DIY Donut Cork Boards!

We’re so excited to add these sweet little things to our homeschooling corner! I’m a sucker for cork boards: if it keeps a push pin in place, I’ve got to have it!

When we came across these circular cork mats on our most recent IKEA run, all I envisioned was a dreamy wall of Donut cork boards swimming with bright colored pins holding some of my favorite Astrobright projects in place!

To get started on your own Donut cork boards you’ll need a few supplies!

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  1. Use the base of a cup or small pinch bowl to trace out your donut center from your cork mat.
  2. Cut the inner circle with an exact knife.
  3. Paint a squiggly circle onto your cork base.
  4. Let dry.
  5. Now, paint a squiggly line to replicate icing onto your dried base.
  6. Optional: Attach picture hanging hooks!
  7. Use your colored push pins to decorate your donut cork board and hang your favorite photos, projects, or cards!

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Donut Paper Plate Craft!

Tomorrow is National Donut Day! To celebrate, we’re pulling out all the stops and creating some super fun Donut-themed crafts and DIY’s!

To start, I can’t resist a good paper plate craft so, we’re doing a Paper Plate Donut! For this adorable kid-friendly project, scroll below for a short supply list and a peek at our final result!

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  1. Trace your paper plate onto a brown sheet of construction paper.
  2. Cut your circle 1 inch in from your trace line.
  3. Using the hole in your construction paper sheet, draw a squiggly circle onto an Astrobrights sheet of paper.
  4. *Make sure not to forget folding your papers in half and cutting out the center hole of your donut!
  5. Glue your squiggly circle onto your donut base.
  6. Glue your donut base onto your paper plate.
  7. Cut strips from Astrobright paper in a variety of colors as your sprinkles, and glue!

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Happy National Donut Day!

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Not Quite Narwhal | Paper Plate Craft!

Would you rather be a Sea Unicorn or a Land Narwhal?

Like Kelp in Not Quite Narwhal, the boys had some trouble deciding! So, we set out to make our very own Kelp masks to see if it would persuade their choice!

If you haven’t seen or read Not Quite Narwhal, you’re missing out on some super sweet fun! The illustrations are beautiful, the pages are shimmery, and this easy-to-read, short-story is intriguing for children of all ages!

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To get started on your mask you’ll need:

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Instructions:

  1. Cut the center out of your plate.
  2. Decorate with gems + glitter.
  3. Cut a tall, thin, rounded triangle out of card stock and attach to the top of your paper plate.
  4. Cut your laminate sheet in a circle, the same size as your paper plate.
  5. Flip your plate over and attach your laminate sheet circle to the back of your plate with adhesive squares.
  6. Attach your lollipop stick or dowel.
  7. Use your mask to pretend you’re a Sea Unicorn or a Land Narwhal!

 

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Once we finished our masks, K had made his decision: He would rather be a Sea Unicorn than a Land Narwhal! So, once the Florida rain cleared away, we turned him into a Sea Unicorn with Crayola sidewalk chalk!

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FREE Doctor Play Set Printables

Does your little one love to play pretend?

It seems like everytime I come around a corner, there’s another set of dress-up or pretend play out of it’s basket in our home! We’re always using our imagination to be Dr.s, Astronauts, Construction Workers, Teachers, you name it! To make their set up more fun, I created this adorable Doctor play kit!

Add this free printable set to your little Doc’s kit for free!

*Laminate for best results!

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Download your free Doctor Printable Set HERE!


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The Happening Housewife Blog | copyright 2018 For personal use only. Not to be copied, distributed, altered, or sold. thehappeninghousewife.com

FREE Mexican Felt Food Pattern

Hey guys!

Did yesterday’s Secrets to DIY-ing Felt Food post have you itching to start creating your own?

Because our entire Mexican Felt Food set turned out to be such a hit, I knew a post all of it’s own would stand strong on it’s feet. So, scroll below to get your FREE Mexican Felt Food Patterns!

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Before you begin, make sure to read the entire post from yesterday if you haven’t already! (It will save you time + frustration!)


 

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what you’ll need:

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Next, download your FREE Mexican Felt Food Pattern Set !

