Dollar Store Hot Chocolate Basket

Winter is a fun time for kids, and there is nothing better than playing in the cold and then warming up with a nice warm drink. Today, I am sharing a simple idea for a dollar store hot chocolate basket. You can easily put it to get and serve it to the whole neighbourhood for less than $10.

The best part about this basket is that it is 100% portable. You can take the basket (along with a thermos or kettle full of hot water) anywhere!

At the dollar store, I purchased: a grey plastic basket, cookies, popsicle sticks, hot chocolate, mini marshmallows, a cute plastic container for marshmallows, and some heat resistant cups. Cute, right?

Isn't this portable hot chocolate bar a simple and clever idea? I guarantee it will impress the children in your neighbourhood. Have fun, and stay warm!

 (aka East Coast Mommy)

5 NETFLIX Shows Your Kids Are Going To Love

As my boys get older, their tastes in television shows are changing. Luckily, Netflix is constantly creating new and entertaining content that appeals to children of all ages (and their parents). Today, I am sharing our family's NEW favorite show, and I am letting you know about some awesome new programs that are streaming on Netflix this month.

Recently, I was given a "sneak peak" of a new Netflix series: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events... and our whole family LOVES it! 

Netflix is reinventing family TV with a show that serves up a little dark comedy that big kids (and their parents) will really enjoy. It is a bit more grown up than the shows that my boys have watched in the past, but we are watching this new series as a family, and it's fantastic! I seriously encourage you to check out Season 1 when it starts streaming on January 13.

And here are a four more shows that your kids are going to want to add to their "must watch" list this month:

DreamWorks Trollhunters

Voltron: Legendary Defender

Tarzan and Jane

Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh

What are your kids watching this month? Let me know if one of their favourites made my "must watch" list this month. Happy Streaming!

(aka East Coast Mommy)

Disclosure: I receive special gifts and perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix.... however (as always) the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

Two Ingredient Almond Bark

Homemade treats don't need to take a lot of time. This super-quick, two ingredient almond bark recipe is simple and delicious. You can make a small batch to enjoy at home, or you can increase the recipe to share it with friends.

You'll need: 12 ounces of chocolate for each 1 cup of roasted almonds. (One batch makes a tray that can be divided into 5 portions to share with friends/neighbours.)


1) Roast almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes (stirring a few times).

2) Melt quality white chocolate in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute and stir. Continue the process in 30 second increments until it is smooth.

3) Mix almonds with chocolate, and pour it onto a cookie sheet or tray covered with wax paper.

4) Place in the refrigerator until firm.

5) Break into pieces.

If you want to gift the almond bark, you can place the pieces in cute packaging from the dollar store.

White chocolate lovers will love this simple recipe for two ingredient almond bark. If you give it a try, let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

DIY Bowling Party

In November, my oldest son turned 11. Up to this point, we have hosted large parties for the boys, but we have decided that after 10, we are going to focus on more simple celebrations. My 11 year old decided to invite 5 of his friends to go bowling, and I added in a few DIY details to make the bowling party theme fun.

We started with a simple DIY invite that I created on Picmonkey. If you design a 4X6 invite on Picmonkey, you can print the invites inexpensively. Mine were $0.19 each.

The main activity at the party was obviously bowling, but I wanted to add a few more activities to make the party fun and unique.

After the kids finished bowling, they were able to "guess the candies in the jar". The party guest that guessed closest to the actual number of Skittles won the jar. Fun, right?

We also had a prize punch (which has become a staple at my boys' parties). It's always a hit with party guests, and you can get the full tutorial here.

Of course, we had to have festive bowling party food. We had pizza and lots of treats at my son's personal "canteen".

And I made a simple "bowling cake". I carved a bowling pin from a rectangular cake and a bowling ball from a round cake. They were simple cakes, but they were cute and went well with our party theme.

And finally, our guests left with adorable bowling party favours (with sweet tags that I designed). You can download the tags for free here

I thought the bowling party theme was fun, and I enjoyed planning out all the DIY details. Have you ever hosted a bowling party? What did you do to make the party fun and unique?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

2017 New Year's Eve Craft for Kids

New Year's Eve is the perfect time for a quick and simple craft. Creating these New Year's Eve hats and flags is a wonderful way to entertain the kids before the countdown, and the finished products make fun party props and favours. Keep reading to download the templates for these New Year's Eve crafts for free.

To make this festive headband and flag: 

1) Print the template on card stock by: right-clicking on the image below, saving it to your computer, and printing it like a regular 8X10 photo. Or you can download a pdf version of the template here.

2) Color the signs and cut them out.

3) Tape one sign to a card stock headband to create a hat.

4) Tape the other other to a paper straw, craft stick or dowel to create a flag.

That's it! It doesn't get much easier than this 2017 New Year's Eve craft for kids. Enjoy... and Happy New Year!!!!!!

Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

2016 Year in Review (free printable)

New Year's Eve is a time for reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one -- not just for adults, but for kids too. With this in mind, each year I put together a Year in Review questionnaire for my boys to fill out on New Year's Eve.

It is a pretty simple questionnaire, and you can download the free printable by: right-clicking on the picture (above), saving it to your computer, and printing it like a regular 8X10 photo. I usually print mine at my local office supply store where colour copies are $0.39 each.

I love seeing what my boys come up with each year. Maybe someday I will make a book for each of my boys using all the questionnaires they have filled out over the years.
Happy New Year, everybody!

Gina Bell
(aka East Coast Mommy)

Elf on the Shelf Bake Sale

How cute is this little Elf on the Shelf idea? This morning we woke up, and our little elf had created an adorable Elf on the Shelf bake sale. So crafty!

I love that our elf used a little box wrapped in wrapping paper. Then, he used two paper straws, some coloured paper and sharpies to make signs.

The donuts made from Cheerios, icing, and sprinkles are a lot of fun too!

Our Elf is taking a lesson from my boys who are always raising money for their favourite charity (Cystic Fibrosis... a disease that their cousin has). I love that our Elf on the Shelf is using fun treats to remind my boys that it is important to give back during the holiday season.

 (aka East Coast Mommy)
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