Although Valentine’s Day is traditionally laden with chocolates and sweet treats, there are also so many non-sweet treats available nowadays. As an elementary school teacher, I’m always looking for alternatives to candy that I can give my students either as rewards during the month of February or to put in their Valentine’s Day mailboxes.The Valentine’s section on Oriental Trading Company‘s site has a ton of cute non-sweet treat options. I found tiny notebooks, mini heart erasers, valentines pencils, and a ton of different Valentine’s stickers. (everyone loves stickers!) I also found some tic-tac-toe valentines to give my students. To make the Valentine’s pencils extra fun, I designed a set of purple, hot pink, and red printable “Happy Valentine’s Day” flags to add to them. I printed them on white cardstock so they were sturdy. (You can download these for free at the bottom of this post.)
After printing out the pencil flags, you can cut each one with scissors or a paper cutter.
Fold them flag strips and apply pressure to the crease. Next, trim each one to a flag shape. Use a glue stick to fasten each one securely around the top of each pencil.
To print out the FREE printable “Happy Valentine’s Day” flags, go here.I made a non-candy “treat” bag for each of my students that included a Smile Face Valentine pencil with a flag on it, a couple of Mini Valentine Spiral Notebooks, a handful of Mini Smile Face Erasers, a couple sheets of Mini Heart Big Roll Stickers, and a Tic-Tac-Toe Valentine Sticker Card for each student. I stuck everything into a clear cellophane bag. and tied with some ribbon. I can’t wait to pass them out on Valentine’s Day!
I received promotional products in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
My students know that Valentine’s Day is my most favorite holiday of the year. It’s so much fun to change up some of the Math activities in my classroom each month to go along with the holidays. Patterning is one of the Math activities we work on throughout the school year. At the primary level, patterning is everywhere and there are plenty of opportunities to integrate it into a lot of areas in the classroom. My students get extra giddy when they see the hearts come out because they know it’s that time of year! To create this fun Valentine’s Day patterning activity, I found the most adorable mini smile face heart erasers on the Oriental Trading Company site’s Valentine section and couldn’t resist. Their little faces are so cute, and look kinda like emoji faces. I also ordered some Valentine’s Day washi tape. To make the activity even more appealing, I utilized a big, red wooden heart that I had at home. This would be something I’d use if I left the activity at an independent center.Students can also just practice the patterning at their desks. Each student gets 3 circles, each one with an “A”, a “B”, and a “C” in the center, to create their “key”. They place a different colored heart eraser in each circle after they decide which ones they want to be each letter in their patterns.Then they place the rectangular pattern cards out on their desk. Each student receives about 50 heart erasers to work with and they create their own patterns. It keeps them pretty quiet for a short while, which is nice.To switch it up, they can change around which color heart they place in the key and create new patterns. They LOVE doing this patterning activity!As an extension activity, you can also have students draw and illustrate their patterns on a piece of paper.
To download the free printables from this activity, go here. As always, I recommend printing these out on white cardstock because it’s sturdier.
I received promotional items in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
Let me start by saying that I don’t do anything scary, especially at Halloween time. I don’t think it’s fun to scare my daughter or other children around me. With that being said, let’s talk about The Switch Witch because it’s Halloween time and you’re going to need her to come and save you! Don’t worry, The Switch Witch is a friendly witch and she will make your life so much easier. This time of year, kids everywhere are gathering way too much candy for their own good. Whether they’ve gone to Halloween parties or received goody bags from school, it’s all more candy than they should be eating. As soon as Halloween night hits, your home is going to be overthrown by even more sweet treats! The story of The Switch Witch is a fun, friendly one and a game changer for parents everywhere who are looking to get rid of their kid’s Halloween candy! It’s important to know that she is a friendly witch and a friend of The Tooth Fairy, Santa, and The Easter Bunny, so that’s how I first explained her to my daughter. She only visits during the first few nights after Halloween (including Halloween night). Kids get to pick out 10 pieces of candy and put them away somewhere safe. Then, they leave the rest of their candy out for The Switch Witch before they go to sleep. (Some kids even write her a nice note!) Later that night, when everyone is sleeping, The Switch Witch will come in and “switch” out their candy for a surprise! When kids wake up the next morning, they get so excited to see what she left them! We’ve done this for every year that my daughter can remember and it really saves what could be looked at as a lot of unwanted sugary treats from being ingested by your kids. Your pediatrician and your dentist will be so pleased with you! Happy Halloween!