For any questions, comment below!

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Happy crafting!

 

 

The Secret to DIY Felt Food! + FREE Taco Shack Printable Set!

In recognition of Cinco De Mayo last week, the boys and I dedicated our lessons to all things Mexico!

We had tacos for dinner, salsa with lunch, and of course, what’s a little celebratory play without matching felt food?!

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After a quick trip to our favorite place, cough, Hobby Lobby, cough, and loading up on every felt color imaginable, I thought I’d be able to dive right in and come up with these really awesome, totally easy felt munchies in no time. WRONG. There were a few things I wish I’d known BEFORE wasting literally 10 sheets of felt. So, to save you from making the same small mistakes I did, keep reading!


  • Tip NUMERO UNO: SCISSORS. DAMN GOOD SCISSORS.

Before you even think about starting to cut your felt, for the love of all that is Holy, please invest in a good pair of scissors. I like these and these (<< Pinking Sheers) best! A good pair of fabric scissors will save you from hours of misery while trying to tear the felt apart with dull scissor blades, your children hearing you shout inappropriate words at said felt, and raggedy edges that make your food look more like frazzled blobs than tacos and burritos

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This is a life saver. When it comes time to sew your felt pieces together, this stuff works wonders. Cut a piece of Heat N Bond to the size you need, flip it onto the backside of your felt sheet, and iron with a home iron. Next, just cut your shape out from your felt and iron it onto your backing piece! (For the onions you see here, Heat N Bond went onto the white felt and the white felt was then ironed onto the purple and trimmed!)

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When creating felt anything for littles, I always spend the extra few cents on the heavier felt sheets (2mm-3mm). It stands the test of time, gives your food a more realistic and 3 dimensional feel, and of course, doesn’t necessary need to be doubled up if you’d rather not put a stitch in every single piece of food you create.

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There you have it!

Now, you’re totally prepared to dive in and make your own DIY felt food.

Actually, wait! I take that back.

First, download this FREE Taco Shack Printable Set: Taco Shack Play Labels   Taco Shack Menu  Taco Shack Open + Closed Signs to occupy your littles while you’re making their felt food! (*Print on heavy card stock + laminate for long lasting results!)

Next, grab this FREE Mexican Felt Food Pattern to use as a guide when creating your felt masterpiece!

Alright, now you’re ready, and TOTALLY prepared to knock the socks off your kids’ feet when they see what you’ve made with your “I Can Do All The Things” mama hands!

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Pop-Oh-Ver | BEST Kids Toy for Pretend Play! + a GIVEAWAY!

Calling ALL parents of the world!

Role call, roll call!

I have come across something spectacular, something amazing, something that will make your kid’s pretend play hour 1 MILLION times better for YOU!

I know, you’re already dying to know what it is, sitting and waiting for me to tell you all about it. Here’s the thing: this magical chair-covering toy is so awesome that I probably don’t even need to tell you WHY we love it so much. Just look and see for yourself!

(enter the sound of ascending drums…)

Introducing, Pop-Oh-Over!

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Check this out- all you have to do when your kids are ready for pretend play is grab a couple dining chairs from your kitchen table, tie a few bows, and voila! You have a mess-free, space-saving, mythical creature of a toy!

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So, what did I tell you? This thing is awesome, right?!

SAVE the space a huge, plastic, noisy kitchen set would make with this simple, easy to store, folding kitchen!

Not only does this adorable set fold up and install with ease buttt (HUGE BUTT-see what I did there?1 bahaha) it’s made with high quality fabric, magnetic doors for the microwave and oven, clear pockets for all of the appliances, and it keeps the littles entertained for seriously long lengths of time. Yep! You’re welcome, I’ve just turned your 60-minute max pretend play distraction into several hours of busy fun!

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So, what’s our scoop? Do our kids prefer it over the bulky kitchen set they’ve had for years from IKEA?

Well, does an image in your mind of it currently sitting at the end of our driveway with a sign that says FREE on it, answer your question?

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We’ve had this beauty for about 2 days and K has woken up and gone to sleep standing in front of it SINCE DAY 1. At this point, I think I may actually need to get a set of chairs to delegate for his kitchen play since I don’t see us using the space-saving option any time soon!

