DIY Painted Vase for Fourth of July Party

I was in a crafty mood this weekend and wanted to make something for a Fourth of July party. A simple decoration for the table. So I knew this was a great opportunity to build on an idea I saw on Pinterest to make a painted vase.

It ended up being so easy that we used this as the craft idea at my daughter’s birthday party. The girls all made a painted vase to take home.

To get started, I bought a glass candle holder to paint it red, white and blue. Once it was done, I thought it would look good with some flowers “exploding” out of the top which reminded me of fireworks.

Want to make one, too? It’s easy. Here’s what you need:

  • A glass vase or candle jar
  • Gloss Acrylic Paint that can be used to paint on glass (Following Chloe’s instructions, I found mine at Michaels.)
  • A paintbrush
  • Either a candle or flowers (I used fake flowers that reminded me of fireworks exploding)

That’s it! Now let’s get started.

    1. If you are messy like I am or your making this with kids, I would recommend putting down newspaper before getting started.

    2. Hold the glass vase or jar on your hand so you can twirl it. It’s really easy to smudge the paint dots if you are holding it on the outside.

    3. Take your brush and start making dots. Play around with the size of the dots that you like. Some can be larger, smaller, thicker, or thinner to vary the color pattern. I started with blue dots, then added red and then white. I waited 5 minutes in between each color to let it dry a little. White was actually the most dominant color so after it was dry I then went back and filled in the holes with more blue and red dots until I liked the amount of color coverage on the glass.

    4. Let it dry and add some flowers or put a candle in for a pretty nighttime table decoration.

What do you think? How did I do? Are you working on any craft ideas for the Fourth of July? If so, please share. I’d love to hear about it.

For more Fourth of July celebration ideas, check out my board on Pinterest.

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Summer Family Activities

Avoid Summer Brain Drain with the Museum of Science & Industry’s Summer Brain Games

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. I only share sponsored posts that I totally recommend and know that my readers will love.

Kids really look forward to summer break, and who blames them, but it’s a shame how much academic progress they lose when they are out of the classroom for so long. Studies show that students usually have to relearn four to six weeks of classwork at the beginning of every school year. Your kids may not care, but minimizing this backward slide is definitely a priority for parents and educators.

It’s nice to take a break from the school routine and reconnect with family during summer but that doesn’t have to mean that all learning stops. That’s why I was excited to see that the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is offering up a fun and free online science program this year called Summer Brain Games that will keep kids learning this summer to prevent “summer brain drain.” Summer Brain Games are a great way to keep kids thinking and learning over the summer in a fun and engaging way. (Don’t forget to keep reading for details on how to win 4 free tickets to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry!)

How it works:

  • Sign up online for this fun and free program by visiting and download your FREE Summer Brain Games kit.
  • Each week from June 17 – August 12, 2013 you’ll get an email with an online kit that features an experiment or science challenge that can easily be performed at home with kids of all ages (although a little adult supervision and shopping for some supplies is necessary).
  • It’s even offered in both English and Spanish.
  • Register today and you’ll even get one free pass to visit this Museum this summer for even more fun, educational experiences.
  • Best yet, all of this is FREE!

What We Worked on Together:

My daughter and I really liked the Hydroponic Garden Challenge and the Weather Station ideas, so that’s what we worked on. For the weather station, the kit gives you all of the instructions you need to make a rain gauge, a wind vane, a barometer and more. My daughter is getting her rain gauge ready in this photo. Fortunately we have had a ton of rain here in the Midwest so the rain gauge has gotten a good workout.

The Hydroponic Garden challenge was a lot of fun, too. We used a yogurt cup inside of a plastic drink cup to make our plant container.


The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry has generously allowed me to offer you a chance to win a Family Four Pack ($76 value) to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. You can use these tickets anytime before the end of 2013. It’s a great opportunity to take the kids over the summer to keep learning.

I know my family loves the Science Storms exhibit at the Museum. Learning about why lightning strikes and how tornadoes are formed is exciting and educational!

Here’s how to win and have some fun with your family:

Contest Dates: July 1, 2013 – midnight, July 8th, 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is offering a fun and free online science program called Summer Brain Games. The eight-week program lasts from June 17, 2013-August 12, 2013 and features a weekly experiment or science challenge that can easily be performed at home with kids of all ages.

Visit now to register for Summer Brain Games and download your free Summer Brain Games kit. As an added bonus, registering automatically gets you a pass to come to the Museum for free this summer.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Summer Family Activities

7 Fun Kids Activities for a Fourth of July Party

Are you hosting a Fourth of July party this year? If you are planning a family reunion, a neighborhood potluck gathering, or just inviting a few friends over for some fun, here are some fun games and activities to keep the kiddos (and parents) amused. Click on the links to grab the easy instructions.

