Father's Day DIY Donut Bouquet

On Mother's Day, many special ladies get lovely bouquets of flowers, but I don't think my husband would be impressed with a vase full of blooms. In the past, I have made candy bouquets, but this time, I thought I would try something different. Instead of a flower or candy bouquet, I thought it would be fun for my boys to make a donut bouquet for Father's Day. I saw a version of this idea online, and I thought it looked super simple and really inexpensive to make. Keep reading for a step-by-step tutorial and easy-to-follow video.

To make a DIY Donut Bouquet, you'll need: donut holes, skewers, tissue paper, and ribbon. I got more supplies than I needed for about $8.


1) Insert skewers into the donut holes. (You can use mini donuts too.)
2) Arrange the donuts into a bouquet, and secure in place with an elastic.
3) Wrap the bouquet in tissue paper.

4) Tie a ribbon around the base of the flowers. (You can also add a layer of cellophane if you are transporting your bouquet and you want to protect the donuts.)

That's it! What child wouldn't be thrilled to gift this donut bouquet to their Dad? Add a homemade card, and you are good to go!

Check out this easy-to-follow video.

Isn't this a fantastic homemade Father's Day gift? Do you have a special man in your life that would enjoy this DIY donut bouquet? I think this is an absolutely adorable treat!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Charity Fundraiser... that kids can organize

Lemonade stands are a great way for kids to raise money for charity, but you can raise even more money with the clever idea I am sharing today. Check out this fun fundraiser that my boys used to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis (a disease that their cousin has).

The boys marked the bottom of several suckers with a coloured marker, and then inserted all the suckers in a piece of styrofoam. We also made a sign that said, "Cystic Fibrosis SUCKS". Then, we sold the suckers for 50 cents each, and the people that picked a sucker that was coloured at the bottom won a prize from our prize bucket.

My boys did really well working their lemonade stand and game, and they were proud of the money they were able to raise for charity.

Do you have a good idea for raising money for charity? My boys are always looking for new ways to raise money to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Tick Safety Kit

I have been reading a lot about ticks and lyme disease lately, and as a mom, I worry about the safety of my family. My boys spend a lot of time outside exploring during the summer months, and I want to make sure they are safe. So, in addition to checking them regularly for ticks after they have been outdoors, I also put together a "tick safety kit".

A tick safety kit is easy and inexpensive to put together, and it's a great addition to your summer first aid kit. My kit includes:
  • a pair of fine tipped metal tweezers to remove the tick from the skin
  • alcohol swabs to clean the area once the tick has been removed
  • paper and a pen to record the time, date, location where the tick was found (e.g. on your left leg), and where you came into contact with the tick
  • a bag to hold the tick in case it needs to be tested

Do you have ticks in the area where you live? If you do, assembling a tick safety kit is a really good idea. You can also check out novascotia.ca/ticksafety or canada.ca/lymedisease for more information on protecting yourself against ticks and what to do after you remove the tick.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS (These are the tweezers I bought for my kit. It's an affiliate link, so if you purchase them, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

9 Reasons to Visit Gatorland

Last month our family vacationed in Florida, and because it was our 5th family trip to this location, we wanted to try something new. After some research, and because we had never seen a real alligator, we decided to go to Gatorland*. We didn't know what to expect, but we loved it! So, today I am sharing our visit with you... including 9 reason to visit Gatorland.

1) Shows - There are some really entertaining shows at Gatorland. The "Upclose Encounters Show" lets you see snakes and spiders up close, the "Gator Jumperoo Show" gives you the opportunity to witness alligators being hand fed, and there is a fun alligator wrestling show. 

My boys and their cousins loved the shows... and they even had a chance to get their pictures taken with some of the actors.

2) You can hold a baby alligator. For an extra fee, you can get your photo taken with a snake and a baby alligator. I was happy to get a rare photo of all five of us, and my boys felt pretty cool holding a real alligator.

