Heart-Shaped Necklace


Heart-Shaped Necklace Craft

heart shaped necklace 2

In the past I’ve tried to make clay gifts with my kids, and many of the recipes I tried didn’t turn out very well. I liked this craft for a couple reasons. First, it called for ingredients that I already had in my kitchen. I love when I can do a project with my kids without having to go to the store to pick up materials! Second, it was very fast and easy to make! Another quality I love in a craft! The cleanup was a piece of cake!

baking soda clay ingredients

My 7-year-old is at the age where she likes to do everything herself, but she doesn’t always listen very well. Not a great combination when you’re doing crafts like this, but I like to let her learn from her experiences. I can remember some of the best artwork I did in my younger years was when I made mistakes and learned from them. I try to remember that and have patience with her. I’ll soon get to why this is important.

We decided to make these heart necklaces as part of her Valentine goody bags that she’s going to give away at school. Once we started making them, the first cutter we used was so small that we decided to make some for her Girl Scout troop also. As you’ll see, we changed sizes halfway through to make them more durable.


1 c Baking soda

1/2 c corn starch

2/3 c water

Pot to cook on the stove


  • Rolling pin and cookie cutter. Honestly, I should list these under required since it’ll be very hard to make without them. But since you could technically flatten the dough and shape it with your hands, I’ll leave it up to you.
  • Paint. Again, you’ll get a much better product if you include this. Might also want to do some sort of metallic variation.
  • Something to poke a hole. This is necessary if you’re going to make necklaces. If you just want to make a charm, you could opt out.We used a bamboo skewer.
  • Ribbon or string to hang it on.


  • Instead of baking soda clay, you could follow a different clay recipe. There are some with salt & flour that might require baking after, or some that are more like porcelain. I liked this recipe because it was easy to make, and you just have to let them sit to dry.  It also seems to be a bit easier to imprint on than the salt dough that I’ve tried in the past.


  1. Mix the baking soda, corn starch, and water in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes.

baking soda dough cooking

2. Pour it out onto the counter (or whatever surface you’ll use to roll it out and shape it). I let it sit a few minutes to cool before beginning to work with it.

baking soda clay

3. Knead the dough for a few minutes.

4. Roll it out. At first, we did about 1/8″+ thick but those seemed to be very delicate and easy to break. We ended up switching to about 1/4″+ and they felt more durable.

little hearts for necklace

larger hearts to cut out

5. Cut out your shapes with a cookie cutter. We used some heart shaped cutters because we were making them for Valentine’s Day. Customize them to fit your needs and the current season!

6. If you’re wanting a necklace (or if you want to hang your finished product on the wall), poke a hole near the top center. Make sure it’s close to the top, but not so close that it will be too brittle and break. We used a bamboo skewer. This is the part where my daughter didn’t really listen well. I kept reminding her to be sure she was poking the skewer all the way through. I showed her how to hold the heart in her hand and let the skewer come through between her fingers. Most of the hearts she did were sitting on the counter as she poked with the pointy end, so they didn’t have much of a hole at all. Oh well, I guess they’ll have to be charms instead of necklaces!

poking hole in hearts

poke hole larger hearts

7. If you’d like a heart-shaped imprint on it, press your thumb down twice at different angles to make it into a heart shape.

8. Let dry for 2 days. They technically seemed dry enough after one day, but we still let them sit the extra day.

little hearts drying

larger hearts drying

9. Paint them. Use your own creativity for this! We like things colorful, so that’s what we did. You may want to paint the tops & sides first and let them dry before painting the backs. We only did one layer of paint, but you could paint them white and then paint your thumbprint hearts a different color like Amy at The Idea Room did with her heart necklaces.

painted hearts waiting to dry

10. If you’re making a necklace, cut some pieces of ribbon about 24″ long. String them through the hold in the heart. You may have to fold the ribbon tightly, then pull it through by just a few threads on the other side. Smaller string like hemp is probably a bit easier, but we like colorful. 🙂

String for hearts

final heart necklaces

If there’s something you’d like to see me post, or if you just have a question or comment please share in the comments section.


23 Budget-Friendly Date Ideas


23 budget friendly date ideas

23 Budget-Friendly Date Ideas

When you become a parent, you put your kids first. Sometimes that means sacrificing the time and money you spend on adult stuff. With Valentine ’s Day approaching, I thought it would be nice to compile a list of date ideas you can do for very minimal cost. I was actually surprised at how many ideas I found! Some of these also include options for daycare if you don’t have a sitter! An alternative is if you have friends who have kids, you can take turns having sleepovers at each others houses so the other parents can have a date night.

