Friday, June 28, 2013

Crafty Friday - 4th of July Rag Wreath

While decorating for 4th of July I needed a wreath for the door to my laundry room, I couldn't leave an empty hook up.  So I decided to pull out my supplies and see what I could come up with.  I decided to make a rag wreath.

Supplies needed:
Scraps of fabric
Wreath Form ( I used a 12" Styrofoam wreath)
Floral Pin for Hanging
Scissors to cut the fabric

First, I took my fabric scraps and cut them into pieces about 1" wide and 14" long.  They don't need to be precise or exactly straight and even.  I used 108 strips for this wreath and it was VERY full.   Next, I took a strip of fabric and wrapped the strip around the wreath form and then tied a simple knot on the outside.

I kept wrapping the fabric around the wreath and knotting it.  Every few strips I would push them together to make them a little tighter.
Cutting and wrapping this project is the perfect time for catching up on any television shows you are behind on!  Keep wrapping and tying until the wreath is as full as you want.  It doesn't have to be perfect because once it is done, it all blends together. Finally, I took a floral pin and pushed it into the back of the wreath for hanging on my command hook.

Hang the wreath on your hook and admire! 

Don't forget to come back for more 4th of July tutorials!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

4th of July Entryway

I finally got around to putting up my 4th of July decorations.  I have an alcove in my entryway and love to change it up for the holidays.   Here is the before........

And here is the after................

Join me over the next few days and I will share the details on how to make some of the decorations.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Water Wednesday - Sink or Float

Thanks for coming back for another Water Wednesday!  

We have had a busy crazy week already and Wednesday snuck up on me.  We had been swimming everyday but I hadn't decided on a post for today.  My little guy actually came up with today's post by himself!    We did a sink or float experiment.   You could do this in the pool or a water table or a kiddie pool. 

First, my little guy ran around collecting items from around the house to test whether they sank or float.  We had everything from a rock, to plastic buckets, to pretend food, to dive toys.  And of course he had to add in some superheroes and villains.  Then, we just took items and before throwing them into the pool tried to guess whether they would sink or float.  Then, my little guy tossed the items in and was excited when he had guessed right. 

The best part was when the items sank - my little guy then would dive under the water to get them. 

 He had so much fun he kept running around trying to find more things to test!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tip Tuesday - Filler for a Bowl

I was decorating for 4th of July and had some patriotic hats I wanted to put in a bowl and then put on a sofa table. I didn't have enough to fill the bowl so I came up with a way to fill the bowl without buying more hats.  

All you need is your bowl or vase and then a smaller bowl or cup. 
I usually use a Princess House Trifle Bowl on the sofa table.  So I chose a smaller clear bowl and turned it upside down and placed it inside the larger bowl.  I used clear so that if there was any spaces it wouldn't be noticeable.

Then I took and filled the bowl with the hats--the bowl looked full without having to buy more.  You can do this with any bowl or vase to save money! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Recipe Monday - 4th of July Pancakes

Thanks for joining me for another Recipe Monday!! 

My boys love having pancakes for breakfast, okay anything with carbs!  Around the holidays I try to make them a little different and special.  Here are some ideas for you! 

Ingredients Needed:
Your favorite pancake mix or recipe
Colored sprinkles
Food Coloring
Cookie Cutters

First, mix your favorite pancake mix according to the directions.  I like to make things easy, so I use Bisquick HeartSmart.   Next, evenly divide the batter into three bowls.   Into one of the bowls mix drops of red food coloring and stir until blended.  Into one of the other bowls mix drops of blue food coloring and stir until blended.  The third bowl leave plain for the white. 

Heat your pancake griddle  while mixing batter.  Once heated you can start making pancakes.   First, I made some white circles and before flipping them over sprinkled red, white, and blue 4th of July sprinkles into the pancake.  I finished cooking as usual.

After that I took the red pancake batter and with a spoon drizzled some on the griddle in a "firework" pattern.  Then, I took the blue pancake batter and drizzled it over the red batter. Then, finished cooking as usual.  My little guy thought it was cool. 

I also made some white circles with 4th of July sprinkles and after it had cooked used a star shaped cookie cutter to cut it out.

