Funny Valentine... "Thanks for putting up with my CRAP!"

Maybe I have lived in a house with four boys too long, but I think this is a silly and funny idea for Valentine's Day. It's kind of the "anti-Valentine". Isn't this a clever, non-mushy, not-too-sentimental idea for Valentine's Day? I love this roll of toilet paper packaged up with ribbon and a note that says, "Thanks for putting up with my crap. Happy Valentine's Day!"

Funny, right? This would be fun for a friend, a parent, or a spouse.


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


Then, stick the note and a roll of toilet paper in a clear cellophane bag... and tie it with a ribbon.


Do you know someone that would appreciate receiving this funny Valentine? Who would you give this silly gift to?


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

A {SPEC}TACULAR Valentine's Day Treat

I like to give my boys Valentine's Day treats, but I don't want them to have too much sugar. So, this year, I decided to make them a special little Valentine using cute and inexpensive heart-shaped glasses that I found at the dollar store. I'm also sharing the free printable tags I designed, so you can share this treat with your kids too!

I found these glasses for $1.25 a pair at the dollar store.


Then, I put the glasses in a clear plastic bag with the cute tag I designed that says, "I think you are {SPEC}tacular!" Cute, right?


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


I have a pair for each of my boys, and I'll get them a little chocolate too.


These heart-shaped glasses would make cute class Valentines too. Who would you share this cute Valentine with?


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Valentine's Day Cookies

My family loves the combination of chocolate and peanut, so on Valentine's Day, these chocolate peanut butter cookies are a big hit. The delicious peanut butter cookies pair perfectly with the peanut butter filled chocolate hearts. They are easy to make too!


The kids will love helping you bake these cookies too!


To make these cookies, you can start with your favourite peanut butter cookie recipe. Here is the one I use (because it is simple, delicious, and only dirties one bowl):

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour


Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
2) In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, peanut butter, and sugars.
3) Add baking soda and baking powder, and beat until combined.
4) Add egg and vanilla, and beat again.
5) Stir in flour.

6) Scoop dough onto a cookie sheet.
7) Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes.
8) Push peanut butter filled chocolate hearts into cookies while they are still soft (i.e. before they are completely cooled).
9) Transfer to wire rack to cool.


Check out this video to see exactly how we did it. I did the scooping, and my 8 year old placed all the chocolate hearts.






Are you a fan of chocolate and peanut butter? Who will you make these delicious Valentine's Day cookies for? I'll definitely be baking a batch for my boys on February 14th!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

           

2018 NETFLIX Stream Guide for Families... there's something for everyone!

When it comes to family entertainment, Netflix* has something for everyone. I love that every person in my house can find something they want to watch (that is age appropriate)... and they can watch it on any device... so there is no fighting! 😄 Today, I am sharing some fun suggestions for family streaming in 2018.


FOR YOUNG KIDS:

Trolls: The Beat Goes On started streaming on January 19. My boys loved the movies, and I know they are going to enjoy this one!

Llama Llama starts streaming on January 26. I loved reading these books to my boys when they were little, and I know it is going to be a great series. I love that it is voiced by Jennifer Garner too!

Adventures of Puss & Boots Season 6 starts streaming on January 26. The past five seasons have been popular with my boys, so I know the new season will be a hit too!

FOR OLDER KIDS:

If your kids are ready for something a little darker, they'll love the new season of A Series of Unfortunate Events which starts streaming on March 30th. My entire family watched the first season, and we all loved it. The series is well written, and Neil Patrick Harris is perfectly cast as Count Olaf. 

FOR TWEENS AND TEENS:

Tweens and teens will love the new season of One Day at a Time which starts streaming on January 26th. It's a smart family comedy that parents and teens will enjoy watching together.

If your kids are old enough to deal with mature content, they'll love season two of Riverdale which started on January 18th. New episodes are released weekly, and they are super-fun to watch. (Adults will like it too!)

FOR ADULTS:

The second season of The Crown was released just before the new year. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but it is on my list. I LOVED season one!

For sci-fi fans, there is a new Netflix show launching February 2 called Altered Carbon. I haven't seen it, but it's getting a lot of buzz.

If you aren't faint at the sight of blood, and you have a quirky sense of humour, you'll probably want to put Santa Clarita Diet on your "binge list". Season two will be coming out later this year, so if you have seen season one yet, you better get watching!

What's on your "watch list" for 2018? Do you have a favourite from 2017 that I might have missed? I always love a good Netflix recommendation. Happy Streaming!


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.

{DINO}MITE Valentine's Day Treats

I remember collecting Valentines from my classmates (in my homemade paper plate mailbox) when I was a little girl. It's a special childhood memory that I want my boys to have too. So, each year, I try to come up with fun Valentines for my kids to share with their friends on Valentine's Day. Today, I am sharing a fun NEW dinosaur Valentine idea and free printable tags for you to use.


I found some adorable (and cheap) plastic dinosaurs at the dollar store, I placed them in clear plastic bags, and I added sweet tags that I designed. The tags say, "Have a {DINO}mite Valentine's Day!"


Isn't this a cute Valentine? 

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


I made enough of these Valentines for my 8 year old to share with all his classmates, and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. They are bright, colourful, and really cute!


