How to create great kids summer memories

Finally, summer is here! This winter seemed to be endless! But, it did end, and now it’s July! Schools are closed and kids can finally catch a breath from all those obligations! Unfortunately, I still have to work, but seeing my happy kids and how free they feel, is all I need to be happy, too! Since there are only that many summers you have to live as a kid, I wanted to share some tips on how to help create great kids summer memories! These tips help me with my own family, or so I want to believe! After all, my kids aren’t grown up yet to know for sure what they will remember! But, hey, I was a very happy summer kid, so those experiences help me now, too!

create kids summer memories friends sea1
We are fortunate to have some lovely beaches nearby to chill and just let the time pass and the sun shine on us

Let them be with their friends for awesome kids summer memories

We all know how important our friends are, and even more so for when you are a kid! So it’s important to find ways for your kids to stay in touch with their friends, make new ones and meet and play! Meeting at parks, pools, and playgrounds is a great way to let them run free and have fun! I like to invite their friends to our home, too! Here they can play all together with our party game Wii, our DIY ping pong table, throw some hoops and just talk and laugh! One of my favorite sights, although it might seem odd, is their shoes outside our door!! The more shoes, the more good company, the more fun!!!

create kids summer memories friends
The more shoes of the friends of my kids outside my doorstep, the more great kids summer memories!

Let kids decide about what to do next

This is summer, so the “program” should not actually be a program. It should be flexible, fun, and spontaneous! Making up their own routine and do what they feel like doing, gives them a chance to get to feel that they are in charge of their own life and entertainment. Let them stay out late, watching the stars, and look after some that are falling to make a wish! They will definitely have wonderful summer memories when they get older, telling the stories of “Remember when we just began a water-balloon fight in the back yard and kept going until it was dark but we could find each other because of the light from the moon and stars???”

how to create great kids summer memories
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Being bored in summer is an absolute must

I don’t know about you, but one of my fondest memories is having to stay in my room at midday, reading comic books, and being quiet while the grown-ups took their siesta! The room was always hot, shades down so not too much of the sun was getting in, birds singing and the cicadas chirping! It was so amazing peaceful, maybe even boring, but it would build up so much anticipation of getting to meet all my friends in the afternoon! Also, being bored sometimes is one of the best ways to find new activities and fun things to do.

You don’t need to have fancy vacations to for your kids to make great summer memories

Ok, going on vacation definitely has its advantages! But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun at home and create great summer memories! The backyard, the balcony, even inside, can become a true stage of memory creation! Let the kids explore everything, cartograph their neighborhood, walk around with their friends if they are older! We got them a telescope one year to search the skies, and they loved it! Even searching in your attic and finding exciting things and learning about their history is a great way to have unforgettable moments!

Let kids explore more and have a little more freedom

I know this one is hard to do! I really know! My kids don’t want to go to a summer camp, but if they wanted to, I would try to convince myself to let them go! It’s important for kids to know they can achieve so many things on their own! Since my kids don’t go to summer camps, I try to leave them with my parents in my village for at least a couple of weeks. I don’t want to overwhelm my parents, so I go there on weekends, too! They are completely transformed – in a good way! – after these weeks at my parents! They always have a blast, they make new friends, go to the beach and learn that they can do without mom and dad, even if it is for only such a short time! We keep working all of this time. And to be honest, although these weeks feel weird without our kids, it’s a wonderful opportunity for me and my husband to reconnect after a long, tiresome winter!

Create kids summer memories friends by letting them explore
Create kids summer memories friends by letting them explore

Make keepsakes for your kids summer memories and let them make a mess

Summer is a wonderful time to take lots of photos and save things and memorabilia that will remind them of some fun they had! Also, gather beach treasures! At home, let your kids think of ideas on how to turn those into keepsakes, like making a scrapbook using them or frame them! We framed beach pebbles in the shape of a heart, made a dolphin out of sea-glass, and a matching frame with art out of seashells! If you want, check out our stories about them:

Summer is the ideal time for kids to play outside and make a mess! Let them play with water and earth, paint rocks and gather sticks and flowers! Inspire them and encourage them to try new techniques to make art and crafts! This way they will also be creating summer keepsakes by the way, and of course, happy memories! If you want some tips on how to choose the perfect craft project for your kids, check out our article:

Here are some more art and craft ideas for your kids to make this summer:

Teach them how to create their own happiness

As you can see, there is so much fun to be had with such simple things! Let your kids take the lead from now to then, and you will see that they will find the way to create happiness out of thin air, it seems! Just give them the freedom to do so, safely of course. And maybe – just maybe- this will help them create their happiness when they are all grown – up, too! Let’s hope so!!!