I continued doing different colors and shapes until the batter was all used up.   I also snuck some red and blue M & M 's into a few for me!  An easy and fun idea to make a holiday morning more fun.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Crafty Friday - 4th of July Banner

Welcome to Crafty Friday! 

I have this wall in my entryway that someday, in my spare time, I plan on putting family photos up on.  But for now it is blank and empty.

At Christmas time I hung a red ribbon with command strips and hung my Christmas cards there.  So, then I decided for the different holidays and seasons I would hang banners from it. 
Today I am going to show you how I made one for the 4th of July. 

Materials Needed:

6 paper lunch sacks                           Mini Clothespins
Coordinating scrapbook paper          Ruler
Paper Trimmer                                  Scissors
Double Stick Tape                            

First, I measured the paper bags and trimmed my base scrapbook papers to between an 1/8 " and 1/4" shorter than the paper bags on all edges.   Then, I adhered the trimmed scrapbook paper to the paper lunch bags with double stick tape.

Next, I eyeballed where I wanted to make a V shape at the bottom of the paper lunch bag through both the bag and paper and made my cuts.  You could measure it and then cut it, but I was being lazy. 

Next, I used my Silhouette to cut the letters U, S and A and some stars out of white scrapbook paper.  You could also use a stencil or free hand it.  Then, with the double stick tape I adhered them to the bags. 

Finally, I took mini clothespins and  hung them on the ribbon. 
Festive, quick, and easy!

Thanks for joining me today and check back for more of my 4th of July decorations! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Water Wednesday - Water Balloon Word Toss

Welcome to Water Wednesday!  

Thanks for coming back for another Water Wednesday!  Today we did an easy and fun word game with water balloons.   All you need are two things - water balloons and chalk.

If your kids are impatient like mine is you will want to make your water balloons ahead of time.  We bought a water balloon pump from a local store that came with water balloons.  It worked, but was slow going and gave my arm a workout.   After filling the water balloons we went outside and with the chalk I wrote sight words on the driveway.   You could also put the names of colors, letter, numbers, shapes, or whatever words you would like your child to work on. 

And of course we had to add a few names of heroes and villains from Batman.  Have your child take a water balloon and as you call out a word, have them toss the balloon at the word.   A word of advice, if your driveway slopes have them stand at the end of the driveway and toss the balloons up or else you will be chasing them down the driveway like I did.   For every sight word my little guy got correct I then called out a name from Batman and let him throw a balloon at that name. 

This was our first time throwing water balloons and once he got the hang of how hard to throw them to make them break he had a great time - and I snuck in some learning at the same time!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Recipe Monday - Hermits

Welcome to Recipe Monday!  

The recipe I have for you today is one my Great Grandmother used to make.  I remember going to visit her in the summer on Cape Cod and she would have these yummy breakfast treats for us that she called hermits.   And if we were really good we got to have them as snacks too!

 1 cup sugar                                         1/2 tsp. nutmeg
 1/2 cup vegetable oil                          1/2 tsp. cinnamon
 3 cups flour                                         1/2 cup milk
 1 tsp. baking soda                               1/2 cup molasses
 1/2 tsp. salt                                                             1 cup raisins

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees .

First, mix together the sugar and the oil in a bowl and set aside.   Then, sift together ALL the dry ingredients into another bowl. 
In another bowl mix together the molasses and the milk ( I use 2% milk and they come out the same as with whole milk)  After mixing the molasses and milk together slowly add it to the sugar and oil mixture stirring well.   Then blend this mixture together with the dry ingredients  until well mixed.  Gently fold in the raisins.

Next, spread the mixture into a cookie sheet.  I used my largest cookie sheet - it is about 17 x  11.  And I did not grease it.  

Put into the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes.   You want them to be a golden brown and when a toothpick is stuck into the center no raw dough or crumbs should come back out on the toothpick.  

Let the hermits cool completely before cutting into squares.  I cut them right in the cookie sheet.  Store the hermits in an airtight container for about a week.  And I usually put wax paper in between the layers of the hermits so they don't stick together.   If you like, they can be frozen for about 2 months.  

Hermits make a great breakfast treat and my husband says they taste great with a cup of coffee! 


Friday, June 14, 2013

Crafty Friday - Lightswitch Covers

Welcome to Crafty Friday!

