Turkey Box Craft

As an organizer, I’m always looking for ways to maximize the use of things. The other day I found the perfect way to combine two projects. Me and my 3 year old made a fun craft project that was also a game! I mentioned this project in my Collectively Creative post here. I got this idea out of book of Thanksgiving craft ideas that my mother in law gave me. I changed a few things, but I like how it turned out. It was pretty simple but a lot of fun. Here’s what you need:

1 medium size cardboard box and at least 1 tiny helper:

An assortment of construction paper in fall or ‘turkey inspired’ colors:

And glue and scissors. That’s all you need.

First I cut the flaps off of one end of the box. This end will be the ‘bottom’ of the turkey. Then I drew a triangle on one of the bigger sides and cut it out with the scissors. This will be the mouth and you need to make the triangle pretty big.

Then I cut out construction paper shapes for the eyes, beak and weird turkey thing that hangs on their face over their beak. (Not sure what that’s about). I let Evan help me glue them on.

Then I cut out feathers from various pieces of construction paper and glued them to the top of the box. I had actually glued a brown piece of paper to the top of the box first to give me an even surface for the feathers. I also took one of the cardboard flaps I had cut off, bent it and taped it to the back of the feathers. This helps them stand up straight instead of falling backwards.

The instructions then say to make little bean bags out of material to use as ‘corn’ for the turkey, but we didn’t do that. Instead we crumpled up pieces of construction paper that had been cut in half. We used yellow paper for corn, but then Evan decided the turkey was REALLY hungry and wanted cherries, blackberries and grapes so off we went, crumpling up every color in the rainbow.

The best thing about this part of the craft is that it’s really fun, but it is also a great hand strengthener in little kids and helps them develop fine motor skills because of how their hands have to move.

Now it’s time to feed the cardboard turkey!

Both kids could do this part!

The kids took turns putting the ‘food’ in the turkey’s mouth. Evan also stood back and practiced throwing the food into the mouth. That was why we needed to make the triangle mouth so big, so that he could toss the paper in.

Great things about this project:

-It is very hands on.

-It involves lots of different skills for little kids to practice, like cutting, gluing, crumpling, throwing, gluing and sorting.

-The kids are able to get creative with the colors used and also use their imaginations when it comes to what the turkey is ‘eating’

-I got to see some adorable teamwork from 2 sweet little boys! (Can you tell it was pajama day at our house?)

This was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, create a memory with the kids and make a game that they could keep playing with.

I recommend this one!


T.H.A.N.K.F.U.L. for my Kiddos

I”m excited to be a part of another edition of Collectively Creative, thought up by the incredibly organized Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons. The theme for this month is, appropriately, being Thankful.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I did a project using the letters in the word THANKFUL. I took each letter and did an activity with my kids represented by that letter. It was a little harder to do with my younger son since he’s only 9 months old, but we included him as much as we could!

We’re so busy that we don’t often get a chance to sit down and just talk, even with out own children! So Evan and I made some hot chocolate and had one of our ‘Hot Chocolate Chats’. If it’s not too cold, we like to sit on the front porch, but it was snowing and freezing this weekend, so we cuddled on the couch and talked about our day and what we were going to do for the rest of the weekend.

Sometimes we get so caught up in activities and schedules, we forget that the most important thing is just being together.

I talked with the kids about Thanksgiving and then they helped me go through our cookbooks to look for recipes and make our grocery list for Turkey Day! Evan got his own paper and a crayon so he could make his ‘list.’

I had to do this anyways so I just asked the kids to help. We played ‘Cookbook Dominos’ and lined up the hardback books upright and pushed them down like dominoes. Our 3 year old thought it was hilarious and it was even an activity our 9 month old could do.

I decided to do an art project that was also a game to get the kids in the Thanksgiving spirit.

This was a really cute cardboard box turkey project that I will post about soon!

This one is all about food. Evan helped me cook breakfast one day and Owen just ate!  Evan loves to help cook, even if it just means putting things back into the fridge. He also likes to pour and stir, so I try to include him as often as possible.

Then we went grocery shopping as a family to get all of the things on our list. I don’t have photos of either of these activities, but it’s nice to put the camera down every once in a while (which I don’t do often!)

The kids and I looked through some of the pictures we’ve taken in the last few days and are getting them printed. We also looked through Thanksgiving photos from the last few years and printed them for our new ‘Thanksgiving Through The Years’ album.Here’s one from last year:

I also sat and showed Evan some family videos on the computer. He loves to look at videos of our adventures. By adventures, I mean him running back and forth across the house chasing the dogs.

For this activity, Evan got to choose whatever sounded fun to him and that’s what we did! Evan wanted to roast marshmallows so we roasted them in our fireplace. It wasn’t quite the same as a campfire, but it was a lot of fun and Evan loved it!

