Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hosting a Busy Bag Swap

I have had some questions regarding how to and tips for hosting a Busy Bag Swap. It really is simple; here's what I recommend:

  • Pick a good number of participants…say 10 or 12. I don't recommend any more than 15.
    • stress to them the importance of keeping this commitment and not canceling last minute, unless of course an emergency comes up. People will be spending their time and money to make things and it isn't fair to them or to anyone else who might have wanted to participate but couldn't because there was not a spot left.
  • Pick a theme is you wish.
    • Generic (used at home, car, sports sidelines, etc)
    • Travel (items that can be used in the car)
    • Restaurant (for use while waiting at a restaurant)
    • Rainy Day (can be messy and creative because they will be used at home
  • Have a shared database or website or something where everyone can post what they will be bringing so that there are not duplicates
  • I reccomend that everyone try to keep the cost around $1 per bag; that way it is not very expensive but not to cheep either…you want the swap to be fun and fair!
  • Have everyone put instructions, if necessary, in each bag
  • Have everyone lay out their items on a table (can be at a park or someones home) and then everyone goes around and briefly tells each other about what they brought.
  • Then ...SWAP!
To check out some of the creative ideas from my swaps click on the links below each picture.
Generic Busy Bag Swap

Travel Busy Bag Swap

Road Trip Busy Bag!

After the success of the first Busy Bag Exchanges and with 4 Road Trips ahead of us this summer I decided (selfishly) to host a ROAD TRIP BUSY BAG EXCHANGE! And my friends did not dissapoint! We all left with bug full of goodies for use in the car and at restaurants; some were homemade and some were bought, but all will be GREAT! 

Check out what we will be doing on our grips this summer!

Here are some examples:

Homemade eye spy bottle!
 I am sure this will be hours of fun!

A Truck Book.
Pictures on the front and what they do on the back.

A Ticket Game where you can count the time or
reward your child for good behavior in the car!

Dry Erase Car Book

I put together a book of games for the car for my kids. I slid the pages in page protectors and put them together with a ring. I made 2 pages of this book with a dry erase crayon (you can write with the dry eraser right on the page protectors and it wipes right off) and eraser for everyone. I still might add to it…maybe some dot to dot and word searches.  Anyone else have any suggestions?


Licence Plate Game

Dot Game

Tic Tac Toe

This Bingo came from a friend at the exchange and I slipped it in with the others.

Scavenger Hunt

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

This weekend we planted our garden…Yes, I know we got a late start…. but it was a busy Spring!! 

And this is our first year planting here, so it took a lot of work to dig up the grass rototill the dirt, put lime in the ground and fill our boxes with dirt. The kids have been excited about the garden so I am making this their project as well as mine. They helped me plant (we planted 4 large boxes, each which house 2 squares) and they will weed, water, harvest and EAT…lets hope at least! Now that we got our veggies in we can work on the finishing touches like mulching up the paths and putting up a little fence and making it look pretty too!

Planting the veggies in 90 degree weather was HOT!

These boxes house lots of Tomatoes, Okra, Zucchini, Butternut Squash and Yellow  Squash

And these house Cucumbers, Sweet Potatoes, lots of varieties of Peppers, Onions and Eggplant.
We also planted 2 pumpkin plants in hope of harvesting our own Jack-A-Lanterns!

I'll keep you posted on our garden's progress!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Melina!

Melina is 5 today!!! 

She really wanted a Strawberry Shortcake Birthday!

(I got a couple of pictures, but I am so very bummed that I did not get many pictures; I didn't get any of the food and other things.)

Melina helped me make her invitation.
We cut out a fruit for each character and wrote a piece of info on each fruit.


As the kids arrived they made edible bracelets from licorice strings, gummie life savers, peach candy & fruit loops.

Then the kids picked Stawberries (candy) from the Strawberry Patch.
Picking Strawberries.

They put all their strawberries in this little bag that we made.
Then we did a beanbag toss

After each child tossed the beanbags they got a popsicle stick puzzle.
Then we played Pin the Strawberry

And each child received a play dough strawberry.
I made it from Kool-aid so it smelled like strawberry too!

We also played Strawberry Pop! I put a Strawberry Shortcake Lip Gloss or Nail Polish in balloons, blew them up and pinned them on a board in the shape of a strawberry. Each child used a push pin to pop a balloon and out popped a prize! They enjoyed this game!

And then we played Musical Strawberries and each child received a Strawberry Shortcake coloring book.

I also made a bunch of water gallons, which they broke in about 30 seconds!


Like I mentioned I am very sad that I did not get any pictures of the food. But here is what we did; we made a food for each character.

