20 Ideas for Rainy Day Play

Every mom needs a survival plan when it is too wet to let the kids outside.... so here are 20 {easy, inexpensive, and fun} ideas to keep you and your little ones entertained on rainy days.


1)  Bake something - Add a little fun by making your own chef hats (which you can find here)... and if you are looking for something delicious to make, check out our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe here.

2)  Have a bath with bubbles and/or glow sticks - This is a simple idea... but it is lots of fun.

3)  Have a pirate adventure - Who doesn't love dressing up as a pirate?  And, if you are looking for some inspiration, you can find some easy and inexpensive ideas for pirate play here and here.

4)  Make a "life-size" self portrait - This is a simple activity that is sure to delight your little one.  All you need is a roll of paper and some crayons.  You can find the full tutorial here.

5)  Have an indoor concert or dance party -  Isn't singing and dancing a great way to spend an afternoon... and burn off some energy.  If you are looking for some great music for kids, you can read about some of our favorites here.

6)  Make some homemade finger paint - It is fun, it is messy, and you can find the super-easy recipe here.

7)  Have an indoor picnic - Nothing makes lunch more fun than eating it on a blanket in the living room.  You could add some extra fun by inviting some "stuffies" and having a Teddy Bear Picnic.  (You can find some ideas for hosting a teddy bear picnic here.)

8)  Have an "afternoon matinee" - Put on some PJs, pop some popcorn, cuddle up on the couch, and watch your favorite family movie.

9)  Set up your own cafe for lunch - Make your own placemats and menus, and turn your kitchen into your own personal restaurant.  You can check out how we did it here.

10) Play games - Get out your favorite board games, or make your own matching game using the easy tutorial you can find here.

11) Play dress up - Use costumes you have, or use your imagination to make your own.

12) Build with marshmallows - All you need are: marshmallows, toothpicks, and a little imagination.  The kids use the toothpicks to connect the marshmallows and "build" things.  Fun and simple!

13) Have a puppet show - For the puppet theatre, use a spring loaded curtain rod and an old sheet in a doorway.  The sheet works well because it already has an opening for a rod - no sewing required.  (You could also use a cardboard box for a theatre.)  For puppets, print pictures off the internet onto cardstock, color them, cut them out, and attach popsicle sticks to the back.

14) Make a personalized clipboard - Little ones will love having their own personalized clipboards.  (They are great for scavenger hunts and road trips too.)  You can find the full tutorial here.

15) Build stuff out of boxes - Use your imagination, or use one of the 5 fun ideas you can find here.

16) Make homemade playdough - I use an easy "no cook" recipe that uses Kool Aid.  It makes great colors, and the playdough smells yummy!  (You can find the recipe here.)

17) Go "Indoor Camping" - We have an indoor tent in our playroom, but a fort made from chairs and blankets is always a lot of fun.  Make a fire out of construction paper, and "roast" marshmallows.

18) Go "Fishing" -  A fish book, a fish craft, and a fish snack are all you need for a fun-filled, indoor fishing adventure.  You can read all about our Dr. Suess inspired "fishing fun" here.

19) Write a Story - Coming up with a fun story is even more fun when you write it in a handmade book.  You can find a step-by-step tutorial for a DIY Cereal Box Notebook here.

20) Read a favorite book and make a matching craft - I love reading and crafting with the kids on a rainy day.  You can find an example of a fun story/craft combination here.

I hope you found some rainy day inspiration on this list... and if not, maybe you can just put on a rain coat and rainboots, and head outside to splash in some puddles.  :-)

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Funny Frog Face {Preschool Craft}

Here is a simple craft for Preschoolers that is sure to delight your little ones -- a funny frog face.  The noisemaker tongue was definitely a hit with my three year old.  :-)




Want to make one?  Just follow the three simple steps below:

1) Using the template I designed (which you can find here), cut out the frog face and two eyes.


2)  Draw a face using a black marker or crayon, and glue the eyes in place.


3)  Cut a hole small hole in the middle of the mouth, and insert the noisemaker/"tongue".


