Summer Crafts for Kids (with a "how to" video and free printable templates)

Summer is the perfect time to craft with kids, and these crafts are simple AND fun! The video (below) is easy to follow, the templates are free, and the supplies are easy to find.

Here are the crafts:

And here are the instructions:

Let me know which one is your favourite! I think the Cheerio worm is mine... but they are all fantastic. :-)

 (aka East Coast Mommy)

A Birthday Letter to my Middle Son on his 16th Birthday

Every year on my boys' birthdays, I write them a letter. The intent is to keep a written record of their childhood and their growth from year to year. A love the tradition of creating annual "snapshots" of my boys. Today, my middle son turns 16, and here is his birthday letter.

To my sweet boy,

I can't believe you are turning 16, and you're going to be driving a car. It's amazing to me that my adorable, curly-haired toddler is growing into a young man. Although I wish time would slow down a bit, I'm so proud of the awesome human you are becoming. Here are a few reasons you are the best 16 year old in the world.
  • You got your first job this year, and you are loving it... especially getting a paycheque. :-)
  • You continue to love being active and love playing anything with a ball or a puck... but hockey is still your favourite.
  • You are stubborn and love to argue with me, but you are one of the most empathetic people I know. Your heart is huge!
  • You love pasta, pancakes, cereal, and gummy bears.
  • You are 6' 3", and you love to tell me how short I am. (Brat!)
You are smart and kind, and I couldn't be more proud to be your mom. I love you to the moon and back!

Mom xox

A Birthday Letter to my Youngest Son on his 14th Birthday

As those of you that have been with me for a while know, I always write letters to my boys on their birthdays. It's my way of creating a "written snapshot" of them each year. Today, I'm sharing my annual birthday letter to my youngest son on his 14th birthday.

My sweet "baby" boy,

Because you are my youngest, I find it hard to think about you inching toward adulthood... but here we are. I can hardly believe you are 14 and headed to high school in the fall. Time really does pass far too quickly.

Although it is difficult to see you getting older, I could not be more proud of the funny, increasingly independent, and sweet young man that you becoming. Here are a few reasons you are the best 14 year old in the world:

  • You are such a clown. You are always making Dad, your brothers, and I laugh with your quirky antics.
  • You are brave. New situations have always made you anxious, but you never let it hold you back. I don't know how you manage the mental stress of being a goalie, but you are getting better at it with every coming year. (I think I am more stressed than you at this point! lol)
  • This year, you loved shopping for our new car with Dad. You've loved cars since you were a baby, so I guess nothing has really changed. 😀
  • You have a passion for sports. You play anything with a puck or ball whenever you get a chance.
  • Your favourite foods are: pasta, pancakes, crackers, Froot Roll Ups (which you only get a Christmas and on your birthday), Crispers, and cookies and cream chocolate bars.
  • You give a lot of reluctant "side hugs" lately... but you still humour me with a cuddle on the couch during movie night.
I'm so blessed and grateful to be your mother. You may be another year older, but you'll always be my "baby". I love you to the moon and back.

Mom xox

10 NEW (Dollar Store) Summer Essentials and HACKS

Summer is here, and your local dollar store is the perfect place to stock up on summer essentials. Today, I'm sharing my favorite dollar store finds for Summer and HACKS you are going to want to try!

Click the links for more details.

1) Personalized summer essentials bag - It's super-convenient to have an "easy to grab" bag full of summer essentials, and the dollar store has everything you need to stock it inexpensively.

2) Compact beach towel - The dollar store beach towels are cheap, colourful, and thin enough to pack it easily.

3) Water bottles - The dollar store has water bottles to fit any style. I love this big one with a straw. It helps me stay hydrated all summer long.

4) Solar lights - I love using solar lights on my patio. They are very low maintenance and provide a great atmosphere all season long. The small string solar lights are perfect for the roof of my gazebo.

5) Personalized detangling brushes - These brushes are perfect for wind-blown, pool, or beach hair. They are inexpensive and fun to personalize with a Cricut decal.

6) Economical (and fun!) movie night treats - Buying your favourite candy and packaging it in dollar store condiment containers is clever. It also looks great and helps with portion control.

7) Campfire essentials - Campfires are a summer essential... so you need to make sure you have lots of campfire treats on hand. I love this dollar store bucket, goodies, and personalized roasting sticks.

8) Storage solutions - To make room for summer, pack away winter clothes and blankets. The dollar store has extra large bags that work perfectly.

9) Citronella candles - The dollar has many options for these candles that help keep the bugs away. My current favorite is this cement version. It's very "on trend".

10) Glow sticks - Glow sticks are a summer staple in our home. They are great for taking for walks in the dark and for playing tag at night. They are also great for providing light... especially at the bottom of a cooler. Functional AND fun!

For a closer look and MORE great ideas... check out the video below.

I hope you head to the dollar store and pick up some of these summer essentials. These products are definitely worth buying and the hacks are definitely worth trying!

 (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also like the dollar store diys for summer you can find here.

Last Day of School 2023... it's all about the traditions

I'm a big believer in traditions. The things we do over and over again really are the cornerstones of our memories. So, in our house, we always celebrate the last day of school the same way.

I always make finish lines for my boys to run through on the last day. 

We also get ice cream.

Check out our last day of school ice cream pictures through the years...

Cute, right?!?!

And... we had lots to celebrate this year.

My youngest graduated from junior high school. I can't believe he's headed to high school in September!

And my oldest graduated from high school. I can't figure out where the time went!

PS - My oldest son had a very special end to his year. Check it out below...

Time to celebrate summer!

 (aka East Coast Mommy)

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