15 Minute Patriotic Wreath

I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

My husband always groans when I come home with supplies to make a new wreath, but I love how easily they can update a room or brighten our front door.  With Memorial Day just a couple of weeks ago and the 4th of July coming up soon, I decided to pick up a few simple supplies from JoAnn’s to make a patriotic wreath that I can use in my decor.  One of my favorite wreath forms to use are grapevine wreaths because the wreath itself is part of the decor and you don’t have to do a lot to add a little extra something to it to make it your own.  The best part is that it only took 15 minutes to put together from start to finish!

To make your own patriotic wreath, you’ll want to grab the following supplies:

  • 12″ grapevine wreath
  • bead/berry picks (found by the wreath making supplies)
  • 1/2″ ribbon
  • scissors
  • safety pin

As for making the wreath, I decided to try something a little different and create a video tutorial!  I’m hoping to incorporate more videos for recipes and crafts in my posts to change things up a bit.  If you have any questions about the process, please let me know!

In all, I spent less than $10 for everything and for only 15 minutes of my time, which is important to me because I only have so much time to craft.  I love how my new wreath turned out and it’s currently sitting in my kitchen/living room area being all patriotic and reminding me why I love the 4th of July.  Independence Day is in my top 3 favorite holidays and I love everything about it (except parades, I know I’m probably in the minority).

I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

Do you decorate for patriotic holidays?  What do you usually do to celebrate?

7 Creative Father’s Day Gift Ideas

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.

Father’s Day is coming up in a few weeks and I’ve had gift ideas on the brain.  While giving my dad or husband a new shirt or tools is nice and useful, sometimes I like to try and be a little more creative and unique.  So I’ve done some thinking and asking and have put together a list of eight gifts you might not have considered or even known about until this post.  I hope they give you some ideas or at least a jumping off point for a gift for the guys in your life.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

Shipped Sentiments
I was on Instagram a few weeks ago when an account called Shipped Sentiments liked one of my pictures.  I was curious what they were all about so I clicked on over and found the cutest thing!  Shipped Sentiments is all about curating a themed box of fun items and then shipping it out.  They have over 15 options ranging from a Just For Him box to a Sympathy box to a Sunshine Happy Day box (with all items being yellow).  They sent me a Just For Him box and I know my husband will love it when he gets it on Father’s Day.  You can also request a custom box!  See more about what’s included and pricing for each box by clicking HERE.

Price range: $20-$35

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.

Sketch of Life (custom drawings)
Becca  has the cutest little online shop called Sketch of Life, which is, you guessed it: sketches.  All her sketches are custom and come in sizes ranging from 5×7 to 11×14.  This would be a great gift to give the dad/husband/grandpa in your life because you can choose everything about it and Becca will make it come to life.  You can choose one large sketch, caricatures or doodles and could include funny memories, quotes from kids/grandkids or anything else that would make it special.  You can find more information on sizes and pricing by clicking HERE.

Price range: $20-$125 (discounts available for extra hand drawn copies)

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.

Audio Book Subscription
The average person spends 26 minutes commuting to work each day.  Double that and you have 52 minutes of commuting time each day.  If you travel around for your job, that time increases.  When my husband started a new job that was a minimum 30 minute commute each way, I suggested he listen to audio books as a way to pass the time.  He isn’t a fast reader but by listening to books, he was making it through about one book every week or two.  My dad is a self-employed electrician so he is always traveling to different places all around the valley, and sometimes out of state, to work.  You can bet he listens to audio books.

Check out each of the following audio book subscriptions to see if one would appeal to your guy:

Audible – Free 30 day trial available, then monthly subscription
Deseret Bookshelf Plus – Free 30 day trial available, then monthly or yearly subscription

Price range: $5-$99 (dependent on type of subscription)

Personalized Metal Wallet Insert (with custom saying)
A couple of years ago for Christmas, I stumbled on this darling Etsy shop called O Jolie Designs.  One of their listings was for a metal wallet insert, which is the shape and size of a credit card so it fits in a wallet, but is completely personalized.  I bought one for my husband and put a little note on it from our kids.  He keeps it in his wallet now but will often leave it with the kids when he has to go out of town as a reminder that he loves and misses him.  This would be such a cute gift to give to your husband/dad/grandpa and the customization makes it perfect.  You can find out more about it by clicking HERE.

