10 Ways to Add Some Kick to Your Kids’ Room

You don’t have to be an interior designer or buy expensive furniture to update your child’s room. Liven up their bedroom with stylish decorations you can easily create yourself. These 10 simple do-it-yourself projects will help you add some fun, unique touches to their walls and play spaces. And because many of these decorations are made using objects that you can find around the house, they’re budget-friendly, too.

Image Credit: NicandKate09

Alphabet Board – Kids can learn and play on a magnetic board an oil pan made from an oil pan or cookie sheet. You can also give the metal sheet a coat of spray paint for added “oomph.”

Image Credit: Makely Home

Beaded Chandelier – Cover an old chandelier with a kaleidoscope of color using inexpensive metallic beaded necklaces for a bright and fun light fixture.

Image Credit: InfarrantlyCreative.net

Board Game Wall Art – Toy storage and wall decor in one, their board games become a work of art by adding a simple-to-make frame.

Image Credit: Penny Carnival

Book Sling – Keep their favorite storybooks bedside with this adorable book sling, which is made using fabric and a curtain rod.

Image Credit: Homemade By Jill

Cozy Car Caddy - Using some fabric, old denim, and velcro, this car caddy is a cute way to store their Matchbox and Hot Wheels.

Image Credit: Apartment Therapy

Indoor Swing – Bring a little piece of their outdoor toys in with an indoor swing you can hang within their bedroom.

Image Credit: Meet The Dubiens

Lego Table – Why pay $90+ for go table when you can make on yourself by gluing a Lego plate onto an inexpensive table. This version will also show you how to add a little road to turn your table into a town.

Image Credit: Honey & Fitz

Nail & String Wall Art – Inexpensive and easy, put your child’s name or inspirational phrase on their wall by weaving embroidery string around an assembly of nails.

Image Credit: SASInteriors

Skateboard Shelves – For decor that pops, get on board with these mini skateboard shelves.

Image Credit: Oh Happy Day

Cupcake Flower Lights – Attach cupcake papers to a string of light to make garden of flower lights that will brighten up their space.

 

 

10 Fun Winter Wardrobe Essentials for Babies & Kids

Are your kids already griping about the cold chill in the air? Shake off their cold weather blues in stylish clothes and accessories your kids won’t mind bundling up in. Covered in cheerful colors, whimsical prints, and cute details, these 10 winter wardrobe essentials will make braving the cold a little more fun and a lot more tolerable.

Uggs Australia Bailey Bow Boots ($119.95, Nordstrom)

Infants’ Hi-Loft Fleece Coverall ($49.95 at LLBean)

Girls’ Polka Dot Cashmere Sweater ($168, J.Crew)

Boys Dinosaur Slippers ($18.95, Gap)

Hatley Toddler’s & Little Girl’s Cupcakes Raincoat ($54, Saks)

K-Way Reversible Mittens ($28, J.Crew)

3-Pack Knee Socks, ($24, Boden)

Monster Fur Earflap Hat ($19.20, Shop Justice)

Hand-Knit Animal Hat ($35, Lands End)

Volcom Vacation Mask Hoodie ($69.50, Nordstrom)

 

 

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Coordinating Halloween Costumes for You and Your Canine

If you and the kids will be trick or treating with your pet this year, why not try coordinating your costumes together? Using otherwise ordinary costumes, we came up with a few fun combinations that will make you and your pet really stand out from the crowd this Halloween.

Mad Scientist and Frankenstein – It’s alive! Dressed as Dr. Frankenstein ($39.99, Spirit Halloween) and your dog as monster “Barkenstein” ($33-$37 at Dog Halloween Costumes Shop), the two of you will play the parts from the classic horror story.

Ghostbuster and Ghost – Who ya gonna call? Dial into this Ghostbuster Costume with neat inflatable proton pack ($39.99, Target) and Ghost Dog Costume ($40, Baxter Boo) for two ghoulishly good get-ups.

Bacon and Egg – Scramble bacon and eggs together for a well-balanced costume duo. Take a crack at this sunny side up Fried Egg Costume ($34.99, Fright Catalog) while your dog hams it up as Bacon ($16.99, Toys R Us).

Swedish Chef and Chicken – Fans of “The Muppet Show” will recognize this pair from popular sketches seen on the show. With your dog dressed as a chicken (we found this rooster cap to be close – just add red felt for a wattle! $10, Baxter Boo), don this Swedish Chef costume ($49.99, Party City) and bork, bork, bork the night away!

