How to Throw an Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Party

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with it comes the desire to try to throw an inexpensive Valentine’s Day party for your family. Throwing your own at home inexpensive party to celebrate the day of love is a great way to encourage a loving bond within your household.  Today, I wanted to show you how you can throw a family Valentine’s Day party without going broke.  This post contains affiliate links.

Inexpensive Valentine's Day Party

Make Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are an inexpensive treat for Valentine’s Day and you can place icing on them that spells out cute sayings. Gather up the kids and bake some sugar cookies, let them cool and have fun as you work together to “draw” loving messages on each of the cookies. This can be a special treat for your inexpensive Valentine’s Day party.  Use our simple dipping trick to ice your sugar cookies.  You can see the TikTok video here.

Create your Own Cards

Using items found around the home, such as small paper bags, construction paper, and markers, create your own unique Valentine’s Day cards. You can use Pinterest as your inspiration, search for inexpensive Valentine’s Day cards on Pinterest and find a craft that allows you to use supplies you have on hand. Create a sheet with some sayings on it so the kids can use those sayings on their cards.

Singe Karaoke

You can sing karaoke together as a family during your inexpensive Valentine’s Day party. If you have an Amazon Echo in the home, you can request a love song playlist be pulled up that includes kid-friendly songs and lyrics on screen. This will be a free way to enjoy some fun on Valentine’s Day while the family giggles together singing happy, love songs.

Decorate the Home

Using tissue paper, construction paper and other craft supplies you have on hand create pretend flowers and other Valentine’s Day décor to make the home feel more loving. You can use reds, pinks and even lighter blues to give the home a feeling of happiness and love for your inexpensive Valentine’s Day party. If you have a Cricut use the basic heart shape for a way to cut a lot of hearts quickly.  Cutting them by hand is doable and totally fun too.  There are many craft ideas on our Valentine’s Day Pinterest board too, so consider using that as your ideas resource.

Serve Finger Foods

valentine's day fruit kabob

If you are going all out with treats and food, then consider serving finger foods. Create finger-sized sandwiches in a variety of options. Grab some crackers or chips for a side and even cut up some veggies with hummus so that your family can have a balanced option to eat during your inexpensive Valentine’s Day party event.  These Valentine Kabobs (pictured above) are adorable and you could mix them up with pure fruit kabobs too.  Strawberries halved to look like hearts would be great or you could cut any fruit into a heart shape with a mini cookie cutter.  Chocolate dipped strawberries never fail to disappoint.  Pink Rice Krispie treats could even be used to step up your finger food game.  There are so many possibilities!

However you decide to gather up the family to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, the ideas I showcased above should help guide you forward in enjoying this day of love with the family without spending too much money.  Oh, and don’t forget to print off and fill out our free 10 Things I Love About You printable.

10 Things I love About You – Free Valentine Printable

10 Things I Love About You – Free Printable!

This Valentine printable is unlike the other ones we’ve shared so far and I think it’s a good kind of different. The others were simple and cutesy printables that you, well, print and leave for your Valentine to find. This one requires that you stop for a few minutes and write out ten things you love about the person you’re giving the note to.

Because my personality tends to procrastinate in hopes of achieving perfection, I want to encourage you to print this off and fill it out right now. Right now. If you save it for another day that day may never come. Don’t try to think of something fancy or eloquent to say. There’s no need to Google poetry verses. Simply share from your heart.

{However, if you want to use this printable for your Valentine and insist on waiting to do it later, pin it on Pinterest so you don’t forget about it!}

Go here to get your free 10 Things I Love About You printable.

Words are powerful! I have no doubt that the few minutes you spend writing out your thoughts will be time well spent. Be intentional and tell the people you care about why you love them!

By the way, I love you guys for coming by my blog and letting me share a little of my life with you. I value your kind comments and emails more than you know. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Benefits of Cooking With Kids

Cooking with kids is an excellent way to enjoy quality time with your kids. Whether you have younger or older kids, cooking is something that all ages enjoy. This important life skill is something that you’ll eventually need your kids to understand so that they can cook on their own in their adult years.

Today, I’m going to share some of the amazing benefits of cooking with kids to help inspire you to get in the kitchen and start cooking with your kids regularly.

