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In the Backyard Books

In the Backyard Books

We are so excited to be kicking off our Mother Hen Summer Series with the theme “In the Backyard” this week.  This week we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite books to teach your kids to enjoy their own backyard!  We hope you’ll enjoy this list of In the Backyard Books as much as we do. This list has some favorites from each of us.

Summertime is the best time to let those kids explore.  There are so many different things for kids to see and learn in the backyard this time of year. These books have lots of fun ideas to get your kids outside and exploring their own backyard!

From bird watching and bug hunting to backyard games, you don’t have to go far to find some summer fun and explore nature.

backyard backyard

Our Great Big Backyard by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager

backyard in my backyard

National Geographic In My Backyard Activity Book

backyard garden wigglers

Garden Wigglers by Nancy Loewen

backyard kids' garden Kids’ Garden by Whitney Cohen

backyard nature book

The Complete Backyard Nature Activity Book by Robin Michal Koontz

backyard 101 things

101 Things to do Outside

backyard nature

The Kids’ Nature Book by Susan Milord

backyard fun in nature

Fun with Nature

backyard bird watching

Look Up!  Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

backyard bugs

The Best Book of Bugs

And for more fun in the backyard check out this In The Backyard round-up.

Fun in the Backyard - games, kids activities, zip line, water balloon baseball, s'mores, printables... lots of summer entertainment!

 


Fun in the Backyard - games, kids activities, zip line, water balloon baseball, s'mores, printables... lots of summer entertainment!

To kick off our Backyard Fun Themed Week, we’ve got a great round up for you!  Printables, activities, games and more!

Backyard Fun

Fun in the Backyard - games, kids activities, zip line, water balloon baseball, s'mores, printables... lots of summer entertainment!

1- Tabletop S’mores from The Crafting Chicks

2- Rock Caterpillars from Nellie Bellie

3- DIY Tetherball Set from Simply Kierste

4- Water Balloon Baseball from Overstuffed

Fun in the Backyard - games, kids activities, zip line, water balloon baseball, s'mores, printables... lots of summer entertainment!

5- DIY Zip Line from Pioneer Settler

6- Butterfly Feeder from Reading Confetti

7- Mud Kitchen Food from Munchkins and Moms

8- DIY Summer Tent from The Crafting Chicks

Fun in the Backyard - games, kids activities, zip line, water balloon baseball, s'mores, printables... lots of summer entertainment!

9- Rainbow Paver Hopscotch from Moms Crafty Space

10- DIY American Ninja Warrior Backyard Obstacle Course from Frugal Fun for Boys

11- Shoot & Splash Backyard Target Practice from No Time for Flashcards

12- Nature Hunt Bingo from Bitz & Giggles

Don’t miss the rest of our Mother Hen’s Summer Survival Guides!  Please join us for this summer of fun & learning!  We will give you all of the ideas, supply lists, book ideas and more to make this a smooth summer program to enjoy at home.

Mondays: We will be sharing the best learning ideas, crafts and more from our favorite sites that tie into our weekly theme.

Tuesday:  We will be sharing the best Children’s Books!  And a literature activity that coincides with both the Chicks’ Pick book and weekly theme.

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday:  We will be sharing posts from our favorite bloggers!  They have the best ideas and are excited to be a part of this series!  All of these posts will tie into the theme:)

Fridays: Make sure you join each Friday to see what activities, supplies & other things you will need to plan your themed week at home.


15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

Summer is almost here… I can feel it!  School is almost out, the weather is getting warmer… it’s time to have some fun with the kiddos!  We’ve gathered 15 of our favorite summer ideas for you today.  There’s a little something for everyone.  What’s on your summer list?