Price range: $15-$24

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.

Guys Night Out
When was the last time your guy had a night out with his friends?  If it’s been a while, consider helping him put together a guys night out (or in).  Time spent with their friends can help improve their mood and relieve stress.  You could suggest they watch a sporting event at your place or encourage them to get tickets to a local game, concert or other group activity.

Price range: Varies (depends on activity)
 
Grill Masters Club 
Does your guy like grilling?  Trying out new rubs and sauces?  Then the Grill Masters Club subscription box would be a great gift!  Each month they send out a new box with rubs, sauces, tips, tricks and recipes for grilling.  Make grilling more fun with a cool new guy’s subscription box he can receive for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months.  You can find out more about it by clicking HERE.

Price range: $27.95-$32.95 per month (depends on subscription length)

If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.


Car Wash Kit, Car Wash Gift Card or Detailing
A couple of years ago, my mom gave my husband a gift card with a handful of car washes on it.  My husband doesn’t usually have a lot of time to wash our cars so this was great because a car wash is way faster than doing it himself, plus they have vacuums there.  Another option would be to put together a car wash kit with microfiber cloths, dash wipes and leather conditioner in a bucket.  Or maybe they have a nice car that could use a good, thorough cleaning and detailing.  Look into what your local car wash locations have to offer and you can take it from there.

Price range: Varies

I hope this list gave you some new ideas!  For more great gift ideas, check out my gift guide for men.

What are you giving for Father’s Day?

Mother’s Day Dinner Menu 2017

I've made planning your next Mother's Day dinner easy with this menu of tried and true recipes that you can adapt to feed any size crowd.

Ever since my husband and I got married, we spend at least half of our Sunday evening meals each month at a family member’s home.  The family hosting plans the meal and then asks those who are coming to pitch in and bring something to share.  It’s been a great way to both save on the cost of food and enjoy time with family.  With Mother’s Day coming up, I know many people, including my family, are going to be getting together to celebrate mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and other special women in their life.  This year, my husband and I will be hosting Mother’s Day dinner at our house, which means we get to plan the meal. 

My husband’s family is fairly large and there are over 20 people to feed when everyone gets together.  This can get a little overwhelming, but I’ve gotten fairly good at planning food for so many people in the 9 years my husband and I have been married.  Whether you have a large family or are on the smaller side, I have a Mother’s Day menu that can be adapted to serve any size.  All recipes come from my blog and in the case of dessert, I’m sharing a few options to choose from depending on taste preferences.  Or you can make all of them.  Hey, it’s for Mother’s Day! *wink*

Main Dish

I've made planning your next Mother's Day dinner easy with this menu of tried and true recipes that you can adapt to feed any size crowd.

Sides
Green Salad
Carrots and Potatoes (cooked in crock pot with roast) 
I've made planning your next Mother's Day dinner easy with this menu of tried and true recipes that you can adapt to feed any size crowd.

I've made planning your next Mother's Day dinner easy with this menu of tried and true recipes that you can adapt to feed any size crowd.

Dessert
I've made planning your next Mother's Day dinner easy with this menu of tried and true recipes that you can adapt to feed any size crowd.
I've made planning your next Mother's Day dinner easy with this menu of tried and true recipes that you can adapt to feed any size crowd.
I've made planning your next Mother's Day dinner easy with this menu of tried and true recipes that you can adapt to feed any size crowd.
What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year?  Do you have the same meal each year or does it change?

Rainbow String Art Tutorial

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

When it comes to crafting, I like to try everything.  I have an entire craft room full of all sorts of supplies for everything from vinyl, embroidery, scrapbooking, acrylic paints, a million brads, felt, adhesives…phew!  And that’s not even close to everything.  Something I’ve been wanting to try my hand at is string art.  I’ve seen it all over and there are so many shops that sell it.  My friend Sarah over at Making Joy and Pretty Things recently did a cute string art heart for her daughter’s nursery.  I commented on her post and told her I’d been wanting to try it out myself and she suggested I do one for St. Patrick’s Day.  So I did.  *wink*

I went back and forth on what I wanted to do.  I did sketches, looked at images on Google and finally settled on a rainbow because there are really only so many images that go along with St. Patrick’s Day.

