveryDay campaign, but (as always) the opinions expressed in this blog are 100% my own.

Class Treats {Have a Cool Summer!}... with free printable tags

Sometimes simple ideas are the best, and I think this is a delightful end of year class treat.  Two of my boys have decided that this is the treat they want to share with their classmates on the last day of school.  Today, I am sharing the adorable tags for these Freezies... for FREE.

To download a copy of these tags: right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4X6 photo.  (There are three tags on every photo, so they are very cheap to print!)

I purchased a box of giant Freezies at Walmart for $4.97, so it really is an inexpensive way to share a fun treat with an entire class.

Do your little ones enjoy bringing class treats on the last day of school?  I think this is a simple and inexpensive option that the kids will love!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Fall Programs {2015}

I love the idea of kids being creative, and I believe that learning should be fun. With that in mind... I will be offering some fantastic classes (in my home in Antigonish, NS) in September.  I have three classes available, and the details are included below.

Tuesdays - 1, 2, 3 Learn with me
This is a class that I offered in the Spring of 2015, and the kids had a lot of fun with it.  Each week focusses on a different number. You can read about the types of activities we do here.  This class is best suited for 4 and 5 year olds.  This is a drop off program.  (Note: Children must be able to go to the bathroom unassisted.)

Wednesdays - Alphabet Adventures
This is a class that I initially offered in the Fall of 2015, and it is a fantastic program.  Each week focusses on a different letter. You can read about the types of activities we do here.  This class is best suited for 4 and 5 year olds. This is a drop off program. (Note: Children must be able to go to the bathroom unassisted.)

Mondays - 1, 2, 3 Read and Craft with Me - FULL (email to put your name on a waiting list)
This is a NEW class that I am offering in response to several requests for a class for younger children.  This class is best suited for 3 and 4 year olds.  We'll be doing some free play, a story time, and some simple crafts.  Parents are welcome to stay for the class or drop the child off.  (Note: Children must be able to go to the bathroom unassisted if the parents are not able to stay.)

Pre-registration is required for all programs (and space is limited), so please complete and return the registration form(s) below ASAP.

123 Learn with Me registration form. (for 4/5 year olds)

Alphabet Adventures registration form. (for 4/5 year olds)

123 Read and Craft with Me registration form. (for 3/4 year olds) (This class is currently FULL, but you can email me to have your child's name put on a waiting list.)

If you have ANY questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Number Crafts {Number TEN}... "Whoooo" wants to learn about the number 10?

I teach a weekly class for preschoolers called "123 Learn with Me".  Each week, we learn about numbers through a variety of activities and crafts.  This week, we finished our 10 week session by having some fun with the number 10.

During our class, we did a number ten search, practiced printing the number ten, decorated a number ten, made a handprint owl with ten "feathers" and crafted a cloud with ten raindrops. (You can download the full lesson plan for free at the bottom of this post.)*

To make the cloud:

1) Print off the cloud and rain template (below).
2) Color the ten raindrops.
3) Glue cotton balls onto the cloud.

To make owl:

1) Print of the template for the owl (below) and tape half a sheet of paper onto each end.
2) Trace the child's hands to make owl wings.
3) Color the owl, and add googly eyes and an orange beak.

"Whoooo" doesn't love a handprint craft?  This owl is simple to make, and it makes an adorable keepsake.

Isn't this lesson plan a cute (and fun) way to learn about the number ten?  I hope you enjoyed all the "123 Learn with Me" crafts and activities. I know the preschoolers and I had a lot of fun!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

*You can download the entire number 10 lesson plan (for free) here

Please note: East Coast Mommy printables are free for personal, non-commercial use only. If you are pinning or sharing this post, please share from this page only and not the direct download. Thank you!

MORE number crafts and activities here.

5 DIY Gift Basket Ideas {for kids}

My boys are still at an age where they get invited to a lot of birthday parties... for both boys and girls.  I hate scrambling for a last minute gift, or buying a useless toy that the child might already have, so I am a big fan of gift cards and gift baskets.  Today I am sharing 5 DIY gift baskets that kids will love.

Most of these gifts can be assembled for around $15, but you can make them more or less expensive by adjusting the contents or adding gift cards.  These DIY gift baskets are fantastic because they really can fit any budget!

1)  Artist Bucket -- The dollar store is full of fantastic and inexpensive art supplies. For this basket, I bought a brightly colored bucket to hold all the supplies, brushes, paints, paint tray, and canvases.

2)  Bubble Kit -- I have been making homemade bubbles with my boys for years, and this basket contains everything a child needs to spend the summer making and chasing bubbles.  This basket includes corn syrup, dishwashing liquid, a recipe (which you can find here), bubble wands, and a juice container (aka refill station) that is perfect for dispensing bubbles.

3) Movie Night Basket - Movie nights are always a lot of fun, and this basket contains everything a child needs for a cozy night cuddled up watching a fantastic movie.  An inexpensive popcorn bucket holds a movie (or two), some movie candy, and popcorn. My boys always have fun choosing a movie and goodies for their friends.

4) Spy Kit - Using supplies from the dollar store, it is easy to put together a darling little spy kit that is sure to delight.  What could be better than a gift of "imaginative play"?  You can find all the details (and a free download) for this spy kit here

5) Cupcake Kit - If you know a little one that enjoys helping out in the kitchen, this cupcake kit is sure to please.  This kit includes a muffin tin, cake mixes, icing, cupcake liners, and sprinkles.  You could also add a grocery store gift card for additional supplies.  You could even include a homemade chef hat for an added touch of fun.  You can find the tutorial for the chef hat here

I think all of these DIY gift baskets for kids are adorable, don't you?  Do you have other ideas for birthday gifts for kids?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.  I'd love to hear them!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

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