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Now, I know you’re convinced and any parent-kid duo would love a FULL set of their own!

Want to know how you can win the Pots + Pans set, Oven + Stove Pop-Oh-Ver, and Microwave + Countertop Pop-Oh-Ver?!

(*Chairs, food, and other items not listed on the pop-oh-ver website are not included.)

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First, make sure you comment on this post and tell us the single most reason you would like to win!

Second, grab additional entires by following all of the Pop-Oh-Ver and The Happening Housewife social media pages via the Rafflecopter link below!

Third, for even MORE entries: See that Pin down there? Give it a click and save it to your favorite Pin Board!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER! Pop Oh Ver | Rafflecopter Giveaway

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5 Things To Do BEFORE Using Silhouette Sketch Pens

Recently, I’ve grown a newfound love again for my Silhouette Cameo. With all the amazing upgraded options they offer now and the ease of use in the software and newer machines, I couldn’t not divulge in the awesomeness while planning Kenedy’s fourth birthday which is, uhhh right around the corner!

One of my favorite things to use with my Silhouette Cameo is the Silhouette Sketch Pen Kit. Address envelopes, create coloring pages, wall art, and more with the touch of a button!

If I’m honestly speaking, the idea of using sketch pens in my machine really intimidated me for the longest time but, I couldn’t have been more wrong! It took forever for me to finally make the leap and just do it but, here I am *almost* a sketch pen pro sharing with you the 5 things I wish I had known before popping the pens into my machine!

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1. Check your new ink

Like any brand new pen, you need to give each of your pens a good roll before locking it into the cartridge of your machine. I made the mistake of not doing this and after several attempts finally realized that because the pens are just that: pens…not markers, they need to be tested first! Roll each pen along a piece of paper and then voila! Your pen is ready to go!

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2. Double, Triple check your cartridge placement

If you’re using a new Silhouette Cameo with dual cartridges, make sure to check the cartridge each of your pens are in before sending your project to the machine! There’s a blue and red circle on your machine atop each cartridge and in the send tab of your software. Make sure to double and triple check your marker colors and software before sending!

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3. Change your settings

Before officially sending your project to the machine, make sure to change your settings from “cut” to “sketch!” You can easily do this in the drop down coordinating with the “Action” and “Tool” selections.

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4. Reverse if need be

Reverse your project in Design before sending your project through when using vellum or a clear paper. Also, be careful of smearing with this paper, maybe stick to sharpies in a pen holder for this one!

5. Use the cut and sketch option together

Have a machine with dual cartridges? Make sure to put that to use! Save time and send your blade to cut immediately following your sketch!

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Well, there you go you crafty little thing you! Happy sketching + cutting!

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Give Your Kids The Greatest Summer Of All Time In Clearwater!

I know what you’re thinking, “SUMMER of all time in Clearwater?! We’re only right smack in the middle of Spring Break!” but, Summer will be here in no time and you’ll be looking for anything to get the littles out of the house while wearing down all of their batteries!

So, to help you cross one more thing off your long, daunting, never-ending parental to-do list, I’m giving you 3 totally awesome bucket list ideas to help give your kids the Summer of all time in Clearwater!

For all my Florida parents who follow along and even those just coming to our beautiful Sunshine State to visit for the summer, Clearwater is a must as your Summer vacay spot this year! Clearwater is home to one of our most beautiful beaches but, too much fun in the sun can get exhausting quick and a break from the rays does us all good. So, these bucket list ideas are sure to keep the fun rolling without burning you and the littles to a crisp while continuing to strengthen their brains!

Before adding these awesome spots to your summer bucket list, check out what Barbara over at Edutopia has to say about Summer Learning Loss! I like to encourage our boys to always do something fun but, stimulating for their brain…Something that will continue on the knowledge after the school year has ended!


1. Snapology

First on the list is Snapology! They just opened a brand new franchise in Clearwater and it will get your kids’ minds working as they play! Let them free to tinker, build, and experiment!  Snapology’s mobile service makes the fun super easy and they offer AMAZING summer camp opportunities! Need a break to get grocery shopping done or just want to lay on the beach solo?! Maybe a camp class is more up your alley! Enroll them in one of the totally rockin’ Summer programs offered at the Clearwater location!

