Apples to Apples {Slow} Day

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Slow days have been much more meaningful in our busyness lately. When I sit down to write my mind is so cluttered that to organize a post is painful at times. We’ve enjoyed several slow days lately. So much so that I didn’t even bother to take a picture. I hope you enjoy some of these photos of what we’ve been up to lately!

I wanted so much to enjoy a themed night lately. Just to be able to be with my boys more and enjoy them. So last-minute I pulled some things out and they were super excited. We enjoyed church Sunday morning together and then worked on building some monster trucks.

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I made this apple cider and we loved it so!

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Our dinner was no fuss tuna casserole with bacon and cheese salad.

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Apples to Apples

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After dinner we went out to bob for apples..

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How have you been slow lately?

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Meal Plan Monday #25 Cheddar Smiley Face Soup Crackers

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Well the weather is getting colder and it is time to pull out comfort foods. One of the many reasons I love the fall season is for soup. Cream soup. I’ve never really been a fan of brothy soups but give me a good cream based soup and I’ll love you forever. The key is good though. It HAS to be good. I’ll still love you though if it is not.

My Hubby’s favorite soup is tomato soup and he’s a little bit of an Italian snob. Since he studied in Rome, anyone claiming authentic Italian food has to go through him. It’s the tomatoes and spices. They drive him crazy.

I like to can a soupy tomato broth, with the juice of tomatoes after I’ve canned salsa, as a base for my tomato soup. The juice gives the soup a great taste. I also like to try different variations of tomato soups like this one or this one. We love them both.

This is sort of a slow day post as well for October. We haven’t had much time to be very slow like the summer because of our schedules but I declare every now and then that slow be possible. It’s so tough though in a season of busy. I often feel like life just keeps going.

Back to the soup. I saw this recipe for Dracula crackers in Family Fun Magazine a while ago while at a prenatal appointment. Since we don’t do Halloween I decided to tweak these a bit to my liking. Smiley faces are a perfect additive to our dinner table. They were perfect with my creamy tomato soup recipe and a salad on the side and my boys loved them.

These crackers can be added to any soup to make it fun!

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp butter, cubed

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp-1/2 cup of cold water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first four ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get a coarse sand like texture. (1 minute)

Next add 2 tablespoons at a time of cold water and pulse until the mixture forms a dough (30 seconds). Remove dough from food processor and knead into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness (depending on your preference)

Use a donut cutter or a cup to cut circles for the faces and decorate to your liking. (The dough will shrink as it bakes)

I used a straw for the eyes and cut the mouth with a steak knife. We also had pumpkin faced ones.

Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper and bake crackers for 15-18 minutes until golden and crispy.

Serve them as a side or let them soak up the juice in your favorite soup-in our case tomato.

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Here are a few pictures from our pumpkin family night. This day we decorated our traditional crazy pumpkins and spent some quiet time as a family.

First we watched Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin. I made corn dogs and the boys had a pumpkin popcorn mix in scarecrow bags. Their favorite is hot chocolate and it was cold that particular evening so I decided to give them their favorite treat.

Afterward we spent the rest of the evening whipping up a crazy pumpkin family. A quiet family evening beats TV any day.

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mom punkin

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Do you have any family fun traditions for the fall season??

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus Tuesdays, Living Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Back to School Party

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Friday we had our first back to school celebration with our cousins. I’d been planning this thing since the beginning of summer and I was determined to make it really nice for the children. The theme was seeking God’s treasures. Those things that God values above rubies. Wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and trusting him. I wanted to encourage the children attending that hard work and diligence will pay off with these virtues.

It was really fun!

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We started with a treasure hunt for school supplies. The treasure hunt was based in proverbs and each scripture gave a clue to the next school supply. Since we have a lot of open space, I hid most of the supplies in our garden. The last clue was to lunch and after lunch my sister-in-law and I set up some things that we had for a photo-op. I also made chalk board speech bubbles from foam board that we used for photo’s. My picture’s are all over the place honestly because I just snapped as the kiddos ran. I can’t believe I got any pictures worth showing.  Oh but I so can’t wait to do it again next year!

