Be a little “extra” this V-Day

When I was young, my mom used to have us make Valentine’s Day cards for our classmates. She gave me construction paper, markers and wooden stamps. She had a pretty impressive collection of wooden stamps and ink pads. I loved making my own cards, but I was always envious of my friends who got to go to Thrifty’s (anyone remember that place?) and pick out their own cheesy card with their favorite cartoon characters. At the time, I thought she was just being mean and didn’t want to bother taking us to the store. Now that I am older, I see that she just wanted to teach us to take the time for the people we care about, make things personal and to help express our creative side.

So for this Valentine’s Day, why not make some handmade cards with your kids and create some lasting memories along the way. If you are anything like me, you started your search two months ago for ideas (totally normal right?).

Things to keep in mind when creating your handmade Valentines:

  • Think about what your kiddos are into
  • Check out Pinterest, teachers pay teachers, and other websites for ideas (you should never have to reinvent the wheel)
  • Decide whether you want to be”extra” and attach a treat or have the card go solo
  • Make sure you make enough for the whole class (made that mistake once #momfail)
  • get all the supplies needed for your card and/or gift (Dollar Tree and the Target dollar bin are always a good place to start)
  • If you are working with kids, decide what part they can help with (gluing, tying, taping, coloring etc)

Here are 3 easy Valentine’s Day gifts for kids and teachers!

1. TURTLEY cute Valentines!

My little love bugs are currently all about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so naturally my mind went to those green turtles. I decided to buy apple sauce packets, apple juice boxes and Annie’s bunnies since they lend well to the green theme. I found some thick ribbon (construction paper would work too), a glue gun, and googly eyes and we were ready to create.

I cut and tied 15 inch ribbon around the juice boxes/bunny fruit snacks and the apple sauces and knotted the ribbon on the side to resembles the ninja turtle masks.

I had the boys glue a pair of googly eyes on the ribbon.

I printed out some tags for them and had the boys color the picture and print their names.

Ta-da! Now we have ourselves some homemade Heroes in a half shell Valentines!

If you have older kids, wrapping the ribbons around green Gatorade bottles would work too. If you worry about food allergies, wrap the ribbons around mini bubble containers! If you want to make a Valentine for your “beer loving kid at heart” husband or wife, tie ribbon around a Stone IPA or a bottle of Stella Artois. You get the idea…

2. Jaw-some Valentines!

Anyone else belting out the Baby Shark song randomly around the house? Well we can’t seem to get it out of our heads, so I decided to make “baby shark” Valentine’s Day goodie bags. I grabbed some Gummy Blue Sharks at the local grocery store, some baggies and ribbon. I just added a cute tag to attach to the front of each bag. The boys were in charge of stuffing the bags with gummy sharks and signing their names.

3. Eco-friendly Valentines!

Last but not least, remember to show love for the teachers! I found these eco-friendly reusable straws at Marshalls that came in a pack of 6.

I created a heart tag and the boys colored in the hearts. Simple, easy and useful!

I hope you found these ideas useful and you have fun creating memories with your little love bugs! If you create any of these with your kiddos, don’t forget to tag me on instagram (@stayathomecircus) and use the hashtag #stayathomecircuscreation. I can’t wait to see!

The Greatest Show on Earth

When I first decided to start a mom blog, I knew I needed a clever name.  I enlisted the most obvious choice to help….my non-mom friend! You know, the one that you can call for a quick last minute drink. The one who hasn’t suffered from “mom brain” and can come up with something good on the spot.  I needed someone to describe to me exactly what my life looks like from the outside. So after a few ideas, Stay at Home Circus was born…..not as glamorous as I thought my life looked, but it was the perfect way to describe it.  

I am the ringmaster mom to this stay at home circus, the master of ceremonies, captivating the audiences with my mom voice.  Instead of a top hat and coattail, I wear the less glamorous yet more functional attire; comfy yoga pants, a clean top (at least for now) and a baseball cap.  Maybe even a pair of earrings for added flare.

 My stay at home circus is equipped with only the best acts. The brave lion tamer calms the toddler beast during a full blown tantrum.   Today’s tantrum was over peeling their whole banana when they obviously wanted it half-peeled. The juggler gracefully manuvers the daily schedule, keeping it all together even when the unexpected chainsaw potty accident gets thrown in the mix. Then there’s the clown act. Now this comic relief performance tends to begin early in the morning and retreats late in the evening. This act is performed by the tiny humans that I brought into world and, although I only have two, it feels like a dozen. This act features  Meltdown the Clown, crying over milk spilled at breakfast and Clumsy the Clown who trips and falls over the mismatched oversized shoes he insisted on putting on that morning. Our eight-person van becomes a clown car stopping at every turn. The clowns get out, run around, and are shoved back in again before the next stop. Let’s not forget the snack vendors who go up and down the aisle offering pretzel sticks, sliced apples, carrots or Go-GURTs on loop throughout the day.

At the end of a long day of performances, the animals and clowns retire to their rooms silencing the circus tent that has occupied my living room. I sit on the couch and gaze at the toys, food and trash scattered around the house like popcorn underneath the grandstands. As I sit there, I realize I will do this all again tomorrow and the next day and the next day with no end in sight. But I see that this one-woman show that I have created is why I decided to join the circus in the first place.

I hope this blog will help the ringmaster extraordinaire find some fun activities to entertain their little circus clowns. My hope is to bring some laughter to other moms wrangling their own circuses and happiness to anyone dropping by with a ticket to the show.