15 Fun Summer Ideas

40 Indoor & Outdoor Summer Boredom Busters from The Crafting Chicks

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

Nature Explorer Journal from The Crafting Chicks

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

DIY Summer Tent from The Crafting Chicks

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

Summer Picnic Blanket from She Wears Flowers

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

DIY Library Bags & Tags from The Crafting Chicks

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

Build Your Own Drink Stand/Puppet Theater from Dream Crafter

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

DIY Rain Stick from The Crafting Chicks

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

Grandma’s Camp from The Crafting Chicks

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

Summer Cloud Paintings from Simple Simon and Company

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

Summertime Scattergories from The Crafting Chicks

Summertime Scattergories Printable

Summer Fun Chart from The Crafting Chicks

Summer Fun Chart - Printable

Summer Fruit Garland Printable from Kiki and Company

Summer Fruit Garland - Printable

Summer Activity Jars and Grab Bags from The Crafting Chicks

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

How to Ride a Bike from The Crafting Chicks

How to ride a bike

Cookies and Cream Pudding Pops from The Crafting Chicks

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!

15 fun Summer Ideas - printables, kids activities, recipes, crafts, and so much more!


Teacher Restaurant Gift Idea and Printable Teacher Restaurant Gift Idea and Printable

‘Tis the season for teacher gifts.  We love teachers and value them so much!  It’s fun to come up with a cute and clever teacher gift each year.

Today I’m sharing a Teacher Restaurant Gift Idea with a free cute printable tag.
sm teacher restaurant gift 2

Just grab your teacher’s favorite restaurant gift card.  Download our free Printable “Thanks for “Feeding” our hearts and minds.  Then glue or tape on the gift card.  The gift cards usually come with a sticky back already…and I just affixed the card with the sticky part still intact.

We love to give these gift cards with the teachers’ favorite snacks.  Maybe a drink, snack and treat.  We have also included bread from a favorite bread store.  You can add these all to a cute gift basket and tie it up with a bow. sm teacher restaurant gift 1

Download Black

Personal Use Only Please.  All downloads and printables belong to The Crafting Chicks, LLP.

Check out these other cute teacher gift ideas on the Crafting Chicks:

Periodic Chart Cleaner Printable

A cute spin on science.  Teacher will love these cute Method bottles wrapped up with a free printable tag.
Science Teacher Gift Idea - Periodic Element Thank You

Mint Gift Idea

Wrap up all things Mint for those sweet teachers.

All of the minty treats and treasures tucked in our Mint Themed Teacher Gift!

Redbox Teacher Gift

Let those teacher relax with a redbox and snacks!   Just snatch this free redbox printable tag for teachers. teacher appreciation

Great Time Teacher Gift

Grab a cute watch in your teacher’s favorite color and download this cute “Great Time” printable.  We love the watches you can find at Michaels Craft Stores.

Great Time - Watch Teacher Gift Idea

 

Popcorn Teacher Gift

“Pop” quiz:  Who’s the best teacher around?  You!  Download this cute “popcorn” tag and tie it up with your favorite popcorn recipe or store bought popcorn.

sm popcorn teacher gift 4


Summer Porch Ideas - Moss Wreath, Planters, DIY Sign Post, Painted Cement, Herb Garden, Tabletop S'mores, Porch Curtains and so much more!

Summer is almost here… I can feel it!  (Or maybe I’m just tired of the daily school routine and I’m dreaming of summer!)  Either way, we’ve gathered some of our favorite Summer Porch Ideas for you today.  It’s time to get that porch ready for lazy summer days in the shade and cool summer nights eating your tabletop s’mores!

Summer Porch Ideas

DIY Moss Letters from The Crafting Chicks

Summer Porch Ideas - Moss Wreath, Planters, DIY Sign Post, Painted Cement, Herb Garden, Tabletop S'mores, Porch Curtains and so much more!

DIY Welcome Post from Little Bit of Paint

Summer Porch Ideas - Moss Wreath, Planters, DIY Sign Post, Painted Cement, Herb Garden, Tabletop S'mores, Porch Curtains and so much more!

Children’s Arbor Bench from The Crafting Chicks

Summer Porch Ideas - Moss Wreath, Planters, DIY Sign Post, Painted Cement, Herb Garden, Tabletop S'mores, Porch Curtains and so much more!