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My kid Hero took this in to his new teacher and we heard back that she loved it!

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Resources:

Leaves on straws, bus fuel-ourthriftyideas.com

Back to school sign, snack signs- catchmyparty.com

Terra cotta apple idea-733blog.com

I’m a second grader sign- iheartnaptime.net

Back to school bingo- idigpinterest.com

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Welcome Summer!

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Our summer officially started a few weeks ago and I had in mind some fun things to do to encourage my Kid Hero and kick summer off right. My hubby was able to get off work early to be home for lunch which was a blessing.

When Kid Hero got off the bus he ran into a banner that I handmade, Hulk smash surprise squirt him and we broke out in a water fight. I didn’t capture everything because I didn’t want my camera wet but there are a few good snippets I did catch. Some of our games included a popcorn relay race, water balloon baseball, and water drop. My hubby didn’t have time to stay and paint faces so I think next year we will plan better for that.

All in all we wanted to intentionally encourage our boy that hard work and diligence do pay off when you work for the Lord and that there is a time to play after you have applied yourself faithfully. The boys were surprised to see us acting silly and having as much fun as they were. We hope to continue this every year to give them something to look forward to.

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What creative ways do you encourage your children to hard work and diligence?

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31

You Might Also Like: Slow Day: Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day Fun, My Joy-Filled life:seeking the slow around me

 

 

Memorial Day Fun

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We had a four-day weekend for Memorial Day. So my hubby and I set out to make this an eventful weekend filled with fun and food. We BBQ’d all weekend for lunch and dinner, slept out on our deck and played down at the creek where I could practice some photography skills. It truly was most relaxing and we were sad to see it go so soon.

Camping on our deck..  howtotrainasuperhero.com

Picking Dandelions for Jelly and tea..

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Remember these!! I’m surprised I remembered how to make one.

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Life: Down at the creek..

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Experience: Sweet Hunney Suckle. Tastes so sweet!

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Nature

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Beauty: Red eggs from an insect…..

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Fears: Overcoming

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Caring: Rocky

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Creating: Captain America Shields

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Creation: identifying

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Loving: Rocky

rocky

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31

You Might Also Like: Beauty in Our Backyard My Joy-filled life, Slow Days at a Glance, Valentine’s Day

My Joy Filled Life- Learning to Seek the Slow Around Me

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged much in a week in a half. As bad as I have been feeling I probably should have not even had blogging on my mind but somehow I couldn’t help thinking of what I’m going to share here.

I heard someone say to me before that I shouldn’t want God to really slow me down and that I’d better take the chance when I can. Just thinking about that this week made me chuckle. Why? Because in his own way God has stopped me from the doting task of being the girl who has her hands in everything, and I’ve been forced to slow down. But Daddy knows best and I’m making my efforts to learn.

Living slow is a lifestyle, a mindset and a gift.

I came across this scripture in my reading this week that reminded me that I don’t always have to be doing something; that God delights in rest. Though that is not an excuse to be lazy, God values hard work and gifts rest to his children because of it.

 

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat;  for God gives rest to his loved ones.

    Psalm 127: 1-2

 

For the mama that is always doing something, this scripture encouraged me so. I’ve found slow many times to be a unacomplishable task but somehow for the past few weeks it’s been easier for me to not freak about stuff that can wait. Here I want to share some things that have given me joy in this time, things that I have recognized as God’s smile and hand around me.

 

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Tree burning and family time. Look at that fire…imagining God in the burning bush to Moses. How much more beautiful was that?!

 

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Trying my hand at stewed crackers for my hubby. Gifting my family things that warm their hearts.

 

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Science Fair with my Kid Hero-Mixing colors for people ( His project was Color Theory! Proud Mama 🙂

 

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A Celebration for Jesus – a symbol of grace and how sweet it is

 

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Mason jar drinks and paper straws make me happy 🙂

 

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Raised to life with Jesus Christ!

