Conversation Starters – V-Day themed

I always love to have conversation starters at holidays, they always end in a combination of deeper conversation and laughter. Our day to day dinner routine is full of laughter and talking about our day but this takes the conversation to a level of getting to know each other better and being more understanding of one another, and what family couldn’t benefit from that more? So whether you want to use these as a way of connecting or just simply to keep the conversation flowing while having guest over, look no further!

Some questions are silly, some are deeper. There is a total of 12 questions and it took our family a few nights to get through them all because some lead to some pretty long conversations. With that being said, if you are using these for a one night thing you might want to have two jars, one with your first choice picks and one with the “backup” if the first round goes quicker than you thought πŸ™‚

That’s a sample of them. There is a second page with more questions. The free download is below!

I had to throw in one last pic. I got so many good ones, it was hard to choose! Some of these had us rolling with laughter hearing the responses from some of the kids. Anyway…ENJOY!!!

xo,
Jenny

Valentine’s Day Bingo!

Well if you know us, you know we have a bingo game for just about every holiday and party. Why? Because they are easy, fun and you can make it a quick filler activity or drag it out and play it different ways.

We used Swedish Fish this time as our markers because we had them on hand but Valentine’s Day m&ms are another popular one for us often times. Really just about any food you have on hand can probably make it more fun for kids…marshmallows, pretzels, goldfish, etc.

We usually make these quite a bit bigger but we made little mini bingo cards this time (as far as the number of spaces) just to try it out. We actually loved it because if you are just doing three in a row they are nice FAST games but you can still drag it out by playing black out or just get a bunch of quick games in there leaving everyone engaged and wanting a turn because it’s a quick turnaround. It helps that each card is slightly different, not just with the pictures being in different locations but each card has a couple pics the others don’t. The FREE printout is at the bottom of this post.

We’ve been using the game as a quick break from school work or chores and have been loving it. We hope you do too!

xo,
Jenny

Conversation {starter} Hearts

All the crafts, treats, valentines and love that is passed around on Valentine’s Day is great but the best part of the holiday is spending time with your loved ones and making sure they feel loved, seen and heard. What better way then to round out the day than to do some conversation starters around the dinner table to get to know each other a little better.

The download at the bottom of the page has two pages of conversation heart questions/discussion starters and one page of blank hearts for any additional questions you come up with!

You can have each family member pick a heart out of a jar/bowl and only they answer it or you can have someone read question but everyone takes a turn answering. Whatever works best for your family, have fun with it and get creative or keep it simple.

Hope you enjoy a special day with your loved ones and go to bed feeling extra loved and appreciated!

xoxo,
Jenny

valentines – a note to show you care

Real quick post to show our two newest valentines in our Etsy shop and remind you of our previous two as well!

“I’m so glad we’re in the same school” comes in two different sizes and you get BOTH when you make your $3 purchase. Then you get to choose which you prefer to print and can even test them out first if you’d like! The above is our larger print and below is the smaller. I used a bread bag for the larger one and then just trimmed the top. The smaller one I used a vase shape party bag and they fit perfectly in that round base. I added a picture of the bags below for reference, they were purchased at Walmart but I’m sure can be found at just about any store.

Next up is our valentine for your late 80s/early 90s friends…NKOTB “You are the WRITE stuff”. (please tell me I’m not the only one who sings “the right stuff” every. single. time I read “the write stuff”)

I know I already posted these but I’m going to show a pic again so you know what you’ll see at our shop if you head over! Next up is one designed and drawn by our son, Parker.

How cool does this look all lit up at night?! Imagine your child thinking what they got during the day time was all they were getting and then coming in their room at night and finding this waiting for them on their bed:

and last but not least:

We also had a set of 14 valentines available which may not come in time for your class valentines but if you are local to Gilbert they should get to you in time for Valentine’s Day for your kiddos. Either way check them out and maybe they will inspire you to make some of your own! These were made by our three oldest and me.

I hope everyone is having fun getting ready for a fun weekend of LOVE! Follow our blog, like our Etsy shop, and find us on Instagram and Pinterest to get more ideas of activities and treats for holidays, homeschool ideas, house renovations and a glimpse into our everyday life here at our homestead!

xoxo,
Jenny

taste test – cotton candy

If you are looking for something fun to do this Valentine’s Day that will take little to no work on your part, look no further. Cotton candy tasting!

