Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Boardwalk Craft

This post contains affiliate links. 

I know summer is behind us, but I have boardwalks on my mind. I'm deep into planning our next big trip, which will take us east to several states that are famous for their boardwalks. I don't think we'll actually be visiting those boardwalks on this trip (as I'm already packing in way more activities that a reasonable person would even consider), but we will definitely go to at least one Atlantic beach. 

Boardwalk Craft 



Cut or tear the water patterned paper approximately in half and layer it on top of the sand patterned paper. Glue it in place. 

Lay the skewers horizontally across the paper. They should reach from end to end without extending beyond the paper. If the skewers are too long, trim them. If the skewers are shorter than the papers, trim the papers so they are exactly the same as the skewers. 

Pull fluffs from the cotton balls to mimic the surf. Glue them in place.  

Put the skewers down parallel to one another on your work surface. Arrange the mini craft sticks across the skewers so they look like a boardwalk. Completely fill the skewers, then glue them in place. 

This gives you a sense of scale for the mini craft sticks. 

When the boardwalk is dry, turn it over and add glue along the length of the skewers, then glue them to the sand portion of the paper. 

Decorate the beach with stickers, such as a shovel and pail, a sandcastle, or a sea star. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Paper Plate Volcano

As I was walking home from school drop-off, an idea for a paper plate volcano popped into my head. I have no idea why, as it's not like there's a volcano between our house and the middle school. When I got home, whipped up my volcano. It came out exactly how I'd hoped and it was ridiculously fun to do the lava. I love my job. 

Paper Plate Volcano


  • paper plate
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • paint (grey, black, red, orange)
  • paintbrush
  • sponge
  • cotton ball


Use the scissors to cut a straight line to the center of the plate, then cut out a hole a little smaller than a dime. It does not need to be neat or exact. 

Overlap the cut ends of the plate to form a cone. Staple it to hold the shape.

Paint the volcano grey. 

Squirt some grey paint and black paint onto a surface. (I'd normally use my Frisbee, but I needed a second paper plate for another project, so I just used that.) Dip a dry sponge into the paint and pounce it all over the volcano. Repeat until the whole thing has a mottled look. 

There's no precision necessary. You're just trying to break up the grey and add the appearance of dimension.

Now comes the fun! Mix orange and red paint together to make lava. Dip the back of a paintbrush into the paint and drip it onto the top of the volcano. The paint should be thin enough to drip, but not so thin that it runs right down. I used Folk Art paint and the consistency was perfect right out of the bottle. You might need to adjust the consistency if your paint is too thick (add a tiny bit of water) or too thin (add a tiny bit of cornstarch slurry). 

Now walk away from your volcano. The paint will continue to run down and then will dry. You can always add more lava if there's not enough. 

When the volcano is completely dry, pull apart a bit of a cotton ball to make steam. Push it up from the inside of the volcano, then gently pull it out the top. It should be wedged in pretty well and will stay in place. If not, make your steam a little thicker or glue it in place. 

Anyone else in the mood for a Hawaiian vacation, or is it just me?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Ms. Muhlbeier

Trevor has been blessed with wonderful teachers during his school career. His 5th grade teacher, Ms. Muhlbeier, was no exception. She cares deeply about her students and puts a lot of effort into building a positive classroom community. She believes in making learning fun and was totally open to having some random mom taking over her classroom every week. Trevor thrived in her class. Thanks, Ms. Muhlbeier!

Ms. Muhlbeier (affiliate link)

To make the layout, I fussy cut the photo to eliminate the ugly background. I layered two black/white patterned papers (the border is actually the back side of the darker polka dot) on white cardstock, glued down the photo, then added the chipboard letters. Finally, I added my journaling. It always makes me a bit tense to journal directly on an otherwise-completed layout for fear of ruining it, but it worked out just fine like it always does. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Paint Chip Bookmark

I found a random paint chip that I no longer needed, so I turned it into a bookmark. 

And then I put the bookmark in Trevor's library book and waited to see how long it would take him to notice. 

As it turned out, it did not take long at all. Within about an hour, he asked why there was a 'pom pom' near his library book. He got the book, opened it, and discovered the bookmark. He loved it. And now he knows the difference between a 'pom pom' and a 'tassel.' 