Bee and Flower – Everyone will be buzzing about your choice in costumes when you come dressed as a Bumble Bee ($36.99, BuyCostumes) and your pup dressed as a Blooming Flower ($12.99, BuyCostumes). Bonus: The flower costume makes for a stealthy disguise if in the event your dog decides to trample through your neighbor’s garden again!

Ernie and Rubber Duckie – Rubber Duckie may have made bath time lots of fun, but “Rubber Doggie” will make trick-or-treat night a blast! Ernie ($49.99, Spirit Halloween) and Yellow Chicken ($31.50-$35, Baxter Boo)

Princess and Frog – Kiss your ordinary costume goodbye. As an Enchanted Princess ($54, Costume Craze), step from the pages of the Brothers Grimm folk story with the Frog Prince by your side.

The Man with the Yellow Hat and Curious George – Monkey around on Halloween night with your pup dressed like the inquisitive little monkey from the popular children’s book series ($15.99, PetCo) and his best pal, the Man with the Yellow Hat ($39.99, Party City).

Little Miss Muffet and Spider – Eat your curds and whey (or candy corn and mini Tootsie Rolls) as you retell the classic nursery rhyme with this Little Miss Muffet ensemble ($19.95, PureCostumes) and not-so-frightening Spider dog costume ($15.99-$17, PetSmart).

 

What will you and your pet be dressed as this Halloween? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Image Credit: Wylio

10 Creative Ways To Make Your Pumpkin Pop

Squash the idea of carving! Want to really pump up your family’s Halloween pumpkin? With a little bit of creativity and a handful of craft supplies, you can turn your jack-o’-lantern into a work of art! The tutorials below will show you interesting ways to dress up your pumpkin using items that you might not have considered using before, like duct tape, decoupage, glitter and lace. Many of these designs can even be applied to foam pumpkins rather than a fresh pumpkin for a Halloween decoration you can enjoy year after year.

Image Credit: Zakka Life

Chalk – Chalkboards may not be much fun at school, but your kids will have a blast with this one. With a coat of special spray paint, their pumpkin will become a canvas for doodling designs, writing messages, or playing games.

Image Credit: Swell Designer

Crayons – An ordinary pumpkin gets punched up with a rainbow of colorful crayons that are melted on with the use of a blow dryer.

Image Credit: The V Spot Blog

Duct Tape – Stop by your craft, hardware, or chain retail store (like Target or Wal-Mart) and you’ll find Duck brand  duct tape in a variety of Halloween and non-seasonal colors and patterns (like zebra print, spiders, and glow-in-the-dark) that can quickly and easily be used to jazz up your Jack-o-lantern.

Image Credit: Fine Fettle Guide

Decoupage – This project is so easy that your little ghouls and ghosts can help from start to finish! First, pumpkins are painted, then spooky pictures (printed from the computer or clipped from a magazine) are adhered with the use of Mod Podge glue.

Image Credit: Alisa Burke

Fabric Paint – In this demonstration, dimensional acrylic fabric paint (otherwise known as “puff paint”) is used to create an intricate, pastel pattern, but with the wide spectrum of paint colors and finishes available (including pearl, glitter and glow in the dark), anything is possible!

Image Credit: Irish Italian Blessings

Glitter – For a look that will sparkle and shine, glitz up your gourd with a little Elmer’s glue and sprinkles of twinkling glitter.

Image Credit: Blog.HomeSeasons.com

Lace - You won’t have to tangle with yards of lace fabric to give your pumpkin this chic look. Just slip your pumpkin into a pair of stockings, tie a knot, and voila – a pretty, lacy pumpkin!

Image Credit: In My Own Style

Napkins – Who knew napkins could look so good? Strips of decorative paper napkins are coated with spray glue, then used to cover the surface of the pumpkin. Finally, the stem is topped off with coordinating pipe cleaners for a pumpkin worthy of being your table’s fall centerpiece!

Image Credit: WhipperBerry

Ribbon – Rolls of ribbon and rick rack make for a quick and easy decoration idea. Matching tulle and rhinestones can be added for an extra festive touch.

Image Credit: Madigan Made

Thumbtacks – These pumpkins may look like they were dipped in gold, but their luxe appearance was actually achieved using just a few inexpensive packs of thumbtacks and Elmer’s glue.

 

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Oh So Cute No-Sew Halloween Baby Costumes

A homemade Halloween costume that doesn’t require an expensive trip to the craft store or slaving over the sewing machine? Nope, this isn’t a trick! Each one of these adorable ensembles can be easily constructed at home without so much as a single stitch, using only a handful of basic craft materials and clothes already in their closet! So arm yourself with a glue gun, grab your baby or toddler, and getting ready to collect some serious “aww’s” (and a few lollipops) this Halloween season.

