Tag Archives: craft

Summer Fun On A Budget

It’s hard to believe that summer is only a couple months away and before you know it, the kids will be home from school.  For some parents, that puts you in a panic of “what am I going to do with my kids all summer?!?!?”  Here are a few ideas and tips that I have used over the years that have made the summertime enjoyable for both myself and my kids….oh yeah, and I didn’t break the bank either!


  • Create a Daily Schedule:  Although the idea of sleeping in and waking up whenever you and and your children feel like it all summer long, the reality is that more chaos will ensue unless you plan properly.  Creating a Daily Schedule will help you keep your sanity and your kids will actually feel less stressed knowing what the day will bring.  NOTE: It doesn’t have to be the SAME schedule each day, but consistency certainly helps.

summer fun picture chart

  • For younger kids, use pictures like this one:(free printable picture cards here)
  • For older kids that can read, simply use a chalk board or dry erase board and write the schedule each day.
  • Sample Schedule:
    • Breakfast
    • Chores
    • Free Play Time
    • Project (craft, cooking, science, etc.)
    • Snack
    • Games & Outside Play
    • Lunch
    • Water play
    • Workbook/Quiet Time/Reading Time
    • Free Play
    • Snack & Short TV Show
    • Dinner

Summer Chores

2015 Chore Chart


  • I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to fit chores into our daily schedule during the school year.  The kids are swamped with homework and activities and at the end of the day I just want them to relax and be kids.  I want them to go outside or play a game.  So…when summertime comes around, it’s time to instill those good habits of completing chores and participating in the general upkeep of our home.



  • Use what you have around the house to come up with projects.   It’s amazing what you can do with plastic cups, paper plates, straws and a camera.  Some of our favorite projects:
    • Cooking (Popsicles, smoothies, cookies, trailmix and of course cheerio necklaces)
    • Bubbles (giant bubble wands, colored bubbles on paper, bubble popping)
    • Crafts (painting with colored ice cubes, giant chalk drawings, cards and letters to send in the mail)
    • Check out Pinterest for lots and lots of budget friendly ideas!


  • We love a friendly game or two in our house.  Keep it simple and enjoy the time connecting and having fun!
    • Scavenger Hunts (Photo Hunts, Treasure Hunts, Collections)
    • Obstacle Course (time each other for those that are more competitive)
    • Backyard Maze (grass getting long? mow a maze and run through it before mowing the rest of the yard)

Water Play


  • You don’t have to have a pool to have water play time!  The hot afternoon is a great time to get wet and cool off.  We have a small pool, but here are some other ideas:
    • Water Balloon Toss
    • Water Balloon Baseball
    • Limbo using a hose
    • Sprinkler
    • Water Bottle Squirt Tag
    • Car Wash
    • Bicycle Wash
    • Wet Sponges and Targets

Quiet Time


  • We order the Summer Bridge Books every year and the kids complete 4 pages a day. We also participate in the local Library Summer Reading program where the kids earn prizes for reading (reading together as a family or listening to a book in the car count too!)

Field Trips


  • The summertime is a great time to see new sights and try new activities.  There are lots of inexpensive places to check out when you’re ready to tackle a “Field Trip” day:
    • Creek Stomping (pack a lunch, wear a bathing suit and go walking in a creek)
    • Playground Review (visit different playgrounds and have the kids journal their reviews)
    • Library Programs
    • Get a group together to visit a zoo or museum and get the group discount rate
    • Check out Kids Bowl Free and find a local bowling alley
    • Try a real treasure hunt and go Geochaching

Got any good Summertime Boredom Busters?  Please share in the comments! 🙂 Mama Nice

5 Holiday Teacher Gifts for Under $5

I have three kids and a total of 6 teachers to buy for at Christmastime.  While I very much appreciate teachers, I can only afford so much.  After searching Pinterest and talking to some teacher friends, I came up with a list of 5 practical gifts every teacher could use.  Did I mention they all cost $5 or less?  Cha-ching!


1. Message Board Picture Frame –

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      • Eraser Fabric – cut a piece of scrap fabric, or buy a $1 pair of kids holiday socks (Target $1 bin).  One pair of socks = 2 erasers.


2. Lunch Coupon –

If you enjoying making food, gift your own coupon like this:

gift cert


3. Rice Hot Pack –

These rice packs are perfect for sore muscles, cold weather or stress relief between classes.  Click Here for tutorial.

rice hot pack


4. Braided Scarf

No crocheting or knitting!  If you can braid, you can make this scarf.  Click Here to see tutorial.

