ABC's of Valentine's Day: Kid Crafts, Recipes and Activities

It's funny how things change in life. Before the kiddos came along, I'm sure I thought Valentine's day was all about me. What little surprise will I get? Where will we go to dinner? What will I wear? But, now that I'm a mom, it's about the giving vs. the getting.  Don't get me wrong, I would love a beautiful bouquet of flowers on Valentine's Day, but it has definitely become a family celebration - and that's okay. 

This week, I'll be focusing on the ABC's of Valentine's Day. What does that mean? Throughout the week, I'll be highlighting different kid-friendly ideas for Valentine's Day from A-Z. I will be including crafts, recipes and activities for toddlers, preschool and elementary school age kids - with a few ideas for moms mixed in as well.

Let's get started!

A is for Art - Everyone knows the traditional ways to use crayons for art, but for a unique new twist, try this Melted Crayon Art using crayon shavings.

B is for Bag - You've probably heard about 'Sensory Bins' before, but you have to check out this  Valentine sensory bag craft.

C is for Chocolate - This Chocolate Milk Bath Recipe is the perfect cure for the winter blues.  If you can't get to the Hershey Spa to experience the real deal, this is a nice, calorie free treat for a hard-working mom. Continue here to read: Chocolate Milk Bath Recipe

D is for Doily - I truly love being the mom of boys, but every now and then, I see a blog post which makes me wish I had a little girl to craft with. This is one of them! Check out this blog post to see how to use a pre-washed t-shirt, a doily, and some fabric paint into a totally adorable t-shirt for your little girl. Read more about these DIY Valentine's shirts here.

E is for Eyes - Recycle those old toilet paper rolls and make these adorable Heart Shaped Binoculars.

F is for Filter - If you want a completely unique Valentine for your kids to hand out at school, take a look at these Heart Coffee Filer Zipper Pulls. They are fun, fashionable and functional!

G is for Glitter - Grab your glitter, contact paper and construction paper to make this Glitter Window Heart Craft with your Preschooler!

H is for Holder - Kid's typically come home from school with a bunch of little Valentine Cards from their classmates. This Valentine Card Holder is really easy to make, and it helps to keep all of those little cards organized too! Continue here to read: Kid Valentine Holder Craft

I is for I Love You - Beth from Living Life Intentionally shares a simple idea so that everyone in the house feels loved. Read more about her 'Why I love you doors' here

J is for Just let them lead the way - Isn't there a famous saying about the best intentions that seem to go astray?  When it comes to Kid's Valentine Cards, maybe it's just best to let your child lead the way! Read more about this with B-inspired Mama.

Check out my other posts for more Valentine craft ideas:

Day 2: More Valentine's Crafts & Activities for Kids

Day 3: Valentine's Recipes for Kids

Day 4: Love & Vintage Valentine Printables

Day 5: Valentines Wall, XOXO, Yummy Pastries, and Wild Zebras!

Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers participating in ABC's week too.

Art Education / Krissy at B-Inspired Mama, Cardboard Box Creations / Here Come the Girls

Children’s Music with Art / Debbie at Rainbows within Reach, Coffee Filters / Adrienne at The Iowa Farmers Wife, Crafts & Art / Maggy at Red Ted Art, Crafting on a Budget / Tammy at Housing a Forest, Paper Plates / Kelly at Domestic Goddesque, Toddler Crafts / Cerys at Rainy Day Mum, Upcycled & Recycled Crafts / Esther at Craft To Art


8 Easy Christmas Paper Roll Crafts for Kids

The holidays can definitely be a hectic time of year, but it's also a time when the kids have more time off school.  When you need a quick winter boredom buster, nothing is better than using recycled materials from around the house to whip up a holiday craft to keep the kids entertained.

Pipe cleaners, construction paper, googly eyes and ribbon are a few of the craft staples that I always have on hand. Recently, I've added another item to my craft stash: empty toilet paper tubes and other paper tubes from paper towels, tin foil, etc.

Here are 8 easy Christmas crafts for kids using recycled paper rolls:

1) These toilet roll Snowman Ornaments are so precious! I'm definitely going to make these with my kids.

2) I think these simple Reindeer ornaments are perfect for preschoolers.

3) Kids will love tearing apart these traditional Christmas Crackers just as much as they'll enjoy making them!

4) Here's how to make a simple model Christmas Village and cotton ball snowman.