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Meeting Don Rosa at TheComicCon Thessaloniki

Don Rosa banner

I don’t think I have mentioned this, but I am a huge Scrooge McDuck Universe fan! I love the Duck family since I was little, and I always prefered their stories instead of the Mickey Mouse ones. Unfortunately, most of my comic book collection got lost when my family moved from Germany to Greece. But, I soon discovered a greek comic book series which was a collectible one and it’s called ΚΟΜΙΞ (KOMIX). The unusual thing about this series was that they always had articles and editorials. They would analyze the stories and introduce the creators of the stories! It was so fun and interesting to read indepth information about all that!

Don Rosa Scrooge statue
Me and this wonderful statue of Don Rosa’s Scrooge McDuck

What I love about Don Rosa’s Duck Stories

I soon realized that I loved the duck stories of a particular artist the most! The illustration had so much detail, the stories where so funny and every info seemed to be well-researched and accurate!! Well, as accurate it could be in a universe full of ducks!. The artist’s name was Don Rosa (learn more about him)! He truly is the best after Carl Barks, in my opinion. He transformed and continued Carl Bark’s stories, explained their backrounds and improved the story telling. I would read all Don Rosa’s stories first and I even bought special editions with his stories in them! One of the best known stories by Don Rosa is “The Complete Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” and it’s epic! I love it for letting us see how Scrooge McDuck became the character he was and get to know his family history!

Finding out Don Rosa comes to my hometown!

Lucky Luke -ehm – welcoming everybody to The Comic Con

So after all this, I found out that he would come to my hometown, Thessaloniki Greece, for a Comic Con! As soon as I saw this I reserved two-day tickets, to make sure that I would be able to get some of my comic books signed! Unfurtunatly, we were only allowed two signings per person, but, since I went with my husband, we could bring four books!

Meeting Don Rosa

After a couple of months, the time finally came! We went to Thessaloniki and took off to the place the Comic Con would take place! Since we made it there only in the afternoon, I was so dissapointed to find out that we could not see him! There were so many people there already, the line was closed! We made the best out of it and visited the rest of the Comic Con, which was absolutely fantastic! Not only comic books, but everything fantasy and even board games where available to see and explore!

Don Rosa The Comic Con
Me and Don Rosa!

We returned the next day, half an hour before the Comic Con opened it’s doors! I wanted to make sure we would not miss our last chance to see Don Rosa! And we didn’t!!! We were one of the first in line and soon we were able to see him up close. Don Rosa was very kind and he would talk to each fan for a couple of minutes! We shot some nice pics and he signed our four comic books, plus some of his prints that we bought on the spot! I was so excited and happy, a dream came true! I have to point out, that I have never stood in line for an autograph before, it never felt like something I wanted to do, but with this artist it was completely different! And I was soooo happy!!!

Don Rosa
Don Rosa signing some of his books in my collection!

Comic Con Thessaloniki – was it worth visiting it?

After meeting Don Rosa, we continued visiting the rest of the awesome The Comic Con! There where so many wonderful, talented artists there, some well-known and established and a lot of new, upcoming and very creative new ones! It was lovely meeting them and their work! Also, the convention was full of super nice statues and props, cosplay artists, fantasy and comic book accessories, and much more wonderful stuff! There also were happenings, seminars, and speeches taking place, about comic books and art. Finally, for us, we loved the board game sections where we could even try and play some of the games that are on our wish list!

We didn’t take our two kids as we didn’t know how much waiting would be involved, but if I knew how easy the second time would be, I definetly would have brought them for the experience. Well, they will come along to the next Thessaloniki Comic Con, even if there will be no Don Rosa…! There will be definitely many many nice things for them to see and be inspired!

Mike and “Batman”… because there can only be one Batman, and that’s Christian Bale!

If you liked my post, you might like these posts, too:

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DIY Painting Station Hack for Small Projects

A couple of years ago, we started a new hobby: modern board games! A whole new world opened up for us! There are so many great board games out there, and there is something for everyone! You can choose between a vast variety of genres, mechanics, difficulty, and themes! One of these genres is board games that come with miniature figures. These come mostly unpainted, but some games have them prepainted. Painting miniatures is even a profitable profession for some very talented artists, and you can find a lot of miniature painting supplies in stores and online. I myself, not the most artistic person in the world, tried out painting some of the miniatures from one of our favorite board games, Arcadia Quest! But, to do that, I needed to get organized so I could paint anywhere in our house without creating a mess and making clean up easier! Since the main supplies like paints and brushes aren’t the cheapest craft supplies, keeping my organizing low budget, was also important. So I created my very own, portable, DIY painting station for small projects! Read on to learn what I did!

