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Sweet and Salty July 4th Pretzel Sticks: FamilyFun Test Drive

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Ever since I can remember (all 4 years of his life), my son Oliver has loved to cook and bake. When I’m doing anything in the kitchen, he pulls his little red chair over to help, even dropping a piece of bread into the toaster. When I suggested that he help road-test these Sweet & Salty Sparklers from the June/July issue of FamilyFun, I’ve never seen him hop to anything faster. And then when I said they involved chocolate and M&Ms, he nearly fell over. I decided to really let him do each step (brave, I know), so here’s what we got…

As far as ingredients go, it couldn’t be any easier. All you need is red and blue M&Ms, pretzel rods, and white chocolate chips. (You can also add red and blue sprinkles, but I had to draw the line on the sugar.)

1. First, line a tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Then, the fun begins. It’s time to sort M&Ms—red in one bowl, blue in the other. Sommer joined in the fun on this step, mostly enjoying the taste of the yellow, orange, green, and brown ones.

3. Next melt the white chocolate until its runny enough to drizzle. (Hint: follow melting instructions on the package.)

4. Drizzle white chocolate on each pretzel rod, one at a time. I must admit that I took over the step because I saw the impending disaster!

5. And lastly, decorate the sticks with the blue and red candies. Put these in the fridge for about 15 minutes until they set.

As per usual, and this is evident from the photo above, both my kids licked these like lollipops, ate off the M&Ms, then asked for the next one.

If you want to see what they should REALLY look like, check out this great photo. These are quick and easy to make—a festive, sweet, and salty snack to celebrate the Fourth of July!

Never have a boring afternoon! Check out our activity finder.

July 4th Confetti Popper
July 4th Confetti Popper
July 4th Confetti Popper

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Tags: , | Categories: DIY, Family, Food, Fun, Holiday

FamilyFun Test Drive: July 4th Wreath Decoration

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

People have been asking me lately why I think that crafting for July 4th has become so popular. I think there are a few things working here…

  1. All kids are out of school, so there’s a collective need for something to do!
  2. It’s the ultimate celebration of summer since the season officially begins just about 2 weeks before.
  3. There’s no decision-making about the color scheme. Its red, white, and blue or bust. There something nice about crafting with a universal color palette.
I made this wreath by myself, but my 4-year-old son Oliver could definitely have helped with the gluing of the straws. My daughter Sommer was ready for the parade…after she marched up and down the block with the wreath, I was thinking it would be cute to replace a straw with a 1/2-inch-wide dowel for parade-marching or lawn ornamentation. (Just print 2 of the templates and glue them on either side if you’re not hanging it on your door or against a wall!)

What you’ll need:

  • Template printed onto card stock
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Tacky glue
  • Paper straws
  • Fishing line
  • Glue stick
1. Print out the adorable template from
2. Trace the template onto regular cardboard twice, and cut out both circles.
3. Make several rings of tacky glue on one cardboard circle and lay the straws in the glue. You can alternate red and blue or let it be random. Make sure to leave about a 2″ circle in the center. 
4. Cut a 1-inch piece of straw and thread a long length of fishing line through that piece and knot the ends. Glue that small straw piece into the center of the cardboard circle with tacky glue. 
5. Apply a generous amount of glue on top of the straws and then cover with the second cardboard circle.
6. With a glue stick, attach the card stock center.
7. Trim the straws to different lengths (I chose to trim my red ones only).


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President Obama’s National Day of Making!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

I was raised to listen to authority. I took it seriously (most of the time) and today, I think we should all listen to our president’s declaration of the National Day of Making! While I do realize that Mr. President is trying to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in technology and the like, I don’t think we have to discount our need (and love) for the decorative arts! So I say…make robots, make jewelry, make cupcakes!

Here’s a fun, quick, and easy little project that you can do with your kids on this first National Day of Making!

What you’ll need:

  1. Decorate beads with paint pens and let dry. While they are drying, wrap cord around 2 fingers about 8-10 times. Cut bundle from the spool.
  2. Cut a 20″ piece of cord and thread it through the loops of the bundle.
  3. Tie a knot to keep the bundle together in the center of the 20″ cord.
  4. Cut the loops at the bottom and thread the long strings through the 2 beads to make a necklace. (not shown)

Today is the first ever White House Maker Faire (oh how I’d love to be there!)—visit the website to learn, watch, and make! Post what you are making on social media with the hashtag, #nationofmakers .

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8 Fabulous (and free!) Father’s Day Printables

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The Father’s Day rule in my household is simple. Dad gets to choose whatever he wants for that day (and ditto on Mother’s Day). So for example, if Dad wants to lay in the park with a bagel and lox and play catch for 7 minutes then lay in the sun then nap when the kids nap then choose his own restaurant for dinner, then so be it. That’s what he gets. If he decides that he doesn’t want to make any decisions, then Mom and kids take over. It’s our way of relieving the pressure of gift giving—we have birthdays and other holidays for that. But there’s always room for a little bit of surprise, even in a day totally prescribed by Dad. And these adorable printables are sure to bring a smile to his face!

Top: Paper Dad Rocks—Mr. Printables / Sugar cookie fries (we are making these!)—Bakerella (those are sugar cookie fries!) / Gummy bottle labels—Get Creative Juice

Middle: Love you to the moon and back photobooth printables—B Kids / Dad Coupons—The DadaBase

Bottom: Etch-a-Sketch card—Zakka Life (via Cool Mom Picks) / Nuts About Dad—Design Dining Diapers / We Heart Daddy banner—Paging Supermom

Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy
Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy
Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy

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Get Crafty for the World Cup!

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

It only happens every four years, and in my house, it’s bigger than the Olympics…it’s the World Cup!

Get your kids out in the backyard kicking soccer balls and crafting around the kitchen table making one of these 4 cute soccer projects!

I love these flag cookies slash necklaces to celebrate the diversity of the games. Edible jewelry…2 ideas for the price of one. Found on The Imagination Box.










Download and print these soccer players to make a fun, tabletop game! Found on Vegie Smugglers.










There is always a reason to make something out of hama beads! Flags, trophies, and jerseys by Red Ted Art.









Who says a soccer ball has to be black and white? Print out this 2-page design, glue them to a stick or straw to make a cute World Cup Spinner craft. Found on Activity Village.

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Tags: | Categories: Crafts, Decor, DIY, Family, Fun, Outdoors