DIY: Dollar Store Patriotic Flip Flop Wreath Tutorial

Sunday, May 24, 2015


It's officially the "unofficial" start to summer.  What a better way to celebrate the holiday weekend than with an adorable affordable craft from the dollar store.

I love celebrating Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day, what a better way to celebrate it than with a red, white, and blue flip flop wreath! I purchased the flip flops from the Dollar Tree.

Supply List:

8 Pairs of Flip Flops - all the same size -size Medium - Dollar Tree
Hot Glue Gun
12 inch Wreath Base - Michaels
Red, White, & Blue Carnations - Dollar Tree
Patriotic Ribbon - purchased mine from Michael's, but the Dollar Tree has some.

Wreath Base Available at Craft Stores

I purchased these round wreath rings from Michaels, all craft stores should have them. 

I painted the wood rings white - you can use any color you choose.  I usually spray paint them.  I have used regular craft paint to paint them also, both work well.

I used 8 pairs of flip flops in the wreath.  The tricky part (this took me some time to master) is lining the heels of the flip flops up so the hole in the center is symmetrical.  I like the flip flops all in the same direction.  Lay out your pattern, then glue it to the wooden ring.  

When you have all the flip flops in position - lift each one up separately and hot glue them to the wood.  I arrange 8 on the bottom and when they are glued on, you fill in the spaces by gluing a second layer of 8 on top of the first.  Still keeping the flip flops symmetrical, as you fill in the spaces in between the first layer.  

Embellish your wreath with flowers, ribbons, etc.  If you want this wreath to be hung outside in the elements - you may not want to add any embellishments as they will be exposed to the hot sun and summer thunderstorms.  

Embellish with a bow. 
To hang the wreath add a zip tie to the back 

Hang and enjoy your wreath!!

Be sure to like my Facebook page Tj's Creative Crafts  to get more craft ideas.

You may also purchase my wreaths at my Etsy Shop. 

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Witty Hoots

Sincerely, Paula

Free and Low Cost Summer Activities for kids

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Summer is almost here! I have compiled a list of free and low cost activities to do with kids and teens.  These activities are nationwide and can be found in most towns however, if you would like specific local activities,  the Internet has a vast variety of resources to find free activities in your local state and/or town.

Enjoy <3

Arts & Crafts

Michaels Kids Club
Drop in. Take home a completed project. Just $2 per child for 30 minutes of creative craft fun, including supplies. Ages 3 and up. See a store associate to join the fun or sign up now!

Jo-Ann Fabrics - craft classes for kids.  Look for 50% off coupons for classes.


Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the first ever Kids Bowl Free program. This program is designed by bowling centers to give back to the community and provide a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time this summer.
Children whose age does not exceed a limit by a participating bowling center are eligible to register for 2 free games a day, all summer long, courtesy of the participating bowling centers along with the schools and organizations.

Our Summer Unplugged promotion means free bowling for kids ages 16 and under as summer fun takes over the lanes. Parents can get weekly coupons delivered to their email inbox. Discover new, fun ways for your kids to enjoy bowling like never before with special activities and contests during this awesome summer-long promotion. 

How to Workshops:

Lowe's Build & Grow
Register your child for a free Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic and they'll get access to free classes, complete with a free project kit, apron, and goggles


Home Depot Kids Workshops
When a child goes to the Home Depot Kids Workshop, they'll get a free project kit they can complete and take home during they workshop. They'll also get a free kid-sized orange apron and an achievement pin for a job well done.

Apple Camp workshops are where kids ages 8 to 12 bring their imaginations to life. They'll learn to make movies or create interactive books complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. And each workshop   ends with the Apple Camp Showcase so campers can share their finished projects.



Bank of America Free Museums Free admission to over 150 museums by showing your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch Debit or Credit Card

Free Museum Day - click on the city to find what is offered.

