Summer Screentime Checklist

So my kids, while not thrilled, were at least mildly happy to see this Summer Screentime Checklist reappear on the frig this summer.

Screentime-ChaosServedDailyDuring the school year, we stick to the no screentime on weekdays rule, but in the summer, we relax it a bit.  When they’ve completed everything on this list, they get an hour of digital time. What they don’t seem to realize, at least not yet, is that by the time they do all these activities, combined with the “summer fun” activity or camp for the day, they’re pretty much wiped out and just want to read or go to bed!  I think they’ve completed their checklists 7 out of the 10 days they’ve been out of school, and they’ve played digital 3 or 4 of those.  That all makes the hubs and me very happy!

This list is not original…I’ve seen dozens of versions on Pinterest, but I’ve tweaked it to fit our family and created a free printable for you!  Simply click here to download it.  THe printable version doesn’t have the watermark on it, so take all the credit you’d like with your family. I printed ours on cardstock, laminated it, and used magnets to stick it on the frig. You could also trim it to 8×10 and frame it, if you’d rather.  Enjoy, and I hope it helps your family find harmony for the summer!

Signature_thumb.jpg

Kid-Made Nativity Platter

If you’re a grandma or godmother to my hooligans, stop reading right now, or risk a spoiler for your Christmas gift!

For the rest of you, take a peek at these fabulous platters my precious angels made. (And, no, they’re generally not angels in any way).

Platter-ChaosServedDaily

I found these great square dinner plates at Target..on sale, no less!  I don’t like them as plates, but they’re perfect as cookie platters for Christmas gifts. These didn’t take long at all to make, and, while they aren’t perfect, I think they’re charmingly handmade…and pretty impressive for 6-,8-, and 10-year-olds.

All you’ll need is a platter, a gold paint pen for glass, and the drawing you want to put on the platter.  Oh, and the hardest thing to procure…carbon paper!  I had to look through all of our moving paperwork from like 8 moves ago to find a piece!  Anyway, that’s all you’ll need.

I found a similar line drawing on line and printed it as a goal for the hooligans.  Then I assigned parts of the drawing to each…Princess Thundercloud did the star and rays, and the ground.  My middle kid drew the stable and Jesus in the manger. The eldest drew Mary and Joseph. And all without fighting…can you believe it?

I used the carbon paper to trace the drawing onto each platter, then the eldest went over it with the gold glass paint pen. We let them dry overnight, then baked them according to the directions on the package.  I think we put them in a cold oven and heated it to 375 degrees, then baked them 30 or 45 minutes, then turned the oven off and let them cool in the oven. I washed them a little too soon, to get the carbon off that was peeking out from under the gold paint.  A few spots got a little thin…but it was still pretty!

These are not microwave or dishwasher safe, but can be handwashed with warm soapy water and a soft cloth with no problem. And, really, would you want to use a scratchy pad on the Holy Family, anyway? I thought  not.

This was a fun project for the kids…it didn’t take more than an hour, and they were proud of the results.  Almost-instant gratification is always a plus! We made these for the grandmas and the kids’ godmother (who happens to be their aunt)…and I had them make an extra for us!  I’m so excited to use it this Christmas season!

Signature

Perfectly Simple Snowman Mugs

I’m sure, if you’re on Pinterest, you’ve seen these Snowman Mugs about a hundred times.  Here’s what’s different about these…I did not use Sharpies.  I’ve tried and tried using Sharpies on dishes…following all the tips…let cure overnight, put in a cold oven, heat to 400 degrees and leave them for 40 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave them in there until cool.  Nothing has ever made them truly washing-proof.  And I mean hand-washing.  The dishwasher?  Fuhgeddaboutit.

But I love snowmen/women/people, and really wanted a set of mugs for all of us, instead of the pairs we have. So I bought some dollar mugs and a set of paint pens. They weren’t that expensive, either…less than Sharpies, I think. But they stay on through washing!  I still can’t brave the dishwasher with them, though. Maybe someday.

Mugs-ChaosServedDaily

I made bowties for the boys and hairbows for the girls, and personalized the ones for the hooligans. It’s so nice that they think the Tinkertoy writing I learned as a high school cheerleader is impressively artsy!  I left the other 3 mugs blank as far as personalization.

