Jan 5

My daughter loves crafts of any kind. Hand her a piece of paper and she does some pretty amazing things with it. Also a tad of a mini-scientist, she loves “making experiments” that usually end up with her in trouble. So for Christmas I got her the Scientific Explorer’s Spa Science Chemistry Kit off of Amazon. It was an absolute hit, but lacked in some supplies.

When Elements Bath & Body landed in our inbox as a new advertiser on Idea Queen, it got me thinking…and surfing. Little kits that make just a handful of various items are fun and all, but they’re also just a tease for kids that really want to dive into doing stuff like this as a real hobby. Maybe not a business, but a hobby at the very least.

I guess I hadn’t really looked to close into places that sell supplies, simply because they quantities they sell in are just too much for no more than we’d want to do. However, Elements sells in small enough qualities so we can make soaps and other items just as a hobby. I was also pretty impressed with their variety of melt and pour soaps, as well as long list of various soap molds. There’s some pretty cute stuff there, especially for a 7yr old girl making her own.

While I’m sure you could invest a little more money into real supplies vs a kit, in the long run if your interested in making your own soaps and bath products even on a semi-regular basis, checking into sites that sell wholesale is a great idea. Plus these types of items make WONDERFUL birthday and Christmas gifts for family and friends!

Have fun!

Apr 24

Being a mom is a full time job, there’s no doubt about it. We all need a break sometimes. Just a few quick minutes for a game of solitary, or some other easy game to play on a whim.

That’s why we’ve added a brand new page on Idea Queen designed to give parents the short break we all need. On our new “Games for Mom” page, you’ll find several different online games to play right in your browser - no downloading or sign up required! You might even find a few games to play along with the kids.

So what are you waiting for? Go play! (Just remember to bookmark the page and come back often ;-) ).

Apr 10

If you are looking for a few last minute Easter crafts over the weekend, be sure to see our full page of Easter Crafts at Idea Queen.

I know I’m guilty of not pulling out the egg decorating kits just yet, but it’s something we plan to do over the weekend. On the page linked above you’ll find some additional craft ideas, including a different way to color eggs, plus some traditional crafts for Easter.

Have a great weekend!

Mar 31

April Fool’s Day is my favorite holiday next to Halloween, mostly because I get to torment my kids freely without any backlash. I’ve had several fun pranks on this day, but I’m always looking for more.

Here’s a few successful pranks of the past:

- Tape down the sink sprayer
If you have a sprayer on your sink that only turns on when you turn on the water, then put a piece of clear tape around the handle. Last year I asked my son to water the plants for me after school, and he fell for it! The look on his face was classic, and one I’ll never forget.

- I’m moving
This one was played on a friend one year, who knew I’d never leave the area. Play this one on family members near by to freak them out a bit. This works especially well on family members.

-SOLD!
While this is more business related, you can still pull this on a spouse, friends, or family. One year Anita from Mommy’s Helper and I hatched a scheme to tell everyone on her message boards that we had sold her site and one of mine as a package deal (for some ungodly amount of money, of course). It worked! For those of you without this kind of set up, you can always tell a spouse/family member you sold the car an/or house for some large sum of money.

- Inside-out Clothes
This prank has stuck in my head since I was no more than about 5 or 6 years old. Together with my aunt, we turned all my dad’s blue jeans inside out. This is a great prank to pull on slightly older children who don’t need your help picking out wardrobe. This would have to be done at night after they are in bed, or early in the morning before they get up. That way while they are getting dressed for school the prank hits them. ;-)

- April Fool’s Dinner
A few years back I came across this excellent idea for a perfect April Fools Day dinner. It LOOKS like a cake, but really it’s meatloaf with mashed potatoes “frosting”. You make the meatloaf in the shape of a cake, then “frost” it with the mashed potatoes. The kids think they are getting a real treat for dinner!

That’s it for my list of harmless April Fools Day pranks - now let’s hear yours!

Mar 30

Last week my kids were on spring break, and they got a bit of a raw deal. The weather wasn’t so great, and it rained most of the week. On Saturday we even saw a rain/snow mix!

Seeing the weather forecast ahead of time, I knew it was going to be up to me to entertain them at least part of the time. So we decided at least one day would be spent at our local YMCA  where there’s a good sized indoor pool.

We don’t have a membership since the closest Y is a good 25 minutes away from us, and just isn’t worth it for how little we get over there. However, we were able to get in for just $12 for all of us, and spend as much time as we wanted there that day. The kids had a blast and so did I!

This is the perfect time of year to seek out local indoor pools, since it’s still just a bit too early for the regular summer pools. We like the YMCA over here because we can go off and do other activities after we swim to make sure no one is going outside with wet hair when the temp is still in the 50s. For $12, it wasn’t a bad deal, and it entertained the kids for at least half a day.

Go out and find some indoor pools near you - it might prove to be the perfect family activity for all of you too!

Mar 19

There’s nothing harder than coming up with a craft for an 8 year old boy who would rather spend his time in front of the computer or video games instead of being with his family. Although while hanging out in a local craft store one day, the foam sheets caught my attention like they always do, and I finally figured it out.

This particular boy loves to read, and has a large library of books he cycles though. Because of this (and his tornado of a room), we have to keep him well stocked on bookmarks. A foam sheet not only makes a “cool looking bookmark”, but is cheep too.

