St. Patrick's Day Gratitude Door

For Valentine's Day, I purchased a bunch of paper hearts at the dollar store and our family created a kindness door. I loved how it turned out, so for St. Patrick's Day, I decided that we should construct a gratitude door. The festive decor was fun and EASY to put together, and my boys took some time to reflect on the many things we have to be grateful for.


I wrote "I am lucky because" at the top of a bunch of shamrocks that I purchased at the dollar store. Then, each of the members of my family completed a couple of shamrocks. I love that they spent time thinking of reasons to be grateful for all of our blessings.




When all of the shamrocks were finished, I used masking tape to attach them to the inside of my front door. 


Isn't this a clever idea? I absolutely love this St. Patrick's Day activity, and I look forward to making this gratitude door an annual part of our St. Patrick's Day celebrations!


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

The Ultimate Collection of St.Patrick's Day Ideas

We aren't Irish, but my boys and I always like to celebrate St.Patrick's Day. We don't go "all out", but today I am sharing some simple ways to celebrate on March 17th.



Lucky Penny {to share with friends} - Click here for free "lucky penny" printable postcards.  This is a really fun St. Patrick's Day treat to share with friends.


Gratitude Door - This St. Patrick's Day door is a wonderful way to decorate for the holiday, and it is a great way to teach kids about being grateful. Find the details here.



Dollar Store Frame - This St. Patrick's Day frame is a great way to get low cost St. Patrick's Day decor. Click here for a full tutorial and free printable.


St. Patrick's Day Penny Banner - This charming banner is easy to make using things you likely already have lying around the house. Click here for a full step by step tutorial.


Treasure to Share - Click here for a free printable bag topper. Your little leprechauns will love sharing a St. Patrick's Day treasure with their friends.


Leprechaun Trap - Click here to find out how easy and fun it is to try to catch a leprechaun. They are tough to trap, but it sure is fun to try.


Shamrock Hat - This easy craft is simple and lots of fun for kids. Click here for the step by step tutorial.


Shamrock Pancakes and Green Milk - A few drops of green food coloring, some pancake batter, and a shamrock cookie cutter are all you need to make these adorable pancakes.  Don't forget to add a few drops to some milk too.


Rainbow Seeds make a fun breakfast too! And add some Froot Loops to a draw for some extra fun. (Get the FREE downloadable "rainbow seeds" tags here.)




Rainbow Necklaces - String some Froot Loops onto some braiding cord, yarn, or shoestring liquorice to create these edible rainbow necklaces.  Your little leprechaun will love making and wearing this festive piece of jewellery.


St.Patrick's Day Treats - Little ones will love decorating St. Patrick's Day cookies or cupcakes. Make sure you have plenty of green icing, sprinkles and colourful candies on hand.




Leprechaun Bait - This a great way to share St. Patrick's Day fun with classmates, and it's a fun St. Patrick's Day party favor too. Click here for a free printable Leprechaun Bait bag topper, or here for free printable Leprechaun Bait tags.



Leprechaun Paper Dolls - This little craft is as fun to play with as it is to make. Click here for a free printable leprechaun puppet.



What do you do to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Will you try one of the easy St. Patrick's Day ideas?

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

10 Snow Day Activities... that will entertain kids and help parents stay sane

In our part of the world, winter is in full swing and winter storms are plentiful. Snow days can be a lot of fun, but it isn't always easy for parents to keep kids busy and happy. Today, I am sharing a few simple and fun ideas that will entertain kids... and help parents stay sane on snow days.


1) Make snow ice cream - Whipping up a batch of snow ice cream is one of my boys' favourite snow day activities. It is simple to do, and the result is delicious. You can find the full "how to" and video for make snow ice cream here.


2) Craft a duct tape sled - A recycled box has never been so much fun. Find instructions for making a super-fun duct tape sled here.


3) Create a dollar store hot chocolate bar - A warm drink on a cold day is always a crowd pleaser. Click here to find out how to build an impressive (and portable) hot chocolate bar for less than $10.


4) Play in the snow - Getting outside in the fresh air is a wonderful way to spend a day. Go sledding, build an upside-down snowman or colour snow with water and food coloring in a spray bottle.




5) Build a fort or have an indoor picnic - Sometimes the only thing you need on a cold winter day is a blanket and a little imagination.



6) Do a science experiment - Missing school because of a storm doesn't have to mean taking a break from learning. Check out a fun "Skittles" science experiment here


7) Bake something - Baking with kids is both educational and fun... and there is nothing like the smell of freshly baked cookies on a cold winter day. You can find the recipe for our favourite chocolate chip cookies here.