 

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Our Favorite Resurrection Scavenger Hunt I got a few years ago. Taking time to hunt eggs in our yard with our family.

 

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A recipe for meal plan Monday! I love this picture. Lots of times we show perfect pictures of a finished product and we want people to believe that our efforts to make that dish was flawless. Well, my favorite Italian made dish cracked straight down the middle in the oven. This represents my flaws and more on this day my heart. Here’s to making mistakes and letting them encourage you!

 

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looking in nature to find God’s signature. A Robin took the dead willows from our garden and made a nest for her babies right on our gutters. Birds Make me happy! What an honor to be her nesting place of choice!

All of these things have gifted me with an opportunity to further seek the Lord. Seeking the Lord has gifted me the opportunity to keep finding these precious things and learn more about God’s Character.

What things have you found lately to inspire your daily living?

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31Growing Homemakers

You Might Also Like: A Holy MessI Confess I’m an Imperfect Mother, In Celebration of Slow, Letting slow marinate

Slow Day: Valentine’s Day

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Our morning began with heart-shaped pancakes and bacon. We had so much snow here that there was no school for my oldest. My hubby immediately went out with the snow blower and I went out after him.

Funny story: when I came back, the 15 pancakes and pieces of bacon I made were all gone. Growing boys huh?

For Valentine’s Day I set up a nice dinner. After dinner we played some minute-to-win-it games, which are my favorite. I couldn’t get a good picture of all of the games but some included were: conversation heart stacker, marshmallow flop, heart a stack, suck it up, chopsticks. My boys had so much fun and hubby and I did too and at the end I made rice krispie treats with white chocolate. (Chocolate wasn’t finished hardening when I snapped the pic).

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How was your Valentine’s day?

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You Might also like: My Favorite Family Valentine Idea’s, Blogging With a Purpose

Family Valentine Idea’s

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So Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s about time for me to start planning my annual Valentine’s Day Family Fun Night! I am so excited because this year we have a special guest joining us for the first time in our festivities…My husband!

In previous years I’d set the table up like a restaurant for Hulk Smash and Kid Hero, buy them a book, make something red for dinner, dessert and we’d do something fun like play a game.

This year my plans have changed a bit. My New Years “Resolution” is to try to get us to spend more quality time more often so with that I’ve been trying to set one up every week if possible. We spend tons of time together going places and getting stuff done but not too many days just doing nothing in fellowship. Every family needs that to grow whether they have little one’s or big one’s at home. Family time is an investment for everyone.

So every week I set up a themed night starting in the morning  with a fun breakfast like snow man pancakes, then dinner with something simple and a snack like jello popcorn balls. We then head to our living room for fun like mini golf, a hot game of beat the parents or reading books. Anything but the TV goes!

Well I thought about you lovely ladies in the process of my planning this time and I thought you might enjoy some ideas for fun too! These are things you are able to get creative with. Don’t limit these to just you and the kids!

Of course Valentine’s Day for me goes beyond a decorated table and some treats. It is a day I choose to amp up my love for my kids and our love  for Jesus. It’s about building their character and giving them a chance to openly express that love for their family and Jesus. Jesus is always the center. Later next week I  will share my ideas.

conversation hearts dinner time activity for families

via notimeforflashcards

hearts-wm

How I love thee conversation hearts via jonesdesigncompany

14 acts of Love via makeandtakes

Love letter’s for familyvia  thegodshalllife

Pencil valentine’s via simplyjstudio

Little boy with handprint Valentin's handprint craft

Valentine crafts via sheknows

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Valentine Crafts via extraordinarymommy

DIY Valentine Treat Bag http://www.mamamiss.com ©2013

via mamamiss

minute to win it valentine’s via sassysites

Jello Hearts

jello hearts via thehungryhousewife

giant kisses valentines day

rice krispie kisses via agirlandagluegun

Send your hubby or loved one a heart attack via thehousethatlarsbuilt

My favorite! Scratch off valentine’s via patandlindsay

Heart pops via sprinklesomesunshine

Bible Verse Printables for Kids

Love bible verses via biblestoryprintables

bacon hearts, how to, recipe, valentines day, sweetheart, chocolate covered bacon hearts

heart bacon via papermama

pizza

Pepperoni heart pizza via onecharmingparty

Live life on purpose,

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Linking up with: playdates with Godlivingproverbs31, Titus2sday

Blogging with a purpose

Me and my stupid pride. Yup that’s right I said it.