I was provided with products in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
It’s Halloween season and I get really excited about all of the fun happenings this time of year. Parties, crafts, and trick-or-treating are just some of my favorites.I’m always on the lookout for alternatives to edible Halloween “treats” to give to my students. With all of the other Halloween activities going on, kids get plenty of sugar already. I know other moms appreciate it when their children receive non-sugary treats, especially with general concerns about sugar intake and food allergiesI found so many cute things to use on Oriental Trading Company’s site. Have you seen their Halloween section yet? From Halloween toys and games, thematic crafts, and party decorations to Halloween costumes, they have a great Halloween selection. They do have candy on their site as well, which I also order for other things.It’s hard for anyone to resist stuffed animals, so I ordered a bunch of Plush Halloween Mini Characters for my students, which come in owl, cat, and mummy. I love that they’re Halloween-y but not scary. They’ll be perfect for kids to hug or hang onto. I know my own daughter used to have plush with her when she was afraid of the dark. I also think I’ll let my students read with their animals in the classroom if they choose to do so. I attached a “Happy Halloween” tag to each one using a printable I made, and used orange and black bakers twine to tie it on.You can download my FREE printable here. As always, I recommend printing it out on white cardstock.I cannot wait to to give these to my students. They are going to be so excited! Do you have alternatives to sweets that you like to give to kids at Halloween time?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CraftAmazing #CollectiveBias
When my daughter was a preschooler, I started a holiday tradition with her every year, during Christmas time. I would put together 12 little surprise treats or bags that were labeled for the 12 days of Christmas and she would get to open a new one each morning, as we counted down the days until Christmas. It’s always been something she’s looked forward to each year. As she’s gotten older, I’ve shifted the focus during the holidays from receive to give or better yet, do for others. I’m all about practicing Random Acts of Kindness whenever possible and it shouldn’t just be something you do just during the holidays.
This year, during the holiday season, I decided to put together a little activity using the Random Acts of Kindness concept and some fun Scotch® Brand craft supplies I found at Walmart. One of my most favorite crafting items of all is washi tape! Can you tell? Walmart carries a fun collection of Scotch® Expressions Tapes which come in a variety of colors and fun patterns and are perfect to use on your handmade holiday creations. I found these rolls of washi tape in the Crafts & Sewing section at my Walmart.
I also picked up some Scotch® Create Double-Sided Tape to help me with the project, which was over by the office supplies. The Scotch® Create line has everything from masking tape to spray adhesives to use for everyday projects. All of the other supplies you’ll see in this tutorial were also purchased at Walmart.
For some reason, I’m really drawn to gingerbread men this year so I made a cute printable with a little gingerbread man on it and called it “Random Acts of Christmas“. You can print these out too, further down in the craft instructions.
I attached each one to the front of a bag, using the washi tape. How cute, does it look? I also made a printable note to hand write a Random Act of Kindness on and stick inside each bag.
Some ideas of Random Acts of Kindness you could use include:
Donate some new, unopened toys (from your closet) at your local fire station.
Write a nice letter and mail it to someone.
Donate some food to a local food bank or food drive.
Donate some spare change or a couple dollars to a “bell ringer” outside of a store. (to a reputable organization)
Say something nice to 3 other people today. (Your parents don’t count.)
Gather some blankets from your house and donate to an animal shelter or rescue.
Find somewhere to donate sweatshirts and jackets that are too small for you.
Do something nice to help your parents at home. (without being asked)
Drop off some baked goods with a nice note to your doctor or dentist’s office.
Inside of each bag, I put a small treat and sealed it up with more washi tape. After they were all finished, I placed them all together in a cute “sleigh” basket and placed them next to my daughter’s mini Christmas tree. I explained the idea behind them, placing the emphasis on the Random Acts of Kindness, rather than receiving a big treat per day. I then told her that she was only allowed to open one a day and not shake or touch the others. She was all smiles and excited to do her first “Random Act of Christmas”.
Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your own set of “Random Acts of Christmas” bags:
12 small brown lunch bags or treat bags
a few rolls of Scotch® Expressions Washi Tape
Scotch® Create Double-Sided Tape
small treats for inside of the bags
white cardstock (for printing)
1 “Random Acts of Christmas” for each bag (Click here to print yours.)