8) Craft something - Getting crafty when the weather is bad can be just what the doctor ordered. In keeping with the "snow day" theme, you might want to try making this adorable spare sock snowman. You can find the full step-by-step instructions here.


9) Play games - Playing cards and board games when the weather is nasty can be the perfect way to spend a day together. To make it extra special, you can find ideas for "games day" decor and treats here.


10) Watch a movie - Is there anything better than cuddling up on the couch when a snow day keeps you indoors? Put on some PJs, pop some popcorn, cuddle up on the couch, and watch your favorite family movie. If you are feeling extra ambitious, you might also want to decorate and invite some friends over.


What's your favourite way to keep the kids busy and happy on snow days? I hope you give some of my ideas a try. Stay warm, and have fun!


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Date Night For Busy Parents (including a recipe for chocolate covered strawberries)

Like most parents, my husband and I are slaves to our kids' busy schedules. Finding the time and energy to get a babysitter and make plans to go out for a "date night" is almost impossible. So, "at home" date nights are the perfect solution for us. All we need is a bottle of wine, a special snack, and a good series to binge watch on Netflix.

Chocolate covered strawberries are a delicious and romantic date night snack, and they are super-simple to make.


To make chocolate covered strawberries:

1) Wash and dry strawberries (completely) with a piece of paper towel.

2) Melt 100% pure baker's chocolate in the microwave. I enjoy the rich taste of semi-sweet chocolate, but you can choose milk chocolate if that is your preference.

Break up the chocolate and microwave it for 1 to 2 minutes at MEDIUM heat until it is completely melted and smooth. (Make sure you check and stir it frequently.)

3) Dip each strawberry in the melted chocolate, allow excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl, and place the strawberry on a piece of wax paper.

4) Put the strawberries in the fridge for 30 minutes (to allow the chocolate to harden).


Now that you have the perfect date night snack, you'll want a good Netflix series that you can binge watch together. 


It's not always easy to find a show that my husband and I both want to watch, but Netflix always has fantastic date night options. Here are 5 of our favourites:

1) Stranger Things
2) House of Cards
3) Suits
4) The OA
5) Homeland

Do you have a favourite show to watch with your spouse? Do you ever "cheat" on your spouse and watch the next episode without him/her? We've all been there, right? Your binge buddy isn't around, you turn on Netflix, and you just can't help but watch without them. You're not alone. Netflix uncovered that 46% of global viewers are cheating right now... with their favourite Netflix shows.

Whether you cheat or not, you are going to want to make these chocolate covered strawberries the next time you plan a date night with your spouse. They are simple to make, and they will definitely make your evening a little sweeter. Enjoy!


Gina
 (aka East Coast Mommy)


Disclosure: I receive special gifts and perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix.... however (as always) the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

DIY Hockey Canvas

As my active boys get older, it is getting more difficult to get them to sit still long enough to do something creative. However, the project I am sharing today is perfect for my hockey-loving sons. Check out this wonderful (and simple) DIY hockey canvas that kids can paint using their favorite team colours and dollar store supplies. It makes fantastic custom artwork for their rooms too!


To make the jersey artwork, start by painting a canvas a solid colour, and let it dry completely.


Then, add light coloured writing.


Finish by adding details/highlights in a darker colour.


I love that this project can be done inexpensively in any colours that the child chooses.

Check out the fantastic job my hockey-loving boys did on paintings for their rooms.


This is a great project to do on a rainy or snowy afternoon at home, and it would also be fun at an end-of-season team party or hockey-themed birthday party.

It would work for other sports too. The possibilities are endless! Do you have a sports fan that would love to make some artwork replicating their favorite jersey?


Gina
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

Simple Valentine's Day Pancakes

My boys love pancakes, so on February 14th, it is always one of the meals I serve. I like to make our Valentine's Day pancakes extra special with a simple trick I have been using for years. All you need is: your favourite pancake recipe or mix, a little red food colouring, and a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

To make simple Valentine's Day pancakes:

1) Divide your batter into two bowls, and add food colouring to one of the bowls.
2) Cook one pancake in each colour.
3) Use a cookie cutter to cut a heart from each of the pancakes.
4) Switch the hearts.
That's it! Isn't this the easiest way to make an impressive and festive Valentine's Day meal?


I always serve these pancakes with milk in a wine glass for a little added touch of fun.


What do you serve your kids on Valentine's Day? If you are looking for a simple solution to your mealtime dilemma, I highly recommend giving this a try. Happy Valentine's Day!


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
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