DIY Portable painting station for small projects
DIY Portable painting station for small projects

Things you will need to create your own portable DIY painting station for small projects

mobile painting station for small projects
My portable painting station for small projects
  • A foldable bed table or a couch table, like these:

  • Optional: a craft mat sized smaller than the table or cut to size, to help to keep it clean, like these:

  • Plastic make-up organizer with lots of different sized storage that will fit nicely on your table, while allowing a good amount of free painting space, like these:

And, of course:

  • Variety of paint brushes
  • Small paint containers
  • Miniatures or other small paint projects

How to organize your paint supplies

To organize your paint station, all you need to do it to assemble the table and makeup organizer if needed. Then, add your silicon mat to the top of your table and position the makeup organizer somewhere where it best suits you. Next, put the brushes and paint containers into the make up organizer and you are already ready to go! Some of these tables even have a spot for a glass, perfect to keep your painting water cup in there. This is so easy to do, and keeps everything nice, clean, and organized! You now can paint anywhere where there is good lighting and – maybe – a good company.

portable painting station for small projects
Everything fits nicely intothe make-up organizer!

Tips for painting small objects

Painting small objects like board game miniatures is different than painting on canvas. Firstly, you will need small detail brushes and acrylic paints in small containers, so they won’t dry out. Also, having very good lighting and even a magnifying glass can be extremely helpful! Patience is another quality you will need, lots of it!

If you play board games, you might also like my blog post on how to make a DIY dice rolling tray or our favorite family board games:

This post contains affiliate links of products I recommend, which means I may receive a commission if you click an ad link and purchase something, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Kids Craft Project: 5 tips to choose the perfect one

Almost all of us moms are constantly looking for new ways to entertain our kids, to give them insight, to broaden their horizons! And that is not easy! There is a ton of different suggestions on the Internet, and since both our time and our kids’ time is precious, we need to choose how we spend it wisely! So here are my top 5 tips on how to choose the best kids craft project, so you won’t waste your time!

Kids craft project 5 tips to choose the perfect one
Kids craft project 5 tips to choose the perfect one

1. Check out if the kids’ craft idea is a good fit for your kid

Sure, this make-your-own-doll-house looks amazing and it really sounds easy! But what if small hands come into play, to cut wood or sew some curtains for it to make it look that amazing? Well, it simply won’t happen!

Most of kids craft ideas out there are actually made by grown-ups. That’s ok, but if your child sees that prototype, it’s bound to be disappointed by the look of its’ own creation.

And if you jump in and help, well, I have noticed that if I say for example: “My little girl made that!”, when all she did was handing me some materials, then I will get a disappointed, you-lied, how-can-you look from her!

This post contains affiliate links of products I recommend, which means I may receive a commission if you click an ad link and purchase something, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

So, to keep expectations realistic, you should find craft projects that your child can manage to make with only a small amount of help from you. But watch out for it not only to be age-appropriate but also to match your kid’s personal talents and preferences.

Don’t show them the oh-so-perfect Pinterest image, but show them – if you have to – something similar, another kid of the same age, made by itself.

Top 5 tips on how to choose the perfect kids craft project - age appropriate
The perfect kids craft project should always be age appropriate

2. It’s important that the kids project won’t wipe out your bank account

Ok, I get it, there are some crafts that are worth buying hundreds of dollars worth of craft supplies. But let’s be honest: that is not true for most kids’ crafts! As adorable their tries are, the outcome is most of the time not to be kept as a keepsake. I mean, I fear the day my kids ask me to see all of the drawings they gave to me to keep safe when they were little!!!

Of course, there are exceptions, and I myself have a closet full of their creations that I probably won’t ever throw away! But if I was to keep all of them, I would need a new house; or maybe a whole bunch of new houses!

So, keeping it real with what we buy is important! Recycling and using things we have lying in our house is a great way to keep the costs down! Though, the one thing you shouldn’t try to save money from is the quality of the craft supplies. Kids are very sensitive to chemicals and allergies, so keep an eye on non-toxic, safe supplies. Also, it’s always a good thing to keep in mind the mess kids tend to make when crafting, so choosing washable paints is always a good idea!!!

Top 5 tips on how to choose the perfect kids craft project - use things from home
Use things from home for your kids to use in their craft projects

3. Choose a kids craft project that makes your kid proud of the effort

As I said before, not all projects are meant or worth to be kept. But, if you invest time and money into one special kid’s craft idea, then you should make it worth giving it as a gift, keeping it, displaying it, or playing with it, even for a small amount of time. Painting a canvas for example could always result in some great kids’ room wall decor!