Painted Striped Concrete Floor from Lolly Jane

Summer Porch Ideas - Moss Wreath, Planters, DIY Sign Post, Painted Cement, Herb Garden, Tabletop S'mores, Porch Curtains and so much more!

Chandelier Planter Tutorial from DIY Show Off

Summer Porch Ideas - Moss Wreath, Planters, DIY Sign Post, Painted Cement, Herb Garden, Tabletop S'mores, Porch Curtains and so much more!

Table Top S’mores from The Crafting Chicks

Tabletop S'mores - perfect for summer nights!

DIY Summer Banner The Happy Scraps

DIY Summer Banner - Pallet Sign

Drop Cloth Porch Curtains from Old Things New

Drop Cloth Porch Curtains - Love this simple privacy solution!

Mason Jar Herb Garden from Home Remedies

Mason Jar Herb Garden right outside your back door!

Beach Towel & Bathing Suit Rack from The Summery Umbrella

DIY Beach Towel Rack

DIY Magical Lights in your Fairy Garden from Little Tudor on the Prairie

Summer Porch Ideas - Moss Wreath, Planters, DIY Sign Post, Painted Cement, Herb Garden, Tabletop S'mores, Porch Curtains and so much more!

Summer Porch Ideas - Moss Wreath, Planters, DIY Sign Post, Painted Cement, Herb Garden, Tabletop S'mores, Porch Curtains and so much more!


Springtime Blooming Tree Kids Craft

Today I’m over at Oriental Trading Co. Blog, sharing this fun Springtime Blooming Tree Kids Craft. A fun project to do with kids on a rainy day or any day. This project is a great way to keep the kids busy without making the house a mess.

Springtime-Bloom-Tree

This project was so fun and easy. Especially if you use the free printable tree that is available over on the Oriental Trading blog.

Each child will shine through with this project. They are able to use their personal creativity to make a Springtime Blooming Tree that is just for them.

Springtime-blooming-tree

So if you are looking for a great way to keep your kids busy on a rainy day, or any day.

blooming-tree

 

 

 


Father's Day Handprint Tree 2016 It seems like every year I get an email earlier and earlier to see if we are posting a new Father’s Day Handprint Tree. Well, no need to email or worry because here it is, Father’s Day Handprint Tree 2016.

Fathers-Day-tree-2016

All you’ll need is:

Fathers-Day-Handprint-gift

Begin by painting your child’s hand with the green paint of your choice. It’s tricky with little ones, so make sure you have wipes on hand.

fathers-day-handprint-tree-gift

Carefully place their hand on the tree and press gently on each finger so that the print is nice and shows up.

Fathers-day-handprint-tree-gift1

So cute huh! Since I have 3 girls, they each get a branch. If you have more kids, you can add more handprints and make a bigger tree. If you have less kids, have them do more hands.

handprint-tree-fathers-day

I’m kinda in love with these and so are my girls. They love to give them as gifts. And I think the grandpa’s love them too.

Here’s another link to the download. Remember all printables are property of The Crafting Chicks, LLP. Please do not alter or claim as your own. It’s good karma to leave a comment when downloading.
Each download will open in a new window. You can print from that window, or save by right clicking and saving there.

Download Black

 

 


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ... Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes!!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! And what is better than ice cream? Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes!!

Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes are the ultimate easy no bake dessert!

 

Hi Crafting Chicks fans! It’s Keri from Shaken Together and this month, I am sharing another easy, no bake dessert with you. No bake desserts are pretty much my jam. I love a good no bake cookie, a fun way to dress up store bought cupcakes or a quick dessert dip to wow your guests. These mini donut ice cream sundaes are the perfect way to say hello Summer, happy birthday or yay for Friday!!

I mean, when you start off with the most adorable sprinkle frosted donuts, the cute factor can only go up!

Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes are the cutest sprinkled no bake dessert perfect for Summer!

These sundaes are SO easy … just plop a scoop of ice cream on top of a mini donut, add sprinkles (or hot fudge, a whoosh of whipped cream or a drizzle of caramel), grab a spoon and dig in!

These Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes are the easiest, sprinklicious no bake dessert ever!

Want to know my secret for getting mini ice cream scoops for these mini sundaes? A cookie scoop! It makes the perfect mini sized scoop and the lever mechanism pops it right out on top of the donut.

The secret to mini scoops of ice cream for our Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes? A cookie scoop!

To make serving these mini donut ice cream sundaes easy (and not to mention adorable), I use colorful cupcakes papers. Each cupcake paper is the perfect size to hold one mini donut and catches any drips or crumbs!

Colorful cupcake papers are the easiest (and most adorable) way to serve our Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes!

Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes
Ingredients
  • Mini donuts
  • Ice cream
  • Your favorite ice cream toppings
Instructions
  1. Place each mini donut in a cupcake paper.
  2. Just before serving, use a cookie scoop (or a spoon) to add a scoop of ice cream to the top of each donut.
  3. Garnish with hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream or sprinkles!
These mini donut ice cream sundaes are serious fun and since they are small – just a few bites each – they are easy to eat for little hands and provide just enough sugar to satisfy a sweet tooth! Wouldn’t it be fun to set up a mini donut ice cream sundae bar?! Cake donuts with birthday cake ice cream … coconut donuts with vanilla ice cream and caramel … powdered donuts with strawberry ice cream and fresh berries … the combinations are endless!

Mini Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches - top your favorite mini donut with a mini scoop of ice cream! They may be mini, but they pack BIG time fun!

If you are craving more easy no-bake desserts, take a peek at a few more of my favorites!

Banana Split Cookies from Shaken Together - no bake and SO fun!

Banana Split Cookies – topped with fruit, frosting & hot fudge!

Strawberry Marshmallow Dip from Shaken Together - just 2 easy ingredients!

Strawberry Marshmallow Dip – just 2 easy ingredients!

Cheesecake Banana Splits from Shaken Together - move over ice cream, cheesecake is here!

Cheesecake Banana Splits – move over ice cream, cheesecake is here!


Mother's Day Handprint Flower 2016

I’m a sucker for anything handprint from my girls. I love seeing the growth from year to year through their hands. You probably know this because I like to post project and gift ideas using handprints. Of course I had to make another Mother’s Day Handprint Flower Printable for 2016.

These always make a fun gift for grandmas too because it’s one of a kinda artwork from their favorite children.

They are quick but can be messy so I suggest having some wet wipes nearby. Also, clothes that are okay to have paint on them, and a surface that could get paint on it. 😉

Mothers-day-flowers-supplies

Other then the suggestions above, you’re going to need the free printable, which you can download below, some paint, a paper plate to put the paint on, and a paint brush.

mothers-day-flower-paint

Paint your child’s hand so that you can control the amount. Then they can place the hand on a stem.

mothers-day-flower-handprint

You can also let them use their creativity to make flowers with their fingers or thumbs.

mother's-day-flower-thumbprints

This can get on the messy side so beware and have your wipes handy.

mothers-day-flowers-with-paint

I loved watching how she made each flower.

mothers-day-hanprints

Mothers-day-handprint-gift

A fun little action shot of her showing me her painted thumb.

Mothers-day-flower

And there you have it. You can have each child complete one page each, or have each child do only one flower. This project is so fun and each one is unique.

To download the 3 stem option click below

Download Black

And to download the 4 stem option click below

Download Black

All printables are property of The Crafting Chicks, LLP. Not for resale or commercial use. If posting please link back. And if you download it’s good karma to leave a comment.


How to edit your iPhone photos

Hello again! Michelle here and today I’m talking about Photography and making the most of your iPhone photos. I know that you probably have thousands of photos that mean the world to you on your phone right now… I currently have 11,244 photos and 525 videos!!! omgoodness and I have to admit that those are all from this past year!