Paint Chip Bookmark


  • Paint chip
  • Coordinating yarn
  • Black cardstock
  • Black letter stickers
  • Scissors
  • Paper trimmer
  • Adhesive
  • Hole punch


  • Trim the paint chip to the desired size, then cut the cardstock 1/4" larger in both dimensions. Adhere the paint chip to the cardstock. 
  • Punch a hole at the top of the cardstock-backed paint chip. 
  • Add the letter stickers to the bookmark. You can spell out I {heart} U like I did, or use the person's initials. 
  • Make a tassel using the yarn. You can use different colors like I did, or just choose one color. I followed these directions to make my tassel. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Exploring Oregon Through Little Passports

We had a wonderful family reunion in Oregon this past summer, so it's no surprise that Trevor and I had a lot of fun doing the activities in the Oregon kit from Little Passports!

After building the covered wagon model and reading about the Oregon Trail, we jumped right in with the science experiment. It is inspired by The Old Man of the Lake, a large stump that has been floating in Crater Lake for more than 100 years and seems to defy the laws of physics. Through the experiment, Trevor now understands that the Old Man of the Lake has air trapped in the top of its trunk and is thus less dense than water. Therefore, it doesn't sink.   

Next, Trevor did a maze about the beaches of the Oregon coast. (Yea mazes!) We learned about the attractions in Portland through a map activity, then did some measurement to identify fossils from the John Day Fossil Beds that date back to the Cenozoic Era. We read about the most important events in Oregon history, then matched famous Oregonians with their accomplishments. One of my favorite childhood authors, Beverly Cleary, is from Oregon. 

Trevor and I learned how to make origami trees, inspired by the World Forestry Center in Portland. We have plans to transform our origami into Christmas trees. I'll share a tutorial as we get closer to Christmas.

There were two art activities in the Oregon kit. Yea! Trevor and I had a lot of fun following the steps to make swallowtail butterflies. 

Getting the symmetry right is really difficult! We both did our best, but fell a bit short. No matter. We're still really happy with how they turned out. 

On to our favorite part of each Little Passports adventure - the recipe! The cooking project combined Oregon's state beverage, state nut, and state fruit. Any guesses what they might be?

The state beverage is milk. Oregon's state nut is the hazelnut and the fruit is the pear. Trevor followed the directions to make vanilla ice cream, topped with grilled pears and toasted hazelnuts. Delicious!

Trevor and I learned so much about the Beaver State. Thanks to Little Passports for another entertaining and educational kit!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Displaying Perler Bead Creations

This post contains affiliate links. 

Trevor has loved Perler Beads since we were first introduced to them when he was 2. He has made a huge number of items over the past nine years and kept all but the very few he's given away. Storage is getting to be a problem. It was not easy, but I convinced him to go through them all and separate out his favorites and get rid of any that were broken, poorly melted, or simply not special. 

Then we used straight pins to arrange those favorites on a corkboard frame

We hung the frame right next to the shelves of games and toys. 

The plan is that as he makes new creations, he'll display them on the corkboard and get rid of one of his previous pieces that is not as special. Or, we'll eventually end up with a second corkboard hung above the first, as he's really going to struggle replacing an old favorite. 

Do your kids have a lot of Perler Bead creations? How do you store / display them?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Homemade Pizza

Every once in a while, I get a hankering for homemade pizza. Actually, I get a hankering for homemade pizza frequently, but every once in awhile I do something about it. I really should make it more often. It is delicious, inexpensive, and is on the table faster than some pizza deliveries. 

I've been making my own pizza since around age 10 and I have always used the same recipe. It is tattered and grease-stained now from 3.5 decades of use. I don't remember where it came from, so unfortunately I can't credit the source. Mom, do you remember?

I follow the recipe exactly EXCEPT that I don't divide the crust. I love thick crust pizza, so I just use all the dough. I've tried it as written and it's wonderful, so if you prefer thin crust, follow the recipe. It only takes about 15 minutes to assemble the pizza...

... then it bakes for 25 minutes. Piping hot and delicious in 40 minutes. 

I really should make it more often. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

'Sorry for Your Loss' Cards

I've had to make quite a few sympathy cards recently. They're always a struggle for me, as I'm sure they are for most people. I almost always put butterflies on sympathy cards, as you can see here and here.

For my first card, I used cream and black, a few punches, and a simple sentiment. I like it.

Sympathy Card (affiliate link)

I ended up repeating that design to make an identical card, then used a butterfly stamp set to create the vertical card. 

I hope those are the last sympathy cards I'll need to make for a long, long time. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Trevor at Eleven

As promised, here is Trevor at 11. As usual, I made my list of adjectives before looking back at previous layouts so that I wouldn't be influenced by how I'd described him before. Of course, the list is pretty similar year by year.

