Activity Work Bench

There have been some pretty neat activity boards posted on Pinterest with lots of little things for little fingers.  Combine those with a tool bench and VOILA!  Alex's Activity Work Bench!
Made by Papa for my son's 2nd Birthday - what a huge hit with him and all his birthday party buddies :-)

my son doing some fixing on his work bench :-)

Items on here include:
Light switch
toggle switches
little latched doors
padlock with keys attached by chain
items that move!

Then there are holes drilled along the front to screw things into it.  The work bench came with a toolbox and it provides ALOT of entertianment for many ages!


a Bug Theme Birthday!


Creepy Crawlies of all sizes are so much fun for a little boy.  For my little Bug's 2nd Birthday, a BUG theme was a must.

Many ideas came from Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/sschaedel/bugs-birthday-theme/.  What an amazing resource to have, LOVE IT!

Colour Scheme:  Greens mainly but some blue and yellow also

This was the first invitation I did.  It's scrapbooked with the intention of getting photograph copies made but didnt end up having time to get out of town to have thatdone.  So my second invite I made (and forgot to take a picture I suppose) was a green leaf cut from construction paper.  I added some bug stickers and wrote the same as this.  
"This little BUG is turning 2!  Creep, Crawl, or Fly on over to celebrate Alex's Birthday!"

The CAKE!  In a clean new pail, I assembled a chocolate trifle -- so easy!  Layers of chocolate cake, and a mixture of cool whip & chocolate pudding.  Then a layer of oreo cookie crumbs on top for dirt.  Served with a shovel and a gummy worm for each serving.  It was a hit!

From the ceiling I hung a cluster of green, blue, and yellow balloons. 
In the spot where he would be opening presents (as shown in pic) I hung a sign I made from bristol board and a grassy green rug I purchased from Walmart awhile ago. 
Another decoration I did was to hang bugs cut from craft foam from the lights over our island.  They wiggled & dangled in the air adding a fun buggy atmosphere.
A yard of fabric with bugs was used as a table cloth. 

Digging For Bugs was a huge attraction for the kids.  I filled a green snow sled (could also use a shallow rubbermail bin) with sand and LOTS of rubber bugs bought from Halloween clearance and the Dollar Store.  Kids used rakes and filled up jars.  The jars were left from Epicure spices with their lids all spray painted black (baby food jars another option!)  I attached a sticky label saying "Bug Jar".  The kids also put in a small green construction paper leaf to feed their bugs.  Their was also colouring pages for the kids.  Due to the age of the kids, I mainly just had free play going on.

Everything needed cute little labels to appreciate the cute bugginess.
Crunchy Crickets: ..... Popcorn Twists
Wiggly Worms: ... hotdogs (each dog sliced lengthwise to create four strips before boiled.  They curl when cooked!)
Pickled Caterpillars: ..... Pickle spears
Beetle Bites:..... Cheese chunks
Fish Flies:   .... goldfish crackers
Worm Juice: ....Juice with wormy ice cubes.  {put a worm in each part of ice cube tray.  fill with juice or water.  freeze.  add to juice at party}

(sadly no picture!)
a ziploc baggie with their jar of bugs, bug stickers, a small ziploc of gummy worms, and a rubber ball with a bug inside it.  Plus a thank you card as well.

Enjoy your bug theme, there are so many options and variations you can do!


Fun (yet practical) Stocking Stuffers for Toddler, Preschooler, pretty much any age!

So here are some ideas for Santa to fill the stockings with items that are useful, creative, and fun without adding to the landfill with items that dont last past one day of use (you know those plastic items that were a last minute purchase)


Think of things that the kids need and can use - keep the colours bright & fun. Buy good quality (and from local vendors when possible) to last!

A themed stocking would be fun (all ART, or all BATH for instance)

  • Band Aids (so many funky designs)

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Hair Brush

  • Hair Clips or Elastics

  • Lip Gloss or Chapstick

  • Compact Mirror

  • Paints

  • Crayons

  • Markers

  • Brushes

  • Craft items (pom poms, googly eyes, papers, embellishments, etc)

  • Stickers

  • Smock

  • Scissors that cut freaky designs

  • Pencils

  • Pencil Case

  • Beads & Bracelet String

  • Cute Belt

  • Funky Shoelaces

  • Shoe Charms

  • Socks

  • Underwear

  • Slippers

  • Necklace

  • Ring

  • Bracelet

  • Book(s)

  • Doll Clothes, Hat, Shoes, Bracelets, blanket & pillow, etc.

  • Bath Toy(s)

  • Bath Crayons

  • Bubble Bath

  • Wash Cloth

  • Apron

  • Recipe Book for kids

  • Measuring Spoons

  • Mixing Spoons

  • Fun Cupcake Wrappers

  • Gardening Gloves

  • Trowel

  • Spade

  • Seeds

  • Tool Apron

  • Measuring Tape

  • Carpenter Pencil

  • Appropriate Tools

  • Hard Hat

  • mini Shovel

  • mini Rake

  • Chocolate

  • Candy Canes

  • Christmas Orange


Textile Alphabet Binder

My Aunt Florence created and brought this over for my 4yr old but would be great for a younger child as well when learning letters.