Image Credit: Lemon Tree Creations

Cupcake – This cupcake costume is oh-so-sweet! The icing on the cake? It’s easily assembled using not much more than a little fleece, felt, and a hot glue gun!

Image Credit: Jen’s Own Road

iPhone Costume - Not very crafty? This will make you “app-y”! Felt, hot glue, and a t-shirt from your baby’s closet is all it takes to dial in to this funny iPhone baby costume. 

Image Credit: A Young Wife’s Tale

Octopus – You won’t have to sift through a sea of Halloween costumes to find one just right for your little one. Just raid your sock drawer and your craft supply box, and your tot will be armed with the cutest costume in town!

Image Credit: The Mom Creative

Owl - Who gives a hoot about fancy-shmancy store-bought costumes when you can make this adorable owl ensemble at home? The fabric colors can easily be switched up to make it appropriate for whomever chooses to wear it, too.

Image Credit: Eliza Domestica

SuperheroIt’s a bird, it’s a plane…Nope, it’s just your baby in a cute, quick-to-make costume! Grab a plain onesie from their dresser, spare fabric, an iron, and a pair of scissors, and in no time at all, you’re baby will be soaring into this super cool superhero get-up.

 

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat an Apple

With apples now in season, there’s no better time to introduce a few extra servings of the delicious fruit into your child’s diet. Although we’ve promised them that an apple a day will keep the doctor away, sometimes it takes a little more convincing to get kids to opt for one. If you’re looking for a stronger argument than “But they’re good for you!”, you might want to try offering up one of these awesome apple-based dishes. With irresistible recipes for treats like Apple Pizza and Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls, you might even get your kids to willingly pass up that bowl of Halloween candy.

Image Credit: Cristine Cooks

Apple Banana PancakesHaving been concocted by a 6 year old, this pancake recipe is already kid-approved. And good news for parents, the batter packs a 2-fruit punch, combining both apples and bananas in the mix.

Image Credit: Teacher-Chef

Apple Butter – There’s nothing like a little old-fashioned slow cooked apple butter on a crisp, fall day. The sweet creamy spread, which combines apples and spices, is best enjoyed on sliced bread or biscuits (or with a spoon straight out of the jar!)

Image Credit: Our Best Bites

Apple ChipsApple slices are sprinkled with flavored Jell-O to create these colorful, crispy oven-baked chips. Include a baggy full in your child’s lunchbox and their classmates will be begging to swap their snacks for them.

Image Credit: Gimme Some Oven

Apple Cider CupsThese carved out apples are a fun way to enjoy a seasonal favorite, plus they can eat the cup when they’re finished! Pour in a freshly brewed batch of homemade apple cider, add a cinnamon stick garnish, and you’re all set for the perfect autumn drink.

Image Credit: Manifest Vegan

Apple Nachos – While this “nacho” recipe is obviously lacking tortilla chips and cheese, we have a feeling kids won’t even notice. This snack is created using apple slices drizzled with melted peanut butter and topped with coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and nuts, but there’s plenty of room for improv (raisins, caramel, marshmallows? The sky’s the limit!)

Image Credit: GandCJohnson.Blogspot.com

Apple Pie Apples – If you’ve still got that paring knife handy from the Apple Cider Cups above, here’s another great recipe that will call on your amateur carving skills. Hollowed Granny Smith apples are packed with sugar and spice, then topped with lattice pie crust top for a fun (and pretty impressive!) presentation.

Image Credit: JustAPinch.com

Apple Pizza – Kids love pizza, and we’re pretty sure this one will be no exception. This version is a lot healthier for them, too, allowing you to scrap conventional pizza toppings in favor of wholesome fruit. Refrigerated pizza dough crust is topped with apple slices and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and a little butter, then baked in the oven for about 15 minutes. Easy, delicious, nutritious!

Image Credit: Erica’s Bloggity Blog

Apple Snicker Salad – If your child is putting up a little resistance to eating an apple, this recipe will be your secret weapon. Although you can’t really label this recipe “healthy” (it calls for Cool Whip, vanilla pudding, and chocolate candy bars), it’s so good that we can almost bet that your kids won’t so much as blink an eye to the extra serving of fruit.

Image Credit: Playful Pantry

Apple Stuffin’ MuffinsThese mini apple muffins are perfect for breakfast on the go or as an after school snack. The recipe is nice and easy, allowing you to use diced apples or, if you’re in a hurry, fresh applesauce.