Trevor at Eleven (affiliate link)

Trevor mentioned the other day that we need to have Grandpa make us more numbers. (He originally made 1-9, then made us a 0 and an extra 1 a few years ago.) I love that Trevor thinks we'll still be taking his birthday portraits at 22, 33, 44, etc. I'll count myself lucky if he cooperates through age 18! 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Trevor at 10

Every year, I create a birthday layout for Trevor using adjectives to describe him. When I made Trevor at 9, I thought it would be fun to use a word cloud for his 10th birthday that incorporated all the words I'd used to describe him each year. So that's what I did!

Trevor at 10 (affiliate link)

I made the word cloud using I typed in my list of words from each layout, then chose the font and balloon shape. The words that appear the largest are the ones that I repeated the most over the years. Once I was happy with the design, I printed it and cut it out. It was so easy and I'm really happy with the layout. 

And yes, Trevor is 11 years old. This has been sitting on my desk 3/4 done for a very, very long time. In fact, I finished up the Trevor at 11 layout right after this one. I'll share that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Trevor's New Blog!

Trevor has been a guest blogger here at My Creative Life quite a few times over the years, but now he has his own blog! He started it as a way to showcase his creative homework assignments, and has plans to include "traveling, rabbits, and fun" as well. He plans to add to it at least twice a week.

Check out Trevor's blog by clicking on the image above or by visiting

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Disneyland 2015

I've mentioned many times that I put off scrapping vacations in favor of easier layouts that involve fewer pictures. In the spirit of going back and trying to get caught up, here is the layout from our family trip to Disneyland in 2015.

Disneyland 2015 (affiliate link)

I know exactly why I put off vacation layouts, but the question is what to do about it. I wonder if I should jump ahead and take care of our most recent trip first and work back. On the other hand, it is extremely satisfying to fill a gap in an older album and remove a post-it note. What do you do? Any hints or tricks?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Exploring Nevada Through Little Passports

Our family had a fantastic time visiting Carson City, Nevada recently, so it was particularly neat to take a virtual trip to Nevada through Little Passports! Trevor and I started out with a word search and dot-to-dot that taught us all about Nevada's state reptile, the desert tortoise. Did you know it's the largest reptile in the Southwest, can live for more than 70 years, and eats shrubs, flowers, and berries? 

Nevada has two deserts, the Great Basin and the Mojave, so the science activity was all about quicksand. Cornstarch and water combine to make a material that mimics quicksand. When you press on it or squeeze it together, the mixture behaves like a solid. Slow movement keeps it in a liquid state. Fun!


The next activity was a puzzle about four of Nevada's largest cities. Then we learned about Hoover Dam and how it makes electricity. We read about all the activities that people do along the Colorado River and studied the timeline of Nevada's most important events. 

We enjoyed reading about the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering held each year in Elko, Nevada. We first learned about cowboy poetry awhile back when Steve's parents started attending the event in Elko, so it was fun to see it appear in Little Passports. Trevor and I worked together to write our own cowboy poem.

Picture the Mountains

by Trevor and Cindy deRosier

         Picture the mountains, tall and steep. They reach for the sky without making a peep.
         Riveting, red, rocky, and rough, for centuries long, they have stood tough. 
         Beautiful mountains, graceful and strong, housing the animals all the day long.
         I love the mountains because they are there, reaching their way from the sand to the air. 

Next we learned about Naval Air Station Fallon and the many ghost towns in Nevada. We did an unscrambling activity to reveal the name of Nevada's state rock, sandstone. We saw a lot of sandstone buildings during our time in Carson City. Then we followed the directions to draw mustangs. About half of the wild horses in the United States live in Nevada.

The Nevada recipe was for Basque Chicken. It was delicious!


We had a great time learning more about the Silver State. Thanks, Little Passports!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Bat Crafts and Recipes

I've been having so much fun with bat crafts and wondered if anyone had done a good job with a cardboard tube bat. A Google search revealed quite a few, but this was my favorite. Aren't they cute?!

Unfortunately, the photo is a dead end, so I can't credit the artist or see a tutorial. I tried an image search, but it just brings me to a bunch of Pinterest boards, which in turn lead to a site that is sharing it without a link. So frustrating! I can't tell how the bats are made or what materials the artist used. If you can find the original source or have ideas about how they're made, please let me know. 

In the process of searching, I did find a bunch of other adorable bats crafts. All were properly pinned and/or credited. You'll find the links to the tutorials below each.   

By happy coincidence, I'm putting together a round-up of bat projects for Fun Family Crafts, so expect to see these and more the next time I share a batch of round-ups!