Simple Summer Science with Maker Lab Books

Disclosure: I was given Maker Lab books from DK books in exchange for my truthful review. Opinions in this blog are (as always) 100% my own. My boys really did love these books! (Also, I have included Amazon affiliate links in this post. If you purchase a book, I will get a small commission, at NO extra cost to you.

Recently, DK books sent my boys three "Maker Lab" books, and this weekend, I let my boys check them out. They immediately came up with a list of science experiments and projects that they want to do. I think these books are going to keep us pretty busy over their summer break!

Eventually, we came to a consensus, and we decided to start by making a glowing ice orb (inspired by the Star Wars Maker Lab book). We filled a balloon with water, left it in the fridge for 9 hours, removed it from the fridge, broke and removed the balloon, crack open the week side of the ice, poured out the water, and inserted glow sticks. We went into a dark room, and the kids admired the awesome glowing orb we made.

Here it is from a couple of different angles.

Then, we decided to do another experiment with our ice orb. We put it in a bowl, we poured salt over it, and we added food colouring. The rivers of colour created by the melting ice were super-cool.

We even looked at it in a dark room with a flashlight shining up through it.

I know my boys will be making a lot of things from these books this summer. They are especially excited about the Star Wars Maker Lab, but all three books are filled with wonderful projects.


I seriously encourage you to check out these kid-friendly science/ activity books. They really will get your kids reading and excited about about learning. 

Check out this cool projector my 12 year old made using a couple of boxes, a dollar store magnifying glass, and some duct tape.

How are you preventing the "summer slide" while the kids are on vacation this year? These Maker Lab books will educate AND entertain them... and it doesn't get much better than that! 

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

"Sweet" Treat Teacher Gift Idea... with free printable tags

A year is a long time to spend with a someone, and every year, kids build a special relationship with their teachers. So, on the last day of school, it's important for kids to give their teachers a nice handwritten note or card and a little gift of appreciation. Today, I am sharing the easy and inexpensive gift that my boys' will be giving their teachers this year, and I'm including the FREE printable tags I designed.

My middle son insisted that we get his teacher something chocolatey, so when I saw these little "bake a cake in a mug" packages, I knew I had to include one in her gift. I added a microwave save mug with a lovely message, and a gift card for coffee.

Then, I designed some fun and "punny" gift tags. There are three DIFFERENT versions, so you can pick the one you like the best. All three work well with this gift.

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

I wrapped the gift in cellophane, added the tag my son chose, and tied it up with some curling ribbon.

Isn't it cute? And if you have limited budget, you could leave out the gift card. I love that this gift is inexpensive, useful, and fun. I know my boys are excited to give it to their special teachers, and I hope they think of my boys when they enjoy it during their summer break.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

How I Improved My Sleep... and why I should have done it years ago

For the last 20 years, my husband and I have been sleeping on a cheap mattress that we purchased when we first moved in together. To say we were in desperate need of a new mattress is a huge understatement. So, when I got an email a couple of weeks ago telling me that I won a new mattress*, I was super excited.

The mattress was coming from Logan & Cove*... and to be honest... I didn't really know much about the company or their mattresses. With a little research, I discovered that the Canadian company is fairly new, and the mattresses are getting great reviews. 

I ordered the mattress, and it came quickly... rolled up in a long box. I took the mattress out of the box, removed the plastic, and it started expanding immediately. I was impressed with the thickness and plushness right away.

We have been sleeping on the new mattress for couple of weeks now, and we love it. 

One reason we waited so long to get a new mattress was that we never seemed to have the time to go to a store to try out different models. These mattresses come with a 120 night trial, which is helpful and takes the stress out of the decision.

We also couldn't agree on the firmness of the mattress to get. My husband likes soft mattresses and sleeps on his back, and I like firmer mattresses and sleep on my stomach. This mattress works for both of us. It doesn't need a box spring, and it fits well on our inexpensive IKEA bed.

Even my boys are impressed with the new mattress. They are already asking us if they can get new mattresses (like ours) for their beds.

Ordering and setting up our mattress really was an easy process, and my husband and I are sleeping much better. I can't believe we didn't get a new mattress sooner! If you are sleeping on an old, uncomfortable mattress, I highly recommend giving this brand a try.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Disclosure: I won a mattress from Logan & Cove, but I was offered an upgrade to a King mattress in exchange for an honest blog review of the product. As always, the reviews and opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

Red and White CANADA DAY Dessert Buffet

Hosting a Canada Day BBQ is a time-honoured Canada Day tradition. And, when it comes to impressing guests and having fun, it's all about keeping things simple, serving delicious food, and displaying the food in a visually appealing way. Today, I am sharing my tips, tricks, and shortcuts for creating a SIMPLE DIY Canada Day Dessert Buffet that you are going to LOVE!