Also making finger puppets, or easy marionettes will provide hours – if not days – of having fun, telling stories, and juicing imagination!

A craft that will be worth showing off will make your kid feel proud of itself and of the effort it took to make, making sure that he or she will try more and more next time!

Top 5 tips on how to choose the perfect kids craft project - crafts to play with
Choose a craft that will be worth the effort, like these houses to play with

4. Choose a craft that teaches them something new

Most kids love to draw and paint! But using only markers or coloring pages, won’t teach them to much! Try doing the same thing with a different technique, like painting using finger paint or cotton swabs!

It’s not that important for the craft to teach them something they already do well. So if your kid hasn’t have the hung of using scissors yet, try a craft that is fun and involves a lot of – safe – cutting, to give your kid the chance to improve.

Also, keep in mind that not everything has to involve learning letters or numbers. Teaching your kid how to make its’ own christmas ornaments or crafting its’ own journal, can show your child the potential it has to be the creator of its’ own happiness!

5. Find crafts with a variety

Try to find a kids craft project that involves a variety of materials (types of paper, glues, brushes, etc.) and techniques (folding, cutting, gluing, etc). This will give your kid not only an opportunity to explore new tools and learn how to use them, but also to learn that there are many ways to make their ideas reality!

In time, your kid will grow confident and find new ways of using all those different materials and combine different techniques, creating something new and unique!

If your kid finds something that it really likes using or wants to get better with it, by all means, encourage it to do so! My son started drawing and he is getting really good at it, but he only wants to use a pencil! And that is ok! I encourage him to add variety by adding colored pencils and markers, even some texture using materials I have at home (e.g. cotton), but for now, he prefers to mostly stick to his pencil and paper! On the other hand, my daughter can’t have enough different things to incorporate into her crafts, like glitter, glitter glue, googly eyes, feathers, and many more!

craft materials
Give your kid the chance to use different materials for their crafts

More tips for kids crafts

Letting kids use their imagination is the most important thing about crafting. So try not to copy every single craft detail you see in that awesome Pinterest post. Get the main idea, and then leave your kids lead the way, into whatever direction the imagination might take them.

You might find a wonderful toilet paper roll craft-making animals, but maybe your little girl wants to use the same techniques making trees. Or you’ve seen someone using colored cotton balls to make a cute rainbow, but your son prefers to make a dinosaur with them instead! Let them choose their own path and inspiration! That’s all crafting is about, anyway!!!

If you want, take a look of some crafts me and my kids made in these blog posts:

Keep Calm Tips for a New Mom

new mom newborn baby

The first days with a newborn can be as beautiful as they can be stressful for a new mom. Against all beliefs, carrying for an infant does not come that easy to most women. Motherhood might be about instincts, but there is a lot of learning-as-you-go involved, too. Here are five tips, for those first days at home, just to help a new mother to keep her perspective. Please note that I am in no way an expert, trained, or qualified professional, I am just a mom with a blog, writing my own tips for a new mom.

This post contains affiliate links of products I recommend, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. Thank you!

1. Don’t believe everything you hear

First of all: Don’t expect everything to be as you have read or heard about in those all so beautiful – what a perfect day – stories. Not a single baby is like the next one – not one! And so isn’t the mother. Other mothers get quickly the hang of carrying for their baby; others simply need some time to figure everything out.   

2. Don’t be shy about asking for help

Take a deep breath and ask for help as soon as you feel that you need it! Most things a newborn does, in the beginning, are normal. Call your pediatrician if you have any – and I mean any – questions about your baby. They will (or they ought to) understand. You can ask another recent mom, which you relate to, for some quick advice. Also, keep in mind that it is not necessary to do it all on the first day at home with your newborn baby. For example, you can bath your baby the next day. So, concentrate on your baby, get to know it, don’t deal with other things or phone calls, and let somebody else do chores and run for errands.

3. Know what normal is

Your baby might lose some weight at the beginning, but there is no reason to worry about it. A 5% weight loss is considered normal for a formula-fed newborn, while a 7%-10% loss is considered normal for the breastfed baby. Most babies should be back at birth weight by days 10-14 of life (source). If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician.

It is normal for your baby to sneeze and to have hiccups often! There is no need to worry about it. But if you still are… consult your pediatrician!

My baby boy never crawled like most babies. He moved sitting up, using his one foot to push himself forward. At first, I was worried! But then I talked to our pediatrician who said that a small percentage of babies move this way, and that the important things were our baby’s willingness to move and the fact that he found a way to do exactly that!

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keep calm tips for new moms
Keep calm tips for new moms

4. There is no “baby sleep program”

As for “babies sleep programs”… well, there are none! Every baby has its own rhythm, some babies sleep for hours (lucky parents!) and others wake up often. Though, you should consult your pediatrician right away if your baby has the tendency to sleep too long in a row.

