Summer can’t be considered complete until you have eaten a s’more, and built a sand castle! Spending time with family or friends around the fire pit is one of our favorite activities, and the beach has to be one of our favorite places on earth. This DIY treat combines the two, making it the perfect summer snack!
When I ran across these tiny sand castle molds last month, I began to daydream about making edible castles. Since they are bite-sized, and are made of crushed graham crackers and melted marshmallow, they blend perfectly with s’mores! It’s such a fun, summery twist on one of the most delicious treats. You could also use the castles as cupcake toppers for a knight, mermaid, beach, princess, or pool party.
what you need:
• 3 C crushed graham crackers
• Whole graham crackers (1/2 per s’more)
• 1 bag mini marshmallows
• 1 stick butter
• Large saucepan
• No-stick cooking spray
• Mini 1” sand castle molds (may be found in sand kits at Michael’s)
• Food chopper (or large plastic freezer bag)
• Large marshmallows (1 per s’more)
• Chocolate bars (1/2 bar per s’more)
Crush 3 C graham crackers using a food chopper. If you do not have access to a chopper, place the graham crackers in a sealed plastic bag (with as little air as possible), and crush them using your fist.
Melt 1 ½ T butter over low heat in a large saucepan, and add 2 C mini marshmallows. Stir until completely melted, and remove from heat. Add crushed graham cracker, and stir until well coated in marshmallow sauce. The crushed graham cracker crumbs may still appear dry.
NOTE: After you have completed step 3 a few times, you will most likely want to heat up another 1 ½ T butter, and stir in another 2 C mini marshmallows until melted. Add the marshmallow sauce to the graham cracker crumbs to re-moisten the mix. It is also easiest to pack and remove castles while the mix is still warm.
Wash your sand castle molds using dish soap and water, and rinse well. Dry them off, and spray the inside with no-stick cooking spray. Pack a handful of your graham cracker/marshmallow mix into the sand castle mold, a little at a time, until full. You may want to use the tip of a small, pointy knife to cut around the very edge of the sand castle to loosen it from the mold. Shake, wiggle, and gently squeeze the “sand castle” out of the mold, and onto a plate. Set aside.
Toast a large marshmallow over a fire, or in the microwave (for about 10-15 seconds) on half of a graham cracker and chocolate bar. Allow to cool for a few seconds, and then stack your sand castle on the marshmallow, with a graham cracker base, and chocolate center. Alternatively, you could also just place the castle on a cupcake!
Step 5 (Optional)
Use thin wire, washi tape, and scissors to create mini flags to stick on top of the castles. Cut off about 2” of washi tape, and a 2-3” piece of wire. Place the top of the wire in the center of the washi tape, and fold the tape in half over the wire. Cut the tape into a triangle, or cut a mini triangle into the tip of the tape. Cut the wire down to the height you prefer, and insert the end into the top of the castle.
Voila! You have an adorable (and delicious) sand castle s’more!
My fridge has become packed with berries of all kinds, and while we are eating them plain or sprinkled on yogurt, cereal, and ice cream, I’m also coming up with all kinds of ways to use them in my baking. Pies, of course, and crisps. Muffins, scones, and bars also find their way into the rotation. This Bundt cake came about when I needed to feed some morning guests, and was a big hit with everyone. This cake gets better with age (I like to make it the day before), and the blueberries and lemon compliment each other well.
For the cake:
3 cups (600g) granulated sugar
Zest from 2 lemons
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (227g) unsalted butter
6 ounces (170g) cream cheese
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
For the glaze:
2 medium lemons
3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
To make the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325ºF (160ºC). Butter and flour a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan very thoroughly.
Scrub the lemons with warm soapy water to remove any excess wax, then dry the fruit. Put the sugar into a medium bowl and zest the lemon directly into the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until evenly distributed and fragrant.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and zest mixture and turn the mixer up to medium-high. Mix for 3-5 minutes, making sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula periodically. The butter and sugar should be light, fluffy, and fragrant.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about 30 seconds after each addition. Periodically stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
On low speed, add the milk, followed by half the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Add the lemon juice, and then the remaining flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the blueberries, and give the mixture a few more turns with a spatula to make sure it’s combined completely. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan lightly on the counter to remove any large air bubbles.
Bake the cake until it is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes, depending on the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then carefully unmold it onto a rack to cool a bit more before glazing.
To make the glaze:
Zest and juice the lemons. Add the zest, confectioners’ sugar, and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Whisk in about 6 tablespoons of the lemon juice. You want the glaze to be thick, but pourable. If the glaze seems too thick to pour, add a few more drops of lemon juice.