We spent a day without computers, cartoons and video games. That is QUITE the accomplishment for us! I have to admit that there was football on tv. However, me and the kids busied ourselves with other activities and got out of the ‘technology zone’ all day long! It was great (and a little difficult). It was definitely worth it though. I need to add that to my weekly routine!

My kids love music so we spent a while listening to kid’s songs on a couple of kid music CDs we have. It allows us to dance, sing and learn about instruments. Again, there are no pictures because you don’t really need to see a picture of me dancing to ‘Sally the Camel’, do you?

This project helped me to look at different ways I could interact with my kids and I think we all benefited from it in a lot of ways. Probably my favorite part was the ‘unplug’ project. It actually gave me time to do all of the other things on the THANKFUL list. I am definitely thankful for my kiddos!

There were a lot of other bloggers who participated in Collectively Creative this month to share how they were all thankful. Click on the links below to see their posts and be sure to check out the rest of their sites while you are there!

Our Family’s Thankful Journal (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)
Creating a Thankfulness Photo Album (Organizing Living Essentials)
Vegan Creamed Corn Cornbread (The Pancake Princess)
Thanksgiving Requests (Ponytail Kind of Day)

Halloween Costume Photos

I borrowed a wonderful tip from Thea at Organized Living Essentials where she suggested doing a Pre-Halloween Dress Rehearsal for the kids costumes. That way you could take a few photos before the hectic Trick or Treat evening. I decided to try this for several reasons:

-My kids costumes are really bulky this year and trying to get them to sit still for pictures and go right into Trick or Treating would be ridiculous.

-I decided to photograph them individually to get more photos and if they were both in costume at the same time, this would have been impossible!

-Now I can post the pics on the blog and facebook as well as email them to all the grandparents before Halloween is over. Then everyone is more in the mood and I make sure everyone gets to see the pics in a timely manner. Believe me, as much as I love Halloween, as soon as it’s over, I immediately throw all decorations and costumes back in their bins! So it helps to already have the pictures taken care of.

-I can just enjoy watching them trick or treat and not worry about getting the perfect costume picture when they are so distracted.

-Inevitably before any big photo event, whether it’s birthday’s, pics with Santa, etc, someone will spill juice all over themselves, or get a horrific runny nose, or fall and end up with a giant red bump on their forehead. I’m not sure which will happen tonight, but I’m not going to worry about it because I’ve already got the pictures!

The one thing I didn’t do was make a sign that says ‘2012’ because, well, I forgot. Maybe I’ll make a quick one and snap one more pic tonight.

Here are a couple of the results. Thanks for the idea Thea!

And one from our small town Halloween Party we went to:

Happy Halloween everyone!


Quick Halloween Pic Banner

I wanted a cute was to display the kids Halloween costumes through the years so I decided to make a little Costume Photo Banner to hang up in October. I had just created my ‘Halloween Through the Years’ photo album with my favorite pics from the holiday each year. But I wanted to have 1 photo from each year which was actually hung up for everyone to see.
This was a really easy project that only required a few items:


-Scrapbook Paper



-Hole Punch

I printed 1 4″ x 6″ photo from each of the past 5 years (please note that our son is only 3 so the first 2 years photos are of our dog in costume). Then I rounded the corners so they would look a little more ‘finished’.

I cut out 5″ x 7″ pieces of scrapbook paper and rounded the corners of those as well. Then I taped the photos to the scrapbook paper and punched 2 holes in the top of each.

Then I just took the yarn and threaded it through the holes and taped the whole thing on our entertainment center.

I hung it up with tape and I didn’t tie the string at either end so it will be easy to add another photo. When I run out of room in  of, I’ll just get another piece of string. So easy and so cute. It’s a great way to look back at the costumes over the years.

I love easy projects!


Halloween Party Wrap Up

Last night was our first (and hopefully the first of many) Halloween party. I actually spent days prepping for this because a) I love Halloween b) I love theme parties and c) I love planning things. I was joking with my husband that I like planning for a party almost as much as the actual party itself. (almost!)

So I pulled most of my decorating and craft ideas from Pinterest, blogs and magazines. Here are a few:

The first decoration I put up was a spider web made of yarn, which I found here.

In the same post with the spider web tutorial is a link to a paper bat tutorial. These were super easy and made a great accent to the other decorations.

We actually had a lot more bats in the living room, and next year I want to do even more. We also had the obligatory carved pumpkin.

You can’t tell from the photo, but this pumpkin is HUGE! We went to a pumpkin patch and traded in the ‘normal’ size pumpkins we got with admission for 1 ridiculously large pumpkin.