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5. WaWa gift card –

(If you don’t live in the Northeast, you might have no idea what “WaWa” is, and I’m sorry you don’t have the pleasure of knowing the joy of a local WaWa.)  

Start a “Classroom Collection Gift”.  If there are 25 kids in the class and everyone donates $5, thats a $125 giftcard.  I think that’s a pretty nice classroom gift.  My teacher friends have said it’s great because it can be used for food, coffee or gas.  Win win!


If anyone else has $5 gift ideas, please share!!!  Thanks for reading 🙂

Cookie Sheet Message Board

Ah, the need for places to hang reminder notes and school papers.  I had some cork boards already and wanted something a little different, but it had to be thrifty too.  I saw this great idea on Pinterest and thought I would give it a try.  Turned out pretty good I think.  As always, the “How To” is below:



  • Cookie Sheet
  • Sand Paper
  • Spray Paint
  • Ribbon
  • Hot Glue

Step By Step

  1. Clean cookie sheet and sand smooth.
  2. Apply several coats on spray paint to both sides of cookie sheet – allow time for each side to dry completely.
  3. Hot glue ribbon to the back of cookie sheet.
  4. Hang and enjoy!

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Cardboard & Yarn Frame

Another thrifty craft adventure.  I needed (ok I wanted) a frame to go around my family calendar.  It just looked too lonely and naked against the plain wall.  I began my search in my bin of spare frames – no luck.  I went to the local craft store – the prices were too high.  I got inventive – score!



  • Cardboard
  • Yarn
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sharp Blade
  • Glue (I used a Hot Glue Gun)

Step By Step

  1. Trace the outline of your picture or calendar about 1/2 an inch wider to allow room for the yarn.
  2. Trace the width of the ruler to create a boarder.
  3. Using the egde of the ruler and a sharp blade, cut out the frame.
  4. Put a dab of hot glue on the cardboard and secure the beginning of your yarn.
  5. Start wrapping the yarn around the cardboard in whatever style you like!  I also put a little dab of hot glue along the way to keep the yarn tight. **This took longer than I thought it would, just an FYI.**
  6. Secure the end of the yarn with hot glue.
  7. Hang on the wall.  I used Command Strips.

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Canvas Verse/Quote Painting

I love the look of wall decals, but I DO NOT like the price.  When I created my “Family Command Center”, I wanted to add a Bible verse to hang above the calendar.  After searching on-line, I decided I could make something for less money.  If you are a craft lover like me, you probably have most of these materials in storage.  If you are NOT too crafty, you can still make this craft. Seriously – this could be a great kid project too!



  • Canvas
  • Letter Stickers
  • Spray Paint
  • Craft Paint & Paintbrush

Step By Step

  1. Choose your verse or quote.  Apply the sticker letters on the canvas however you would like the verse/quote to appear.
  2. Spray paint the canvas OVER the stickers.** I recommend 2 layers minimum of spraypaint.**  Let dry.
  3. Hand paint or stencil a design OVER the stickers. Let dry.
  4. Peel off stickers. **Tweezers are helpful for small stickers**
  5. That’s it!  Told you it was easy 🙂

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What verse or quote will you paint?

Spaceship Project

Project day! Project Day! Project Day! I love Project day!  A chance to sink myself into something creative without feeling guilty about all the other chores I’m not getting done.  I know some of you hear the word “project” and begin to cringe at the thought of being creative.  I on the other hand go into dreamland at the thought of working on a project.  This past week I planned, prepared and created with my sons Tiger Scout Den.  Each scout needed to make a space themed centrepiece to use at the upcoming banquet.  I was thrilled to help out with such a project.  They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself!

Spaceship Project

Spaceship Instructions


  • 1 Empty 2 litre bottleIMG_3186
  • 1 piece of Construction Paper
  • Crepe Paper Streamers (red, yellow, orange)
  • Food coloring
  • glitter
  • stickers
  • Styrofoam bowl
  • scissors
  • markers
  • tape/glue

IMG_3187IMG_3192Step 1: Cut hole in Styrofoam bowl to fit soda bottle

Step 2: Glue or tape colored streamers on the bowl (this is the “fire” at the bottom of the spaceship).

Step 3: Fill bottle up with water.  Add food coloring and glitter. Shake to mix.

Step 4: Place bottle into Styrofoam bowl.

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Step 5: Cut semi-circle out of construction paper and fold to make a cone. Place cone on top of bottle and tape or glue to IMG_3195keep in place.

IMG_3146SteIMG_3196p 6: Tape or glue on side fins.  Decorate with stickers, markers, etc.  Complete!!