That's it!  Easy peasy... and so much fun! Isn't this frog craft a fantastic project for Spring? It would be fantastic for "Leap Day" too.


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

{Easiest} Biscuits Ever

I love a quick meal, and "soup and biscuits" is a really simple lunch or supper.  So, I thought I would share my favorite super-easy biscuit recipe.


The great thing about these biscuits is that you throw everything in one bowl, and there is no need for a rolling pin and biscuit cutters.

All you need to do is combine the following ingredients in a bowl.  I whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Then, I stir in the grated butter.  Then, I gently mix in the milk (careful not to over mix it).

1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or you can use 2 cups of white flour)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter (grated)
1 cup milk (I use 1%)


Then, form the dough into a ball, and put on a floured surface.  Flatten the ball to make a round circle (approximately 1 1/2 inches thick), and cut the circle into 8 pieces (like a pizza).  


Put on a Silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Simple, right?  Give them a try and let me know what you think.

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Homemade Finger Paint

This morning I asked my three year old what he wanted to do.  He said, "Paint... with my fingers".  I didn't have any finger paint in my craft cupboard, so I decided to make some.  


Want to give it a try?

1) In a medium saucepan, combine the following:  2 Tbsp White Sugar, 1/3 Cup Flour, 1 Tbsp Salt, 1 Tbsp Cornstarch, and 2 Cups Water.


2) Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it thickens.

3) Divide between containers, allow to cool, and add a couple drops of food coloring to each one.


That's it!  My little guy loved getting messy with this fun and easy to make finger paint.  Is this something your little one would like to try?


♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

*This recipe was adapted from one I found here.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are a lot of chocolate chip cookies recipes out there, but my favorite is this "soft and chewy" version.  It is adapted from the recipe on the "Chipits" bag.  If you like soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies, you should give this recipe a try.


Here's the recipe:

1)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2)  In a medium bowl, whisk together the following dry ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (increase to 2 1/3 cups if you like your cookies a little thicker)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt


3)  In a separate bowl, use electric beaters to combine the following:

  • 1 cup butter (at room temperature... NOT melted)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar


4)  Add 2 large eggs and 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract to the butter/sugar mixture.  Beat with electric beaters until well combined.


5)  Using a wooden spoon, mix wet and dry ingredients together (just until combined).  Then, add 2 cups of chocolate chips.  (I like semi-sweet, but you can use whatever you like.)


6)  Drop tablespoon-size balls onto a Silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake for approx. 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.



Store the cookies in an air tight container to keep them fresh... but trust me... they won't last long.  :-)


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)


Note: If you notice that your cookies are flattening out, try putting the batter in the fridge for half an hour before baking. Also, use fresh baking soda, don't melt the butter, and don't put batter onto a hot cookie sheet.

ECM Kids' Craft Club - #14 {Door Hanger}

Welcome to the 14th edition of the ECM Kids' Craft Club {an easy & inexpensive way for kids to have fun crafting and experience the excitement of getting their very own mail}.  If you want to join the club, you can find more info here.
For everyone who is already a member... let's get started on this month's craft.  This month we are making adorable a fun "Spring" door hanger!




Cute, right?  First, gather your supplies.  



Then...

1)  Cut out the door hanger and the black and red parts of the lady bug.



2)  Decorate the door hanger, and then glue the bottom (black) and top (red) parts of the lady bug in place.  {My son wrote "Cameron's Room... Don't Bug Me", but you can write whatever you want.}



3)  Glue on googly eyes and black spots.



That's it!  I hope you enjoyed this craft, and I hope you hang it on your bedroom door!  {Don't forget to leave me a comment, or send me an email.  Your comments help me improve the club, and I love hearing from you.}  


♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Don't forget... Assist young children when using scissors, and be careful of the small parts included with this kit, as they can be a choking hazard for children under three".)

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10 {Simple} Ways to Welcome Spring

After a long winter, my boys and I are definitely ready for warmer weather.  There are so many great things about this time of year, and I have included some of them in this fun list.  Here are 10 easy and inexpensive ways to welcome Spring


1) Make your own bird feeders.  You can find three examples here.