3) You can meet (and feed) a giant turtle. For a small fee, my boys were able to get up close and feed a real giant turtle a piece of apple from a stick. How cool is that????

4) You can take fun pictures with your family. My boys and their cousins loved playing around and taking some silly pictures with alligators!

6) You can feed alligators. As you come through the gates, you can buy some small fish and feed the alligators. My boys thought it was pretty cool to feel the alligators pulling on their ropes.

7) You can see lots of alligators. If you want to see alligators, Gatorland does not disappoint. You will see white alligators, big alligators, small alligators, and baby alligators. There are LOTS of alligators.

8) You can see more than just Alligators. Gatorland is not just about alligators. There are birds, goats, spiders, snakes, turtles, and more. There is something for everyone!

9) You can go on extra adventures. For an extra fee, you can go on the Stompin' Gator off road adventure or The Screamin' Gator Zipline. We didn't take advantage of these attractions, but they looked fun!

Have you ever been to Gatorland? If you are planning a trip to Florida, I highly recommend going with your family. It's reasonably priced, and your kids will love it!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Disclosure: I was given complimentary and discounted tickets in exchange for my truthful review of Gatorland. As always, the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

Epic DIY NERF Party

It's taken me a few months to get around to writing this post about my boys' joint NERF party, but today is the day I am finally sharing all the easy and inexpensive DIY party details. A NERF gun party is a perfect party for active kids, and my boys and their party guests had a great time. Keep reading for all the fun DIY signs, food, games, activities, loot bags, and details. You are going to love this epic DIY NERF party!

The party started with a simple DIY invitation. I made this one using a couple pictures of my boys and free online photo editing software (Picmonkey.com).

Then, I set the stage with simple DIY party signage and decor. I love the way the party signs add a professional touch to the party and tie everything together. You can download all my signs (for free) here

As the guests arrived, they were invited to "get their game face on". I set up a little station (by the door) with a sign, a dollar store mirror, and some face paint.

The kids were also given safety glasses, and they were required to wear them.

And, of course, it was important to keep all the party guests entertained and having fun, so we planned several NERF party games and activities. My boys really wanted an "epic NERF battle", so we made sure we had plenty of NERF guns and bullets.

We also used boxes, mats, and tents to set the stage for our battle.

We also set up a fun "target practice" area for the kids who wanted a break from the battle. I made all the elements from dollar store supplies, and you can find the instructions here.

And we also had a little table that held a simple "guess the number of candies" game.

Of course, we also set up a fantastic table of NERF-themed food because the kids needed "fuel for their battle". We had tons of blue and orange food and drinks! 

The backdrop for the food table included a sign I made using dollar store supplies, and you can read about how to make it here

The food table also held two NERF target cakes... one for each of the birthday boys!

Finally, all the parties left with fun NERF party favours. I had supplies for a water balloon battle and a blue and orange prize punch. You can read about our loot bags (and download the free printable tags) here.

Our NERF party was a huge success...

And all of our party guests had a great time!

I think all the DIY party details really made the NERF party special for my boys... and they are still talking about the "epic" NERF battle. If your kids enjoy running around and battling with their buddies, I highly suggest throwing a DIY NERF party for their next birthday celebration.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

5 Reasons My Family Loves Medieval Times

My family first visited Medieval Times Orlando* on a trip to Florida two years ago, and my boys loved it! So, when we were planning our trip this year, my boys insisted that we go again. This dinner show really is a lot of fun, and if you haven't had a chance to visit, you should give it a try. Not convinced? Keep reading... because today I am sharing 5 reasons why my family loves Medieval Times.

1) You get to visit a castle. Seriously... how cool is that? You can also visit the Medieval Village (with real 11th century artifacts) prior to the show.

2) It is quality, family-friendly entertainment. It's always fun to find an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages, and Medieval Times fits the bill. It really is entertaining for everyone.