As you can probably see, I used orange, black, red, and purple paint pens…the fine tipped ones.  I let them dry overnight, then put them in a cold oven and heated it to 350 degrees. After leaving them for 30 minutes, I turned off the oven and let them cool in it. Then I resisted temptation for another day and didn’t immediately try washing them. When I did wash them, 24 hours later, everything stayed right where I painted it.  Wahoo!

I’m going to give these to the kids on Christmas Eve, along with new PJ’s, so we can have hot cocoa, popcorn, and watch “The Polar Express” for the umpteenth time. Wouldn’t these be a fun party favor for a cookie swap, with a few cocoa or coffee packets inside?  Or if you’re having guests for the holidays, they’ll think you’re the bomb when they have a personalized mug at the breakfast table! Just don’t give them to your kids’ teachers…as a child of teachers, I know they have WAAAAY too many coffee mugs already!

Signature

Made in Minutes T-Shirt Tote Bag

A couple of weeks ago, a hooligan helpfully left a crayon in a pocket in the laundry…fortunately, the only thing it really ruined was a t-shirt belonging to Princess Thundercloud. I’ve successfully gotten crayon out of clothes before, using dish soap, hot water, and a whole process I found online that took about a day of my life. This t-shirt, adorable though it is, was on the verge of being outgrown anyway, so I planned to just throw it out. And, happily, I found the next size larger on clearance last weekend.

Anyway, this ruined one has been sitting on the dryer for two weeks and I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it in the trash…but I also couldn’t donate it to the thrift shop with those crayon marks on it. So I decided to make a tote bag out of it for Princess Thundercloud’s gymnastics gear…she has very little gear, and what there is, is not substantial! It’s basically flip flops, a dinner bag, and a water bottle. This t-shirt would be a perfect size bag.  I saw this idea on Martha Stewart years ago, and it’s been stuck in a corner of my mind ever since.

Tote-ChaosServedDaily

Here’s what I used:

  • a t-shirt
  • stapler
  • scissors for cutting material
  • scissors for cutting duct tape
  • duct tapeTote-Supplies-ChaosServedDa

And there’s no sewing involved!  This actually would have been a good project for Thundercloud to make herself, but I wanted to give it to her as a Christmas gift.

First, cut off the sleeves along the seam, then cut around the neck and as far down as you want or can without interfering with the design.

Tote-Cut-ChaosServedDaily

Next, turn it inside out and staple all across the bottom.  Then turn it over and staple the same thing again, to reinforce it.

Tote-Bottom-ChaosServedDail

Now grab your duct tape and just start covering it. Make one strip across the bottom so that half of its width is on one side and half on the other. Keep covering until you get to where you cut the sleeves out. Yes, the armpit of the shirt.

Tote-Tape-ChaosServedDaily

Staple a triangle on each bottom corner to make a sort of gusset, fold it up along the staples and duct tape over to make it smooth. Tote-Corner-ChaosServedDail

Now just turn the bag right-side-out.  I added a strip of tape around the top of each handle, just to reinforce it a little.  But I forgot to take a photo of that, so see…it’s up there at the top of this photo. I’ve already wrapped her bag, so can’t take another photo now!

Tote-ChaosServedDaily

I think she’ll love it!

Signature

Advent Activity Calendar…Again!

I know, I’ve posted this before…a couple of times! I think it’s such a great idea, instead of candy every day during Advent, since, Heaven knows, my kids get plenty of sugary treats during the Advent season.  They truly seem to love getting to do an activity each day, rather than a trinket or candy, anyway. Seriously. They’re weird.
Advent-Calendar

Anyway, on with the directions, so you can make one for yourself!  To make it, I simply resized and printed out the Days of December page template from Stampin’ Up, then resized and printed Ali Edwards Advent Boxes from DesignerDigitals.com.  I believe that Days of December is no longer available, but here’s a great alternative from Makoodle.

activity-cards

Anyhoo, I printed, cut, and then wrote out our list.  If you would rather, you can even type the list right on the cards before you print them.  I thought it was a nice touch to have my own handwriting on them, though.   After I wrote the activities, I figured out what would work on which day of the countdown and glued the backs together.  To make it a bit more finished, I rounded the corners of each card.

