DIY Pom Pom Winter Wreath

I love a simple home decor project, don't you? And... I'm a little obsessed with hanging something fun on my front door. It makes me happy to come home every day and see something cheerful (that I made)... and it's a wonderful way to greet guests too. Today, I am sharing my latest creation. It's a darling "super soft" DIY pom pom wreath that is surprisingly easy to make!


Isn't it gorgeous? And I swear, the picture doesn't do it justice. I totally wish you could touch it too. I a made it with "velvet" yarn, and it is sooo soft. My kids touch it every time they walk by it. lol


I started with a styrofoam wreath form, and I wrapped it in yarn (securing it periodically with hot glue). Then I covered it in homemade pom poms.


To make simple pom poms. Wrap yarn around your fingers, slip the yarn off your fingers and tie it in the middle, cut the loops, and trim to shape. It's that easy!


Then, you use the long ends of yarn (that you used to tie the middle of the pom pom) to secure the pom pom to the wreath. Just keep making and adding pom poms until you are happy with the look of the wreath.


My only problem now, is that I can't decide where to hang my wreath. Here it is hanging on the inside of my front door. I love the look of the wreath on the blue door, but then only my family can see it.


And here is how it looks hanging outside (on the front door of my house). I think this is where it is going to stay. I have a covered porch, so it will be protected from the elements.


Isn't this a great winter wreath? I love the look of this pom pom wreath so much, I am thinking about making new versions for spring, summer, and fall too. What do you think?


Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushroom Caps with Balsamic Glaze

Doesn't everyone need a delicious"go to" appetizer to serve to guests and to bring to parties? I have a few appetizers I love, but these goat cheese stuffed mushroom caps with balsamic glaze have become a favourite of mine. They are super easy to make, and they are packed with rich flavor.


To make these tasty treats, you'll just need a few simple ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 5oz (150g) goat cheese
  • 15 large white button mushrooms (with the stems removed)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I like a little salt and a generous amount of pepper.)


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mash together (with a fork) the bread crumbs and goat cheese. 
  3. Fill the mushrooms with the cheese filling (until heaping)
  4. Place stuffed mushrooms on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Move mushrooms to a plate or tray, and drizzle with balsamic glaze. (You can make your own, but I buy a brand called Nonna Pia's, and it is delicious.)

This recipe is simple to make, but your guests will think you are a culinary genius when they try these little bites of goodness. 


Give these goat cheese stuffed mushroom caps with balsamic glaze a try, and let me know what you think. I have a feeling you are not going to be disappointed!


Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

Simple Dr.Seuss Crafts and Activities for Preschoolers

Dr. Seuss has always been a favourite author in our house. We love the silly stories, lyrical language and rhymes. So, in celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday (which is March 2), today I am sharing a few of our favourite Dr. Seuss crafts and activities. They are perfect for Preschoolers, but older children will like them too!



The Cat in the Hat is a fun story with lots of simple rhyming words. It's one of the first stories my beginner readers enjoyed reading on their own. This cat craft uses a paper plate and a paper hat full of stripes containing words ending in "at". Cute, right?


And this fun craft involves kids gluing strips of paper and a bow tie onto a simple, hand-drawn picture of the Cat in the Hat.


You can also make your own hat using the tutorial you can find here.


And is there anything cuter than incorporating a child's photo into a craft. With some simple shapes, and a picture of the child, it is easy to make a Thing 1 craft that kids will love. Scrunch up some 1 inch squares of tissue paper to make the hair.


The Lorax is another one of our favourites. You can't beat a story that focusses on being kind to the environment. Celebrate this story by going for a nature walk and sticking a newly broken branch in water and watching it bloom.


And you can't talk about Dr. Seuss without talking about "Green, Eggs, and Ham". This was always one of my favourite books to read to my boys. Find out how to make an adorable green eggs snack here.


And finally, check out these wonderful "One fish two fish" snacks and activities. It's simple to make "fish" sandwiches using fish-shaped cookie cutters... and don't forget to add a side of goldfish. 


You can also pretend to fish using a clothespin on a stick, paper fish, and gummy worms. My boys LOVED this!


You can also trace the child's hands to make this adorable "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" craft.


These Dr. Seuss crafts and activities are wonderful for celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday... but they are fun any time. Grab your favourite book, and follow it up with one of these fun crafts or activities. Your kids will love it!

♥  
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

TOP 10 Homemade Valentine's Day Treats to Make for your Sweetheart

Nothing says, "I love you" like a homemade treat. I love Valentine's Day meals and goodies, so today I am sharing some of my favourite Valentine's Day recipes with you. I hope you enjoy these TOP 10 Valentine's Day treats to make for your sweetheart.



1) Chocolate Dipped Strawberries - Chocolate dipped strawberries are my favourite, and they are surprisingly easy to make. You need almost NO baking experience to master this delicious treat. You can find the full step-by-step instructions for these chocolate dipped strawberries here.




2) Valentine's Day Cupcake Parfaits - Valentine's Day cupcakes are fun to bake and eat, but you can take them to another level if you pop them in a plastic cup filled with candy. You can even use a cake mix to make this cute creation... and no one will know. Find the full tutorial for Valentine's Day cupcake parfaits here.



3) Valentine's Day Breakfast in Bed - Breakfast in bed is always a hit, and with a little imagination, you can easily create the perfect breakfast tray for Valentine's Day. Find out how to make a "LOVE" breakfast tray here.



4) Old Fashioned Heart-shaped Peanut Butter Cookies - Is there anything better than a "melt in your mouth" old fashioned peanut butter cookie? I think these cookies make the perfect Valentine's Day treat... especially if you make them heart-shaped. Find the full recipe and "how to" here.



