Thursday, June 30, 2016

DIY Harry Potter Book Costume Accessories

My daughter was Hermione this past year for Halloween. And these are all of the accessories that I made for her. I thought with the new Harry Potter movie coming out there might be some interest in costume ideas. Plus there is the new big Hogwarts and Harry Potter area at Universal Studios. I am hoping to take my kids there in a couple years when my youngest is more interested in Harry Potter and all of his stories.

So to start off with I made a tie in the Gryffindor colors using felt. Felt is a great fabric to use when making costumes because you don't need to worry about frame and can leave edges raw and they are fine. So to make that I all I did was cut out a tie shape used fabric glue and glued on the slanted stripes. On the back I glued on a pin that you would use in jewelry making.

I did sew the scarf because I wanted to make sure it would withstand washing since I was making it in duplicate because my son wanted one too. These are our school colors as well so I wanted them to have a fun scarf that was thick and warm to where in the winter or two outdoor sports games and show their school colors. On one of the pictures you can see where I flipped over to the backside. I cut full scarf length pieces in one color and then cut out rectangles in the other color and sew them into place. This was pretty easy to do since all of it was straight stitches so you needed minimal sewing skills. But now we have a striped scarf in both Gryffindor colors and our school colors.

Next I created a patch of sorts that is on the Robes of the kids in each of the houses at Hogwarts. I went online and found an image of the Gryffindor badge and printed it off on iron on paper. Make sure you flip the image before you print it so that the words appear the right way. Then I ironed it on to some white fabric and trimmed around the edges and finally I glued into place a pin just like I used for the tie and pinned it on to the robe. The robe we used is a small graduation type robe. In case the kids wanted to use that room for another type of costume I didn't want to iron the patch directly onto that so I made it up in a pin instead.

Finally I made wands out of Chopsticks and hot glue. These are pretty simple to make. Just Google which wand do you want to make so you know what it looks. These are two of the three that we made. All you need to do is apply hot glue onto a chopstick in the design of the one you are trying to create. Allowed the hot glue to dry completely and harden before painting and then just paint.

For the rest of her costume, I found a collared dress shirt and a jumper (instead of a sweater vest and pleated skirt) in the uniform section on Children's Place online. I borrowed a wig from a friend and bought her a time turner necklace from Amazon. I bought her a pair of maryjane dress shoes (which would be her dress shoes for the school year) and I just happened to have a pair of knee high socks in grey in my sock drawer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

These pictures were taken in early spring when we went hiking here, we plan to go mountain biking in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area this summer and fall!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fork Print Firework Art Project

Kids can learn a lot from painting with different objects. Painting doesn't need to be just done with brushes or fingers. Look around you and see what you can find that will make an interesting print. In this case we used plastic forks that we dipped in white, blue, and red paints.

Let kids drag them in a straight line and very the three colors if they want like we did or they could do them all in the same color. The times help make these look like fireworks in the sky.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Patriotic Pie

I didn't go quite the easy route on this desert like I did and some of the others I have shared with you the last 2 months but I did use canned pie filling. I made homemade pie crust because I think there is nothing better in the world than having a homemade pie crust made with butter. It is so buttery and Flaky and just tastes divine.

Typically 1 can of pie filling may fill up a fight in depending upon the size of your by 10. But for this one I wanted to have two colors underneath so I bought a can of both blueberry and Cherry Pie fillings. I filled in three quarters it with cherry pie filling and one quarter with blueberry pie filling.

I did make a double pie crust recipe but you could buy the ready-made pie crust that Pillsbury makes to use for the top stars and stripes and you could you use a frozen pie crust for the bottom.

If you have a small star cookie cutter that would work great to make the stars but I didn't have that so I did them free hand. It gives them a quirky look.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kids Skate FREE

Kids saying they are bored yet? Check out the list of skating rinks that have Kids Skate Free this summer. There are only 2 in Minnesota and both in the Twin Cities. I am not sure if we will get to either, but it's good to keep in mind in case we have something outdoors planned and the weather is not cooperative.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Simple Patriotic Candle Display

By now you probably have noticed that I have come up with a variety of simple crafts and foods to make for Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day that are simple and use a minimal amount of supplies or ingredients. This idea is no exception.

You will need to make this at least a day in advance so the rice has time to dry again. To make the colored rice you need to mix rice and food coloring. I used 1 C of rice for each layer. Put the rice in a ziploc baggie then put in 3 or 4 drops of one color  and squish around until until well blended. Then spread out the rice in a single layer on a cookie sheet. It will need at a day too dry just to be sure it if fully dry.

