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Whenever I think of Summer, grilling always comes to mind! Trading family dinners indoors to outdoor backyard dinners and baked to grilled dinners. Grilling delivers flavor, elevating meats, veggies, and other food favorites such as slices of bread and fruits!

When gearing up for cookout season, grill prepping is key! Here are a few tips and tricks for grilling season.

PREVENTATIVE CARE:
Add flavor to your meals this summer with grilling!
Add flavor this summer with grilling!
COOKING TIPS:
Up your grill skills this summer!
Grill up your next meal with ease!

Start with simple recipes and work your way up to pro status through time and practice. Summertime always brings a sense of freshness to the table when dinnertime arrives. Serving fresh vegetables with a smokey, grill flavor in the backyard is what it's all about at home.

So, why not develop your grilling technique and evaluate your cooking master power in the backyard this summer with your family?! Share on Instagram or Facebook your grilling tips and tricks or even some of your favorite grill-worthy recipes or when you began learning how to grill?

Stay crafty,

Jaime

Happy Father's Day to all you amazing dads out there! Whenever this holiday comes around, my children and I like to plan a very special day together full of crafts and activities for the leading man in our lives. Simple activities on the day like riding a bike at the park or a family picnic actually go a long way; it's about making the dad in your life feel loved and special for everything they do.

Need a few suggestions to celebrate your Father's Day with dad? Check out a few ideas that we have done over the years:

LAZY MORNING

Create a morning brunch feast of his favorite foods (yes, including cookies!) with a fresh cup of coffee or tea. An activity that is fun on a lazy weekend afternoon is tackling a puzzle featuring his favorite theme! You can even have the completed puzzle framed and hang it as a piece of art.

Breakfast spread in for the win this Father's Day!
An epic breakfast spread is never a bad idea.
GAME NIGHT

Board games are another fun way to celebrate Father's Day! With so many choices from Sorry, Trouble, or Guess Who, you can pull out all the family board games (or/and card games!).

You can add a little competition and see who wins the most (hint, it should be dad) and offer a prize! Want to take this idea up a notch? Host game night with other dads in the neighborhood. A friendly little competition never hurt anyone.

CATCH SOME SUN

Get outdoors with a hike or a bike ride! Personally speaking, we love beach walks and hikes. It's an excellent way to stay active with the kids and take a break from everyday adulting (and electronics).

Check out a new park to hike around in, and then have a family picnic. This would be a pleasant disconnect from all the possible distractions at home. If your dad is an outdoorsman, maybe consider planning a fish or camping trip or even bird watching!

GRILLMASTER MOM

Calling all moms, it time to turn up the heat. Host a small Fathers Day cookout inviting all the dads you have come to know or treasure. Have mom be the grill master for the day, and the littles can set the table up for all the dads.

Give dad a day to relax from grilling!

Load the outdoor dining table with classic summertime favorites like burgers, hot dogs, ribs, and grilled corn. If you have an extra Summer Kit, you could certainly use it for decor and as the tablescape for the kiddos. And, don't forget a section for outdoor games like corn hole, ladder toss, or giant Jenga! Be sure to keep a cooler of refreshing bevies nearby, especially since you'll be basking in the sun.

VIRTUAL ADVENTURES
Take a trip around the world from your living room!

Another fun idea you can incorporate in your Father's Day celebrations is a virtual tour! Is there a museum dad wants to check out and take in on a virtual tour? So many museums around the world are offering virtual tours.

You can visit three different museums in three other countries, making you the world's greatest traveler of 2021. The perk to this idea is you can stay in your PJ's and explore a museum after breakfast, lunch, or over a spread of all his favorite snacks in the comfort of being home.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas, and they help inspire your Father's Day celebration. Remember, no matter how you celebrate the holiday this year, it's about showing love and appreciation to the dad(s) in your life. Have a wonderful Father's day celebration; however, you plan to celebrate!

Share with me on Instagram how you celebrate this Father's Day!

Stay crafty,

Jaime

Let's shell-abrate, it's Summer and school's out! How do you plan to make the most of sunny; summer fun? There are many activities and local destinations that can be turned into a fun celebration. And, one thing I like the current seasonal kit will bring a taste of summer to each party you create. 

Here are a few ways you can have fun with your Summer Kit:

BEACH

Pack your favorite beach towels and beach blanket, a cooler filled with refreshing snacks and beverages. With your summer kit in hand, you can quickly go from sunbathing or searching for seashells to a fun-filled picnic right on the beach. The balloons included in the kit can serve as a marker for when the family needs to use the restrooms, and you can find your way back to your spot.

One of them always gets buried!
This happens every time!

Oh, and since beach buckets and pails are included, why not build a family sandcastle or see who makes a castle the fastest. Hit the waves after a picnic and toss around the personal-sized beach balls in a game or for fun. Just don't forget to bring a trash bag! 