5) You can also try this recycled Nativity Scene and baby to go with your Christmas village.

6) I love this Santa's bushy beard in this paper roll Santa Craft.

7) Reindeer Candy Boxes - made with long paper tubes and a new brown sock

Try these out and let me know what you think!

Holiday Toilet Paper Roll Craft Ideas

When you need a quick winter boredom buster, nothing is better than using recycled materials from around the house to whip up a cute holiday craft. 

There are a few craft staples that I always have on hand, such as pipe cleaners, construction paper, googly eyes and ribbon. And, recently, I've added another item to my craft stash: empty toilet paper tubes and other paper tubes from paper towels, tin foil, etc.

Continue here to my new post: 10 Holiday Crafts made with Toilet Paper Rolls (updated November 2012)

Also, did you know you could give toilet paper in leiu of a Christmas Card this year? Don't ask me where, but it has been done.  Just smack a ribbon or bow on your favorite roll of TP and include the following note:

“Money is scarce and times are hard. So we’re giving you this instead of a card. Something to use and something to share. . . so ‘bottoms up’ just ’cause we care.”

I can just imagine the look on my brother in laws face if I were to show up on Christmas Eve and hand this over to him.  I might do it just for a good laugh! What do you think?

Easter Brownie Bites with Jet Puffed Bunny Marshmallows

Q: What do you get when you make mini brownie bites and add some bunny marshmallows? 

A: An easy to make & delicious treat that your friends and family will love. 

I found these Jet-Puffed Bunny Marshmallows in the supermarket.  They are in little bunny shapes and lighted tinted in pastel colors that are perfect for Spring and Easter. My kids love any type of marshmallow, so I knew these would be a hit!

For these Easter Brownie Bites, you can use any type of Brownie mix you want, or make the healthy version that I made here

If you read my previous post about the black bean brownies and thought it was gross, I dare you to try it ONE time.  I would bet that everyone in your house loves them and not a single person would ever guess what the secret ingredient is.  But, you can always stick with your favorite brownie recipe too.  I was skeptical too, so I understand.

Here's how to make these easy, yummy Easter treats... 

Just use a mini-muffin tin to make your brownie bites.  Then, as soon as you get the brownies bites out of the oven, firmly press a bunny marshmallow onto each one.  They should be hot enough to melt the very bottom of the marshmallow onto the brownie, but still keep the marshmallow in tact.

Then, let them cool and you're done!  See... I told you this would be easy.  I recently made these and everyone loved them.  I don't know what they loved more, the mini brownies, the bunny marshmallows or the combination of the two.  But, whatever it was, it did the trick!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

A few of my favorite things about Easter

Throughout childhood, Easter always meant: morning church, chocolate eggs, pretty dresses, traditional Polish food, and a trip to the Easter Bunny. It really is a wonderful holiday. It's a time to come together with family and enjoy each other.  After months of snow-covered grass and cold winter days, we can finally start to get outside and experience nature again.  The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and everyone seems to be in a good mood.  Everything appears to be falling into place.

As a Mom, things that make your kids happy definitely make you happy too.  And, if you ask my kids what their favorite part of Easter is, they would both agree that it's the Easter egg hunts.  Last year we went to more Easter egg hunts than I can count.  It was actually almost embarrassing how many we went to.  But, the kids absolutely adore the egg hunts, and they seem to be plentiful in our area, so why not?

By far, the best egg hunt we experienced was near my parent's house.  There was hay scattered all over and the eggs were hidden throughout the hay.  This definitely added a element of fun.  Typically, the eggs are just scattered on the grass, and they are gone within seconds.  But, not with hay!  You really have to look and sometimes dig in order to get these eggs.  It was so much fun for my son, and my mom and I had a blast cheering him on.

Besides the Easter egg hunts, clearly, another favorite part of Easter is the chocolate.  I'm a chocolate lover (which you already know if you've read this post.)  So, Easter is a great excuse to indulge a little and have some chocolate in the house.

Also, I love the fact that Easter is an fun, easy holiday!  For many families, other holidays, such as Christmas, can be the source of drama.  People are squabbling over which of the in-laws to visit, the budget and getting everything checked off of the massive to-do list.  But, that never seems to be the case with the Easter holiday.  Parents can always agree what to fill the Easter basket up with.  Visits with the extended family are typically drama free.  And, everyone is excited that the spring weather is here and summer is just around the corner.  People are generally happy.  That is definitely one of my favorite things about Easter.