My two were very different in their sleeping habits. The first did never sleep more than two hours in a row, while the second one slept 3 to 4 hours after a couple of months. Both were breastfed babies. So you can see… everyone has his own rhythm!

And, just my two cents about the “crying it out” method: I was never a fan. It just felt wrong to me. So I choose not to do follow that method, personally. I cuddled them, carried them, stayed, laid beside them, or breastfed them, whatever I had to do to help them sleep. It was a time where I was always tired, I have to admit that. But at least, I felt I was doing what felt right for me and my babies.

5. No baby is like the next

Although there are some important milestones for all babies, these are not an exact science. Most of the norms are about the standard average, which really means that there are babies that achieve one thing sooner than other babies, and the next thing later. You shouldn’t worry too much about exact timelines or times a baby must do this or that, but keep a more general eye on your baby’s development. But you should always talk to your expert, to determine how long you can wait for your baby to achieve a milestone or if you need to take action early!

Conclusion: Keep calm, and be informed

So all in all, the motto is to be prepared, keep calm, learn from reliable sources, and know that there is no shame whatsoever in asking for help.

Remember that no one is born a mother (or a father, for that matter!), we all have to learn from scratch how to be the best we can, and that is OK!!

And in the end, after the first overwhelming feelings have passed… it will definitely be the most beautiful experience of your life!

You might be interested in my other blog posts, about babies or toddlers like:

5 Rainy Day Ideas for Toddlers

Oh, those rainy days… when there is nothing to do outside with your little one. Or is there? Why not put your rain boots and raincoats on and get outside, letting your toddler enjoy the feel of soft raindrops falling on their faces or sticking their tongue out and get a taste of it? It is sure that it will be fun for both of you! And you can always jump in the water puddle again and again (and again)! But what if it’s REALLY raining and cold and windy? Well, read on to get a few rainy day ideas for toddlers and ideas on how to have a great time inside!

Image source: Pixabay

And if these are not enough, check out some of our other blog posts with great ideas:

Reading wonderful books is also a great way to spend some time with your toddler! You can see some of our favorite books in this post here.

It is always a good idea to educate your toddler while playing – or is it playing while educating? Well, anyway, there are many things to do both while having fun!

Do you like my post? Feel free to pin it and share it!!!

rainy day ideas for toddlers
Rainy day ideas for toddlers

1. Rainy day ideas: Finger paint fun

So, learn about colors by making your own, edible (since it can’t be for sure avoided of being eaten) finger paint with some greek yogurt and food coloring and letting your toddler paint on a large sheet of paper. You can also use non-toxic, safe finger paints. Of course that will always end up in a little – or big – mess, but the fun and happy face of your kid will reward you for sure!

2. Play music for the soul

Another great idea for a rainy day toddler games is to get out instruments, or anything that could be used as such for that matter, like pots, pans, cans, boxes, and so on, and just begin to make your own interpretation of known and loved songs. Or come up with new ones of your own! There is nothing more fun for a toddler then making noise and exploring sound and music!

rainy day toddler games ideas
Image source: Pixabay

3. Water pouring for fine motor skills

Of course, for some more quiet – yet again potential messy – activity, is to give your toddler a few plastic cups and containers of different sizes, arrange them on a table and provide him with a small amount of water. Show him a few times how to pour water from one container into another and then let the kid take over! Little children just love to do play with water! And this improves their fine motor skills, too!

4. Bowling for fun rainy day toddler games

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You could also try a simple bowling game! Get a bowling toy or some empty plastic bottles and arrange them on the floor so they build a triangle. Next, show your toddler how to take the ball and throw, push or kick it towards the bottles, so they fall down making noise! Let your toddler try and watch him how thrilled he will get when he hits the bottles! This will help your toddler improve his gross motor skills while having lots of fun!

5. Wooden puzzles – a classic for a reason

Last but not least, the good old wooden or plastic puzzles with large pieces. This is a quiet, yet very enjoyable game, which helps your child learn new words, recognize shapes and items and improve fine motor skills. There are a vast variety of puzzles out there from which you can choose according to the age of you toddler and of the things you want him to learn. You can find themes about shapes, animals, farms, toys, transportations, house items and so on with just two or more pieces. Your kid will have a lot of fun and a sense of achievement once it gets a piece of the puzzle in the right place. Just give it the time to try, make errors, then try again and help out by giving hints.

So, there is a lot fun stuff to do and great rainy day ideas to have a wonderful time with your toddler!

But, after all, it’s all about being with your toddler and having some quality time together. Having your full attention – this alone is enough to make your child having fun and being happy.