When the cake has mostly cooled, use a skewer to poke a few holes into its surface. Drizzle half of the glaze on top of the cake, let it soak in for about 20 minutes, then whisk the remaining glaze until smooth and pour it over the top of the cake. Let the glaze set for a few minutes before serving.
We can’t get enough of stenciling! Almost a year ago we had so much fun customizing these DIY floral overalls and we were so excited to get the stencils out again to make these super playful stenciled clothes today! Stenciling is the best way to makeover clothing – old, new, thrifted, or plain a stencil can add some color and pattern.
Whenever we stencil clothing, we always use Fabric Creations Soft Fabric Ink. As the ink dries, it stays soft so that your stenciled clothes don’t get any of that crunchy feeling. Today we’re sharing 3 simple ways to update kids clothes with stencils – these are a perfect project to work on this summer with your kids, and soon they’ll be able to wear them for back-to-school! Keep reading for all the details.
One way to stencil is asymmetrical – in this case, we did that by only stenciling one side of the front of a button-down shirt. Unbutton the shirt and use tape to mask off any areas that you don’t want to stencil onto. We did this along the should and arm seam so that the dots would continue right to the edge but have a nice clean line.
And now it’s time to stencil! Being by putting a piece of cardboard or an old magazine into the shirt – this will prevent the paint from soaking through to the back by accident. Then place your stencil onto the area you want to paint and tape it in place. We used yellow fabric ink for these fun polka dots! Make sure to apply the paint in an up and down motion to make the stencil lines as crisp and tidy as possible. We applied a coat, let dry a little bit, and applied a few more coats for a supersaturated look.
When happy with the color, remove the stencil and carefully place on any remaining area you’d like covered. Repeat and let dry completely for 24 hours. To set the paint, use an iron and a press cloth.
Another fun way to stencil is to follow the detailing of the garment. In this case, we used an empire waist shirt and painted these strawberry stencils onto the top portion only. If you’re looking for a really speedy project, this is it! Since the shirt is a pale color, only one coat of fabric ink was needed. Plus the surface area to cover is a bit smaller too, so you’ll be done in no time! Don’t forget to line the shirt with cardboard first, and follow the instructions on the bottle for setting and washing!
And another way use stencils to freshen up some clothes is by using a stencil to make a fun repeat pattern. And did we mention glitter? As before, line the shirt with cardboard or a magazine and tape your stencil in place. We used this solo heart stencil, so first measured the shirt an placed the heart in the top center.
Apply fabric ink with a foam pouncer as before, letting the stencil dry between color changes. Once all 9 hearts are dry, we added a coat of Fantasy Glitter on top! We matched the glitter to the shades of paint and used a regular brush (not a pouncer) to apply. Let dry and again check the bottle for full instructions on setting and washing.
If you have little ones who are just learning to sew, pipe cleaner embroidery is the perfect way to get them started! A needle and thread can be a little tricky for kids new to sewing, so using pipe cleaners instead is a great starting point. For these adorable patches, we used all our favorite Kid Made Modern pipe cleaners, beads, and accessories. The colors coordinate perfectly and mixing and matching the beads and findings is a breeze.
We love that this project helps build sewing skills but you still get a really fun end result. The plastic embroidery canvas (you should be able to find this at a second-hand shop or craft store) acts as a sort of blank stitching card for kids to get creative and make whatever designs they like. The beads, pipe cleaners, and sequins included in Kid Made Modern’s Arts & Crafts Library and Bits & Pieces Jewelry Kit are so much fun to dig through and pick out the perfect combinations. Plus, finished pieces can be pinned onto a backpack to be a playful DIY backpack charm!
Begin by cutting the plastic embroidery canvas into whatever shape you like. If using a large rectangle you can trim off a smaller square or rectangle. If using the small circular canvases, you can use these as-is or trim off a few of the outer rows to make a smaller circle.
And now the fun part: embroidery! Pick whatever color of pipe cleaner that you like and think about what design you’d like to make. We did a bunch of different faces to start and they’re a nice simple way to get warmed up. To make a smiling mouth, simply thread one end of the pipe cleaner into the grid, bending a tiny little tail back on itself on the back of the canvas to lock it in place. Then curve the pipe cleaner into a smile shape and thread it into another square on the grid, pulling it through so that the pipe cleaner smile sits flat against the canvas in the shape that you want. Trim the excess again leaving a small tail to fold and secure the smile.
To make the beaded eyes, cut a piece of pipe cleaner about 1 1/2″ long and thread through the bead. Then thread both ends of the pipe cleaner through the canvas and twist together. Add the second eye in the same way.