Los Angeles
New York
San Francisco Bay Area
Seattle Area

Summer Reading:

Scholastic Summer Reading
 is a free online reading program for children. Join today and let’s set a new reading world record for summer 2015! (May 4 - Sept 4, 2015) Grand Prize: the schools with the most minutes read will win a visit from Michael Northrop (top elementary school), and Varian Johnson (top middle school).

Mark your calendars!

Our summer reading challenge with Wimpy Kid will kick off on June 22! 

Check back in mid-May for more details. 

Barnes & Noble
Click Here to Join Barnes & Noble Kids' Cluba loyalty rewards program for purchasing kids' books.  Get a coupon for 30% off when you sign up.

Barnes & Noble - Visit Barnes & Noble for free local events.  

 Enroll your child in the Junie B. Kids’ Reading Club.  You can also print a free activity brochure, membership reading log and sticker sheet.

Library Summer Reading Programs

Local Libraries usually have a summer reading program.  This link is for the New York Libraries and their "Every Hero Has a Story" summer reading program.  Check with your local library to see what summer reading program is being offered.  

To get a FREE $10 For Kids at TD Bank your child has to have, or make a young savers account at TD Bank and read 10 books this summer.
1.) Read 10 books this summer.
2.) Print out the Summer Reading Form
3.) Write down the names of the books they’ve read
4.) Take the form to the nearest TD Bank
5.) Receive $10 in a new or existing Young Saver account

Free Reading Program, grades K-8.  

Read Books, take a quiz, and earn prizes. Sign up here.

National Parks

Become a Junior Park Ranger - earn a badge.  The "Junior Ranger Programs" are activities prepared especially for 5- to 12-year-old visitors to the properties of the National Park Service. Children and their families participate in the program by completing prepared activity books which are generally free, but in a few cases can cost up to $3.

"Explore, Learn, and Protect!" The Junior Ranger motto is recited by children around the country; each taking an oath of their own to protect parks, continue to learn about parks, and share their own ranger story with friends and family.The NPS Junior Ranger program is an activity based program conducted in almost all parks, and some Junior Ranger programs are national. Many national parks offer young visitors the opportunity to join the National Park Service "family" as Junior Rangers. Interested youth complete a series of activities during a park visit, share their answers with a park ranger, and receive an official Junior Ranger patch and Junior Ranger certificate. Junior Rangers are typically between the ages of 5 to 13, although people of all ages can participate.

For those children who do not have access to National Parks, there is also a web version.
WebRangers is the online extension of the Junior Ranger program. It's a website for kids of all ages. If you love our National Parks, Historic Sites, and Monuments, then this site is for you. If you are new to our National Parks, we hope this site helps you experience how wonderful they can be

Only 127 of our country's 407 national parks usually charge an entrance fee. So start planning your visit
If you're planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands-more than 2,000 in all. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passis offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online.

For Free National Park Days Click Here

Minor League Baseball

There are many promotions at minor league stadiums. Locally in the summer after a game there is a fireworks display.  If you're lucky you may even get to see a major league player.  What a better way to spend a summer evening!   Click on the link to join your local Kid's Club and sign up. 

Rewards for kids:

Chuck E. Cheese

How about free tokens on their next visit to Chuck E. Cheese's? Print out our free rewards calendar to get started.

  • Download and print out the calendar
  • Mark the days off with a pen or sticker as your child accomplishes their goals
  • Bring in the completed calendars to Chuck E. Cheese's and receive 10 free tokens as a reward
10 Free Tokens for Rewards - Chuck E. Cheese

Küdzoo   is a loyalty program that grants students access to deals, giveaways, scholarship opportunities, concert tickets and once in a lifetime experiences based on student's grades and achievements. Küdzoo works together with schools and businesses to improve student engagement while bringing communities together with an educational focus.

How it Works: 
Earn Küdzoo Cash based on your grades, attendance, grade improvement and answering daily SAT &   trivia questions.