5) Heart-shaped Brownies - Brownies are the perfect chocolate indulgence; and therefore, they make a wonderful Valentine's Day treat. You can also make them extra special by using a cookie cutter to cut them into a heart shape. Find the details here.



6) Large Heart-shaped Cake - With a basic square pan and a regular round pan, you can make a large heart-shaped cake that your sweethearts will love. My kids loved this one! Find the full tutorial here.



7) Brownie Waffle Sundae - If you have a waffle maker, you are going to want to make your Valentine this special Valentine's Day dessert. This combination of chocolate, strawberries, and ice cream is irresistible! Find the instructions for brownie waffle sundaes here.



8) Heart-shaped Pancakes - My boys LOVE pancakes, so this is a Valentine's Day breakfast I have made for them many times. It's simple, clever, and perfect for kids! Find the full instructions for making heart-shaped pancakes here.

9) Heart Shaped Biscuits - Biscuits are great any meal. I love mine with jam or paired with a yummy chowder or soup. To make them special for Valentine's Day, just cut them out with a heart-shaped biscuit cutter. Easy peasy! You can find my tried and true biscuit recipe here.



10) Chocolate Peanut Butter Valentine's Day Cookies - A cookie that combines chocolate and peanut butter is a wonderful choice for Valentine's Day. These cookies are super-simple to make, and they are absolutely delicious. Find the recipe here.


This really is the ultimate list of Valentine's Day sweet treats to make for someone you love on February 14th. Which homemade goodie is your favourite? I don't think you can go wrong with any Valentine's Day recipe on this list.


Gina
(aka East Coast Mommy)



PS... Check out this BONUS "better than flowers" idea!




And this RED AND WHITE Buffet would be perfect for Valentine's Day too!

Class Valentine (Have a HOPPY Valentine's Day!)

Yesterday I shared my youngest son's choice for this year's class Valentines, so today I am sharing the Valentines my middle son will be sharing with his class this February 14th. A week ago, I asked my 11 year old if he wanted to hand out Valentines, and he said he wanted to give out "some kind of stretchy animal". This is what I came up with! 


I found these inexpensive "stretchy" frogs at the dollar store, I put them in little heart-covered bags, and I tied them with curling ribbon.


Then, to make them extra special, I designed and added little tags that say, "HOPPY Valentine's Day!" Cute, right?


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


It was really easy and inexpensive to put together enough of these Valentines for my son's entire class, and I know he is excited to share them with his friends.


I love the idea of sharing a class treat that everyone can enjoy. There is no need to worry about nutritional policies or allergies with these adorable Valentines!


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (You can find more "punny" Valentine ideas here.)

"WHEELIE" Cute CAR Valentine for Kids

My boys have always loved giving out Valentines to their friends on February 14th, but they don't like handing out anything that says "love" on it. They always want to share treats with their classmates, but because of allergies and their school's nutrition policy, we prefer to come up with fun and unique candy free Valentine options. This year I found adorable plastic cars at Walmart, and I turned them into even more adorable Valentines. Keep reading to download my "WHEELIE" cute class Valentine. 

I designed a card that says, "I'm WHEELIE happy to have a friend like you!". Then, I cut slits in the cards with an X-Acto knife, and I used pieces of red yarn to tie toy cars to the cards. Cute, right?


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


I love how they turned out. They really are a wonderful "non-candy" Valentine's Day treat option.


I made 30 for my 9 year old's classmates, and he is super-excited to pass them out to his friends.


Do you love sharing non-traditional Valentines on Valentine's Day? I hope you are inspired to get creative and hand out something a little different this year. Happy Valentine's Day!


Gina
(aka East Coast Mommy)

How to Plan a Valentine's Day FAMILY Date Night

Disclosure: I received compensation from Greco for this post, but (as always), the opinions expressed in this blog are 100% my own.

Valentine's Day is all about showing love, and I love my ALL boys (my husband and my three sons)! So in my house, we like to celebrate Valentine's Day as a family. Friday night family movie night is a weekly highlight in our house, so a simple Valentine's Day movie night is the perfect way for us to celebrate Valentine's Day. Today, I am sharing my favourite tips, tricks, and shortcuts for planning the perfect EASY Valentine's Day family date night.


Step one is to set the stage with a few decoration... and it doesn't take much effort. A dollar store tablecloth and garland, and a few heart shaped balloons are all you need.


Then, you'll need a "zero effort" supper. How cute are these heart-shaped pizzas from Greco? We got a pizza and garlic fingers, and they were both delicious. Supper doesn't get much easier than ordering pizza!


Finally, you'll need some popcorn, and a sweet treat for dessert. These individual cheesecakes are perfect for movie night, because you can grab them, and eat them on the couch. (They are also super-easy to make... from a mix!)


To make cheesecakes in jars:

1) Start with an instant cheesecake mix and fruit. (I used raspberries.)

2) Prepare the graham cracker crust (according to package directions) and divide it evenly between 6 small jars. (You can use a spoon to press the crust into the bottom of the jars, but I used a little tool made from a skewer, a piece of cardboard, and a piece of tin foil.)

3) Prepare the cheesecake layer (according to package directions) and divide it evenly between the 6 small jars. (I used a spoon, but if you want it extra neat, you can use a piping bag.)

4) Top with fruit, and refrigerate.


I also designed cute tags for my jars which you can download for free. 

To download these "You are sweeter than cheesecake" tags: click on the photo below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4x6 photo.


As you can see from my boys' smiling faces, the heart-shaped pizza and garlic fingers were a hit... and I LOVE when I don't have to cook supper.



How do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Do you enjoy a romantic dinner for two, or do you prefer a family celebration? However you choose to celebrate... I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day with the people you love!


Gina
(aka East Coast Mommy)

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