Pixelteca Art and Design

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Car Trip Activities for Kids: The Results

We drove to Disneyland from Washington State with four kids…and survived!

Disneyland Car Activities

I was going to simply update my post Awesome Car Trip Activities for Kids with info on what worked and what didn’t, but that post was already insanely long!  So today’s post is a follow up to that post.  Sort of a before and after deal.

You should definitely read the first post since I am going to just refer to the activities that I gathered and made rather than fill out this post with the information a second time.

Now, I’m not going to lie, parts of the trip were ROUGH!  We drove 1,100 miles each way, taking two days to drive down, and driving back up in one shot.  However, out of four kids we really only had trouble with one, so that’s pretty good!  I have three words for you…two, year, old.

Disneyland Car Activities

Oh yes, Patrick was a bit difficult.  Norman, the 6 month old did great, and the two girls (ages 8 and 5) were awesome.

The difficulties did not come from lack of activities though!  Armed with my insane amount of activities for the kids, tons of snacks, plenty of water, and every comfort I could think of, we were pretty well set.  In fact, we didn’t even use all of the activities I brought!

I kept asking the girls if they would like a new activity and they kept saying they were fine.  And Patrick turned down activities offered during his tantrums. :)

We left the house just before 5:00 a.m., so for a while we tried to have the kids sleep.  Once everyone was definitely up for the day and we’d had breakfast I handed out some basic activities: their clipboards, Twistable crayons, sketch pads, pencil pouch sets, and folders with printed car games.

Disneyland Car Trip Activities

From there I just handed back an activity whenever they asked.  Here’s a list of all the activities I brought, what we used, and which ones were big hits:

  • Clipboards- very handy as a hard writing surface
  • Folders with printed games- great, they kept coming back to these
  • Sketch pads- these were great for drawing, they kept coming back to them
  • Twistables- the only way to go for coloring utensils in the car!
  • Pencil pouch sets- they loved these, and the pop up pencils were perfect
  • Color Wonder sets- AMAZING!!!  Don’t leave home without these!
  • Stickers- they didn’t really use these much
  • Flash cards- didn’t use
  • Phonics flash cards- didn’t use
  • Books- didn’t use
  • Brain Quest flash deck- didn’t use
  • Paint chip colors book- this was for Patrick and he loved it, didn’t last long though
  • Pipe cleaners- they really liked these, used them when we were almost home
  • Post Its- didn’t use (used on the next trip and they had fun with them)
  • Sewing- the girls love sewing, but they only did this once then moved on
  • Felt fishing set- didn’t use (used on the next trip and were a huge hit! We keep them in the car permanently and they love playing with it!)
  • Lacing cards- these were good, great for all the ages
  • Lalaloopsy magnetic dolls- didn’t use (used on the next trip, the girls really liked them, Patrick was upset he didn’t have one so they had to share)
  • Card games- didn’t use in the car, but used once we were there
  • Magnadoodles- didn’t use in the car, but used once we were there
  • Felt cupcake/ice cream- they liked this, but it took me longer to make than the time they played with it!
  • Princesses on sticks- they liked these but not as much as…
  • Cousins on sticks- these!  They LOVED these!
  • Thomas the Train puzzles- didn’t use
  • Rosaries- this was a great way to start our trip, by praying together
  • Bible story cards- didn’t use
  • Little Flower workbooks- didn’t use
  • Virtue stories book- didn’t use
  • Little Flower Saint cards- didn’t use
  • Princess sticker book- didn’t use
  • Sticker activity pads- Loved these
  • Frozen CD- they loved this (Thanks Jaime and Cadence!), so much so that Nick was ready to toss it out the window!  He even made up his own song “Let it go…out the window…”
  • Movies- yes, we did use a few movies.  I think all together they watched either two or three, not bad for 48 hours on the road!
  • Gum- fun for the girls
  • Disney Pez dispensers- they loved these!

That’s the run down.  Best activity we had was hands down the Color Wonder sets!  The kids LOVED them!  It was the only activity that would calm Patrick down.  Then he sat and colored so intently!  And I love that the markers will only color on the paper.  No marker mess everywhere.  Thank you Crayola, I love you!

Disneyland Car Activities

Disneyland Car Activities

They also totally loved their cousins on sticks that I made.  Seriously, so fun!  They got such a kick out of playing themselves and their cousins.

Disneyland Car Activities

Other items that were awesome to have were the grab claw things (what are those called?), eye masks, motion sickness bands, a container “just in case” (barf bucket), lightweight jackets with no hoods, a full container of wipes for wiping hands, faces, etc., full size hand sanitizer (I always have this in the car), and applesauce squeeze pouches.

Disneyland Car Activities

Things I hadn’t thought about were: we had no floor space to play the felt fishing game, it is too hard to hear from front to back of the van for reading out loud, and Patrick can’t peel stickers off on his own.  Unless you don’t want him to.

Some of our activities came with us into Disneyland.  I hadn’t thought about it beforehand, but once we got there I realized that some activities for times we had to wait in line would be great.  So each day we brought our sketch pads, Twistables, Disney card games, and mini magnadoodles into Disneyland with us.  They didn’t take up much space, and the kids definitely used them!

