5 Simple APRIL FOOL'S DAY Pranks

I'm not big on "pranks", but I do find it fun to do something simple and silly for the kids on April Fool's Day. Today, I am sharing 5 April Fool's Day pranks that are easy for parents and are guaranteed to delight little ones.

Check out these adorable April Fool's Day jokes for kids:

1) Make a pan of "Brown Es" -- Who can resist a pan of fresh-from-the-oven brownies? Set a pan of "brown Es" on the counter covered with tin foil. When the kids try and sneak one, they will get a funny surprise!

2) Set up a "Cereal Surprise" -- Before the kids come to the breakfast table, put a couple of drops of food colouring at the bottom of a bowl. Then, cover the food colouring with cereal. When the milk is poured into the bowl, it will change colour, and the child will get a delightful surprise!

3) Package up some donut seeds -- Who wouldn't want donuts for breakfast? Package up some Cheerios with the fun tag you can download for free here. Maybe you can even convince your little one to plant them. If not, you'll still have a simple and fun April Fool's Day breakfast.

4) Serve a fake grilled cheese sandwich -- Cake for lunch is fun, right? Surprise your kids by making them "sandwiches" using slices of pound cake and icing tinted with red and yellow food colouring. You could also toast the pound cake for a more authentic look. That's it... easy peasy!

5) Set up a googly eye surprise -- Add googly eyes to the food in the fridge using double sided tape. It doesn't take long to set up this prank, and the kids will get a hilarious surprise when they open the fridge.

Do you like to play jokes on your kid's on April 1st? Which of these April Fool's Day pranks will you try this year?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Hockey Team Treats

All three of my boys play hockey, and it is a huge commitment -- in terms of both time and money. However, I am happy to support their endeavours because they are learning a lot of lessons that can only be learned from being part of a team. As our regular hockey season comes to an end, I thought it would be fun to make a few hockey team treats for my 7 year old to pass out to his teammates at his year end party. I designed some adorable printable tags, and you can download them for FREE below.

For my son, I used Picmonkey.com to design custom tags featuring his team logo. I love the personalized tags, but if you aren't comfortable designing them yourself, I made a generic tag that you can just print and use.

Here is the custom tag:

Here is the generic tag:

To download the generic tag: right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4X6 photo.
I put packages of gum in cellophane bags and attached the tags with curling ribbon. Cute, right?

Are your kids on any teams? These team treats could easily be customized for any sport or activity. You could even use them for class treats or loot bags by changing the tag to say, "Thanks for being an 'Excel'lent friend."

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

8 Reasons you should go see the new "Beauty and the Beast"

Last weekend, my husband and I took our three boys to see the new, live action version of Beauty and the Beast. We LOVED it! I don't usually do movies reviews on this site, but I enjoyed it so much that I felt compelled to encourage my readers to go and enjoy this lovely movie with their kids. Today, I am sharing 8 reasons you should see Beauty and the Beast this weekend.

The NEW Beauty and the Beast is:

1) Full of back stories and new songs - If you loved the original, you will love this one too!

2) Extremely well cast - All the actors are as wonderful as their animated counterparts. 

3) Visually breathtaking - The sets and special effects are beautiful and magical.

4) Full of wonderful singing - Let's face it, a good musical is always enjoyable.

5) Guaranteed to make you nostalgic - If you saw the original movie as a child, you will love sharing this version with your children.

6) Great for all ages - At it's heart, it's all about the wonderful story... finding true love, good guys vs. bad guys, being different and being OK with it, and looking for beauty within.

7) Funny - In keeping with Disney tradition, there are jokes for all ages... and Josh Gad (as Lefou) is refreshing, hilarious and fun.

8) All about Belle... and Emma Watson was the perfect choice - She's lovely, strong, has a pretty voice... and let's face it... who doesn't love her?!?

Have I convinced you to go see Beauty and the Beast this weekend? If you have already seen it, what did you think? If you haven't already seen it, are you planning on going? I hope you and your kids love it as much as we did.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

3D Easter Sharpie Art

Making holiday art with kids is a wonderful way to spend time together and to create some wonderful keepsakes. My boys made 3D Easter Sharpie art recently, and I absolutely love the way it turned out. Today, I am sharing a step-by-step tutorial and video that will allow you to make this easy and inexpensive project with your children.
To make Easter Sharpie Art:

1) Cut a 4X6 rectangle from an old cereal box.
2) Draw an Easter egg shape, trace with glue, cover with yarn, and allow to dry.
3) Cut a piece of tin foil slightly larger than the cardboard, cover the dull side with glue from a glue stick, and place over the egg design.
4) Secure the tin foil to the picture with tape (on the back).
5) Smooth out the tin foil (and press into the yarn) with a piece of felt.
6) Decorate with Sharpies, allow to dry, and place the artwork in an inexpensive dollar store frame.