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Your littles are guaranteed to leave wanting more so, once you’ve arrived home from your visit, check out more about Snapology online to stay up to date on classes, programs, and more! Better yet, live the Snapology way and open a franchise of your own! Check out more info on Snapology in my previous post HERE!

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2. Heritage Village

Once you’ve gotten their brain gears turning over at Snapology, go back in time at Heritage Village Museum. Wander around the grounds to get a feel of life back in the early 1900’s. Take in the school house, sugar mill, water tower, and over 15 other historic buildings! While you’re there, think of some fun questions to ask them as you explore! (i.e. “What do you think that does?”, “What would you say this cost back in the old days?”, “How do you think life has changed since this was used?”, etc.)

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3. Whimzeyhouse

Ready to zoom forward in time after your visit at the Heritage Village Museum? Slap on a yin-yang necklace with some bell bottoms and take the littles to see the coolest bowling ball collection you’ll ever lay eyes on! Todd and Kiaralinda Ramquist are owners of the super rad bowling balls and have an abundant collection of other quirky, unique gifts, art, and items on display! You’re guaranteed to leave here inspired!

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Well, there it is! Can you tell we like to carry on the whole “learning vibe” even after the school year has ended and we’re enjoying the summer off!? Take it from Morgan and David over at Brookings: Summer learning loss can significantly change the way a child starts their following school year! We don’t want that now do we? So, add these spots onto your list and keep that craving for knowledge strong!

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What’s one of your favorite spots to continue education while having summer fun?

 

Comment below to let us know!

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Disguise Learning with Play using STEM! (+ A Snapology LEGO GIVEAWAY!)

I’m so excited to be partnering with Nakturnal for a giveaway! Read below to find out how you can enter to win a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot- Sebastian Gator! Find a full disclaimer on the sidebar of my blog!


It’s no secret that we eat, breathe, live LEGO and all things STEM-based in our home. Not a day goes by that one or both of the boys isn’t stimulating their brain with those small colorful blocks, folding a paper airplane out of an old piece mail, or manipulating K-Nex into crazy, crime-fighting vehicles and winding roads.

When we realized that Col was a little different than other kids, it took no time at all to see the potential benefits of what STEM-based learning could do for him. Writing, Reading, and Speech as separate subjects are definitely a must-have in your child’s learning plan but, for kids like Colin, a science and mathematical learning environment is the most beneficial way to grow their unique little minds!

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Fast forward to when we had K! We were quick to realize once he was at a play age that typically developing kids thrive in the same STEM-based environment as well! Which made play time between the two of them a bonding experience and way to encourage them to teach each other new ways of learning!

Now that you know our little back story, let’s get to why you’re really here: “How do I disguise learning with play using STEM and what exactly is it?”

  • What is STEM?

STEM is a way of learning based on the idea of educating children of all ages in four specific areas — Science, Technology, Engineering, + Mathematics in an applied, hands on approach. Rather than teach the four subjects separately, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.

Pretty cool, huh?

  • What are the benefits of STEM?

1. It’s CURRENT!

In a technology-based society, science is forever changing and growing. As work places change by frequently updating their software, and equipment that we use in our daily lives becomes more advanced, STEM knowledge is vital. Staying up to date on the latest techy trends is a must in today’s world!

2. GET CREATIVE!

Creativity is one of the many benefits of a STEM education by implementing the idea of “Learning by Doing!”

Ironically, creativity is also the result of a STEM-based education ! STEM-based learning encourages students to get their hands ‘dirty’, solve problems, create new designs and functions, and make tools out of something that otherwise wouldn’t be!

3. INNOVATE, INNOVATE, INNOVATE!

With the growth of technology, is the freedom to invent and engineer almost anything you can dream of! Starting at a young age, we can encourage our kids to use their minds and create the impossible with STEM.

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1. OFFER THE RIGHT TOYS

I’m totally not suggesting that you go out and spend hundreds on an entirely new toy collection but, when birthdays and holidays come around, encourage friends and family to give more significant gifts that stimulate learning rather than the typical stuffed animal or piece of junk that will end up in a garage sale pile a few months later!