If folded correctly, you can make six bookmarks from one 8×11 sheet (standard paper size, that is). Two bookmarks “sideways” and four long ways. They won’t all be the same size, but it’s a bookmark, so it doesn’t matter. It’s main purpose is to hold your place in the book, after all.

Once you have them all cut out, it’s up to the kid to add his own personal touch. If you have a paper puncher, you can add small holes at the top and add yarn or ribbon of some type at the top. Decorations can include glitter glue, stickers (add some extra stick to this, because a regular sticker isn’t going to stick very well to foam), construction paper cut outs glued on, or anything else that is small and flat.

This is one of those “every kid” crafts, since you can pick any color of foam sheets you want. For the boy we picked black, but the girl would prefer something like pink or purple. It’s also a great craft because it lets their creativity shine, which is a huge plus in my book. I don’t like to get too specific with craft projects, simple because I want THEM to design and create freely.

Overall this was fun, and I hope you find it fun as well!

Be sure to also see Fun Craft of the Month Clubs from KraftyKids.com.

Mar 13

If you’ve been coming here for awhile, you know I’m a big fan of the download games at Big Fish. Usually it’s me that gets addicted to the various game, but once in awhile a game comes along that’s great for kids. That’s exactly what Farm Frenzy, Pizza Party is.

Now chances are the younger kids aren’t going to be able to play this one quite as well as the older ones. There’s a lot of different things to remember and do, thus the reason I was the one playing it most of the time. However, because of the animal and pizza appeal, the kids might be sticking to this one for some cheap entertainment.

If you don’t already have a membership to BigFish, I do suggest getting one to play this game. For a few bucks a month you get a game credit to use with any game on the site, which is added to daily. Usually I use my credits whenever I get in the mood to play, which is once every few months. I’ve got quite a few stocked up, which is nice because I can get any game I want at any time now.

For now though, you can try out the game for free and see what you think. If you like it, go ahead and grab the membership or just buy the game alone (slightly more expensive than using a membership credit, but if you don’t want hooked on all the games this is a good option as well).

Have fun playing!

Mar 9

Looking for something to do with your kids? Then you MUST check out the craft kits available at Krafty Kids. I fell in love with this site from the very beginning, and I know you will too!

The great thing about Krafty Kids are their Fun Craft of the Month Clubs, which have a seasoned theme every month. They have options for both preschoolers, older kids, and even adults (now how fun would that be to not only give your kids monthly crafts, but to DO something with them?).

You have the ability to choose how many months you want and for how long. The more you purchase and the longer you sign up for, the less each craft is. And these aren’t dollar store crafts either - they are NICE crafts! (See and example of past project in the kits here)

For those looking for fun Easter crafts, I suggest hopping on over to this site right now and signing up so you can get one in April and start having fun!

Feb 18

For those that do own a Wii and are interested in active family games, the page we’ve been working on (Family Games for Wii) for the last few weeks has been updated in a major way. When we first announced the new page, there were only 3 reviews up. After renting, buying, and begging for some reviews, we’ve added a whole lot more!

Keep in mind the ranting system we have is a little different. Instead of just one overall rating of the game, we break it down into seven different sections. For it to rate high with us, it’s got to be a fun FAMILY game that gets both adults and kids up and moving. I can’t be too easy or too hard, must get us active, get everyone involved in the game play, and of course, be FUN!

We know Wii games aren’t cheap, so we hope these reviews will give you a better idea if some games you’ve been eying are worth the money for YOUR family or not. To make buying easier, we’ve also added links to Amazon on each individual review page because we feel this is the most reliable and cheapest place to buy new and used games (again, I must brag about the smoking deal I got on Wii Play and the extra remote from Amazon - it cost me less than half of the retail price, and the only thing “used” about it was the box was open. Both game and remote had NEVER been used! Woo Hoo!).

If you have games you’d like to see on the site or have a game to review, be sure to send us a comment using the contact form on the page. If we are in need of a specific review, we might just pay you for it!*

See Wii Game Reviews.

*Reviews must be positive of games you own and love, use our rating system, and can not be of games already on the list. Please contact us for information before writing the review to check availability. If accepted, payment for review is $5 after the review is received.

Feb 3

Since I love to come up with creative ideas in the kitchen, I knew I was going to have to come up with something spectacular for Valentine’s day. I’m in charge of the snacks for my daughter’s kindergarten class this year, so this gives me a chance to finally use some of those cool cookie cutters I’ve had forever. We always use decorated sugar cookies in Halloween style for her birthday in October, so the cookies are out.

While shopping yesterday with a cake mix coupon, the idea hit me.  Heart shaped brownies with pink icing. It might not be the most creative, but I’m thinking it will get us some “brownie points”. Ha!

The mix I got looks like a moist cake, so I’ve got my fingers crossed this isn’t going to turn into a big mess. It also says to bake it in a 13×9, but I’m thinking if we use a bigger pan they’ll be a little less moist and easier to work with. Should they come out a little too thin, we may just make brownie sandwiches with the frosting in the middle.

This is probably one of those ideas we’ll try out directly after school the day before the party, just in case we need to run to the store for plan B.

Wish me luck!

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