Snowman Kisses... with free printable

Don't you just love Hershey's Kisses?  When I found this blue and silver foil wrapped version, it made me think of snowflakes and snowmen.  So... I thought it would be cute to make a little box for it, and call it a "Snowman Kiss".

{Cute, right?}  To make your own... all you have to do is cut out the box I designed and fold on the dotted lines.  Easy!

You can find the free template for this adorable box here.

May your cold winter days be filled with lots of "kisses"!  xo

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Milk Carton Bird Houses

We had so much fun making bird feeders (a few weeks ago), we decided to make some houses for our feathered friends out of old milk cartons.  Don't you just love rescuing stuff from your recycling bin and turning it into a great project?

This project is sooooooooo easy.  (I didn't even paint the birdhouses because I didn't want the paint washing off when I put them outside.

Here's how you can make one:

1)  Cut a hole {door} at the bottom of the container.

2)  Cut a slit in the back of the milk carton, and poke a stir stick through {to be used as a perch}.  Secure with tape.

3)  Cut two small holes at the top (one on each side) of the milk carton, and thread a pipe cleaner through.  Wrap the ends together at the top.

4)  Put some peanut butter and bird seed inside the house.  My boys loved this part... it's the messy part.  :-)

That's it!  Hang it on a tree branch, and wait for the birds to come.

Happy Bird Watching!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Magic Elf Seeds... delivered by our Elf on the Shelf

Our Elf on the Shelf ("Elfie") arrived on December 1, and he brought a special gift for the boys... Magic Elf Seeds.  {Tiny cookie decorations in the shape of Christmas trees.} What is more exciting this time of year than a little Christmas magic???

Our sweet Elf on the Shelf also brought this letter from Santa -- directly from the North Pole. Isn't it darling? (You can find some fun stationary here.)

The letter contained this poem (which you are welcome to use, but please don't reprint it without written consent from me):
Plant in sugar,
Sprinkle with snow,
Wait for the magic,
And see what will grow. *(copyright East Coast Mommy)

Of course, we followed the instructions in Santa's letter, and we planted our seeds in sugar (and sprinkled them with icing sugar aka "snow"). 

And look what happened while we were sleeping.  They grew into cookie pops!

Don't you just love the magic of Christmas with little ones?  I am treasuring these years with my sweet little boys.  I hope Elfie brings Magic Elf Seeds next year!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (You can find more fantastic Christmas ideas here.)

Paper Chain Advent Countdown

It's December 1.  Let the countdown begin! 

I have very fond memories of my childhood... especially around the holidays.  In raising my three boys, I try to remind myself that it will probably be the simple things we do together that will make the biggest impact on them.

One of the things I will always remember from my childhood is the excitement of counting down to Christmas with an advent paper chain.  I decided to share this tradition with my boys. 

Here is what we did:

1)  I marked out 1 1/2" strips on construction paper, and my boys cut out the strips.  We are starting our countdown on December 1, so we cut out 24 strips.

2)  The boys used crayons and markers to decorate the strips of papers.

3)  We looped the paper into connected rings and secured each ring with a staple.

That's it -- literally, as easy as 1, 2, 3!  We hung our chain from a ribbon, and on December 1, we will start ripping off one ring each day.  Can't you just feel the excitement building?  :-)

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Letter Writing to Santa Party

As you may recall, my oldest son came up with the idea of hosting a "Letter Writing to Santa Party" fundraiser, as a way to help others this holiday season.  The party took place last Friday night, and it was a huge success.  (We raised $140.50 for the children's hospital.)  I am so grateful to all the "elves" that supported us through their attendance and donations.  THANK YOU!

My awesome six year old working the door.

Would you like to throw your own "Letter Writing to Santa Party"?  Here is a little peek at what we did:

While enjoying cookies and juice, the guests were given all the supplies they needed to write their letters to Santa. 

We also had fun "Santa beards" (on popsicle sticks) for the guests.  They were a big hit!  I was inspired by I Heart Naptime, but you can find a template for my version here.

After the letters were finished, each child was given a "kit" with all the supplies they needed to make a reindeer ornament for their tree.  (The kit included a candy cane, a circle of red craft foam for the nose, two googly eyes, one long piece of pipe cleaner, two shorter pieces of pipe cleaner, and a ribbon for hanging.)

Finally, each guest made a bag of reindeer food to take home.  You can find the template for the reindeer food tags here(We used Oats, Cheerios, and Magic Glitter... aka Red Sugar Sprinkles.)

Here are a few more pics of the party's handsome hosts.

My middle son testing out our photo booth.

My three boys... waiting for their guests to arrive.

Delivering their letters at the Santa Claus parade.

We had a great time, and the boys learned a lot about "giving back".  I am thinking that this is going to be a wonderful annual tradition for our family.  :-)

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

DIY Circus Party... with easy and inexpensive DIY details

A couple of weeks ago my son turned six, and he requested a Circus party... and I love a good DIY birthday party! Today I am sharing all the easy and inexpensive DIY details that made the party special.

We had 20 kids, and a ton of fun.  My birthday boy started the day with a special pancake breakfast, and then it was on to the party.

The Cake is one of my favorite parts of any birthday party.  The one I made was super easy -- using straws, a paper carousal top, and some animal cracker cookies.  I also made some fun, colorful "balloon" cupcakes.

And... what is Circus/Carnival party without a table of treats.  Check out the Concessions Table we had.  Not surprisingly, it was a big hit with the kids!  {I probably should have put tooth brushes in their loot bags.}

Of course... we had a few Party Favors -- Clown Noses and Ring Master Mustaches {cut from black paper and taped onto popsicle sticks}.

And... finally, we had the Midway.  You can find a full list of the games here, but I have included a few highlights below.

I think that paying attention to the details is more important than spending a lot of money.  Every aspect of this party is something that truly is DIY.  I hope it inspires you to throw a circus party for your little clown.  :-)

My boys and their friends had a fantastic time at this Circus party. It's a super-fun (and easy) party that is fun for kids of all ages.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Looking for more DIY party inspiration? Check out my super fun carnival party here.

DIY Circus Party {Midway Games}

When I sat down to write a post about my oldest son's sixth birthday party, I realized I had way too many pictures to fit into one post.  So {instead of overwhelming you}, I decided to list all the Circus/Carnival Games in a separate post.  The games were simple and inexpensive, and the kids had a ton of fun.  You can't ask for more than that.  :-)

Here's what we did:

Tattoo Parlor

Face Painting

Homemade Bean Bag Toss


Photo Booth

Penny Pitch

Ring Toss
Can Knock Down

I used stuff we had around the house for a lot of the games, and I covered TV trays with stripped wrapping paper for a "circus feel".  Fun, right?  You can find the rest of the party here.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

* Don't miss out on any of the fun, click here to join me on facebook.

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