Oh, and our method for tracking our trip progress was awesome!  I cut out a mini-van shape on my Silhouette.  Rather than moving it along a string like the original post, I hot glued a piece of Mickey Mouse ribbon to the back, and a piece of Velcro to the other end.  We just stuck the Velcro end of the ribbon to the ceiling of the van!  That was Nick’s idea.  He is so good at coming up with solutions to my crafty problems!  Then we moved the van every 100 miles.  The kids loved it, and were uncanny in their ability to know when we had gone almost 100 miles!  I swear, they asked within 15 miles each time if it was time to move the van!

Disneyland Car Activities

Disneyland Car Activities

I will be posting more tips and tricks from our recent trip to Disneyland soon. 

Hair Bow Baby Shower Gift

Hooray, it’s Friday!!!  Olivia has no school today, so that’s fun.  And Nora comes home today after spending all week at Grandma’s, playing with cousin Anastasia.  We are excited to get our little ball of energy back!

The downside to this fun day is that our kitchen sink is backed up.  My wonderful, and very handy husband has been unable to fix it.  Wow, it sure reminds you how blessed we are with all these modern conveniences.  I am facing a day with no kitchen sink!

In my last two posts I’ve shown you some gifts I’ve made for babies getting ready to make their arrival.  Today I am going to show you another part of those gifts.

 As I explained in my snuggle pillow post, everyone is having baby boys this year (including me!), except my relatives.  We are expecting three baby girls in the next two months.  I couldn’t possibly send off gifts for baby girls without including hair bows!

I put together a kit of bows to get these little sweethearts started off.  I included a pretty lacy little headband for each, and several handmade bows.  Each of these bows is backed with a ribbon lined alligator clip, and has a non-slip grip.

These cute little hair accessories can be clipped onto the headband, and as the girls grow older, can be clipped directly onto their hair.

I seriously could have gone crazy making bows, and for sure my little soon to be niece will receive more in time, but for now I just wanted a starter set.  The group above is for Bridget’s baby.

 I think my favorite clips are these cute little felt flowers.  They are so sweet, and will match almost anything.  You might think the red is a little out of place for a baby girl, but I was thinking about how many holidays use red…St. Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Christmas…it is actually pretty versatile.

I am terrible about taking pictures while I work, so I have no picture tutorial for you.  And I don’t really have a single source to provide for you.  There are tons of these on Pinterest.  I used a tutorial to get me started making this kind of flower, although theirs is bigger.  And this site has a picture tutorial for making these smaller flowers, but the site is not in English.  If those don’t help, or you can’t find a good tutorial on Pinterest, feel free to comment or email me and I can send you some directions!

 Isn’t this tulle bow sweet?  I had never made tulle bows before, but found the idea on Pinterest.  I think it turned out cute, and the pearl embellishment I added gives it an Audrey Hepburn-ish air!  Find out how to make these here.

 I also decided to include one of my standard double bows with these baby gifts.  It was tough choosing which ribbon to use.  I have some super cute girly ribbons.  In the end, I went for versatility.  So many baby outfits have fun bright colors these days.  This bow should be able to go with any of them! 

 I didn’t show this one in the group picture above, but I decided to try a musical accessory for my cousin’s baby.  Her husband is a talented musician.  At first I was going to do a music note, but I was “pinspired” when I saw a treble clef on Pinterest.  I just went off the picture, and I think it turned out cute!  Their baby can wear this when daddy plays the piano at church!

And speaking of church, I love including a cross hair clip for new babies.  This will be perfect to wear for their baptisms, to church, and for Easter!  You can read more about these clips (and see how else I’ve used them) in this post.

The last clip shown in the group picture above is just a simple ribbon covered alligator clip with two butterfly embellishments hot glued on.  I was digging through my embellishments and found these butterflies and thought “why not?”.  It is sweet!

Wow, just writing this post makes me want to make more hair accessories for these baby girls!  I’m sure my niece (who will be arriving any time now) needs a cute ribbon shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day, and…!

A hair accessory assortment makes a great baby shower gift, or gift to take when baby is born.  I hope you’ve found some inspiration here.  And if you don’t want to tackle it yourself, remember you can always visit my Banners and Bows page to order some from me!

Planning a Disneyland Vacation…The Simple Way

Disneyland | diysisters.com

Have you decided to take the plunge and plan a Disney vacation?  Maybe for spring break? In that case…

You’re going to Disneyland!

First, jump up and down and yell like a kid.  This is exciting stuff!

Next, take a deep breath.  Taking your kids to Disneyland is a big deal.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be too complicated.

When Nick and I decided to take our family to Disneyland last year, I started by poking around Pinterest and the Internet to gather information.  My recommendation?  Do this, but not too much.  There is a plethora of information and advice out there, and it is easy to become inundated.  (Like how I used plethora and inundated in one sentence?  Busting out the big words today!  Hey, I have to use that English double major somehow, right?!)

I quickly became overloaded with information.  And with that overload can come the pressure.  When you start to see how organized one mom was, and how prepared another was, you can start to feel like you have to use every idea and tip out there.  That’s how I felt.  That, coupled with pressure from myself to get the absolute best deal possible.

And then I realized, hey, we are simply taking our kids to an amusement park.  It doesn’t have to be so complicated.