I am always looking for little ways to personalize the rooms in my house and wanted to change out my switch plate covers.  Well, after shopping the home improvement stores and realizing how expensive they are, I turned to pinterest.   I came across the idea to cover them with scrapbook paper - brilliant!!  But even better you can also do the same thing with fabric.  It is cheap, easy, and changeable.  

You can change them from drab.......

to fab ...............................

All you need is a scrap of fabric or scrapbook paper to match your d├ęcor, a pair of scissors, a screwdriver, and double stick tape.  

First, take the switch plate cover off the wall and lay face down on a piece of scrapbook paper or fabric and trace around the plate.  Then trim the paper or fabric down adding an extra 1/2 inch all around.  After it is trimmed to size, lay the switch plate cover down again and pull the paper/fabric over the edges and secure with double stick tape.  A lot of the pinterest tutorials used spray adhesive or mod podge to secure the paper/fabric to the plates.  I like to change things out a lot and wanted to be able to remove them without having to replace the covers from possible damage, so I used double stick tape.  Continue taping down around all edges.  It won't look pretty but no one will see it -  it is the back.   Be careful when using scrapbook paper to not pull too hard because you could rip it on the corners (I did the first time)

Next, I cut an X in the middle of  the fabric/paper for each opening on the plate. 

Then, I taped back the fabric/paper to the switch plate.

Again, it doesn't look pretty but no one will see it.   Then I took the screwdriver and located where the holes are and carefully poked the screwdriver through the fabric/paper to make holes for the screws to go back through.  All that is left to do is reattach to the wall and you are done.  

My little guy was so excited to have a Batman switch plate cover - and it was so easy!  I also recovered the switch plate cover in my little girl's room. 

I have done this in almost all my rooms and when they get dirty or I get bored they remove easily and can be changed.   Happy Covering!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Water Wednesday - Frozen Toys

Welcome to Water Wednesday!!

Today is an activity we have done a few times and my son adores - free the toys from the ice blocks!!   All you need are some of your child's plastic toys, plastic containers, and water.

Since my son loves Superheroes, I took a few of the heroes and placed them in plastic containers.   You could use animals, dinosaurs, bugs - anything that is all plastic - no fabric or hair ! Then you fill the containers with water until the toys are covered.  Then, place the containers in the freezer - we froze them overnight.

The next day, I popped them out of the containers and placed them in our empty water table.  You could place them on a deck, the ground, a plastic pool, wherever you want the mess to be contained.   Then I filled a larger bucket with water for him to fill his squirt gun and containers with. We used our Max Liquidator Water Sprayers to spray water at the frozen blocks of ice. 

You could use measuring cups, buckets, measuring spoons - whatever your kids can fill with water. After a while my little guy switched to a plastic watering can and bucket to free his guys quicker.  You can also freeze two containers of plastic toys like we did and have a race to see who can free their toys first.  My little Batman even made up a story to tell me as he was freeing them.  It involved Mr. Freeze and Batman of course!!!   After a while of getting the toys and himself wet they were free!

It is a fun activity for a hot day and best of all, it doesn't cost anything!!  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Recipe Monday - Bowtie Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

Welcome to the first Recipe Monday!!! 

My boys and husband would eat pasta everyday if they could, where I am not a big fan of pasta - especially any with red sauce.   This recipe is one all of us will eat and love.  And even better it gets my boys to eat broccoli!!!!  It is called Bowtie Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli.  

Ingredients Needed:
    Bowtie Pasta
    Broccoli (fresh or frozen)
    Olive Oil
    Seasoning (we use Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb)

First, you need to cut your chicken into chunks or cubes.   I usually use boneless breasts or strips but have when I am in a hurry also used the packages of grilled precooked chicken and cut those into pieces and just heated them.  Then, take some olive oil and coat the bottom of a skillet and heat over medium heat.  Add your chicken to the hot skillet.  While the chicken is browning I sprinkle some of the Weber Roasted Garlic and Herb seasoning over it.   When cooked through and browned remove from pan.  Place the chicken in a bowl.

While the chicken is cooking you can boil your water and cook your pasta according to the directions on the box.  When the pasta is done cooking, drain it.