My youngest son is super-excited about sharing this special Valentine with his friends on February 14th! What kind of Valentine are your kids sharing with their friends this year? If you need more inspiration, you can find more Valentine's Day ideas here.


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)


PS... these tags would be adorable with handmade felt dinosaur finger puppets. Find the full tutorial here.

How I Am Trying My Best To Raise Kind Kids

Hockey is a way of life for my family. With three boys in rep hockey (one in Novice, one in Atom, and one in PeeWee), the majority of our family's time and money is spent pursuing the boys' passion for the sport. However, I never forget that I am raising humans... not hockey players, and my husband and I try to make "giving back" a priority in our home. Kids take pride in knowing that their actions have an impact in the world, and I am hoping that being active in the community will help to make my boys kind and confident. Today, I am sharing some simple tips for teaching kids to be kind.



1) Have kids perform a simple random acts of kindness - Teaching children that little actions can have a big impact is an important lesson. Recently, I challenged each of my boys to make a card and deliver a treat to someone special. We found these "Have a Happy Day!" water bottles at the dollar store, and we filled them with yellow treats. 




I hope getting one of these treats "brightened" the day for each of the recipients.


2) Have kids think of a way to raise money for charity - My boys have a cousin that has Cystic Fibrosis, so they are always trying to think of ways to raise money to support research for the disease. They sell toys, run lemonade stands, and host an annual "letter writing to Santa" fundraiser.


3) Have kids support someone they know - Last year, one of my middle son's teammates was diagnosed with cancer, and his entire team rallied behind him... supporting him and raising money to help his family. It was heartwarming to watch this brave boy's hockey family work together to help him.


4) Learn about how other kids are giving back - Nothing inspires kids more than the actions of other kids. And, in partnership with Hockey Canada, Chevrolet* is encouraging good sportsmanship on and off the ice. For the second year, Chevrolet is continuing the Good Deeds Cup to search for PeeWee teams in Canada that demonstrate good deeds throughout the community. Aside from spreading good sportsmanship throughout their community, finalists and the ultimate winner will receive the Good Deeds Cup, be featured on Sportsnet, and receive $15,000 towards the charity of their choice.


To help a team win the Good Deeds Cup, visit www.chevrolethockey.com and view a video to vote for your choice from the top 10 finalists for the winner of the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup.

How do you encourage your kids to be kind? Leave your comments below. I am always inspired by the heartwarming actions of children, aren't you?



Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Chevrolet and have received compensation for this post. All opinions in this post are my own.

Sports Party Centrepiece Ideas

Customized centre pieces add a festive flair to parties and banquets. The one I am sharing today has a hockey theme, but it could easily work for any sports theme. I purchased some inexpensive items from the dollar store and created something simple and fun. Keep reading for all the DIY details.


I purchased some dollar store jewels, a glass container, and some battery operated tealights. The tealight under the jewels casts a lovely glow, and works well in a banquet setting. 

Just add a puck or ball, and you have a fun piece of decor.


You can also attach sports cards to the top of dowels and insert them into the container. 


I love using simple dollar store supplies to create something new and unique, and I think this is a really fun piece of DIY party decor, don't you?


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Shared HOCKEY BEDROOM (on a budget) Revealed

My two older boys have shared a room for most of their lives, but recently I realized that my boys were outgrowing their room's childish decor. I needed to redo the room to incorporate practical (and age appropriate) storage solutions for their things, as well as their individual interests and personalities. With a small room and a limited budget, I managed to come up with shared HOCKEY BEDROOM that both of my boys are extremely happy with.


One of my goals for the room was to make sure each boy had his own "side". They have matching bedding, but I labelled each side with a hockey stick containing each of their names. (You can find a step-by-step tutorial for the hockey sticks here.)



Check out the before and after picture (below) of the back wall of the room.


Don't you love the hockey sticks with the names? I painted the letters to match the colours in the bedding.


The red dresser that was originally in their room didn't match the new bedding, so I switched the dresser they had for one I had in another room. "Shopping your house" is a great way to decorate on a budget.

I hung a framed poster over the dresser, and added two baskets for books -- one for each boy.


Check out the before and after picture of my middle son's side of the room (below).



He wanted a place to display some of his LEGO, so my husband hung a couple of IKEA shelves, and I framed his first jersey in an inexpensive shadow box.


And for additional LEGO storage, I hung a clear shoe rack on the back of his door.


Check out the before and after picture of my oldest son's side of the room (below).



My oldest son wanted some DIY artwork on his side of the room. I put his first jersey in an inexpensive shadow box, I framed a picture I took of him playing hockey at the beach last summer, and I hung hockey cards showcasing his favourite players.


I also used a used an inexpensive ($30) bookcase to store the boys' books and belongings. Using cheap bookcase in a small space is another helpful tip for organizing a shared room.



Check out the before and after picture of the back end of my boys' shared bedroom (below).


I swapped out their toy bins for an inexpensive book shelf with baskets to store their "bits and bobs". Each boy has two baskets to store their "treasures", and I now know where to put things that they leave lying around the house.


What do you think of my boys' new room decor? I love that the room is age appropriate, organized, and decorated to their tastes. And, of course, I am thrilled that they are both happy with how it turned out!


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)