One trick for ensuring a buffet table looks clean and pulled together, is to use a simple colour scheme. And for Canada day, using "red and white" is the perfect way to make the display work well for the occasion. Use a red and white checkered tablecloth, a red and white backdrop, and a variety of red and white food. (I purchased my tablecloth at the dollar store, and my backdrop is a dollar store cardboard tri-fold decorated with red duct tape.)

Chocolate dipped strawberries look impressive, but they are sooooo easy to make. Melt white baker's chocolate in the microwave (according to package directions), dip "clean and dry" strawberries in the chocolate, and place the strawberries on a piece of wax paper in the fridge to harden.

And what is more Canadian than ketchup chips? (They even sell them at the Canadian pavillion at Epcot.) Place the red chips in red and white paper containers for a polished touch.

Kit Kats in their red and white wrappers are an easy addition too!

I also love the idea of offering guest individual portions of candy. Red in white candies in condiment containers are adorable... and help with portion control.

And who wouldn't love these individual cheesecakes in jam jars? I love that you can make these ahead of time, store them in the fridge, and serve them to guests when it is time for dessert. I used a boxed cheesecake mix, divided it between three jars, and topped the jars with red fruit topping. I used cherries, but strawberries and raspberries would work too.

All the elements of this red and white dessert buffet are simple to put together, but they look wonderful when you bring them all together. This is a fun way to feed a family, but it's great for a crowd too!

If you wanted more food options, you could try this simple Canada Day flag cake.

And these Canada Day ice cream sandwiches are fun too!

Don't you love the idea of hosting a BBQ with a red and white Canada Day dessert buffet? It's a simple idea that is festive, fun, and easy to put together. Happy Canada Day!!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Funny Father's Day Card / Gift

Do you want to honour your dad on Father's Day, but NOT with a sentimental / sappy card? Sometimes the perfect Father's Day card is one that will bring a smile to his face. Check out this funny Father's Day card that I designed... and if you scroll down, you can download it for FREE.

How cute is this little "Thanks for putting up with my CRAP!" card packaged with a roll of toilet paper? I placed the toilet paper in a clear cellophane bag, popped in the card, and tied it with a piece of curling ribbon. Easy peasy!

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

You can also use this card and toilet paper as gift card packaging. It's an easy way to turn a funny card into a fun gift for Father's Day.

What will you be giving the special man in your life for Father's Day? I think this is the perfect card / gift for a Dad with a good sense of humour.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

"Orange you glad it's summer?" Teacher Gift Idea... with free printable tags

It's that time of year again... the last day of school is just around the corner, and it's time to purchase gifts for the special teachers in our lives. I love a simple gift that is packaged in a cute way. Add a child's homemade card, and you are good to go! Today, I am sharing a cute teacher gift idea that I came up with this year, and I'm including FREE printable tags for you to use.

I found these cute orange cups, filled them with orange treats, and added an "Orange you glad it's summer?" tag. Don't you love it? You can also add a gift card if it fits your budget.

To download the tags I designed: click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4x6 photo.

I think this is such a cheerful little teacher gift, and it's easy and inexpensive to put together.

And it's simple to make a bunch!

What's your favourite teacher gift to give? You can never go wrong with gift cards, and this packaging makes a boring gift card extra special. And, it's cute enough to give on its own too!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Last Day of School Class Treat (bubbles)... with free printable tags

School is winding down, and summer vacation is just around the corner. Children build strong friendships during a school year, so it is always nice to bring a little class treat on the last day of school. And, to make a small gift a bit more special, I love to design a unique tag to attach to it. Today, I am sharing a sweet, free printable tag that you can attach to bubbles and share with classmates.

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

I love how adorable the bubbles look when the tag is attached with a bit of curling ribbon, don't you?

Allergies and nutritious policies are always a concern, so bubbles are a perfect choice for a last day of school treat. Will you be sending something special this year?

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Last Day of School Scavenger Hunt

What better way to celebrate the last day of school than with a scavenger hunt? It's perfect for an "I survived the first week of school" celebration too. It's a wonderful way to get kids active and have some fun. 

Here is an example of the sign I made to let my boys know that a treasure hunt was underway after the first week of school.

I hung it on the door so it was the first thing they saw when they got home from school. They found the sign and the first clue.

Then, they followed the first clue to the second clue... and so on.
They raced all around our neighbourhood solving riddles and finding clues... until they found the treasure!

Fun, right? It involved a bit of prep work, but our neighbourhood scavenger hunt was a lot of fun. It's the perfect way to celebrate the last of school!

 (aka East Coast Mommy)
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