Image Credit: Annies-Eats

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls – Does it get any better than this? Cinnamon rolls are stuffed with apples, sugar, and spices, then topped with a cream cheese and caramel glaze. Yup, we’re totally drooling, and your kids will be, too.

Image Credit: Wylio.com

Baby Names Making it Big in Hollywood

Whether as an attempt to avoid landing on the most popular baby names list or as a way channeling their “artistic creativity”, celebrities are notorious for coming up with some pretty interesting monikers for their offspring. Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, Penn Jillette named his daughter Moxie Crimefighter, and Frank Zappa, whose children definitely take the cake for wackiest kid names, dubbed his children Dweezil, Ahmet, Moon Unit, and (ready?) Diva Thin Muffin.

But if the latest Hollywood births are any sign of things to come, celeb parents are finally toning it down and drawing their children’s names from the more conventional pile. Even Jason Lee, who famously named his first child Pilot Inspektor and second child Casper, simply named his recently born son “Sonny.” Here’s a look at the newest crop of tinsel town tots and where their names rank in popularity on the top baby names lists.

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Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima daughter’s names don’t fall far from the tree, as each of their names end in -na. Baby Sienna, born on September 12, is little sister to Adriana’s first daughter, Valentina. Sienna’s name landed at #225 on the Social Security Administration’s Top 1000 Baby Name for 2011.

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Also born September 12 was Nick Lachey and wife Vanessa’s first child, Camden John. More popular than birthday twin Sienna’s name, Camden breaks the top 200 list at #160.

Carson Daly and his blogger girlfriend Siri Pinter welcomed their second child Etta on September 6. Although very similar to “Ella”, which is one of the most commonly used baby girl names at the moment,  Etta is far less common, ranking #2888 according to BabyCenter.com.

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August 29th saw the birth of Bill and Giuliana Rancic’s first child, Edward Duke. While “Duke” is unique, the name Edward has been a popular name for generations, including in 2011 where it landed at #148 in the U.S.

Image Credit: Photoree.com

Also born in August was Jack, son to actress Anna Faris and actor Chris Pratt. As you can probably guess, Jack is indeed a very popular baby name, making it to the SSA’s Top 50 list at #48.

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If Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and his wife were aiming to make the list for popular baby names, they scored a touchdown with their third son’s name. Callen Christian, born August 15, ranks #593 for “Callen” and #30 for “Christian.”

Image Credit: Photoree.com

Brandon Routh, who played Superman in 2006, and his wife chose the name Leo James for their first child, born August 10. Not far behind Nick & Vanessa Lachey’s “Camden”, Leo flew into the #167 spot.

Image Credit: Photoree.com

In late July, Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader and wife named their second daughter, Harper. Their first daughter, Hannah, also began with the same first two letters (“ha” – perhaps fitting for having a comedian as a father?) Baby Harper finds herself just shy of the U.S.’s Top 50 at #54, while coming in hot on BabyCenter.com’s 2012 list at #12.

 

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8 Super Easy, Super Fun Do-it-Yourself Crafts for Kids

Has a rain-filled weekend or after school boredom got your kids down? With the help of a few simple supplies from around the house, fun on the fly is easy with these cute kiddie crafts. Turn flour into paint, Elmer’s glue into bouncy balls, and old socks into an adorable game that can be enjoyed by all. Here’s how!

Image Credit: DelawareCountyMoms.com

Doodle Paint – Equal parts of flour, salt, water, and a few drops of food coloring is all you need to whip up these non-toxic puff paints. The paint they create can be stored in craft store squeeze bottles for less mess and easy dispensing.

Image Credit: minieco.co.uk

Scented PlaydoughBack to the kitchen cabinets! This recipe calls for just a handful of ordinary food ingredients, like flour and water. Although this particular recipe details how to color and scent your dough with natural ingredients, like cocoa, vanilla, and berries, children with sensitivities can skip the extra step and just use food coloring.

Image Credit: JohnnyInADress.com

Fishing GameWith the addition of a some cotton, magnets, and a few strips of felt, their old socks can be turned into colorful little fish in this do-it-yourself fishing game. The tutorial also calls for a dow rod, metal hook, and ribbon for the poles, but we’re betting most of these items can be substituted with more common items (like construction paper, straws, string, and sturdy paper clips) if you’re in a pinch.

Image Credit: ComeTogetherKids.com

Bouncy BallsNo need to pour quarters in the ball machine at the grocery store until they get the color they want! Kids can create their very own super cool rubbery bouncy ball in any color they choose using Elmer’s glue, Borax, cornstarch, water and food coloring.