Here’s a list of the supplies you’ll need to make your own:

  • piece of wood, desired size
  • 1″ nails
  • hammer
  • embroidery floss, desired colors
  • outline of image (printed out)
  • vinyl for wording (optional)
  • acrylic paint (optional)
Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

To start, I had my husband cut a piece of wood for me from a scrap piece we had lying around.  I used a 2×6 and cut it so it was 7″ tall x 9″ long.  (Seriously, why don’t they call it a 2×7?)  Sand down the edges for a cleaner look and wipe off all the dust.  I found an outline of a rainbow with clouds that I liked, saved the image, opened it in a word document and printed it out.  When selecting my rainbow image, I counted the number of arches so that I could have six colors (I left out indigo).

(Originally, I had planned on painting it my wood, but I got a little ahead of myself and started putting nails in.  Once I realized this, I was about half way done nailing and didn’t want to take it all out and start over.  So if you’re going to paint it, definitely make sure you do it before you get too far.)

Next, I cut the paper so it would be the same size as my piece of wood.  Then I grabbed a couple of nails and hammered them in on opposite sides to keep the paper from moving.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

I started with the clouds.  I put a nail at each of the points and then filled it in from there, trying to space them as evenly as possible–probably about 1/4″.

From there I moved on to the curve of the rainbow, continuing to space the nails about 1/4″ apart.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Now you grab your first color of embroidery floss and tie it on to the nail that will be your starting point.  I started with the red for the first arch of the rainbow because I wanted the white of the clouds to cover all of the ends of each color.  I wrapped the floss all the way around each nail at the top of the arch so I had a straight line, then I started randomly looping the floss between the first and second row of nails until I got back to the beginning.  I tied it off by tying it to the tail of the string I started with.  I continued this until I got all the way through each of the colors of the rainbow.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

When I got to the clouds, I tied the string to a nail, wrapped it all the way around each nail so I had an outline and then started randomly looping the floss until it had the same type of coverage that the arches had.

Since I was left with space at the top of the rainbow, I decided to add some vinyl that said “Over the”.  I designed the words in my Silhouette Studio software and cut them using black adhesive vinyl on my Silhouette Cameo.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

And that’s it!  This project cost me nothing since I already had everything I needed at home, but even then, it is a fairly inexpensive project since embroidery floss and a package of nails are a dollar or less for each.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Have you tried string art before?  What image would you want to create?

St. Patrick’s Day Books for Kids (Ages: 3-10)

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.

One year when I was about 9 or 10, I decided not to wear any green on St. Patrick’s Day.  The truth is, my eyes are green and I wanted to play a trick on my friends so that when they pinched me for not wearing green, I could turn around and pinch them back 10 times.  (That’s the rule, isn’t it?)  I remember other years trying to be sneaky about where I placed my item of green: underwear, socks, a hair elastic, a bracelet or earrings.  Now that I’m older, I still think it’s fun to celebrate this tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day and my kids have loved it the last couple of years as well now that they are old enough to correlate green with the holiday.  And ever since having kids, I try to find a book or two that goes along with the holiday that we’re celebrating, including the one about leprechauns and pots of gold.

This post contains affiliate links which if clicked on and a purchase is made, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up next week, I thought it would be fun to gather a list of children’s books about the holiday.  I remember some of these books from when I was in elementary school and I know my kids will love them too.  I’ve included a direct link to the book as well as the age range that is suggested for each book.  I hope you’ll be “lucky” enough to find a book or two to help celebrate this fun holiday! *wink*

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
How To Catch A Leprechaun by Adam Wallace
Ages: 4-10
15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Ten Lucky Leprechauns by Kathryn Heling
Ages: 3-5

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting
Ages: 4-7

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Tegen
Ages: 4-8

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
How To Trap A Leprechaun by Sue Fliess
Ages: 3-6