PARK

Celebrate in an open space, with the best part being a simple clean-up! Parks are an underrated celebration destination for children (and even adults!). Everyone has plenty of room to mingle and play games, especially with families who are still being cautious (rightfully so).

Bubbles are such a party staple and keep kiddos entertained!
Bubbles are a staple when planning backyard or park celebrations.

The Sun Ballon and Summer Banner pops nicely outdoors and serve as a bright indicator of where the celebration is! Just be sure to pick a perfect location that is close to restrooms and picnic tables! Don't forget to pack string and use to the banner are the trees and balloons weights. Another playful party idea is bringing an outdoor game, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles!

BONFIRES

Who wouldn't want to spend a cool summer night making s'mores? Because I do! Whether you're hosting a backyard fire pit party or simply hanging out, unpack your kit and set up a table loaded with simple snacks and finger foods, buffet style. This will help keep everyone socializing by the fire or in the surrounding and pick and choose which foods they'd like to enjoy when they are ready. Oh, and don't forget insect repellent candles for the dining table and alongside the bonfire. If you want to be extra fancy, use your Christmas lights for an added visual in the backyard! 

Fire up the grill because schools out, create a hot dog/burger toppings bar and serve up some refreshing homemade lemonade this MDW (Here's my MDW checklist). I love summer and backyard BBQs because the foods you serve can be anything from watermelon, hot dogs, hamburgers, kabobs, and corn on the cobb. Load up your sun plates with all your BBQ foods and enjoy! Post BBQ eats, satisfy your sweet tooth with the lollipops included in your kit. After enjoying your family favorites, take a moment to plan the rest of your summer with the Summer Bucket List. 

School's out, serve up some grilled hot dogs!
A classic summer food for BBQ's!
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

A last-minute beach day or park visit is always an adventure, and you can save yourself the trip for supplies with your handy dandy Summer Kit. Impress your littles (and/or friends!) with a memorable tablescape all in one box! 

How do you swing last-minute get-togethers? Are you the planner mom with extra sets for impromptu gatherings? Or are you the go with the flow mom and wing it while hoping for the best? Be sure to share with me on Facebook

Stay crafty,

Jaime

Summer grilling becomes a state of mind right before Memorial Day Weekend! With getting our home summer-ready (here's what I do to summer-ize our home), this checklist helps me get holiday weekend ready!

HERES YOUR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND CHECKLIST:

2-3 WEEKS BEFORE:  

Invitations: It's up to you if you would like to have a large family gathering; we tend to keep things more intimate. So, check with your immediate family to see who would like to join you for some backyard fun with a summer menu.

Menu: What do you want to serve as the main course? What snacks and desserts will you serve? Be mindful to consider any allergies that a family member may have.  

Celebrate in your backyard this Memorial Day Weekend.
The backyard is prepped for a celebration!

THE WEEKEND BEFORE:

Backyard Ready: I like to ensure the outdoor furniture is cleaned and ready for company. Also, I like to make sure the backyard is ready for any outdoor activities or family games we may play.

Grill Prep: Clean and check if all the burners are working, if you have enough propane, and be sure you are stocked up on essential grilling supplies, including propane, charcoal, lighter fluid, etc.

A COUPLE DAYS BEFORE:

Pantry cleanout: Where will all your groceries for the holiday weekend eats be stored? I usually take a day to clean out the fridge and pantry to ensure all the condiments, snacks, and dressings are not expired, and if so, I will add them to the shopping list.

Serve up all the summer favorite foods!

Refrigerator makeover: Before venturing to the market, ensure you have enough fridge space for all your nonperishable foods. I can't tell you how many times I had to play refrigerator Tetris to try to make it all fit.

Decorations: I love summer decor, and adding some to a family BBQ adds a little something extra. Sometimes it's fresh flowers as a centerpiece, a bright table cloth, or even some citronella candles (and it helps keep the bugs at bay!).

Clean up: I like to take a day before and tidy up of all the things around the house.

With all the planning done, gather and celebrate!

THE DAY OF:

I like to wake up a little earlier on days where our family gathers for celebrations. Food prepping in advance allows me to be a better host while interacting with family and guests simultaneously.

There you have it, my simple checklist to planning our kickoff to summer! How do you prepare for family gatherings or summer BBQ's? Please share with me on social (Instagram and/or Facebook) and don't forget to use #CraftyHolidayHelper!

Stay crafty,

Jaime

Happy Mother's day to all of you amazing mom's out there!

In our home, a holiday becomes a reason for us to celebrate. On Mother's Day, we usually spend time in the kitchen, beginning with breakfast morning and ending the evening with homemade cookies and family time. Sometimes we pull out the craft box and create decorations if we are hosting a Mother's Day brunch or dinner for the moms in our family.