We also made a bunch of more abstract pieces, kind of badge-inspired. These ones are really fun because you can really do whatever you like. We used the beads as inspiration and used pipe cleaners to attach those onto the middle of the canvas and then added pipe cleaner borders outside the edges as shown above.
When you’re done with your designs, you can hook a safety pin through the top and pin them onto your kids’ backpacks as fun little charms!
What goes better with a yummy donut than a glass of milk? How about a glass of fancy flavored milk and a cute donut swizzle stick! These printable drink stirrers feature kawaii donuts so you can mix your milk (or coffee!) in style.
Make a bunch for Saturday morning donut runs, because adding a cute stirrer to your milk makes any donut day more fun. But they’re especially good for hosting a donut party. Not to mention, you can attach the printed donuts to toothpicks and stick them in a donut cake or attach them to string and make a tiny donut garland!
Find your favorite flavor donut and get ready to mix up some cuteness!
Print the Donut Drink Stirrers PDF on card stock. Cut out the donuts.
Use a standard hole punch to punch the centers out of the donuts with holes. Leave the “filled” donuts solid.
Put a little bit of glue on the end of a wooden coffee stirrer.
Place the donut on the glue so that the face is right side up. Make sure the stick doesn’t show through the hole. Repeat with all the stirrers.
After the glue is dry on all the donut drink stirrers, it’s time for a donut party!
A donut party doesn’t have to be fancy, but it helps to have a few essentials.
First, you need donuts. Choose several kinds and flavors or buy plain donuts then have frosting and lots of toppings available. Kids and grown-ups love sprinkles, chocolate chips, a few kinds of cereal, marshmallows, cookie bits, or even fresh fruit!
Kids get seriously excited when they get to choose exactly how to decorate and enhance donuts, and the same goes for the milk. Yes, the combinations sometimes get a little odd, but that’s what makes it fun.
Make the milk special with add-ins like chocolate, strawberry or caramel syrup. Powdered mixes and flavoring straws come in more flavors like banana, cotton candy, or cookies and cream. You can even add a dash of vanilla extract!
Put your donut drink stirrers to use as you mix in those yummy flavors!
Of course, you can use these sticks in coffee for all the grown-ups at your party. After all, donuts and coffee go together so well.
It’s officially summertime! We’re all about spending time by the lake, playing outside, and doing & seeing lots of fun things as a family while school is out. One thing we’re focusing on this summer is to remember to hydrate, especially on those scorching hot days. It’s so so important to drink enough water throughout the day, but this can be tricky when you’re not at home. Enter these reusable water bottles! As we’ve said a million times, we are huge fans of making crafts from upcycled and recyclable materials and these are no exception.
Kids will have the best time customizing their reusable bottles with paper scraps, gift wrap cut-outs, and magazine clippings. We even added some playful charms on top using extra beads and yarn we had lying around. Three cheers for using up left-over materials!
Our go-to for anything decoupage is, of course, Mod Podge! For these bottles, we used the dishwasher-safe formula to keep them nice and tidy all summer long. If you already have reusable water bottles at home, why not add some flair to them? We tend to think that anything customized and made by hand is a bit more special and kids might be less likely to lose track of their bottle. So grab your water bottles, gather up some scrap paper, and get ready to Mod Podge the afternoon away! See below for the full how-to.
Begin by cutting out shapes from scrap paper, magazines, wrapping paper. etc.
Use the brush to apply Mod Podge onto the outside of the clean bottle. Place a paper shape onto the Mod Podged area and then apply more Mod Podge on top to seal it in place. We used the Dishwasher-Safe Gloss formula so that we can pop these bottles into the dishwasher as needed.
Repeat this process all over the outside of the bottles. Let dry completely.
Note: we used a mix of recycled glass bottles (the little square one from juice, the larger one from a jar of passata) and a plastic reusable water bottle. Repurposing glass bottles is awesome for the environment (yahoo!) but may not be the best choice for younger kids so keep this in mind.
If you like, you can add charms around the necks of the bottles. We used yarn and beads – when attaching onto the bottle, make sure you can remove them for washing later.
Voila! You’ve got some super cute reusable water bottles to use all summer long!
We just learned about the #plasticfreejuly movement and are super excited to have these DIY bottles ready for the month! This is a great activity to make with kids and discuss the environment, being thoughtful about recycling and waste, and how to take care of Mother Earth!
Plus, once your kids’ friends see their super cool bottles, they’ll want to make their own too! It’s so so easy and an awesome little thing to do to help save the planet!
