A Dozen Kid Crafts for August

So instead of Throwback Thursday, I’m sharing this roundup of fun crafts for the hooligans.  Because maybe by August you need a little creativity boost…I certainly do, and I have the supplies for most of these already on hand, so I don’t have to make a trip to the store with kids and chaos in tow!Untitled-1

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I found lots of great ideas at Joanns….just click on the photo to go to the idea page.

Flying Saucer Flings (image from Joanns)

Flying Saucer Fling

Summer Kites (image from Joanns)

Kid's Summer Kites

PomPom Jewelry (image from Joanns)

Pom Bead Necklace and Bracelet

Pony Bead Butterfly (image from Joanns)

Pony Bead Butterfly

Also some fun things from past blog posts: (click on the photos or the titles to go there)

God’s Eye Ornaments

Butterfly Bleached Tee

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Serenity Soon Glitter Bottles

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Monster Glitter Slime

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And then a few ideas we’re trying in the next couple of weeks:

Homemade Lava Lamps (really just lava bottles) from Education.comHomemade Lava Lamp Activity

Shaving Cream Notecards from Instructables

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Homemade Bouncy Balls from KidsActivitiesBlog

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Ninja Stress Balls from Frugal Fun for Boys

Ninja Stress Balls!

Hope this gets you through the rest of summer!

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Smoked Trout Canapes

I may have mentioned a time or twenty that I have the best neighbors in the world, and not just because they spoil us rotten!  Last fall, neighbors on one side brought over their entire harvest of pumpkins, which they had planted especially for the hooligans. They also kept us provided with fresh veggies well into the fall.  Another set of neighbors is constantly giving us tasty stuff…yesterday, we got two quarts of fresh-picked blueberries!

A couple of weeks ago, they brought over some smoked trout from a nearby trout farm.  It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I (foolishly) thought I’d make a little indulgent snack for the hubs and myself. Well, as soon as I was done photographing it for this post, the hordes began clamoring for a taste. And of course, they loved it!  Seriously? Smoked trout and elementary-age kids?

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These would be just (well, almost) as good using smoked salmon, which I think is pretty widely available. It is here in the Northwest, anyway.  I just put a schmear of cream cheese on some mini Doctor Kracker Snacker Crackers (from Costco) and topped each with a little trout. Then I sprinkled on lemon pepper and dill. Voila…yumminess!

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And here the little mooches are…I thought they were engrossed in Ninjago, but mo such luck. Fortunately, our neighbors had brought us a generous portion! It’s the hooligans new favorite movie night snack…except for Homemade Kettle Corn, a recipe I’ll be sharing in a few days!

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Super-Easy Kid Art Hangers

My hooligans are a crafty bunch (and they make some fun art, as well), and they’re forever creating masterpieces that MUST BE SAVED. According to them, anyway.  And they always seem to use odd sizes of paper, so a standard frame just doesn’t work. But here’s something that does…Super-Easy Kid Art Hangers!

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Literally, these are hangers!  I just bought a pack of wooden hangers at Target (I think they were about $5 for 4), covered the black rubber part with washi tape, and hung up their art.  Two minutes and I was done. They’re light enough that I can just use push pins to hang them, which the hubs appreciates. Hanger-Close-ChaosServedDai

And, they’re so simple to switch out for the latest and greatest creations…the kids can even do it themselves!

These three hang in their bathroom, but I’m thinking of making each of them a gallery wall over their beds…instant and colorful headboards.  Or maybe a wall of them in the upstairs hallway…it overlooks the living room, so that would be fun to see glimpses of, yet not feel like I’m living in an elementary art classroom.

Anyway, it’s a quick and inexpensive solution to one of our everyday problems…too much creativity, not enough frames!

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TBT: Peach Panzanella

Wouldn’t you know it…just as peaches are really coming into season here and this salad would be a perfect no-cook meal for a hot evening, the highs here have been in the low 60’s all week. Not that I’m complaining…it was our first real rain since the end of June, and I do love cool, rainy days. But I feel like eating chili or soup then, not salads!  The forecast is calling for high 70s this weekend, though, so I’ve put this Peach Panzanella on the menu…and I can’t wait!

Here’s the post from last year…enjoy!

Traditional panzanella, with crusty bread, ripe tomatoes, and summery Italian flavors, is hard to beat. When I see it on a menu, my choice is made (if it’s the season for it!). However, I recently set out to tweak the traditional a bit. The resulting Peach Panzanella turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.

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Peach Panzanella

Serves 4

Salad:

  • 3 ears of corn, roasted and kernels cut off (or 4 cups of frozen corn, thawed)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 peaches, pitted and cubed
  • About half a loaf of ciabatta bread, cubed and toasted
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp peach jam
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toss together all salad ingredients.

2. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over salad.

3. Toss until well combined and serve immediately.

Believe me, few pleasures in life compare to a plate of peach panzanella and a big glass of iced tea on the deck on a sultry summer night.Signature

Carbs, Schmarbs Gift Bag

You would think, with all the gift bags and boxes I can’t resist buying at craft stores and online, that I would always have the perfect bag on hand. Well, I don’t. But I do always have a brown paper bag (and usually in several sizes!), and they’re so simple to embellish to fit any occasion.

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Stampin’ Up! supplies: Yippee Skippee stamp set; Pool Party and Whisper White cardstock; Epic Day Designer Series Paper; Calypso Coral and Basic Gray markers; Scallop Border and Designer Label punches, Corner Rounder, Calypso Coral Ribbon; Vintage Faceted Buttons; Pool Party Bakers’ Twine

I kinda love the sayings in the Yippee Skippee stamp set, and this one makes a perfect tag for a little birthday surprise. Because all the best birthday treats involve carbs, don’t they? To cover the front, just cut a sheet of decorative paper the width of the bag and long enough to be covered by the flap when it’s folded over. Attach it with some Sticky Strip or adhesive runner. WHILE THE BAG IS STILL FLATTENED. Trust me, don’t forget to do this BEFORE you’ve added the treat inside.

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I freehand-cut the candle flame, but if you have the holiday Bitty Punches, the Christmas light punch is a perfect flame. I snipped the corners of a rectangle of cardstock t make a tag shape, then scalloped the edge to make it even less like a rectangle. Oh, and I used Dimensionals to pop the label out from the candle.

This took about five minutes to put together, and you’ll get credit for making it yourself!

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Anniversary Photo Flipbook

Last summer, my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and we wanted to make something fun and a little different for them. Here’s what we came up with…I think they liked it!  We certainly had a lot of fun making it!

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I’m sure you know the concept…as you hold the book in your left hand and flip through with you right, it looks (at least a little) like a movie.

We started by writing each of the letters we would need on 8-1/2” x 11” cardstock, then the hooligans decorated the letters.  Then I figured out which letters each kid needed to be photographed holding, to make a pattern.  We spelled out Happy 50th Anniversary…original, I know. Then we snapped the photos.

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I brightened and sharpened them a bit using Photoshop Elements, then created new images that were 5×7 white backgrounds. I put each letter photo onto the white background, against the right edge and leaving a couple of inches white on the left.

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I uploaded all the photos to Costco and printed them in 5×7 format.  We used a photo of all three hooligans for the cover.

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When everything was printed, I punched two holes and bound it with bakers’ twine. It really was quite cool!Flip-Page-ChaosServedDaily

We also included a 8×10 that I put all the images on, like a contact sheet, just for fun.

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These would be fun for any special occasion, or just to send a fun message to someone you love!

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TBT: Kids’ Charmed Friendship Bracelets

As you’re reading this, the hubs and I are on an Alaska cruise…WITHOUT OUR OFFSPRING! Don’t call CPS, though…they’re not home alone for the week. One’s in Oklahoma with my parents and the other two are at home with a babysitter (who’s a responsible adult). We’re celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary (a little late…it was in January), as well as his retirement from the military. And hopefully he’ll be starting his next career sometime in August!

While I’m away, here’s a post from last year that might help entertain your youngsters for an afternoon…Charmed Friendship Bracelets. And the best part? The charms are made from SHRINKY DINKS!

I made some similar bracelets last year, using word beads with inspirational words such as “Believe,” “Hope,” and “Create” on them, but that really didn’t work for a five-year-old. So I put on my thinking cap, looked over my craft stash, and spied some Shrinky Dink for Inkjet sheets I bought on a whim last year (when I had a coupon and nothing to use it on at Michaels).

But what if you can’t find those?  Well, you could use regular Shrinky Dink sheets and let your little artist draw charms, or you could use alphabet beads to spell out a name or word. See, easy peasy, and all sorts of ways to be creative with this!

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Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • Embroidery floss
  • Shrinky Dink Inkjet sheets
  • a 1/4” hole punch
  • Computer and printer
  • Oven for shrinking the charms

1. Design your charms, or print these on a Shrinky Dink Inkjet Sheet:

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If you design your own, print them at 50% opacity, or they’ll be way too dark when they shrink.

2. Punch or cut the charms out of the Shrinky Dink sheet. Use the hole punch to make the holes for the thread to go through.  I place mine on a piece of brown paper bag to bake them.  Bake according to the package directions. It only takes about three minutes, so my hooligans love watching them shrink through the oven door. It even inspired me to replace the burned out lightbulb in the oven, so they could see!