What is your favorite part about Easter?

Note: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hop blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Image from

A Leprechaun Came to Visit - St. Patricks Day Kid's Fun!

I knew about the magic of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, but until recently, I never realized the hype surrounding the magic & mystery of the Leprechaun.  

Maybe, as a parent, you don't want to add any more fantasy characters to your child's world.  But, if you're up for a little fun, there are some easy ways to celebrate St. Patricks Day.   Here's one idea...

After the kids are in bed, you will have to leave a small treat for your child where they can easily find it.  Then, sprinkle a small trail of green or gold glitter toward the bathroom.  Tell the kids that the Leprechaun left them a treat for being so well- behaved recently.  

And, the Leprechaun left evidence that he was in your house!  He used your toilet, but didn't flush because he didn't want to wake anyone up in the middle of the night.  Add a little green food coloring to clean toilet water.   When you're kids wake up in the morning, they will see that the Leprechaun came to visit! 

A Very Special Valentine's Day

This morning, I was lucky to receive sweet Valentines from all three of my special guys. 

 " Here's a Valentine to tell you,

in case you haven't guessed -

Of all the Mommies in the world,

You're the Sweetest and the Best! "

~ from the American Greetings card that my son gave to me

The greatest gift anyone can receive is unconditional love.

 Have a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Homemade Valentine Ideas from 'Local Fun' Moms

For my husband and I, Valentine's Day used to be a night out to a special restaurant, definitely some chocolate and watching a good romantic comedy together.  But, now that we have two kids, it's usually a little bit different.  Valentine's day is all about love, and, it would not the same to celebrate without our little guys. 

Jersey Family Fun has a cute post called Be Your Kid's Valentine. I love this concept because it includes the entire family on this special day.  The post shares some wonderful ideas on how to celebrate Valentine's day with your children, such as: Breakfast in Bed, Valentine-themed meals, daytime family adventures, and bed-time stories about love. 

Kids on the Grand has two fun ideas for homemade Valentines.  The first one is a "Bubble Valentine"  which is a wonderful candy-free alternative.  Plus, it's great for kids of all ages.   Their other idea is an "Airplane Valentine" which is a unique little homemade candy airplane that the kids will love playing with. 

Mile High Mamas has a blog post with creative, science inspired Valentine ideas for kids. Their test tube Valentines are colorful and kid-approved.  They also feature a fun craft using Goldenrod paper which changes shades of red and yellow when the kids

swab them with different mixtures. 

Ultimately, you can make Valentine's Day as simple or elaborate as you choose. Just have fun and enjoy the day with the ones you love.

Photographer: Sura Nualpradid

Hand Made Valentines for your Little Belle

Kerri, a friend of mine from Elle Belle's Bows, makes some of the prettiest headbands, hats and bows for little girls. I was on her blog this past week and seeing her new newest collection was making me wish I had a little girl to dress up for Valentine photos.  I know many of you have daughters, so wanted to share her gorgeous collection in case you need something extra special for Valentine's Day.  Look at how precious these are...


She has hand crafted these headbands adorned with vibrant colored feathers and Swarovski Chandelier Elements.  I fell in love with them when I saw them.  I think they would be stunning for portraits or a little flower girl at a wedding.  She also has these little crocheted hats with hand-made bows that can be customized for your little princess.   Here's the link to her blogspot to see her entire collection of headbands, hats and bows for little girls. 


The things kids REALLY play with...

Did you ever give your child a toy and they preferred the package instead of the actual toy itself?  Kids prove that "One Man's Trash is another Man's Treasure"

One Christmas, my kids and their cousins were together for a family Pollyanna.  They had some of the coolest toys under the Christmas tree.  They opened up all of their presents with excitement.  We unwrapped the presents and waited with anticipation as we watched the kids.  They play with the toys a little bitThen, what did they do for the next hour?  Played with a spool of ribbon that they found around the house. 

Their new favorite toy consisted of about 3 feet of ribbon attached to the cardboard cylinder. The giggles were non-stop as they pretended that this was a dog on a leash.  The spool of ribbon was given a name, almost treated like royalty, and got their undivided attention as though it was the hottest toy on the market!

We see it all the time.  They have some really cool bath toys too.  But what do they fight over?  The empty shampoo bottle!  They have a play room that could easily double as a toy shop.  Yet, on a daily basis, they generally stick with one or two favorites and ignore the rest. 