I browsed around, searched the Internet, but did not make it my new all-consuming task (if you are my mom or my sisters, you know what I mean!).  We purchased our Disneyland tickets through MouseSavers.com.  We got four day park-hopper tickets for the price of three days.  It doesn’t matter if someone out there once upon a time got a better deal than you.  What matters is if you find a deal that you can live with.

I also poked around the Internet and we booked a room at Tropicana Inn & Suites.  Our criteria was location and price.  I wanted parking and breakfast included, but didn’t get it.  What I did get was a room right across the street from the main gate, with a fridge and microwave, for $99 per night.  That was for six of us (shhh) in one room.

One blog I read said that you needed to start planning your Disney vacation one year in advance.  Yikes!  Well, we certainly didn’t do that.  When we started planning we broke it down to make it easier.  Transportation.  Accommodation.  Disneyland.  We bought the Disneyland tickets.  We booked the room.  And we decided to drive the mini-van.  Pretty easy.

So then I spent the rest of the summer working on my Disney crafts (see list at bottom of post).  And I did continue to casually browse Pinterest.  I had a composition notebook (love these!) that I used to keep notes and make lists.  I am a total list person!

Disneyland | diysisters.com

 To get back to keeping Disneyland simple, we are thrilled with the way our trip turned out.  I read blog posts on how to map out Disneyland to make sure you fit everything in.  What we did instead was let the kids be our guide.  We asked the kids what was the most important thing to them that we do.  The overwhelming answer was to see Elsa and Anna from Frozen.  So that was the first thing we did on the first day.  And we waited in line for almost 3 hours to do it.  Mostly Nick waited, and I took the kids on the rides nearby.  It was totally worth it.  You are guaranteed of seeing Elsa or Anna, but we lucked out and saw both!  And they spent almost 10 minutes with our kids!  After that we had lunch, that we had brought in, and then we concentrated on Fantasyland.

Each day we mostly focused on one or two lands (areas of the park).  We planned around the lines and wait times, and tried to time things so we didn’t have to wait as long.  If we saw a ride with a short line we jumped in it.  We used wait time apps on our smartphones to help us with this.  And beyond that we went with what the kids wanted to do.  I didn’t want Disneyland to be a lot of “no” and “we have to go do this now.”  And I really didn’t want to spend all this time, energy, and money and go home with the kids remembering only that they didn’t get to do this or that.

Disneyland | diysisters.com

 So when Patrick really wanted to go on a horse drawn street car, we did, twice!  And when Olivia had her heart set on the Alice in Wonderland ride, we made sure to make it happen.  We waited until a time that the line was shorter, but we made it a priority.  And when Nora asked if we could visit a wishing well, we did!  We hunted down princesses, and waited in lines.  We rode the Monorail, which Nora was fascinated with and intent on riding.  We saw Minnie Mouse twice, because Olivia wasn’t wearing her Minnine Mouse visor the first time and really wanted Minnie to see it!  And when Nora saw the Royal Theatre and wanted to watch a show, we did!  We watched the parade, and saw the fireworks from our hotel room.  In short, we did everything the kids wanted to do.

Disneyland | diysisters.com

 And because of this, our trip was awesome!  It was very little stress while we were there.  Yes, it was hot, and yes, it was crowded, but there was something peaceful about just doing what the kids wanted to do.  Sometimes we had to make choices.  We didn’t have time for both the Mark Twain steamwheel boat and the sailing ship Columbia, so we asked the kids to choose (the sailing ship won out).  And we couldn’t visit Mickey Mouse the first time we were in Toon Town because Patrick was asleep, so we came back another day.

It all worked out, and we didn’t have to be tied to a schedule, or list.

So, in terms of keeping your trip simple, first, breathe, second, remember it’s just a trip to an amusement park, and last, relax and have fun!

Fleece Baby Hat

Good morning!  Time for another post on a baby gift!

Fleece Baby Hat

My sister Bridget (yes, the co-author of this blog) is having another girl.  This will make two girls and one boy for her.  Her oldest daughter, Nellie, was born in October, in Florida.  This new baby girl is being born in February, in Dallas.  So while Bridget will be able to hand down her clothes from Nellie, the size and season might not totally match up.  In other words, I’m guessing she doesn’t have much in the way of warm hats for a baby girl.

Yay!  That means I got to make her one!  In my Christmas gift making research on fleece items, I stumbled across a cute no-sew fleece hat.  Here it is.

Click picture to visit source.

I thought the ties going up the side were super cute.  But instead of rolling the hat to cuff the brim, I wanted to sew it.  It seems really simple, but I had to really think about it to wrap my mind around how to do it.  The other issue was that I had a really hard time figuring out what size to make this for a new baby.  I basically just guessed, which means this hat may or may not fit!  Oh well!

To make this hat as I’ve made it you will need:

  • Fleece
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (or not if you do the no-sew version)
  • Matching thread

Cut a rectangle of fleece.  The tutorial I followed said to cut 14 inches by the circumference of the recipient’s head plus 3.25 inches.  To make this for a baby I finally settled on 12 inches high, and 14 inches plus 3 inches for the fringe, so 17 inches.  (I think.  I’m having a hard time remembering exactly what measurements I used.  You want the hat high enough for the head, plus the top fringe, and 2 inches if you are sewing the brim, and you want it wide enough for the circumference of the head plus your fringe on each side.)  Remember, fleece stretches.

