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Valentine’s Day Luminaries

ValentinesDayLuminaries via @mvemother #Holidays #Crafts #Projects
This post originally appeared on Create.Craft.Love. on January 13, 2015.

As a homeschooler holiday themed projects offer a break that both the children and I need…as long as I remember them! This is what normally happens the months, weeks and days leading up to a holiday. I mark the calendar, scour Pinterest, make plans, gather supplies, and wait until the right time to get crafty with the kids! Then the night before I'm rushing to the only open store in town, grabbing a box of pre-made cookies and the last box of Hello Kitty valentines. Well not this year!

This year instead of putting off our holiday projects until the last minute, or skipping them entirely, we’re resolving to make them as important a part of our schedule as core subjects. And to start things off we’re using everyday items from around the house to create these quick and easy Valentine Luminaries. These adorable little lights add a warm, cozy glow to the dinner table and help get everyone in a lovey spirit!

Supplies Needed
  • pink or red tissue paper
  • wax paper
  • flameless tea light candles
  • scissors
  • iron and ironing board
  • towel
  • transparent tape
tissuepaperhearts #kidsactivities #holidayprojects #ValentinesDayProjects
First, I cut my wax paper into strips 10” long and 6” wide; then I folded and creased them so that they measured 10”x3”. Next the kids and I cut out tissue paper hearts, being sure that none were more than 2 1/2” tall so that they’d fit within our wax paper.

foldedwaxpaper #ValentinesDayCrafts #ValentinesDay #luminaries
Secondly, we laid out our hearts in various patterns inside the wax paper and once we were satisfied we folded it over.

  tissueheartsandwaxpaper #holidaycrafting #quickandeasycrafts
For this next step I took over, placing the paper under a plain cotton towel and ironing it for one minute.

*The iron will need to be on the highest setting and the steam function turned off. In fact, I removed all the water  from my iron because it doesn’t take much steam for the paper to curl and ruin your project. *

Once they cooled, the kids taped the ends of the strips together and we placed them around the tea light candles. Super easy and super cute!

Note: Originally we were going to trim the top of the luminaries with love-themed washi tape but after trying it out we preferred the softer look you get without it.

valentineheartluminaries #kidscrafts #ValentinesDayCrafts #luminaries #papercrafts
Erin Sipes
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How to Make Brussels Sprouts Your Family Will Actually Eat!

Brussels sprouts have a bad reputation,especially with kids. While they may not be anyone’s favorite (yet) they can be a delicious addition to any meal with just a little bit of work!

How to Make Brussels Sprouts Your Family Will EAT!

When I first tried cooking these little buds I got the smallest ones I could find, boiled them into submission with a healthy dose of butter, and enjoyed them…well enough. The problem was I was the only one willingly eating them. Both my husband and kids didn’t really care for them so I tried a different approach.

There are few vegetables that aren’t spectacularly delicious when roasted…so yummy! Well, the sprouts where yummy to me. Once again, my family would begrudgingly put the required spoonful on their plate and complain the entire time they’d eat that ONE bite. They were fine with the crunchy, spicier outside of the sprout, it was the compacted leaves at the core they just didn’t want.

Well, that can be easily fixed! When you roast Brussels spouts you usually cut off the stems and then half, or quarter them. By adding one extra step to my prep work I had the pickiest eater of the bunch saying, “Those were actually good.” Read the recipe below to find out what I did!

Erin Sipes
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Valentine’s Day Idea: Like a Moth to a Flame Jar

valentinesjaridea #ValentinesDay #crafts #giftinajar via @mvemother

I’ve been wanting to come up with a jar craft, I like dioramas, and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. After a little bit of brainstorming I mashed it all together and came up with this: Like a Moth to the Flame, I’m Drawn to You! gift jar. 

Since the toddler of the house has regressed and can’t seem to be away from me longer than 30 minutes at a time, I’m going to try to keep this short.

To make your own moth gift jar you’ll need: a jar, craft paper, small pebbles, moss, pipe cleaner, string, paint and paintbrush, and a hot glue gun.

#ValentinesDay #crafts #giftinajar

1. Cut out your flames and moth wings.

2. Use the pipecleaner, paper, and string to fashion a moth.

3. Hot glue your flames and pebbles into the bottom of the jar to create a campfire scene.

4. Add moss.

5. Hot glue your moth to the lid of the jar so that it will hang.

6. On the lid, carefully paint, “Like a moth to a flame I’m drawn to you.”

While this craft didn’t turn out nearly as neat (and I mean that literally) as I’d hoped it is still a clever idea that’d I’d proudly give to my husband…had he not watched me make it.