Then all that was left was to spice up the $4 frame I found at Walmart. This craft allowed me to use both a staple gun to attach the bakers’ twine and a hot glue gun for the burlap background.  All that was left to do then was hanging each card with cute little decorated clothespins. I made these glittery ones myself, but I just came from Target, where they had red mini-clothespins in a pack of 20 for $1. What a deal!  Oh, and I looped a wide striped ribbon around the frame to hand the whole shebang.

Voila! The hooligans will have such a great time with this!

Here’s our list, compiled from extensive research (I Googled “activity Advent calendars”):

1. Read the Elf on the Shelf book in preparation for his arrival

2. Clean out and organize toys and donate

3. Buy a toy and donate it to Toys for Tots

4. Make thumbprint tree ornaments from salt dough

5. Write letters to Santa

6.Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

7. Have a family game night

8. Make pinecone birdseed ornaments for outside tree

9. Make paper snowflakes and hang them EVERYWHERE!

10. Watch a Christmas movie

11. Do something kind and helpful for a family member

12. Focus on being kind and polite to everyone you meet

13. Read some Christmas books

14. Draw a Christmas picture

15. Make snow ice cream (hopefully!), or ice cream sundaes

16.Make cinnamon ornaments to tie on granola for neighbors

17. Decorate a gingerbread house

18. Bake and decorate cookies

19. Write Christmas notes to your teachers

20. Make ice candles

21. Drive around to look at lights and drink hot chocolate

22. Decorate birthday cupcakes for Jesus

23. Make a Christmas craft

24. Make popcorn and watch “The Polar Express” movie

Of course, your family’s list will be different…we’re certainly not the poster family for Advent activities!  I’m sure you find that hard to believe…not.

Now I have to go hide this until December 1, or the hooligans will be begging to start!

Signature

TBT: Kid-Crafted Thanksgiving Leaf Napkin Rings

We made these a couple of years ago, and, much to the kids’ dismay, they’ve held up, so there’s no need to make new ones.  I did decide, however, that they could make a bunch of clay leaves and we could create some kind of centerpiece/candle ring/ garland for our table this year.  We haven’t completed it yet, so I’ll let you know how that turns out!

In the meantime, if your little ones are stuck inside by November rains, these Napkin Rings are a fun way to pass an afternoon!  And if you’re going to grandma’s for Thanksgiving, I’m sure she’d be thrilled to get these as a hostess gift! And here’s what I wrote about the project the first time around:

My hooligans love making crafts. I know, I’ve mentioned that before…but they constantly want to be crafting, and it’s challenging to come up with things that might actually turn out to be useful and pretty enough to keep!

1012-Leaf-Napkin-RIngs-2

Recently we made these napkin rings, and the kids could not be more impressed with themselves.

1012-Leaf-Napkin-Rings-1

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Oven-bake clay (like Fimo) in autumn colors
  • Leather cords
  • Leaf cookie cutters (ours were about 2” long)
  • Toothpick

First, roll out your clay.  We rolled snakes out of the different colors, twined two or three together, then sort of patted them together and rolled them out, to make a marbled effect. It’s really hard to make these ugly, with those pretty fall colors.

Use the cookie cutters to cut out different leaves, then, with the toothpick, make a few veins in each leaf.  Bake according to package directions.  We draped some of our leaves over pencils on the baking sheet, to make the finished leaves a bit wavy.

After they’ve baked and cooled, use hot glue to glue two leaves together.

Cut your leather cords into 6” lengths and glue the leaves to the center of each.  Then all you need to do is tie them around your napkins.

Thanksgiving…it’s a family time, so everyone in the family should feel like they’re contributing something. And do you really want those grubby little hands preparing food? Keep ‘em busy with crafts instead!

Signature

Dry Erase Chore Charts

I’ve posted a couple of other chore charts through the years, but the hooligans keep growing, and I keep giving them new responsibilities (like cleaning the bathrooms and sweeping…which I hate!). I thought, why not break out a new chart for the new school year?  They love them, of course, because they involve dry erase markers, and because they’re little goal-oriented Type A’s. Well, one is, anyway, and the other two are competitive.

Chore-ChaosServedDaily

To make them, I used Photoshop Elements.  I drew the grid, added the text, and dropped in a digital background paper in each kid’s favorite color. You could also just design them in Word and print on scrapbooking paper, if you’re not a digital scrapper.