Making paper creations is one of our favorite things to do with our kids on rainy days, and we are absolutely in love with the magic that Lisa Lloyd can work with some paper and scissors. Crafting is taken to an entirely new level with precision beyond your wildest expectations. It’s incredible what simple sheets of paper can be turned into when put into the right hands.
Her whimsical creations appear to come to life before our eyes in 3D paper paradise. The designs are so incredibly intricate and detailed that at first glance, it’s almost difficult to tell if they are even made out of paper, and not completely animated. Lloyd is a self-made paper sculptor who resides in Hove, UK, and takes great inspiration from nature around her. She especially enjoys the symmetry of the designs on bugs, trees, and leaves, which are all ripe with detail. She then puts a modern twist on her work, allowing her influence in interior design and modern fashion to help create works of paper fantasy. Lisa has worked with brands like NBC, MAC Cosmetics, and Disney and her magic has seen the fronts of magazines, jewelry stores, and art installations who all are eager to display her genius artwork. Um, yes please!
Lloyd started out as an After Effects animator and eventually became the creative director and co-owner for London-based animation production company Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Because of her background in animation and creation, she was able to see her paper come to life before she even began to cut it! Talk about a dreamer. This has led her to create logos for companies, and create living, breathing art exhibits of paper and color. Her exhibitions include Milan Design Week 2018 and Clerkenwell Design Week 2015! She truly has taken crafting to a completely new level.
Her bumblebee sculpture is one of our favorites. With his hairy legs and intricate, golden wings, he looks like he could truly take charge in insect community. With her use of contrasting blues and purples from the traditional pallet a bee wears makes this pollinator a true work of art and is ALL the buzz! ;)
And take a look at those colors! Lloyd’s feathery submission to Waltrose Weekend Magazine combines both delicacy and power with only the snip of her scissors. This blue tit makes us want to a join a bird watching organization of our own, but only if Lisa agrees to create them for us.
Not only does she create lifelike animals of fantasy, she also creates still-lives, people, and even food. Her avocado sculpture named “An Avocado a Day” for a health editorial piece on the benefits of the food in everyday life is not only beautifully mastered, but looks incredibly scrumptious!
Her hairy and lifelike creations also extend to humans! This spunky hair accessory shows Lloyd’s sassy personality and fun side, as well as helps us see her trendy side. This hairy mustache is an old friend of hers that we find completely adorable and one of our old friends, too!!
Take a look at more of Lisa’s work here and you can even purchase a print of her amazing paper art in her shop. Make sure to follow along on Instagram to keep up to date with all of Lisa’s new paper adventures!
There’s nothing better than finding some happy mail at your door, and that’s especially true when it’s a curated box full of goodies for kids! Today we’re super excited to be sharing our favorite subscription box for kids: Outside the Box by our friends at Cheeky Days!
Each month’s box has a unique theme – the summer box pictured here is all about mindfulness. And not only is each box filled with a whole ton of really fun and creative stuff, but kids are encouraged to look back and talk about what they’ve learned and how they can give back to their community. Conversation cards and prompts that fit each box’s theme are included and are the perfect solution for busy families. Outside the Box makes it easy to have teachable moments and talk about how our actions can make our family and community a better place.
In the summer box, there are all the supplies you need to make and decorate a relaxing eye pillow – just supply your own rice, barley, flax seeds, or lentils. Once you and your little ones have finished it use the included address label to send it to Hands to Heart Center, a non-profit organization that practices yoga with people affected by poverty, trauma, and addiction.
From the Outside the Box website:
“We want kids, all kids to know they can make an impact, they can give back, they are a part of community and can build community. Every month we include a challenge card, because that’s what it is… it’s a challenge to all of us to live outside the box, a challenge to break our habits & push past our comfort zones, a challenge to connect & to create, a challenge to think beyond ourselves to the community all around us, a challenge to create the change we want to see in the world.”
Each box also contains a wearable item, an illustrated children’s book (with a message relating to the box’s theme of course!), a handful of crafts & activities, and community cards that suggest ways for kids to continue the box’s lessons outside the box! Oh and there’s also a special surprise in each box too. ;)
Recommended for kids aged 2-7, there’s also the option to add on a “sibling box” to your subscription. This is great for families with a few kids who each want their own wearable and craft supplies.
Fans of essential oils will especially love the mindfulness box – it includes a special surprise for moms, this specially formulated “happy” essential oil roller. Plus, kids will fall in love with the scented unicorn eye pillow – talk about cute!!