Once I’d cut my rectangle, I folded one of the 17 inch sides up about 2 inches.  I placed a pin to mark 1.5 inches in from each end.  Then I sewed a seam about a half an inch from the fold from pin to pin.

To make the hat tie together properly, I then cut the fabric from the unfinished side down to the fold, along where the pin was holding, and then along the fold.  Basically this removed the extra material that I had folded up, but left the other side.

Once that was done I cut my fringe about a half an inch wide, 1.5 inches long going up each 12 inch side about as far as I thought I needed to cover a baby’s head.  Sorry, no exact measurement on that either.  I was mostly just winging the measurements!  Then I tied the sides together, making sure my finished side from my seam was on the outside.

You have to tie these a certain way for them to lay flat as shown in the picture.  You make a double knot, but you tie one way first, then the other way.  Make sure it is the same on each knot.

When I got as high as I thought I needed to go, I cut a thin strip of fleece (you could use another color like the source picture, but I used the same color as my hat) and tie it around the top of the hat, pulling it closed.  Then you fringe the top.

And you are done!  The no-sew version is of course easier, but I like the finished look with a seam around the brim.  Plus I wanted this to be nice and comfy on a new baby, and I didn’t want a cuffed edge coming down into baby’s eyes.  My fringe looks a little longer than the source picture (I was afraid to go as short as they did because I thought it would be hard to tie), but Bridget can always trim it if it looks funny on baby.

So now I just have to cross my fingers that this hat fits Bridget’s baby when she gets here!  If not, Auntie will just make her another one!

Room Make Over Part 7: The Reveal!

If you’ve hung in with me for Parts 1 through 6, you’ve seen several elements of my room make over.  Today is the reveal!  Are you ready to see how it all comes together?

Room Reveal

Here you can see that the homeschool space goes around the corner.  All this floor space between the two walls to the left and right is play space.

Room Reveal

Here is the homeschool space, right next to the craft space.

Room Reveal

The craft space takes up this whole corner.

Room Reveal

Here is the craft space with the large shelving area next to it.

Room Reveal

You can see the long wall in the room here.  It holds the craft shelving, the large shelving, and a TV for the kids with all their movies.  I plan on finding a flat screen TV on Black Friday to replace this one.  The little door in the corner is attic access.

Room Reveal

I plan to get a new cover for the futon to better suit this room.  I wanted to do it before my big room reveal, but the cover I ordered didn’t fit.  Oh well, not everything can be perfect!  The futon serves as our guest bed when we have company, and gives the kids comfy seating for reading and watching movies.

Room Reveal

The closet in the corner holds bedding, luggage, fabric, and gifts and gift supplies.  The kids area here is directly opposite the large shelves, which hold most of their toys.  So all this open floor space is their play area.

Room Reveal

The kids play area includes their art display, their play kitchen, their magnetic white board, a table and chairs, and the ever important doll house.

Room Reveal

And there you have it!  That is our craft room/ homeschool room/ play room/ guest room!  We LOVE the transformation, and we spend tons of time up here!

If you want to see more on any specific section of the room, visit the links at the top of the post.  If there are any questions I did not answer, feel free to ask in the comments and I will get back to you.

Do you want a before/after comparison?

Room Reveal Collage

I’d love to hear what you think!

Awesome Car Trip Activities for Kids

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

A mini van.  Four kids.  Over 1,000 miles each way.  More gear than anyone could possible need or use.  We must be crazy!

Our family is about to road trip to Disneyland!

Nick and I are super excited about taking our kids to Disneyland.  And, crazy as this sounds, I am also super excited about the road trip!

(Warning: long post ahead, but totally worth it!)

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

This might be because the memory of my own childhood road trips have faded enough that I only remember the experience and not so much of the negative (my brother terrorizing us, various siblings throwing up, etc.!).  We road tripped to Montana, Yellowstone, California…  It was definitely character building.  And I do have some really fond memories of the experience.  Tootsie pops, Dad making a curtain out of a sleeping bag to screen he and Mom off from us kids, Bridget and I laying across the backseat head-to-foot.  Ah, the good old days before seat belt enforcement laws!

And now I am really excited to start building my children’s memories of this time honored experience!

To make the experience, and the memories, positive, I have put a lot of thought and planning into activities for the road trip.  I may have gone overboard (a frequent fault of mine), but with a two year old and a baby, I wanted to make sure the bases were covered!

I came up with a mix of things I bought, picked up at yard sales, made, and already had.  Without further ado, here are the activities I have made/gathered to help make our road trip fun!

Let’s start with basic road trip necessities:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

I hope that sleep will be one of our activities during this car trip!  A fun animal neck pillow and soft eye mask for each kid might help make that dream a reality!  I will have these in their seats before they get in the car.  I bought the pillows at TJ Maxx, and I made the eye masks.  I will post a tutorial on the eye masks when we get back!  The neck pillows were in the kids goody tub.