For the broccoli, I usually buy the steam in the bag kind and it cooks in the microwave in about 5 minutes.  You can also buy and cook fresh broccoli if you would like but I think the frozen tastes just as good and is much quicker. 

Once the pasta and the broccoli are both done, add them to the bowl with the chicken.   Stir them together.  Then I take and sprinkle some of the Weber Roasted Garlic and Herb seasoning over the mixture and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.   Mix together again.  If the pasta looks too dry add some more olive oil by the teaspoon.  You don't want too much olive oil - just enough for the seasoning to stick too. 

 That's it - just serve and enjoy!!   I usually will serve it with a tossed salad and garlic bread.  Yummy, quick, and easy!!   


Friday, June 7, 2013

Crafty Friday - Father's Day Frame

Welcome to the first Crafty Friday!!!

Today's craft is an easy one you can do with the kids for Father's Day.  It is a Father's Day Picture Frame. 

  Supplies Needed:
  Wood Frame (I got mine in the $1 section at Michael's)
   Wood Letters
   Foam Sponge Brushes
   Glue Gun or Wood Glue
    Picture for the frame

First we painted our wood frame in blue (for Batman since my little one is obsessed with Batman) using a foam sponge brush.  I use these all the time because they are cheap and I can just throw them out and not have to wash them.   The wood frame soaks up the paint so we had to do 3 coats.  Allow to dry in between coats.   We also painted the back and the stick included for making the frame stand. 

You could also choose to put scrapbook paper on the frame using mod podge or spray adhesive.

In between coats we painted the wood letters in a white paint. (and played Hi Ho Cheerio)  We chose to spell out the word "DAD".   You could spell out Family or Father or leave off the wood letters altogether.  Whatever your kids choose.  The letters only took two coats. 

Next I glued the letters onto the frame using my hot glue gun. PLEASE do not allow the children to do this step as glue guns are hot and dangerous.  You could also use wood glue to adhere the letters onto the frame.

At this point your kids could add stickers, gems, glitter, feathers, whatever do-dads you have in your craft box.  My little guy just wanted it plain because as he said "Daddy isn't fancy schmancy." He is too funny!!!

Finally we printed a picture of him from the computer.  I just printed it onto plain copy paper because once inside the frame it looked just as good as photo paper.   

And there you have a personalized Father's Day gift!  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Water Wednesday

Welcome to the first Water Wednesday!  Every Wednesday throughout the summer I will post a game or learning activity you can do with the kids in the yard or in the pool to stay cool. 

We live in Orlando so it always seems to be hot here. My kids are like fish and would live in the pool if I let them.  They have these squirt guns called Max Liquidators (thanks to the boys Nana) for the pool.

They always seem to be trying to squirt me or the cats or each other which causes trouble.  So I came up with an about squirting at targets!!  The supplies needed are easy and inexpensive- right up my alley.  

First I printed off some pictures from the web of Batman Villains since my little guy is obsessed with Batman.  You can print as many images as you want and you could do any theme you wanted. 

Then I ran the images through my laminator but you could also put them between two pieces of contact paper or even seal them in plastic bags.  I trimmed my shapes down but you don't have to. 

Next tape the images around your pool area.  I used painters tape because it holds well and doesn't leave a residue when removed.   For extra exercise you could post them around the yard and have the kids run around to different images squirting at them.

Then just aim and squirt and have fun!!!  (And yes eventually the boys start squirting each other again!)     I hope you enjoy this fun game and check back for more Water Wednesday ideas!!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Welcome to Lisa's Little Joys!!!!!

Thank you for visiting my new blog.  This is my very first official post and I am so excited.  
I started this blog to be able to share my craft ideas, recipes, kids activities/crafts, and some of the cool ideas I find on pinterest.  My plan is to have a post three times a week right now. Mondays will be Recipe Mondays.  It will highlight a recipe or meal idea. Since I live in Orlando and it is always hot and right now school is out, Wednesdays will be Water Wednesdays.  I will share an idea of a game or activity to do outside or in the pool to stay cool.  Then on Fridays I will have Crafty Friday.  It will be a craft project or a pin that I am attempting.  Then some days there will a surprise post thrown in when another idea hits me! 
Thanks for stopping by and I would love for you to come back and join me on my new adventure!!!