We also love the box of 50 Mindfulness Activities (for kids 4 – 104!) and all the illustrations on the cards. Each card teaches kids about empathy, mindfulness, and how to manage their emotions through games, activities and meditiations. And speaking of illustrations, we can’t get enough of Penguin Problems, the book included in this box. Silly and relatable, we’re sure this book will be a hit at your house too.
We really enjoyed learning all about mindfulness through these thoughtfully curated activities, books, crafts, and exercises. Outside the Box is a happy mail subscription that your kids will love and you can feel good about too!
To learn more about Outside the Box and to subscribe, check out more details over here!
Get ready to craft the summer away! We’re all set to celebrate the 4th of July next week with these adorable printable stitching cards – aren’t they so festive and fun? We especially love them because you can totally customize them so that stitchers of all ages and skill levels can use them no problem. They’re full of so many details that you can stitch over, or just leave as is.
There are 10 different designs in the set, so your little ones will have lots of stitching on their hands! Once they’re done, tape them up around the house to celebrate the 4th of July, string them on garland, or even glue another piece of cardstock to cover the stitched back and send it as a postcard! Scroll down to see more photos and to download the all 10 free printable sewing cards!
Begin by using an unthreaded needle to poke holes into the printed stitch cards. This will make stitching for little ones a lot easier later one.
Note: when printing these cards, we used stiff cardstock paper. If you want to add extra stability, you can glue the printed cards onto craft foam or recycled cereal box cardboard, but this will make this pre-poking stage a little bit trickier.
The back of the stitch card will start to look like this. Continue poking holes with the needles as desired – depending on the age and skill level of your little one, you can easily adapt these stitch cards to be well-suited. For example, stick to the larger details for younger kids but add more holes and include the finer details for more advanced stitchers.
Once you’ve poked the holes, it’s time to thread the needle. Embroidery thread is made up of 6 smaller threads all twisted together. These 6 threads can be separated to best suit the size of the stitches you’re doing. For example, the sprinkles on the ice cream cone easily can be done with all 6 threads but smaller details on the majorette’s outfit will tend to look better using 3-4 threads. Whatever you choose, cut a length of thread (not too long or it will be hard to work with and tangle) and put one end of it through the needle as shown.
Thread the needle through one hole from the back to the front, and then working back in a nearby hole from the front to the back. Tie these two threads together to keep the thread secure in place. For younger kids, you can skip this step and use clear tape instead until they’re more comfortable tying knots.
Once the thread is tied on the back, go ahead and stitch away! When you’re done with that color of thread, knot the thread on the back again (or use tape) and then start again in a new color.
Have fun with it! Kids will love practicing stitching on these adorable cards and when they’re done you can use them as decorations for the 4th of July! Put them on your fridge, tape them up onto the wall, or even attach them onto a string and make a festive garland!
Sometimes the simplest crafts are some of the most fun! These DIY spinning wooden tops are so easy to make, but the results are so satisfying. You and your kids will have a blast experimenting with colors and shapes – it’s super fun to see how different they look once they’re spinning! For our rainbow-painted tops, we used our favorites shades from Delta Ceramcoat® Acrylic Paint and got painting! You can find all 22 shades and 6 brand new Flash Metallic shades in the craft aisle at Target!
The great part is you can totally mix and match different sized wooden circles (you could even use wooden coasters!) with different colors and patterns. Just choose your favorite Delta Ceramcoat paints and paint away! We couldn’t narrow down our color choice too much so we went with a whole rainbow – we love how colorful they turned out! Plus, the formula is so rich and creamy and coats wood perfectly. We had so much fun customizing these wooden tops, we can’t wait to make even more! Maybe we’ll find some wooden yo-yos to paint next time! Scroll down for the full instructions below.
Step 1 Use a pencil and scrap of paper to trace a wooden disc. Fold the circle into quarters and then unfold, poking your pencil through the center point formed by the folds. Mark this onto the wooden discs too and use a drill to carefully drill a hole through the marked centers. You’ll want to make sure that the drill bit you use matches the size of your wooden pegs.
Step 2 And now the fun part – painting the tops! Get creative and experiment with different shapes, colors, patterns, and lines. Everything will have a completely different look when you spin in, so it’s kind of a fun surprise! On our tops, we painted stripes, block shapes, and polka dots. Let dry completely.
Finally, put your wooden dowel or peg into the predrilled hole. It should fit snugly inside, but if it’s a bit loose use glue to secure it in place.
Make as many tops as you like! We’re betting you’ll have a whole collection in no time.
Find all 22 colors of Delta Ceramcoat® Acrylic Paint at Target along with six brand new Flash Metallic colors in the craft aisle or at Target.com. Wouldn’t these rainbow tops be even cooler with a touch of metallic?