Every marking period scan your report card and submit it via the app – your achievements are automatically converted to Küdzoo Cash!

Use your Küdzoo Cash to shop for deals and access to events!

Roller Skating

Get FREE Roller Skating Passes All Summer for Your Kids! You will need to register at the loaction. You can check their website for participating locations.
“Kids Skate Free is a program designed to help children get out and be active in their local community by offering FREE admission to their local skating centers!”

Skate Parks

Check your local area for Skate Parks.  Admission is usually per session.  Our local park is $3.00 per session.  There are monthly and Annual Passes available as well.

Zoos & Aquariums
Purchase a membership for your local zoo and receive free or discounted admission to participating zoos and aquariums.  Our local zoo offers free admission for being a member.  

One of the benefits of becoming a member of your local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium is free or discounted admission to AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums that participate in the AZA Reciprocal Admissions Program. 

Free and Low Cost Summer Activities for Kids

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Summer Reading Program Free Book From Barnes and Noble

Friday, May 8, 2015

Barnes and Noble is offering a free book for students in grades 1 - 6

Students read 8 books from May 19th  and September 7, 2015.

Follow the links below to download the Reading Journal.

Dear Reader,
A book is a magical thing. Once you open one up and start to read,
you can find yourself transported to any place in the world, any time in history, or any realm of fantasy an author can invent or your imagination can envision. The best part is that you can reach the most exciting destinations without ever leaving home.

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:
1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in this Imagination’s Destination Journal. Be sure to let us know to whom you would recommend each book, and why.
2. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 19th and September 7th, 2015.
3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.

Here Is How it works:

Step 1.

Step 2.

Step 3.
Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal 
Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store.
Find a Store.
Choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store... Enjoy reading!

Free Kit and Lessons for Educators - click here

Free Summer Reading Book from Barnes and Noble

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring has Sprung finally!

I actually was on my way to the dollar store looking for flip flops when I had a wave of inspiration to head to Lowe's Home Improvement Store to look at plants.  So after not 1,  but 2 trips to Lowe's, and then one trip to Home Depot, I came home with a carload, ok an SUV load of new plants and flowers. For some reason I have an obsession when it comes to summer flowers!

Now mind you, my children who are in their 20's  cringe when I come home with new plants.  One would think since they live on their own now, they would love spending time with their mom and helping her in the garden.   Well, we can all dream can't we? It seems they begin to scatter like ants on a hot sidewalk when they see something that pertains to weeding, digging, or mowing!  I keep using the line, "I'm getting older, you guys can help," but they give me that crooked smile and say, "sorry mom" I have something to do instead!

So Brooklyn (my 3 year old collie) and I went outside to enjoy the warm day by planting ornamental grasses around the pool.  Now normally if he sees me digging he gets all excited because I let him dig in the hole, he can dig a hole much faster than I can, but today even Brooklyn blew me off and just lounged in the sun watching me!    I grabbed my shovel planted some Cabaret Grass and some African Daises by myself.

After I finished all my planting, I figured it was a good time to cut down an "unknown" tree that was growing with my Rose of Sharon bush.  Brooklyn is attracted to sticks both big and small, and likes to carry them around the yard.  He was trying to grab one of the branches until he was sidetracked by a bird flying by.  I never knew collies tried to "herd" birds or it could be that my collie is just crazy,  has a short attention span, or possibly maybe ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.)  After writing this, I did a search and yes dogs can actually have ADHD, who knew?  Here is an article I found on it. 

Here is a short video of Brooklyn trying to help.

Brooklyn and the tree video

Cabaret Grass

As you can tell, it's still not warm enough to open the pool, but the birds are happy since the use the puddle on the cover as their own personal birdbath!

I fell in love with this planter at Home Depot.  It holds 4 potted plants (I purchased from Lowe's) and it is moveable in case the sun gets to hot for them.

Foxglove's I found at Lowe's.

Happy Planting!