1 “Random Act of Kindness” gingerbread man printable for each day (Click here to print yours.)
I stuck one inside of each bag, along with some simple treats. As I mentioned, I’m placing a bigger emphasis on the “doing for others” part here, but I also want to give my daughter treats in each bag, just nothing too extravagant.
To assemble your bags:
Print out Random Acts of Christmas tags and Random Acts of Kindness cards on white cardstock. Cut apart.
Use Double-Sided Tape to attach tags to the front of the bag and use fun washi tape on each side for a cute, decorative touch.
Write one Random Act of Kindness on each card and place inside of a bag.
Choose a small treat to put in each bag also.
Seal each bag with washi tape.
Place the bags in a basket somewhere festive.
There’s really nothing like the feel of the holiday season! Decorations everywhere, festive music playing, and people in more of an upbeat mood. Why not add to the joy to the season by getting your kids involved with Random Acts of Kindness, too?
Be sure to check out more amazing craft ideas with Scotch® Brand products. I’ll bet these fun products could help you with a thousand of your craft ideas!
Halloween is such a fun time of year, not only for kids but for moms and teachers, too! I like send something to school with my daughter on Halloween to pass out to her classmates. This year, I made cute little “Happy Halloween Tic-Tac-Toe” treat bags and I’ll be sharing my free printable with you.
There are a variety of different treats you can pair this with as the game pieces, including some non-food items. Some ideas might include small Halloween erasers, cubes, pennies and nickels, small candies, Goldfish crackers, pretzels, etc.
I think you get the idea. You just need to make sure to include 2 different types of treats in each kit so the kids can play Tic-Tac-Toe. I chose candy corn and candy pumpkins. They are 2 of my own favorite Halloween treats. The good thing about these treat bags is that they are very simple to put together, especially at the last minute. I’m all about the last minute!
Here’s what you’ll need to put together your own treat bags:
2 different types of small treats
small bags (even plastic sandwich bags would work)
tape or Halloween stickers (to seal the bags)
one “Happy Halloween Tic-Tac-Toe” game board per bag (it’s a free printable)
Assembling your treat bags:
Print out one game board per child. (Click here to print.) I prefer to print mine on white cardstock. Also, they’re set up to print out 2 per sheet. You can adjust to print out 4 per sheet. (check your own computer’s settings). You’ll need scissors or a paper cutter to cut that out.
Place one game board and at least 10 of each treat in each bag.
Seal treat bags with tape or a cute sticker.
If you want to be extra detailed, print out a Happy Halloween tag for each one, write your child’s name on, and attach to each bag. Print tags here and cut out each circle.
Well I hope you can use my printables! Don’t worry, we most likely don’t have children who attend the same school so I’m guessing you’ll be the only one who shows up with the cutest Halloween favor bags in the class! Oh, and feel free to share with others! Happy Halloween!
Spiders, bats, black cats and more… Let’s see what Halloween has in store! Your favorite little ghosts and goblins are invited to The Shops at Mission Viejo for a fun and safe event at the Boo Bash on Saturday, October 24. Children of all ages are encouraged to sport their best Halloween costume to haunt The Shops at Mission Viejo in search of Halloween fun.
The Shops at Mission Viejo Halloween event, presented by the Simon Kidgits Club, takes place from 10a.m. to noon on the Lower Level, near H&M and Old Navy. You can join in on Halloween themed crafts, giveaways, and more. Get ready for spells and potions at an entertaining magic show from magicIAN, which starts at 10:30 a.m.