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

I see your questioning look!  This, my friends, is a pass-it basket!  I can’t actually reach the girls in the back seat while we drive, and the boys are too small to pass things back.  We plan to tie a rope to each handle of this bin and use it to pass things from the front seat to the back seat!  The girls are actually really excited about this, and I think it will be a bit of a game for them.  I bought this bin for $5 at Ross.

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

Now you are really laughing!  These handy little helpers will help the kids pick up items they have dropped on the floor.  Unless you are also a mother with little ones riding in the back of a mini van, you would not believe how many times the kids freak out because they’ve dropped something!  These also have a bonus of being very much a toy!  They were $3 each at Target.

Next, we have some basic items to be used with other activities:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

The kids decorated the clipboards earlier this summer.  These will serve as writing surfaces.  They will each have a folder to hold their road trip printed activities.  They can decorate their folders (activity!) on the trip.  These will also be great for storing any paper souvenirs we pick up, as well as drawings that they made to give the Disney characters.

The Twistables.  Let me take a minute to tell you about my Twistable conversion.  I HATE crayons!!!  I am sick and tired of finding shredded crayon wrappers all over our craft room.  So I declared our house a crayon free zone, and purchased Twistables instead.  We have had REALLY BAD experiences with the kids drawing on car trips before.  Markers are messy, dry erase markers are difficult to remove from clothing (trust me!), colored pencils need sharpening, and crayons…well, you know how I feel about crayons.  So on this trip we are only bringing some Twistables!  These were $2 each at Walmart.

The Frozen sets are something I picked up at Target for $3 each (only two pictured, but I bought three).  They include two notepads, a pencil pouch, an eraser, pencils, and a pencil sharpener.  I took out the pencils and sharpener, and replaced them with the kind of pencils that have little cartridge type things.  Not really sure how else to explain them.  Basically they don’t need to be sharpened.  When it breaks or wears down you pop out the top cartridge and push it in the bottom, pushing the next one up.  Those were $1 for 4, also at Target.

Now the art activities:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

The sketch pads were $1 each at Target (also available at the Dollar Tree).  The Color Wonder sets are something I’ve never tried before, but I love that the markers will ONLY color on the sheets provided.  And the stickers were all purchased for $1 each.  The princess and Mickey ones came from the Dollar Tree, and the Frozen stickers and tattoos were purchased at Target in the dollar section.  Some of these were in the kids’ goody tub.

And, of course, some educational activities:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

We already had the flash cards, and the Brain Quest (we always did Brain Quest in the car when I was growing up!).  The books came from the Target dollar section.  I made the color book for Patrick out of paint color cards.  The whole book is laminated and held together with binder rings.  Each page has a pocket and there is a shape to go in each pocket.  Cute and free!

We can’t forget craft activities:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

I have read several blog posts that recommend pipe cleaners and post-it notes as great car activities!  We’ll give them a try!  I bought the post-its at Target, and the pipe cleaners at the craft store.  And my kids love sewing on shelf liner!  Read more about that here.

Time for fun and games:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

I had some fun making some of these games!  The fish and fishing pole (there are three poles and around 20 fish) are going to be a huge hit, I know!  I used dowels for the pole, and the string (bakers twine) is held on by, yep, duct tape!  Duct tape also holds a magnet to the end of each string.  For the fish I cut fish shapes out of felt (two per fish) and hot glued them together with a paper clip in between.

Each kid will also receive a felt cupcake and ice cream cone set.  My kids are very imaginative, and love to play pretend.  I can totally see the girls having a sweets shop with this!

And the Popsicle stick figures was my stroke of genius!  For the princess ones I used puffy glittery stickers, adhered them to cardstock, cut around them, and hot glued them onto craft sticks.  For the others, I had my sister and sisters-in-law send me pictures of their kids.  Then I ordered prints of those pictures, and pictures of my own kids, cut them out, laminated them (love that laminator!), cut them out again, and hot glued them to craft sticks.  The kids will have a blast playing with their cousin figures!  Another great way you could do this is to take pictures of your kids’ favorite toys and do the same.  I thought about doing it with our My Little Ponies and Thomas the Train trains, but ran out of time!  This way you could bring their favorite toys with you and not take up so much room!

As for the other games, I got the farm animal lacing cards (wooden, Melissa & Doug) at TJ Maxx for $7, the princess lacing cards at a garage sale, the Lalaloopsy magnet dress up dolls at TJ Maxx for $6 each, the card games we already had (except Nemo) and they were from the dollar section at Target, the magnadoodle toys are from Target and were $1 or $3 each (can’t remember!), and the Thomas the Train puzzles are from a garage sale.

Great opportunity for some religious activities:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

Can’t pass up an opportunity for some religion on our trip!  Our family enjoys saying the Rosary together, so I am bringing them as an activity!  I am also bringing workbooks, a story book, and cards from the girls’ Little Flowers Catholic Girls Club.  The Bible story cards are something we already had, and I look forward to this great chance to use them!

We also have sticker books:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

The princess sticker book was $0.50 at a garage sale, and one of the reusable sticker pads I already had in the cupboard.  It and the others came from TJ Maxx and were $4 each.