For food, I decided to bake chicken with pesto, marinara and Parmesan cheese. It was super easy and we made a lot, so I see chicken marinara leftovers in our future for the next 4 days.

I wanted some of the food and drinks to have a Halloween touch, so I tried a couple other ideas I found. My pumpkin juice boxes were inspired by some Mummy Juice Boxes I had seen both here and here. I needed white duct tape for the mummy’s and all I could find was an industrial size roll of the stuff. Since I didn’t need 500 yards of white duct tape, I snagged the normal size bright orange roll of duct tape and made pumpkin juice boxes.

I used felt for the stems and leaves and construction paper for the faces. Thanks to my husband who spent a lot of time gluing eyes and noses!
I pulled off the straws before I wrapped the boxes in duct tape and then I just taped the straws to the backs once they were finished.

The grown up version of juice boxes was a crock pot cider. My husband and I had looked up dozens of recipes online (it’s incredible how many ingredients some people put in their cider). And it was a fun week trying the recipes until we found the perfect combination. There were all sorts of test ingredients…cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, orange juice, apples, rum, brandy, whiskey. It turns out that the absolute best combination is: apple juice, rum and cinnamon. That’s it!

I also made a cupcake ghost, which I saw in Family Fun magazine’s October issue.

For chips and salsa, my husband carved out two medium size pumpkins to perfectly fit 2 bowls we had. They made perfect serving pieces and we set them up with a wicker pumpkin which held the plastic silverware.

I set up a craft table for the kids. Most of their time was spent running frantic circles around the house, wielding plastic tools, a fake lawnmower, a large red ball and handfuls of candy and cupcakes that were grabbed as they flew past the dessert table. It was craziness and I’m not sure how our house is still standing. But after the main sugar high wore off, I asked who wanted to do a craft and almost every kid followed me in the dining room. Amazing!

I had set out several different activities:

But the hit of the craft table was the Pipe Cleaner Spider. I found them here and they were so cute and easy. They were from Homemade by Jill. Follow her on Pinterest here, she has some great Pin Boards. I made a few changes to the spiders, such as adding the ‘googly eyes’, but the concept was pretty much the same.

Tip Alert!:

Here is a tip I will absolutely use for every craft table I set up from here on out if I can. I took a shallow storage bin and put everything needed for this craft inside the bin – pipe cleaners, google eyes, glue, and scissors. Then I set an example on top. I also had a bin for felt and cotton ball ghosts, which had it’s own glue and scissors. It made things so much easier and efficient. If I was just doing one craft, I would probably lay everything out on the table. But with multiple crafts, we just picked one and I opened that bin. The table stayed cleaner and I knew I had everything I needed.

And I couldn’t leave the adults without an activity, so I had a Halloween Trivia Game. It included 10 Halloween questions and the winner received a little gift basket.

The party was a blast and I hope to continue the tradition next year. Happy Halloween!



Halloween ‘Through the Years’ Photo Album

Like most people, every year I take photos of the kids in costumes, the pumpkins we carve, decorations, etc. And for years, those photos have been on my computer or, at best, in the ‘yearly’ scrapbook or photo album. This year, I decided to make a Halloween specific album where I can chronicle the holiday through the years in one album. I actually already do this for Christmas. I have a photo album where I put my favorite Christmas pictures each year that I store with my Christmas decorations. So, the Halloween photo album project was born!

I chose my favorites from each year and had them printed. Then I bought a plain black photo album.

Instead of just putting the photos in the album, I wanted to spice it up a little. I decided to make 4″ x 6″ inserts for the album that say the year the pictures were from. I used the Halloween fonts I found during my ‘Halloween Folder’ project, which you can read about here.

As I started putting the photos in, I realized I wanted the new years to start on a new page of the album, but that meant there would sometimes be leftover spaces with no photo. So I started making additional inserts with some info about that particular year, such as:

‘First Halloween in Colorado’ or ‘Evan’s First Pumpkin Carving’

Then I started switching up the colors so pretty soon I had a handful of pictures, but another handful of inserts in various fonts and colors.

I just used Powerpoint to create all of the inserts and then I created one more for the cover of the album.

Now I have a cute album that I can add to every year and watch how we all change from one Halloween to the next. It’s also a great conversation piece to have out in October and share with family and friends.


Trick or Treat Neat

I am so excited to be participating in a new collaborative blog post project called Collectively Creative. This project was designed by Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons. The concept is for various blogs to write about the same general topic on the same day. However, the individual posts will vary widely in their actual subject matter.

This month’s topic is, appropriately, Halloween!

