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

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Valentine Crayons


Re-purpose your old broken crayons into these fun, colorful DIY Valentine’s Day gifts!

Melted Crayon Valentines1
Image courtesy www.istockphoto.com

My daughter and I first saw this idea around Christmas on a post with ideas for stocking stuffers. We couldn’t wait to try them! We did our first batch with a skull mold I already had back in December when she was on break from school. We filled it too full and the crayons melted all over! Luckily I had placed it on a cookie tray, so I only had to clean that instead of the oven. Either way, I learned a very important lesson when dealing with melted crayons: grease the mold first! I had such a hard time getting the crayon off, I tried to put the mold back in the oven to melt it off and ended up forgetting about it, ruining my skull mold! At least we had made a good amount of crayons out of it first!

As soon as Christmas passed, I started looking in the Valentine section at the store for a heart shaped mold to make more. This week I found one finally, so we got to finish this part of my daughter’s Valentine’s treat bags (keep an eye out over the next few weeks for more crafts and treats that will be filling these bags!).


  1. Crayons. I like to use up the ones that have been broken, but if you don’t have many or need more color variation feel free to break up some brand new ones!
  2. Some sort of silicone mold. I’m not gonna say you CAN’T do it in metal, but I wouldn’t want to be the one trying to pop out the finished product. Silicone makes it nice and easy.
  3. An oven to bake them in.


  • Multiple molds. We decided to give the boys skull crayons and the girls hearts. I’m sure most boys won’t mind getting all heart shaped crayons when it’s a Valentine, but since we had them made already why not?
  • Cooking spray (easiest) or some sort of oil to grease the mold. If you use oil, the way I like to do it is get the oil (or shortening, or whatever cooking grease) on a paper towel and rub it on the mold. I greased the whole mold, inside and out, in case the crayon overflowed a bit.
  • Glitter to make them extra sparkly! Just sprinkle some on before you put them in the oven and the glitter will mix in while they’re melting!
  • Paper and glue to make a prettier finished product. Check out what Chef Messy did with some card stock (so cute!)
Chefmessy Valentine Crayons
Image courtesy ChefMessy.com


Honestly, there’s not really much you could substitute unless you wanted to buy your own wax to melt down and pour in the mold. In that case you could also color it however you like, just like you would a candle. But I think most of the fun in this comes from seeing how all the colors mix together!


So like I said, first we oiled down the mold. Because we had already done our skull crayons, we had our broken crayons prepared and sorted by color (yes, we’re very “organized” in that sense).

  1. Preheat oven to 250F.
  2. Remove the paper wrapper off of all the crayons you want to use. This could be a tedious process if you have some pretty old crayons in the bunch like we did. When we made our skull crayons, I think it took us at least 20-30 minutes just to take all the wrappers off (but we also had a lot of crayons).
  3. Optional: break or cut the crayons into smaller pieces. We simple broke them down more as we needed to when we were putting them in the molds, but we also left them in larger pieces. You might prefer to chop them up more finely like Chef Messy did if you want the colors to mix more. We kind of like to control the color variations. (I swear we’re not control freaks!)
  4. Now you’re ready to start putting the crayons into the molds! We sometimes filled ours randomly and sometimes planned it out. You do what works best for you. I like to think some of the prettier ones were because we matched colors that would contrast with each other more, but maybe that’s in my head.

Crayons Ready to melt

4. Double check that your molds aren’t too full (so they don’t spill over when the crayons melt). Technically this could be part of step 3, but I know with my kids I always have to double check after we complete it to be sure they followed instructions. It’s easy to get overzealous when you’re a kid. 😉

5. Place them in the oven to melt. Some of the sites I’ve read with instructions say to do 10 minutes at 250, 15 minutes at 250, or even 10 minutes at 275. Since I live in high altitude, I usually have to go down in time or temperature. I elected to do 10 minutes at 250, but my crayons weren’t completely melted:

Melting Crayons in Hearts

So in the end it was 15 minutes at 250.

6. Let the crayons completely cool before trying to pop them out. What I did was I waited until I thought they were done (poking them a little to check), then I waited another 30-60 minutes more just to be sure.

7. Pop them out by pushing on the bottom of the mold (like you’re turning it inside out). I popped them onto a paper towel so that I could wipe off any oil that stuck to them.

8. Either glue them to your paper cutouts or place in treat bags. We still might cut out those circles to put a cute crayon saying on them. But for now they’re going into our treat bags solo.

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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.


Valentine’s Day Devotions for the Unattached


Love-Filled Devotions for Single People

V-Day Reading 4 Single People 5

You don’t have to be in a relationship to learn about love! Let these reading plans teach you about God’s love, loving yourself, and loving others. Perfect for Valentine season!

  1. Get Lost: Love Feast
  2. How To Become Someone Others Want To Be Around
  3. How To Love a Neighbor
  4. How God Expresses His Love for Us
  5. Social Justice and the Love of Money
  6. Kong Hee: Learning To Love
  7. Love
  8. Expressing God’s Love to Those Around You
  9. Called To Love
  10. What Is True Love?
  11. Love Like Jesus
  12. Uncommen Love Is….
  13. Live Love Lead
  14. Love Your Coworkers
  15. Love Does–Experience A Life Of Love In Action
  16. Unlimited Love
  17. Love Renovation
  18. Love: Video Devotions From Your Time Of Grace
  19. Love What Matters
  20. For The Love Of God
  21. Draw Near – 365 Guides to Greater Intimacy with God
  22. 5-D Love
  23. Neighbours Love Your Streets
  24. 40 Days Of Love
  25. 7 Laws Of Love
  26. What is Love?
  27. Fully Satisfied In His Love
  28. Crazy Love with Francis Chan
  29. Falling In Love Again With Your Lord


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.