Erin Sipes
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Wordless Wednesday

calendar #wordlesswednesday

Why do I even pretend I could BE wordless?

You’d think at nearly 40 years old I’d learn not to procrastinate and get better at prioritizing. I should be finishing up the photos I started to edit or the half completed blog posts I’ve written (most of which aren’t even for here), or grading a stack of Math lessons (I love Saxon but seriously there are too many worksheets!), or starting an excel sheet to help keep track of cookie sales and orders (see photo above). Instead, I’m staying up late, consoling a one year old and reminding myself that there will come a time when he’ll become the 17 year old down the hall.

Erin Sipes
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Yertle the Turtle Stacking Game

On a day when we celebrate a great American leader I’m so happy to be bringing you this particular Seuss inspired activity! It’s as much about an oppressed turtle named Mack as it is about Yertle. I hope you enjoy it!

YertletheTurtleStackingGame #Seussactivities #kidsgames @mvemother
Yertle the Turtle is the title story in a collection by Theodor Geisel and it is by far one of my favorite Seuss tales.* It tells of Yertle, the king of the turtles, who grows unhappy with his modest stone throne and commands all the other turtles to form a stack so that he may sit upon them and be the highest in all the land. I’m sure you can guess what happens. The book ends with this great line,
“And turtles, of course ... all the turtles are free
As turtles, and maybe, all creatures should be.”
For this activity you will need to read Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, it’s a must! You’ll also need:
  • at least 10 stackable stones (try to keep your number even if your going to be playing with more than one child)
  • paint brushes and spouncers
  • green paint in two shades
prepaintedrocks #craftlightning #kidscrafts #kidsactivities
Use the paint to turn your stones into turtles! You can get as fancy, or simple, as you want. I let the kids do the painting and it took them less than 10 minutes. We divided the turtles in half and made light and dark turtles by using the spouncer to create a body and a brush to paint a head, tail, legs, and arms.

paintingturtles #craftlightning #kidscrafts #kidsactivities
To play all you need to do is start stacking. If you’ve painted two different types of turtles you can see who can stack the fastest or highest. We took turns making one giant stack, like in the story, it’d get pretty high before it’d tip over!

turtlestack #Seussactivities #craftlightning #kidscrafts #kidsactivities

To see more Seuss Edition Craft Lightning projects be sure to click the box above!

yertletheturtlegame  #Seussactivities #kidsgames @mvemother
*Can I let you in on a little secret? Over ten years ago I took a single author course on Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss). It wasn’t as easy a class as you might have imagined, and like most artist profile studies, afterwards I was left with a conflicted view of the man behind the phenomenon. Maybe that’s why I’m just now getting around to creating a Seuss project. Despite the misgivings I may have about his personal life, I still respect his talent, in particular his later works, like Yertle, that spoke to the societal issues of his time that trouble us to this day.
Erin Sipes
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Valentine’s Day Treats: 12 Fruit Desserts

To know me is to know my love for rich, overly sweet, completely delectable desserts. When you go out to eat with friends maybe you say things like, “I just can’t eat another bite of this {insert crazy awesome dessert here}.” I, on the other hand, have not only finished my piece of {insert crazy awesome dessert here} but I’m eyeing yours as well.

Still, after the holidays and all that buttery baking, my body screams for fruit, plus I’m good at convincing myself it’s better for me than dipping a chocolate bar in the peanut butter. So here are a dozen fruity desserts to make this Valentine’s Day (or any day really). Oh, and I lied, a couple don’t have fruit, but we can pretend they do, right?

nobakestrawberrycheesecakeNo Bake Strawberry Cheesecake via Simply Stacie. Because you fruit makes cheesecake good for you! I swear.

Erin Sipes
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Setting SMART Goals

Disclaimer: When I write posts like this one I always hear a voice of skepticism asking who I think I am to be spouting out advice? I’m a horrible procrastinator, planner, follow-upper, etc. What do I have to offer? I guess I’m offering the only thing I can, my experience. Hope you’re able to get something from it even if it’s just a printable!

Setting SMART Goals via @mvemother #SMARTgoals

Yes, I’m aware that New Year’s was a couple weeks ago and yes, I’m also aware that most people make their resolutions,complete with bells, whistles, and gym memberships, at that time. But see, there actually isn’t one set time to make a resolution, set a goal, or choose a word. Deciding a change is needed doesn’t always happen in a calendar year nor is it something you can schedule for when the time is right. When the desire to have more, be more, reach for more, or even dream of more hits you…you need to run with it! That said, the pristinely clean pages of a new calendar always make for a great motivator. It’s like they’re screaming, “Will you do something already!?”