Benefits of Cooking With Kids

Increases Language Development

Cooking with kids offers your kids the chance to read ingredients and labels which means they’ll be working to increase language development. As your kids read the ingredients for the recipe and labels on the ingredients, they’ll learn new words and in turn, have a more enhanced vocabulary.

Boosts Fine Motor Skills

With blending, mixing, stirring, and measuring the ingredients required to use during cooking sessions, your kids are using their fine motor skills. Cooking with kids is a fun way to get your kids using their fine motor skills. Parents who have kids with delayed fine motor skills will often use cooking as a fun way to boost their skills so that their kids don’t get frustrated while practicing fine motor skills activities.

Improves Math Skills

Cooking requires the use of fractions and measurements. This is all part of learning math skills. Kids who struggle with math will often fold joy in cooking recipes as a form of math education. It’s important to utilize your home in creative ways to encourage your kids to develop the necessary skills for success in life, cooking provides a way to get your kids to work on their math skills without stressing.

Quality Time

Cooking with your kids is considered quality family time. During your cooking sessions, you’ll be spending quality time with your kids engaging in conversations and having fun making a mess together. This will help strengthen your parent/child bond. Any chance you get to spend quality time with your kids is another positive for parents of kids of all ages.

These are just some of my favorite benefits of cooking with kids that I wanted to share with you. I hope that this list will inspire you to start making a list of your favorite kid-friendly recipes to make together. As your kids master their cooking skills and become more comfortable in the kitchen, you can easily have your kids start meal planning and prepare a meal or two each week for the family.

How to Keep Kids Busy Without Screen Time

Some kids are naturally creative and enjoy activities beyond the screens but other kids are more interested in screen time. Since every kid is different, and all families are different, I wanted to share a list of creative ideas to help keep kids busy without screen time.

This list of ideas will help you encourage your kids to shut down the electronics and start engaging in other activities alone, with family or siblings. The best way to maintain a balance of screen time and non-screen time is to implement a specific time during the day when screen time is allowed. This will help encourage your kids to partake in some of these activities for non-screen time fun.

How to Keep Kids Busy Without Screen Time

Make a Game Box

For younger kids, you can create a game box. This is similar to having a toy box, but it will be full of your kids’ favorite toys. Try to include a variety of items that your kids enjoy playing with so that when screen time isn’t allowed, your kids can use their imagination to play with this creative box of toys.  My kids have a bin with little figures and random trees…plenty of things to get their creative juices flowing.

Make a Bookshelf

Make or buy a kids’ bookshelf that’s full of a variety of books. Some kids struggle with the idea that reading is fun, so get to buying or borrowing a variety of kids’ books so that you can have a variety of reading books on hand in the home.  We have quite the home library going and my kids love books.  Spending time reading together, showing enthusiasm for books, and making books a priority in your home are all great ways to help make books a part of your family culture.

Create a Board Game Area

Gather up all of your family board games and create a small space in the home that encourages your kids to enjoy board games together. Having a board game area with games out in the open will help give your kids some ideas of what to do during non-screen time in the home.

(See our big list of Fun Games for the Family).

Have a Bake-a-Thon

Kids of all ages can enjoy baking in the kitchen. While the younger kids may need more adult supervision, the older kids are more than capable of baking up some delicious food. Let your kids have a bake-a-thon to help them learn the life skill of cooking instead of being in front of the screens 24/7.  There are many benefits of teaching kids to cook and baking is a fun place to get started.

Chocolate Silk Pie

(This Chocolate Silk Pie is a delicious easy recipe to help kids gain cooking confidence).

When it comes to keeping kids busy without screen time you’ll need to take into consideration your kids’ interests and how well they do with independent playtime. When you opt to use the ideas that I shared today, you’ll soon find that your kids navigate easily from screen time to other activities. These activities will encourage family unity and strengthen the bond between siblings and parents.

Ways to Make Your Gift More Personal

The gifts we give are rare opportunities to remind our loved ones just how much we care for them. Ideally every gift should be unique and thoughtful so that the recipient feels loved. The way to make a gift memorable is to make it personal.

Personalized gifts have become exceedingly popular and are easily available for every occasion and budget. From personalize mugs to notebooks, photo frames to pillows – every gift item can be uniquely customized for the recipient, which is why they are called personal gifts.