We love good taste test in our house and even more so when it involves a childhood classic like cotton candy. We found this pack at Walmart recently, it came with 6 flavors: grape, lemon, watermelon, orange, cherry berry and blue raz. I’m not sure how long it will be there but I did find a similar option on Amazon that comes with five flavor options so if your Walmart is no longer carry the above option or if you just don’t want to drive to the store to pick it up, there is a deliverable option!

We each went at it tasting each of them. Then we decided to add some to some sparkling water we had to see how we liked that because, why not? Then it was time to put them in order from greatest to least.

Andi’s favorite was the watermelon, least favorite was grape
Parker’s favorite: orange. Least favorite: blue raz
Cam’s (and my) favorite: lemon. Least: blue raz

We went into the tasting thinking we would all hate the orange and grape and love the blue raz but Andi was the only one who liked blue raz and orange surprised us all and ended up actually being really good. It was VERY closely behind the other three before it. Everyone’s favorite was an easy one for them though, same with their least, they would quickly decide those two and then struggle to put the rest in order. The only person to really not like the lemon was Rylee (not pictured) but everyone else loved it which isn’t too big of a surprise since we are all fans of lemon desserts.

I’m seriously considering winning some cool mom points and getting a cotton candy maker. You can even use your favorite hard candy to create flavors! Now to go plan a party that will make this purchase a necessity ☺️

xoxo,
Jenny

Confetti popcorn

We love this popcorn and its so easy to adapt to each holiday but it’s ALWAYS yummy and it’s ALWAYS so pretty and colorful! First thing you will want to do is pop some popcorn.

The first thing we do is pop our kernels in our stovetop popcorn popper and then pour it into a large bowl. We used 2 TBS of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of corn kernels to make this batch.

Next, melt a bag of white chocolate chips in a medium bowl. We decided to go with confetti white chocolate chips we found at Walmart for a bit of a change. We always start with 30 seconds, stir and repeat in 20 second intervals until you can stir it smooth. Once it is melted completely you pour it over the popcorn and begin to stir. As it starts to mix in well I start to add the other items. For this go around we chose red and pink m&ms, sprinkles we had left over from our chocolate dipping, and pretzels sticks broken into smaller pieces (which we just break by hand over the bowl because who wants one more bag or bowl dirty to clean?).

Look how colorful and fun it turned out! And its tastes as good as it looks.

We put some in a bowl for dad and the rest in a bag for the kids to take to their sleepovers at Grandma’s. As you can see, it makes a lot! Switch out the candy and sprinkles depending on the holiday and it becomes an easy and yummy treat for kids, neighbors or yourself for anytime of the year! Hope you enjoy!

xoxo,
Jenny

tic tac toe, x’s and o’s

I’ve been told you are either a game person or you aren’t. I come from a family where we played games regularly and I still love it to this day so I guess that makes me a game person. I love to try new games but there is just something about the classics that never get old. We play tic tac toe often whether we incorporate into a lesson on the whiteboard, in the sand with a kid who doesn’t want to play on the playground while at the park or just with classic paper and pen.

So you know I jumped on buying this cute wood set from Hobby Lobby when I found it. You can leave it wood or paint the x’s and o’s like we did. We went with classic Valentines Day colors to give it more of a hugs and kisses look.

I got the set and painted it about 3 weeks ago and we have been playing it every Sunday since.

They almost always turn into tournaments with the whole family.

This little cutie won for her first time (like legit won without us going easy on her) this last Sunday. She may have her occasional pouting sessions but overall she is such a great sport. A huge blessing that comes from regular play where you lose some and win some.

Go pick one up at Hobby Lobby today or whatever your local craft store is, I’m pretty sure they are at Michaels and Jo-Ann’s too!

stained glass heart art

I love to do art with the kids around the holidays. We have some of our best conversations while we get creative with art because its one of the few ways I can get my kids to stay still for that long. πŸ˜† For this craft we used water colors to make an image similar to a stain glass heart.