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever by Teddy Slater
Ages: 4-8

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott
Ages: 5 and up

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Curious George by H. A. Rey
Ages: 3 and up

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow by Sean Callahan
Ages: 6-8

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Clover by Lucille Colandro
Ages: 3-5

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Jack and the Leprechaun by Ivan Robertson
Ages: 3-7

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
The Little Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow by Sally Huss
Ages: 2-8

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Lucky Tucker by Leslie McGuirk
Ages: 2-5

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski
Ages: 3-7

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Discovery In The Woods: A St. Patrick’s Day Surprise (Leprechaun Adventure Series: Book 1) by Sandy Barton
Ages: 8 and up

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Leprechauns Don’t Play Basketball (The Adventures of The Bailey School Kids, #4) by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
Ages: 7-10

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Leprechauns Never Lie by Lorna Balian
Ages: 4-7 

And if you’re looking for more St. Patrick’s Day fun, check out this round up of 60+ coloring and activity pages!  You could easily use any of these books plus the printables found above for an awesome low-stress, kid-friendly holiday celebration.
What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions?

Mermaid/Under the Sea Party

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

For my daughter’s 5th birthday, she wanted a mermaid party.  Originally she had asked for a mermaid beach party but when I reminded her that mermaids live in the ocean, she came up with the idea to change it to a mermaid/under the sea party. *wink*  I had her help me look through Pinterest and pinned any ideas she liked to my party ideas board.  It was fun to have her help me plan it out and be involved but it also made me a little sad because it means she is growing up.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

I started by making a list of the different aspects of the party: invitations, games, activities, food and decor.  I made the invitations on my computer and printed them out at home.  I kept it pretty simple in terms of the games: fishing for prizes and pin the tail on the whale.  Our craft/activity was to decorate little “treasure boxes” with stickers, jewels and crayons/markers.  The food was one of my favorite parts to plan (details below).  And while I had the best of intentions when it came to decorations, I was also going through my miscarriage that same week and so I had to cut down.  You can find a breakdown of each aspect of the party below.  Feel free to use any of these ideas!

Invitations

Invitation for a mermaid or under the sea birthday party

I made the invitations using my computer and some wording I adapted from an invite idea I saw on Pinterest.  It said: Come for a dive!  Our little mermaid (child’s name) is turning 5!  I found a silhouette of a mermaid tail online which I saved and inserted into the word program I used.  Then I printed it out on white cardstock and cut it down to size with the name of the child who was invited on top.

Games

Fishing for Prizes
I went to the Dollar Tree and bought a variety of things for the kids to “fish” for: stickers, necklaces, rings, paddle boards and tops.  I also found a pack of two mini plastic buckets that were the perfect size.  Both my kids have little fishing rods with plastic hooks on the end that latch so we used one of those and attached the handle of the bucket that way.  We have a half wall leading down to our stairs so I just went on the other size with the prizes while my husband helped the kids go fishing.  Because we had boys and girls at the party, I made sure to ask who was fishing and gave prizes accordingly.

Pin the Tail on the Whale
While at the Dollar Tree picking up prizes, I also grabbed a couple pieces of blue posterboard.  On one, I drew a large whale shape, including the tail, then I cut it all out.  I drew a line across the part of the tail I wanted the kids to “pin”, cut it off and used that piece as a template for all the other tails.  I wrote the names of each child on the tail beforehand to save time.  We blindfolded each child and turned them around the number of times that matched their age, pointed them in the right direction and then let them go.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Craft/Activity

I had hoped to find some inexpensive treasure chests the kids could decorate, but the closest I could find was some paper mache boxes from Hobby Lobby that cost $.50 a piece.  I had grabbed a variety of stickers and adhesive foam shapes from the Dollar Tree and cut them up and put them in containers that I spaced between the kids.  We also pulled out the markers and crayons and let them go to town.  (Make sure you (or the child) write the name on the box.)  We encouraged them to put their fishing prizes in their treasure boxes to try and keep everything together.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Decorations

Decorations were pretty minimal.  I had dreams of crepe paper and balloons and cut outs of fish and sea shells all over but it just didn’t happen.  Instead, I found these little tissue paper pom poms at (where else?) the Dollar Tree and strung a couple of those above the table where we had the food.  Aaanndd…that was it.  Haha.  I didn’t worry about it too much and I don’t think a bunch of 4-5 year olds really cared either.