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3. Cut three lengths of embroidery floss to about 24” each. Thread all three strands through the charms from the back.  Then loop back through from the front to the back to hold it securely in place. To finish it, braid each side to the length you’d like and tie a knot in the end. Cut off excess, leaving a few inches to tie it. I also put a drop of E6000 under the thread on the back of the charm, as well, to secure it even more.Bracelet-Front-ChaosServedDBracelets-Back-ChaosServedD

4. To make an alphabet bead one instead of the charmed one, cut three strands of embroidery floss to about 24”.  Thread the alpha beads on, with all three strands going through the middle beads.  For the first and last bead, thread two strands through, then tie the third strand to the other two, securing the word where you’d like it. Again, braid to the ends and you’re done!

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It’s a quick way to whip up a bunch of fun little gifts. We made them with the school logo for a craft sale the fourth grader had to participate in this spring, and they were a hit. So let your imagination (or your kids’ imagination) run wild!

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Cute and Simple Barrette Holder

One of my favorite party favors (that my kids have received, anyway) ever is this cute Barrette Holder from a party Princess Thundercloud attended last year.

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What little girl doesn’t need a place for barrettes?  We certainly do!  I’m sure you can figure this out on your own, but here’s a look at the back:

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The ribbon is about an inch and a half wide and about 30” long. And it holds a ton of barrettes that previously weren’t used because it was too difficult to find them all jumbled together in a drawer.

The top flower is a pre-painted wood cutout from the craft store…I think they’re about 60 cents each.

Barette-Top-ChaosServedDail At the bottom, the ribbon is cut in an inverted “v” to prevent fraying and a large button is sewn on with contrasting thread, to add weight so the ribbon hangs straight.

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Even if you don’t have a party to make favors for, this is a great little project any little girl you know!

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Lemon, Berry, and Angel Food Trifle

So try as I might to cut sugar from my diet, I occasionally just can’t resist a lemon dessert.  For some reason, the hubs bought a pack of individual angel food cakes from Costco.  I think he was going to make something for my birthday and made Strawberry Tiramisu instead. Anyway, I was cleaning out the garage frig the other day and found a dozen cakes. So I had to make something with them before they passed their sell-by date!

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This was a perfect summer dessert…light and fruit-filled, sweet and tart. I did use coconut milk and Greek yogurt in the filling, so it’s a bit more whole food friendly. But then I had to top it with a little whipped cream, just to finish it off!

Lemon Berry Angel Food Trifle

Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp butter, in small pieces
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

To finish:

  • 8 individual angel food cakes
  • Fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, or chopped strawberries)
  • Whipped cream

1. With a whisk, combine sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Stir in coconut milk, egg yolks, and butter. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 6 minutes. Continue cooking for two minutes after it begins to bubble.

2. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature, giving it a stir now and then to prevent a skin from forming. Or press plastic wrap on the surface and let it sit.

3. When it’s cooled, stir in the Greek yogurt and refrigerate at least two hours, until ready to serve.

4. When ready to serve, layer cake and filling in glass bowl. Sprinkle with berries and top with whipped cream.

Serves 8

Click here for the printable recipe

It seems like a lot of prep, but it really took about 15 minutes of cooking, then another 10 to assemble when we were ready for dessert. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

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TBT: Parachute Cord Flipflops

Now that the 4th of July is over, and you might be looking for a fun craft to while away an afternoon, I’m sharing this post from last year. I am still wearing my Parachute Cord Flipflops this summer, and they look great…really! But I think I might need them in a different color, just to give myself an excuse to make another pair. If you missed it last year, here’s the how-to:

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Here’s how you can make some of your very own!

Supplies:

  • Two 16’ lengths of 550 cord, cut into 8’ sections
  • Two 18” lengths of 550 cord
  • A pair of flipflops
  • Scissors and a lighterFlipflop-Supplies

Before you start, be sure to use a lighter to melt the ends of all your cords.  That will keep them from fraying and make the whole process so much easier. Remove the flipflop part from the sole. Save it to use as a template.

First, you’ll need to make a knot to anchor the flipflops to the sole.

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Next, you’ll braid the section that will be between your toes and secure it with the 18” piece and two square knots..flipflop7-ChaosServedDaily

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Now the most fun part, I think.  After dividing the cords three to a side, you’ll just tie square knots using the two long cords on each side and the short cord as the center, until your flipflop side is as long as the original that you removed.

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Finally, push all three strands through from the top to the bottom and tie securely.  Cut the ends off close to the knot and use a lighter to melt the ends.

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There, now…custom made flipflops.  I love these because regular flipflops are usually too loose for me, and especially when the plastic or cloth stretches.  With these, I can make them just the right size. And they’re really comfortable, as well as cute!

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