DIY Photo Prop Idea: Chalkboard Sign

I wrote a simple, each time different wish on the photo prop sign for the kids to hold up. Here, I have written “Happiness” (eytichia)

When my girl was still in kindergarten, we wanted to organize a photo-shooting with her classmates to make a calendar and, at the same time, a keepsake. But coming up with an idea that would be feasible with twenty 5-year-old kids, wouldn’t cost much, but would still be super-cute, wasn’t an easy task! Finally, I came up with an easy photo-shoot idea: each kid would hold up a DIY photo prop chalkboard sign with one wish each for the new year. All these individual photos would be photoshopped into one photo collage, that would be printed out. This photo collage would be the background for our kindergarten class calendar!

Getting started with the idea of our DIY photo prop

To see how it would look, I took an example photo of my girl with a blackboard notice board I had in the house. I simply wrote “I love you” on it and gave it to her to hold it up! And we loved it!

photo-shoot-diy-photo-prop-framed-blackboard
First try with a blackboard I had at home. I wrote down “I love you” (sagapo)

How to make the DIY chalkboard sign for photos

The next step was to make a nice framed chalkboard. The most difficult thing was finding an old wooden frame that looked nice enough to use. I found exactly one of those in my craft stash box! I painted it bright red using acrylic paint because it would pop out on the photo! At first, the idea was to print the photos in black and white, leaving only the red of the frame in color… but in the end, we decided that we wanted all the photos to be fully colored.

The next step was to paint the back of the frame with some black chalkboard brush-on paint. After assembling it, we had our DIY photo prop ready in no time!

This post contains affiliate links of products I recommend, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. Thank you!

making the diy framed blackboard for photo prop
Preparing the frame and back to be our DIY photo prop
DIY photo prop chalkboard sign is ready for action!
Our DIY photo prop chalkboard sign is ready for action!

Tips to make kids smile as cute as they can for a photo

The photo-session went very smoothly, but most of the kids were a little nervous. Therefore, I – acting as the photographer with my Nikon D3300 DSLR camera – just kept talking to them and most of them would give me a smile eventually…

Our DIY photo prop sign, with the word “Love” (agapi).. what better wish is there?

The best part was that their sweetest smile came when I asked them something about their mommy: if they loved her, if she made them yummy chocolate surprise cakes sometimes, or if they liked cuddling with her. Their faces would just light up immediately and whisper “yes”… it was so sweet!!!

Making the photo collage was not that difficult, and the end result was stunning! All of the kids and all parents loved it and wanted extra copies to give to grandparents and other loved ones!

Here are some more of our crafts and DIYs you might be interested in:

Toilet paper rolls craft: Unicorn Puppet

toilet paper rolls craft unicorn marionette
Our cute little unicorn puppet crafted out of toilet paper rolls

As we are always looking for some fun crafts with my crafty little daughter, we saw a super cute toilet paper rolls craft idea that caught our attention: a paper roll puppet!  There were so many cool ideas out there… my girl first wanted to make a horse, so we began having that in mind. While making the toilet paper rolls puppet, she changed her mind, like she does so often (creativity is strong in her!), and decided to make a unicorn instead. After all, we love unicorns, even as a unicorn pinata!!! But that was not the end of the story…

Materials to make a toilet paper roll unicorn puppet

This post contains affiliate links of products I recommend, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. Thank you!

How to make our toilet paper rolls craft unicorn puppet

Please keep in mind that a little kid can make a lot by itself for this craft, but some things have to be done by an adult, in my opinion, especially the ones that involve making holes and tying knots!

Step 1. Preparing the toilet paper rolls for our craft

The first of the two toilet paper rolls can be kept as it is. This one will become the unicorn’s body. For the second one, you will have to cut off app. 1/3rd of it, but it’s up to you, how big of a head your unicorn will have. I think the 2/3rd length piece is ideal for that. Put the smaller 1/3rd piece aside, you won’t need it for this craft.

toilet paper roll for head
The second paper roll, cut into two uneven pieces. We will use the bigger piece for the head

Lay the crepe paper out and put the first paper roll on it. Cut out a piece that will be able to cover the paper roll with some excess on both sides, for at least three times. Glue the crepe paper onto the paper roll by rolling it around it. Set aside and do the same with the second paper roll.

Step 2. Making the holes

Now it’s time to make the holes. You can use a scissor for that, but I found it to be easier using the crafting knife. Please be very careful when doing this! You could easily pierce yourself.

Your will need to make four holes on the downside of the unicorn’s body; they will be for the legs. So you will need to make two holes at the front and to holes at the end of the body’s paper roll.

unicorn marionette 4 holes
Four legs, four holes!