I read through a lot of similar compilations for this collection. Many blogs claim to have lots of ideas for date nights (one had over 90!) but they’re redundant; slight variations from other ideas. I wanted to compile a list that was as concise as possible. I hope I’ve succeeded. I sorted all of these ideas into three categories: date night at home, going outdoors, and exploring your community. So here goes…

Date Night at Home

8 ideas for a stay at home date night

  1. Rent a move. You can get a movie for $1.50+ at Redbox, $2.99+ through VUDU, or even FREE with Hulu or Netflix.
  2. Hit up the dollar store for your snack desires: popcorn, hot chocolate, soda, ice cream, candy, etc.
  3. Pizza can be picked up cheap at your local Little Ceasar’s. Don’t like Little Ceasar’s? Check the newspaper ads to see if there are coupons for your favorite pizza restaurant.
  4. If you’re a T-Mobile customer, sometimes they give away free movie rentals with their T-Mobile Tuesday app also! (I’ve even gotten free tickets at the movie theater!)
  5. Make a Special Dinner. I could write a whole post on ideas for this (hmmm, we might still have time before V-Day?), but for now I’ll give you one: DIY pizza. Very inexpensive and fun to do together! If you buy the dough that you can make at home, shape it into a heart.
  6. Invite friends over. This might not sound like a great date idea, but hear me out. If you have kids and no daycare, you can invite over friends who have kids. This way the kids can entertain each other while adults get a bit of adult time! Might not work for everyone, but definitely an option.
  7. Have a game night. This could be with friends or without. Board games, cards, strip poker? Video games are also great to play together! We have Just Dance on our PS4 and it’s awesome for parties or kids sleepovers. Download the app onto a smart phone and use your phone as a controller!
  8. Spa Night Together. Bubble baths, foot massage, lotions/oils, candles… Sounds romantic! You can even pick up supplies at the dollar store!

Going Outdoors

6 date ideas for going outdoors

  1. Go on a day hike. Depending on where you live, could be in the mountains, forest, desert, or even at the beach.
  2. Go to the park. Take a walk, fly kites, swing. If you’re the athletic type, play games: basketball, soccer, frisbee, catch, or even climb a tree. Invite friends and you can make it a game of mud/snow football.
  3. Go ice or roller skating. Here in Denver there is a public ice rink downtown that is free if you have your own skates. If you need to rent them, it’s only $2. Even if you want to take your kids with you and make a family night of it, it’ll only cost you $2 per person ($8 in my family). Getting a family night out for under $10 is a pretty rare find these days!
  4. Take a bike ride. To the park, pack a picnic, stop for dinner or coffee, or just ride around to enjoy the view.
  5. Fishing and/or camping. Have you ever listened to “Fishin’ In The Dark” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band? That about sums it up. Seriously though, if you already have the equipment it doesn’t cost much to go fishing for a day/night, or even camping. Here in Colorado there are many places where you can just go park and camp without paying anything. Just bring your own supplies and take your trash with you when you leave. If you’re not sure where to start, call your local bait/tackle shop. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
  6. Drive to a lookout point. Be sure to bring a blanket, some wine, and maybe even a picnic (or some sort of food?). Sit on the blanket and enjoy the scenery! If you time it right (and your geography allows) you might even be able to watch the sunset.

Explore Your Community!