Often a handmade personal gift is much more meaningful than any random expensive item from the store shelf. Personalized gifts are the perfect presents to make your loved ones feel special on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, farewells and even in most ordinary moments.

Here are some valuable tips to make your gift more personal, and thus more treasured.

 

Baking Accessories

1. Choose a gift related to their hobbies and interests

Think about what this person enjoys the most, something that is close to their heart. Try a gift that connects with their interest, like baking accessories for a budding pastry chef, bookworm gifts for a reader, photography kit for a photography enthusiast, or funny hobby related t shirt.

 

Personalized Mugs

2. Personalize your gift

Choose to engrave, embroider or emboss your gift with the name of the recipient or some memorable text. Personalized mugs in Australia, bottle openers, coasters, jewelry, whiskey barrels, and T-shirts — there are options galore for personalized items that fit the personality and interests of the recipient.

 

3. Bring back a shared memory through your gift

Center your gift on good old memories from your shared past, like a trip back to your honeymoon suite, or a shared guilty pleasure from college days. Recreate the experience to make your gift memorable.

 

4. Gift an experience

An experience is memorable. Take your loved one to a show, a lighthouse tour, hot air balloon tour, a hiking trip, a visit to a national park or monument. Put your heart into the gift. No matter how much or how less the experience you create costs, the receiver will remember it for sure.

 

5. Handcraft your own DIY gift

Everyone’s into DIY these days. Whip up mouth-watering dessert, sumptuous home cooked meal, or baked goodies as DIY special gifts for the special person. Let your creativity flow with DIY t-shirts, wall decor, coffee mugs, candles, coasters, planters, etc.  There are so many DIY gifts you can make at home, for instance, sugar scrubs, bath salts, homemade salt blends, and homemade candles just to name a few. Your gift might be less than perfect, but it will have your hard work and thoughtfulness, it will definitely be very personal.

 

6. Put together a gift basket with a cohesive collection of things they like

You can create a digital music gift basket for a music lover, containing iTunes gift card along with some physical music accessories for a real experience of music.

 

7. Curate a physical photo album

Create some great memories by transforming both your own and their digital photos into a printed album.

You can apply these ideas to personalize gift items for anyone for any occasion. It will not only save you trouble of finding that elusive “perfect” gift, but also ensure that the recipient thoroughly enjoys every item that has been thoughtfully picked for them.

The Amazing Benefits of Family Game Night

Family is the most important part of life. Family allows you to have a connection with a group of people who love you without conditions, they provide you relief during a time of sorrow and encouragement during times of need. The family will be one of the most important connections you ever have in your lifetime.  Since I feel the family unit is extremely important, especially during times of high stress and self-doubt, I wanted to share some of the amazing benefits of family game night. Playing games with your family is another way to connect with those you hold closest to your heart.  After you check out the benefits of a having a night set aside for games, you can go here and see our family’s favorite board games.  This post contains affiliate links.

The Amazing Benefits of Family Game Night

Creates Conversation

Sometimes we get so involved with our daily life tasks that conversation doesn’t happen between family members or perhaps it’s boring. Family game night will create new conversations and engagement between every family member.  I love seeing how different people approach problems and use a variety of strategies for solving them.  My husband and I think differently and because of that we make a really good team.  Not only is discussing strategy fun but just chatting about life as we play games is invaluable.  I cherish these moments with my family.

Strengthens Bond

Hosting a family game night with your household helps strengthen the bond as you work to enjoy some healthy competition by playing board games together. When you do things together it strengthens your relationship.  Games are an easy and fun way to do that.

Pandemic

Builds Teamwork

There are many team player games that your family can enjoy together on game night. When you opt to include team player games, your family will learn how to work together. This will help build your family member’s teamwork skills for use in other areas of life.  Cooperative games are so much fun too!  We’ve recently (well at Christmas) tried out our first cooperative family game, Pandemic, and we have played it almost every day since.  I think we may have skipped maybe two or three days where we didn’t play it but we usually play it AT LEAST once a day.  We’re addicted.  It’s so much fun and so challenging.