It is a binder filled with letters for the entire alphabet that the child can glue items on from an item beginning with that letter. You could draw your own letters or print them out from the internet. These ones were printed from http://www.quality-kids-crafts.com/

Here are the ideas she had listed in the back of the binder for each letter (or try and come up with others - it's hard!!)

A aluminum foil

B band-aids

C cotton batting or balls

D dots punched from coloured paper with hole punch

E eggshells crushed (coloured with food colouring for a more colourful picture)

F coloured feathers

G grass or green +/or gold glitter

H hair or happy face stickers

I insect or instrument stickers

J jello powder

K kleenex

L lace

M masking tape

N newspaper

O octagon shapes or small O shaped pasta

P puzzle pieces

Q quarters or question marks

R ribbon

S sand or sandpaper

T toothpicks or tinsel or toothpaste

U umbrellas (mini ones for drinks)

V velcro or velvet

W wallpaper or wood

X wax (for the ending sound)

Y yellow yarn

Z zippers


We do a lot of snowmen pictures (I love snowmen!) I give her some different sized circles (in a year perhaps she can cut out her own) and various craft supplies (pompoms, buttons, ribbon pieces and glitter glue!


Ginger Bread House Picture

I assembled a variety of items and let my 4yr old create a gingerbread house.
Brown construction paper - one large square & one large triangle
small squares & rectangle (doors & windows)
White Glue
Old Christmas Garland of plastic candies
coloured pasta
Pom Poms

other item ideas:
fruit loops
Glitter or Glitter Glue
coloured Rice
Dots punched from coloured paper
Ribbons or Yarn
Coloured Sand
Stale spices (draw a line of glue and let them pour some old flavourless spice on and shake off excess)
Cinnamon (to give a Christmassy Scent!)

etc! Raid your Cupboards & Drawers!


Easy Spider Web Craft

This craft is done with two paper plates (for sturdiness), black paint, white yarn, black pipe cleaners, black paper, glue, and googly eyes.

Spider: Cut two black circles from black paper. Put a huge glob of glue on one circle and lay your pipecleaner legs in the glue. Add a little more glue and then put your other black circle on top. Glue on eyes. This will seem like its not working but just leave it to dry and it will be fine - trust me!

Web: Paint paper plate black. Let dry. Make small cuts around the edge of plate. Wrap your yarn around and around the plate to resemble a web. Tie a hanging loop and then tie your spider (hole punch a hole in the spider to tie yarn on through) dangling from your web.


HEALTHY Granola Bar Recipe!


Cranberry Nut Granola Bars

Submitted By: SeattleFarmersMarketGirl
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Servings: 24

2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 13x9-inch pan with lightly-greased parchment paper; an inch or so of parchment paper should stick up on 2 sides to form lifting handles.
Mix the quick-cooking oats, old-fashioned oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, mixed nuts, cranberries, and sweetened condensed milk together in a bowl; spread into the prepared pan, evenly pressing into the corners and out to the sides.
Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are golden brown, 20-25 minutes, using slightly less time for chewier bars and slightly more time for crunchier bars.
Allow the the bars cool for 5 minutes in the pan before using the parchment paper to lift them from the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars. Let the bars cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Substitute the seeds, nuts & berries in this recipe for any combination of the following:
Chocolate Chips
Peanut Butter Chips
Mini Marshmallows
Dried Apples, Bananas, Cranberries, Raisens,
Peanuts, Almonds, Pecans, Cashews (chopped small or slivered)
Sunflower Seeds
Flax Seed
Wheat Germ


Cookie Monster Birthday Theme

Just got back from my friend's son's 2nd Birthday - COOKIE MONSTER THEME!


Blue circles cut from construction paper - folded in half. White circles glued at top of fold for eyes (black circles drawn for pupils). Invite details inside!


BLUE! - Balloons, Tablecloth, etc!

Poster - "Brought to you by the letter W and the number 2" (change according to your birthday child's first initial and age)

Cookie Monster Balloon - use a glue stick to add eyes & mouth to a blue balloon. Eyes must be close and lopsided to portray Cookie Monster


Blue Kool Aid

Blue Popsicles

regular party snacks


Cupcakes on platter in round shape. Two iced to look like googly eyes, and then blue for fur and black for mouth! *warning that blue & black icing WILL create funny lips, tongues, teeth (and poop for those still in diapers!)

Birthday Boy's Attire - I love this Cookie Monster tee she bought off Etsy.com

Loot Bags:

Kid's decorated brown lunch bags with LOTS of blue glitter & bingo dabbers and then there was a Sesame Street Colouring Book, Sucker, and this cute & nifty luggage tag inside!


Bunny in the Garden - Seed Catalogue Collage

A great use for the seed catalogues we get in the mail! My daughter helped cut pictures of the flowers. I gaver her two different sized circles in white and the bunny ears, googly eyes, pink pompom, white cotton ball and glue.


Arts and Crafts Birthday Party Theme

I have started to plan my daughter's 4th birthday with an Arts & Crafts theme. We both love crafts!!