Some of our favorites:

  • LEGO
  • Magna-Tiles
  • Tegu Blocks
  • KIDS FIRST Engineering Tubs
  • Marble Run
  • Lincoln Logs

When choosing toys, try to make sure they incorporate and/or encourage one of the following: tinkering, building, circuit creation (adding pieces and parts to the toy that make it GO! or turn on and off), problem solving, or tech-based growth and learning.

Does the anticipated and totally loathed “LEGO dump” have you resisting adding them to your STEM collection?! Check out my post to help with that!

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2. ALLOW UNINTERUPTED + FREE WILL TINKERING

Sometimes, regardless of the mess it makes, you just have to let your little ones free with their tinkering toys without borders. I know, I’m with you. Walking into our home to a ‘road’ of K-Nex that stretches from the front door to, well, I don’t ever really know where, can be super annoying and seemingly pointless but, they’re actually using their little minds to create something super awesome and through the mess is some really great learning!

3. HELP + ANSWER WITHOUT FRUSTRATION

I know this one can be a bit difficult, especially when your knee deep in your own project but, when your little comes to you for advice or answers, they’re seeking you out for a reason! Curiosity is natural for growing minds and by shooting them down or showing frustration when they’ve asked the same question every single day for a week, you’re discouraging one of the greatest forms of learning. If you don’t know the answer to a question yourself, let them watch as you figure it out. Whether it be from a book, video, or the internet, seeing you seek out an answer encourages them to continue doing so through you.

4. ALLOW FREE PLAY WITH CRAFT SUPPLIES

Yes, for real. I mean, don’t give your kid all access freedom to liquid glue and finger paints but, offer them a bucket of dry supplies! Rubber bands, tape, twine, paper clips, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, clothespins, dowels, empty toilet paper rolls can all be used in creating some really awesome things. Change it up every other week or so with fresh supplies and new tools!

5. TRY A “BUILDING SNACK” TRAY

Similar to free play with random craft supplies, you never know what your little one will come up with when you offer them a tray of “building snacks” at the table! We love pretzel sticks, mini marshmallows, grapes, sliced olives, cheese cubes, and cheerios. You’ll be amazed at their first cheese cube-pretzel stick car with grape wheels!

6. INCORPORATE EDUCATIONAL SHOWS DURING SCREEN TIME

If you allow screen time in your home, there are a TON of education shows that go hand-in-hand with STEM-based learning! One of my favorite things as a mom to my littles is walking in on them super indulged in old school Bill Nye and The Magic School Bus. I love when they approach me to spill their guts about friction or some other super sciencey topic three days after watching an episode. It’s always a proud moment for us, even if they got it from a screen!

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We use all of these tools in our day to day life as a family and although it took a little practice, it’s now just routine! Our family truly enjoys play time together AND apart because of this method and as parents we’ve learned to embrace the repetitive questions and constant mess of LEGO!

 


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Giveaway closed.

Congratulations to Jenna!


Want to win a Snapology Sebastian Gator LEGO Set?!

(Recommended for ages 6+)

As parents of special needs + typically developing kids, we know from experience that every child is different and so is their preferred method of learning. So, as a soon to be family of three crazy boys, all different and unique, we’d love to know: Which of the ideas in this post is your littles’ favorite way of STEM-based play? (Haven’t tried one yet? Answer: Which idea are you most likely to implement first?) Comment below to be entered!

*Winner will be chosen at random 10 days from the post date on July 23, 2017 and will be notified via email. US entrants only please. Prize is a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot, Sebastian Gator, mailed directly to your home!


Curious about Snapology?!

Snapology is a STEM-based kids’ facility that hosts totally rad play dates, birthday parties, field trips, workshops, + summer camps where littles (ages 1 and up) use LEGO, K’nex, art + mosaic, code, robotics, and more to learn through play! Sounds super awesome right?! Well, they’re looking for someone interested in becoming a franchise owner in the Central Florida region! Give them a call or apply online today if this sounds like the spot for you!

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