If you are a parent, this probably doesn't surprise you.  Although, my kids will be spoiled with presents on Christmas morning, sometimes I think that these new toys are completey over-rated. 

Kids have the most unbelievable imaginations, and that is what I love watching them use the most! / Photographer: Idea go

Virtual Cookie Exchange

I've been inspired by the Holiday season and my love of sugar to create this

Virtual Cookie Exchange & Blog Hop!

Easy as 1,2,3:

1) Just add your link and a photo of your cookie or sweet treat.

2) Follow your Hostess, Local Fun for Kids, on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

3) Follow any blogs you wish & be sure to leave a comment so you'll get a follow back!

Then, check out the other blogs and try not to get too hungry!


 Featured Cookies by 'Local Fun' Moms:


Amy, from Chambanamoms, describes these 'Chocolate Crinkles' as famous.  But, after reading about them on her site, they almost sound legendary.  And, what is her secret tip for keeping her cookies soft and chewy?... you'll have to check out  Chambanamoms to find out.



When you want to whip up a quick treat for the kids without spending hours in the kitchen, this Reindeer Cookie from Lehigh Valley Little Ones, can do the trick. You probably already have some of the ingredients in the pantry, and the kids can  get involved since there is no baking involved.  If you want to make Rudolf, here are the instructions.

 If mint chocolate is a family favorite around your house (like it is in mine), Jersey Family Fun knows how to satisfy your sweet tooth! These Minty M&M Holiday cookies drizzled with red and green chocolate look so delicious.  Here are the details


Travel Tuesday! Holiday Events across America

ALASKA -Alaska on the Go would love for you to get outside with the kids! A few options for outdoor fun include: The Tree Lighting Ceremony in Anchorage, Zoo Lights at the Alaska Zoo or the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

KANSAS -  Want to know about the best Christmas light displays & places to see Santa The Kansas City Area? KC Kids Fun has has an extensive list of everything going on from now until January!

CALIFORNIA - Just Spotted has the scoop on Orange County holiday fun.  Some of their cool events include: The Christmas Train through Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa, the Newport Beach Boat Parade, Disneyland and Scuba Santa

FLORIDA - Florida's temperatures may be warmer than other parts of the country, but the Daytona Area is turning into a Winter Wonderland for the holidays. Some of the events on the Volusia County Moms site include:  Santa Cruisin' Classic Car Show or the Daytona Beach Parade in the Park, or theThe DeLand Holiday Tour of Homes

ILLINOIS - Go West Young Mom has an amazing holiday activity guide for making the most of the holiday season in the Chicago Area! The Christmas Stroll, Walk with Santa & Holiday in the Grove are just a few of the listed events.

PENNSYLVANIA - Looking for Fun in the Philadelphia area? Fun Things to Do with your Kids in Delaware County Blog has some wonderful ideas, such as the Peddler's Village Christmas Festival, Ice Skating at the Blue Cross River Rink, and the Holiday Light Show and Dicken's Village at Macy's Center City.

WASHINGTON - If you're looking for the largest holiday drive-through display in the Northwest (Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park), Sleigh Reides or Photos with Santa, Sounds Fun Mom blog will guide you to holiday fun in the Puget Sound Area! Photographer: Salvatore Vuono

What Teachers REALLY Think About Holiday Gifts...

Now that the holidays are coming up, a lot of Moms are thinking 'What should I get for my child's teacher?'

I've seen some suggestions online, which included everything from candles to homemade jams or a mug.  Instead of coming up with some more suggestions or crafty ideas, I decided to ask four teachers and listen to what they had to say.

Denise: “I am often humbled by the gifts I receive. … I know I'll miss the whole realm of teacher gifts when I retire.”

Melissa: “As a teacher in the city, I don't get too many Christmas gifts. I usually get something that belonged to the kid, like they decide to give me their old stuffed animal or something.  But every once in a while I do get a nice gift, and I'm always pleasantly surprised!”

Amy: "The kids' excitement in giving the gifts is the best part!"