Image Credit: PinkPistachio.com

Sensory JarsGrab a handful of those little odds and ends taking up space in your junk drawer or arts and craft box, a clear container, and water. Fill it up, glue it up super duper tight, and the bottle becomes a sensory jar that will mesmerize your little one for, well, as long as their attention span will allow!

Image Credit: JustLove.ly

Flavored LipglossYour tween will love making this delicious, do-it-yourself lip gloss, which is created using just Vaseline and a packet of yummy Kool-Aid or Crystal Light drink mix. Store them in cute, customized containers and let her stash the leftovers in her backpack or hand them out to all of her B.F.F.s.

Image Credit: SkipToMyLou.org

Homemade StickersYou don’t need pricey printer paper to churn out stickers at home. By combining unflavored gelatin, light corn syrup, and water, you’ll create a sticky solution that can be applied to magazine clippings, wrapping paper, and more!

Image Credit: MeetTheDubiens.com

I-Spy BottleKeep kids of nearly any age busy seeking out the items you’ll hide inside this I-Spy bottle, which is made simply from a plastic bottle, uncooked rice, hot glue, and random small objects. Turn the bottle into a game between siblings or their friends to see who can “spy” the most items. 

 

Do you have a kid craft idea you’d like to share? Let us know what it is in the comments below!

Baby’s Best Friend: Cute Pups and The Pipsqueaks That Love Them

Dogs make great best friends to children. As pets, they make wonderful secret keepers, the perfect partner in crime (acting as a lookout when sneaking cookies and providing them with someone to blame for broken glass), and they’re just the right size for side-by-side cuddling. But more than just someone who will help them secretly polish off unwanted veggies from their dinner plates, dogs supply kids with an unconditional love and companionship that the child will remember for the rest of their life.

It’s true, there’s nothing quite like the friendship between a dog and child. Here’s a look at a few pooches and the pint-sized people they lovingly call pals.

 

 

What kind of pet did you have when you were growing up? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Image Credit: Wylio

Six Tailgating Treats That Will Score a Touchdown with Your Tykes

Football season has officially kicked off! Will you be gathering with friends and family for a tailgating party? If so, and you anticipate having a few little football fans in the crowd, you’ll definitely want to have more on hand than hot wings and beer soaked brats.  Intercept your child’s hunger (and the adult’s) with these six winning kid-friendly recipes. You’ll only need a handful of ingredients to tackle each dish, and because they’re all easy to make, you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time rooting for your team.

Image Credit: Amanda’s Cookin’

Mini Taco Bowls - These tiny taco bowls may look fancy, but they’re actually nothing more than a regular flour tortilla cleverly baked and molded using an everyday muffin pan. Gain extra points with your picky eater by letting them draft their choice of ingredients into each bowl.

Image Credit: Thirty Handmade Days

S’mores Caramel Popcorn – Game day leaves little time for kindling a campfire. Thankfully, all you’ll need to warm up this s’mores snack is a microwave. Mini marshmallows, chocolate, caramel, and Golden Grahams cereal are mashed up in this mixture to create a super munchable, super delicious treat that will leave your kiddos begging for s’more.

Image Credit: Blissfully Delicious

Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries - Healthy fries? Totally possible, thanks to these zucchini fries. The yummy veggie is an excellent source of Vitamin C and potassium, and because they’re baked and not fried, they’re better for their health (and a lot easier to clean up!) Sell them to your kids as “french fries”, serve with a dipping sauce and watch them disappear before the end of the quarter.

Image Credit: Banner Boutique

Deep Dish Fruit Pizza – How to get sneak an extra serving of fruit into your kid’s diet? Serve it atop a sugar cookie, add a dollop of frosting (made from cream cheese and whipped cream) and these petite fruit topped “pizzas” will get picked off one by one.

Image Credit: The Gunny Sack

Easy Pepperoni Rolls – Why wait for pizza delivery when these pepperoni rolls can be quickly whipped up using ingredients you probably already have on hand? Using little more than canned biscuits, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni (or any other one of their favorite toppings), these poppable pizza bites are the perfect football game finger food.

Image Credit: Love + Butter

Football Cake Pops – This recipe for football-shaped cake pops is easy to make, easy to eat, and cute to boot! Dip them in colored sprinkles to match your team’s jerseys or pipe on their logo using a decorating pen to show even more team spirit.

 

What is your favorite game day recipe?

Image Credit: Wylio