No road trip is complete without some media:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids
Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

Nora’s good friend, Cadence, gave us the Frozen CD as a gift for our trip.  I am so excited to hear “Let it go” over and over and over and over…no really, I am!  We also have several other favorite CD’s we are bringing.  And yes, we are bringing some movies.  Not so much because we think we will have to use them in the car, but because they are our favorite Disney movies and after all we are going to Disneyland!  Here’s the trick to making this extra fun, set some movies aside long before your trip so they seem fresh again!  I packed our favorite Disney movies (Frozen, Brave, Tangled, Little Mermaid, etc.) a while ago.  I also bought the movie Cars (Patrick has never seen it but loves Lightning McQueen!), and we borrowed Planes (again, Patrick has never seen it but loves Dusty!).  Borrowing is a great idea on a trip so your kids can watch “new” movies.  We borrowed a few from Cadence.

Another great idea is audio books.  I planned to check some out, but I honestly think we have plenty to do!  I’m not sure whether or not we will watch a movie in the car.  We wanted a mini van without a DVD player, but at the time actually we couldn’t find a used one without!  So ours has the DVD player, but we have a rule that we don’t watch movies when the car is in motion (we only use it if we have to wait in the car for some reason).  We might break that rule, we might not.  If we do, we will limit it to one movie per day.  The other movies are available to watch at the hotel if we need some down time.  I am bringing a portable DVD player with us.

Add in a few treats and we’re set:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

Nora picked out some yummy gum for the girls.  This will help their ears on the mountain pass.  The Pez dispensers are from their goody tub, and the candy bracelets are from Grandma.  We also have lots of healthy snacks, and I will post about the food after we get back.

Oh, and my plan to battle “are we there yet” anxiety:

Road Trip Car Activities For Kids

I found a great idea on Mom’s Mini Van on how to track your trip progress.  You put a piece of string across the van and move the van cut-out along as you go.  I plan to mark the string for 100 mile increments and move the van accordingly.  I hope this helps the kids to understand how far we still have to go.

To make hauling this all with us easier, I packed each activity (except the big clipboards, sticker pads, etc.) for all three kids (Norman is too young!) in a Ziploc bag.  All of this, yes, all of it, fit into one large reusable plastic tote bag.  I decided to use two though to make it easier to dig through on the road.

Long post, I know!  Thanks for hanging in there (if anyone is still reading!).  I hope any of you traveling with children may have gleaned some good ideas from this.  As I said, I may have gone a little overboard.  One thing is for sure, I’d better not hear “I’m bored” even once on our trip!

Romantic Valentine Banner

Romantic Valentine Banner at diysisters.com

It’s 2015!  Hooray!

I’ve been so behind on blogging, it’s ridiculous!  Have you ever gotten behind on something, and then it is hard to start because there’s so much to catch up on?  That’s where I am at with this blog right now.  I have so many projects that I have done that I need to post, but I can’t find the time to get them posted!

I haven’t even finished posting about our Disneyland trip in August!  Then there are the fleece baby gifts I’ve been making, Christmas decorations, the super cute hooded towels I made for Christmas, Seahawks scarves…the list goes on.

But today I am biting the bullet and jumping ahead.  In an effort to stop running behind the current holiday, I am going to share my romantic Valentine banner…before Valentine’s Day!  (How do all those bloggers out there do their holiday projects and post them well before the holidays?  I am lucky if I get the house decorated in time for each holiday!)

Romantic Valentine Banner at disysisters.com

Ok, first I will confess, I did not make this for St. Valentine’s Day.  I made this for my and Nick’s wedding anniversary (which was on New Year’s Eve).  But still, it would be a great project for St. Valentine’s Day.  Make it to decorate your house, give to your sweetie, etc.

And second, yes, these pictures are terrible.  The lighting in my bedroom is not photography friendly.  And shimmery paper is also not photogenic (at least at my skill level!).  Please humor me and look beyond the photography!

Nick and I have kept our bedroom very simple, with very little decoration.  The only thing we have hung on the walls are a full length mirror, and a canvas picture from our wedding.  The canvas picture is an artistic close up, very romantic.  With a few knick knacks on our dressers, that’s the extent of the decor in our room.

Romantic Valentine Banner at disysisters.com

I’ve been wanting to make a romantic banner to hang above our bed, but I wanted to keep it simple.  And I wanted the message to really speak to us.  So for our anniversary I came up with this little banner, and I absolutely love it!

I used a cream pearlized cardstock for the banner pieces.  Using my Silhouette (of course!), I cut three shapes.  These are about 5 1/2 inches square.  I made sure to add little circles in the top corners so I would have holes for my string.  If you don’t have a Silhouette, these would still be easy to make.  Cut rounded squares, or print a shape from the Internet and trace to the back side of your paper, then cut.  I also cut two small hearts with the Silhouette.

Romantic Valentine Banner at disysisters.com

Then I used glitter cardstock and cut my words.  To keep my banner small and simple, I put one word on each banner piece, rather than one letter.  I bought the stacked “Love” shape in the Silhouette store online, then matched my other words to it.  I ended up using Times New Roman font, and it matched pretty well.  I tilted the “o” on “So” to match the stacked “Love” shape.  I also joined the letters of my words together by using the “weld” function.  If you are a Silhouette user, you know what I mean.

After I adhered the words to the banner shapes, I strung all the shapes on some bakers twine, and used metal push pins to tack it to the wall.