Remembering their favorite gifts from past years

Denise:  “Really, I think gifts are only appropriate when they mean something to the child who is giving them.  I love the things the kids make and wrap themselves. I have ornaments on my tree that were made by students and they mean a lot to me. Last year at the end of school one little girl gave me homemade peppermint foot scrub. LOVED it! The basket of Italian food specialties, even an original framed painting. Those were humbling but appreciated gifts”

Melissa:  “A movie night basket. It was just a little basket with a box of microwave popcorn, some raisinettes, and a small gift card to Blockbuster (it may have only been for about $5, but it was perfect).  An ornament where the child wrote his name on it and the year. That ornament is from 2001 and I still put it on our tree. I always remember the boy's name too, because it's on the ornament. A nice box of candy is always good.”

Jennifer:  “Once...although not during Christmas a dad brought in a giant container of blueberries from the local farm that he worked at...that was nice.  Locally made items are good, especially if the parent works there.”

Amy:  "One mother brought a spread of Dunkin Donuts (Coffee bagels cream cheese and donuts) for the five adults that work in the classroom the day before Christmas break. That was great."

You Can’t Go Wrong With Gift Cards.  This is one thing that all four teachers agreed on.  Even a $5 or $10 gift card to Target, Dunkin Donuts or the local convenience store is very much appreciated.

Thanks, But No Thanks On The Homemade Food

Denise: “Some of the homemade food was iffy.”

Melissa: “The one thing teachers generally do NOT want (unless we have a long-standing personal relationship with the family) are homemade baked goods… I always throw those things away after the kids leave for the day. All the teachers I know do the same thing. “

Jennifer: “Food! Homemade food, although thoughtful, is kind of gross. I threw out any homemade food gifts that came in from kids. You never know how clean the household is.”

Gifts for Re-gifting

Jennifer and Melissa agreed: ” Cheap bath sets. So many people have allergies or sensitive skin that cheap bath sets are a bad idea.  People are particular about scents, so even if you LOVE vanilla, someone else could have strong opinions about not liking food smelling items. But, a gift card to Bath and Body Works would be a great alternative!” 

Ultimately, there's a lot more to teaching than the holiday gifts

If you ask any teacher, they would probably agree that the best gifts from their students are the smiles and fun moments throughout the year.  Those are the things that they will remember for years.

It isn't the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it.” 

Quote from The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994


If you have something to add about this topic... please comment below.

Photographer: Suat Eman

Quote from:

A Safe Holiday Season = A Fun Holiday Season

Featured Blogger, Go West Young Mom with

Holiday Safety Tips from Dr. Antonio Caceres

Dr. Antonio Caceres of Geneva's New Beginnings Pediatrics shares some safety tips to help ensure that your family enjoys a happy and safe holiday season.

Photo by ume-y on Flickr.Toy Safety: 

  • Some toys may pose as a choking hazard for children. This is especially true to kids under 3 years of age. Children under age 8 years can choke and suffocate on un-inflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving then to young children.
  • Magnets and button batteries can have serious complications such as esophageal and stomach perforations, including death if swallowed. Keep them away from young children and call your doctor immediately if your child swallows one.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, avoid giving young children under age 10 years a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead buy toys that are battery operated.

 Food Safety:

  • Wash your hands frequently especially if handling foods. Make sure your kids do the same.
  • Fully cook poultry and meats, and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  • Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
  • Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.
  • Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.


  • Make sure the flue is open. Remove all decorations, papers, and boughs from the fireplace area before lighting any fire.
  • Do not burn gift wrapping papers in the fireplace. This may result in a flash fire because wrappings may ignite suddenly and cause burns.

Read more ...

Black Friday is almost here! I am still deciding which option I'll pick this year...

Scenario # 1: Wake up at 1am, get a pair of comfy shoes on, drive in the dark to my favorite store, wait in line with lots of other delirious women, maybe get a freebie or two, and run toward some of hottest deals of the season.

Then, there is..

Scenario # 2: Stay curled up in a warm bed, wake up when my kids do, stroll to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, then pop open the laptop and buy some gifts that will conveniently be delivered to my door. 

What's your style?  Actually... both options sound good to me right now.  But, no matter what, I will defintitely be scoping out the best deals from the top retailers. 

In order to save time, I put together a list of quick links to some of the most popular stores:




Toys R Us

Best Buy




Costco Photographer: Simon Howden

Okay, I know I'm not the only one who spent years eating stuffing that was baked inside a Turkey.

But, now, there seems to be a debate - TO STUFF OR NOT TO STUFF!

My family has given in, and we're now non-stuffers.  : (

Read more about this debate and have the chance to win a $150 Visa gift card  at 3 Kids and Us.

This site also has recipes, reviews, a holiday gift guide and more!