I have always loved Halloween and I spent days and days racking my brain to come up with a way to combine Halloween and organizing. I present to you….. (dramatic pause)……

The Trick or ‘Neat’ Halloween Ideas Folder!!! (I’m picturing wild applause and unrelenting anticipation from my readers)

This handy folder is going to contain all of my Halloween ideas, inspirations and reminders for many (Full) moons to come.

Here’s the basic setup:

-I have made sections for various categories, such as crafts and food.

-I have made a title page for each section.

-I have used clear plastic sheet protectors for everything and I have left extra empty protectors at the back of the folder for when I add to this next year.

-I plan to keep this book in the plastic bin with all of my Halloween decorations.

So let’s get this crazy holiday organized! I’ll break it down by section:

~Craft Ideas

-Kids Crafts – I found some kid’s Halloween craft ideas online and I printed them several to a page. They are just photos (no instructions) because they are fairly simple concepts and I can figure out what to do just from the photos. I plan on adding new ideas each year, but it will be a great reference for craft night with the kids or Halloween parties.

-Coloring Pages – I like to search online for free coloring book pages for various holidays and themes. I usually try to find new ones, but I decided it would be good to have a stack of pre-printed ones that I could just copy if I wanted to. I have about a dozen coloring pages printed and I actually printed them 2 on a page. I do this because I like having a half-page coloring sheet. That way, I can put it on a piece of construction paper as a `background if I want to and they are also easier to store or hang on the fridge because they take up less room. I am going to copy a bunch of these for a little Halloween get together we are having next week so I am already using them!

I also took the ghost from my coloring page section, cut it out on black felt and then Evan and I covered it with cotton balls to make a 3-D ghost. I put a copy of the coloring page as well as a photo of Evan’s finished ghost in the binder so that I would remember this idea. It was fun, quick and cheap!

-Adult Crafts – This section is more for me. :) I found a few ideas for some Halloween decorations (such as twine covered mini pumpkins) and put them in here. There was one project (Mod Podge Halloween Blocks) that I wanted to have the exact process on hand for, so I printed the instructions and put them in this section as well.


-Food Presentation – This section is for clever ways to present your food on and around Halloween, such as salsa or dip in a carved out pumpkin or ‘googly eyes’ on plastic cups.

You can also see that there are several places where I just wrote a couple notes next to the photos.

-Appetizers – This is for Halloween themed pre-dinner dishes such as a pumpkin made of carrot sticks.

-Desserts and Treats – Now this is the section that Halloween is made for. There are so many creative and cute treats that looks like pumpkins, spiders, ghosts and more. Besides, you’re supposed to have treats at Halloween right? There are a million Halloween dessert ideas out there, so at some point this section may need its’ own binder!


-General Decoration Ideas – This section is going to include photos of our decorations as well as inspiration photos for future decorations.

-Party Decoration Ideas – This will be photos of our party set ups or inspiration set ups for future parties.


-Previous Kid’s costumes – I wanted a cute way to display photos of the kids’ costumes from previous years, so I am going to laminate them and hang them on a string (like a photo garland). I really like the idea of being able to see these every year, especially Evan’s second Halloween when he was a spider and he had these long fabric spider arms dragging on the ground as he learned to Trick or Treat. Since I don’t want the photos to get bent in storage, I am putting them in the Halloween folder so they stay flat. Look for photos  of this project later this week!

Tip Alert!!!!

-I created the cover and section labels on powerpoint using fonts I found at Font Space. I just recently started using this site. There are lots of font download sites, but this one is great so far. There are literally thousands of free fonts to choose from, it is easy to search by category and they even have fonts that contain different borders, pictures and embellishments. It’s FANTASTIC! I did some searches for reviews on the site and saw a lot of great things. So while I can’t officially promote this because I haven’t had a ton of experience with it, it has served me well so far and I completely recommend it. Some of these fonts will soon be making appearances on my labels at home.

-I also reorganized my Halloween pins in my Pinterest folders. I have general Boards for Food, Desserts, Crafts/ DIY, and Holidays (check me out on Pinterest here). However, I realized that I had Halloween related items on all of those boards, which is incredibly inefficient. Knowing me, I would be looking through the Holidays board on November 1st and see an awesome Halloween idea. So I made a separate board for just Halloween items, which you can see here. Most of these pictures were actually printed and put into the book, but the Pinterest board allows me to share it with others, which I love.

So I’ve got my book to reference and add to for future Halloweens. I have also decided to do this same type of thing for every major holiday. It’s the project that keeps on giving! :)

Now here’s the fun part. Check out all of the links below to see who else is participating in the Halloween edition of Collectively Creative! These are great blogs year round so make sure to keep tabs on their tips, recipes and ideas.

Also, make sure to keep an eye out for next month’s edition of Collectively Creative. Again, thanks so much to Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons for allowing me to be a part of this!