Strawberry Shortcake - make your own Strawberry Shortcake
Blueberry Muffin - mini blueberry muffins
Orange Blossom - orange slice candies
Cherry Jam - cherry jello jigglers
Raspberry Torte - Raspberries stuffed with a white chocolate chip
Lemon Meringue - Lemonade

Kids enjoying their treats!

Me and my Birthday Girl!

I think Carson enjoyed the Strawberry Shortcake the most!

Melina had a great time!
 I hope her friends did too!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The End of an Era

My girl is no longer a Preschooler.

And I have mixed emotions about that.

Last day of Preschool
May '12
I am happy for her as she will embark on a FUN new journey into the world of "big kid" school, but sad that she is growing up so fast. She only had 1 year of preschool, so it was a quick journey for us through the world of preschool, but it was a GREAT one!!

Ist day of Preschool
Sept '11

The last week of school was filled with FUN for her and her class


Water Ballon Toss

POP the balloon!

Water Relay!

Tug of War!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Merry Berry Month of May

Nothing says May like fresh Strawberries...
Melina searching for the perfect spot to pick.

Logan picked a bunch!

And nothing says Strawberry Picking like a good dance recital costume!
 (I couldn't get her to take it off all day!)

She did a pretty good job picking…but she also tasted her way through the feilds!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

1st Dance Recital

Yesterday was Melina's first DANCE RECITAL

And I have to say, I think I might have been just as excited as she was! Dressing her up in her cute costume, putting her hair in a bun, and putting makeup on her for the first time. The whole process brought back memories and it was very fun! She LOVES dance, so it was also fun to see her excitement when she saw the "big stage" for the first time and all the girls running around in their costumes. She had a blast and she did awesome!! 

And this morning she is still running round in her costume! ;)

So excited!!

Melina with some of her classmates.
Strike a pose!

Melina is on the far left in the front row!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Meatball Sub Casserole

My whole family enjoys this recipe and my sister in law recently made it and they enjoyed it too! My nephew even ate it and he is the pickiest eater I know; so if that isn't success I don't know what is!

I usually make this in the afternoon during nap time and then I can just stick it in the oven to bake later. Also, this is my healthy version, so feel to fatten it up if you like by using real meatballs and mayo.

Meatball Sub Casserole

16 Turkey Meatballs (I use the pre made ones to make it simpler and faster)
1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced into 1 in thick slices
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 C greek yogurt (you can use mayo if you like)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2-4 cloves minced garlic (depending on how much garlic flavor you like)
salt and pepper to taste
2 C Italian cheese blend
1 28oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce


  1. Preheat Oven to 350
  2. Arrange bread slices into a 13x9 baking dish
  3. Mix together cream cheese, yogurt, italian seasoning, garlic and salt and pepper and spread mixture over the bread
  4. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese
  5. Place meatballs evenly over the dish (I cut my meatballs in half- its easier to serve and eat)
  6. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and top with the remaining cheese
  7. Bake uncovered for 30 min.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Busy Bag Exchange

This week I hosted 2 BUSY BAG Exchanges

And all I can say is I am stocked for a while and I have VERY CREATIVE FRIENDS!

I was going to make a Busy Bag of my own because this Spring has been crazy with Sports. We have sports 5-6 days a week, so my kiddos are spending lots of time on the sidelines. But then I decided it would be more FUN, COST EFFECTIVE (we kept each bag to around $1.00) and CREATIVE if I hosted an exchange. And I am so glad it did! In fact it went so well, that I decided to host a ROAD TRIP BUSY BAG Exchange. I may have selfish reasons for hosting these events (we are going on 4 road trips this summer!) but they benefited everyone and I will be hosting more of these in the future. If you have chance to do this with friends, I say DO IT!! You will not regret it!! There are so many resources online if you get stuck for activities. Pinterest has tons of ideas, like this site or this one! Check it out…go!!!

I am going to share a sampling of activities, but honestly everyone was so creative, I LOVED them all!!
All my Busy Bag Activities!

Pasta beading and sorting
made from vinegar, food coloring and pasta.

Check out this HOMEMADE I Spy Book!!

Popsicle Stick Puzzle

Shape Sorting and Matching

Lacing Cards

Make your own Pizza

Old McDonald Puppets.
She included cutout of animals and people along with popsicle sticks,
crayons and glue!

Felt Board

Colored Popsicle Sticks with Velcro
This is something I did on my own because the Velcro was a bit expensive for an exchange, but they have been AWESOME! Melina spells things with them and Meeka makes shapes. We have used these a lot!!

I am linked up with Pin for the Wednesdays at Mommin' It Up