2) Bake a tasty treat with a spring theme.  You can find the recipe for delicious bird nest cookies here

3) Get outside and have a teddy bear picnic.  You can find out how to make tasty teddy bear treats here.

4) Plant something.  Start out with something simple... like the easy to grow flowers you can read about here.

5) Mix up some homemade sidewalk paint.  You can find the simple recipe here.

6) Make and fly some homemade kites.  You can find the step by step tutorial for paper bag kites here.

7) Make your own bird houses.  You can find the instructions for making milk carton bird houses here.

8) Bring a little spring indoors with this beautiful spring photo.  You can download a free 8X10 here.

9) Cook up a batch of spring pancakes.  You can find the simple "how to" here.

10) Make this cheery spring wreath.  You can find the full tutorial here.


What is your favorite way to welcome spring?  Did it make my list?

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

* You can find me on facebook here.

Making Memories {10 Family Rituals/Traditions}

Special moments for children don't always involve big gestures and expensive vacations.  I believe family rituals and traditions are the basic building blocks for the memories that children will take with them into their adulthood.  Here are 10 of our favorite family rituals/traditions:


1)  We have pancakes for supper every Friday night.  (It is easy for me, and my boys love it.)
2)  We have family movie night every Friday night.  We have special snacks, get in our PJs, and cuddle up on the couch together... all of us.  (In the summer we have it outside - check it out here.)
3)  We make a big deal about birthdays.  We have a big party with friends on a convenient day, and the boys make each other cakes on their real birthdays.  (I also write a birthday letter to each of my boys on their special day.)
4)  Every Easter we egg the neighbours.  (You can read about it here.)
5)  Every Fall we take a trip to a pumpkin patch.  (You can read about it here.)
6)  Every Halloween we "boo" the neighbours.  (You can read about it here.) 
7)  We love Christmas.  We have special traditions for Christmas Eve (that you can read about here) and for getting our Christmas tree (that you can read about here).
8)  We think the first day of school is special, and we have 5 special ways of marking the occasion each year (that you can read about here).
9)  We celebrate the last day of school with an end of year banner and a trip to Dairy Queen for ice cream.  (You can read about it here.)
10) We started filling out "end of year questionnaires" on New Year's Eve.  I look forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come.

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy these specials times with your family.


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Baking with Greek Yogurt {Yoplait Review and Giveaway} - CLOSED


And the winner is...
SUMMER PLEWES17 April 2013 10:21
I have never tried greek yogurt. I don't know what is stopping me , but I just love regular yogurt so much lol


Healthy eating is important, but if you're like me, sometimes you need a little treat.  So... in an effort to eat a bit better, I have been meaning to give greek yogurt a try.  It can be a great lower fat alternative to butter and oil when baking (and it is a source of protein).  So, I pulled out my "no fail" banana bread recipe (that I wrote about here), and I substituted the 1/4 cup oil with 1/4 vanilla greek yogurt.


It turned out great.  Are you encouraged to give it a try?  Well... I can help...


Want to win four coupons for free Yoplait Source greek yogurt AND one $100 gift card for Lululemon?  Just leave a comment below letting me know whether or not you have ever tried greek yogurt.  Simple, right?  :-)

And, if you want a BONUS ENTRY, just subscribe to my RSS feed or by email, and leave a comment letting me know you have done it.

BTW... I found some great info about greek yogurt baking substitutions here.  Let me know what you think.

Good luck!


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. However, (of course!) the opinions on this blog are my own.

Rules {I am a mom... I can't help it}:
  1. The winner of the contest will be chosen by the Random Number Generator.
  2. To enter the contest, you must leave a comment on this post.  Contest is open to Canadian residents (over 18 years of age) only.
  3. This contest is not being hosted or sanctioned in any way by facebook.
  4. Contest closes on April 29, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.  A winner will be chosen on April 30, 2013.
  5. Prize will be accepted as awarded. 
  6. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond.  After 48 hours the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected. 
  7. East Coast Mommy (aka Gina Bell) is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prize.  However, while I am not responsible, I will make every effort to assist the winner in obtaining their prize.
  8. There are other bloggers offering similar giveaways through Life Made Delicious.  You may enter on numerous blogs, but you may only win one prize.