This banner would be great for St. Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, to add a pop of romance to your space, or as a great photo prop for wedding photos, engagement photos, or new baby photos.  And of course the best part is that you can customize it with different colors, or a new message!  My favorite part of this project is the shimmer of the pearlized paper, and the bling of the glittered paper!

Happy romancing!

Romantic Valentine Banner at diysisters.com

If you have a Silhouette, I used design #31250 for the banner shape, design #5735 for the stacked “Love”, and design #37852 for the heart shape.

I haven’t been around in awhile.

I am sorry for that.

I truly do love sharing my crazy, beautiful life with you.  I love showing you my projects and updating you on the latest happenings around my home (which by-the-way I realize I am WAY behind on revealing the girls room, but it is coming-I PROMISE).  I love to be here, so I am sorry I have been gone.

Lucky for you and especially for me, Bernadette is AMAZING and has kept you all entertained, inspired and excited with glimpses of her family, her life and her coming adventures.

Note-sorry to stop in the middle, but I think it important to inform you all that the letter “h” has stopped working on my keyboard. Annoying!  Last week it was the letter “n” and then the “a” and now the “h”.  Is this a warning symptom of a computer shut down?  I hope not! Anyway, if you see an odd word, just try adding an “h” and see if it makes more sense!

Back on point.

I have been gone, but for an exciting reason.  Not as exciting as my last absence, when my family was blessed with the arrival of beautiful Alice, but in a sense I have been working on my latest baby.  The beginning of a company.

I am so proud/excited/nervous/REALLY NERVOUS to introduce to you all Happy Tummy, Healthy Baby!

Happy Tummy, Healthy Baby
Baby's First Food

I have been blessed to stay at home with my babies, I have been able to make all of their food and provide them with the best, nutritious meals.  Talking to my neighbor one day I realized that not everyone is able to do this.  Not everyone has the time, energy or motivation.  Of course we all want what is best for our little ones, we are all willing to do what we can to give it to them.  But we all make compromises.  Unfortunately baby food is understandably one of them.  When it comes to the choice between spending time making food or spending time loving on your little one-love wins every time!  As it should! I am offering parents a way of not having to compromise.  You can now give your child the very best.  Happy Tummy, Healthy Baby is committed to providing fresh, wholesome baby food delivered right to your door (if you live in Dallas!).   

I did a lot of research when Nellie started eating solids.  I read about every possible vegetable.  I looked at the health benefits of every food item.  I learned a lot.  So in deciding to start up this company I already had a base.  It is an area I know and am passionate about. But I still needed to learn more.  So I started reading everything I could on the baby foods available at supermarkets.  After all, there are several brands that claim to be organic, no sugar, no sodium, no preservatives.  So what is wrong with buying these?  It is very simple.  They are not fresh.  How could wholesome, good quality food have a self life longer than the age of your baby?  It can’t.  And thus, Happy Tummy, Healthy Baby was born!

Happy Tummy, Healthy Baby

My company actually launches tomorrow.  You are the very first to see it.  So please, go check out my site.  Even if you don’t live in the Dallas area I appreciate your comments and feedback.


And don’t worry, I am not going anywhere.  I will still be here to share with you my life and this new adventure.

DIY Seahawk Attire

DIY Seahawk Fan Gear

If you are into football at all, you might be aware that there is a pretty big game on tomorrow.  And if you live in Washington State, like I do, you are probably getting ready to don your Seahawks gear and cheer your guts out.  The Seahawks are playing in the Super Bowl!!!

It’s kind of a big deal!  I live almost four hours away from Seattle, and people here have been wearing their Hawks gear all week, flying flags from their cars, and businesses are all running Seahawks images on their signage.  You could say we are excited!

A few weeks ago I bought my husband a couple of Seahawks shirts online.  I had wanted to get him one for Christmas, but that didn’t pan out.  After we won the conference championship, I knew he’d better have a shirt to wear for the Super Bowl!

I had no problem paying for a couple of shirts for Nick to have, but I could not bring myself to shell out any money to deck out the kids.  Fan gear is pricey, and the kids grow so quickly!  Patrick has a cute Seahawks running suit that was a hand-me-down, and Nick loves him to wear it!

So, with the game fast approaching, I decided to DIY some cute fan gear!

  I freezer paper stenciled these shirts for the kids.  I found a simple logo by doing a Google search (shhhh, don’t tell the Seahawks!), saved the image, then opened it with my Silhouette software.  If you don’t have a Silhouette, you could just print the image, lay a piece of freezer paper over it, trace it, then cut it out with an Exacto knife.  This was my first time letting the Silhouette do the work for me when it comes to freezer paper stencils.  It was awesome!

Once the image was open in Silhouette Studio, I used the trace function to create cut lines.  I ended up with extra lines, so I had to erase some lines by deleting edit points.  Then I put a rectangle box around my logo, and flipped the image horizontally.  I did this because I read that you should put the freezer paper plastic side up on your cutting mat.  I used the recommendations here for cut settings, and cut my images.  It worked like a charm!  These cut settings were perfect!