Families are also invited to return to The Shops at Mission Viejo for trick-or-treating at participating retailers on Saturday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., though hours vary by retailer. Here is a list of participating retailers:
Mall Trick or Treating is from 10am to 7pm, on October 31. Here is a list of participating Retailers:
APEX by SUNGLASS HUT—- Candy
BANDEX WATCHES—- Candy
BEAUTY POINT—- Hair Serum
BRIGHTON COLLECTABLES—- Candy
CARLTON HAIR—- Candy
THE CHILDREN”S PLACE—- Tattoos and Stickers
DESTINATION MATERNITY—- Candy
FARRELL’S ICE CREAM PARLOUR—- Candy
FAST FIX JEWELRY AND WATCH REPAIR—- Candy
FASHION NAILS—- Candy
FIRST CUTS 4 KIDS—- Candy
FRANCESCA’S COLLECTIONS—- Candy
IRENE’S STORY—- Candy
JANIE & JACK—- Stickers
LONDON COIN GALLERIES—- Foreign Coins and Candy
LUCKY BRAND CLOTHING—- Candy
LULU BELLA BOUTIQUE—- Candy
MUSCLE BEACH—- Candy
OPTIMUS TOYS—- Candy
OPTOMETRY AT THE SHOPS—- Candy
RUBY’S DINER—- Candy
POTTERY BARN KIDS—- Goodies
SEE’S CANDY—- Candy
SKIN 63—- Candy
SWEET FACTORY—- Candy
TEAVANA—- Tea if in Costume
TOMMY BAHAMA—- Candy
TRUFFLE CAKE CO. —- Candy
THE WALKING COMPANY—- Candy
Guests can stop by Guest Services to pick up a flyer with specific store participation and information on candy distribution times of retailers.
Note: Toy weapons and costumes should be worn only during event hours and masks are allowed only on children 12 years old and younger.
The Simon Kidgits Club is a fun and informative program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children ages 3-8. The Simon Kidgits Club has kept children and parents alike amused for over a decade with various events and activities while providing incentives for club members, such as special offers, rewards and games.
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BOOItForward #CollectiveBias
I absolutely LOVE this time of year. I can’t say that the weather cools down much here in Southern California but you DO start to see pumpkins and Halloween decorations all around. It’s one of my favorite holidays of the year and I get so excited to kick off the Halloween season by BOO’ing people at the beginning of October.
If you aren’t familiar with the modern-day tradition of BOO’ing, it’s really fun and easy to do. You just put together a little anonymous Halloween surprise for someone and deliver it. The surprise usually consists of some type of treats in a cute Halloween bucket, basket, or even gift bag. You also include a BOO sign and instructions so that whoever you BOO, can BOO someone too! (Hey, that rhymes!)
I found all of the items I needed for my BOO’ing at Walmart. On the Seasonal aisle, I found giant Mars Chocolate Mix Fun Size bag of assorted candies, including M&M’s®, TWIX®, and SNICKERS®.
On the soft drinks aisle, I grabbed a couple of 6-packs of special Halloween “Mini Monster” cans of Sunkist® and 7UP®. They’re adorable with little monsters on them! l also found the ingredients I needed to make my “Monster” Cookies. (It’s a special Halloween cookie recipe we make every year using M&M’s® and TWIX®).
In past years, we’ve BOO’d neighbors on our street, friends who live close by, and even relatives who live in our same town. This year I think I’ll do some BOO’ing at my school. I teach first grade and I know of some teachers who would appreciate a little BOO surprise on their desk one morning. ( I know I would!) Teachers are really easy to please and love almost anything.
I decided to make little BOO kits with some snacks and mini cans that my teacher friends could enjoy during their break time. I also baked up a fresh batch of my “Monster” Cookies to include in each BOO’ing kit! (see below for recipe)
Here are the items I used for my BOO’ing kits:
assorted chocolates from
“Mini Monster” cans of 7UP® & Sunkist®
black and white polka dotted paper straws
black and white striped washi tape
decorative black and orange plastic patterned popcorn boxes
Mouthwatering “Monster” Cookies
Since I purchased Halloween “mini monster” cans of Sunkist® and 7UP® for my BOO’ing kits, I cut down some cute paper straws a little and used washi tape to attach them to the cans. It makes an adorable presentation.
I also used some big googly eyes on the popcorn boxes to make them look a little cuter. You could use glue or even tape to attach them.
After I baked my cookies and let them cool, I stacked up a few and put them into a cellophane bag and tied it with a festive Halloween ribbon. My “Monster” Cookies are pretty big so only a few fit in each bag.
It was fun to put the BOO’ing kits together. First, I filled the bottom of each popcorn box with the candies. Then, I placed a Halloween “Mini Monster” can inside, then I filled it to the top with more candy. I set the tied up cellophane bag of cookies on top of the box (I told you they were giant cookies!) and placed the “We’ve Been BOO’d” printables” next to each surprise on each of the teachers’ desks!
I don’t know about you, but I get as giddy as a first grader when it comes to leaving surprises like this! I couldn’t wait for them to discover they’d been BOO’d!
To make BOO’ing easier, MARS has provided a free “We’ve Been BOO’d” sign that you can print out and use with your BOO’ing kit. Just click here to download yours and print.