20 Earth Day Crafts and Activities

April 22 is Earth Day, and it is a great opportunity to teach children about recycling and respecting our planet. It is also a wonderful excuse to get outside and enjoy nature. Today I am sharing a fantastic collection of 20 {easy and inexpensive} Earth Day crafts and activities.



{Click on the links/titles below for full tutorials.}

1)  Make a cereal box notebook.

2)  Turn a babyfood jar into an earth day tealight.

3)  Decorate with a DIY earth day banner.

4)  Transform an old box into a beautiful tree full of butterflies.

5)  Read The Lorax, and enjoy a "tree-themed" snack.

6)  Use an empty egg carton to learn about how caterpillars turn into butterflies.

7)  Use empty jars and cans to create some adorable "grass-haired" friends.

8)  Enjoy some backyard bird-watching.

9)  Raid the recycling bin, and try creating some homemade toy boats.

10)  Craft some paper bag kites and head outside.

11-20)  Click here to check out the collection I posted last year (which includes:  a recycling matching game, how to make tooth taxis from old film canisters, planting for beginners, 5 things to make out of a cardboard box, 3 types of DIY birdfeeders, milk carton birdhouses, nature walk buckets, nature collages, and a recipe for homemade sidewalk paint). 

I hope you have a great Earth Day with your family!   



Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Review and Giveaway {Mandala Sky Jacket} - CLOSED

The winner (as chosen by Random.org) is Comment #4:

Jessica Thibodeau9 April 2013 09:16
Loving the Jolene jacket! But am in love with the wondur zip jacket as well. 


A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Sky Marcano (of Mandala Sky) about reviewing one of her stylish, Eco-friendly, Canadian-made yoga jackets.  I checked out her website, and I was impressed with her designs.  Then, she sent me the Wunder Zip Jacket (in white) to review, and I loved it!



The jacket is made from a super-soft and comfy fabric that has just the right amount of "stretch".  The length is great, and the design is really flattering.

Do you want to win one of these fabulous jackets (valued at $89)?  Just visit www.mandalasky.com, and leave a comment below letting me know your favorite piece of clothing on the site.  (Don't forget to log in or leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.)

Mandala Sky Jackets are carefully designed by Sky Marcano to give you a unique stylish piece of clothing. The Jackets will give you a sense of ease and relaxation while still feeling beautiful and put together. The length and cut of her designs has been talked about as one of the most flattering clothing lines available today.

Good luck!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Rules {I am a mom... I can't help it}:
  1. The winner of the contest will be chosen by the Random Number Generator.
  2. To enter the contest, you must leave a comment on this post.  Contest is open to Canadian and US residents only.
  3. This contest is not being hosted or sanctioned in any way by facebook.
  4. Contest closes on April 23, 2013 at 11:59pm.
  5. Prize will be accepted as awarded.  (Shipping will take approximately 2-4 weeks.)
  6. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond.  After 48 hours the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected. 
Please note:  I was provided with this product (free of charge) for reviewing purposes only.  No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are 100% my own. 


What I Really Want for Mother's Day {and Ginger Cookie Recipe}

For Mother's Day, I don't want jewellery, fancy clothes, or a trip to an exotic location -- they cost too much and don't really fit my lifestyle at the moment anyway.  This year, I have my heart set on something pretty simple -- a big cup of coffee, a couple of homemade cookies, and 30 minutes to enjoy them ALL BY MYSELF.


Don't get me wrong, I love my boys and I cherish my time with them, but I do miss those "long ago" days (before I became a mother) when I could pee by myself and drink a full cup of coffee... sitting down... while it was still hot.  Who's with me?

And, in case my husband reads this and needs more ideas, here are the Top 5 Things I Really Want for Mother's Day.



Isn't this a great list?  What would be on your list of "Things YOU Really Want for Mother's Day"?


♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)


PS (Here's the link for the Ginger Cookies in the picture.)
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