If you’ve never done freezer paper stenciling before, you can check out my last post on it here.  I’ll also try to spell out the steps today.  Next I ironed my stencil onto my washed shirts (plastic side down).  You always want to wash your fabric first, with no fabric softener.  I picked these shirts up at Target for $2.10 (clearance!) and $5.  When you iron your stencil on, make sure you turn the steam setting off.  I also use the highest heat.  Make sure you press around all the edges to get a good seal.

DIY Seahawk Freezer Paper Stencil

 Then you get to paint!  The kids and I ran to Hobby Lobby on Thursday to get fabric paint, since I didn’t have any of the right colors.  I like the Tulip Soft paints, but the color options were pretty limited.  I picked up this Neon Green color.  It sounded right.  It didn’t turn out the perfect Seahawks green, but it is a cute color, and I can totally use it to make some cute St. Patrick’s Day shirts for the kids.  I also did not realize that it had sparkle.  The bottle says nothing about sparkle.  So while the sparkle is cute, yes, my son will be wearing a sparkly Seahawks shirt tomorrow!  It’s not tooooooo sparkly. :)

 I applied my paint with a foam brush, making sure to put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to protect from bleed through.  I applied one really good coat, let it sit about a half an hour, and ran a second coat over it.  After a couple of hours I removed the freezer paper.  I am always amazed at how perfectly freezer paper works as a stencil.  I had no bleeds!  The images look perfect!

DIY Seahawk Fan Gear Freezer Paper Stencil

 I let the shirts sit to dry over night.  The paint says it takes four hours to dry, and to not wash them for 72 hours.  When you do wash, make sure to turn the garment inside out.

DIY Seahawk Fan Gear

 So now the kids have totally cute, cheap, DIY fan gear to wear for the game tomorrow.  I, with my big belly (36 weeks pregnant!) will be wearing one of my husband’s new shirts.  Isn’t it nice of him to share?! :)

 And since we all know I like to make hair bows, and love any excuse to do so, I whipped up a cute coordinated bow for Nora to wear for the game.  I recently came across this loopy bow style and have been wanting to try it out.  It was super easy.  Waaaaaayyyy easier thank a korker bow!  There’s a great video tutorial on how to make these here.  You can also visit the Hair Bow Gallery on my Banners and Bows page to see a cute little set of Seahawks korker bows I made my niece last year.  (If you go to the page, scroll down until you see the Gallery of Bows link, and click on that.)

So now we’re all set.  I hope you all enjoy watching the game (and commercials) tomorrow, and remember…GO HAWKS!!!

St. Valentine’s Day, Simple and Sweet

St. Valentine's Day Wreath | diysisters.com
St. Valentine's Day Garland | diysisters.com
St. Valentine's Day Decor | diysisters.com
St. Valentine's Day Mantle | diysisters.com
St. Valentine's Day Mantle | diysisters.com

Apparently, the minute Christmas and New Year’s Day were over we launched into Valentine season!  Seriously, browsing Pinterest at my parents’ house over Christmas I was astounded how strongly Valentine pins dominated the boards!

St. Valentine's Day Mantle | diysisters.com

 I don’t usually like to get into a holiday too soon.  This is at odds with the fact that I have a blog.  Most blogs I see have posts on fun holiday crafts and decor long before the holiday happens.  This is so readers can get the information in time to do something with it!  I mean really, do you remember when St. Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day were one-day holidays?  Now they each dominate an entire month or more!

Ok, all that said, I do have some Valentine decorations up.  This stemmed more from needing to fill some space after taking holiday decorations down than anything else.

 During the holidays we displayed Christmas cards above our mantle.  After I took these down, I left the string we used and added sweet birds and fun hearts in red!

 Wanting to keep things clean and simple, I decided on red and classic white to compliment my birds.  I added some white items that I already had (white milk bottles from TJ Maxx, white egg cups from Ross, white branch wreath from a yard sale), and I did buy one new thing- this cute white jug was $4.50 at TJ Maxx.  I know I’ll get good use out of it!

 The wreath was a last minute brain storm.  I knew I wanted to use the phrase “You Make My Heart Sing” because of the birds, but I wasn’t sure how to display it.  I was wandering the aisles of Hobby Lobby last week with Patrick while Nora was at catechism, and I had an overpriced red metal sign in my cart.  I finally put it back because I wasn’t happy with the look, or the price.  Suddenly I remembered the white branch wreath I had up in the craft room!  I bought it last summer at a yard sale and tore all the tacky fake flowers off it.  It would be perfect with a little banner.  Yeay for using things you already own!

And to add a needed touch of red, I put red votive candles in the egg cups.  I think the whole thing turned out sweet, simple, and clean.

St. Valentine's Day Mantle | diysisters.com

 So far in the rest of the house I’ve left up my winter porch decorations, kept up my “Love & Joy” banner, and left my kitchen window treatment and dining room table decor the same, with the exception of removing the snowflakes.  So I’ve got clean touches of red and white around the house.

Winter/Christmas Wreath
Love & Joy Christmas Banner
Christmas Tablescape

This will make it easy to put away/change my seasonal decor, which is good since baby is due soon after St. Valentine’s Day.

And of course the kids will still have lots of fun making their own Valentine decorations, to be proudly displayed in the craft room.

For added ideas and inspiration, here are the highlights of last year’s Valentine decorations.  The wine bottles with hearts have been getting pinned like crazy on Pinterest right now!