9 date ideas to explore your community

  1. Try out a free local class. This is where you become resourceful. You might want to check your local government’s website (city, county, or state), schools, or whatever the free local paper is in your area. Many times you might find a school that’s giving away classes so that their students have opportunities to practice. Or there might be a community event to encourage art, dance, or music. Sometimes yoga studios will give away a free first class to get you interested. You could even sign up for a free first week at a gym where they let you check out their classes.
  2. Beer tour. This is one of my fav! I know for a fact here in Colorado, as well as in Northern California, there are a plethora of breweries. Most of them will let you take a tour (and sample along the way) for free!
  3. Local free music. Again, check your local resources. There might be a festival happening with live music. Or just a local band/artist playing for free. Either way, there’s no shortage of free music as long as you know where to go.
  4. Local art show. Again, these things happen all the time. There was recently a free art show here in Denver with a Star Wars theme. The artist had hundreds of pieces for sale, plus gave away a free print to everyone who came! Not mention the free wine & hot chocolate! There is also an event that happens throughout the summer on the first Friday of the month called the Art Walk. They have food and art merchants set up along the streets for people to check out.
  5. Visit your local animal shelter. If you’re both animal lovers, this could be a lot of fun! Just be sure to agree beforehand if you’re willing to take a new friend home; it can be hard to say no!
  6. Discover your local happy hour. Many times you can get an appetizer for around $5, and beers as low as $2. Look up what bars and restaurants are in your area that you’re not familiar with, and call around to see what their options are.
  7. Matinee move. The movie theater we like to go to is only $6 before 6 o’clock, no matter what day of the week! It’s worth it to do a little research and figure what times count as matinee in your area. Don’t just check one theater and quit either! Another reason we like the Harkins theater near us is that we buy a souvenir cup for $5.50 the first time we go each year, and you can bring it back for refill all year long for only $1.50! They also sell t-shirts for $25 (I think) that will get you free popcorn! The more you plan ahead, the more you’ll save! Oh, and if you thought it couldn’t get better, they also provide free daycare (during specified hours)! So $13.50 and we get a movie, drink, popcorn AND daycare? Sign me up!
  8. Drive-in movie. You’d be surprised at how reasonable drive-in movie costs are these days. Our local theater costs about $8 and you get to watch 3 movies (if you can stay that long).
  9. What better way to spend some time together than wearing silly shoes and eating junk food? Sounds like a great time to me!

I hope this helps you spend quality time with your special someone on Valentine’s Day! Please comment with any feedback or ideas that you’d like to see here!


LOVE: Help Your Kids Learn God’s Love


Teach Your Kids About God’s Love

Kids Love

Whether it’s Valentine season or you’re just trying to teach your children about God’s lover, these are the perfect reading plans to help!

  1. How to Love a Friend
  2. How To Be Happy
  3. Bible App for Kids – God’s Good News
  4. Elevation Kids – One In A Million
  5. Guardians Of Ancora Bible Plan: Ancora Kids Follow Jairus
  6. My Place In God’s World
  7. Planting The Seed
  8. What Does God Say About … ?
  9. God Is My Father
  10. Put Others First
  11. The Power of Same – Family Devotional (Ages 3+)


If there’s something you’d like to see me post, or if you just have a question or comment please share in the comments section.


Devotionals for Valentine’s Day


Love-Focused Bible Reading Plans

V-day reading plans

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought this was a great time to compile a list of devotionals focused around LOVE. Of course, you can read these any time of the year. Plus there are reading plans for everyone, regardless of your age or relationship status! Whether you’re a couple wanting to grow closer, parents wanting to teach your kids about love, or someone who’s hurting and wondering if there’s love out there for you; there is an answer in the Bible.

Love Reading Plans for the Hurt


If there’s something you’d like to see me post, or if you just have a question or comment please share in the comments section.


LOVE: Devotions for Couples & Parents


Valentine’s Day Bible Reading Plans for Couples & Parents

Love for Couples & Parents

Take your relationship to the next level by becoming closer to each other and God. Improve your parenting skills. Or simply learn more about what it means to love each other!

  1. The Secret: How Do You See Love?
  2. Redefining Love
  3. What Is True Love?
  4. Love
  5. Love Like Jesus
  6. Uncommen Love Is….
  7. UNCOMMEN Marriage, How To Prioritize Your Wife
  8. Infidelity: How to Face the Crisis
  9. Love Does–Experience A Life Of Love In Action
  10. What is Love? God’s View On Love And Relationships
  11. Expressing God’s Love to Those Around You
  12. Unlimited Love
  13. Draw Near – 365 Guides to Greater Intimacy with God
  14. 5-D Love
  15. Neighbours Love Your Streets
  16. UNCOMMEN: Porn Kills Love
  17. Love and Marriage
  18. 40 Days Of Love
  19. 7 Laws Of Love
  20. What is Love?
  21. Distractions In Your Marriage – (Part 1 in the series)
  22. Keep Your Love On: Connection
  23. Infidelity: Road To Recovery, Where To Start
  24. Free To Forgive
  25. Raising Uncommon Kids
  26. Planting Lifelong Skills in Your Kids


If there’s something you’d like to see me post, or if you just have a question or comment please share in the comments section.

Bible Reading Plans for couples & parents