For weeks I’ve sat down to write and every time I’d type a word and feel no confirmation that God was including himself in that post.

What happens when there is nothing to write? I seriously have no answer for that.

I remember when I started to take off full fledge in this blogging arena. Excitement would fill me as people would comment and send me emails letting me know how encouraged they were from one of my posts. (I save every last email so if you have sent one, Thank you!) That gave me courage to keep writing and to keep listening to the Lord regarding the way I write. I pretty soon switched from “wanna be” fashion blogger to real-life blogger mom. No college degree. No experience. Just a “free-lance” writer who wanted to be an encouragement and inspiration.

But then it got me.

The constant checking of stats, watching other bloggers grow and wanting to be in the same place. I forgot my mission for this blog. The battle of “do this and you’ll be a successful blogger” syndrome. I forgot that I wanted this blog to say something and plant seeds that could help people. And definitely keep my health.

It’s so easy to let social media, and high blog stats become a god. It’s so easy to push my readers to the side and worry about me. Gosh darn flesh and its desires for greed.

This is pretty good evidence of my sinful tendencies and I’m positive it is evidence of my constant need to be close to Jesus.

So from now on I will continue blogging to plant seeds of encouragement, love, laughter, and edification. Most importantly I will blog about what I love! Food, crafts, and all things children; not worrying too much about being the blogger world’s Jack of all trades.

It’s not always about a picture, a number, or a strategy, though, I’m not at all saying there is not a craft to be honed. I’m simply saying that if you read, blog or inspire to be a writer, do it because you love it. Water it by working on it and your gift will make room for you. Room (Opportunity) for you to expand off of God’s vision and bear the fruit of his glory

So today I am relaunching my blog, sort of like a start over with some big plans and a new focus.

To start my relaunch I am posting about a craft today. My sister made this for my bridal shower not too long ago and ever since I’ve been in love with it. She also made a family date night jar and all the guest’s from my bridal shower put ideas for me, hubby and family to do and share. I keep the family one out in the open and every now and then I look in the date night jar for some ideas to spice things up.

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What you will need:

Glue gun

1 sheet cork board card stock paper

1 Mason Jar

Thumb tacks (cut off the stem)

Crinkle scissors (my word)

Paper, a printer or markers

Card stock paper (your color choice)

Beans

Wide popsicle sticks

Directions:

Make sure your jar is clean

Cut your cork sheet 4 1/2 inches wide

Wrap cork sheet around the jar and hit it with some glue

Print the words (one on regular printer paper and the other on the card stock), “Family Date Night Jar” twice with enough spaces for you to cut around with the crinkle scissors for the individual words

Cut out the individual words with the crinkle scissors and glue them in your own arrangement, to the jar

Glue the tacks to the Jar in your own arrangement

Next cut out the Word Phrase and glue it to a popsicle stick

Fill the Jar with beans and enjoy!

Have family members write their ideas and throw them in. Valentine’s Day is coming up! Spend it intentionally.

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Linking up with: wedded wednesdaysplaydates with Godlivingproverbs31Titus2sday

DIY {Pull String} Angry Bird Pinata

I must say that I’m a bit surprised by the interest in my pins on my boys’ birthdays on pinterest. It never ceases to amaze me how much pinterest brings traffic to this blog.