Lastly, you will need to make two holes on the upper side of the body, for the puppet strings to go through. On hole goes at the front of the upper side of the body and the other at the end.

For the head, you will need to make two holes, one on the downside of the body and one on the upper side. I would suggest making the holes in the middle, but if you want your unicorn to look up or down, you can make the holes more to the front of the end respectively.

Step 3. Adding the strings to the toilet paper roll puppet

This part can be a little tricky. It’s better to cut bigger than needed pieces of embroidery yarn to be sure, as you always can cut off the excess.

First, begin by making the legs. Cut four pieces of about 10 cm. Take one of them and fiddle one end through one of the holes. Make one or as many knots needed at this end, to secure the yarn. You could also add a drop of glue, but I found it to be too difficult for us. Do the same with the other three pieces for the legs. Don’t adjust the length just yet!

unicorn marionette body and head (2)
The know inside of the paper roll, so the marionette won’t fall apart

Step 4. Deciding the length of the control strings

Now you will need to decide how you or your kid wants to play the puppet. If you want to be able to play it on the floor with you standing up than you will need two very long pieces of yarn, depending on your size. The same goes for your kid, but with shorter pieces. We wanted to be able to play the puppeton a table, so the strings needed to be even shorter, especially for my daughter to be able to play with it (you can’t play the marionette for long if the strings force you to hold them over your head!).

When you have made your decision, cut two even length pieces of yarn, like in the next picture. Fiddle one end of the first one through the hole at the end of the unicorn’s body. Tie knots to secure it.

unicorn marionette on pencil
This is how your toilet paper roll unicorn should be held, so you will have to adjust the length of the strings

Now fiddle one end of the last piece of yarn through the hole in the front of the unicorn’s body and tie knots to secure it. Fiddle the other end of the same piece of yarn through the hole at the downside of the head and make knots to secure it, so the head won’t fall onto the body. Fiddle the same end through the hole on the upper part of the head.

Lift your puppet up, holding both of the strings, you are almost there!!! Tie both ends to the pencil, so it will stand up correctly (the piece that holds the head will need to be shortened).

Your puppet is now ready for the fun part!!

Step 5. Decorating the paper roll unicorn

Your unicorn will need some rainbow hair made out of the rainbow yarn for the head and its tail, googly eyes, and beads for the legs. After securing the beads, adjust and cut the length of the leg strings if needed. You could add whatever you like to it, stickers, ears, glitter, gems; your imagination, and that of your kids is the limit!

little toilet paper rolls unicorn marionette
Isn’t this unicorn marionette cute? But something seems to be missing!

Now you would assume that a unicorn needs, well, a horn! Ha, not at our house! My girl decided it would not need one, because it’s just an extraordinary, maybe even magical horse!

But then again, no, it’s a sad little unicorn without a horn, that’s being teased by the all the other little – perfect of course with horns and all –unicorns. 

And so, the story of the little hornless unicorn’s quest to find its destiny begins….!!!

Other toilet paper rolls animal puppets

This technique is perfect to let the imagination fly! You can make almost any animal out of toilet paper rolls! Just add ears, tails, different colors and shapes to make a dog, a horse, a cat and whatever else you can think of to make a farm or zoo!!!

German Pound Cake Recipe (Sandkuchen)

You know how you find something in the supermarket that you and your family love to eat over and over again? And suddenly you begin feeling bad for not cooking it by yourself so you know what’s in it and what you feed your kids? Well, that’s what happened to me! We love a packaged pound cake from a certain German supermarket chain and to be honest, I love that cake because it reminds of my childhood in Germany. After searching and trying, I managed to get the perfect german pound cake recipe.

german pound cake recipe
Our German pound cake

My kids love it so much, I can’t make enough. And I wanted to share it with you! The cake is called Sandkuchen in german, which literally means sand cake, referring to the color and lightness of the cake, I assume. It is a simple, yet delicious pound cake recipe. It has only a few ingredients and the recipe instructions are easy to follow, but it needs patience!

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Ingredients for the German pound cake recipe

  • 250 gr butter
  • 200 gr granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (or other type of dry vanilla aroma)
  • 5 eggs
  • 130 gr of all purpose flour
  • 130 gr of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Confectioner sugar (optional, for serving)
  • Whipped cream (optional, for serving)

How to make the Sandkuchen – German pound cake

Now, you have to keep in mind that you will need a lot of patience with this cake. It needs time for whipping all the ingredients thoroughly! With that being said here are the steps to make this German pound cake recipe (Sandkuchen)

First, cut the butter into pieces and melt it. I use the oven for that: I put the butter cubes into an oven-fit bowl, heat the oven to 80 degrees Celsius, and turn it off. Then I put the bowl into the oven and wait until the butter is melted, stirring a couple of times along the way. When it finally melts, you take the bowl out of the oven and let it cool down until the butter gets firm again. As soon as that happens, you can proceed to the next step. You can see all three stages I described in the photos below.