Bike Parade

When I think about the Fourth of July the first thing that comes to mind are fireworks. A close second though is a parade. So why not help the kids show off their patriotic spirit by decorating their bikes for a parade? Whether you plan to bike down to your neighborhood Fourth of July parade and want to look festive, or your kids are riding in the parade, your kids will look smashing with these printable bike decorations from No parade in your area? Host your own. Every summer our neighborhood used to have a block party and to kick off the party the kids would decorate their bikes and ride around in a little mock parade. It was so cute!

Flag Hunt created a great hide and seek game for the kids called Flag Hunt. Check out how easy it was to set up. You could also use coins or dollars in clear envelopes in the hunt. They do feature many of our founding fathers.

Balloon Dart Game

Roots and Wings Co came up with a great kids game for a Fourth of July Celebration – a balloon dart game! Click over to see how she made the board. You’ll definitely want some adult supervision for this game if you have little kids playing.

Rocket Toss had a cute idea with their Rocket Toss game. Have fun knocking down those patriotic cans. Parents, let the kids have a turn!

Cardboard tube rockets

You can’t go wrong with this cardboard tube rocket craft from

Star Spangled Luminarias

These Star Spangled Luminarias from are easy to make and will help light up the night as the party goes into the evening.

Firecracker Tie Dye T-shirt

Your kids would need to make this the day before but I love the Firecracker Tie Dye T-shirt from the I Love to Create Blog. It looks exactly like the Bomb Pops or Firecracker Popsicles you get from the ice cream truck.

What games or activities do you have planned for your Fourth of July party this year? Which one of these ideas do you like best?

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Tags: Family Celebrations · Family Fun Ideas · Holiday Celebrations · Summer Family Activities

Fun Food Ideas for a Fourth of July Celebration

Fourth of July is next week and I hope you are planning a fun celebration. Whether you are hosting or attending a family reunion, neighborhood block party, or small celebration with the kids in the backyard, these fun food ideas will have everyone coming back for fourths.

There were a lot of Fourth of July inspired party food ideas out there but I picked these favorites for their Wow! factor as well as how easy they are to make. To see more Fourth of July party food ideas and activities, check out my Fourth of July Celebration board on Pinterest. made some fun patriotic Oreo Pops that would look cute on the table.

The Frugal Girls created some easy 4th of July dipped strawberries


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Tags: Family Celebrations · Family Fun Ideas · Summer Family Activities

8 Ways to Save Money this Summer on Family Fun Activities

There are so many fun things to do in the summer with the family but it gets a little expensive to fit in all of the activities on your summer fun list. Admission tickets, food prices, and rental fees can really add up and put a dent in your family entertainment budget. But by doing a little homework and bringing your own, there are some great ways you can save your family some money. (If you don’t have a summer fun list started yet, check out my post on 51 Summer Family Fun Activities.)

Here are 8 tips on how to save some money this summer so you can get our and play MORE.

1. Bring Your Own Food. With any summer outing, if you are allowed to bring your own food, do so. Feeding your family at the pool, beach, amusement park, or even the drive-in can really add up. Pack a picnic basket with sandwiches, fruit, veggies and dip and water bottles to take care of lunch and snacks. If you brought plastic water bottles or even buy one on the go, don’t throw them out when you are done. Find a water fountain and refill it. Some amusement parks won’t let you bring food into the park but leave am iced cooler in your car with the food, get your hand stamped and walk out to your car at lunchtime to eat. When you’re done head back into the park for more fun.

2. Check for Family Day activities. A lot of entertainment locations will have free family day or family night activities. They want to attract more visitors on slow days which can be an advantage for you. Check their website and go on the days when they are offering discounts or free activities.

3. Season passes. If you think you might go to an amusement park, local pool, or beach more than 2 or 3 times during the summer then definitely look and see if they offer season passes. It usually breaks out that you need to attend 2-3 times before you see the savings, but if you think you’ll attend that many times, grab the discount!

4. Buy tickets online. Some family entertainment places give you a discount if you buy your tickets online and print them at home. It might save you some money and you get to skip the lines at the ticket counter. Don’t forget to check Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes businesses offer special discounts to their social media fans.

5. Look for coupons. Grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and even soda cans offer discounts on summer admission tickets to many venues. Do a quick search online for coupons or discounts to your attraction and see where you can pick up a savings.

6. Put your membership cards to work. Some amusement parks may offer AAA or AARP discounts. Use that to your advantage. Also, check and see if you can use credit card points to drive down the cost of admission.

7. Be flexible on time. Some pools and beaches offer discounted or free admission towards the end of the day. If you just want to swim and have fun, skip the peak tanning hours and go have fun later in the evening. There may also be fewer crowds for a more fun and relaxing experience.

8. Bring your Own Equipment. While it’s a little harder to haul everything that you might need, you can save money at the beach if you bring your own chairs, towels, and toys. Put the family to work carrying the equipment and avoid the high rental fees.

What’s on your summer fun list this year? Any additional ideas on how to save some money this summer so the family can get out to play more?

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Summer Family Activities

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