Reduces Stress

Having fun and laughing with your family can reduce stress and anxiety. Hosting a regularly scheduled family game night encourages your family to have fun, laugh and enjoy the moment. This can reduce your stress levels and encourage a happier home.  We generally play a game every night at dinner.  It helps us wind down at the end of the day and gets us all on the same page.  We can chat, laugh, and strategize together before bed.

Enhances Reading Skills

Many family board games require reading which helps enhance reading skills for every family member. Have your younger kids try to read their game cards so that they’re working on important reading skills all the while having fun with their family during family game night.

These are just some of the most amazing benefits of family game night. I know that there are plenty more benefits that you’ll experience when you start hosting a regularly scheduled family game night at your house. I hope that you’ll use this information to start hosting more family game nights with your household members soon.

5 Things I’ve Loved in January

I think it goes without saying that we could all use a little extra happy these days.  I could make a list of all the negative things that have happened to make this point but instead I’ll jump right into this list of 5 things I’ve loved in January.  These are things that have made me happy this month…and that will hopefully be an encouragement for you to do something nice for yourself too.  This post contains affiliate links.

Berkshire Blanket

  • 1.  I love soft blankets and this extra-fluffy one from Berkshire Blankets is by far the softest thing I’ve ever felt.  The color is lovely, it feels utterly luxurious, and is very affordable.  I bought one for myself because it was on sale and loved it so much that I bought several as gifts.  You can check them out on the Berkshire Blanket website or on Amazon.

 

 

Nail Files

  • 2. My friend Melissa from Outnumbered 3 to 1,  sent me a set of these nail files for Christmas and I love them.  Glass nail files so much nicer than emery boards and the carrying case makes them nice to take along with you anywhere.  You can find this set here on Amazon for around the cost of a cup of coffee.

 

 

Sunglasses

  • 3. Finding a good pair of sunglasses can be challenging but I’ve had good luck with some affordable pairs on Amazon that I was given by the brand.  Most were less than $10 and a few are even two pairs for $10.  I love this price point because I won’t get too upset if they get scratched or I accidentally lose them in a friend’s field (I’m still mourning the loss of a pair that met their end that way).  I love the variety and my daughter has already snatched a few pairs and my husband is loving the polarized pair.  I find myself switching most often between the aviator sunglasses and the rimless animal print ones.  They can also make a great Valentine’s Day gift, and are perfect for midwinter break travels.  You can check them out on Amazon.

 

 

Homemade Candle

  • 4. I love candles, love them!  However, after learning about how many of the store bought ones release toxins I decided to make my own.  I was intimidated to start but once I did I found that it was unbelievably easy and relaxing to make.  There are many kits available on Amazon if you’re looking to make your own.

 

 

Sun Light for SAD

  • 5. Last but not least, is this little magical light that I bought myself for Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It boosts your mood and makes you feel like you’ve been sitting in the sunlight for a spell.  It’s on sale now on Amazon for a good bit less than I paid so if you’ve been wanting to give one a try, now is the time.

There you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the 5 things I’ve loved in January and more importantly, that you’ll take some time aside this week and do something that’s just for you, for your mental well being.

4 Ways to Find Time For Yourself Once You Have Kids

Between planning meals, cleaning, and homeschooling, life with kids can be pretty overwhelming. And since the coronavirus pandemic began, having the house to yourself has become a rare luxury.  Being able to find time for yourself is harder now than ever.

Although kids can make it feel like an impossible feat, a little space can bring you the stress relief you deserve (and need!). While we know how much you love those rugrats, we’ve compiled a list of four tips to help you create your much-needed “me time.”

Mom Time

#1 Pencil Yourself In
Our schedules fill up quickly, and soon they become so hectic that we’re unable to plan things even weeks in advance. When you can’t find time for yourself, sometimes you need to make time for yourself without the kids. Take a look at your calendar and see if there’s a weekend (or even just an evening) that their grandparents or a babysitter could watch them.

Frequently scheduling short intervals of alone time can also help you recharge and feel less burned out. Set your kids up with some activities so that they can entertain themselves for a bit while you get time to do your own thing.

#2 Maximize Down Time
There are no days off as a mom. So when you finally get the house to yourself, you might be tempted to check more things off your endless to-do list or catch up on some housework. Instead, start using this time to focus on yourself and indulge in the things you don’t get to do with the kids around.