I made them 7” x 5” and laminated them WITH MY NEW LAMINATOR that I found for next to nothing online. And I really wanted to use it!  I felt like my mom, though, when it was hot and I was looking for anything else I could possibly laminate in my house. She was that was when she had a perfect charcoal and hickory fire going in our barbeque growing up…anything she could grill at that moment, she would.

But I digress. Here’s what they look like in digital format:

Chore-E-ChaosServedDailyChore-F-ChaosServedDailyChore-A-ChaosServedDaily

I found magnetic clips at the Target Dollar Spot (4 for $1), and small dry erase markers in a pack of 3 for $3, and they’re even in matching colors. And in case you think my frig is hideously ugly, I had to take a photo outside for the lighting. They’re actually on metal board the kids use to build marble magnetic tracks, which is portable, unlike my refrigerator. But you get the idea. As you can see, last week Princess Thundercloud was a total slacker and Mr. Type A in the middle completely fills in each block. Funny kids.

Chores-ChaosServedDaily

We’re only three weeks into school, but so far, they’re still intrigued enough to want to mark off boxes each day.  Hopefully it will last!

Signature

TBT: Fall Bucket List

Woohoo!  It’s almost fall!  I can feel it in the air (it was 43 degrees here this morning and 75 and sunny this afternoon), and I’m beginning to see mounds of apples and pumpkins replacing the garden vegetables at the farmstand.

That means it’s time to break out my Fall Bucket List.  Yes, it’s been around a couple of years, but it’s still packed with the fun things we love to do in the fall…so we’re using it again this year! Here’s what I wrote about this time last year:

 

Fall-Bucket-List-Mine-Downl

Click here for a downloadable one for yourself!

Please ignore that the majority of these activities involve cooking and eating. That’s just how we operate here at Casa de Chaos. I printed this, framed it, and put it in place of one of my monthly calendars on our 3-month calendar (from my post in July).

Then I thought, “How cute would this be as an invitation to a s’mores campfire?” Pretty darned cute, is the answer. I resized them to be four to a page, printed them, and adhered them to standard 4-1/2” x 5-1/2” cards. Here’s what that looks like, and a link to print them for yourself.

Bucket-List-4-for-download

Click here to print your own invitations or cards

I’m so excited to start checking things off this list…but I guess I’ll wait until the weekend at least, so the whole family can join in the fun! I’m such a good mom.

Daily Gifts Basket

Last month, when the hubs and I selfishly took a vacation all alone, I decided to leave a little daily treat for each of the hooligans. If you’re not deserting your children, but still want to give them a little thrill, I think this would be fun for the last week of summer, or each day during Spring Break, or any other time you want some extra hugs!Treat-Basket-ChaosServedDai

The treats were nothing big…a pack of Big League Chew (The Sandlot is a favorite movie this summer), a bag of Cheetos, a new paperback, a small composition book and four-color pen, a package of Pop Rocks…that kind of thing. I made labels for each day and popped them onto the bags…I used an assortment of favor bag leftovers that I had on hand.

Getting a little present was a daily reminder of how much we missed them and gave them something to look forward to, since they opened them after dinner each day.  And, as I said, it was fun to get all those extra hugs when we returned!

Signature

For National S’Mores Day…Nutella S’mores!

This was what I thought last year on August 9, the day before National S’mores Day…and it holds true this year! I love using Nutella instead of chocolate on s’mores because 1) the chocolate doesn’t always melt enough to be gooey, and b) I don’t like chocolate, but I LOVE hazelnut and chocolate. Anyway, here are my words of wisdom from last year…

Occasionally, I have a lightbulb moment, such as this idea for Nutella S’Mores.  I do love Nutella, and I thought it might be perfect on a s’more.  And it was!

By the way, tomorrow, August 10, is National S’Mores Day.  Uh-huh, it is. I Googled it. So use your day wisely and prep your supplies!

0912-Nutella-Smores-(9)

As you can probably surmise, you just add a nice schmear of Nutella on one side of the graham cracker (and a few slices of strawberry or banana is delicious, too!), then use another graham to sandwich your toasted marshmallow and slide it off the roasting stick.

Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!

I even made a scrapbook page of our discovery…

Nutella-Smores

Signature