Obviously, you need white rice you just leave it without dying it. I used a funnel to put the rice into the jar. Just a note that you should not put a lid over the top of this when storing it because the moisture will stay inside and it will mold. Then you can place a tea light on top. I did not have any problem with the rice scorching or anything, but you should always exercise caution when having anything with fire or flames.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

So I wanted to quick mention before you get too far into reading about this, I did not use ice cream in these sandwiches. They are made with Cool Whip.

With that said, I totally went the easy way when making these and thought sugar cookie log from the grocery store. But if you want to make homemade old fashioned sugar cookie dough check out my sugar cookie dough recipe.

Bake your cookies as directed and put sprinkles on the top of the dough before you bake them and allow to completely cool before using. Put your Cool Whip in the refrigerator to thaw out so that you can scoop it out. While those things are happening, line a baking sheet with wax paper. I actually used a covered cake pan so that I could keep them stored in it. And pour sprinkles in a bowl.

When you cookies are cooled and Cool Whip is thawed, it is time to begin assembly. Place a generous scoop of Cool Whip in between two cookies and lightly press together. Then roll the sides of the exposed Cool Whip in the sprinkles. Place on your waxed baking pan. Place in the freezer and allow a minimum of 3 hours to freeze.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

FREE 3-Day Camp at Apple

My daughter did one of these camps before and really enjoyed it. You don't need an Apple product at home in order to complete the camp, but it is helpful. Plus they send home the completed project on a flashdrive and if they ever want to view it or work on it again, you do need an Apple product. But with that being said, it is a great camp and they offer it for FREE. Spots fill very quickly and you are only allowed to do one of the camps, so you will need to wait until the next year to do another.
Get signed up on their email list so that you are sure to be notified as soon as the camps open. And look at every Apple Store to see if they have different availability and dates, if you don't mind driving to another Apple Store. Camp is 3 consecutive Days long.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Strawberry Picking at Straight River Farm

It's about that time for Strawberry Picking at Straight River Farm, just keep an eye on their website for days and times. These are pictures are from strawberry picking last year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Color Sight Word Photo Scavenger Hunt

I did this activity with my son when he was in preschool. I sent him on a color sight word photo scavenger hunt. Now, colors are great, scavenger hunts are a ton of fun, but what really makes this activity a blast is that they get to take photos.

So, find something you have that takes photos that you don't mind letting your child use and send them on a mission to find all ten colors. Perhaps you will have a camera they can use or your phone (or even an old phone with a camera on it that you don't have service on, it can still be used for the camera - plus did you know you can use it with apps over wifi - you can even put google hangouts on your phone to have a phone number and texting number) or maybe you have a tablet with a camera.

They will have so much fun with this activity.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Simple Red, White & Blue Jello Dessert

Seriously, you can't get any easier than this with a dessert. All you need is your favorite "red" flavor of jell-o. I usually pick raspberry or strawberry, some whip cream in a can (make it easy to top) and blueberries.

I made these at our cabin, so I didn't have a ton of dishes to choose from so I used our short juice cups.

Make jell-o as directed on the package. Allow to set completely before topping. Arrange blueberries around the perimeter and spray whip cream in a nice mound in the center.

Simple, tasty, and kids will love it.

Holidays don't have to be filled with complicated dishes. Just have fun!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

FREE or Cheap Movies for Kids in Summer 2016

CEC Theatres (Owatonna)
$5 Movies All Tuesday, All Day, ALL YEAR
Wednesdays at 10am
$2 Kids Movies

Marcus Cinema (Rosemount, Oakdale and Shakopee) Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays at 10am $3/Admission $2.75 Popcorn and $2.75 Fountain Drinks

Paragon Theatres
$6 Movies All Tuesday, All Day, ALL YEAR

Theatres at Mall of America (Bloomington)
FREE Family Flicks on Saturdays at 10am (year round)
FREE Sensory Flicks on Saturday at 10am (year round)

Regal Cinemas (Eagan)
Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am $1/ Admission

Muller Family Theatres (Lakeville)
Wednesday and Thursday at 10am - FREE SUMMER MOVIES
June 8 - Aug 25
$6.75 Tuesday Evening Movies - Year Round

Elko Speedway Drive-In (Elko)
These are last years specials, check to make sure they are offering again when they update their website for this summer
Wednesday - Car Load Night for $10
Thursday - 2 for 1 Night
Friday - Family Night KIDS FREE

Showcase Cinemas: For my readers on the East Coast, kids get in free on Wednesdays with a book report to select shows. Under 6 are free without a book report.