Here are some simple ways you could treat yourself:

  • – Check out that new show you’ve been dying to watch.
  • – Practice centering yourself with this mindfulness journal that gives you prompts (so you don’t have to do all the thinking for a change!)
  • – Indulge in a tasty snack or dessert.
  • – With all the hard work that goes into being a mom, it’s important to take time to reward yourself every now and again.

#3 Make Use of Bedtime
Depending on how old your kids are, once they go to sleep you’ll usually have a little extra time in the day before it’s your bedtime. You might normally spend your evenings getting ready for the next day, but they’re a great opportunity to unwind if you can effectively manage your time.

#4 Pursue a Hobby
When you’re always on the go, it’s difficult to declutter your mind and just do something fun for a change.

Try taking up a new hobby or getting back into something you used to enjoy. Not only are hobbies fun, but they also have proven benefits for your health and well-being. Dedicate some time each day to doing something for you, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

If you’re not sure where to begin, try out one of these activities:

  • – Crochet – You could learn how to make your own winter hats, blankets, or anything else you set your mind to. This crochet starter kit has everything you need to begin your first project. Let your creativity drive you!
  • – Read – Discover a good book and get lost in another world for a while.
  • – Draw – Get out a piece of paper and a pen and try doodling. You don’t have to be an artist to have fun with it.
  • – Do a Puzzle – Try this positivity puzzle and let your mind wander while the pieces come together before your eyes.

Keep trying new things until you find a hobby you love. There’s something out there for everyone!

Make the Most of Your Time
No matter how busy your kids keep you, it’s important to take time alone so that you can recharge. Take advantage of the rare opportunities for alone time when they present themselves, but also make sure to schedule it in when you need a breather.

Family Time

With these four tips, you’ll not only start making more time for yourself, but you’ll also be able to use that time in the way that’s best for you.

Amazon Book Coupon – Save $5 Off Of $20

This post contains affiliate links.
Book Coupon

My favorite coupon is back, the Amazon Book Coupon!!  It will save you $5 off a $20 book purchase.

This is a great coupon any day but it’s especially nice now because there are already so many great books already marked down on Amazon.  For full details on this promotion click here.

Last week, Amazon hosted a buy 3 books for the price of 2 sale (which is sadly over) and I scoured their list of included books for my favorite books.  These are books that I either personally own, have read and loved, have bought for others because I enjoyed it so, or they’re on my book wish list.  The list covers both children and adult books.  Even though that sale is over, if you’d like to view that list you can see that by clicking here.

Speaking of lists on Amazon, you can find my Open Ended Toy Play List here.

 

Charlotte Mason Quotes + Free Printable

This post contains affiliate links.

An Observant Child Charlotte Mason Quote

Charlotte Mason is one of my educational heroes.  I love learning so much as I’m slowly making my way through her volumes.  You can check them out Charlotte Mason’s volumes here on Amazon.  We all need a little motivation from time to time and Charlotte Mason always rejuvenates me.  She was quite an inspiring lady who was far ahead of her time!  I’ve been collecting several great Charlotte Mason quotes from her as I’m going through them and this one especially stuck out to me.  I knew I wanted it to be in my homeschool room so I made this printable.  I’m sharing it here today in case anyone else would like to have this sweet reminder in their home too.  I know the pumpkins are a little out of season (I made this in the fall) but I think I’ll keep mine up year round…till I decide to replace it with my next Charlotte Mason quote.

May we all put our children in the way of things worth observing.

You can click the link below to download this pdf.

An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing.” -Charlotte Mason

Here are some other of my favorite Charlotte Mason Quotes that I’ve come across so far.

 

“Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend…”-Charlotte Mason

That one is convicting, isn’t it?

 

“The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.” -Charlotte Mason

Also convicting but it simultaneously motivates me to step it up.

 

“Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking – the strain would be too great – but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest.” -Charlotte Mason

Life should be all living.  I think of this quote just about daily.

 

“Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.” -Charlotte Mason

I do love this one too!

 

“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” -Charlotte Mason

How large is the room?  I love it!!  What a great view of education.

 

“The most common and the monstrous defect in the education of the day is that children fail to acquire the habit of reading.” -Charlotte Mason

Yes!  It’s a great habit that is worth the investment.