It’s been my experience that the best way to get started is to put pen to paper and come up with a SMART goal and the strategies you’ll use to reach it. SMART is a mnemonic acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. If you Google it you’ll find out that some use different words like Time-Bound or Realistic but the gist of it stays the same.

SMARTGoals 2015

My SMART Goal for 2015 printable

To figure out your SMART goals and really get them to work for you start off by answering the following questions. DO NOT spend ions of time on this step! This is not the to-do list, this is the bigger picture to which your to-do list will lead.

Specific: What exactly is it you want to accomplish?

Measurable: How will you know you’ve accomplished your goal?

Attainable: What needs to happen for you to reach your goal?

Relevant: Is this something that is important to you and your life right now?

Timely: What is the time frame in which you hope to accomplish this goal?


My SMART Strategies printable

Next up, Strategies! Again, we’re working on a broader level, still not on the to-do list. For example; if my SMART goal is to grow my blog stats by 50% before the end of the year then a strategy might be focusing my attention on one or two social media platforms.

Wait for it…

NOW it’s time to write your to-dos but don’t write one giant list. Instead grab your calendar and a notepad. For each strategy you came up with write a task list. If your tasks are time specific don’t just add them to your this month’s calendar pages, add them to EVERY month’s pages!! Then if when you slack off it’ll be there…staring at you…mocking you…judging you…okay, maybe it only judges me. Anyway, keeping with the earlier example my task list might look like this:

  • Post 3 times a day
  • Pin daily (25 pins to include my work, group boards, repins, etc.)
  • Comment at least once a day

P.S. If you’re not already doing it, take advantage of the free calendar apps and services out there! I will never give up my pen and paper BUT there are many days it’s those reminders popping up that keeps me on task!

I feel like there is more I should, and could, be saying but I don’t want to waste anymore of your time! If you’re like me you’ll visit at least three or four other sites before you actually get started. I’ll let them fill in the details I didn’t touch on and tell you not to get discouraged, be realistic, and it’s okay to have setbacks. Now, go out there and make things happen!

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Erin Sipes
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Valentine’s Day Craft: Heart Flowers

This post and video were sponsored by Adhesive Technologies, views and opinions expressed are my own.

Valentine's Day Craft: Heart Flowers #adtechhoa via @mvemother

One of my resolutions for the new year is to add more fun to our homeschooling routine. I remember getting excited when new holiday decorations went up in the classroom and I want my kids to have that feeling too. So, we’re working together to make more projects like these Heart Flowers!

To make your own flowers you’ll need six pieces of craft foam cut 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, green pipe cleaners, and of course, the Dot Glue Runner by AdTech. You can always change things up by using different colors of foam or making your hearts a different size.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit Crafty Hangouts for more great crafting projects using AdTech adhesives and glue guns or search the #adtechhoa hashtag!

Erin Sipes
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Felt Phrase Banners

Felt Phrase Banners via @mvemother

Every year I convince myself that I’m going to use Christmas break to get caught up on all my little projects so I can start the new year with a clean slate. Instead, I usually get swept away by the hustle and bustle of the season ‘cause it’s just so much fun!

Speaking of fun, this project is a great way to take your favorite phrases, or maybe your word for the year, and turn them into snazzy banners you’ll want to hang throughout the house. These banners require little time or supplies and instead of relying on a dowel for hanging I'm using a straw, yep, a straw!

Supplies Needed
  • felt
  • scissors
  • marker
  • straw
  • string


Step 1: Write out your message. You don’t need perfect handwriting but using a ruler will help you to space out your letters.

WritingPhrase #crafts #feltcrafts #coolcrafts
Step 2: Cut out your letters. Again don’t worry about being perfect, just trim around the outside of your letters so that none of the markings remain.

Cuttingoutphrase #Crafts #banners #felt
Step 3: Glue on your straw. Place the straw a couple inches from the top of the banner and glue it down. Then cover the straw by folding over and gluing down the top.

InsertingStrawforHanging #DIY #crafts #awesomeideas
I used standard sized sheets of felt which were the same width as the straws I was using. If yours don’t line up you may have to trim the straw so it doesn’t show.

*UPDATE: Doh! I forgot to mention the next step. Weave the string through the straw, tie up the ends, center your banner, and it's ready for hanging!

Felt Banners via @mvemother #awesomecrafts #DIY #banners
There you have it, a fun felt banner fit for a queen!

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Erin Sipes
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