Want to see how we did it? Check out our video: 

Each of my boys made their own Easter art, and I put their creations in dollar store frames. I love our new Easter decor, don't you?

I think this Easter artwork is perfect for children of all ages. If you make this project with your kids, let me know how it turns out. I hope you love this 3D Sharpie art as much as my boys and I do.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

{Simple} Easter Egg Decorating Ideas

Every year my boys decorate Easter eggs, and it's always a lot of fun. Today, I am sharing 6 simple ways that you can decorate Easter eggs with your own kids.

First, you'll need to get the eggs ready. I like to hard boil Easter eggs by putting them in a large pot and covering them with cold water. Then, I bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 13 minutes. I remove them from the water and let them cool down in the fridge.

Cool eggs are perfect for decorating, and here are 6 easy and creative ways to decorate Easter eggs:

1) Dye them.
2) Use Sharpies.
3) Use temporary tattoos. (Small ones work best.)

4) Use store-bought wraps.
5) Use stickers.
6) Use glue and glitter.

Decorating Easter eggs is a fun Easter tradition, and it gives kids the opportunity to get creative. Give them a bunch of supplies, and let them use their imaginations. It's amazing to see what they come up with!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Easter Bunny Paper Bag Treat Bags

Sometimes the wrapping is just as fun as what is inside a package. This is definitely the case with these simple Easter treat bags made from plain, brown paper lunch bags. Kids of all ages will love making (and opening) these adorable brown paper bunny bags!

To make the bags:

1) Start by cutting the bag (per below).
2) Spread out the bag to reveal four ears.
3) Colour the inside of the ears with a pink marker.
4) Cut the two ears off the back of the bag.
5) Fill the bag with goodies, and tie with a ribbon.

Isn't this adorable?

I think this bag is a wonderful way to give Easter goodies to neighbours, classmates, and/or friends. What goodies will you put in these simple Easter treat bags?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Strong Female Role Models Aren't Just Important for Little Girls

Yesterday was International Women's Day, and my social media feeds were filled with images of moms, daughters, sisters, and girlfriends. I saw a lot of people writing about the importance of teaching their daughters to be strong women, and it got me thinking about the fact that it is equally important for me to teach my sons to honour and respect the women in their lives.

If my boys learn to honour women when they are young, they will grow into respectful men... and it is my job to make sure it happens. Here are a few things I am doing:

1) From an early age, I have always taught my boys that there are NOT "boy things and girl things". My boys craft and bake, and they play sports on co-ed teams.

2) My boys see that my husband respects me, listens to me, values my opinion, and treats me with kindness. His example is teaching them how they should treat the women in their lives (now and in the future).

3) My boys are lucky to have wonderful women role models all around them.

4) My boys see strong women in the entertainment they watch.

I want my boys to see examples of strong women at home, in their community, and in the entertainment they watch. Studies have shown that role models from the entertainment they choose can have a lasting effect. Here are three of my boys' favourite Netflix shows that feature strong female role models:

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Dragons Race to the Edge


I'm always reading and hearing about children being bombarded with negative images via social media, so I am grateful to Netflix for providing me with positive options for my boys. Who are some of your favourite female role models?

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Disclosure: I receive special gifts and perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix.... however (as always) the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

Easy and Inexpensive EASTER Ideas

Easter is a wonderful time for treats, crafts, and making memories. As a busy mom, I always want to create holiday magic for my family and friends, but I don't want to spend a lot of time and money doing it. So, today I am sharing over 50 EASY and INEXPENSIVE Easter ideas that are guaranteed to make Easter a wonderful holiday in your home.

Click on the titles for links to the details about each project.

(upgraded using dollar store supplies)

Easter Prize punch 
(made from inexpensive dollar store supplies)

(made from dollar store supplies... in less than 5 minutes)

This Bunny Bar is cute too... and you can download a 
FREE printable "Bunny Bar" sign here.

These are awesome ideas for high end decor on budget!

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