After you print out the pages:
Cut out the “We’ve been BOO’d” sign.
Fold the “You’ve been BOO’d” greeting card (page 2) and tape openings together.
Include the card (and sign if you don’t want to remain anonymous) when you BOO someone!
Look how cute these turned out! It’s so much fun to BOO at work! Having a “We’ve Been BOO’d” sign on the classroom door is really fun, too!
Here’s my recipe for “Monster” Cookies. It’s fairly simple to prepare and the cookies turn out delicious every time.
“Monster” Cookie Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10-12 Fun Size Twix Bars, chopped
8-10 Fun Size packs of M&M’s®
1 package of candy eyeballs
“Monster” Cookie Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. (This is my best kept baking secret.)
Chop up approximately 1/2 cup Twix bars and set aside.
Measure out 1/2 cup M&M’s and also set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in after each one is added.
Beat in the flour mixture gradually.
Mix in the Twix and M&Ms with a wooden spoon.
Spoon generous portions of the cookie dough onto the parchment paper-covered baking sheet. (They’re supposed to be pretty giant.)
Bake 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and add a few more pieces of each candy plus 1-3 candy eyeballs on the top of each cookie. This will help them to bake while staying visible in the cookie.
Bake 3-5 more minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.
Right now, you can save $2.00 on on ONE (1) 6pk 8oz Cans or TWO (2) 2L and 2 bags of Mars® Candy at Walmart. Click here for coupons. Also, don’t forget to enter the Boo It Forward Sweepstakes! #booitforwardsweepstakes
So are you ready to go out and BOO someone now? I hope I’ve inspired you to “BOO It Forward”!
Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year for the nearly 1.5 million people of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese descent living in Southern California. Celebrate Lunar New Year by visiting the 116th Annual Golden Dragon Parade and Festival in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. With colorful parades, elaborately decorated floats, marching bands and cultural performances by some of the nation’s best Chinese acts, this free event is fun for all ages.
The first 100 people at the Metrolink Irvine Station on February 21 will each receive a free Metrolink ticket too, for a ride up to LA! (First come, first served)
Metrolink is the best way to get to LA from Orange County. You’ll avoid traffic and parking hassles and enjoying a relaxing ride with friends and family. The train is a great way to start your family adventure to Los Angeles.
The Irvine Metrolink station is Irvine Station is located at:
15215 Barranca Parkway
Irvine, CA 92618
For more information about Metrolink and to find the train schedules, click here.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, We Olive & Wine Bar San Juan Capistrano is the perfect place to do some Valentine’s Day shopping! They feature gifts that include artisan extra virgin olive oils, hand-crafted tapenades, mustards, pesto, balsamic vinegars, body and skin care products, as well as custom gift collections. They have some beautiful gifts that can help pamper your Valentine and ensure they feel loved any day of the year.
Some of the fabulous Valentine’s gifts that make women feel pampered include:
Rewined Candles – $29.95 All-natural, premium soy wax candles, hand poured into repurposed wine bottles with scents that mimic the tasting notes of wine.
McEvoy Ranch 80 Acres Line of Body and Skin Care Products Rich and luxurious, moisturizing and healing, the 80 Acres line of emollient body oils, balms, scrubs, gels and lotions are infused with vitamin rich plant extracts and botanicals inspired by the wealth of natural elements present on the Ranch.
The Olive Oil & Vinegar Experience Sampler Gift Box: $29.95 This gift collection is the perfect way to experience the very best of We Olive! This sampler comes with a 2 oz bottle of each of the following : Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic Flavored Olive Oil, Organic Meyer Lemon Flavored Olive Oil, Traditional Aged Balsamic Vinegar, and Peach White Balsamic Vinegar. This is the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for person in your life or a great way to introduce someone to the wonderful world of We Olive.
Martini Lover’s Gift Basket – $49.95 This basket is comprised of what we consider to be the Martini essentials. Recipients of our Martini Lover’s Gift Basket will receive the following delicious items: – A bottle of We Olive’s Olive Juice Dirty Martini Mix – A jar of our Twisted Martini Olives – A jar of our Vermouth Bleu Cheese Stuffed Olives – A jar of our Marlon Blando Olives and a We Olive Dipping Dish. We Olive & Wine Bar San Juan Capistrano is located in downtown San Juan Capistrano.