Mother's Day celebrations!
They will always have a "pizza" my heart!

Motherhood is such an amazing gift, and while it's no easy task (we moms are on call 24 hours and day, seven days a week, 365 days a year), and somehow we manage it all!

I wonder where my strength and patience come from, and then I remember, "Oh, yeah, my mom!" I also honor her today, as she inspired me to become the mom I am today for my children.

Throughout it all, I am thankful for the gifts of motherhood and grateful to have a day where we moms remind each other how special each of us is.

I wish you all a wonderful, memorable Mother's day this holiday! Share with me how you plan to celebrate in the comments on Instagram or Facebook!

Stay crafty,

Jaime

Happy National Siblings Day to these joys in my life! Motherhood offers many pleasures, and seeing of these tiny humans grow together is such a blessing. I learn more each day about their personalities, how they love and support each other as their bond grows, and it's magical.

Our home is filled with the sounds of children laughing and playing, and thankfully they reach the daily exercise suggestion with all the running around they do. In the midsts of all that sibling fun they share, my hope for them in adulthood is to recall these treasured moments as I do every day.

When I first became a mom, one of my goals (still is) was to create a happy childhood by celebrating holidays, birthdays, and family events. Celebrating each and every milestone, idea and dream. Through these moments of celebration and joy is how these kits came to life as they are my inspiration during playtime and family time every day. Observing their interests and understanding their curiosities individually and collectively inspires me, and I am sure it helps them encourage each other.

Celebrating National Sibling Day with this three children being silly.
They are really excited to see what we are cooking in the kitchen today.

In my opinion, having siblings means they will always have a friend, a support system, a connection to each other through moments of celebration and growth. I enjoy seeing that beautiful unbreakable bond form early in childhood through each hug, kiss, and sweet moment exchanged as they grow.

How did you celebrate #NationalSiblingDay with your family? Wishing you a Happy National Siblings Day to your siblings and family!

Stay crafty,

Jaime

Ahhh, the sunny days of May prepare my family and me for Summer! School is almost out for the children (thank goodness for no more homework or trying to relearn fractions!), and this is the month where I begin to plan family activities. 

What's on your summer reading list?
What's on your Summer reading list?

I love the Summer holidays, giving us a reason to celebrate, and who doesn't want an excuse to gather together. One holiday that gears us up for in summer mode is Memorial Day! Usually, our home has been decorated with summer colors and vibrant plants (here's a blog post for simple ways to create a summer vibe).

Usually, by Memorial Day, the house is decorated, the grill is cleaned, and we gear up for the end of the school year, leaving us ready to spend some time in our backyard to play board games and bond with one another. Summer sunsets and early evenings are reasons the upcoming season fills me up with joy. Walks along the beach picking sea shells or spending time creating bonfires (roasting marshmallows, of course!) is another opportunity for bonding without the rush school responsibilities.

Here are a few other ways I gear up for Summer:

Reading list:  While Summer reading may have an elementary feel to it, as a family we like to create a summer reading list. I believe it's important to read even one book together as a family. It's a different avenue of bonding and another topic at the dinner table as a family. 

Outdoor games/sports: Who doesn't love outdoor fun!? Backyard scavenger hunts are a favorite in our household. Scavenger hunts are great for all ages, and you can customize them any way you wish. You may or may not see a scavenger hunt in an upcoming kit! 

Summer foods: Food off the grill screams summer to me, grilled chicken, grilled vegetables (kabobs!)  as well as homemade lemonade, and fun attempts to whip up a flavored ice cream together. I also love the fruits that are in season, everything from blood oranges, watermelon to cherries! 

What are some ways you gear up for summer pre-Memorial Day weekend (here's a checklist to help you plan)? Do you have any favorite foods or fruits you tend to enjoy more? 

Please share with me on Facebook or Instagram, and don't forget to use #CraftyHolidayHelper!

Stay crafty,

Jaime

We love celebrating Valentine’s Day with the family as it’s a way to shower our children, family, and friends with love and joy while spending a meaningful day together. Plus, who doesn’t love a day with chocolate, candy, and flowers? We’ve planned out a special day for you and your kids, including some of our favorite activities from our latest blog: 24 Valentines Day Activities for Preschoolers. 

Breakfast

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. Why not serve a heart-shaped breakfast as a family treat?And, maybe some heart-shaped strawberries to add an extra touch of love. 

Activity 1: Arts and Crafts

Activity 2: Baking – Cupcakes & Cookies

We found this easy cupcake and cookie recipe you can do with your kids. Our kids love decorating cookies and cupcakes so let them get creative. Remember: no frosting is too much. Try to save these treats for dessert as you don’t want to spoil lunch or dinner. 