This is a compilation of ideas that I have found through the internet & magazines. The photos are from my daughter's party. Great for indoor parties to keep kids occupied! Probably best for this theme to be used with a smaller group of kids.

* Shaped like an Artist's Palette
* Some of your child's artwork folded into a card with details inside

*"Let your inner artist come out at Sophie's 4th Birthday" or "Come Paint with Me!" or "Come Craft with Me!" or "Sophie loves to create, come help us celebrate!"

*Name your house as a Gallery or Art Store (ie. Johnson's Gallery)

(may want to include a mention to NOT wear your bestest newest dress)

Activities (that double as Loot Bag Favours):
* Paint a PICTURE FRAME (plain wooden frames & paint)
* Make BRACELETS or NECKLACES (stretchy elastic string & beads!)
* LOOT BAG decoration (paper or canvas bags, give them supplies to decorate)
* Design your NOTEBOOK cover (give them a notebook with the cover covered in paper - then let them decorate)

Other Activites:
- PlayDoh
- Hang a white sheet or paper on clothesline and let kids at it with PAINT!
- Decorate a TableCloth

Loot Bag Favours:
Recycled Crayons
Construction Paper
Paints, Markers, Crayons, etc.
Play Dough & Accessories
Any type of Craft Supplies

Pencil Case or Box (Personalized with stickers perhaps!)

THANK YOU: "Thanks for making my Birthday a MASTERPIECE!"

- Bright Primary Colours for balloons, streamers, etc
- Tablecloth made of plain butcher or white paper (for kids to decorate!)
- Your child's artwork strung up or hung at their eye level

- "Welcome to Sophie's Arts & Crafts Party!" sign OR "Art Area" OR "CRAFT ZONE" signs

Create your own Pizzas (use bread, pizza circles, or english muffin halves)
Decorate your own Cupcakes

Ice Cream Sundae making station - colourful toppings like strawberries, blueberries, pineapple
regular type of party fare (meats, cheeses, fruits, etc)


Artist's Palette - use a round cake pan, frost white. Blobs of paint in primary colours made with icing, fondant, or little piles of m&ms!

White Sheet Cake - let the kids decorate at the party!

Shape & Decorate to resemble a BOX of CRAYONS!

*Check out the craft supplies at your local dollar store for inspiration! Maybe they have some cute wooden birdhouses or neat purses to decorate - pretty much anything goes for this theme!

i created the invites on picnik.com

decorations included lots of colourful balloons & streamers and this a banner that says "I 'heart' CRAFTS"

kids helped decorate the cake first with Wilton Food Markers (but my fondant was too warm and therefore soft) and then went crazy with Scribblers Icing

once cut a rainbow was discovered!

activities included painting picture frames, making bracelets, and Juice Box Kids (covered a juice box partially in paper and kids glued on hair from feathers or paper, strips of paper for arms & legs, googly eyes, and drew a mouth and nose)

LootBags were from the Dollar Store and had a pad of construction paper, markers, stickers, stencis, lollipops and a homemade thank you card. Under $5 for each box.


Our Airplane Birthday Party Theme - for our 1yr old

We celebrated my sons first birthday today and Airplanes were our theme. See a previous post with more ideas for an airplane theme, these are the ideas we used but there are more you could do!


I painted several little posters to hang throughout the house using old maps. I freehanded the airplane & letters as they are simple shapes to copy.

I bought some cheap foam glider airplanes and hung them in a grouping from the ceiling. I also hung some clouds my daughter had made (cloud shapes cut from cereal boxes and cotton balls glued on) (the Happy Birthday banner is one I made a few years ago from felt.)

I cut out airplane shapes and taped string on to create the Airplane Garland.

There were also other various airplane items out like a large floor puzzle that is a map of the world and a fabric basket made with airplane fabric that held some airplane themed books.

Loot Bags:
Aiplane Cookies, Airplane Soap, Airplane Stickers, Luggage Tage, Thank You card, and some candies.

The loot bags were put into a carryon bag beneath a sign (painted on an old map) labelled BAGGAGE CLAIM - Thank you for flying with us!

Soap - purchased airplane mold from etsy.com and bulk soap from Michaels Craft Store.

Luggage Tags - made them with scrapbooking supplies

Thank You Cards - the Birthday boy's handprints with the thank you message written over top.

*Any or all of these items could be purchased or handmade if you are the crafty sort.

I used old maps as tablecloths which made for easy clean up (GARBAGE!) and looked festive.


I put out a suitcase filled with airplane toys (many I owned and some I had borrowed). I had emptied the livingroom of the majority of toys usually kept there to keep the chaos to a minimum. Kids had free play for an hour. During that time there were also colouring pages if they wanted.


I couldnt find an airplane cake mold in our area so used 2 8" circle pans. One pan I freehand cut the airplane body and cut wings from the other cake. In retrospect should maybe have just used a 9x13 pan as much cake was not used. Its in the freezer and will be yummy to eat later.

My intent was to have the airplane cake sitting atop the 9x13 cake that was iced with Cool Whip & vanilla pudding mix that looked like fluffy clouds. I then had made a small banner to 'fly' behind the plane. Well my sizes were WAY off and it didnt work out. Oh well!