And of course, remember that you can always check out FREE movies from you local library and Family Video also offers FREE kids/documentary/exercise videos to rent for free. Be sure to check out what is on Amazon Prime and Netflix if you have those as well!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

FREE Admission to MN State Parks on June 11th for National Get Outdoors Day

Every year Minnesota State Parks offers a FREE vehicle admission day to any of their state parks on National Get Outdoors Day. This year that day is on June 11th, THIS SATURDAY!

Normally, a vehicle admission is $5 for a daily rate or $25 for a yearly pass. We always get a pass.

If you don't have a pass, this is a great way to go check out one of our wonderful MN State Parks. If you want a preview, check back tomorrow when I share pictures of Mille Lacs State Park.

Here are some other Minnesota State Parks I have included in this blog, we have been to others, but this is what I have shared with you so far:
Also, don't forget to log your miles while you are there towards the 125 Miles Challenge.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Protein Birthday Cake Shake

Did I come up with this for my kids or myself? Well, probably 2 parents for myself and 1 part for them on one of their birthdays. They have been really enjoying the protein shakes I come up with, but I wanted to enjoy a birthday treat without all the sugar in other birthday treats.Plus, I knew I would feel better sending them off to school with a protein shake in their belly in addition to the cinnamon roll they had they would be better off. I use protein powder that has around 25g protein per serving.

Protein Birthday Cake Shake
8 oz. milk
1 scoop vanilla protein shake powder
1 1/2 T cheese cake pudding mix
1/2 tsp. vanilla
5 ice cubes (optional, if you wants a frozen shake)
whip cream and sprinkles (optional)

Using the blender you like to make shakes in, layer you mixture in order listed above. 
Blend for 30-60 seconds. Allow 5 minutes to thicken before serving. Top with whip cream and sprinkles, if desired.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: ProtoLyte 100% Whey Isolate

I have probably tried a dozen different protein shakes, and this is hands down the best I have ever tasted. I was given the Vanilla Peanut Butter flavor of ProtoLyte 100% Whey Isolate to review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. This protein shake is so smooth. It is not gritty or chalky. There is no weird taste like in other powders. I am very pleased with this. I am an avid fitness buff and I pretty much use protein shakes for on-the-go meals or if I need to eat something before working out that won't upset my stomach and this fits the bill. This goes down so easily, but it tastes so good that I think I need to learn to savor this kind rather than quickly sucking it down.

This tastes like a dessert, but there is no sugar in it and there is no aspartame. The other flavors they have are Chocolate Fudge Cookie and Snickerdoodle. I am pretty sure my husband would love me to get the Snickerdoodle, as that is his favorite cookie, although he really likes peanut butter and I am sure he will love this as soon as he is back from work travel and can try this out, that is if I let him have any.

1 scoop of the powder does have 24 grams of protein and only 105 calories. I did make this with milk since I have been using it as a meal replacement and need a bit more substance to tie me over to a snack time. I love that it is made with whey. I have been reading more about how protein affects the body and how soy affects the body and wanted to make sure I have a good high quality protein and for me that means looking for a whey based product.

Friday Fun Days -- No Friday Posts This Summer

Well, my kids got out of school this week for summer vacation and I have made the decision that I am not going to be posting on Fridays for the next 3 months. I will still post Monday through Thursday, every week -- even when we take any vacations. But my family is what is most important to me and I need to make sure I am making more time for them. We enjoy doing things together and plan to have lots of fun and learn new and interesting things. I hope you will still check in on this blog during the other 4 days of the week.

I hope you enjoy your summer break too!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

FREE Summer Reading Programs

Barnes and Noble : Turn it in between May 17 - September 6th and earn a free book. For grades 1-6.

Local Libraries: We are sandwiched between 2 towns, so free frequent and participate in both reading programs. Libraries often offer activities and events throughout the summer for children to keep them coming to the library all summer long. You could find some free entertainment for the kids this way!

Pottery Barn Story Time: Attend 5 story times and get a free gift, check back to see if they offer their summer reading program as well

Half Price Books - Usually they have one for June & July, but it wasn't listed yet when I typed this post.

Scholastic: Begins May 9th. Check out their book lists and ideas for activities.

Sylvan Book Adventure: Kids read books, take quizzes and earn prizes. Not sure what the prizes are this year but a couple years ago my daughter did it and got a 6 month subscription to Highlights magazine as a prize.

Chuck E Cheese: Read for 2 weeks and get 10 FREE Tokens

Showcase Cinemas: For my readers on the East Coast, kids get in free on Wednesdays with a book report to select shows. Under 6 are free without a book report.

TD Bank: Another for the East Coast Readers, kids get $10 in a new or existing saving account at TD Bank when they complete the form with 10 books read.

Pizza Hut Book It Summer Reading