Lunch

Edible bread painting for lunch. Make lunch exciting with cute sayings or heart designs for Valentine’s Day. 

Get Active: Chose one or complete all three

Game 1: Walk Around Neighborhood

It’s always good to get some fresh air and go for a family walk. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, play a game of “I spy” something red or pink in the neighborhood. Another fun idea you can do with the kids on your walk, take some of Valentine’s Day cards and distribute them to your neighbor’s mailbox for a pleasant surprise. 

Game 2: Valentine’s Day Musical Hearts

For your at-home dance party, this game will get the heart pumping. Layout a bunch of hearts with different phrases to dance out like “walk like an Egyptian,” “move like a robot,” “do the moonwalk.” When the music stops, each player grabs the nearest heart and dances out the phrase. To make sure your kid doesn’t dance around the same one, take away the used hearts every round. Keep going until all the hearts have been completed.

Game 3: Pin the Arrow on the Heart

Each person will have an arrow. Blindfold each player, turn them around 3x, and have them try to pin the arrow onto the heart. 

Free Time

We included some free time for you and your family to choose or to take a one-hour nap for those with preschoolers. There is nothing wrong with taking a break and resetting before dinner!

Dinner

Whip up a simple dinner where the kiddos can assist you in the kitchen. Turning cooking into a family activity will certainly be a lot of fun especially when its something as easy as taco night! Of course, compliment your meal with the Crafty Holiday Helper Valentine’s Day Table Setting. Lastly, don’t forget dessert – there is nothing sweeter than ending a family dinner with a tasty dessert with some laughter.

End the Day

We love to end the day watching a family movie together. One of our favorite family films is Shrek as it's full of funny moments to get the family laughing with a hint of romance to get everyone feeling the love on Valentine's Day!

Stay Crafty,
Jaime

Want to surprise your kids this summer with some Christmas spirit? Send your child a Postcard from their elf in SUMMER. My kids always count down the day until our elf comes to visit in December. Last summer, at the beginning of August, a postcard showed up letting my kids know that he missed them and he couldn?t wait to see them in December. My kids were SO SURPRISED! I was pleasantly surprised at all of the offers of help around the house, the clean rooms and the kindness to each other that followed the postcards arrival. Head over to Crafty Holiday Helper to get your FREE download of the Christmas Elf Summer Postcard. Print out the page in color then fold along the bottom of the photo and glue or use double sided tape to secure the sides. Address the postcard to your kids and pop it in the mail! If you are worried about your kids knowing your handwriting, ask a neighbor or friend to write it so it doesn't look like your writing. To take it even a step further...place your postcard, with your address and stamp already on it, in a bigger envelope and mail it to the following address:

North Pole Postmark
Postmaster
4141 Postmark Drive
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

This post office will then take your postcard and have it postmarked ?North Pole? so you don't have to field the question ?How come this postcard came though our town??. Amazing!!!! Feel free to reach out to me if you want me to email you a version that you can edit if you wish to personalize it for your kids and make it from your elf or add anything else!

Stay Crafty,
Jaime

Can you believe Christmas is less than six months away? The PRE-SALE for the ever-popular Christmas Elf Kit is back to create magic for your kids every day of the Christmas Season with no effort at all!

Surprise your little ones with a special gift to bring all the extra magic this Christmas before they sell out like last year. Very soon, I'll post on social media the release news on this upcoming kit!
Oh, and this year only, the first 150 orders will receive a FREE ELF DOOR! (Yes, you heard that correct, an actual wooden Elf door that opens, has a doorknob and a knocker!) Now you have an actual answer for when your children ask how our elf reports back to Santa each night? It comes with removable foam adhesive for the back panels and can be stuck anywhere for the duration of the Christmas Elf season.

Don't miss out on this amazing FREE GIFT with a pre-order of the Elf kit. See photos below for Elf door. * Second photo to give you a size reference.

The Magic Elf Door

The kit includes everything you need to have the most magical twenty-seven days of the Christmas Elf Season! An arrival letter, magical glove, an Elf travel container, and more. 

Each scene is individually packaged for a simple setup right after the little ones are asleep. Setting up only takes a few minutes packaged in unmarked boxes for easy and secret storage!

Teachers, do you have a hard time getting your students to pay attention during the Christmas Season? A Classroom Christmas Elf Kit was added this year. With the help of this kit, you can create magical memories for your students and maybe get them to listen to this Christmas. The scenes are geared towards the classroom and school activities for your child's teacher to incorporate with their lessons and also have some silly fun! Purchase your Classroom Christmas Elf Kit which are available to ship anywhere in the United States! Please note that this kit does NOT include the actual Christmas Elf. The Christmas elf will need to be purchased separately!

Stay crafty,

Jaime

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