Food

Ah, yes.  What is a party without food?  There are at least a million food ideas for an under the sea or mermaid party on Pinterest and they are pretty amazing!  Basically, I picked out a few that I liked and knew would be simple and stuck with those.

Cupcakes  I made vanilla cupcakes with a yummy vanilla buttercream frosting.  I colored it using the Neon food coloring which turned out to be the perfect shade of blue.  I piped it on and then placed a seashell made from melted candy wafers on top.  (I found the mold at Hobby Lobby for $2.)  I sprinkled some crushed up graham cracker on top to look like sand and placed one little “pearl” (chocolate candy) on top.  They turned out so cute!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Oyster Cookies  I used vanilla wafer cookies, the same buttercream frosting I used for the cupcakes and another chocolate pearl to make the oyster cookies.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Mermaid Tail Rice Krispie Treats  I used the individually wrapped store bought Rice Krispie Treats for this.  I cut kabob sticks in half and poked them into the treats.  I melted more candy wafers in a tall container and then dipped the treats about 1/2 to 2/3 into it before placing it on wax paper to cool.  I made the seashells by printing out a template on my printer and placing wax paper over the top, then piping more melted candy wafers it on top of the shape.  (A word to the wise: let the melted wafers cool a bit in the piping bag before trying to trace the template.  If it is too hot, it will just run out the tip in a blob.  Ask me how I know…)

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid  Self explanatory. *wink*

Goldfish Crackers  I totally forgot to set these out and probably would have been a good balance to all the sugar, but it is what it is.

(Most of the kids took their treats home on paper plates from my favorite store for party stuff: the Dollar Tree.)

Find Toys, Games, Arts, and Crafts For Only $1 Each! Shop Today!

Afterwards, we opened presents and then parents were coming to pick up their kids!  The entire party lasted about an hour and a half with 10 kids.  My daughter loved it and kept telling everyone about her mermaid party.

Do you like doing themed parties?  What have been your favorite (to throw or attend)?

Valentine’s Heart Hair Tutorial

Sweet and simple Valentine's Day heart hair tutorial for your little girl

When I posted a few months back about time saving hairstyles for girls, a couple of people commented that they would have liked to see me include a video tutorial or do some hair tutorials in the future.  If you saw my teaser on Monday, I mentioned that I wanted to try and do more videos this year and that I would be posting one later this week.  Well, that day is here my friends!  Today you will get to see my very first video tutorial EVER.  It literally took me all week to put together because I had to learn an entirely new software, as well as just trying not to be overly critical at my beginner (read: nonexistent) skills at filming and video editing.  But I put a lot of heart (pun intended) into this and I hope you love it!

This post contains affiliate links which if you click on it and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

As I was trying to decide what hairstyle to do, I remembered one that I did on my daughter a couple of years ago for Valentine’s Day that was simple and sweet.  I’ve seen a lot of heart hair tutorials out there and they are all really cute, but unfortunately, they were also a little complicated or time consuming.  One of the ways I save time doing my daughter’s hair is by not over-complicating things.  You’ll find that this hairstyle doesn’t take much time at all and you end up with a fun, festive hairstyle.  I also love that you can do this hairstyle on pretty much any type of hair.

To do this hairstyle, I recommend having the following items on hand:

*NOTE: Knowing how to do a basic braid is also helpful, as that is how the heart is made at the back of the head.

To see the full tutorial, click on the link HERE or watch it below.  (Also feel free to subscribe to my channel!)


Thanks for watching and if you have any questions or run into any snags, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Let me know how you liked this tutorial and what types of videos you’d like to see in the future!

Do you have a little girl you’re going to try this hairstyle on?  If you give it a go, post a picture and tag me on Instagram using the hashtag #sunshineandmunchkins.