I use two cameras every single day. My Canon 5D Mark iii and my iPhone 6 (I’m holding out for whatever amazing phone comes out this fall). There are so many apps and filters and resources for photography on the iPhones of today, but I wanted to share with you my process for my iPhone images. There is a fine line between being obsessed and taking 40 shots for that one awesome image… or just taking a couple good images and still being present and involved in the activity that is happening around you. My goal is to never become so involved in getting an image that I’m not present with my family. There is of course a time for both instances of course. There are times that I become a little crazy and my family lets me know. So….. what do I do from taking a photo to posting it on my Instagram account?

First and most importantly, come follow me on Instagram

Camera

I use the built in camera of the iPhone to take my photos. I use the “photo” setting. I’m a wide angle kind of girl and I love to get as much into the frame as I can. I feel like the square setting limits a lot of what I can pull into the frame. There are camera functions within many of the photography apps, like VSCO, Instagram and countless others that you can use as well.

Taking Your Images

I look for light when I’m going to take my photo. The most beautiful photos include natural light, whether they are outside or inside my home. Turn your subject so that the light is most flattering on them. Avoid very harsh light and raccoon shadows in the eyes.

Editing Images

I try to be spontaneous with my picture taking on my phone and not focus too much on editing them. I also keep my edits simple and clean. I have three favorite apps that I use for editing.

My first go to app is Photoshop Fix. I use this for the most irritating issue… that angry 11 between my eyebrows or a pimple, scratch, or jelly goo on one of the kids’ faces. Use the healing brush, click and poof it’s gone! If you are a Lightroom user, there is also a Lightroom app.

Next I use an app to edit the look of my image; color, contrast, brightness and sharpness, etc. My favorite app to use is VSCO. I use some of the VSCO presets in Lightroom when editing my photos from big girl camera, so there is some consistency when using the app. VSCO gives you a wide variety of tools to use for your images, including the vertical and horizontal tilt of your photos… for those people who for some reason can’t always take a photo straight. That would be me! Here are two examples and my settings in VSCO.

This morning we ventured to the awesome donut shop in town and this little guy was overwhelmed with the cookie monster in front of him.

How to edit your iPhone photos

All of my color images were edited with the A7 preset and I used the X2 preset for my black and white edit. Once I choose my preset or the filter that will be on the image, I then make the fine adjustments that are found under the tools. For the above two images I made the follow adjustments. Clarity +1, Shadow Save +1, Sharpen +1, Fade +1, Highlight Save +3, Tint +1, and Skin Tone +1.  Most of my adjustments were very minor. The only difference on the black and white version was a little added in grain of +2

How to edit your iPhone photos

This image is one that I used on Instagram to show what my car office looks like when I’m waiting for the kids at rehearsals and practices. This image was also the A7 preset with the following adjustments: Contrast +1, Highlights Save +3, Saturation +1, Sharpen +2, Clarify +2.

How to edit your iPhone photos

I’m a huge sucker for sun flare. Some avoid it like the plague, but I love love love a beautiful huge sun flare. This image was also done with the A7 preset. I went a little more drastic with my adjustments to bring out the sun flare more dramatically. Shadows Tint +7, Temperature +1, Highlights Save +6, Clarity +6 and Saturation +1.

I will also use Pic Tap Go for a quicker edit and also Instagram. In Instagram, I typically don’t use the filters at all but instead use the tools similar to VSCO to edit the images. In the end, the goal is to make your image look as close to real life colors as possible while adding a little extra oomph and interest. Avoid filters that make you look like an oompa loompa or an alien. Scroll through the multiple filters and find your favorites. Using consistent filters for editing will give your photography a consistent and clean look.

Backup

Since I have 11,244 images, backups are essential. Make sure that your iCloud is up to date and is backing up your images continuously. I’m terrified of a crash. I also use my external hard drives to periodically backup my images as well as an online backup system. I pay a small $3 fee each month with iCloud for an increased amount of storage.

I hope that you have fun doing quick and consistent edits of your iPhone images… and remember to be present and involved in the activities and get in those photos! Come visit me at Michelle Lea Creative.

-Michelle

How to edit your iPhone photos



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