I got all of our supplies on Amazon and we got a handful since we now do art more frequently since starting to homeschool our younger kids. I love how many color options we have with this set and I definitely think the watercolor pencils are a must. To be able to have any lines blurred definitely helps give you a true watercolor look. My only warning is that the brush that came with the pencils is not great. It shed like crazy but the paint sets also came with brushes and they worked plus I had some extras on hand so it wasn’t a problem for us. Just make sure you have some other brush options if you are getting the pencils. The colored pencils themselves are great though. Your last supply needed is of course watercolor paper which is a necessity. Standard paper will get too wet and break easily, especially if you have young kids painting, they tend to soak their papers. There is a difference between hot pressed and cold pressed paper but to be honest, I didn’t do much research on that because we’re not trying to be expert watercolor artists here, we just wanted to make something pretty and this paper worked great for us.

I didn’t get a picture of what we did first but you can kid of see if you zoom into the picture. First, we used a colored pencil to draw a heart….any size and anywhere on their paper they wanted. Then we drew lines all throughout the inside of the heart. Then we drew lines coming out of the heart to the edge of the paper. You are creating your “glass pieces” by doing all of this. We talked about it looking like you had a heart etched in a piece of glass and then you dropped it and it kind of shatters all throughout without breaking.

Then comes the best part….painting! Get your brush wet, take it to your paint color of choice and get the color nice and wet and then start painting. We talked about all the different techniques we were learning as we went. Having a lot of color on and then using extra water to spread it out, layering colors, keeping it muted etc. The only real “rule” with this piece is that whatever colors you use in the heart you can’t use around the perimeter and vice versa. We also learned that it looks best when after you color each individual section you then go back over with just some water on your brush and kind of blur the line between the pieces.

Our preschooler did her own spin on our project. Looking all cute and proud. 😍

Look how cute they all turned out! We are excited to keep playing with watercolors and improve our skills over time. The best part of all of this was the creativity going on, conversation flowing and laughter throughout. You’ll never regret spending time like this with kids, but it also doesn’t have to be a time consuming, expensive, day project either. It’s all about balance and everyone’s “balance” is different. So don’t compare, have fun and make memories!

One last thing to add actually. For a true stained glass look, add black lines where you blended your colors. We worked on the technique of blending more this go around but if you want that true stained glass look you need those black lines!

xoxo,
Jenny

Valentine’s Day decor

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, I love Valentine’s Day. I really love a day (ok, we make it more of a month) of spoiling your loved ones, but I also REALLY love the decor. So we added more options to our Etsy shop.

I love our tiered tray and so we made a new piece for it this year. This cute mini 6.25″ x 6.25″ frame with felt garland will be the perfection addition to your tiered tray. If you are looking for a wood colored tiered tray I love this one.

I also love a good centerpiece for our dining room table. I already posted about our white wood box centerpiece and now there is a wood stain box available!

Mason jars (4) fit great in this box but if you are looking for some other bottle options I’m loving these.

We would love your support of our small business so if you know anyone who you think would like any of these products please share! Thanks!

xoxo,
Jenny

simple V-Day treats

So you want to do some fun, special things for your family for Valentine’s Day but you don’t want to be a “pinterest mom” and go to the extreme with extravagant treats, surprises, goodies and games. Well, you don’t have to! This is your friendly reminder that you don’t have to go to either extreme, you can do some fun stuff but keep it simple so more time is spent WITH your family than spent preparing stuff FOR your family.

I love getting the kids involved with our festivities whenever possible so they help do the dipping. We keep it real simple and use the container of chocolate dip you can find in the produce section of Walmart. For the white chocolate we just used a bag of white chocolate that we microwaved for 20 seconds at a time until it was melted all the way.

We used Nilla Wafers, Rice Krispy treats (make homemade or buy them pre-made and cut in half), pretzels, Oreos, vanilla & chocolate Wafers, strawberries and graham crackers. I also bought these cute large heart sprinkles from Amazon that we topped each treat with.

Arrange them on a cute platter after they have hardened (doesn’t take long, 10-15 minutes was it for us) and serve! So yummy, so fun and so little time!

The older kids had too much fun trying to make a tipee with the extra wafers.

Whatever keeps them having fun and wanting to spend time with us! πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

Another great, easy treat is the classic Muddy Buddies. Add some pink and red M&Ms to go better with the theme and add a little color.

More than important than anything though just remember that what people really want on Valentine’s Day more than anything else is to feel noticed and loved. Have fun with it and never pass up a chance to let someone you love know just how much you love them!

xoxo,
Jenny