Transfer the butter into the bowl of your mixer and start whipping it. It needs a medium speed.

While you are whipping the butter, prepare the sugar mixture. Do to that, just mix together the sugar, vanilla sugar and salt.

Also, prepare the flour mixture. Just mix together the all-purpose flour, the cornstarch, and the baking powder.

Lastly, prepare your cake form. I use a rectangular 30 cm long, normal baking cake form, which I spray with some oil and also line with baking paper. You can go the traditional way, too, by buttering and flouring the cake. I had some disappointments with this method with other cakes, so I went the safer way.

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius (upper & lower elements, no fan).

Whipped butter pound cake recipe
The whipped butter for the pound cake recipe

Adding the sugar

When the butter turns finally, after maybe 5-10 or more minutes, into a soft, almost white cream, as you can see in the next picture, it’s ready for the next step.

Add the sugar mixture slowly, little by little, into the whipped butter while continuing whipping. It takes a little time, again, patience is the word!

Time for the eggs

Now it’s time for the eggs. They have to be added one by one, allowing each one to be thoroughly whipped into the butter/sugar mixture. This takes at least 30 seconds for each egg!

Final steps

After the last egg is mixed in, it’s the flour mixture’s turn. Again, very slowly, add the flour mixture into the butter/sugar/eggs mixture while continuing whipping at slow to medium speed. This, you guessed it, takes a little more time… patience!!! You might need to scrape down the bowl to manage to incorporate all of the flour.

Pour the light, fluffy cake mixture into the prepared cake form and put it into the oven.

It will need one hour, maybe 5-10 minutes more, to bake. You can use the toothpick method to check if the cake is ready, after 1 hour of baking.

Take the cake out of the oven, let it cool down for 10 minutes and then remove it from the baking form. Put it on a rack and let it cool down completely.

How to serve the german pound cake

When it cools down, put it on a plate and dust it with some confectioner sugar and it is ready to serve in slices!!! As a bonus, this cake will make your home smell amazing!

German pound cake slices
Yummy German pound cake!

This cake is perfect along with a dollop of whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream!!! Yum!!

Try it out and let us know how it turned out! You can also check out our favorite treat recipe, Strawberry Oreo Pops!!!  

Simple String Art Ideas: Lovely Heart

As you know, I am always looking for

which do look good enough for us to enjoy! In that spirit, I wanted to try making some string art for ages! People are sharing so many great projects, and I love how creative this hobby can be! Finally, the time came, and I and my little girl made one of our first, really simple string art ideas come true: a heart!

simple String art heart
Our first string art ever: a heart!

Materials

You don’t need a lot of things to start making your very own string art, especially if its an easy as the one we made. Chances are that you already have these materials at home:

This post contains affiliate links of products I recommend, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. Thank you!

Instruction on how to make our easy string art heart

I used a simple heart that I printed out in the size that would fit my wooden cutting board. You can easily draw your own, if you have the talent, or search the internet for something you like. In fact, you can find templates not only with the simple shape but with the indication of the points where you have to put the nail in, which really helps to keep the correct distance from each nail to the next.

easy string art heart
The nails don’t need to be straight, but being of even height is important

Once you have your template, cut it out, but be careful to leave the outline intact. Next, secure your template onto the cutting board into place, using some self-adhesive tape.

Hammer and Nails are essential for realizing your string art ideas!

Now it’s time for the hammer and nails. Try to drive every nail into the wood with the same depth, without them getting out on the other side, so they will be even in height, and try to keep a regular distance between them. Hammer and nails aren’t that good to be used by small kids, so I would let the adult do this job. When you have nailed all your nails, carefully rip the template away and remove it all.

Simple string art ideas
Simple string art: Great for wall decorations!

For the string, we used some pink string I had on hand, perfect for our heart! First, we made a knot tying the string to the first nail and went to the next, wrapping the string around it. We continued this way until we made the outline of the heart with our string.

Then, we just went from there rather intuitively. You go from one nail to another that is further away, wrap the string around each nail, trying to get to all nails and to have a nice outcome. In the end, we did another outline of the heart shape with the string, tight the end of the string securely to the last nail and cut what was left. You can push the string down a little to achieve a better look if you like.

That’ s it! We hang our string art in my girls room and it really looks awesome! There are so many ideas out there to try!!!