Anyway, I promised back in March that I’d put up the tutorial for all you homemade moms out there. I will say, we work very hard at pleasing our children through seasons of their lives. My little big one was extremely excited about this. Though neither one of them helped. Nevertheless I stayed up til 2 am putting party stuff together for him that weekend…And you know what??? I loved it! It kicked butt in my book to put all my time and energy into my child’s birthday. I never realized how much of a homemaker I am until now.  Wink wink. Well, you didn’t come here to read my voice did you? I thought so. Here is what you really want. This is a pull string pinata meant to be pulled from the bottom. All the kids had a piece of string to yank on. We didn’t have the option of hanging ours up at the party place so that is why we made it a pull string. You could easily just flip this upside down and hang it. Just make sure you secure the flaps a bit more before you do it.We cheated and made it a bit loose for the kiddos. My inspiration came from this lady.

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1. Get started by gathering what you need.

  • A pack of punch of balloons (.97 at Walmart)
  • Gather a whole stack of newspaper (I used my whole circular)
  • Make your paste using 2 cups of water and 2 cups of flour
  • 2 rolls crepe paper (any color you’d like)
  • Angry bird face printable(you could also use crepe paper to cover a party hat to make a beak and stick some black crepe paper to the butt for a fluffy tail)
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Few pieces of cardboard

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Once you have your balloon all blown up to the size you would like your pinata, cut your newspaper in strips. I folded mine in fours and cut the edges. Lazy I know.

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2. Dip your paper strips into your paste mixture and smooth until the excess paste runs off. Then lay your strip onto the balloon making overlapping patterns.

(Make sure you lay this out on a surface you don’t mind getting messy. I covered my table with plastic bags.)

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I was pressed for time after a while and just plain didn’t feel like doing it anymore at 12 am, so I dipped multiple strips in and went to work. Afterwards I smoothed the layers with my hand. I had regular latex gloves on. It felt really weird and icky!

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3. Set your balloon out to dry at least 24 hrs.

Funny story. I started on this project the night before my sons party. I knew I needed 24 hrs drying time but me being the “try it until you prove yourself wrong” mom, I did it anyway. What was my secret??? Fans. One ceiling fan and a big wind machine fan that sat on the floor. The sucker wasn’t fully dry that morning. (still a bit damp) So I let it dry a few more hours until I was done the cake. Needless to say, it can be done if you have one night and three fans at all angles.

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4. Cut a square in the top after the whole thing is dry. One that is big enough for you to stuff snacks in. and keep closed. Then punch holes down the sides of the squares. (Ignore the one in the middle. Ours was a bit fragile at the top due to lack of thickness. So make sure you make the paper thick on the top and bottom where you will be pulling and stuffing.)

5. Stick some ribbon or string through the holes and tie them in knots on the inside. So you should be able to dangle the pinata by holding the strings in your hand.

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6. Tape the knots down. I used gorilla tape to ensure that we’d have no trouble out of them. BOOM!

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7. Fill the pinata with whatever you’d like. I love this part because I’m that mom to put out apples and string cheese at a party. I stuffed mine with a few cookies, not much candy and some other good snacks. I was talked out of putting apples in. LOL!

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8. Next take a few cardboard scraps and cut them in tiny squares.

Hot glue them on top of the flaps to make sure the flap stays put while you hang it or hold it.

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Here comes the most tedious part of this all if your working alone.

9. Cut your crepe paper in strips and glue them to your pinata horizontally. (about 5-6 inches long) Then cut slits in the middle of every strip.

We used hot glue until we ran out and realized glue sticks worked so much better!

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You can see above how we’ve cut slits in the one’s at the bottom.

Keep going, we were being lazy and decided to finish that part at the end.

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Do this all the way until you reach the top. In our case the top was the bottom. Again laziness out of us! We fixed the peep holes aftewards.

My handsome did an awesome job helping me 🙂

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Lastly find your printable face that you’d like to use and show up at the party with your homemade pinata.

We taped the flaps and everything so good. That it took an adult to yank the pinata really hard with the kids to let the pinata down.

I would do it again. But not without my hunney. 🙂