3) You get to eat with your hands. This is a highlight for my boys... and I like that someone else prepares the meal and serves it. It's always a bonus when mom gets a break from making dinner... and no one complains about what is being served! 😀

4) There is a lot of action. The show is full of royalty, knights, fighting, jousting, and horses. It's action-packed and fun!

5) You can cheer on your knight. The crowd is included in the show and encouraged to cheer. Everyone is assigned a knight which makes it fun. (Our "red knight" didn't win, but we did get to meet him at the end of the show and get our picture taken with him.)

Have you been to Medieval Times? If you haven't visited, you should. Your kids will thank you!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Disclosure: I was given complimentary and discounted tickets in exchange for my truthful review of Medieval Times. As always, the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

10 AWESOME Reasons to Visit LEGOLAND

We recently returned from a family vacation to Orlando, Florida... and (for the third time) my boys insisted on visiting LEGOLAND*. If you have never taken your kids to LEGOLAND, you definitely should. It is always a highlight for my boys, and my husband and I enjoy it too. Still not convinced? Keep reading... because today I am sharing 10 reasons that you should go to LEGOLAND with your kids.

1) It's not as crowded as some of the other parks... and the lines are shorter. Of course, wait times depend on the day that you visit the park and the ride you are trying to get on; however, we have found that wait times at LEGOLAND are usually shorter than the other parks we have visited. To minimize wait times, I recommend getting to the park early and heading directly to the back of the park where the roller coasters are located. On this visit, we headed straight to the NEW virtual reality roller coaster, and there was very little wait time.

2) There is a LOT of cool stuff built out of LEGO. Throughout the park, there are tons of awesome things made from LEGO, and MINILAND USA is fantastic. There are amazing scenes made from over 32 million LEGO bricks, great photo ops, and interactive buttons to push.

3) You can make your kids wear fun t-shirts. I always love the opportunity to dress my kids in special shirts when we visit theme parks. It makes the pictures look fantastic, and it helps me to keep track of the kids as we move through the park. This year, my sister and I purchased bright orange shirts that said, "Everything is awesome... when you are with your COUSINS!" Aren't they great?

4) You can save money on tickets. In the past I have purchased discounted tickets at Costco, you can sometimes find coupons online, and you can always save money if you book in advance

5) You can build your own minifigures. Building minifigures is always a highlight for my boys when we visit LEGOLAND. You can mix and match LEGO minifigure body parts and accessories to create unique minifigures... and you can buy a three pack for a very reasonable price. It's a lot of fun!

6) You can trade minifigures. You can trade the LEGO minifigures you buy from the park, and/or you can bring minifigures from home. (Just make sure you have a full minifigure... including a hat or hair.) You can trade with workers that have minifigures on their name tags, or you can ask the workers in the stores if they have a tray of "trading" figures you can see.

7) LEGOLAND has cool shows. There is a 4D movie that is a lot of fun, and there is a cute live action show that includes water skiing LEGO people. Check the park schedule for times to make sure you don't miss them.

8) Your kids can drive a LEGO car. The LEGO driving school is always one of my boys' favourite rides. I wish I was small enough to drive a LEGO car!

9) The rides are awesome... especially the LEGOLAND virtual reality roller coaster. LEGOLAND has a number of fun rides and roller coasters. They even have a virtual reality roller coaster. You wear virtual reality goggles while you ride, and you feel like you are really moving through a land made of LEGO!

10) The water park is awesome! This was our third visit to LEGOLAND, but it was our first visit to the water park, and we LOVED it. There is a wonderful play structure, a wave pool, water slides, and a lazy river. If the weather is nice, plan to make the water park part of your day. (Keep in mind... the water park isn't open every day, and there is an extra fee... so plan accordingly.)

Have you been to LEGOLAND? If you have kids, and you are planning a trip to Orlando, you should check it out. It really is a fun place to spend some time with family.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

*Disclosure: I was given complimentary tickets in exchange for my truthful review of this park. As always, the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.
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